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Comment Re:hubris and strange misunderstandings (Score 1) 132

Artists that make money during their lifetime by doing art tend to be pretty aggressive. Most consumers of art do not tend to belive living artists should be well compensated, perhaps only thinking that consumables and a minimum wage is required. Artists have to aggressively create a value added.

We can idealize astronauts and space, but ultimately we are all just humans trying to make a living. Astronauts do this by leveraging the opportunities they were given by the taxpayer. Hard earned opportunities, but taxpayer funded opportunities nevertheless. To say that we are going to believe one person over another, or deny one person his livelihood just because we find it inconvenient, is really a limited view.

Comment Re:What about the other stuff? (Score 2) 229

This is what I was thinking. I have had jobs where bonuses were 35% of my compensation. In addition to that, there are other means to keep compensation non-transparent. Health care plans can be more expensive for certain employees. Certain employees may get various allowances. In the religious racket, these allowances are often kept hushed up to make it appear that leaders are compensated in a limited fashion. For corporate compensation, the number of under the table tricks are endless, including cars, jets, household staff.

' If one is transparent, one must include total compensation.

Comment Too obnoxious, not too complicated (Score 2) 457

Personally I find that Facebook has too many features. It sort of reminds me of Microsoft Office with this endless parade of new tiny and mostly useless features.

It's not that Facebook is complicated. It's that most of the new features involve either advertising or collecting data about you. They have value for Facebook, not the user. Facebook is pulling a Myspace. Worse, they're doing it in the phone era, where ads are more annoying due to the limited screen real estate.

Snapchat is still in the "no ads, no revenue" phase, when it's fun to use. Originally, Google didn't have ads. Originally, Facebook didn't have ads. Until recently, Twitter did not have ads. Once the ads appear, the downward spiral begins.

It would be amusing, and perhaps useful, to create a social network system that looks to the user like Twitter/Snapchat/WhatsApp, but uses XMPP/email/IRC/SMS for transport and doesn't need servers of its own. Sell the app once for $5 or so. No ads. Phone providers usually give you a mail account and an SMS number. That's all you really need. WhatsApp comes close, but they have servers and an overreaching EULA, like everybody else. The trick is to make it spam-free, which probably means you have a friends list and only they, and maybe friends once removed, can reach you.

Comment Re:STILL worried about "cyber attacks"? (Score 2) 396

The perception is that a physical attack is expensive and risky while a cyber attack can be cheap and have little risk. This physical attack risks two people lives and only did limited damage. To do more damage you have to hire and train more people willing to be killed, and get them into place simultaneously before security responds.

The reality is that utilities have control systems that can be accessed from the outside by a well funded attacker, then that is a huge risk. Cyber attack can also be used for other nefarious purposes. For instance, if one wants to attack a location, and the location has a smart meter, then the smart meter can be used to track the traffic patterns, remotely, with no risk of discovery.

Many years ago there was a similar discussion of conventional versus biological or chemical weapons. The consensus was these types of weapons required a high level of skill and higher levels of risk that just blowing something up. I think the types of attacks we have seen of the past 15 years has substantiated this. We have seen very few successful biological or chemical attacks by 'terrorist' groups, but have seen even small governments manage. Does this mean we don't protect against these attacks. Sure we do. But it is probably more likely that someone gets a dirty bomb, or even a fusion device, to the top of the tallest building in a city than someone poisons the water supply, although both are probably highly unlikely.

Comment Cinder-block walls around transformers. (Score 4, Informative) 396

Building cinder-block walls around transformers in the transmission power grid might not be a bad idea. Cheap, and if concrete-filled, will stop most ammo. After a decade of anti-terrorism hype, it's surprising this hasn't been done yet. Most anti-terrorism studies of electric power grids mention transformers in the transmission system as a vulnerable point. It's not necessary to heavily protect the whole switchyard. Switchgear is easier and cheaper to replace than transformers, and less vulnerable. The transformers occupy only a small fraction of substation area.

Transformer substations are something that people, even in the utility industry, don't think about much. They're very reliable, need little attention, and are usually unmanned. So they tend to be ignored unless there's a problem.

It's embarrassing that PG&E has such poor surveillance of a major substation. The video, grainy analog black and white with slow VHS-type artifacts, means they haven't upgraded since the 1980s or 1990s. It's not like color HD cameras are expensive any more.

Comment Re:Honor your screwups. (Score 3, Insightful) 303

For walk in sales, that is probably correct. A price is mis-marked, a few customers get the deal, yes you have happy customers. However it is not clear that online customers have such loyalties. They will tend to go where the low prices are, as there is little opportunity cost for doing so. That is why Amazon has what much a loss leading Amazon Prime program. To keep customers coming back not just for low prices, but other perks. Same thing for airlines.

So no, the rules for online are not to fullfill orders that have clearly incorrect prices. If I go into a big grocery store like Krogers, and some disgruntled employee has put a a 50 dollar bottle of wine on sale at $10, they are not going to sell it to me for $10 when it rings up for 50. There is a secondary check there for price, the human element. Likewise, if a computer glitch, maybe put in by a disgruntled employee, allows me to check out for half price, then this is an admitted grey area. My payment has been accepted.

I would say, however, that until a product is formally charged to a customers card, which often happens as it is shipped, and maybe even until it is delivered there the retailer has an opportunity to cancel the order. Possession is, of course, paramount. This is why I would say one the product is delivered the price must be honored. This is a grey area as well, and we have seen cases where retailers have demanded delivered products back, but this to me is clearly bad manners.

So why is Delta honoring the price? I think it is because of delivered product. When I buy a ticket, my card is charged, and I immediately get a confirmation that I am guaranteed a seat on that flight. If something happens and I do not get a seat on the flight, I at minimum am sure to get a seat on a similar flight, often with financial compensation above and beyond that seat. Also, unlike most small retailers, the airlines have algorithms that continuously adjust the price of seats to maximize the total revenue on each flight. Therefore it is harder for airline to use the 'disgruntled employee' excuse.

Comment Re:You did make it up (Score 2) 207

US law governs a copyright's enforceability in the US. How could it be any different?

Because of international treaties; the Berne convention, among others.

The Berne convention requires that signatories' copyright statutes meet some requirements for duration and scope of copyright, but it doesn't say that people in one country must apply the law from another country.

US copyright laws apply in the US, regardless of whether the copyright owner is US-based. Same for other countries; they each get to apply their own laws.

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