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Comment I hope he wins his suit (Score 5, Insightful) 56

I'm all for restricting the use of credentials - like 'Doctor', for instance - to people certified by the state to use them. However, that restriction should only come into play when they're using those credentials professionally or to lend authority to a fraudulent claim, which this man was not.

He was speaking the truth, arguably for the public good, and he IS an engineer, just not one registered to work professionally in the state. His background does make his study and its findings somewhat more credible to those incapable of understanding it themselves... but he's RIGHT, so he's not trying to use that title to defraud anyone.

I hope he wins his lawsuit.

Comment Re:Maximize profits (Score 1) 22

If I'm going to spend extra just to keep money in the country, I'd rather it be taxed from me and redistributed as welfare rather than charged as a premium on products handled by a make-work project.

With welfare you're not enriching the already-rich at the top of the corporate structure, so you're giving much more efficiently to the people who need it.

Comment Culture wars are coming (Score 2) 10

We're already having the opening skirmishes - you can see it in Hollywood where they're tailoring productions to be Chinese-friendly. Rewrite anything the Communist Party of China might find offensive before the script is considered complete, make sure the dialogue translates well.

But imagine a future in which all media is fully available (after the government censors apply their filters). Imagine you have a choice of seeing a Chinese movie (made in English for foreign consumption) over an American or British one, and the viewing fee is 90% lower. You go for it, the movie's fine... but without you even realizing it, you're absorbing Chinese culture. Their values, their imagery, fawning over their stars. Maybe even displacing your own.

Sounds like a silly thing to be concerned about, but on long enough time scales (like generations) that kind of propaganda works wonders, especially when it subtly presents their way as better. Sure, we're doing the same to them, but who has the bigger population, who can crank out new product for less money, more frequently?

I'm all for cultures mixing - picking up the best each has to offer and excising their own worst in the process - but if the flow is too one-sided that's not what happens. You get their best and worst replacing yours.

Something to think about, anyway.

Comment Re:Point Watson at Congress (Score 2) 53

They are the very definition of 'middle-men'. They are the gatekeepers because they're the gatekeepers, not because they're adding value.

Because if they really were adding value, they'd simply enrich themselves with their knowledge instead of hedging their bets by taking a commission off of others.

They're glorified shamans and bookies, offering betting advice based on sheep entrails. But they get lots of coke and hookers, so they have that going for them.

Comment Re:Finally a good use for fitness trackers. (Score 1) 54

You're going to want a LONG fuse on that deadman switch, or any number of accidents or incidents of forgetfulness could cause you some serious annoyance.

I have a friend who would wipe or destroy my digital media for me if I died, after migrating any family photos or videos my wife wanted to keep. My stuff is locked down for the sake of it, and not locked down well enough to keep law enforcement or a decent hacker out anyway.

Security vs. convenience. By the time you've gone to deadman switches you're so far beyond 'inconvenient' you need a new word for it.

Comment Re:Maximize profits (Score 1) 22

I have to admit, the first time I ordered something direct from China I was a bit worried I'd never see a product and the bank would call me about fraudulent activity on my card.

No such worries now. When I'm getting the same product (literally) direct from the factory in China instead of having it go through a local retailer, I pay less than 1/3 the price. Not even Wal-Mart seems able to compete, given the last price comparison I did had them demanding 5x what an AliExpress vendor was selling a comparable product for.

Canada lost some wealth and China gained some, and in the meantime I get to live as if I were a bit wealthier than I am.

Lowering trade barriers globally allows the common consumer some of the same freedom the 1% have had to themselves until now - purchasing what they want from where they want and screw national borders.

In the long run, this will result in equalization of standard of living around the globe - so long as we have the same social support systems and the same expectations of our local governments. But with wealth will come education and power, at least to some degree, and we'll see social standards equalize as well. Since we're all human, I don't really have a problem with leveling the playing field, so long as it happens slowly enough it doesn't disrupt my life on noticeable timescales.

Comment Re:we no longer need to use common sense (Score 1) 161

I'll trust Jimmy's politics over my own common sense.

Common sense is neither common nor sense.

Personally, I'll take substantiated, fact-checked information over my own "common sense", which is really nothing more than the aggregate of my own biases.

WikiTribune might actually be able to write stories that evolve towards correctness through review, source-checking and debate, as Wikipedia does. I'm not sure that will actually help the "news" situation, though, because it takes too long, and by the time the facts have been found and clarified, everyone has moved on.

Comment Re:Finally a good use for fitness trackers. (Score 1) 54

This kind of thing was predicted long ago, though it was supposed to be a warning:

"We'll know you're dead when you don't answer your phone".

Well, we showed those prognosticators, and we ignored their warnings and went leagues beyond what they foresaw. We voluntarily wear electronics that spy on us regardless of whether we activate them or not.

Comment Re:And this is one reason why ... (Score 1) 240

We can fly to Mars, but we can't install planet-sized plumbing?

You're trolling, right? Nobody is even proposing to fly to Mars any time soon. You aim yourself at mars and you coast for a long-ass time. Maybe by the time we have the tech to accelerate at 1G halfway to Mars and decelerate at 1G the other half the way to Mars, we'll have the tech to run a fiberoptic link through the mantle. But... probably not.

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Technological progress has merely provided us with more efficient means for going backwards. -- Aldous Huxley