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Comment Re:... move to a shared, distributed database ... (Score 2) 108

unless, of course, you manage to get a majority of the people to record it incorrectly... but gee, that's impossible, right?

Nothing's impossible. However, the relevant question would be, is it harder to subvert a blockchain-based system (where you need subvert "a majority of the people") than the current system (where you need to subvert only one person, as long as it is the right person)?

Comment A future countermeasure for "active shooters"? (Score 2) 113

It seems like a co-ordinated swarm of drones would be a good way to neutralize someone who has decided to go on a shooting spree. They could either attack the shooter or simply swarm around him so that he can't see where he is going, and shooting at them wouldn't be particularly effective since they are small, fast, and there are so many of them.

Well, someday, maybe.

Comment Re:What do you want to be ? (Score 1) 104

One use case, imagine I'm a US company and I ship worldwide. A customer wants to buy $5000 of product. I ship the product. They contact their credit card company and say it was a fraudulent charge and they issue a chargeback. My company is out of $5000 and there is not much recourse

If I'm not mistaken, the flip side of this is if you take the customer's Bitcoins and decide not to ship their product. What recourse would your customer have then?

Comment Re:Not sure what they're talking about (Score 3, Funny) 190

I was at Best Buy last week; all of the TVs there looked awesome. I'm sure some of them looked slightly better than others, but really, who cares? At this point the quality of your viewing experience will be determined almost exclusively by the creative content of the programming you chose to watch, not by any limitations of the display technology. Adam Sandler movies will continue to suck no matter how large the contrast ratio gets.

Comment Re: Guess I just never paid attention (Score 3, Insightful) 201

For products where your relationship with the producer ends at the point of purchase (and you don't much care whether or not you will continue to be able to buy that product in the future), that makes sense.

For a lot of the more complex products (in particular cars, software, computers), however, the value of your purchase will depend strongly on its manufacturer's continued ability to exist and support that product.

i.e. if you bought a Pebble watch last month, you're probably not too happy that Pebble called it quits this month, since that means you won't be getting much in the way of support or updates in the future, and your watch might stop working entirely.

Comment Re:Just. Run. The. Damn. Wire. (Score 1) 88

Another good option is to re-use the existing wires in the wall to carry data. Ethernet-over-power-lines is cheap and works well (as long as your two endpoints are on the same circuit, and your appliances aren't too electrically noisy). Ethernet-over-phone-lines rather pricey but also works well (I'm able to get broadband data traffic up to the third story of my building from the garage using 1970's-era phone wiring with this device).

Comment Re:It will (Score 1) 504

Dude, that's just stupid. I love how people make such arguments. "This is the cheapest option available but because there is a businessman in charge, he'll pick more expensive options."

You're right, the businessman will indeed choose the cheapest option -- for him. Which in this case means the option that lets him pay off the political debts to his oil-company backers, stick it to the liberals, and ignore climate change completely, because who cares?

Of course that will be the most expensive option for the rest of humanity, but that hardly matters for Mr. Trump, by the time the shit hits the fan, he'll have already earned his money.

I don't know where this idea came from that businessmen always consider "the big picture" and do the optimal thing. A glance at any given newspaper should suffice to show that businessmen mostly consider only the next quarter's earnings, and sometimes not even that.

Comment Re:What about at night? (Score 3, Interesting) 504

Batteries have been a decade away from a major breakthrough for the past 40 years.

The major breakthrough came in the 90s with the advent of the cell phone. Suddenly there was a huge market incentive for investing into battery research to maximize power density. That is why we have 200+ mile range on electric cars now, rather than the 30-70 mile range they could reach back then.

Comment Re:Not surprised... there isn't anything capping i (Score 1) 146

About $250/oz of the value of gold is based purely on the industrial value as a construction material! There is real long-term intrinsic value that serves as a guaranteed floor and allows gold to trade at a much higher level in a similar way to a fiat currency.

What's "intrinsic" about that? Is there some particular reason to think that people will always and forever value gold at $250/oz or higher, no matter what?

Keep in mind that aluminum was once valued more highly than gold, now it's cheap enough that many people don't even both to recycle it but rather just throw it in the landfill.

Seems to me that gold is valued as an industrial material only as long as no cheaper/more-useful substitute can be found, at which point its value would drop accordingly. Outside of that, its main attraction is that it is shiny and people like the way it looks, at which point we're definitely back to 'eye of the beholder' territory.

Comment Re:More fake news based on lies (Score 2) 146

That's an oversimplification to binary -- of course neither Bitcoin nor anything else is a magical solution to the fact that your government (or any other sufficiently powerful entity) could point a gun at your head (either literally or metaphorically) and force you to comply with whatever demands/rules they've come up with.

The question is, how practical is it for a government to do that on a regular/systemic basis? With a formal banking system, it's quite possible, since there are only a small number of banks and they are easy for a government to regulate. With Bitcoin, it's still possible, but (for now, anyway) considerably more difficult/expensive to carry out, which is why you only see it done in special cases where the government(s) involved can justify the significant cost of doing so.

Perhaps a government will in the future come up with a practical way to systematically regulate all p2p bitcoin-like traffic that can't be easily circumvented, but they haven't done it yet and it might turn out that it's infeasible to do it, ever.

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