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Comment Re:Bitcoins built-in failure (Score 1) 600

Cash, when compared to bitcoins is:1. anonymous 2. non-traceable3. not easily insured against theft/fire/loss 4. savings in cash are not guaranteed by law

I was comparing digital cash (i.e. money held at a bank as figures in their computers), with Bitcoin - digital cash has none of the problems you note above. Are you seriously trying to compare paper cash with Bitcoin, if so why? The real comparison is between digital currency and BTC, as those are the equivalents, and Bitcoin is competing with digital cash, not paper cash. Unfortunately Bitcoin has thrown out the advantages of digital cash in a misguided (IMHO) attempt to emulate paper cash, and ended up with many of the same problems as paper cash, as opposed to cash in bank accounts which is easily traceable, not anonymous, protected by law, etc, etc.

Transactions are only traceable if the *other* person chooses to let them be, and chooses not to lie, that's not an acceptable level of security for me when dealing with any significant sums. Simply refusing to deal with anonymous buyers/sellers would work in some sort of crypto-anarchists paradise, in the real world I don't want to use a currency which even allows anonymous transactions - it'll end up with the same abuse and problems as say email, which relies on trusting the sender.

Re adoption of the currency, I made the separate point that it is not mandated by law as legal tender - this is an important point and is not the same as simply not having wide adoption.

The fact that you can identify several companies who were hit with fraud isn't a condemnation of the currency, but a problem with a nacent industry. The same arguement can be made for storing ANYTHING of worth with a third party.

I agree to some extent on this point - this isn't a damning criticism on its own, it does mean I wouldn't trust any of the BTC exchanges though, and leads me to distrust the entire industry which has grown up around BTC, which is mostly populated by amateurs and kooks. I remember the bitcoinia post on Hacker News, announcing his intention to set up an exchange on a cheap VM, and several people warning him he would be hacked without serious controls - amateurs setting up financial systems has very much the same consequences as non-cryptographers attempting cryptography.

Comment Re:Bitcoins built-in failure (Score 1) 600

Here's some more entries for your disadvantages column:

The disadvantages of Bitcoin:

    * It's anonymous and therefore it is hard to trust
    * Transactions are not traceable to real world identities and therefore it is hard to trust, and impossible to trace theft properly
    * Transactions and organisations are not regulated as banks are, and therefore it is hard to trust
    * It is not backed by the assets and credibility of a nation, and therefore it is hard to trust
    * It is impossible to insure properly against theft and loss, because there are not traceable transactions and anonymous transactions are allowed
    * It is subject to massive speculation, hoarding and other manipulation, and therefore the value fluctuates wildly
    * It's controlled by a cartel of core developers, and the rules could be changed at any time (in this sense it is a fiat currency!)
    * Savings are not guaranteed by law as they are in national currencies
    * Acceptance of the currency is not mandated by law, so it can be hard to spend, though it is not hard to convert (but this will lose some value)
    * Many of the organisations helping to store/exchange bitcoins are amateurs and have been subject to massive theft and fraud (Mt.Gox, bitfloor, Bitomat, MyBitcoin, Bitcoinia, Bitcoin Savings and Trust) - needless to say, the perpetrators of these thefts have not been caught or charged.

Re your advantages column, national currencies can also be transmitted globally within seconds, and are of course secured against theft and loss by guarantee.

Comment Re:Quick find all the people that care (Score 1) 600

but instead of a central government controlling everything it's done with voluntary contracts at the individual level.

Who enforces those contracts? Individuals can't, or the worth of a contract is simply directly proportional to the physical violence or other form of coercion that individual is willing to wield in order to enforce it. Society (i.e. social contracts between individuals or groups) requires the threat of violence and coercion in order to exist, as otherwise freeloading becomes the optimal strategy. Many individuals will not share power willingly, or allow personal freedom to others, you don't seem to account for those refusniks.

If you or I believe that's a viable political structure is a different conversation.

Actually no, the essence of this question (Is anarchy equal to chaos, or is it something else?) lies exactly at the nexus you have tried to sidestep - is 'political anarchy' viable, and if not, what defines the difference between anarchy and simple chaos? Without answering that question, and thus defining who holds the power, you can't really say what anarchism means, and whether it is worth considering as a political philosophy.

PS I love your term political anarchy, with it's implication that we can achieve political anarchy, as you narrowly define it, without all other kinds of anarchy following in its wake. Your political anarchy seems to depend on entirely rational humans acting in their own long-term self-interest.

Comment Re:How cool is it though... (Score 1) 601

Desktop Linux should learn from Android. What Android got right:

You missed out: heavily promoted by one of the largest companies in the world over a period of years, and including an app/media store where it is possible to make money (from adverts and from sales), and, most importantly of all - bundled for free with stuff which consumers want to buy (cheap smartphones).

I don't think Android's success has much to do with the software, which has been pretty rough at the edges for most of its existence and is only now getting some level of polish and sophistication.

Comment Re:no (Score 4, Insightful) 637

I seriously doubt that Aristotle could have comprehended calculus or designed a Mars rover.

I seriously doubt Democritus or Archimedes would agree with you.

The article is bunk though. First there's no proof that intellect has declined, only speculation. Then there's the silly idea that there are no selective pressures today. There are, but they are working in different areas, and death as an outcome doesn't really matter to evolution unless it is very early, all that matters is reproduction.

As a counterpoint to his specious argument about Ancient Greece being the pinnacle of human evolution, we could look at all the foolish endeavours, demagogy, rotten politics, incessant warfare, slavery, genocide and ignorance which prevailed at the time, and feel that we have collectively come a long way.

Comment Re:Oh no (Score 1) 421

I'd say it should be under 50%, and completely agree that government in the US (and most countries) is far too large. But I'd disagree about where to cut with most republicans. I think the military budget should be slashed, the DHS dismantled, the public health system properly reformed to be single payer for drugs and services (and thus vastly cheaper), and the political system reformed to outlaw lobbying and corporate support for politicians above very small amounts (to bring them down to the level of individuals). I'd also close tax loopholes for taxing the rich, so that a the tax burden was distributed more evenly. Those measures would reduce your tax burden immensely. This is a hard problem, but so far *no* US politician has the guts to try to address it - there are too many vested interests.

Re healthcare, it's perfectly fine to have private healthcare *for those who want it*, but the gov. is going to end up paying for lots of people in a civilised country, and you should be aware that it would be cheaper for everyone if that was done via a public system rather than the bizarre and inefficient system involving insurance companies that you have in the US at present - I'd abolish Obamacare, and replace it with true public hospitals - like the police service, this is something better and cheaper done by the state to provide baseline care. Those who can afford it can then pay for more advanced care themselves.

I wouldn't get too hung up on how many people pay tax or not though, frankly that's a smokescreen of hate to avoid letting you think about the hard problems - the truth on taxation is this:

EVERYONE, no matter how poor, pays some tax - sales tax, excise tax, fuel taxes, alcohol and tobacco taxes, etc
The vast majority of tax take is always going to be flat taxation and income tax on the middle classes, because that's where all the easy money is
The rich will always find ways to avoid most of income tax (curious that you don't find this a problem?), and thus avoid their share of the burden
The poor will never be able to contribute very much, so your best bet is trying to lift them out of poverty, not tax them more

Comment Re:Oh no (Score 3, Insightful) 421

That's the problem: you always want to spend other people's money, except, there's nothing to make people create wealth (start businesses, invest in startups and infrastructure, etc) to tax, and eventually, as Thatcher said, you run out of other people's money.

There is such a thing as society, and it paid for your roads, your schools, your prisons, your police force, your fire service, and it subsidises your hospitals, your water mains, your gas supplies, your reliable electricity supplies and the very fabric of civilisation you take for granted to start your business. Society is funded through taxes, and gives back in services and support (i.e. not in money) - it's an exchange of some income for the privileges living in a civilised country give you. Think on that next time you view yourself as a wealth creator and everyone working for the government as parasites.

Comment Re:Good. (Score 1) 421

If you're intending to cash in your 401k and it is currently in stocks, can't you move your 401k into safer instruments gradually before retirement? If so you should be moving it gradually to cash starting right now, before you are subject to massive volatility. With all the money printing going on, related boom and busts in stocks and other assets, and various wars about to start, the safest place to be is (paradoxically) cash, at least in the short term. Over just a few years, the money lost to inflation will not be as significant as the risk due to volatility in stocks, bonds or anything else.

Comment Re:Reassess Your Hiring Practices (Score 4, Interesting) 245

Yep. The submission raises more questions about the submitter than the person who just left for me. People who rate others as incompetent with no redeeming features are often incompetent themselves in my experience. The level of paranoia in the submission is also remarkable, but I guess all this checking and for 'hidden messes and security flaws' might be a good excuse for not doing anything useful for the business. Any problems for the next few months can just be blamed on the recent turkey without introspection as to how they might have ended up with this employee or how they might have created such a mess with no-one esle knowing.

If you have decent processes in place, hidden messes and security flaws would not be possible without extreme malice and intelligence (not possible for an 'idiot' and a 'turkey'), if you don't and cannot change the processes, leave, as you should recognise the workplace is dysfunctional (and that starts right at the top of the department and goes all the way down).

Comment Re:complain (Score 4, Insightful) 347

This is Google doing a few things at once:

Leaking this story makes sure the press will notice if Apple does delay or reject the app
Leaking this story helps to explain to users that Google is not the only one deciding to keep Google Maps off iOS.
Leaking this story helps users pressure Apple to provide the Google Maps app
Leaking this story puts pressure on Apple and encourages customers to look at Android

It's perfectly reasonable for them to talk up in advance the fact they are developing this app and will submit soon, given the opaque review process, and Apple's blatant abuse of their control over the ecosystem in the past (banning previous google apps like latitude and google voice for example), which has led to other apps from their competitors languishing in 'review' limbo for months, or having important features yanked (like buying books in the kindle app) because Apple wants a cut of every transaction.

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