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Comment Re:How about. . . no. . . (Score 1) 261

. . . does that work for you ? Because it works for me. No crying babies, chatty teens, or rude patrons playing with their smartphones.

Didn't experience any of that in my last trip to the cinema. But then, that was to see Florence Foster Jenkins, so maybe the problem is the movies you're going to.

Comment Re:Who are these guys? (Score 1) 106

Update: I found the closest thing to a mission statement I could find buried in a wall of text on page 17 of their 2013 tax return.

Although the Phoenix Center does not meet the safe harbor test for public support (33-1/3%) in 2013, it believes that the following facts and circumstances support the organization's continuance as a public charity. The Phoenix Center has grown and developed since its inception to become a voice for consumer welfare by promoting free markets, competition, and individual freedom and liberty.

In other words, its exacta what everyone thinks. This is yet another one of those corporate mouthpiece "think tanks" that release studies to push a corporate agenda.

I think you're right about that, but that's not what the text says. Unless you think that only corporations want "free markets, competition, and individual freedom and liberty". Corporations typically want none of those things. They like markets that benefit them at the expense of their competitors, not free markets, and they'd love to have no competition. They tend not to care much about individual freedom and liberty, except to the degree that their directors feel personally strong about such issues.

Comment Re:I posit that (Score 1) 106

If YouTube were to pay the recorded music industry market rates, similar to what other streaming services pay, its economic contributions to the sector would be 0. This would be so because YouTube would simply not allow copyright music on its service.

But YouTube actually does pay the industry. Most of the time, if you post a copyrighted song the copyright owner doesn't bother filing a DMCA takedown request, YouTube just informs you that your video contains copyrighted material and that instead of paying you for any ad revenue from views, YouTube pays the copyright holder. I've made a few videos for weddings and funerals, set to music, and that's the case for all of my videos. I don't care. I didn't make them to make money but to honor the people in them, and being able to use the subjects' favorite music and allow the copyright holder to get paid for that use is perfectly acceptable to me.

Are the rates YouTube pays "market rates"? Beats me. They're the rates that the copyright holders agreed to, which makes them "market rates" by definition, doesn't it?

It's not clear to me what the author of this paper is talking about, exactly. Is he talking about revenue lost to copyright holders tho haven't bothered to register their material with YouTube so it can be automatically identified and paid for? Is he talking about revenue lost to copyright holders because YouTube's systems fail to identify their material? The most likely thing, based on the summary, (no, I did not RTFA), is that he believes that if YouTube had to pre-vet content to avoid being sued for inadvertently hosting infringing material, then YouTube would simply not exist and that record labels would instead be able to run their own services and charge whatever they wanted.

I agree that if you allow the record labels complete control, they can find more ways to extract revenue. I don't agree that that's a good thing.

Comment Re:Coding is a profession with a long term future (Score 1) 536

Cool! Thanks. That speaks to several things I've been turning over in my mind.

YW. Note that I think the industry has changed a little, and I'm not sure that being a generalist is practical any more. Which isn't to say that you shouldn't know about a lot of different things, but there's value in being expert in one field. Note I said one field, not one technology and especially not one tool. Being expert in one tool is great in the short term while that tool is in demand, but it's also a good way to get left behind. Oh, and you have to expect that you'll constantly be learning new stuff for your entire career.

My bottom line, though, is that if you're smart and have an actual interest in software technology for itself, rather than just as a profession, you can develop software for as long as you want to. At some point you'll run into a compensation ceiling, and breaking that requires moving into a different sort of role. But... the ceiling is pretty high if you find a company that values you. And you can make it even higher if you go independent, though that comes with considerable risk.

Comment Re:Side effect of the Fake news in MSM (Score 1) 345

Government is way too incompetent to pull any of these crazy scenarios off....

Especially while keeping it quiet.

Look at the big government scandals of the last few decades, how many people were involved and how they were outed. Then line them up against common conspiracy theories and look at how many people would have to have been involved in them and how perfectly they would have to be executed and how many people would have to be kept quiet. Any rational analysis will quickly conclude that a government that couldn't keep a blow job in the oval office secret, or a hotel room wiretap, or low-key, small-scale sale of arms to Iraq, or prisoner abuse in a prison on the other side of the world, could never manage what the conspiracy theorists claim.

And, actually, this isn't even evidence of incompetence. Keeping secrets is really hard, and it's darned near impossible when the secrets carry moral baggage that encourages disclosure. Someone eventually outs it. Attempts to bully or eliminate possible leakers to keep them quiet just generates even more secrets with even more moral baggage. In North Korea, Kim Jong Il can probably suppress information he wants suppressed. Most of the time. In the US? No way.

Comment Re:Self inflicted (Score 1) 226

Well, financially speaking bankruptcy doesn't happen because you don't make profit. It happens because you run out of cash flow to meet your current obligations.

Had Westinghouse back in the 90s gone all-in on a fuel cycle it had no practical experience with, it would be pretty much where it is today: building the first power plants of a new design, after a multi-decade hiatus in commissioning nuclear power plants. Either way it's a recipe for construction delays, which equal cost overruns without corresponding new revenue, which equals bankruptcy.

The only way to get a large-scale nuclear power plant business off the ground is to have vast quantities of cash on hand, which businesses don't like to do because keeping cash relatively idle costs money too.

Comment Re:What do you get with a TV-celeb as prez? (Score 1) 299

5 is a lot younger than 9. In fact developmentally it's a lot younger than the 45% chronologically younger it is.

Once a medical entomologist I was working with came to me with a flow chart he'd done in Visio. "I need a program that can do this," he said. "I've looked at different modeling applications but it won't be easy in any of them. I'm pretty sure I'll need custom software."

I glanced at his flow chart, scribbled a polynomial on a scrap of paper and handed it to him. "There. Plug that into Excel and you're good to go."

He was flabbergasted. "How did you do that?"

"My job isn't writing programs," I said. "My job is transforming hard problems into easy ones. I only write actual software to prove I'm right."

Coding as an academic activity is a very narrow intellectual pursuit. Coding as a real life activity draws on a lifetime of intellectual experiences, both academic and non-academic.

Children at the age of 5 should be preparing for those experiences. If you want to know what kids that age should be doing, you should look at what public television shows like Sesame Street and Arthur targeted at them depict them doing. They go outside and play. They explore. They make real physical things. They make friends (and enemies). They express themselves by participating in art and music. They learn to deal with winning and losing by playing games.

You know the one thing that kids on those programs almost never do? Watch TV. Real kids spend way too much time in front of screens.

Now I'm all for giving 9 year-olds a taste of programming. Seymour Papert did wonderful work along those lines, including with children as young as the fifth grade -- roughly 10 years old. There isn't much difference between a 10 and a 9 year old, but there's a huge difference between a 5 and 6 year-old.

Teaching a 5 year-old about coding is just virtue signalling. It's not something you do for the kid, it's something you do for your reputation.

Comment Re:"Green" technologies aren't sufficient. (Score 2) 226

The nuclear field's safety record is stellar, at least in the USA, so honestly that's a non-issue, but clean and safe nuclear power has never been cost effective. The controls required to meet current American safety standards are prohibitively expensive

And it was stellar before the regulations were ratcheted up, causing the cost to quadruple.

The reason that nuclear is prohibitively expensive is that we've pushed the safety standards far, far beyond what any rational analysis would require. We could reduce them dramatically and still have the safest power generation technology mankind has ever produced.

In a nutshell, I gave up on nuclear power after investing a decade of my life in it because it's a solution in search of a problem.

Nonsense. There's a very clear problem: clean, safe, cheap, large-scale power generation. Regulations have killed the "cheap" part, in order to add a few more nines to an already-outstanding safety record. Worse, they've so badly damaged the industry that newer designs that are inherently cheaper and safer can't even get off the ground because everyone is afraid to invest in them because of what the NRC might think of to hamstring those as well.

http://www.phyast.pitt.edu/~blc/book/chapter9.html

Luckily, it looks like renewables are progressing and might someday be able to replace fossil fuels with clean energy. It'll take a lot longer and be a lot more expensive than nuclear, though. Our insane nuclear power regulations are going to make global warming significantly worse and the economic impact of managing it much greater.

Comment Re:this is really getting tiring (Score 1) 225

But they're still there. What you've described constitutes deep and systematic racism and sexism that place serious obstacles in front of anyone who isn't the right race and gender. Just because no one is doing it "on purpose", that everyone has good intentions and thinks they're doing their best to be fair doesn't mean it isn't happening. It's the result of pervasive unconscious biases.

Prove it. Prove that's what's happening. You are making an extraordinary claim, you must justify it.

You described it! If you still can't see it, I can't help you.

Comment Re:this is really getting tiring (Score 2) 225

Because who gets promoted to management is entirely based on merit, right?

Sadly no. In my experience, who gets promoted to management has more to do with who you're friends with than actual ability.

Please note that gender and race were not mentioned *once* in the above.

But they're still there. What you've described constitutes deep and systematic racism and sexism that place serious obstacles in front of anyone who isn't the right race and gender. Just because no one is doing it "on purpose", that everyone has good intentions and thinks they're doing their best to be fair doesn't mean it isn't happening. It's the result of pervasive unconscious biases.

So, how do you overcome those unconscious biases, break the stranglehold of the good old boys' network on management positions (or a thousand other similar structures)? How do you root out the unconscious biases and make the people who hold them see that they do? Remember, these are well-intentioned people who consider themselves to be kind, and fair... but they just tend to hang out with their own kind, so that's who they know, and who gets promoted.

Serious question. What's your answer? Just letting the self-reinforcing system continue isn't a good one. So what do you do?

Comment Re:Scottish independence (Score 2) 614

Without England, Scotland has nothing to offer the EU except liability.

Scotland is small ,but it has a higher per capita GDP than England, or the entire UK for that matter -- if you count North Sea energy. Scotland as an independent country would be the twelfth largest economy in Europe and almost exactly in the middle of the pack for size in the EU.

Now logically speaking Scottish independence from an independent UK does not necessarily equate to EU membership. Scots could choose independence from the UK on the basis that union with a UK that is not in the EU is not as attractive as union with a UK that is in the EU.

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