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Comment I read the version with the photos (Score 1) 1

I've got to say your camera barely qualifies as a potato.

I used to do the convention thing, but then I realized that all I ever did was gawk at better-dressed people and occasionally spout gibberish at people who are significantly more famous than myself (As an example, back in the 90's I met Brian Jaques and handed him Salamandastron to sign. When he asked me who to dedicate it to, I replied "uh... I dunno?") or embarrass myself by asking really, really stupid questions at panels.

I just realized it's been a decade since I drove half a day to Dallas on a lark and went to A-Kon. Every now and then I think of going to cons again but work hasn't left time for having a life, even a nerdy life such as that maligned by the masses.

Comment Rarely mentioned on "comparative advantage" theory (Score 1) 331

is that it only applies if there is full employment in both countries and zero cost to labor mobility...
http://internationalecon.com/T...
"The higher price received for each country's comparative advantage good would lead each country to specialize in that good. To accomplish this, labor would have to move from the comparative disadvantaged industry into the comparative advantage industry. This means that one industry goes out of business in each country. However, because the model assumes full employment and costless mobility of labor, all of these workers are immediately gainfully employed in the other industry."

Comment The limits of the Broken Window Fallacy (Score 2) 365

While of course what you say is true as far as it goes (money can be spent either on repairs or on new stuff), here is a way the broken window fallacy can itself be a fallacy.

If almost all the currency in a society is hoarded by the wealthiest 1% (like kept in the "Casino Economy") and the 1% control the government so it refuses to directly print more currency according to the needs of the 99%, then the economy for the 99% functions as if there were a depression due to insufficient currency in the economy of real goods and services.

The health of an economy for most people (as well as the political health of a democracy) is not just how much currency there is, or how fast it moves, but how broadly the currency is distributed. Many average economic indicators may not reflect this economic depression for the 99% due to currency unavailability -- in the same way that if Bill Gates stepped into a homeless shelter by accident, everyone in the building would on average be a millionaire.

For more on the "Casino Economy" or "Gambling Economy" of abstract finance see the section of Money as Debt II starting around here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?...

In such a circumstance (which is close to the economy we have now), if a window breaks that a wealthy person or the government wants to fix, then some of the hoarded and speculated cash from the Casino economy may be leaked into the real economy of the 99%. This would temporarily alleviate a tiny bit of the ongoing defacto economic depression until the money is sucked back into the ever expanding Casino economy again via interest on debt or other forms of rent-seeking. Someone breaking a to-be-replaced window of a wealthy person or government in such a situation is then engaging in an indirect form of theft. WWII was another example that led to increased government spending and progressive taxation in the USA, although to great human suffering across the globe in other ways.

To be clear, breaking a window that needs to be repaired by the 99% does not have this currency redistribution effect since no additional currency will be moved from the casino economy to the real economy. Then we are just left with the fallacy in its standard form -- not the fallacy in the limiting case of concentrated hoarded wealth.

Of course, in practice, things getting broken only gives excuses for future crackdowns on "terrorists" and the diversion of what little cash is left circulating in the real economy for the 99% into new taxes for a larger security apparatus to protect the windows of the 1%, so ultimately the path of breaking windows is likely self-defeating.

Better options include alternative currencies, local exchange trading systems (LETS), an improved gift economy like via free software and shared knowledge like with Slashdot, improved local subsistence production like via 3D printing or home gardening robots like Farmbot, better democratic processes leading to better government planning, and political change towards a basic income (with the BI funded by progressive taxation and rents on resource extraction or government-granted monopolies like broadcast spectrum use). I discuss those and more options here:
http://pdfernhout.net/beyond-a...

Comment Re: Why isn't this configurable? (Score 1) 141

I just wrote a comment to you and closed the window. Ctrl-shift-t restored the window, but did not restore the comment. It can be argued that Chrome ought to store the exact state of the window including all javascript junk, but it currently does not.

This also annoys me when Chrome unloads a background tab and loses all the form data.

Comment Re: More proof (Score 1) 414

Racism isn't bad because it's mean. Racism is bad because it is stupid. Like, having a heartfelt belief that red cars are faster than blue cars kinda stupid.

Tribalism and identity politics, on the other hand are bad because they make enemies of everyone outside the tribe.

That's what's happening. All these people trying to push their tribe forward are creating bad feelings. They're not helping anyone, including those they purport to support.

Comment Re:Until that's possible ... (Score 1) 2

Interesting idea, but it kind of defeats the whole purpose of blocking them: wasting my bandwidth. I'm also not sure that you'd be able to "download slowly". For larger requests you can refuse to empty the kernel TCP buffer, but buffers are pretty large these days, they'd probably pump the whole thing out to you before you can start sending ICMP source quench packets to slow them down.

Privoxy does something like this, but it's not going to request the crappy scripts, and especially not multiple times.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Web privacy idea 2

Proxy Command.

Step 1: Missile Command, but as a web proxy. Every outgoing connection = 1 incoming missile, labeled with the hostname. The proxy holds onto the connection until the missile hits the city at the bottom. Shoot down the rocket to prevent the connection to tracker.facebook.com or whatever. Speed would be adjustable.

Step 2: add auto-targeting by hostname, so you don't have to click on tracker.facebook.com over and over.

Comment Name it Chiron for Hogan's Voyage from Yesteryear (Score 2) 344

James P. Hogan's comments from: https://web.archive.org/web/20...
=====
An Earth set well into the next century is going through one of its periodical crises politically, and it looks as if this time they might really press the button for the Big One. If it happens, the only chance for our species to survive would be by preserving a sliver of itself elsewhere, which in practical terms means another star, since nothing closer is readily habitable. There isn't time to organize a manned expedition of such scope from scratch. However, a robot exploratory vessel is under construction to make the first crossing to the Centauri system, and it with a crash program it would be possible to modify the designs to carry sets of human genetic data coded electronically. Additionally, a complement of incubator/nanny/tutor robots can be included, able to convert the electronic data back into chemistry and raise/educate the ensuing offspring while others prepare surface habitats and supporting infrastructure, when a habitable world is discovered. By the time we meet the "Chironians," their culture is into its fifth generation.

In the meantime, Earth went through a dodgy period, but managed in the end to muddle through. The fun begins when a generation ship housing a population of thousands arrives to "reclaim" the colony on behalf of the repressive, authoritarian regime that emerged following the crisis period. The Mayflower II brings with it all the tried and tested apparatus for bringing a recalcitrant population to heel: authority, with its power structure and symbolism, to impress; commercial institutions with the promise of wealth and possessions, to tempt and ensnare; a religious presence, to awe and instill duty and obedience; and if all else fails, armed military force to compel. But what happens when these methods encounter a population that has never been conditioned to respond?

The book has an interesting corollary. Around about the mid eighties, I received a letter notifying me that the story had been serialized in an underground Polish s.f. magazine. They hadn't exactly "stolen" it, the publishers explained, but had credited zlotys to an account in my name there, so if I ever decided to take a holiday in Poland the expenses would be covered (there was no exchange mechanism with Western currencies at that time). Then the story started surfacing in other countries of Eastern Europe, by all accounts to an enthusiastic reception. What they liked there, apparently, was the updated "Ghandiesque" formula on how bring down an oppressive regime when it's got all the guns. And a couple of years later, they were all doing it!

So I claim the credit. Forget all the tales you hear about the contradictions of Marxist economics, truth getting past the Iron Curtain via satellites and the Internet, Reagan's Star Wars program, and so on.

In 1989, after communist rule and the Wall came tumbling down, the annual European s.f. convention was held at Krakow in southern Poland, and I was invited as one of the Western guests. On the way home, I spent a few days in Warsaw and at last was able to meet the people who had published that original magazine. "Well, fine," I told them. "Finally, I can draw out all that money that you stashed away for me back in '85. One of the remarked-too hastily--that "It was worth something when we put it in the bank." (There had been two years of ruinous inflation following the outgoing regime's policy of sabotaging everything in order to be able to prove that the new ideas wouldn't work.) I said, resignedly, "Okay. How much are we talking about?" The one with a calculator tapped away for a few seconds, looked embarrassed, and announced, "Eight dollars and forty-three cents." So after the U.S. had spent trillions on its B-52s, Trident submarines, NSA, CIA, and the rest--all of it.

Comment Other ideas on dealing with social hurricanes (Score 1) 264

http://pdfernhout.net/on-deali...
"This approximately 60 page document is a ramble about ways to ensure the CIA (as well as other big organizations) remains (or becomes) accountable to human needs and the needs of healthy, prosperous, joyful, secure, educated communities. The primarily suggestion is to encourage a paradigm shift away from scarcity thinking & competition thinking towards abundance thinking & cooperation thinking within the CIA and other organizations. I suggest that shift could be encouraged in part by providing publicly accessible free "intelligence" tools and other publicly accessible free information that all people (including in the CIA and elsewhere) can, if they want, use to better connect the dots about global issues and see those issues from multiple perspectives, to provide a better context for providing broad policy advice. It links that effort to bigger efforts to transform our global society into a place that works well for (almost) everyone that millions of people are engaged in. A central Haudenosaunee story-related theme is the transformation of Tadodaho through the efforts of the Peacemaker from someone who was evil and hurtful to someone who was good and helpful. ..."

Comment Re:18 Quintillion Planets and No Story (Score 1) 157

This might be okay if there were some sort of story campaign like the Wing Commander Privateer games

Maybe there is, but nobody has found the one guy in the basement of the one building on that one planet with an ! over his head to start the quest chain.

Personally, I'll just sit here and hope that Star Citizen will finish trickling out and I'll be able to recapture the fun I got from playing Freelancer with friends, which had recaptured the fun I had playing WC Privateer by myself.

Comment Re:Considering that people play music (Score 1) 83

if you can get this program onto the air-gapped machine in the first place, haven't you already compromised it?

Yes, but now your compromise is stuck on a computer with no way off. You drop a handful of flash drives around the target's parking lot, someone plugs it in and gets the internal network pwned... then what? Put the data back on the flash drive and hope they put it back in the parking lot? But say you're a TLA and can track/activate cellphones on demand. Sure, people aren't supposed to carry their cellphone into the secure area, but they figure if they keep it in their pocket and don't whip it out and start taking pictures, they'll be fine. They might even turn it "off" so it's OK, right? Drop some flash drives there, and turn on the guy's cellphone and listen for the k-tka-tk-tk sound. Could be a failing drive, could be the secret weapon plans.

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