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Comment To everything....turn, turn, turn (Score 1) 283

IBM's demise has been coming for a long time. It started when they didn't see the PCs potential. It continued when they stuck with proprietary (Micro channel), or unpopular (802.3) technologies. The 90s reorganization and switch to services helped but they were one of the first solutions companies. Now IBM is one of many competitors, and apparently they aren't the best. IBM isn't the only company to fall from grace. Compaq and HP merged to avoid oblivion. Microsoft lost ground in mobile and has yet to gain a meaningful foothold in tablets. Yes they make money but they are hardly a Wall Street darling. Oracle and Red Hat decided they weren't wealthy enough, so they switched to an expensive M$ style license model. RH is way overpriced considering they're bundling a bunch of free software. Oracle is competing with (and loosing to) free Hadoop, and NoSQL solutions. But that's how it goes. Some company does well. Makes a lot of money, but doesn't make a profit. Cue venture capital and the IPO. A few years later, maybe they turn a profit, maybe they don't. Venture capital takes their profit, so does Wall Street. Everyone assumes the company is dead because the stock price drops and Jim Cramer is smashing his "Sell, sell, sell" button like he's playing wack-a-mole. Yet the company goes on. Sometimes they die, sometimes they live on (like Amazon). Sodastream is still around, but the stock? Ditto for Keurig. Every company dies eventually. Sometimes they continue to exist. They may even expand into new markets.

Comment Yes, Humans can culture too.... (Score 2) 937

One of the things I hated about TOS, TNG, etc was while the other species have centuries of culture, humans had none. Maybe it was Shatner's vision: Earth had a cultures 'reset.' Humanity became largely docile. Starfleet seems to be for those who didn't quite fit in, but even those humans abandoned history as abhorrent. Most enjoyments were alien in origin. Pets were imports from another planet. No one played basketball or soccer, two games that should be easy to export to starships with artificial gravity. TOS used history for morality plays but never tied it to their present day beyond "oh there was a nuclear war.' Yes TNG had poker. Riker was into jazz, but who else? Secular Humanism as depicted in Star Trek was pretty sterile, and civilizations are never that clean.

As for this view on atheism, it's the same sterility mistake. Being Atheist doesn't mean you worship science. Being a scientist doesn't eliminate your ability to appreciate spectacle, beauty, art, or music.

Being an Atheist doesn't protect you from false beliefs. There are Atheists who prefer anecdotal evidence over rigorous scientific testing. They follow politicians as if they held the keys to enlightenment. They may look the other way when a professional athlete slaps his wife around or destroys a drive through window because he didn't get his hot sauce.

Even Spock required regular pon farr.

Comment Re:Does anyone blame them? (Score 1) 306

True, Germany has similar problems. Of course they import most of their fossil fuels (well natural gas anyway) from Mother Russia! So the PV push is understandable. Germany may impose an electrical infrastructure fee to keep the grid maintained and healthy. Something we're unlikely to do in the US. As with bridges, roads, levies, dams, and other parts of our infrastructure, we're content to allow them to fail then blame whomever is in the White House at that time.

Personally, I'd love to make petroleum a minor bit player in our transportation industry and old things like coal and gas something you only see in movies. This is one area where independents have to work where they are allowed, then force the issue with public support in the hold out states. We've seen a similar thing happen with gay marriage and insurance reform a.k.a Obamacare.

Comment Could've had a V8 (Score 1) 337

Agreed. Windows RT was a dumb idea from a company that, like IBM before it, played host to a lot of dumb ideas.
M$ should have scaled up Windows Phone / Windows Mobile / Whatever and cranked out free Phone and Tablet compatible versions of Office. The hardware, from a design perspective is great, with a few flaws they should have fixed long ago: The membrane keyboard, Palm Check (why is it that Apple is the only one who got this right?), and a stylus that charges from the tablet's own charging port.
I've played with a few Surface tablets at a couple of Microsoft stores. Even the sales staff had a hard time with them.

Which is why I carry a MBP. I get Office. I don't have to carry a mouse and disable the trackpad. When I carry a tablet, I carry a Galaxy 10.1. I rarely carry both.

Comment Three kinds of lazy (Score 1) 228

After reading a few responses I thought I'd share my observations on workers, and the "Three Kinds of Lazy:"

The Plugger: Doesn't like the drudgery, but rationalizes it with victimization and anxiety.
The Troll: Doesn't like the drudgery, does a barely passable job. Jellously guards all knowledge of how to do said task under the idiotic assumption that this will make them indispensable and thus impossible to eliminate.
The Neckbeard: Hates drudgery. Will spend enormous amounts of time learning whatever scripting language is available to automate everything possible. Doesn't document anything. Get angry if anyone asks.

Who should you be? The Neckbeard who 1. Shaved that thing off, or at least adopted a modern style. 2. Documented everything, then found a new job leaving this now unnecessary position to someone making less money.

Yes, I know. "It's impossible for me to move withing my industry in ! I need to be lazy to keep employed! Besides, no one could do MY job, they don't have the experience! This is completely wrong and here is why:
Eventually, each of the "Three Kinds of Lazy" gets fired. The Plugger falls victim to the first rule of Capitalism: "There is always someone willing to do it for less." The Troll and the Neckbeard push the wrong person too far and get fired. Someone else is hired and picks up the pieces. All three types of Lazy have a hard time finding a new job because they rarely keep their skills up to par with the industry.

So automate all of the things. If your company is cheap, invest in your own training and look for a better company with your next job in mind. If you have to move, move. This isn't the Middle Ages. You are perfectly capable of moving away from your village. So is your spouse. If the Earth was dying and the best chance of survival was moving to a terraformed Mars, would you stay on Earth just to know what the stubborn looked like as they died?

Comment Making this happen... (Score 1) 311

For this to happen, it cannot occur in the public sphere. There are too many rice bowls involved. Not to mention the decade long fight over which party gets credit or moves their agenda along by NOT allowing the other party to take credit.

No, this would have to occur using a local coalition of the willing:
A place where those with cash can see and drive over it.
Some place you can destroy the existing infrastructure without a bunch of NIMBYs blocking construction. Maybe a new development or a re-development.
Detroit has massive infrastructure problems, but do they get enough sunlight?
Can San Francisco quite fighting long enough to allow construction?
Maybe Texas who couldn't give a darn about their environment but has a lot of tech industry types with business ties to the area?

Long term: This could be the "smart grid" we heard so little about in 2010. For this to work, you have to generate enough electricity to keep the roads clear during a harsh winter. Think big snowstorm from a slow moving low pressure system.
We will need electricity generation in far flung sunny states and countries in the same way LA needs most of the Western US' water supply. Electricity must be able to travel transcontinental distances the same way cargo and people do now.
We will need large amounts of electricity storage. I don't know what that would look like. It could be batteries. It could be fuel cells using hydrogen and oxygen from desalination plants or captured rain water from spring floods -- oh that's an idea! Build massive conduits to divert excess rainwater into the West's emptying aquifers. Is it practical? I have no idea.

A project like this will require a skilled workforce and decades to complete. Sorry Southern US. Your hatred of "schoolin" and your love of cheapness and a romanticized agrarian fantasy still won't bring or keep jobs to your towns. Maybe once you see the rest of the country has moved a century past you, we'll see a Great Vote Out occur and you can join the 21st century. As a Southerner I hope but don't believe it's possible outside of our few successful cities. There's a reason why poverty is still such a major part of the South, and it's entirely our fault.

So while I think solar roadways are a great idea. We can't rely on our leaders to facilitate this conversion. This will have to occur bottom up while those at the top have to leap out of the way. Good luck to this endeavor!

Comment So if ISPs are like the Post Office.... (Score 1) 343

Wouldn't that make ISPs a "necessary public service" like MaBell once was? Let me pontificate:

If that's true, then ISPs should be heavily regulated to ensure reliable service is provided to the entire country.
Since Washington love to re-use past legislation (stimulus packages, gun control, etc) why not require so-called "nationwide" ISPs to provide broadband service down to the smallest farm in the United States? I believe we're already paying a federal tax which once offset this cost.

Other ways to make this happen:
Congress passes legislation that Obama/future President would actually sign. -- Unlikely unless 2016 is the Year of the Great Vote Out.
Obama (unlikely) / Future President (80% unlikely) could order the FCC's lobbyist chairperson to start requiring Broadband availability in the same way we once required AT&T to run copper phone lines to every house, farm, factory, and barn in the United States.
A massive anti-trust lawsuit turns over all existing right-of-way monopolies. This is the most likely scenario, but I don't know if our money-is-speech Supreme Court would take the case.


Comment Hard to verify (Score 2) 548

I found two non-fringe or slightly suspect news links: The article completes the circle back to sites like and The Guardian. The other is It links to entertainment sites like Perez Hilton. Not the sort of thing you expect to find when a secret government operation like this is uncovered.

What I don't see, is anything linking directly to information about the DOJ's Operation Chokepoint. The list of targets is a bit broad and the tactics are a little suspect. You wouldn't think of a far left liberal like Obama as someone who is anti-porn. We'll have to watch this and see how things develop. Maybe someone will find a few hard government generated facts and write up a 2600 article?

Comment Re:He's right! (Score 1) 581

True, coding is not for everyone. Just as welding, writing, and accounting aren't for everyone. However, people don't understand the tech they use on a daily basis: i.e. Snopes Microwave Article. People don't need to know how to write software anymore than they need to know how to assemble an engine, or build a stove. They do need to understand that it isn't a magic box. They do need to know how to spot bad science and emotion targeted arguments. The coal miners Bloomberg would put out of work would be screwed. Not only would they have to move to a new state, they would have to start over with an entirely new set of skills while having expensive responsibilities most of us didn't have when we were starting out.

I should point out: Coal itself is playing out in several parts of the US. Coal, like pop music, is eating itself.

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