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Comment Re:Raise your hand if... (Score 1) 283

No one is obligated to accept cash. Most apartments refuse cash payments because they don't want to deal with having thousands of dollars in cash on-hand at predictable times. Major airlines don't accept cash for purchases during flights. Several restaurants in New York are cashless, and the trend has been expanding slowly to other locations. Some stay cashless, some allow cash later.

A place not accepting cash doesn't mean that you can just walk out with the merchandise, though. Your perception that you've created a debt by attempting to purchase something is off. There's no debt because the transaction hasn't been completed, and there's no contract, verbal or written, setting up payment at a later time. What you're talking about is theft, and the police can arrest you for that. The judge will find you guilty of theft. The only thing you can do is leave your coffee behind and walk out to find a place that does accept cash.

Comment Re:A point here? (Score 1) 283

Cash does not have an inherent value. If it did, money markets wouldn't exist because all cash would have an inherent value, and that would not change. Even gold and silver don't have an inherent value. If I'm starving and I have something to trade for food and you're the only person around, I'm not going to trade for your silver or gold if I need food. At that time, food has a value to me, while precious metals do not.

Valuing something in a given currency a learned skill. When aboriginal tribes were forcibly assimilated into Australian society, one of the most difficult things for many of them to learn was how money worked. I read a while back about one person who walked into a grocery store soon after being brought into the city, picked up a couple of things from a shelf, and walked out, not understanding why people were shouting at and chasing him.

Similarly, what if I plopped down a coin made of palladium. Could you spot its inherent value if the language on the coin wasn't familiar to you? Would you place its value higher or lower than silver if you didn't know it was made of palladium?

Your coworkers were probably just amazed to see some silver coins only because they're not used to seeing them. If you took them into most stores, you wouldn't be able to spend them, even if they were US silver coins because people wouldn't be familiar with them. Hopefully, they wouldn't call the cops on you like some do for $2 bills, but they might refuse the transaction to avoid the risk of falling for a scam.

Comment Re: Exchange in precious metals (Score 1) 283

All it took was one signature on an old-fashioned piece of paper and private possession of gold currency became illegal, too. Sure, you could probably deal in shavings carefully measured on a scale, but that takes a much longer time to do, is subject to manipulation, and raises the risks of collecting the metals such that most places wouldn't do it.

Comment Re: Estoppel by acquiescence and laches (Score 1) 93

Acquiescence requires that the party making the new claim not be aware that they are infringing the other party's rights. (In the GA/SC boundary disputes, there were reasonable and independent bases to declare that some of the islands were in SC under the treaty and usual rules of territory.). The OpenSSL group here is clearly aware that they do not hold the copyrights here, or have permission to change the license.

Comment Re: It Doesn't Work That Way (Score 1) 260

Per capita power consumption doubled in the past 50 years, and there's no reason to think it won't again -- most of the world's population is still in developing economies. Population growth will also continue, although not at the same pace as in the past. If your point about long-range social forecasts being hard is that this article had no business being published in a reputable journal, I agree, but if we're going to debate the merits of the article we have to make some long-range projections.

As I said earlier, you cannot reasonably compare growth rates during early adoption phases with steady-state capacity, and you are also confusing installation growth rate with production growth rate (which is the derivative of the former).

While indium, tellurium, and other uncommon and/or hard-to-refine elements -- which are critical parts of modern solar cells -- are technically not rare earth elements, they are often treated as such in popular media and policy analysis.

So, congratulations on finding a pedantically correct but practically irrelevant issue with half of one of my points, while ignoring or pretending away the rest? Maybe you should try to debunk some of your own bullshit sometime.

Comment Re: Not everyone is happy... (Score 3, Insightful) 93

Pragmatism is not sufficient to legally justify the assumption that people are okay with the relicensing unless they object. I'm pretty sure both common law and civil law jurisdictions would side with a contributor who objects after the fact, even if they did get the notice.

Comment Re: It Doesn't Work That Way (Score 1) 260

Your conclusion is only viable if you make a bunch of unwarranted assumptions:

  • Global power consumption does not increase (it quadrupled over the last 50 years)
  • The ~60% of current energy consumption that is not electricity generation (vehicle fuel, etc.) is replaced by... nothing
  • We solve the battery problem for intermittent power generation (most renewable sources are inherently intermittent)
  • The whole world generates electricity from solar power as efficiently as Phoenix, AZ
  • Solar and wind power production stops chewing through rare earth elements

Comment Re: Not all wrecks can be avoided (Score 1) 219

Self driving cars are usually not being programmed by their target audience. The car's developers can scale back the "selfishness" that exploits other vehicles driving in a cooperative manner. Their notice is to make life good for their customers overall, not for their most greedy customers at the expense of the rest.

Comment Re: Please stop (Score 1) 268

You got the nail on the head. One of the strongest contributors to the success of a company is aggressive competition. However, it's hard to keep that competition from leaking over to competition within the company, and that internal competition often manifests as arrogance and mistreatment of others. Sometimes that is explicitly group-oriented -- sexism, racism, or other -isms -- and sometimes it is just prima donnas being jerks to the rest of the team.

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"It's when they say 2 + 2 = 5 that I begin to argue." -- Eric Pepke