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Comment Re:Tell me it ain't so, Elon! (Score 1) 181

That's almost a convincing argument, but you missed something - a corporate store means a complete monopoly on the product, and the price is 100% fixed. Think: Apple.

That does not mirror a grocery store. Sure, the price of a can of beans is fixed, but only at that store. If you don't like the price for that exact can of beans, you can try several others, and often can do better.

I do get your point about the secrecy though - although for the most part, even though prices are openly posted everywhere, they are de-facto secret because you can't get the information. You don't know how much a can of beans costs at all stores right now. You don't know how much I paid for it yesterday. It's still secretive, though open.

Comment Re:Tell me it ain't so, Elon! (Score 1) 181

That's one way to look at it - though characterizing it as "rip-off" because he wasn't charitable enough to subsidize people's gas seems a little antagonistic. Perhaps you didn't read where I wrote that Texaco charged him more for gas (i.e. the wholesale level) than it charged its retail customers. He took the risk by pioneering the market, they later came in and undercut him once it was established. That is the corporate way.

Comment Re:Tell me it ain't so, Elon! (Score 3, Insightful) 181

Your vision may be clouded by Elon Musk's cool name and your belief that he is good, not evil. Picture Jack Welch as the head of Tesla instead. Now picture that you're considering buying a Tesla dealership. You pay your franchise fee (maybe a few million), you sign your agreement (which states that Tesla retains the rights to sell directly), you build your building, and you start selling your cars. Turns out that you are pretty good at your job, and your dealership becomes a top-selling Tesla dealership.

Jack Welch checks his monthly reports and says "hmm, look at the Anytown USA territory. Everyone down there wants one of our cars. Let's open a company storefront down there - we can sell for less than our franchise and make more money". Sorry, you're out of business, and probably bankrupt too, because you took the risk for Tesla, and they cashed in.

My father used to own a Texaco gas station. He often competed with stations that were owned by Texaco itself. There were times when those company-owned stations would sell gas for cheaper than they would sell it to him wholesale. Corporate mentality doesn't care about anything but profit.

Comment Re:It's a plane, not a very good car. (Score 1) 56

It's a nice dream, but likely very unfeasible. The reason is that any malfunction or accident means both likely death for the occupants, and likely serious damage for people on the ground. I don't think it's likely the skies can handle hundreds of such vehicles at any given time.

Comment Google's unbounded power (Score 1) 251

Doesn't anyone find it troublesome that a private company (Google) is the one deciding whether this should be permissible? A private company, not democratically elected representatives, is deciding if this speech is protected or not? And that private company has the power to make or break the companies doing this?

Don't get me wrong - I don't think that posting booking photos should be legal, and I think that our representatives need to work on the issue of digital memories, where a stupid mistake made a long time ago can affect you for the rest of your life due to the availability of digital records. However what if Google quietly decides that it won't return valid results for people searching for certain computer algorithms which might let people compete with them? Or refuses to return results for certain colleges that it decides aren't good enough? Or decides to exclude certain authors from its index because generally speaking, people don't like them?

No company - unaccountable to the public - should have such power. Sure, you may like what they're doing with their power now, but they are already showing signs of turning their power away from what is good and onto what makes them the most money. Watch out.

Comment Re:Corollaries (Score 1) 1255

I would argue that when both the rich and the poor alike used public schools, they were better.

I would argue that in places where more people use public transportation (look to Boston, New York, San Francisco, Europe), it is better.

I would argue that Social Security is a pretty successful and popular program.

Comment Re:If I... (Score 1) 1255

You're missing the primary difference between democracy and capitalism. If you're unhappy with the public schools, you have a vote, and can cast it for change. If just over 50% of the people agree with you, change will happen.

In capitalism, you have dollars, and you can cast them for change. If 99% of the people want change, but just over 50% of the dollars don't, then change will not happen.

Democracy = 1 person, 1 vote.
Capitalism = 1 dollar, 1 vote.

The founders of this country did not set up a capitalistic government. They set up a democratic government. They recognized that capitalism cannot function as a system of government, that democracy was the way to do things.

Comment Re:If I... (Score 1, Informative) 1255

You're posting misleading information about Social Security. Although general life expectancy was lower than 65 years old in 1930, those averages took infant mortality into account. 54% of men and 61% of women who survived to age 21 would survive to age 65 by 1940. Of that group, the average life expectancy was 13 years for men and 15 years for women.

You seem to think that if we didn't have Social Security, that people would plan for their retirement. But we've tried that experiment - before Social Security, people did not plan for their retirement. They worked until they died, or they were cared for by their children, usually daughters (who did not work).

Comment Re:Look more closely at Google (Score 1) 303

No, my complaint is that:

1) Google should not base their search results on factors that affect the competitiveness or viability of other websites (i.e penalize sites that sell advertising, sell text links, or use/promote Google competitors).

2) Google should be more transparent about how it determines the worthiness/ranking of a website, especially when they are imposing penalties on sites. If Google is judging you unworthy, you should be able to get a rough idea why directly from Google so that you can improve.

3) Google should not take the position of "it's our really complicated algorithm's fault - there's nothing we can do about it". When their algorithm can make a company live or die, there should be a human review and an override feature. Algorithms are not infallible.

4) Google should not use their search results to force sites to structure their content in a way that furthers a goal of Google (or a partner site) cannibalizing those sites in the future.

I don't want Google shut down, but that was to happen, the demand for search would still be there. It would just be spread across several smaller companies, thus making the chance of one dominant player using their might to unduly shape the playing field that much harder.

Comment Re:Look more closely at Google (Score 1) 303

Nethemas, I suggest that you look into Google's recent foray into algorithms which involve penalties. Check out what is called the "-950 penalty", where a page will get dumped down to the 950th search result. I was hit by a penalty from April 24 until October 10. My site is very long-tail, catering to niche topics, many of which are only written about on my site. Yet when I searched for several of such topics from April until October, a lot of junk came up on the first couple of pages, a lot of spam results, empty pages that scraped my web site to build their content, and then finally my site - a direct match to the search - might show up on the 5th or 6th page - or maybe it wouldn't show up at all.

I realize that Google has to make value judgments when returning web sites in crowded niches. There are just 10 spots per page, and when there are 10,000 sites, yes, they have to be ranked somehow. But what purpose does Google have in making sites vanish from the results when there are no others to take their place? The only goal there is punishment, to try and deter people from certain behavior - behavior which they won't even completely describe. That's called authoritarianism.

Comment Re:Look more closely at Google (Score 1) 303

I'm not asking for preferential treatment. I'm asking that when someone searches for "blue widgets", and if I have the only site that features blue widgets, Google shouldn't return zero relevant results because their algorithm has decided to penalize me, perhaps intentionally because I don't meet their ideals, or perhaps just because of a flaw in the algorithm.

And are you really going to try and argue that Google didn't build it's business on the backs of millions of web sites? That Google "built that" all by itself, and that it would have the same succes without those websites? Who is this? Mitt Romney?

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