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Comment Re:Empire (Score 4, Insightful) 562

The US (I assume that this is because they got into the game fairly late) is actually sort of odd among imperial powers:

We had massive territorial expansion (pretty much the process that made 'the continental united states' mean what it does today); the whole of which was assimilated and crunched into statehood in the space of a century, with almost nothing left but some French influences in Louisiana, assorted totally-fucked-over native tribal groups, and some Spanish speaking populations that are now linguistically near-indiscernable against the much larger number of post-statehood Latin American immigrants.

Outside of the continental US + Alaska, we almost entirely failed to leave an English-speaking zone corresponding to our imperial possessions. Phillipines and Cuba? Lost, and the Spanish made a much bigger impression during their time there. Even Puerto Rico, retained, speaks a great deal of Spanish. Guam and Hawaii are the only two (aside from a scattering of incredibly small pacific islands, some of which still retained a local language, like the Marshall Islands, despite having a native population barely larger than the assorted military assets we had scattered around during the pacific phase of WWII) that come to mind.

Britain, France, Spain, all have massive chunks of the globe speaking their respective languages as an outcome of colonialism, even as they've mostly lost those colonies. Most of the areas that speak US English and aren't in the US do so for reasons that came after we realized that there are cheaper methods than imperial occupation to get what you want.

Comment Re:Make it easier (Score 3, Insightful) 562

" I understand the heritage and cultural proudness of having your own characters"

I suspect that that's part of the problem; but in a way that the Chinese government is (fairly sensibly) spinning as an 'Oh, gosh, look at the need for educational improvements!' problem: How many of the 400 million non-Mandarin speakers are just really-badly-educated speakers, and how many are speaking-something-other-than-Mandarin-just-fine-thanks?

It isn't exactly news that China is less homogeneous than Beijing would prefer, and includes a number of both ethnic and linguistic groups that aren't entirely fuzzy toward the capital.

Comment Re:we've legislated before we've innovated. (Score 1) 185

well, again, to be fair, i wasnt getting a renewel. i was getting my intial state license and registrations (still fair new to the place).
what ticked me off the worst was i took the day off frm work, cause i was told how bad it was...it was about 30 minutes before they were gonna close. they were just .. about .. to get to my number. they sent everyone home, said this is it for the day. so it took two of my ten sick days to get my license.

Comment Re:why even have license plates? (Score 1) 185

If plates become electronic and networked, then the question needs to be asked, why do we even need a license plate to display a number at all.

Actually you have that question exactly backwards. The question is, why have electronic networked plates in the first place? License plates were created to increase accountability - if you ran over a pedestrian and didn't stop, chances are someone would see your plate.

That was a reasonable compromise, the plate wasn't really needed until after the driver behaved badly on the road. But making plates networked and such flips around - now we are all being observed in case some driver does something bad. We've moved the observation to cover everybody before the fact, rather than just the guilty parties after the fact.

What we really need are machine unreadable plates - plates that can only be read by humans, not computer systems. Chances are that will never happy, the police would fight it to the last man.

Comment Re:Start your own provider? (Score 4, Informative) 353

So, what do ISPs do? They oversubscribe

Caps do not fix the problems of over-subscription. The majority of customers will all have the same usage patterns - basically heavy usage during prime-time and a trickle the rest of the day. Restricting the total gigabytes downloaded by the month can only minimally improve congestion during prime-time ... it does nothing until a couple of weeks into the month when people start to hit their limits and can't download anything at all, otherwise they still go full speed during prime-time.

Furthermore, the modern ISP has huge, huge margins on bandwidth. Like 90+ % gross margins - the vast majority of an ISP's cost are in the infrastructure (cables, equipment, staff) not in bandwidth itself. Wholesale bandwidth pricing itself has been dropping like a stone, reducing by at least 30% a year for many years now and has recently accelerated to about 50% a year.

http://www.telegeography.com/products/commsupdate/articles/2012/08/02/ip-transit-price-declines-steepen/

Download caps are just a wholly inappropriate tool for fixing problems with over-subscription. They are, however, fantastic for hurting competing businesses like NetFlix and Hulu.

Comment Re:WSJ is not exactly a credible source (Score 1) 433

the cynical/sarcastic part of me says "Oh wow, look how useful the NSA is being..."
or "Number of Americans spied on to capture this intelligence: 350,000,000."

But in all seriousness, this IS the sort of thing the NSA is supposed to discover.
they just dont need to spy on 100% of Americans 100% of the time to do it.
So good on them, job well done.

Now stop violating the rights of your own citizens.

Comment Re:we've legislated before we've innovated. (Score 1) 185

no, im actually being unfair.
they know it exists.
it just doesnt matter because they privatized the DMV.

so first you got the Dept of Public Safetyand sit in line for 8 hours....if they see you at all. they literally cut off the line ~9am (an hour after they open) and tell anyone past that point to go home, they got all theyll handle today. anyway, IF they see you, they ask you buncha questions, check your eyesight...take your picture...fingerprint...address...proff residence...and then give you nothing, but a small stamped piece of paper with a number on it.

THEN you got the private tag agency. and wait in line again. for a few more hours. they're the ones still using TRS-80s (cause you know, they still work and upgrading is expensive...they didnt get to be lowest bidder for nothing you know!). and when THEY finally get around to seeing you...first you have to pay them (ya, you dont pay the state, you pay the contractor). and then they take your piece of paper, pull up the number, and print an ID card...which takes about another hour using their first gen (possibly even THE protoype) id card printer.

Comment Re:we've legislated before we've innovated. (Score 1) 185

no, actually i was thinking remove the plates entirely.
if you have an RFID its not really needed. as for reading it for accident purposes, the VIN is already on the vehicle, write that down. OR, sinec the toll stickers we get here are about a 2x2" plasticized white paper square (with the chip about a 1/2" square in the center), just print a serial number on there and you get the equivalent of a plate number for accident purposes. or cars can have readers incorporated into "black boxes", that report "1205Z: Impact with VIN: 12f923289819sas2141". for cops checking for expired "tags", the RFID is your tag, and the cop could check in seconds to see if youre legal or not.

and using an RFID avoids any issues of power sources, hacking the electronic plate (hacking the dmv being a seperate issue, that already exists as a threat vector), accidents destroying the electronic plate, etc.

basiaclly i question the need to design an electronic plate at all when you can just summarily replace plates entirely with existing tech already common on the roads, if htey want to go this route. though i personally would just as well keep the existing plates.

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