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Comment Re:did that need clearing up? (Score 3, Insightful) 91

actually now that I think about it, why did this need to be pointed out?

Because it's Google.

Did people think it was going to be temporary or something?

Yes. It's Google. They lose interest in everything that isn't search or email or maps. And maps is iffy. They forgot that search didn't earn billions overnight, and now have unreasonable expectations for everything else. If it doesn't earn hundreds of millions in its first year, it's deemed pathetic and gets abandoned. Google Fiber probably runs in the red. Making physical things happen is expensive. It will pay for itself in the long run, but Google is about as far away from the mindset of a utility as you can possibly get while remaining on the same planet. Waiting for a long run low margin payoff is not in their corporate DNA. The continued existence of Google Fiber is anomalous already. It will only get worse.

So yes, that did need clearing up, and I'm still skeptical.

Comment US Patent Office (Score 4, Funny) 87

So apparently the US Patent Office will now grant a patent for a transcript of a late night undergrad bull session where at least 2 of the participants are high...

That seems the most likely source of this patent, to me. I think the USPTO has inverted the obviousness clause: the very most obvious of business method patents require and obviously deserve to be granted, or how can US businesses continue to get richer?

"Our drones are really short range. How do we use them to deliver stuff everywhere?"

"Drone docks everywhere!"

"Ok. So we put drone docks everywhere. How do we keep people from stealing or vandalizing them?"

"They fly, right?


"So like.... like.... uhmmmm.... what was I saying.... this is really good weed..... flying... oh yeah, put 'em high up!"

"Like on top of lamp posts and church steeples?"


"And make 'em deliver roaches!"


Thankfully, Amazon figured out that drones can have wings, and eliminated the problem entirely. So they got a patent granted for some stoner's idea. They'll never use it.

Comment Re:Wait, let me get this straight... (Score 1) 173

One single Chinese microblogger with a tin foil hat advances crackpot theory and actual Chinese official can't be bothered to even talk about, and it makes front page of Slashdot?

It's always nice to have confirmation that every culture has its crackpots, and they all post on the Internet.

Comment Re:What happened to personal resonsibility? (Score 1) 329

I agree it's mostly the driver's fault, but that doesn't relieve Tesla of liability. If I have a pool in my backyard surrounded by a 10' locked fence, and a kid climbs the fence and drowns in my pool, I can still be sued even though it was the kid's fault. If I have a pit bull in my home, and a burglar breaks in and gets bitten by the dog, I can still be sued even though it was the burglar's fault. Case law is full of suits like this that have been won by the plaintiff.

Case law is full of such cases being filed. It is NOT full of such cases being won by the plaintiff. Having a pool with no fence is having an attractive nuisance. Having a pool with a fence is bog standard across the world. Yes grieving parents will still file suit. They lose.

Comment Re:fucking great (Score 1) 329

Any idiot who has ever interacted with a product user knows that if a product lets someone do something without any (real) obstacle, they'll do it.

Yes, and we give Darwin Awards for that and move on. There are limits in consumer protections beyond which a court will say, "His own colossal stupidity resulted in his death. Case dismissed." The lone Tesla Autopilot death is most definitely in that category.

Comment Article is content-free (Score 5, Interesting) 62

The article is content-free and makes no sense, as so many of these articles do. It's also barely longer than the "summary". At least this one didn't fall victim to the usual tech reporting failure of saying the blockchain is public. Still, the magical blockchain does not eliminate $1.2 billion in expenses. Far from it. If anything, their hardware expenses will go up, because they have to devote hardware to hashing, where before, a financial transaction was a straight-forward database transaction. They still have to keep track of everything they keep track of now, plus hash. Now, they can control and explicitly cap the amount of hashing required to drive the system, since they're not limited to the Bitcoin implementation, but there still has to be work done, i.e. processing.

Here's the nonsensical part though:

The start-up has been working with about ten banks, Taylor said, at least one of which would be starting a trial using the new system in August.

At least one? You mean at least two. One bank doesn't need a blockchain at all. The controls required to prevent internal fraud are quite simple when you know everything there is to know about both sides of the transaction. It's when one party of the transaction has an account at a different bank that a blockchain comes in. The banks are hoping to disintermediate the Automated Clearing House (in the US) and the Pan-European Automated Clearing House (with the cutesy PE-ACH acronym). In practice, they're going to discover that sufficient hashing to secure 100 billion transactions per year (ACH+EPN+PE-ACH) is neither free nor even cheap. It remains to be seen if hashing expenses can be kept below ACH fees.

Comment Re:Thanks for the concise summary (Score 3, Interesting) 187

He also used a parachute to escape and had a lot of knowledge on how to actually open a commercial airlines doors IN FLIGHT.

From wikipedia: ...

Given all that, it's fairly obvious. D.B. Cooper was an ex-CIA agent arranging his own retirement. Guess the pension wasn't enough for his taste.

Comment Re:Torvalds Must Die! (Score 1) 523

What's the noÃsphere?

It was the noösphere before Slashdot got a hold of it. A word some pretentious asshole thought up to refer to the universe of ideas. Maybe when there are humans living on some other sphere besides Earth it will be a useful distinction. You could talk about the Earth noösphere and the Mars noösphere. Until then, it's just a molestation of two perfectly innocent Greek words. Or in Bruce's case, ferocious sarcasm.

Comment Re:But insight is NOT profitable. (Score 1) 259

We need to completely rethink the field of economics in terms of time, which is truly more important than money, but harder to count.

Our very own Slashdot denizen bluelucidfox has been trying to do precisely that. He veers between seriously interesting, possibly insightful and "wat". He's sort of been using Slashdot as a sounding board, and the results are mixed, at best. Slashdot is having trouble coming to grips with the ideas and he's having trouble expressing some of them.

Speaking as someone who took many semesters of economics classes at university, I feel comfortable saying that his theories come a lot closer to reality than any of the bullshit spouted out of those assholes. (With the possible exception of the handful of empiricists, who are universally derided or ignored by the vast majority of academic economists, who are theoreticians.) The academics start with a wildly wrong model of human psychology, then compound their stupidity with alleged "mathematics" which are not even wrong. bluelucidfox is trying to explain history. He lacks academic rigour, perhaps inevitably, but he has at least a nodding acquaintance with reality. We'll see how far he gets.

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"A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that worked." -- John Gall, _Systemantics_