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Comment Re:How so? (Score 1) 34

The hackernoon link seems rather oriented toward simple, hack-it-together sorts of applications. Yes, if you're just making a personal web page or something you probably don't need a complete build system or anything like that.

Sadly, that's not the case. The whole Javascript/front-end development scene is awash with tools/libraries du jour; what this article calls "magpie front-end developers". As the cited Airbnb example demonstrates, there's a quite a few large web development teams using shiny new things because they are "cool" but that don't add much (if any) business value.

Comment Re:Anti Trust (Score 1) 239

Hard to understand how we have not applied historical norms of Monopoly to Amazon

Because there are thousands of mail-order/online-shopping businesses in the country? Amazon isn't anything like a monopoly.

Except that the picture isn't quite that rosy; e.g. Monopoly power and the decline of small business.

From TFA: "In the 15 years between 1997 and 2012: 72,000 small US manufacturers shut down; as did 108,000 local retailers and 13,000 community banks (fully half of America's complement of small banks!). The number of US startups has dropped by 50% since 1970. These statistics are not the result of the changing times: they're due to massive, monopolistic corporations stacking the deck against small competitors".

Comment Re:Single payer system would avoid this problem (Score 1) 327

Nope. From your description you don't have any experience with the US health care system. You opted to leave the US rather than make use of it.

My family member was in a US hospital. The costs were exorbitant and the standard of care was, at best, no better than the UK. Even with the flight cost, the UK hospital was the better option. But hey, don't take my word for it.

Comment Re:Single payer system would avoid this problem (Score 1) 327

I hope the flight wasn't for cancer, heart disease, or a stroke, because then your country's insurance cheaped out on what would have almost certainly been the superior US treatment.

There's a reason the rich often come to the US when the shit hits the fan.

You need to read up a bit on healthcare in the rest of the world - How the U.S. Health Care System Compares Internationally

From the first sentence of the executive summary: "The United States health care system is the most expensive in the world, but this report and prior editions consistently show the U.S. underperforms relative to other countries on most dimensions of performance. Among the 11 nations studied in this report—Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States—the U.S. ranks last, as it did in the 2010, 2007, 2006, and 2004 editions".

Comment Re:Single payer system would avoid this problem (Score 2) 327

I don't think any amount of regulation will help with this, because it comes down to greed.

Untrue. In most countries the government is in charge of health care and they have a VERY easy way to regulate price gouging such as this. In any single payer system the national health service basically sets the price they are willing to pay and that's what it costs. End of story. We only run into this problem because we have a portion of our population who breaks out in hives anytime they hear the words "socialized medicine".

If there was a score above 5 on /. then your comment should get it. America has the most expensive medical system on the planet. I've had first-hand experience of a family member falling ill on a US holiday and the insurance company chartered a plane to fly them home because it cost less than paying US hospital bills. And the sad part is that the medical outcomes are no better in the US than they are in Europe where we have national public health systems ("socialized medicine" as you neatly put it).

As you say, public health systems negotiate at national level which gives them much more leverage with the big pharma companies. But there is also a general ethos in Europe that healthcare is not a luxury, and that patients should always come before profit.

Comment Re: I Lol'ed, did you? (Score 1) 62

Except... not really. :-)

The two main parties campaigned against changing from FPTP because the status quo suits them. Even their insistence on calling it "AV" was intended to imply that in FPTP we already had the "gold standard"; so why change? Proportional representation, a system where you get parliaments that actually reflect the broad spectrum of public opinion, is anathema to the two big traditional parties; especially the Conservatives.

The Conservatives have been able to pursue policies that benefit their core (minority) support while visiting austerity on the majority. A more diverse parliament, where they didn't have absolute power and would have to broker a consensus, would rein in their more neo-liberal tendencies. So that's hardly a plus for FPTP.

It's also clear that a lot of people voted "Leave" in the referendum as a protest vote assuming that, as with general elections, their votes wouldn't make any difference in the great scheme of things. Ironically, a vote where there are only two choices is the one instance where all votes really do count under FPTP.

Comment Re: I Lol'ed, did you? (Score 1) 62

In the UK's recent referendum, I voted Remain, but held my nose while I did so. I was surprised but not devastated by the result. In the short to medium term, we will undoubtedly suffer economic pain and a fall in living standards. But in the longer term, we do get to step off a conveyor belt towards post-democratic Government.

Eh, we have a "post-democratic" government already. The current Conservative government has an absolute majority in parliament despite the fact that roughly two-thirds of the UK electorate did not vote for them. When Conservative ministers talk about their "mandate", they are really referring to the one-third that actually voted for them, not the disenfranchised two-thirds.

And it's not an isolated case; it's the almost inevitable outcome of continuing to use "first past the post" elections in a country with several political parties.

Comment Re:Alternatives to Google (Score 1) 241

With Qwant I'm ok for 95% of my searches. With DuckDuckGo I got relevant results at a maximum of 5% of the time ... and I really tried. It was my default search engine for a full year - now replaced with Qwant.

You should absolutely try it.

Thanks! I'll certainly give it a go. Initial impressions are that the results for the same query are quite different in both, though with a core of common hits.

Comment Re:Government is not the answer. (Score 1) 66

No. Not "The proponents of free markets" Big businesses that use government to protect their positions are not proponents of a free market. They may say it, but what they do is anti free market. Many people who want a job, or run small businesses want to see more of a truer version of a free market. Do not paint the partners of big government regulations with the same brush as real people that encourage free market capitalism.

Perhaps I should have said [irony]free markets[/irony] instead. The reality is that there is no such thing as a free market. Every market has its rules (written or unwritten); it just depends which set you are playing with. And since the rise of neo-liberalism in the 1980s (under Reagan in the US and Thatcher in the UK) the rules have been stacked in favor of the 1%. What neo-liberals tout as "free market capitalism" is just means to make the 1% ever richer and entrench their power.

Ironically, the only way to tackle this is to elect governments with the will and the power to curb the power of big corporates and the wealthy 1%; i.e. change the rule book. The markets won't magically level the playing field. There's no profit in that for the dominant players.

Comment Re:Government is not the answer. (Score 1) 66

ISPs have monopolies in areas simply because local governments have given them the monopolies. Your problem is still government.

And there you have one of the classic ironies of "free markets". The proponents of "free markets" publicly preach "small government", but in reality they need the collusion of "big government" to establish and maintain dominant positions in their industries. Some interesting background reading; Monopoly power and the decline of small business: big business vs democracy, growth & equality.

Comment Re:Linux is far worse than Microsoft (Score 1) 541

There are major distros that are systemd free, and not only because systemd was removed from them, but because they never had it (Slackware)... or at least only have it as a non-required option (Gentoo).

And you have just named both of the "major" systemd free distros. After that you are into niche distros which, while they may each be a decent OS, don't have the support network behind them that the major distros do.

The fun will really start when important application software starts to depend on systemd being there. Being on a systemd free distro is not much consolation if won't work without systemd.

I'm currently on Linux Mint 17 (no systemd), which is LTS until 2019. Hopefully by then, the whole systemd picture (how evil, or not, it really is) will be a lot clearer.

Comment Re:As a C programmer (Score 1) 315

You are certainly right about that. The nice thing about C is that the really incompetent will not get their code to run at all and weed themselves out that way. In contrast, a bad Java coder (for example) will usually get things to work, but very badly so.

Actually bad C programs do run alright. It's just that after a while they fail in mysterious (and often non-obvious) ways because the developers weren't anywhere near as good at memory management and pointer arithmetic (for example) as they thought they were. Every language with a large developer base has good and bad coders; C is no different.

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