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Comment Exactly (Score 1) 798

If this was's blog post, then it would have been trolling for Slashdot to link to it.

But this is an explanation for why Unity sucks, written by the man most responsible for Unity. It's not an explicit, *intentional* explanation, mind you, but the chasm between intent and reality here is just another part of the implicit explanation.

The guy doesn't even understand the power geeks he's stereotyping. Most of us *love* graphical bling. That even goes for silly fun like wobbly windows or funny-shaped window border decoration themes, not to mention actually useful features like translucency. Regardless, as long as it's optional (i.e. designed correctly), it's a great option to have. It's even a fine default option, so long as you automatically fall back properly for incompatible hardware and you don't make it too hard to turn off for unimpressed users.

What we hate is systems with fewer options and systems with less usefulness. If there's something that used to be possible or even simple but is now impossible or more complex, then the system has become worse. Gnome 3 has become worse than Gnome 2, and Unity is worse than Gnome 3.

Comment Bingo! (Score 1) 633

A constant positive debt/GDP is basically a heavily regressive transfer payment program: you take money from people based on income (i.e. "new money") and you give it to other people based on wealth (i.e. "old money").

A great scheme for the old money, if only they could have pulled it off. The trouble is keeping politicians on a short enough leash that they can maintain "constant", despite them having every incentive to trade short-term economic growth ("look what great stuff I bought on the credit card!") for long-term pain ("look what a horrible person that other guy is for suggesting we pay down our credit cards!").

Comment Re:Say what? (Score 1) 633

Ah, so it's like how I don't have to worry about whether my mortgage costs more than it's worth, because I can always pay back my debt by selling my always-appreciating house at a higher price. Or maybe it's more like how I can always recoup the cost of my stock regardless of profits because I can just find some new buyer to take the stock from me for even more money?

One thing's for sure: ignoring the intrinsic values of a transaction because we'll always be able to cover our butts by finding some one even more ignorant later is a well-thought-out plan that could never possibly backfire on us horrifically.

Comment Green goo may be more limited than grey goo (Score 1) 234

The main reason our particular species of green goo hasn't overtaken the planet, for example, is that we find lots of other species cute and so we've made a conscious decision not to exterminate them. And even then we lost (and are still losing) quite a few other interesting and useful parts of the biosphere, as we pass through the dangerous "apes with tools" phase on the way in between "apes" and "apes with tools and self-restraint".

What if "bacteria with tools" turn out to be just as big a step above bacteria? Evolution has surely found a pretty good local optimum for bacteria, but intelligent invention may still be able to find a non-local improvement. Apes evolved to be successful omnivores for a very long time, but that didn't mean it wasn't a huge change when some of them started equipping themselves with spears, bows and arrows, guns...

Comment Facts from Paul Revere (Score 1) 767

"I, PAUL REVERE, of Boston, in the colony of the Massachusetts Bay in New England; of lawful age, do testify and say; that I was sent for by Dr. Joseph Warren, of said Boston, on the evening of the 18th of April, about 10 o'clock; when he desired me, ''to go to Lexington, and inform Mr. Samuel Adams, and the Hon. John Hancock Esq. that there was a number of soldiers, composed of light troops, and grenadiers, marching to the bottom of the common, where there was a number of boats to receive them; it was supposed that they were going to Lexington, by the way of Cambridge River, to take them, or go to Concord, to destroy the colony stores.''

The stores being referred to here are guns, gunpowder, and shot. And their suppositions turned out to be correct: Gage and his troops were indeed heading to seize and destroy those stores.

Moving past your mistakes of fact and on to your mistake of philosophy: facts only have to hurt you if you let them. Learning unexpected new truths, and more importantly figuring out which biases had led you to believe old falsehoods, are good things. The less you fight the process, the less it hurts.

Comment Allopathy (Score 1) 349

Explained most beautifully here:

For those who don't know the jargon, "allopathic" is a homeopath's word. "Homeo"= same, "Allo"= other. So real doctors are "allopaths" because they treat diseases with something other than what homeopaths think causes the disease.

Homeopaths actually regard this as a pejorative, which tells you just how fucking dumb this shit is.

Comment How is this worse than 2D? (Score 1) 394

When I sit too close or too far or too off-center when watching my 2D films, everything is affected by trapezoidal distortion. People look too skinny or too fat, parallel lines stop being parallel... And 3D problems still apply too. Arguably the upper limit of "parallax problems" is "parallax tells my brain that all the close objects on-screen and all the distant objects on-screen are all the same distance from me."

On the other hand, I don't intend to get a 3D TV any time soon either. But I will be happy that all this stereo optical footage exists for when they finally perfect on-retina projectors. ;-)

Comment Re:Ah, the Republican Party ... (Score 1) 884

I wonder what would happen if someone pointed out to the rank-and-file TeaPartiers that paying the same amount of tax and getting reduced public services is in fact a tax increase.

Nope - it's a tax decrease. Spending less without reducing tax rates leaves the taxes on you the same, but it reduces the taxes on your kids.

It's also the best kind of tax decrease: one which applies to everyone, rather than one which only applies to everyone who can offshore their profits. When the government tries to raise tax revenues by 60% to match their spending, do you think you're going to be able to shelter a five figure salary from that? I doubt it. But a seven figure investment income, that's much more mobile.

Oh wait, did I say 60%? Turns out that revenues unexpectedly failed to jump as much as we told them to, as if the money was just vanishing from the country somehow. We're going to have to keep bumping rates up until we're back even. Buying "troubled assets" from their otherwise wealthy owners isn't free!

Comment Re:Why federal, again? (Score 2) 1306

Freedom of speech wasn't an afterthought. The trick is that, in order to understand how freedom of speech was guaranteed to begin with, you have to deliberately reject a misunderstanding that is at the foundation of hundreds of thousands of pages of US laws and regulations.

"Why declare that things shall not be done which there is no power to do? Why for instance, should it be said that the liberty of the press shall not be restrained, when no power is given by which restrictions may be imposed?" - Alexander Hamilton

The Bill of Rights' whole existence was subject to this debate. One side thought that, without any extra, spelled-out-for-the-slow-children protections for basic human rights, the government would have been more likely to violate those rights. Another side thought that the Bill of Rights would be misleading, confusing people into thinking that the federal government was to be empowered to do anything that wasn't covered by a short list of enumerated limits, rather than understanding that the federal government was to be limited from doing anything that wasn't covered by a short list of enumerated powers.

Sadly, in hindsight both sides were obviously correct.

Comment Re:Internet-spreading ? Or covert agent ? (Score 1) 386

corrupting local persons into subverting the local government. He would be arrested in any country for that.

Really? My country subverts its local government every two years. Some of the bastards get to go four or even six years with minimal danger of being kicked out, but even during that time we're allowed to rant about how much they should be kicked out.

That makes for a much more accurate way of judging how large and popular an opposition is, in fact: you let it oppose. It does seem less stable to have a bunch of people freely questioning your power, but as a lot of countries are currently finding out, in the long run it's safer than bottling those questions up until a sudden preference cascade topples you.

Oh, yeah, and that "freely" thing is nice too.

Comment It is worfe than Krugman can imagine! (Score 3, Insightful) 622

Upon succefsfully returning with the time traveler to his home era, I difcovered that farming, which ufed to employ the vast majority of my countrymen, is now accomplifhed by mechanical clockworks under the supervifion of only a few percent of the populace! Surely the vaft majority of people in the colonies are now out of work!

Comment Re:For what reason? (Score 1) 390

Bullfighting is well established and widely accepted also. Does that make it okay?

In Spain, yes. In India, no.

I'm not sure whether this morality means that any change to a law or its interpretation is always wrong (after all, clearly either the change will permit something that isn't accepted or it will suppress something that is accepted!), or whether it means that any such change is always right (after all, after the change, the new law will be the accepted law!). Either way it seems like a pretty optimal morality to use for avoiding going to jail and a tautologically worthless morality to use for designing or evaluating law.

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