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Comment Re:PasswordSafe (Score 1) 415

I know nothing about cryptography. Maybe I have a misconception that you can correct.

What you're saying is, that you can generate all possible 34-bit passwords in one second.

But simply generating all those passwords is a far cry from hacking someone's account, is it not?

You have to make a login attempt with each one of those passwords, and wait for the server to respond with a "password incorrect" error before moving on to the next one. Each failed attempt would take at least a few milliseconds. (Assuming the server allows millions of rapid-fire failed login attempts.)

So associating a time of "one second" with 32-bit space is not realistic. Or, what am I missing?

Comment I am not an ox. (Score 1) 644

in this scenario you are the ox

Humans have always been the wielder or controller of the tools. Qualitatively that has never changed, even as the tools grew orders of magnitude more powerful. (Grain used to be harvested by a scythe with a bronze blade; now it's harvested with one of these.)

So no, you and I are not a tool (the ox).

The humans who direct the actions of robots are simply the next step in the pattern that has existed for hundreds of years now: each generation wields more powerful tools than the previous generation.

Comment And that is why "stimulus" plans don't stimulate. (Score 1) 644

A corporation may write its check to the Internal Revenue Service for payment of the corporate income tax, but that money must come from somewhere

And that is why "stimulus" plans don't stimulate.

Investors naturally seek out enterprises that will provide high return-on-investment (ROI). And an enterprise that provides high ROI will, by definition, create more jobs than an enterprise that provides low ROI.

When government taxes money away from investors, and spends it on a "stimulus" project instead, it is transferring capital into lower-ROI enterprises at the expense of high-ROI enterprises. (A handful of bureaucrats cannot pick winners better than the crowdsourced wisdom of millions of investors participating in free financial markets.)

To the extent that the "stimulus" money is borrowed, the expansion of lower-ROI enterprises comes at the expense of future job creation, as future taxpayers are forced to service the debt instead of investing their money in high-ROI enterprises.

Comment It's exactly like the past. (Score 1) 644

nobody can identify the new fields that are replacing the old ones, unlike the past

Nobody can identify the new fields, which is exactly like the past.

In 1940, nobody predicted that millions would someday be employed in the IT industry.

In 1890, nobody predicted that millions would someday be employed in the automotive industry (and supporting industries, like road construction).

In 1840, nobody predicted that billions would someday be employed in fields that depend on electric power.

Every new technology has created more jobs than it has destroyed. Moderately disruptive technologies cause a moderate amount of net job creation. Massively disruptive technologies cause a massive amount of net job creation.

The pessimists look at only the negative effects of an innovation. You have to look at both sides of the ledger to get the full picture; the net effect.

For every newspaper worker displaced by Craigslist, there are multiple workers who gained jobs, because people who use Craigslist to conveniently buy and sell used goods (which otherwise would have ended up in a landfill) now have more disposable income with which they can stimulate the general economy.

If you believe the opposite is true, then why stop at shutting down Craigslist? You should also ban all printing presses. Paying people to make hand-written signs that advertise your wares would employ more people than taking out an ad in a newspaper. (And for God's sake, don't communicate with those signmakers by telephone. Paying couriers to hand-carry your messages would employ more people.)

Comment "Income inequality" is not the problem. (Score 1) 644

Thank you Solandri for being one of the few voices of reason around here. There is just one thing to add.

That the rich have gotten richer [faster] than the poor have gotten richer is certainly a valid complaint.

Actually, it's not. "Income inequality" is not the problem; poverty is the problem. Read on for the proof.

Suppose there was a magic switch that would increase every individual's annual income by this formula: new_income = 3 * old_income + $60,000

In other words, toggling that switch would eliminate poverty because everyone would have an income of at least $60,000. At the same time, it would greatly increase "income inequality," because if your old income was $1 million, your new income would be $3,060,000.

Would you throw that switch, and forever eliminate poverty from our world?

Or, have you been so brainwashed by those mindlessly railing against "income inequality" -- in other words, is your spite for the rich so great -- that you would refrain from throwing that switch, thereby keeping billions of people in grinding poverty?

I'm pretty sure Solandri would throw the switch. But sadly, there are many Slashdotters who wouldn't.

(By the way, such a switch does exist, although the results can't be obtained instantaneously. It's called pursuing pro-growth economic policies for a few more decades. See this post for a discussion of what would happen if there was so much economic growth, that a robust social safety net could be funded entirely by voluntary contributions.)

Comment Bill Gates' spending habits would change. (Score 1) 516

Bill Gates is only going to buy so many TVs, cars, and houses. Doubling his wealth is not going to change his spending habits.

Actually, I can say with high confidence that his spending habits would change. If his income increased by 100%, the amount he gives to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation would increase by more than 100%.

That's simply how philanthropy works. A group of poor people, as much as they might want to engage in philanthropy, simply doesn't have the means to. If their situation improves, such that their own basic needs are taken care of, they tend to become philanthropists who donate a small percentage of their income. If the group's situation improves further, such that their basic needs as well as their more frivolous wants are taken care of, they tend to become philanthropists who donate a large percentage of their income. (There are, of course, exceptions to every rule.)

I look forward to the day when the economy has grown to the point where the social safety net can be funded entirely by voluntary contributions, as opposed to tax revenue that is collected coercively, even while providing more robust services than it does today.

That idea is not farfetched. Americans gave $373.25 billion to charity in 2015. I.e., about 16% of wealth redistribution was voluntary, while the other 84% was coercive. (Ok, the second statistic was from 2012; sorry I don't have something more current.) A few more decades of robust growth in Americans' incomes -- which would result in even more robust growth in their charitable contributions -- would bring us into a much better situation, where it is no longer necessary to redistribute any assets coercively. Imagine how much political rancor would dry up in that situation.

It's true that Boards of Directors often approve very large compensation packages for CEOs. They don't do this for lulz, or because they like to squander the company's resources. They do it because of a sincere belief that it's worth it; that the overall health of the company will be optimized by providing the kind of compensation it takes to attract a top-quality CEO.

Critical thinking should be applied to everything, including those who would second-guess Boards of Directors. What makes them qualified to do so? Have they ever even served on a Board of Directors? They often claim that CEO pay structure is not based on actual scarcities. Actually, top-quality CEOs are quite scarce. It's not a job I could do.

Comment Loaded on a plane? (Score 1) 274

They are loaded on a plane.

That's very surprising.

A pallet of CRTs is damn heavy, and shipping heavy items by air is vastly more expensive than shipping them by rail or container ship. (The Chunnel made rail shipment in/out of the UK a viable option.)

Air-freighting heavy items is only done if you're in a hurry to get them to their destination. Who's in a hurry to get these CRTs into their landfill?

Comment Applying some critical thinking... (Score 1) 274

a warehouse full of dead monitors that will basically just sit forever is still a way better scenario than having them polluting a landfill.

How did SuperKendall arrive at that conclusion?

In a deep landfill, a given quantity of CRTs will occupy much less land area than in a one-story warehouse. Furthermore, lead can't leach out of a properly-constructed landfill that is lined with clay. The same can't be said for an unwanted, unmaintained warehouse whose roof will eventually leak.

A warehouse indefinitely full of CRTs is a real estate asset that can no longer be used for productive purposes, and whose value has become negative (the owner would have to pay someone to take it off their hands, because of the massive expense of disposing of the CRTs). As its assessed value is negative, it will not generate any tax revenue for the local school district or other government entities.

Comment So what if only a minority find it useful? (Score 2) 168

IMDb's message boards are no longer providing a positive, useful experience for the vast majority of our more than 250 million monthly users worldwide,"

So what if only a minority find it useful? Turning off functionality that works, and took a fair amount of resources to create, is a waste and a shame.

You know how pedestrian crosswalk signals make a beeping sound for the benefit of the visually impaired? It's a very small minority that finds that useful. By IMDB's logic, that feature should be shut down.

Comment Correcting some fake news (Score 1) 502

Trump has kicked the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Director of National Intelligence off the National Security Council and installed Steve Bannon in their place.

Wrong. CJCS and DNI will no longer attend all meetings of the Principals Committee, which is a subset of the full National Security Council, but
- they will sit on the Principals Committee when matters pertaining to them arise
- they are still members of the NSC.

Comment A car analogy (well, a fuel analogy) (Score 1) 290

Gas prices here in Colorado vary greatly depending on whether you're buying in an elite resort community (Aspen, currently $3.24 / gallon) or a working-class community (Longmont, $1.99 / gallon). There's nothing wrong with that, as long as people are free to fill a couple 5-gallon cans in Longmont and haul them up I-70 to Aspen. I.e., as long as there are no restrictions (other than your own convenience) on your ability to circumvent regional pricing. In the software world, that means no regional DRM.

And unlike the time and effort it takes to haul around a heavy physical commodity like gasoline, a software installer can be instantly downloaded from anywhere in the world. So one might think that a regional pricing scheme (without regional DRM) would be doomed to fail. However, there are convenience issues: the online app store might not be in your language of choice, and it may not sell the software localized in your language of choice. So there's a few ways a seller could exploit regional differences. They should be free to do so, as long as they aren't imposing regional DRM.

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