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Comment Re:Mod parent down. (Score 1) 478

I actually like some of the editorializing. And I'm not even sure it counts as editorializing when it's a topic like this. Sure, if this article were about how much we should pay in taxes (if anything), or what popular computer platform or text editor is best, then I'd solidly agree that it's an open question and the poster should consider staying out of the fray in his summary. But if it's something like this, where the underlying matter is well established science, why not make a snarky comment? If the bozos in this story suggested the world might actually be flat, should Rob back off and say, "And who am I to suggest they may be wrong?" I don't think he should.

Comment Re:Does this mean.... (Score 1) 132

Yes, it's all changing, but that's not such a bad thing given the rationale. Yet even though I read TFA I still have two questions:

  1. What about USB attached network devices?
  2. Has the Fedora team reached out to other distributors about this standard? It would be nice to see the Ubuntu people and others make similar changes.

Comment Re:public policy is made by real economics (Score 5, Interesting) 757

Government is the one, that is causing the fall of the US economy

Sad that you ruin your comment with a largely baseless shot against your favorite boogeyman, because you then move on to make a valid point:

Science and engineering will not be promoted in a society that has no production

This is not the problem caused by gubmint. Countries where science and engineering are thriving, such as in Germany or Canada, have much larger government spending per capita and more social programs than the United States. The idea that government is the principal hurdle to overcome would only make sense if we had no data from outside the United States, but fortunately we have discovered that there places with similar economies in the lands beyond these shores.

I'd argue that the challenge is split between two factors: culture (as in, sports are cool, science and math are not) and economics (manufacturing goes elsewhere because of liberal trade policies and a strong dollar relative to other currencies). Again, you can't argue that the latter problem is caused by government just because that nicely fits into your preferred world view, or you would get stuck failing to explain why countries with government run healthcare (unlike ours, even under the recent reform) and sub-65 retirement ages have employment rates equal to or higher than ours, as well as more manufacturing.

Two modest solutions:

  • Cut school sports, reduce pupil headcount per teacher
  • Tariffs on imports. It's called "protectionism," and though it's a no-no when you have free trade policies that actually work, it's exactly what you do when something as silly as exchange rates causes lopsided export levels.

Comment Re:excuse me (Score 1) 663

Yeah, that was kinda my point. Before software patents, any fully documented software was by definition "open" in the sense that you could imitate or interoperate with it freely. Post-patents, it's hard to call some of the more encumbered software "open" when the threat of litigation hangs over it. Thus has the meaning of the word shifted when applied to software. It is not because the people who use the word have grown lazy about using it with precision, but that the landscape has moved beneath us, and the way we talk about it has changed.

Comment Re:If taxation is theft in a democratic country, (Score 1) 783

taxation is not theft, and a civilized society is not free of financial cost

taking advantage of services you're compelled to pay for, whether you use them or not, does not mean you've opted in. If nothing else, you should at least recognize that it is unfair to expect anyone to provide such services for themselves when the money which would pay for them has already been taken by force

Taxes are not aggression. GP is correct: we use taxes to pay for civilization. This is not new. Every one of us can find some uses of tax revenue - maybe even most uses - to be wasteful, but most of us put up with it because we like civilization better than caves, and if taxes were voluntary we would return to caves. If you don't like it, and can't be bothered to participate because you think life can be better outside of civilization, there are still caves. Have fun.

Comment Re:Paying PHBs $$$ == "corporate" income tax (Score 1) 783

I don't think corporate income taxes make much sense when you think about them. In the long run, all the money a corporation makes ends up with individuals through salaries, dividends, etc. That's the whole point of a coproation, to make a profit for investors and employees. Corporations don't just hold on to the money; that wouldn't make any sense.

That's the whole point of a coporation, to make a profit for investors.


Comment Re:Why Single Out Google? (Score 1) 783

They're all crooks avoiding taxes in ways that a single individual like myself that makes very small fractions can't enjoy.

Is that what they are - crooks? If tax laws allow them to do what they are doing, what do you expect? What should they do, voluntarily pay [mb]illions extra? I think they're doing exactly what we should expect companies to do. The flaw is not with the companies, it is with the tax code. Elect representatives and senators who do not favor tax loopholes, and ignore lobbyists who ask them to favor loopholes. The crooks are the laissez faire legislators and those who voted them in.

Comment Re:Use what the standard is. Stop trying to usurp (Score 1) 336

You know, we complained endlessly when Microsoft fragmented the web user experience for years...why are some of us giving Mozilla and Google a free pass when, however noble the motivation, they are trying to do the same thing?

We complained about Microsoft because they were using their browser development and bundling to make the Web as proprietary as possible - specifically, they were trying to make it hard for web designers to build services for anything that wasn't Internet Explorer and ActiveX. Complaints about H.264 are consistent with, not contrary to, the gripes many of us had with Microsoft when they were trashing the Web. Google, Opera and Mozilla are doing the right thing here because H.264, unlike XML and JavaScript, is proprietary. The Web always gets better when open standards gain wider acceptance (think RSS, Ajax, and RSA encryption). Video will be no different.

Comment Re:Taken apart by a scientist (Score 2) 453

too many [scientists] demand the presumption of infallibility with the arrogance of a medieval pope.

"Too many" is just weasel words. Who are you talking about? There are surely some arrogant scientists out there - just as there are arrogant sales clerks, IT technicians, cooks, and graphic designers. But what counts as "too many?" More than half? Can you name any prominent scientists or science advocates who demand that we presume their infallibility? Your comment would be easier to agree with if you did.

"Provisional is certainly not a word given any emphasis in any IPCC report.

If you're expecting that word to appear in every scientific paper you've missed the point. PZ is saying that "provisional" is implied in all scientific thinking - that it's the way science works. No scientific question is 100% settled: new evidence will always pour in, as long as we look for it. Climate change research is no exception: we'll keep learning about both climate and weather as long as we study them. But that doesn't mean scientists are immobilized and cannot answer "settled" questions. It doesn't mean, for example, that if you ask a scientist whether the sun will rise tomorrow, she'll pause in deep thought before answering, "Well, I can't say for certain, but given what we've observed on all previous days for which we have records, as well as what we know about the fossil record and cosmology, not to mention the unlikelihood of an Earth-shattering event ..."

It's ridiculous. We can't approach information in that way, or else we'd never finish prefacing our sentences. So we have these "settled" matters - answers for which we have a reasonable amount of certainty. So it is with climate change, or the heliocentric model of the solar system, or evolution. We operate within the confines of what we've learned, even though our understanding is provisional.

If people have a lot less faith in science than they used to, it might be in part because too many scientists want to have their cake and eat it too.

I'm not even sure what that metaphor means in this context. They want to learn about the universe, and talk about what they've learned? Good for them!

Comment Re:Of course (Score 1) 945

Given that you made the allegation that those fighting for NN are those pushing for the Fairness Doctrine, the onus is on you to present examples.

This is becoming typical of slashdot and its members.

Nice aimless slur, but your comment still didn't include a citation for your imaginary claim about the Fairness Doctrine. No one I've read about who backs Net Neutrality (whether FCC-mandated or otherwise) has advocated bringing back the broadcasting Fairness Doctrine. I'm not even clear on how the two policies are related. Post a citation, not a whiny complaint, or you're just a blowhard.

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