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Comment Re: Huh? (Score 2) 420

Thanks! If anyone is interested in reading a bit about the theory behind my point of view, the best place to start is David Graeber's magnificent "Debt: The First 5000 Years". You'll be chuckling within a few pages, and awed within the first 100.

You'll also be stunned at all the wrong beliefs that many people accept and take for granted. At the risk of further enraging those of other persuasions, I can reveal that one of Graeber's biggest ideas is that human beings naturally practice a form of "rough communism". Unless educated to do otherwise, we have a strong tendency to cooperate and help out. Here are a couple of choice extracts:

"After all, we do owe everything we are to others. This is simply true. The language we speak and even think in, our habits and opinions, the kind of food we like to eat, the knowledge that makes our lights switch on and toilets flush, even the style in which we carry out our gestures of defiance and rebellion against social conventions – all of this we learned from other people, most of them long dead. If we were to imagine what we owe them as a debt, it could only be infinite. The question is: Does it really make sense to think of this as a debt? After all, a debt is something that we could at least imagine paying back”.

“[Peter] Freuchen tells how one day, after coming home hungry from an unsuccessful walrus-hunting expedition, he found one of the successful hunters dropping off several hundred pounds of meat. He thanked him. The man objected indignantly:
“’Up in our country, we are human!’ said the hunter. ‘And since we are human we help each other. We don’t like to hear anyone say thanks for that. What I get today you may get tomorrow. Up here we say that by gifts one makes slaves and by whips one makes dogs’.
“The last line is something of an anthropological classic, and similar statements about the refusal to calculate credits and debits can be found throughout the anthropological literature on egalitarian hunting societies. Rather than seeing himself as human because he could make economic calculations, the hunter insisted that being truly human meant refusing to make such calculations, refusing to measure or remember who had given what to whom, for the precise reason that doing so would inevitably create a world where we began ‘comparing power with power, measuring, calculating’ and reducing each other to slaves or dogs through debt”.

Comment Re:I'm all over this (Score 1) 118

I don't get it. Given the choice between paying $30 now, or $1-3 in a few months once it's out on rental / streaming services, you'd pick the former? I can't think of a single film in the last decade that I've wanted to see so much that I'd pay an order of magnitude more to see it now. Plus there's a reasonable sized backlog of things that I want to watch, so even if I watch them in release order they're all available to rent cheaply by the time I get around to them.

Comment Re:Open Source is Evil (Score 1) 118

We are trying to do to movies what we did to software with open source. Reduce its value so much that the people working in the industry struggle to survive

Huh? That's not what open source did at all. It shifted the value from copying software to creating software. People are still paid to write open source software, it's just that now most of them are paid by companies who want the features added (or the bugs fixed) directly, rather than by some middlemen that want to charge per copy.

Comment Re: Why Not On Release Day And For A Regular Price (Score 1) 118

Eventually the movie industry will learn that the damage that it's doing to itself trying to prevent piracy is significantly greater than the damage that piracy is doing to it. It took Apple taking control over a very lucrative slice of the distribution market before the music industry learned that DRM does little to prevent piracy, but does a lot to create distribution monopolies outside of their control. I wonder how long it will be for someone like Amazon or Netflix to grab a sufficiently large slice of the distribution market that they realise that allowing DRM-free downloads from multiple other sources is the only way to regain their bargaining power.

Comment Re:sell movie theatre stock now (Score 1) 118

Except it's not competing with going to the cinema, it's competing with watching the same film a couple of months at home later for a tenth of that price. The problem for the movie industry is that they're entirely focussed around first-week profits (to the extent that they set up contracts with cinemas such that they get almost all of the takings from the first week and close to none after a couple of weeks). This means that they have to spend a huge amount of money on advertising to try to get everyone to watch the film at the same time and don't get to take advantage of slower word-of-mouth (or online) recommendations. The advent of decent-quality home cinema systems means that a lot more people are watching films a few months after they came out in the cinemas, which causes problems for the studios' business model.

Comment Re:The actual real problem with Mars... (Score 2) 100

The profit (a minority of their profit, it should be added) is coming from saving taxpayers money. What the heck is your problem with that?

If they were making some amount of launches cheaper - sure - but that's not the case.

Yes, it is the case; they cost vastly less than ULA.

Comment Re:The actual real problem with Mars... (Score 1) 100

What I *do* have a problem with is him parlaying this success into a full blown cult of personality

I'm sorry, I must have missed the speech where Musk announced that he is the savior of humanity and its new lord and master.

I'm sorry it gets under your skin that people appreciate the man and what he's doing, but that's hardly something he's been actively "parlaying this success into".

Comment Re:Maybe I'm missing something. . . (Score 2) 100

Most of SpaceX's launches are for private companies. And their real profit plan is satellite internet; these random couple dozen launches per year for the government and private companies is nothing compared to the value of being able to provide cheap high speed internet access everywhere on Earth without having to lay wires. But that requires thousands of satellites to be launched.

Interestingly enough, this also appears to be Blue Origin's profit plan, via their work with OneWeb.

Comment Re:The actual real problem with Mars... (Score 4, Insightful) 100

What's the problem with SpaceX getting government launch contracts? No, seriously. They're charging less than ULA and thus saving the government a ton of money. What's your huge problem with saving money and having the money that is spent go to a company that's focused on great things rather than some conglomerate of huge military-industrial giants?

I've never understood this animosity.

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