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Comment Re:Who extended the tax credit? (Score 1) 586

it was his comment with which I sarcastically agreed. bkpark's comments actually agreed with this, though he clearly didn't see my comment as being in agreement.

With a good reason. Did you see the percentage that Pelosi was re-elected with? I forgot the exact number, but it was somewhere in the 80% of the vote.

Last election wasn't exactly an encouraging sign for conservatives in California (or New York or Massachusetts), because apparently a "wave election" in favor of conservatism can do little to make any dent in the region where I currently live.

Sarcasm gets stale quickly when it hits too close to home.

Comment Re:Who extended the tax credit? (Score 0) 586

You must not be following current events (nor have passed basic reading comprehension).

The lame duck Congress recently extended the ethanol subsidy (I forget whether that was part of the tax cut deal), and how would the Congress elected in 2008 deal with issues that affect 2011 budgets?

Actually, scratch that, they actually can affect the 2011 budget since they should've come up with the budget by the end of 2010, but in a "failure to govern" (not my words, the Democrats') they have failed to come up with anything better than continuing resolutions so far—and that's including the current lame-duck session.

Privacy

"Pre-Crime" Comes To the HR Dept. 554

storagedude writes "Like something out of the Steven Spielberg movie Minority Report, a startup called Social Intelligence is mining social media to weed out job applicants based on their potential for violence, drug abuse or just plain bad judgment. The startup also combs sites like Facebook and Twitter to monitor current employees, presumably to monitor compliance with company social media policy, but as the criteria are company-defined, anything's possible. Just one more reason to watch what you post, folks."

Comment Re:It's really a moot question (Score 3, Insightful) 1027

Furthermore, the question isn't "are we at the center of solar system" The question here is "are we at the center of the Universe", and the scientific answer to that is an emphatic yes.

Case in point: red shifts of far-away supernovas (so-called "standard candle") show that every astronomical objects are moving away from us, as if we were in the center of the universe.

Perhaps I should clarify this point by saying, yes, we are moving relative to the rest frame of the Universe (i.e. the inertial frame where cosmic microwave background radiation is isotropic, not red-shifted one way blue-shifted another), but not very fast. And yes, every observer in the inertial frame of the Universe will see himself at the center of the Universe, but so what—we still see ourselves at the center of the Universe and that's what counts.

Comment Re:Goo Gone or limonene (Score 1) 597

How about "organic", or, since that term is taken, "natural" if the product is produced through a biological process?

Under this criterion, 100-proof alcohol is, for example, unnatural because the only way you can get that high percentage of alcohol in any fluid is through distillation, an unnatural chemical process (as opposed to natural fermentation that gives you wines with 14% or so alcohol by volume).

Of course, this makes cobra venom "natural" as well (in its naturally occurring concentration), but then, I'm not the one equating "natural" with "good".

Comment Re:Move along (Score 0, Flamebait) 429

Nothing to see here...Just proprietary companies fucking up some computers. What do they care? They've got a large market to sere that doesn't run our far-superior POSIX compatible kernels.

I honestly hope there is a way to sue them, though I don't think there is.

If those POSIX compatible kernels are so superior, why was anyone running the "inferior" Windows operating system in the first place?

The way I see it, people who are affected by this deserve it—they shouldn't have been dual-booting into Windows in the first place.

Comment Re:Needs a Supreme Court ruling (Score 0, Flamebait) 926

Arguably the largest civil rights movements in the last century (sufferage, civil rights movement, gay rights, creation vs evolution in schoold, brown vs board of educaiton, etc) have ALL come to fruition from larger government involvement, not less.

And the most important contribution to the cause of human liberty in the last few centuries, American revolution, was a rebellion against a distant Big Government limiting people's freedom (in particular, freedom to do spend their money as they wish, without being subject to unjust taxation).

On balance, government is a bigger threat to freedom and civil rights than a benefactor. And what's more, the more a government tries to help, the less it is able to—just look at the big empty Ground Zero site. How long did it take for us to build the original WTC when entrepreneurship still counted for something and government largely stayed out of the way?

Comment Re:Reasonable expectation of privacy (Score 2, Interesting) 926

So, in cities where public nudity is a crime (likely a misdemeanor), do you have a legal right to be stark naked in your driveway?

There are ... degrees of privacy/private control. Driveway is your private property in the sense that you have right to decide who can be on it. But if you haven't erected a fence, you have no right to tell people whether they can *look at* your driveway (and things on it).

GPS tracking, aside from all the other complicating factors, is not too different than people (or police) looking at your car (or driveway).

Comment Re:So, intelligent use of resources = socialism (Score 2, Insightful) 634

No, but forced "intelligent" use of resources is, perhaps not equivalent to but a convenient excuse for socialism.

I'm not entirely sure if biking leads to socialistic New World Order (although those Chinese do like bikes, don't they?), but if something were really intelligent and prudent use of resources, it shouldn't need government programs for promotion. This is the same logic under which I avoid all "organic" foods—if it were good food, it wouldn't need the "organic" label to sell itself to me.

Comment Re:New to computers (Score 1) 718

I'm a pretty tech savvy user and even I had trouble with Linux when I converted one of my machines over to Ubuntu a while back (I finally just gave up).

If you consider yourself tech savvy, I'd say you were trying the wrong distro. Try Linux From Scratch. They have wonderful documentation, and at the end of the day (um, may be two or three days), you'll understand much better how your system works. (You probably don't want to actually use that for your system too long; too much maintenance work.)

If you don't want to take that trouble, yes, you should stick with Windows—Linux's real advantage is in that once you understand your system, you know every part and you can fix those parts when some things go wrong, rather than just having to re-install from scratch every few years or so.

Comment Re:Configurability or Games? (Score 1) 718

Contrast that with the Ubuntu screen shot which shows installed games as if Ubuntu's strength is its games.

I don't know about you, but that's certainly true with me. My Debian system comes with Hedgewars, a thoroughly addictive game with nice graphics. My Windows computer in the office comes with ... what, does it have anything other than minesweeper and solitaire?

Comment Re:Unbundling without choice (Score 1) 432

Southwest Airlines looking into coming to our local airport. The other airlines blocked their entry so that they could continue to charge three times the price for an equivalent ticket.

As long as gate space is a concession regulated by local governments, the legacy carries will do everything they can to make the marketplace as non-free and non-competitive as they can.

I'm sorry to hear that—and this isn't exactly the argument for more government regulation (somehow to encourage more competition).

Well. There's always the hope that the good capitalists (I have Southwest, Amazon, and Walmart in my list so far ... although I'm growing doubtful of Walmart) will always do so much better business that their competitors will be driven out of business and will stop being obstacles. :)

Comment Re:Unbundling without choice (Score 1) 432

Free markets require transparency and mobility to function properly. Airline travel exibits neither of these properties.

Talk about who's ignoring the reality (and just applying textbook definitions by rote).

What do you think is meant by "mobility"? Unless you are talking about labor market, "mobility" is a very obtuse term that means little in most contexts. By "mobility", what is meant is, in the context of companies and their customers, "switching costs", i.e. how well they can "move" their business. And I've already argued that there's plenty of mobility (i.e. low switching cost) in the airline industry. There's also "mobility" on the supply side (i.e. how well airlines can "move" into or out of business), and I haven't argued much on that because, I think, airlines do require significant capital, which can act as barrier to entry (more colloquial term for "mobility", or lack thereof, which you failed to recognize because you are just regurgitating things you learned by rote)—but compared to other industries, it's not that extraordinarily large or difficult (such as with utilities or chip manufacturers).

And I think I already conceded that the government has a role to play in ensuring transparency (i.e. making sure airlines put out the information about what could easily be "hidden fees"), but for the most part, airlines are transparent—otherwise websites like kayak.com couldn't work (and even for baggage fees, there are places online that publish tables of baggage fees; the feds could improve this by requiring airlines to disclose this information in price quotes, etc.; no one's arguing against something as innocuous as that).

Comment Re:Unbundling without choice (Score 3, Informative) 432

I'll grant that the assumption of "free, competitive marketplace" is too often made regarding various industries where the assumption is not justified, but airline industry isn't one of them.

The one thing, competitiveness of a market depends on most is what is called "barrier to entry", which can be various things, from laws/regulations enacted by congress, monopoly granted by various levels of government, start-up capital costs, customers' switching costs, etc. With no barrier to entry, any excess profit will be fleeting, as profit opportunity will attract competition, lowering prices and, essentially, removing the profit. With airline industries, there is no government-enforced monopoly, and most flyers have minimal switching costs (perhaps loss of points in loyalty programs).

While one could argue that there is never a completely free, competitive market, I would say airline industry comes close enough. I propose two measures of whether a market is competitive: number of competitors (high is competitive), and the profit margin in the industry (low means competitive). By these two measures, airline industry is competitive. Given any route, as long as you don't impose arbitrary requirements as your sibling poster has done (why must you fly direct? And really, can't you fly to nearby airports in the same area, rather than insisting connecting only two specific airports?), at least 3 or 4 airlines will be competing for your money.

In fact, people (especially those who cheered on the recent United-Continental merger) say there is too much competition in the airline industry, which led to airlines having a reputation of being a terrible industry to own in your stock portfolio (the only airline ETF, FAA, is specifically designed for speculative purpose, not investing).

So, reality supports my (implicit) claim that airline industry is "free, competitive marketplace". What reality do you live in?

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