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Comment depends (Score 1) 3

If I agree overall, I'll usually mod to promote it.

If I want to add another distinct point, I'll usually reply as I think that's more important. There will be enough other people to mod it up if it's good. After all, if everybody just mods instead of expanding on good points, then what more is slashdot than the top level comments in the tree?

Generally, I don't negatively mod anything except gnaa spam and stuff like that.

Enlightenment

Submission + - Science Tributes in the Jefferson Library (ideonexus.com)

ideonexus writes: "Inside the Jefferson Library of Congress is the Washington DC Mall's best kept secret, a monument to knowledge filled with Enlightenment Era quotes, the names of great minds, and, most interestingly to my mind, a set of eight mosaics portraying women as metaphors for the different sciences. Other elements in this building, such as a cherub employing the art of entomology and a dome depicting each nation's contribution to world culture, where America is depicted contributing science, illustrate how strongly early Americans cherished scientific thought, innovation, and the natural world. I've posted photos of the science tributes in the library in hopes of inspiring others to visit this American monument to Enlightenment ideals (also a flickr set (all licensed Creative Commons))."
The Internet

Submission + - Web Hosts Hit With 32 Million Judgment For Content

mikesd81 writes: "Computerworld reports A federal jury in California has found two Web hosting companies and their owner liable for contributing to trademark and copyright infringement for hosting sites selling counterfeit Louis Vuitton goods. In a verdict handed down last week, the jury assessed damages totaling more than $32 million against hosting companies Akanoc Solutions Inc., Managed Solutions Group Inc., both in Fremont, Calif., and Steven Chen, the owner of the two companies. In awarding the damages, the jury agreed with Paris-based Louis Vuitton Malletier S.A.'s claims that the defendants knowingly allowed several Web sites they hosted to sell products that infringed Louis Vuitton's copyrights and trademarks. Lawyers for Chen had argued that Akanoc and Managed Solutions were protected under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act's (DMCA), which limits the liability of ISPs for activities by its customers that might constitute copyright infringements. The defense lawyers said Chen and his companies could not be held liable for the actions of Web sites they might have hosted but did not directly own or operate."
Upgrades

Submission + - Rate of technical progress slows (ieee.org)

Amiga Trombone writes: "An article in the IEEE Spectrum argues that the rate of technological progress has slowed in the last 50 years. While there have been advances in areas such as computers, communications and medicine, etc., the author points out that these advances have largely been incremental rather than revolutionary. He contrasts the progress made within the life-span of his grandmother (1880-1960) with that in his own (1956-present). Having been born the year after the author, I've noticed this, too. While certainly we've produced some useful refinements, little of the technology available today would have surprised me much had I been able to encounter it in 1969. While some of it has been implemented in surprising ways, the technology itself had largely been anticipated."

Comment Re:Well.... (Score 1) 324

Not quite.

If your party is out of power, dissent is patriotic.

If your party is in power, support of the government is patriotic.

If the two parties are sharing legislative power, the only patriotic thing to do is shut up and keep funding foreign wars and bail out financial companies.

The times when the two parties have to share legislative power is when they reveal what they're really all about, and that they're really not that different from each other.

Comment Re:They are NOT Denying Global Warming (Score 1) 1100

My question is this: What is the EPA _really_ trying to accomplish with this? Covering CO2 under the Clean Air Act would completely hamstring American businesses, forcing them to severely cut CO2 emissions. At this point, that is barely even technologically feasible, much less cost-effective, much less profit-producing. So what, are they _trying_ to bankrupt America businesses? Are they _trying_ to return us to the Stone Age? Are they _trying_ to give American companies as much of a handicap as possible in the global market, such that they will now have to compete with now even cheaper alternatives made in countries that don't have such off-the-wall regulations?

No, you're not thinking evil enough. Laws banning narcotics, prostitution, gambling, and speeding would be death to our economy and our society if they were objectively enforced. But the intention is to selectively enforce it.

Selective enforcement is the reason we need to take away the government's monopoly on prosecuting certain cases.

Comment Re:Gold based money isn't the best (Score 1) 7

The only guaranteed relationship is to entire baskets of goods. I can exchange $1000 for a booklet of vouchers for ALL of the goods in the basket, but I cannot get any single item in that basket for any guaranteed price. If I happen to be a vegetarian, tough: the booklet has a voucher for meat - get over it. Trade it to a carnivore for some vegetables, burn it, frame it, whatever - but it is part and parcel for the $1000 you traded in.
 
....
 
Now consider the effect of this. Assuming the basket of goods tracks the CPI, then by definition the CPI cannot change. Individual prices can shift: let a killer wheat rust make wheat scarce, and it might trade for more than it used to, but the effect will be that the other items in the basket will become worth marginally less.

That sounds like artificial price setting to me, but maybe I'm not understanding. Let me give an aoe2 example. If our 3 commodities are food, wood, and stone, and we have no population growth/decline. Then let's say there's a drought and the food supply goes down, food demand stays the same. Wood and stone supply/demand are also staying the same.

That means that the work required to fill that same basket will have to go up.

In that case, what should happen under your system? It sounds like you're saying this should cause the basket to focus more on food at the expense of wood and stone. So it's the same amount of total work done, or "paid", for one basket. But if the work required to chop/mine hasn't changed, and the demand hasn't changed, then aren't the holders of the basket vouchers just short of wood and stone now, rather than food?

Comment Rambling, anyone's thoughts welcome (Score 2, Insightful) 7

Disclaimer: I wrote in Paul in the Republican primaries last time, would vote for him again. But I'm not a registered Rep/Dem. Kucinich, Baldwin, Barr, Nader, or McKinney also would have been better than McCain or Obama. Technically, a brick would have been better than them. A brick can't sign any legislation.

That said, abolishing the Fed is spot on, we don't need to be paying interest on an inflated money supply. Obviously, it's impossible to ever pay this off. And we don't need that type of authority vested in an organization with the Fed's type of behavior. If anything, the authority should be with Congress and inflations should be out in the open in legislation.

Now here's the point: it's one thing to say we shouldn't have the Fed, it's something completely different to say we should never inflate the money supply, even through a transparent Congressional process. I happen to agree with it, but I've considered the implications of that, or at least I think I have.

Apparently, Ron Paul wants to replace our current system with a gold-based money supply:
http://www.lewrockwell.com/blog/lewrw/archives/020097.html

I disagree (I think). First, an endorsement of a gold based supply is an endorsement of inflation, albeit naturally controlled inflation. As more gold is mined, the supply will increase. I can't find a decent reference right now, but here's a google with the Spanish inflation and gold imports from the New World:
http://www.google.com/search?q=gold+spain+inflation+new+world

It seems to me that a gold-backed supply is inherently flawed because of this. I would support (again, I think) a constant currency supply, fiat-based. Then, money is only an abstract store of wealth, and prices are completely subject to the market. Don't take that to be a corpratist cronyist Republican stance, that's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking strictly about price discovery, I'm not saying that we shouldn't have tariffs, and I'm not saying we should be involved in all this Free Trade nonsense.

The common argument against this, and for controlled inflation, is that money supply must increase to account for increased growth in the economy (whatever that means) and to maintain price stability. This is taken pretty much as dogma, as near as I can tell.

Now let me go out on a limb: I can't think of a single reason why this should be true. If more product is being produced more efficiently, then prices should fall, right? But traditionally, that's taken to be price instability, and bad for the economy, because people can't live as well doing the things they have traditionally done.

But isn't that just the reality of technological progress? That inevitably, some things will go by the wayside? It seems to me that our desire to maintain our notion of price stability is basically a national macro economic policy of subsidizing buggy whip makers and whale oil.

In all the reading and listening to other people that I've done, I've never heard any good reason that economically or morally justifies a variable currency supply.

Back to Paul's stuff, even if we did end the Fed, I doubt that we can peacefully and sanely replace the Fed with a gold-backed supply. The entire American system of doing things is based on deficit spending, inflation, and effectively stealing manufactured goods through the threat of military force. The two big problems we would face would of course be our entitlement programs and our defense spending. We simply couldn't pay for it with a gold-backed supply. I know that Paul has said we should cut a lot of the defense spending, and use the savings to pay out to people we've already made entitlement commitments to, and phase out the entitlements from there on.

But I don't know if he actually believes that. We can't remove the threat of force from the rest of the world, and seriously expect them to keep sending us cheap commodities just because they like us so much. But I'm off in conspiracy land now, and I realize a lot of people don't agree with this. A lot of people believe that there really is demand for the dollar as a reserve currency because other countries have faith in our system.

The establishment would probably even admit that we've had serious problems with the USD's value in this century. But the accepted establishment theory, AFAIK, is that the USD was genuinely and voluntarily valued as a reserve currency throughout the last half of the 20th century. I'm skeptical.

So basically, I definitely don't agree with what's going on. But with as bad as the problems have gotten, I'm not sure that ANYONE, even a mythical benevolent dictator Cincinattis type figure, could fix things. I don't see any peaceful solution to all of this.

Comment Re:Not traffic shaping! (Score 1) 353

Whereas streaming video is hypothetically latency sensitive, but very high bandwidth, so the solution there is not to prioritize the packets, but to have the client buffer up some data first, hopefully making it latency insensitive as long as the bandwidth stays fairly steady.

But buffering funds terrorism!

Comment Re:AOL tried this and failed (Score 1) 241

The only media deal that can make sense is to buy the NFL, MLB, NASCAR or NBA because people will pay up for sports even in a recession. If the Disney channel suddenly becomes a premium channel I won't be getting it. even though i have a child.

Disney owns espn and abc.

http://corporate.disney.go.com/careers/who_espn.html

http://corporate.disney.go.com/careers/who_abc_tv_group.html

Not that it means that the leagues would be powerless to fight back if Comsney pulled some real shenanigans, but you get more than just a kid's channel if you buy Disney.

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