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Comment Re:Libertarianism Is A Dream (Score 1) 503

Funded how tho? Present fire victims with a bill after the fire?

Hmm... let's see..... how could that possibly work?

Maybe start a co-op? Or a subscription service? Or a company that sells insurance to cover fires?

All of the above have been used countless times in the past to fund fire departments.

Maybe if you own your property outright, you can pick if you want to risk it or pay for fire services, but if you have a bank loan or homeowners insurance, the bank is probably going to require you to have a fire department ready to respond.

The simplest method is probably a subscription service. You know, like how you pay for a local government fire department. You send them an amount of money based on your property's pre-fire value on a regular basis and it get's used to pay for the services you might need.... is any of this type of process starting to ring a bell?

The nice thing about a private market in something is that people who want to buy and sell a particular service are capable of figuring out on there own the most effective way to arrange for that transaction to take place. You should try freedom sometime, it's very nice.

Comment Re:Amazons 70%.. (Score 1) 128

Their cut is that they give away your book to their customers, which makes their customers a little more likely to buy stuff from them in the future.

It becomes a loss leader for them. Sure, it costs them a tiny bit of hosting/bandwidth, but that's a rounding error compared to their customer acquisition/retention costs when people find out they can get an ebook free (or cheap) that Amazon sells for $X higher.

Comment Re:Amazons 70%.. (Score 1) 128

From their pricing page in the KDP license, section E:

35% Royalty: From time to time your book may be made available through other sales channels as part of a free promotion. It is important that Digital Books made available through the Program have promotions that are on par with free promotions of the same book in another sales channel. Therefore, if your Digital Book is available through another sales channel for free, we may also make it available for free. If we match a free promotion of your Digital Book somewhere else, your Royalty during that promotion will be zero. (Unlike under the 70% Royalty Option, if we match a price for your Digital Book that is above zero, it won't change the calculation of your Royalties indicated in C. above.)

70% Royalty:
If we price-match your Digital Book, your Royalty will be:

The Royalty Rate indicated above, multiplied by the price at which we sell the Digital Book, less taxes and Delivery Costs, for sales to customers in the Available Sales Territories.

Royalty Rate x (Amazon price - taxes and Delivery Costs) = Royalty

By "price-match" we mean where we sell the Digital Book in one or more of the Available Sales Territories at a price (net of taxes) that is below the List Price to match a third party's sales price for any digital or physical edition of the Digital Book, or to match our sales price for any physical edition of the Digital Book, in any one of the Available Sales Territories.

So you get nothing when they price match to free, because 0 times anything is 0.

Comment Re:Amazons 70%.. (Score 2) 128

If Amazon discovers your ebook is available for cheaper (say, free...) they have the right under your contract with them to mark down your ebook to that price... and they will.

So not sure how the author's proposed model works, once Amazon discovers the free version, the paid version is going to be listed as free as well.

Comment Re:Libertarianism Is A Dream (Score 3, Insightful) 503

When I asked how would things like fire departments and libraries run in a liberatiran country they could never tell me

Really? Not a single one of them was able to point out to you that early U.S. fire departments and libraries were privately organized and funded? That there are still private fire departments and libraries in existence in the U.S. right now?
I agree, you apparently don't talk to many actual libertarians.

Comment Re:three words, one hyphen: (Score 1) 549

You are exactly correct.

I could add lots more comments on this issue, but instead I'll just point readers to the same discussion from a year ago on slashdot, Is-There-a-Hearing-Aid-Price-Bubble, as there are plenty more comments there relating to government regulation and insurance 3rd party payers, etc...

I'll just toss in my own counter-example, contrasting price changes in elective surgery, like corrective vision surgery, seem to imply that the biggest part of the cost cause is the third party payers.

Comment Re:Hydrogen? (Score 1) 271

If you actually believe that, then you stand to make a huge profit on Helium in a decade, right? Just store up some helium, or buy some on the futures market and you can be rich!!!!

You'll show those evil capitalists who think the person who is willing to pay the highest price for something is the one who should get to use it how they want!

Or, you might note that the reason "75% of all Helium comes from a handful of gas wells in the US, where the helium content in natural gas is the highest." is because it's currently the cheapest to extract there, but that pretty much all the other natural gas wells are currently just wasting their Helium because it's not worth extracting, but if those "75%" ever fall off in production enough to make it worthwhile, they'll just pickup the slack and start capturing it at a slightly higher cost.

Have you ever considered WHY helium recycling isn't really economically profitable?

Comment Re:Ignitable Tap Water (Score 0) 208

I'm trying to say this in the kindest way possible, but please stop using B.S. science conclusions to stop economic progress in the name of environmentalism just because your liberal friends have decided fracking is evil.

Correlation != Causation.

It sort of stands to reason that people looking to drill for methane would do it in locations where there is more methane available and close to the surface, doesn't it?

All your study says is that they found higher levels of methane near methane mining operations. Well, duh!

Let me give you a comparison using the same methodology:
A study of sunlight found that higher concentrations of sunlight in the air were found near solar farms. Scientists conclude that solar farms cause sunlight to pollute the air.
Of course, while people place solar farms with the intention of being near more sunlight, I'm sure you can't blame the solar farm for producing the sunlight for everyone else in the area....

Call us back when a study looks at pre-and post- fracking methane levels over time at the same wells, rather then taking a correlation and assuming causation.

Oh wait, the PA legislature already paid for a study like that on pre- and post- drilling sites and using control sites and "the research found no statistically significant increases in methane levels after drilling and no significant correlation to distance from drilling."

Comment Re:Why is this on slashdot? (Score 0, Troll) 698

Wait, you're complaining about Romney's dog? What about Obama literally eating a dog???

Obviously your reaction isn't indicative of a typical American reaction, since all the post-debate polls showed Romney won hands down.

As for the VP debate, Biden spent most of his time trying to bully Ryan in order to distract from his lack of any ideas for the future and lack of any excuse for the Obama administration's failures.

Comment Re:No surprise to us: Thats the real story (Score 0) 168

Gee, sorry if I took "A lot of people (particularly I'm discussing western political leaders, but not just them) state as a matter of blind faith that markets are effective allocators of capital." as a negative comment toward using markets for allocating capital.

I mean, I can see where you could slide in saying that's not exactly what he meant, but you've got to admit that it's a reasonable default assumption. All I did was compare it to the most commonly advocated alternative. What else would you compare it to in order to decide if it's "effective" or not, if not an alternative method?

Comment Re:No surprise to us: Thats the real story (Score 1) 168

It doesn't become necessary for the government to step in and bail them out.

It only happens when you give government too much power and control so that the industry inevitably takes over the government regulatory body and then uses taxpayer's money for the bail out. Again, see Public Choice economics. This is all a well-understood process.

Comment Re:No surprise to us: Thats the real story (Score 1, Insightful) 168

[...] the idea that investors will run to invest in markets they patently dont understand doesnt speak well for the efficiency of the capital markets.

No, this speaks very well for the efficiency of the capital markets. The investors risked their own money, not my money. It was a bad idea and people who invest in bad ideas lose their money. As a result of companies they invest in losing their money, ultimately, they don't have money anymore to invest. The people who end up with money to keep investing are the ones who are better at it.

Posit a theoretical public/government technological investment equiv. What makes you think the members of that board wouldn't have invested just as poorly? All the evidence points to them making worse investment choices, not better ones. After all, it's not their money, it's your money, so they have a different incentive in their investing. A much more political incentive with goals other than simply finding the most useful technology that people will want to pay for. And after this government equiv.'s investment failed? They'd either keep pumping in money to prop it up, or at the very least, the people making the bad investment decisions would just keep making them. After all, the government has more of your money to spend, right?

Please go learn some Public Choice economics. You'll understand the world a lot better.

Comment Re:and then there's this (Score 1) 215

I've been to Philadelphia. Granted, as I've lived mostly in the western U.S., so for maybe a total of a week of my life, but I have been there. 18% of Philly voters not having ID still seems high to me. Do none of them ever get bank accounts? In most states I've checked, you need an ID to get welfare or cash welfare checks, you need it to qualify for income-restricted public housing, etc... Certainly you need it to buy alcohol or cigarettes. You're trying to tell me that 18% of people in Philly are adults that rely on other people to buy their booze?

The expiration date is easily explained by wanting people to actually be current PA residents, not just "have lived there sometime in the past". Not sure that's much of a smoking gun for your explanation. It does make it harder, but then, they're also offering free ids to compensate.

Just because there is a higher risk of being caught by robbing a bank than by doing online identity theft, doesn't mean there aren't bank robbers and doesn't mean we shouldn't take measures against them.

As for "ignoring" the other instances of voter fraud, why do you suggest I'm doing that?

Quite to the contrary, I'm personally in favor of lots of things to control election fraud. Why would being against fraud across the board mean I shouldn't also be against this specific type of fraud?

Personally, I think they should ban electronic voting as anything other than a way to fill out a machine countable piece of paper that a voter can also easily visually verify themselves. I think the counting should be a separate process and the ballots counted should be totaled and matched to the number of signed-in voters in each precinct to ensure stuffing isn't occurring. The counting should be done by machine and then randomly done by hand for specific precincts to verify the machine counts match. Also, each candidate with either the 2nd highest votes or within 30% of the votes of the winner should be able to challenge for a hand count and/or a machine recount. The ballots should be kept under lock and seal (lock and seal from each candidate who desires to provide a lock and seal) until after all appeals have been exhausted... maybe until at least the next election prep is starting.

As for absentee ballots, I think any request for an absentee ballot should also require verifying that address in a state database with a matching address for the address the ballot is to be sent to. I also think that absentee ballots with more than X going to the same address should be proactively investigated by a fraud unit to validate those people actually living there. Set X to some multiple of the max number of adults you'd reasonably expect to live in a particular location. i.e. a two bedroom apartment isn't going to have 50 adults living in it...

I could go on, but you get the point that I am against all the various forms of voter fraud, don't you?

Comment Re:and then there's this (Score 1) 215

Because with HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of registered voters in PA who don't have state-issued ID, [...]

Honestly, this makes me suspect fraud much more. There are really hundreds of thousands of legitimate adults registered to vote who don't have an ID?

I'm sure some are real, but it sounds much more like there are people registered who aren't really valid voters. They're maybe real people who actually live elsewhere and have ID elsewhere, but like to also vote in PA, or people who are simply made up completely, but registered to vote.

Most of the voter registration fraud that requiring an ID would catch is people would actually have to prove the name they're voting under exists somewhere other than their imagination and/or that they actually live in the state they're registering in.

Currently, if you have a dozen absentee ballots sent to the same mailing address, someone may notice, but if you register under a fake name using whatever address you want in every district in the state, you'll be able to just walk in and vote as many times as you have the time to travel between the polling places.

You claim that someone is going to notice that "you don't live in the district", but polling place people don't know most of the people they see. If you can walk in and get the Attorney General's ballot as a someone who looks nothing like him, then it's unlikely "people know their neighbors" is a big deterrent.

Polling people are going to be extremely reluctant to challenge anyone's right to vote unless someone else walks in at the same time and claims the same name.

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