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Comment Re:Don't think Uber will be alone with this (Score 4, Insightful) 234

It's really weird to me that people think that the fact that it's their right has anything to do with this discussion. The question isn't if it's their right, it's if they're exercising their rights in a way people are free to disagree with. And saying it's none of our business is a curious moot position to take: they volunteered the information. It's like somebody saying something really stupid, and you present a counter argument, and people say, "Yeah but, they have the right to say whatever they want." Yes they do. What does that have to do with breaking down what they said?

Comment Please stop the anti-Trump spam. (Score 3, Informative) 320

Or at least hold off until the actual subjects of TFAs have been discussed for a bit.

I'm getting really tired of scrolling past several screens of political non sequiturs to get to the actual meat of the discussion.

Yes, I know Carthage Must Be Destroyed. But at least Cato had the grace to wait until AFTER he'd made his points on the actual business at hand before he'd sign off with that.

Comment Re:Curious about the history with this guy (Score 1) 103

Cost vs benefit analysis needed.

How many man-hours of investigator time plus the cost of the equipment used plus whatever else is involved that we don't know about vs the value of that crap-job to the citizen who should have had it.

Don't forget to include the value of the jobs lost vs. saved due to this actions effect on the perception of whether the law is being enforced or ignored by the authorities.

Comment Re:I feel like it's finally paying off (Score 1) 117

I've been donating to the project for a few years. I hope it is helping the developers focus more time on working on ReactOS and getting the resources they need.

I just want to say, good for you. Too often the only thing people contribute to a project are complaints that it's not going fast enough.

Comment Re:An unfortunate use of technology (Score 1) 479

There is a third option between letting people do things which impose a cost on everyone else (e.g. like pollution), and forcing everybody to do the same thing. You can make people who want to do those things pay at least some of those costs.

If you want to drive a 12 MPG Maybach, go ahead, but you then pay a mileage excise tax that goes to offset the costs. It's the same hedonic calculus -- how much do I want to pay for the performance? But with more realistic cost numbers.

What do you do with those taxes? Well you can offset some of the costs of the wars we fight to secure access to Middle Eastern oil -- about 2.5 trillion dollars in the last decades or so. You don't think we'd have fought the wars if there wasn't oil there, do you? Or if oil demand were much lower, for that matter.

Or you could put the money into energy efficiency and pollution control research.

But one of the best ways to use the money is to simply give it back to people who make choices that lower public costs,e.g. people who choose to drive, say, a Chevy Malibu sedan (46 MPG city) owner would get a mileage rebate.

But isn't this meddling with peoples' choice of cars. Yes! We're encouraging people to make choices that cost us less. But we're still giving them a choice. That's more than you get under a system where you're forced to pay the consequences of other peoples' selfish choices.

Comment Re:Many green spaces cost nothing to visit (Score 1) 103

It's the power of habit and humans amazing power to adapt to whatever is usual to them. If you go outside all the time, the effort and discomfort are scarcely noticeable. If you take a couch potato and drag him on your weekend hike and it'll feel to him like a crime against humanity.

Comment Re:The Quota Show (Score 1) 507

In a scorched earth war you attack the enemy's most valuable assets. This likely isn't going to be shantytowns in South Asia or Africa, it's going to be the greatest concentrations of wealth you can find. This would be bad for North America, Europe, Japan, and coastal China.

H. Beam Piper's future history series posits exactly such a war, which is why in his later stories people with Northern European surnames are a rarity (although somewhat more likely to be a protagonist). It's a small detail, but it makes sense.

It was in this vein that I asked the author of an unpublished manuscript I'd been given to review, why is there nobody with a Hispanic surname? He got all huffy about "political correctness", but my problem was that this was a post-apocalyptic story set in Southern California, where already Latinos outnumber Anglos. It was OK by me if he didn't want to write any Latino characters, but it made no sense that the apocalypse would selectively wipe out everyone with a Spanish name. All he needed was to come up with some plausible explanation, like an India/Pakistan style partition.

Comment Re:Fire them, hire replacements. (Score 1) 57

It worked for him, speaking in a strictly political sense. It actually cost the taxpayers many, many times more what PATCO was asking for.

Ironically PATCO endorsed Reagan in the 1980 election. PATCO was made up mostly of conservative military veterans, so Reagan's team approached them with a deal: Reagan would support their negotiating position if they'd switch their endorsement from the Democrats to him. Once he was safely elected Reagan reneged on the deal, then fired them when they went on strike.

It was a risky move, but the sheer drama of the move thrilled Reagan's non-union supporters. From a financial viewpoint, it cost billions to replace the fired controllers, not to mention the impact on the rest of the economy of the disruption involved.

As for the powerful blow this dealt for the unions, and if you want to see the impact of that, look at the median household income growth since 1980, which is practically nil when adjusted for inflation.

Comment Re: Because capitalism! (Score 5, Insightful) 420

Sure. Look at how Internet service worked on cell phone networks before Apple blew the old system up with the iPhone. Apple didn't do this out of idealism, but because it couldn't differentiate itself in an environment where the carriers controlled the user experience.

In fact in general look at how inferior US cell service is to the rest of the developed world. This was a result of a deliberate calculation by the Reagan administration that a more innovative network would result if carriers were free to choose their own standards. What they did was try to make it as painful as possible to change carriers while nickel-and-diming their subscribers for all they were worth. It was a safe, profitable strategy, like auto companies taking their mediocre old car platforms and putting exciting new bodies on them.

Meanwhile, in Internet services the competition is cutthroat because a level playing field is baked into the very architecture of the system, and innovation has been moving too fast for ISPs and cellular carriers to tie down their customer bases with "exclusive content". But it is coming. I've dealt with these people before and that's their wet dream: a captive customer base.

Comment Re:Because capitalism! (Score 5, Insightful) 420

One of the things I always told my kids growing up is that a piece of the truth is almost useless by itself; you need enough of the whole truth to understand what's going on.

The piece of truth you learn in capitalism Sunday school is that businesses try to maximize profits and that this forces them to innovate. This is true, but it misses the other part of the truth: businesses also try to minimize risk, and this cuts against the innovation impulse.

It's the force of competition that makes businesses take risks and thus innovate, and nowhere is the competition fiercer than in a commodity market. That's why businesses want to differentiate their products, and that's what net discrimination is all about. They want to make it impossible to compare different services by making it impossible or difficult to get content except through certain channels. Expect exclusive deals so you'll find yourself choosing between getting local baseball programming on one provider or the latest Star Trek series on another.

It's all about hanging onto customers, and there's two ways to do that: to make them happy, or make it painful to leave. Of the two, making it painful to leave is less risky.

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