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Comment Actually, his job is at risk. (Score 3, Insightful) 453

... the only reason said asshole has a job is because someone coded the [infrastructure] that he's posting from to claim this.

Actually, the Telegraph is an old line newspaper.

Granted it's one of the few that has established a strong Web presence. But, like other old-line papers, it's having serious business model problems, as the readership abandons mainstream "news is really infotainment-like art product" operations for actual reporting of information on the Internet.

So those coders have created the juggernaut that is crashing his opportunities for employment.

I read his posting as sour grapes, taking a swipe at the people he sees as a threat.

Comment Re:Telco oligopoly (Score 1) 569

Here in Silicon Valley I've seen both companies and municipalities putting in conduit for fiber. In both cases they don't just run one conduit.

The smaller was a drilling operation that buried bundles of three or four flexible conduits (with maybe 2" ID, so each could run a LOT of cabling). The larger was a dig-up that put in multi-manhole equipment vaults with arrays of stiff conduit between them.

Comment Re:Telco oligopoly (Score 1) 569

Well there's your answer. Seoul has a population density of 17,288 people per sq km.

Not only that, most of them (I think it's more than 80%) live in these GIANT apartment buildings, big enough to have their own telephone central offices in the basement.

The result is that it's trivial to put a router in that central office and either string fiber through the phone conduit to the apartment or put high speed DSL or even Ethernet on the existing wiring, giving every apartment 100 Mbps or far better to the switch. Similarly it's trivial to light up some of the dark fibers in the apartment building's bundle to provide multiple gigabit backhaul to the NOC.

Try THAT in rural, or even suburban, America.

Heck, try it in urban USA. You still have to dig up the streets - in some of the priciest areas of the country. South Korea modernized in a short-term push post WWII. The US urban areas grew up over centuries.

Comment Re:Telco oligopoly (Score 2) 569

Also: Govenment officials are so clueless they think it's a "competitive market" when there are TWO providers.

This has been built into communication regulations (and the thinking of regulators) at least since the original analog cellphone spectrum allocations - where they broke the available spectrum in half and gave half to the incumbent telco in the area and half to ONE "competitor".

This is the theory they used when the supreme court and FCC decided that the market was "competitive" when there was a telco and a cable company in the area, and dropped most of the requirements to unbundle access to legacy infrastructure. Thus the "duopoly" of one telco-based ISP, one cable-based ISP forming the total landline Internet access market.

Unfortunately, market forces, even without anticompetitive collusion, drive two competitors to match and raise prices and roughly split the market. Three competitors MAY also split the market and keep prices high, though it's less stable.

It's when you have four or more competitors that the little guy(s) can be relied on to break the balance and go for market share, starting the competitive cycle that drives the price down toward cost plus adequate profit, and service levels up.

Comment Re:The reason is private insurance (Score 2) 786

"Something must be done! This is something, thus we must do this!". I've seen that notion expressed many times, but I was amused to find it in the constitutional debate from 225+ years ago.

There are ways to decouple medical coverage from employment that don't involve massive growth of government.

For example, they could transition the employer tax benefits of providing medical plans into a employer tax benefit for paying that out as cash (to be used in full, in part, or not at all for the employee to buy their own plan). That change alone would fix about 90% of what's wrong with the country's medical billing system.

That would resurrect proper health insurance, reform pre-paid medical plans (what people usually mean when they say "health insurance" these days), gut the administration and billing nightmare, and restore market pressure and competition to all levels of the process.

Malpractice tort reform and encouragement of HDHP/HSA plans would do the rest.

Note that all of these are things that would shrink the federal government and reduce federal power, so they are just as unthinkable as they are obvious.

Comment Re:What you're missing... (Score 2) 250

I used that in a meeting once when management asked how we can get the project finished by the arbitrary deadline. I said we could build a time machine. The great part is that it doesn't matter when we finish that project because all of the other ones will be on time.

That reminds me of a design review I was in. The "safety" engineer asked me what the backup was if a primary structure failed. I said it's a primary structure it's designed not to fail. They responded "What if it magically fails?". I said "We roll for damages".

I don't get invited to meetings often.

Comment Great Society. (Score 1) 1160

The US is a strange case, though. You have an enormous prison population as a proportion of your general population. Money becomes an issue when such a large percentage of the population is incarcerated, but when you have a more reasonable justice system (and a social security net which removes a large percentage of the impetus for crime...

The US' enormous prison population is largely a result of the details of the way the social security net was implemented. (Here we call it the "social safety net", and the subset in question "welfare programs", because "Social Security" is reserved for a particular government-operated retirement benefit.)

The primary culprit is LBJ's "Great Society" push, which created and/or increased welfare programs, especially those related to child support. Starting in that period they included rules that ended the benefits if an adult male was living in the house with, or married to, a mother raising children. (It was presumed that the male in question was, or was acting as, husband/lover and father, and should be providing the support for the family.) The rules also reduced benefits if the mother got a job. The reduction was dollar-for-dollar (or worse), with no allowance for costs of working (such as transport, uniforms, or babysitting).

Though blacks were only about half the welfare receiving population, they were a far smaller portion of the general population - especially as the benefits were selectively extended to them in the wake of the Civil Rights movement and the related riots. So the effects of these programs was greater on the black population than the rest of the citizenry.

The results of these rules were, for the poor blacks, the destruction of the (formerly notoriously strong) black family - removing any productive male role model from the household of any welfare recipient- and the conversion of welfare programs from a temporary emergency measure to a way of life. Children of long-term welfare families tended to see living off welfare as how resources are obtained and have no experience with alternatives - resulting in their going on welfare (and recruiting others) for generation after generation. Welfare mothers tend to have more children than those in families supporting themselves. Others are recruited to this lifestyle, and once in it find themselves trapped. Thus the fraction of single-mother families with no male role model rises. At this point about 72% of US (non-Hispanic) blacks are born to unmarried mothers, versus 30% for (non-Hispanic) whites and about half that for asians.

One of the problems with single-mother families is that single mother is usually unable to socialize an adolescent male child. (The differences in violent crime rates between ethnic groups in the US completely disappear if you adjust for the illegitimacy rate.)

So the social safety net seems to be the entire cause of the rise in violent crime. Like government in general, these social programs seem to be a disease masquerading as its own cure.

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