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Comment: Re:So.... (Score 1) 245

How so? Food source... pollinator... is there an unknown benefit of having a blood-borne disease vector?

There are many different species of mosquitoes. Only some of them are disease vectors. The Anopheles mosquito, which carries malaria, used to be common in Southern Europe and parts of America. When they were exterminated, they were displaced by less harmful species, with no known detrimental effect (other than allowing human populations to grow).

Well, if they're different species, then by definition they don't mate. That means that releasing the modified mosquitos of the dangerous species won't affect the harmless ones, and hopefully as you suggest the benign ones will take over.

Comment: Re:If it ain't broke... (Score 2) 203

by Rich0 (#48941549) Attached to: VirtualBox Development At a Standstill

don't fix it. I mean sure I'd like more features and stuff, but it works out of the box. No tweaking (other than to guest vm's) or anything necessary. It just works. Sure there are other (paid) alternatives out there but VirtualBox does it's job well for me.

Meh, I abandoned it when it started refusing to run because there was a symlink in the path to its binary. It was less work to just move to virt-manager, which is just a wrapper around KVM which means I'm now running on a fully stock kernel as a bonus. Took a bit of effort to get networking working right, but it wasn't a big deal and the same setup works well for containers also.

Comment: Re:So what will this accomplish? (Score 1) 154

by Rich0 (#48941513) Attached to: Uber Capping Prices During Snowmageddon 2015

... but anybody with a need to drive could pay the $20/gallon to drive...

That's quite a big assumption that everyone who supports the emergency surge pricing idea is making - that those who need the service will be able to afford the hugely-inflated price.

If people can't afford the price of things they need to live, then they should receive public assistance. The solution isn't to try to manipulate the market (unless it is subject to monopolistic behavior, or externalities, neither of which was the case here). Just mail everybody affected by the hurricane a check for $1000, and then let the price of gas be what it needs to be. Let the market operate efficiently, and don't try to use it as some kind of meals on wheels program.

Comment: Re:only trying to help? (Score 1) 154

by Rich0 (#48941499) Attached to: Uber Capping Prices During Snowmageddon 2015

That stuff isn't the result of the free market so much as the fact that we rely on the free market to address everybody's needs.

The free market is NEVER going to take care of a mentally retarded quadriplegic. That isn't a problem with the free market. The problem is with idiots who expect it to do so.

The solution is to just give everybody a basic income, or other social safety net. Leave the market alone. If people want to work for 5 cents an hour, let them. But, if they don't work they should still have food and shelter. Companies would quickly find that it is hard to hire people who are well-fed for the wages they offer the desperate.

Comment: Re:The solution is obvious (Score 1) 578

And even if you guy, eg, a Galaxy Nexus with an unlocked bootloader, the company that sold it to you (Google) only provided support for 1.5 years from the date the device FIRST went on sale.

It was nearly 2 years November 17th 2011 to Octover 31 2013, but yes. And you still have a phone with an unlocked bootloader that can run whatever software you want on it.

The last Galaxy Nexus update was made available on July 24th, 2013. But, whatever, if you bought the phone in Oct 2012 (when it was last available for purchase) you'd have gotten updates for 9 months, or maybe a year if you want to argue that a phone that it was still supported until Oct 2013.

Comment: Re:Not really. (Score 1) 236

by dpilot (#48927313) Attached to: Gamma-ray Bursts May Explain Fermi's Paradox

There's a bit more to it than that. My tops would be two points.
First, we're memetically infectuous. Plant a new idea here, and someone will run with it, most likely in some direction you never wished for. Many of our memetic infections are downright dangerous, lethal, destructive, etc. Contact might well be considered irresponsible, no matter how well intended.
Second, there's the thing I mentioned about our reverse-engineering technology. They might accidentally give us more capability than they wanted to. Not that we'd be any threat to them, but we've been sitting here for however long with the Doomsday Clock close to midnight. Give us something new that can be weaponized, (We've been able to turn just about everything into a weapon, perhaps the most resistant invention was the "death ray", the laser - it's had so darned many peaceful uses and has been very hard to make into aweapon.) and we will do so. Perhaps that weapon might be what tips the scale, ticks the clock, or whatever metaphor you like.

+ - New Micro-Ring Resonator Creates Quantum Entanglement on a Silicon Chip ->

Submitted by Zothecula
Zothecula (1870348) writes "The quantum entanglement of particles, such as photons, is a prerequisite for the new and future technologies of quantum computing, telecommunications, and cyber security. Real-world applications that take advantage of this technology, however, will not be fully realized until devices that produce such quantum states leave the realms of the laboratory and are made both small and energy efficient enough to be embedded in electronic equipment. In this vein, European scientists have created and installed a tiny "ring-resonator" on a microchip that is claimed to produce copious numbers of entangled photons while using very little power to do so."
Link to Original Source

+ - We May Have Jupiter To Thank For the Nitrogen In Earth's Atmosphere->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Nitrogen makes up about 78% of the Earth's atmosphere. It's also the 4th most abundant element in the human body. But where did all the nitrogen on Earth come from? Scientists aren't sure, but they have a new theory. Back when the solar system was just a protoplanetary disk, the ice orbiting the early Sun included ammonia, which has a nitrogen atom and three hydrogen atoms. But there needed to be a way for the nitrogen to get to the developing Earth. That's where Jupiter comes in. During its theorized Grand Tack, where it plunged into the center of the solar system and then retreated outward again, it created shock waves in the dust and ice cloud surrounding the sun. These shock waves caused gentle heating of the ammonia ice, which allowed it to react with chromium-bearing metal to form a mineral called carlsbergite. New research (abstract) suggests this mineral was then present when the Earth's accretion happened."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:So what will this accomplish? (Score 1) 154

by Rich0 (#48920371) Attached to: Uber Capping Prices During Snowmageddon 2015

But you did suggest they're doing this "so you don't have to", which has the connotation that they're doing us a favor. I'm pointing out they are only doing themselves a favor.

The whole point of a free market sale is that you're both doing each other a favor. You'd rather have a trip home than the money in your pocket, and I'd rather have the money in your pocket than the time/expense it takes me to give you a lift. It is a service industry even if it isn't charity.

Since we can't exactly force rationality into individuals, nor can we force buyers to not give their money away, the pragmatic solution is to limit what is considered a rational maximum price on sellers. If you as a buyer still choose to pay more, that's all you, man. Society already warned you.

How can a buyer choose to pay more if the government regulates the maximum cost of a ride?

Hey, if word gets out that people are willing to tip extra, you'll get your results of getting more drivers out there and more people getting home. So please, if you really believe what you're saying, go out there and leave those big tips yourself.

Tips are just part of the price if they're negotiated in advance. If they aren't negotiated in advance then they have no impact on the availability of the service. Nobody is going to go out in a storm hoping that somebody is going to be nice and give them a big tip.

Tipping after a service is rendered really doesn't make that much sense economically unless you're a regular customer (in which case you're really just tipping way before the next service is rendered, which is why it works). Having payment based on performance certainly makes sense economically, but only if both parties are bound by the agreement.

Comment: Re:Misdirected Rage (Score 1) 578

by Rich0 (#48920329) Attached to: Google Explains Why WebView Vulnerability Will Go Unpatched On Android 4.3

I would, and do, buy the nexus and sony phones. The nexus 4 is upgradable to Android 5.0, and the xperia z1 is still upgradable to 4.4.4 i think.

And the Nexus 4 would still be under contract if you bought it on a 2 year contract on the last day that it was sold. Let's see if it gets the next update.

That said, Google has been getting better. The Nexus 4 is the longest-supported Nexus phone to date. The previous ones didn't get any updates after about 1.5 years from their first sale.

Comment: Re:only trying to help? (Score 1) 154

by Rich0 (#48920273) Attached to: Uber Capping Prices During Snowmageddon 2015

Free market guarantees shortages that is it's function. What you are really saying is if you can not afford it, meh, fuck you, ha ha, die in the blizzard.

Not being able to afford something doesn't mean that there is a shortage.

And I'm not suggesting people that can't afford a cab should die in a blizzard. Free markets and socialism are orthogonal. You can have either with or without the other.

If you're going to die in a blizzard, then call the police. They won't charge you to respond, and if we're talking a really big issue then the national guard should be bussing people out of dodge.

There is also no need to have poor people in a free market. You can give people a basic income so that they can afford food, and then let the prices reflect scarcity, so if there is a big chicken shortage the poor people can just switch to eating hamburger. You don't have to keep the price of chicken cheap and then watch as every store runs out of it anyway.

Comment: Re:Not really. (Score 5, Insightful) 236

by dpilot (#48919725) Attached to: Gamma-ray Bursts May Explain Fermi's Paradox

First, it doesn't explain Fermi's Paradox, it merely adds another term to it. In all of those various probabilities, apparently there is something like a 10% chance of not getting taken out by a gamma burst in half-a-billion years. I would also expect the odds to get better as a given galaxy "settles down", generating fewer big, hot stars and more smaller, calmer ones. Some neighborhoods are probably rougher too. I wouldn't wait around to settle Trantor, near the center of our galaxy.

Second, I wouldn't consider intergalactic contact in any serious way - the distances are bad enough for interstellar, do we really want to add a few more orders of magnitude?

Third, our presence establishes our galaxy as one of the more benign ones. There is at least one neighborhood that has been sufficiently peaceful for the last half-billion hears. Last I knew, there were no supernova candidates close enough to cause that kind of trouble any time soon, either.

Fourth, I'll focus on your word "silliness", which I think you meant as an understatement. There is conceivably a chance that we are under observation, and rank as "too silly" for any contact. The Earth has had an oxygen atmosphere for the last half-billion years, and we're on the verge of being able to detect other such atmospheres on other worlds such as Kepler has found. It's not a bad assumption that any civilization capable of interstellar travel is also better at planetary surveys than us. If they're there and within a few thousand light-years, they know something worth seeing is probably here.

At this point in physics we're stuck at the Standard Model. We have many theories that move beyond, but no facts to select among them, and many of the experiments would be incredibly expensive. But let's say one day we saw a "warp signature", it's quite possible that we could immediately discard half of those theories. (By "warp signature" I really mean physical evidence of truly advanced technology.) IF there were here watching us, and seeing our "silliness" as well as the scientific acumen of some, they would be especially careful that we see no such evidence.

Comment: Re:So what will this accomplish? (Score 1) 154

by Rich0 (#48915767) Attached to: Uber Capping Prices During Snowmageddon 2015

Since the national guard wasn't around to give people a lift, maybe we should offer additional compensation to the folks who take the risk of getting into an accident so that you don't have to.

I'm sure your local police, fire department, national guard, and other emergency services accept donations. Those are your "folks who take risk so you don't have to".

Uber drivers are "folks who take risk so they might make a buck". They're a company. They're there to make a profit. Remember Adam Smith on how we get our bread.

I'm not suggesting that they're motivated by anything other than making a buck (though the reality is somewhere in-between - workers are motivated by more than money).

The thing is, I bet that even with the price caps Uber drove a whole lot more people home than the local police department did. I bet that if prices were higher they'd have driven more people home (after all, the goal of the algorithm is to charge the highest price possible while utilizing drivers 100%).

So, if you want to feel good then donate money to the police. If you want to get home, then offer to pay a driver whatever they feel the ride is worth.

Comment: Re:The system is corrupt ... (Score 1) 179

I won't argue that governments created the cable monopolies, but network effects tend to create many others. What government action prevented anybody from buying an alternative OS pre-installed on their home PC without paying a fee to Microsoft in the process?

If you want to believe that monopolies are harmless you can do so. It really doesn't matter - corruption like the one in this article will ensure we never get rid of the government-sponsored monopolies let alone get rid of the ones I'd want to see go away.

A list is only as strong as its weakest link. -- Don Knuth