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Comment the best part (Score 1) 1042

my favorite and the best part of this is the implicit conviction that "we" are part of a simulation and yet that "we" could "break out" of it. far more likely would be the same thing we see in our own simulations: there is no person "in there" separate from the "in there" to begin with. if we are simulated, we are simulated, period. then in some ultimate "real" reality, "we" don't exist at all. so there is no breaking out, any more than it would make sense for Mario to break out of Super Mario Brothers. believing otherwise is reflective of the typical unthinking arrogance of tech billionaires: "we're inside a simulation, but WE ARE SPECIAL PARTS OF THE SIMULATION." that's not how simulations work.

Comment Re:Service Sector (Score 1) 307

statements with "is" about complex social phenomena with multiple definitions always strike me as quite bizarre. capitalism has multiple definitions depending on the source. as a ballpark definition that conforms with most Economics texts, Wikipedia isn't bad (

Capitalism is an economic system in which trade, industries, and the means of production are largely or entirely privately owned and operated for profit. Central characteristics of capitalism include private property, capital accumulation, wage labour and, in many models, competitive markets. In a capitalist economy, the parties to a transaction typically determine the prices at which assets, goods, and services are exchanged.

Since all economic systems are descriptions created by scholars & advocates, there is no "real" definition of capitalism beyond what various people think. I tend to agree with the above posters, and Wikipedia, that "capitalism" as it is used in most economic and political discussions today does entail the ability to collect, store, and earn income from market transactions, and that this is conceptually distinct from markets. what I don't agree with is that empirically these things can ever be separated, apart from very limited and highly constrained circumstances. any relatively free market allows participants to hoard, causing supply/demand imbalances; that hoarding eventually turns into capital, if by no other power than by the hoarder's ability to loan out his supply and receive interest income (aka "rent") from the party lent to. i am completely unconvinced by the libertarian socialist arguments for free markets without capitalism, especially given the libertarian commitment to (at best) a "night watchman" state: without constraints on hoarding and manipulation, and without some worldwide and unimaginable resetting of the economy so that everyone starts at 0--a resetting that itself would be an amazing political event that would probably obviate any need for this kind of political strategic discussion--those who already have a lot will always be able to use that to their advantage, to corner markets and manipulate supply/demand imbalances. so while "free markets" and "capitalism" are conceptually distinct, my view is that in the real world, you can't have free markets without capitalism. whether you could have capital itself without free markets is a more complex and esoteric question--arguably, to use your example, the USSR functioned as a storer of capital in the world economy, but the international markets were not "free" by anyone's definition.

Submission + - Cody Wilson to run for Bitcoin Foundation board, plans its destruction (

F9rDT3ZE writes: As a crypto-anarchist, Wilson advocates for a truly decentralized, and absolutely unregulated bitcoin economy, beyond the reach of what he perceives to be government intrusion. His problem isn't with the Foundation's membership structure or election process, but with the Foundation itself—that it even exists at all. "We're out for projects that obviate collusive principals," Wilson said. "My fear is that I might say something that helps the Foundation, when all I want is its dissolution."

Comment confused (Score 1) 382

confused by your joint mention of "workplace monitoring" and being "more careful about your privacy." In most corporations, privacy and monitoring settings are, as your headline suggests, determined by the employer, and employees currently have no legal rights that trump the employer's right to determine those settings, in part to enable monitoring which the company is legally entitled and in some cases required to do, and in many cases is required to allow its systems to be open in various ways to law enforcement examination. If by "more careful about your privacy" you mean "don't search for backpacks to buy at work," I'm honestly not sure how to turn that into an effective privacy principle, beyond "don't do anything at work."

Comment what's the difference? and who does this benefit? (Score 4, Interesting) 274

what is the difference between "presenting ads to Google glass users" and "internet browsing"? Is Glass going to come with built-in ad-blockers for all web pages? Are they going to build special software to prohibit Glass-specific advertising on web pages that are not in any kind of partnership with Glass? This seems to me like a way of controlling the advertising revenue streams for Google more than anything else, since Google's pages are larded with ads and Glass will inherently drive traffic to those pages, both inside and outside of the Glass environment. I wonder if it even raises antitrust implications, as it tremendously biases the products toward Google's advertising & commerce platforms while pushing others out.

Submission + - Google Fiber: Why Traditional ISPs Are Officially On Notice (

MojoKid writes: A few years ago, when Google was determining which city to launch its pilot Google Fiber program, cities all over the country went all-out trying to persuade the search giant to bring all that fantastical bandwidth to their neck of the woods. And with good reason: Google Fiber offers gigabit Internet speeds and even TV service, all at prices that meet or beat the competition. In fact, the lowest tier of Google Fiber service (5Mbps down, 1Mbps up) is free, once users pay a $300 construction fee. If ISPs were concerned before, they should really start sweating it now. Although Google Fiber looked like it would whip traditional ISPs in every regard, with Time Warner Cable cutting prices and boosting speeds for users in Kansas City in a desperate attempt to keep them, surely other ISPs were hoping the pilot program would flame out. Now that Austin is happening, it’s clear that it’s only a matter of time before Google rolls out its service in many more cities. Further, this jump from legacy Internet speeds to gigabit-class service is not just about people wanting to download movies faster; it’s a sea change in what the Internet is really capable of.

Comment Re:Loopy logic leaps (Score 2) 73

unfortunately for your accusations, O'Reilly IS a technolibertarian, overtly supports outsourcing of critical government functions, is mostly concerned with getting government "out of the way" to allow corporate "innovation," and the responsibility part of government is of little interest to him, as Morozov's piece suggests. Read: O'Reilly's "government as platform": Harvard Law Professor Jennifer Shkabatur's "Transparency With(out) Accountability: Open Government in the United States":

Submission + - Bitcoin Bubble: Should Fans Be Celebrating?

F9rDT3ZE writes: Due to its unique features, the economics of Bitcoin are difficult to grasp even for those with advanced degrees in economics. Following generally-accepted economic thought, though, a number of commentators have started to point out that Bitcoin's rise in value relative to other currencies means that it is experiencing deflation (its value relative to what 1 BTC purchases is going down, just as if a Big Mac cost $2 instead of $3), and that most experts believe deflation is unwelcome for currencies because it incentivizes hoarding (often followed by massive inflation when hoarders sell off, sometimes in waves produced by crashing prices). Does the price bubble in BTC indicate not its strong future as a virtual currency (as promoters like Falkvinge suggest), but instead mark the end of its usefulness as the medium of exchange for which it was designed? And are you spending your bitcoins now, or holding them?

Submission + - Bitcoin: The Future of Global Currency? (

An anonymous reader writes: As hard currencies the world over rise and fall with abandon reckless as the governments that print them and the banks that tender them, people are turning in ever larger numbers to decentralized electronic currency like bitcoin. "So is bitcoin going to save the global economy, or is it today’s answer to seventeenth-century tulip mania?" The New Yorker weighs in ...

Comment Re:Couldn't a HUD actually help you drive safer? (Score 1) 375

this is a particular kind of fallacious pro-technology argument that deserves some attention: "it has a good use, so it should be allowed." this is a fallacy because the good use doesn't discount or prevent the bad use. they are, generally, entirely separate issues. Further, in this case, there are specific technologies available and in development to do the driving-specific tasks you name.There has already been controversy about computer technologies in automobiles not directly related to driving. I believe the state of law and industry practice right now is that HUD interfaces that give driving information, like dashboard tools directly related to driving, are acceptable, but that there is great concern over displays (even ones for controlling the stereo, heat of the car, etc.) that aren't directly related to the road in front of the driver. This is why GPS systems get locked out, even though they are directly related to driving--even the little bits of interaction drivers do with them can be distracting. People wildly overestimate their ability to focus on such tools, even when they are related to the drive. (I include myself.) the issue with Google Glass has nothing to do with this: it is the availability of tools *not* related to driving. slashdot readers know that there is no way to put a "lock" on Glass that creative users won't get around. if and when someone develops a HMD that is solely devoted to driving, I suspect that would have to be legislated separately, although it's hard to see why that would be more useful and/or not integrated into the manufacturer's HUD. Of course, Google's Driverless Cars will soon make much of this moot anyway. Sort of.

Submission + - Will Legitimacy Spoil Bitcoin? (

F9rDT3ZE writes: Salon writer Andrew Leonard examines the U.S. Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network's (FinCEN) first “guidance” regarding “de-centralized virtual currencies," noting that Bitcoin's supporters call it a "currency of resistance," while others suggest that "the more popular Bitcoin gets, whether as a symbol of resistance or a perceived safe haven in financially troubled times, the more government attention it will inevitably draw, and the more inexorably it will be sucked into existing regulatory structures."

Feed Google News Sci Tech: Lawmaker seeks to ban Google Glass use while driving - SlashGear (


Lawmaker seeks to ban Google Glass use while driving
A lawmaker in West Virginia is seeking to ban the use of Google Glass, and other Google Glass-esque products, while driving. Gary G. Howell, a republican in the West Virginia Legislature, believes that Google Glass poses the same dangers, if not worse, ...
West Virginia Lawmaker Seeks To Ban Drivers From Wearing Head Mounted ... TechCrunch
West Virginia bill would ban drivers from using Google GlassWashington Times
Don't Glass and drive -- lawmakers seek to ban Google Glass on the roadCNET
all 11 news articles

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