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Comment Re:Wrong (Score 3, Informative) 307

Have you never used a BitTorrent client? Do you not know how to use Google or Wikipedia? GP is correct that the BitTorrent protocol splits files into "chunks," with peers sharing those chunks amongst themselves.

Unless you have citations otherwise, the copyright suits thus far have worked by identifying all the IP addresses in a swarm, subpoenaing their ISPs, and then sending settlement letters or suing. There's nothing magical about downloading 50.1% of a movie, or whatever the heck "majority of data representing a torrent" means.

Comment Re:I still can't tell the difference betwen DX9 an (Score 4, Interesting) 553

I was actually excited when I first saw DirectX 10 screenshots. You actually get foliage with DirectX10, especially in the third set. (Check out the mountains in the back.) Pity that Vista's poor uptake meant nobody besides Crysis or Hellgate: London did much with with it.

DirectX 11 was even more impressive--tesselation essentially gets you a hojillion transformable polygons for free. Check out the crowd animated entirely in GPU hardware.

If you really can't tell the difference, just rejoice, quietly, that all of your gaming needs were met nine years ago. You'll never be tempted to buy a new video card for that XP rig.

Comment Re:Oh no (Score 1) 421

Believe it or not, lenders aren't completely ignorant of inflation; it's built into the interest rate they offer. If they need 2% to cover their costs and expect 3% inflation, they'll lend money at 5%.

Yes, you can go, "Haha! Jokes on you! You thought there'd be THREE percent inflation, but I'll print money until there's SIX!" After you've finished ruining all those plebeians with bourgeois "savings accounts," you'll simply find future loans harder to get, and at higher rates.

Comment Re:Morons. (Score 5, Insightful) 458

An illustration, from Gwartney and Stroup. TL;DR: If ice is going for $10 a pound, you'll have people trucking it in from out of state. If you declare that illegal "price gouging," your grocer won't be able to keep his inventory from spoiling at any price.

In the fall of 1989 Hurricane Hugo struck the coast of South Carolina, causing massive property damage and widespread power outages lasting for weeks. The lack of electric power meant that gasoline pumps, refrigerators, cash registers, ATMs, and many other types of electrical equipment did not work. In the hardest hit coastal areas such as Charleston, the demand for such items as lumber, gasoline, ice, batteries, chain saws, and electric generators increased dramatically. Stores that remained open using backup gasoline-powered generators sold out of most items immediately. Goods that began to flow in from other cities were being sold by some sellers at much higher prices. A bag of ice that sold for $1 before the hurricane went up in price to as much as $10, plywood went up in price to about $200 per sheet, and gasoline sold for as much as $10.95 per gallon. Individual citizens from other states were renting trucks, buying supplies in their home state, driving them to Charleston, and making enough money to pay for the rental truck and the purchase of the goods, and to compensate them for taking time off from their regular jobs.

In response to consumer complaints of "price gouging," the mayor of Charleston signed emergency legislation making it a crime, punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a $200 fine, to sell goods at prices higher than their pre-hurricane levels in the city. The price ceilings kept prices down, but also stopped the flow of goods into the area almost immediately. Shippers of items such as ice would stop outside the harder hit Charleston area, to avoid the price controls, and sell their goods. Shipments that did make it into the Charleston area were often greeted by long lines of consumers, many of whom would end up without the good after waiting in line for up to five hours. Shortages became so bad that military guards were required to protect the goods and maintain order when a shipment did arrive.

The price controls resulted in serious allocations of resources such as electricity, which, during the emergency, could only be gotten from emergency generators. Grocery stores could not fully open because of the lack of electric power, and inside the stores, food items were spoiling--thousands of dollars' worth, in some stores. Gasoline pumps require electricity to operate, so, although there was fuel in the underground tanks, there was a shortage of gasoline because of the inability to pump it. Consumers were faced with problems of obtaining money, as ATMs and banks could not operate without electric power. Hardware stores that sold electric generators before the hurricane typically had only a few in stock, but suddenly hundreds of businesses and residents wanted to buy them. The price ceilings would not allow the store owners to ration the few generators they had by raising the price, so the owners had to allocate the sale of their generators in other ways. It was not uncommon for the owner fo the store to take one generator home, and to sell the others to his or her friends. While these families used the generators for household uses, gasoline stations, grocery stores, and banks were closed because of their inability to buy a generator. Thousands of consumers could not get goods they urgently wanted because these businesses were closed. Without price controls, we would expect the price of generators to be bid up to the point that they would (a) be purchased by those who had the most urgent uses for them, and (b) be imported into the city rapidly enough to keep the price from rising still further.

The secondary impacts of the price controls used during Hurricane Hugo in Charleston, South Carolina, highlight the importance of understanding economics and the role of prices in our economy. Despite pleas from economists in local newspapers and in The Wall Street Journal, the price controls remained in effect, increasing the suffering and retarding the recovery of the areas most severely damaged by the hurricane.

Comment Re:In a word, YES! (Score 1) 469

Again, my point is not about a particular power dynamic, but instead about a cultural dynamic: that people who expect a thing of others often get that thing, and in America, an expectation of danger and distrust leads to those very things.

You propose that muggers exist because we imagine them to be? I think you've reversed cause and effect--we imagine there are muggers because there are.

I'm less interested in the "cultural dynamic" you perceive than how you dealt with the "power dynamic" you so unfortunately encountered: Why didn't you defend yourself? And why scorn others who do? This complete debasement of the individual is incomprehensible to my American mind, and what drew me to your post originally. It seems to dominate other societies, so I would sincerely like to understand what system of values produces it.

It makes sense that a society should not allow harm to come to innocents

I specifically said, "violence," and not "harm," sir. As awful as our healthcare system can be, I was speaking specifically of mugging, and why you find self-defense more reprehensible.

Comment Re:In a word, YES! (Score 1) 469

. Life is important. Quality of life is more important. Liberty is important. Responsibility is more important. Property is important. Enfranchisement is more important.

This is nonsense. Where do you have "quality of life" without Life? What "responsibilities" do you imagine a man without Liberty or Property to have? These aren't Millennium Development Goals--these are fundamental human rights, of which none are more important or fundamental.

Less abstractly, why do you find it noble to allow yourself and others to be victimized? Although I'm sincerely glad you're safe, a society that tolerates violence against innocents is no society at all.

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