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Comment The Fourth Industrial Revolution (Score 4, Informative) 125

The subject came up a day or two ago, so i happen to have the wikipedia link handy:

In short:
1st IR was 18th and 19th centuries and was steam engines and iron and textile production.
2nd IR was 1870 to 1914 and was steel and oil and electricity and mass production.
3rd IR was 1980s to now, and is computers and networks.

The _theory_ is that the 4th industrial revolution is starting now, and will involve some combination of biotech, nanotech, AI, 3d printing, and (if you believe some people) the Internet of Things.

Personally i think that to the extent that you want to differentiate the current/upcoming situation from the 3rd IR/computer revolution, those first four items are all viable candidates for turning society on its head. I'm pretty skeptical about the IoT part though.

Comment Re:There are Times When... (Score 2) 90

Given your use of grammar i'm guessing that maybe English isn't your first language? If someone says "X was so Y" followed by a comma and then a statement, it is generally accepted that the statement following the comma is in support of "X was so Y".

So your original question "Really? How exhaustive was it?" was answered immediately after the bit you quoted, which is why everyone else who is more fluent in English was confused by you asking the question in the first place. To them the answer was right there in plain sight.

In full: "an investigation so exhaustive, the Krebs made a glossary of cross-referenced names and terms along with an incomplete relational map." In other words it was so exhaustive that he had to produce multiple kinds of reference material just to make the sum total of the data understandable.

Admittedly that doesn't provide a great deal of detail, implying the "exhaustiveness" of the investigation by the amount of data produced, but providing an answer that is light in details is not the same as not providing an answer at all. Also, referring to Brian Krebs as "the Krebs" is a little weird, but it's not entirely uncommon for people to refer to a notable individual in such a manner.

Comment Re:Not Surprising (Score 1) 255

Why do you think a Russian tyrant with access to money and (political) power would need superpowers to subvert a man with a weak intellect, weak morals, and documented ties to Russian businesses?

And anyways, all but two of the original points still hold even if Putin doesn't control Trump. (Directly at least. Because if there's no direct control Trump seems to have some kind of weird hero-worship thing going on for Putin.)

Comment Not Surprising (Score 3, Insightful) 255

Putin has many reasons to hold on to Snowden and almost no reasons to turn him over to the US.

Turning him over to the US _might_ curry favor with Trump, however
A: Trump is too inconsistent for something like that to have a dependable long term effect, and
B: More importantly we're pretty sure Putin already owns Trump, probably along multiple lines. You don't need to curry favor with your pawns.
C: And whether Putin owns Trump or not, it certainly doesn't benefit him to _appear_ as if he owns Trump any more than he can avoid, and sending him Snowden as an "inauguration gift" would definitely lend itself to that appearance.

On the other hand, Snowden is an embarrassment to the US (or more accurately, he brought to light and continues to emphasize the way in which the US has embarrassed itself) which is valuable PR for Russia. Even if Putin owns the president it never hurts to have multiple lines of attack available.

Keeping Snowden in good standing encourages other people who might have negative information about the US or whose mere existence and freedom might embarrass the US to look to Putin for support, potentially giving him more ammunition in the future.

And as long as he has Snowden under his control Putin can always offer him up as a bargaining chip in the event that the puppet strings on Trump fail and he really needs to make a deal for some reason. (At which point of course the FSB will suddenly discover evidence that Snowden has been betraying Putin all along, so that it won't be a betrayal on Putin's part to return him to the US.)

Or alternately if he orders Trump to do something for Russia that is so outrageous that it strains credulity he can offer up Snowden as an excuse for Trump making the deal. (Again, shortly after the FSB "discovers" evidence against Snowden.)

Comment Re:Valuation and network effects (Score 3, Informative) 151

You think there are few barriers to entry in their industry? I disagree. There are some pretty substantial network effects in play here. There are only so many drivers and cars to go around and they are going to tend to gravitate towards the company which is most likely to have the biggest user base. Sure, users can in theory switch easily but what good is switching to a taxi service that doesn't have any drivers?

I don't use such services often, but when i do i go out of my way to use Lyft since they are at least a marginally less crappy company than Uber. A couple months ago i had to go on a series of business trips that required me to take Lyft back and forth to the airport multiple times. During those rides i noticed that most (or possibly all) of the cars had this weird white circles stuck to their windows with a small black box in the center and a "wire" coming out the side.

I mentioned them to my SO a little later, and she'd seen the same circles on the windows of a number of cars around town. We very tentatively decided that they were some kind of GPS tracker to try and get better location data, though it seemed odd that the sticker attaching the device to the window would be so large.

Fast forward a couple of weeks and we find out those are actually the new Uber logo. Which means that A: whoever is in charge of graphic design at Uber sucks and is incapable of coming up with a good logo, and B: there are drivers who have signed up for both Uber and Lyft and are switching between them on the fly, depending on who happens to have ride requests available at the moment. In fact based on (obviously biased) discussions i've had with Lyft drivers since then it's a very common practice. They prefer ride requests on the Lyft network since Lyft makes it easier to give tips but will happily pick up Uber customers as well if nothing better is available.

So getting drivers for a new service is not a real barrier to entry, the only issue is convincing customers to request rides using it.

Comment Hoping (Score 1) 1069

I hope to gods that i'm wrong about Trump. I'm worried because i'm not sure what he'll do (though it certainly seems like he's already heading in a bad direction.) And i'm worried because no one else is sure what he'll do either.

But for the sake of our country and our planet i sure hope it's everyone who voted for him saying "see, i told you so!" in four years, instead of everyone who voted against him saying "see, i told you so!" in rather less than four years.

Comment Re:I read something else (Score 1) 225

It's hard to judge him fully during the PEOTUS period, but his "success" with the Carrier issue was pretty anemic, and as far as i can tell he made no attempt to intervene in the GOP's (mostly successful) attempt to strip the "buy American" portion of the waterways bill.

So he hasn't _actively_ worked in favor of free trade yet, but his opposition to it has been pretty weak sauce.

Comment Re:Issues (Score 1) 162

Nice theory, but we're talking about Netflix. They make money from subscribers, not ads. In the end it doesn't matter how much or how little a Netflix customer watches, only whether they continue their subscription. In fact if Netflix could somehow convince everyone to keep paying for subscriptions without actually watching any content it would be a dream come true for them.

Comment Issues (Score 3, Insightful) 162

There seem to be a lot of problems with this argument, at least as presented in the blurb (TFA is blocked at work.)

First, the amount of time spent watching stuff is a poor metric by itself. What you really want to know is the amount of enjoyment people get out of the service. Admittedly that is very hard to measure accurately, which is why they want to use "hours spent watching" as a more easily determinable value. However they shouldn't forget that the map is not the territory.

As long as people are subscribed to the service they're going to feel compelled to get something out of it. It's the old complaint of "a hundred channels and nothing is on", and yet people kept watching, at least until something better came along. For a lot of people if they have Netflix and they feel like watching a movie they're going to browse around until they find _something_.

And there's a strong corollary, if people feel like they _aren't_ getting their money's worth out, they're probably inclined to cancel the service. Which means suddenly they're not being measured in your survey anymore.

Of course what's being measured here is the balance between movies and TV, which _might_ not be affected by people deciding there aren't enough good movies on. However the above would still hold true if their (non-original) TV content had also seen a similar decline. I know a couple shows i used to watch have disappeared off of Netflix. Are there actually any statistics about the number/quality of TV shows they've had available over time?

Finally, saying that "a majority of fans" have already seen blockbuster movies is just dumb. Of course the "fans" who were "passionate" about the movie have already seen it. They're probably also the people who are going to buy it on DVD or BluRay. They are not your customers in this particular instance. The people who are waiting until the movie is on Netflix/Cable/broadcast TV are the people who said "that sounds kind of cool" but never got around to watching it before it left theatres. Given that they weren't gung-ho about it in the first place they're probably not going to want to rush out and buy the DVD sight-unseen, they're just going to wait until they can rent it or catch it on something they have a subscription for. There may be no one particular blockbuster movie that audience especially cares about, but if your service doesn't carry _any_ of the blockbusters then i expect that that's a serious mark against it in the eyes of many consumers.

Comment Re:Here come the science deniers (Score 1) 560

"Is the Reward for smoking pop, worth the risk of its side effects should be the real debate."

I hadn't heard about this new drug, but smoking pop seems like it would be challenging, what's the process? And does the brand or flavor matter? How about diet vs regular?

Given its history i would guess that Coca-cola would be an upper. And since Pepsi is supposed to be cool and different from Coke it must be a downer. Is Diet Dr Pepper a hallucinogenic?

Comment Re:Hypocrisy at it's finest (Score 1) 600

Do you agree with Sony's well-paid and successful lawyers about their interpretation of copyright law just because they're well-paid and successful, and thus must be smarter and know more than us "basement dwellers"? (I thought Trump got really mad about that term when he thought Hillary was using it disparagingly, but i guess the rules have changed now.)

I'm not going to claim I know more than the Sony lawyers or Trump, but opinions about IP law seem to differ quite a bit not based on intelligence, but on whether you've become wealthy because of big corporations (either owning them, getting paid a large salary by them, or getting lobbied by them.)

On top of that, there's at least some correlation between being old and not understanding computers and the internet.

So even if Trump is very intelligent and successful (citation needed,) as a very old and relatively rich corporate owner i would not necessarily expect him to understand why it's bad to let corporations sue people into the ground for things that ought to fall under Fair Use.

That said, even as someone who voted for Hillary, I'm glad Trump (seems to be) carrying through on his promise to block the TPP, regardless of what his reasons for doing so actually are. I don't disagree with _everything_ Trump does and says just because Trump is the one doing and saying it.

Comment Re:Never Got It (Score 1) 227

I agree 100%. I'm a huge fan of Heinlein's early period books and some of his middle period books. However Stranger in a Strange Land is, to me, exactly the point at which the quality of his books started to go down. Combine that with it also being the most hyped of all his books definitely left me with a bad taste in my mouth. (Insert jokes about cannibalism here.)

He produced a couple good books after that (most notable the Moon is Harsh Mistress) but far too much of the time took a couple good ideas and then stuffed in a bunch of weirdness about sex.

Not that i have a problem with sex in books in general, but Heinlein always had to make the sex "edgy", and unfortunately wasn't very good at writing it IMHO. In particular if i'm reading a book for the story (rather than just erotica/porn) i prefer to have better developed relationships than he was ever willing to take the time to invest in.

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"The urge to destroy is also a creative urge." -- Bakunin [ed. note - I would say: The urge to destroy may sometimes be a creative urge.]