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Comment Re:Is this so hard (Score 1) 110

Obligatory Critique*:

Their plan proposes a

(X) technical (X) legislative ( ) market-based ( ) vigilante

approach to fighting [telephone] spam. Their idea will not work. Here is why it won't work. (One or more of the following may apply to their particular idea, and it may have other flaws which used to vary from state to state before a bad federal law was passed.)

( ) No one will be able to find the guy or collect the money
( ) It is defenseless against brute force attacks
(X) It will stop spam for two weeks and then we'll be stuck with it
(X) Users of telephones will not put up with it
(X) Telcos will not put up with doing this work for free
( ) The police will not put up with it
( ) Requires too much cooperation from spammers
( ) Requires immediate total cooperation from everybody at once
(X) Many telephone users cannot afford to lose business or miss critical calls
( ) Spammers don't care about invalid phone numbers in their lists
(X) Anyone could anonymously destroy anyone else's career or business
(X) If a spoofer gets their number banned, you would be unable to call for help
(X) Authorities could abuse it to suppress viewpoints they dislike
( ) Spammers can easily use it to harvest telephone numbers
(X) Organization's phone trees and other legitimate telephone uses would be affected

Specifically, their plan fails to account for

(X) Monetary incentives for telcos to conduct as many calls as possible, billing both parties
( ) Laws expressly prohibiting it
(X) Lack of centrally controlling authority for callerID
(X) It would break telephone connectivity even for correctly dialed numbers
( ) Open relays in foreign countries
( ) Ease of searching tiny alphanumeric address space of all telephone numbers
(X) Asshats
(X) Jurisdictional problems
( ) Unpopularity of weird new taxes
( ) Public reluctance to accept weird new forms of money
(X) Huge portions of existing telco equipment base cannot be retrofitted
(X) UnWillingness of users to activate optional teleco services
(X) Eternal arms race involved in all filtering approaches
(X) Extreme profitability of spam
( ) Joe jobs and/or identity theft
(X) Technically illiterate politicians
(X) Extreme stupidity on the part of people who do business with spammers
(X) Dishonesty on the part of spammers themselves
(X) Huge categories of political, charitable, etc. calls that many users want prohibited
(X) Huge categories of political, charitable, etc. calls that many users don't want prohibited
(X) Huge categories of political, charitable, etc. calls that politicians don't want prohibited

and the following philosophical objections may also apply:

(X) Ideas similar to theirs are easy to come up with, yet none have ever
been shown practical
(X) Any scheme based on opt-in is unacceptable
(X) phone connectivity should not be the subject of legislation
(X) Blacklists suck
(X) Whitelists suck
( ) We should be able to talk about Viagra without being censored
( ) Countermeasures should not involve wire fraud or credit card fraud
(X) Countermeasures should not involve sabotage of public networks
( ) Countermeasures must work if phased in gradually
(X) Sending telephone calls should be allowed for the good guys (opinions vary)
(X) Why should we have to trust you and their servers?
( ) Incompatiblity with open source or open source licenses
( ) Feel-good measures do nothing to solve the problem
(X) Temporary/one-time telephone numbers are cheap
(X) I don't want the government approving/disapproving my telephone calls
(X) Killing them that way is not slow and painful enough

Furthermore, this is what I think about you:

(X) Sorry dude, but I don't think it would work.
( ) This is a stupid idea, and you're a stupid person for suggesting it.
( ) Nice try, assh0le! I'm going to find out where you live and burn their
house down!

*I shamelessly borrowed this form from the first place I found a copy. If you know the original author, please reply to credit him.

Comment Median Income (Score 1) 282

By 2020, 80% of adults on earth will have an internet-connected smartphone.

In the U.S.*, operating a smartphone for a year (to say nothing of purchasing one to begin with) costs well north of $50x12=$600.

The median per capita income worldwide is something like* $2,920.

Even if the 50% of world adults above the median all bought smartphone service, he'd need to get another 30% of adults from below the median to reach his 80%. Those people would be spending something like* 20% of their yearly income on this. No way.

*To be sure, this post uses several approximations (U.S. data plan costs, Gallup's income methodology, etc.), but 80% is a still a fantasy.

Comment Re:Does anybody really doubt it (Score 1) 706

Well, it wasn't a robbery since nothing was taken...

A. I would expect a robber to be motivated to take the wallet, especially the cash.
B. I would expect a political assassin to be motivated to fake a robbery by taking the cash and/or the wallet, so as to throw off suspicion.

Here, 'nothing' was taken. So, was it an unsuccessful robber or an unsuccessful assassin?

Comment Re:As far as they know, anyway (Score 1) 69

Publishing this statement now permits Tor to stop publishing this statement as soon as they are forced to backdoor their service. For instance, in the event of a gag order forbidding them from speaking about the new back door.

Every security service should make a public statement like this that they can withdraw when circumstances force them to.

Comment Re:If Trump Wins (Score 1) 330

Plurality voting needs to be replaced, but IRV has serious problems with 1. spoiler candidates and 2. central counting (i.e., no votes can be counted until all IRV ballots are collected for an entire state, at least).

Approval voting allows local precinct counting, and always elects the candidate that the least voters disapprove of. How easy is it to implement? Just change the ballot instruction to say, "Vote for as many as you like."

Approval voting satisfies the one ballot per voter criterion (aka, each voter gets an equal say). Approval voting is easy for voters to understand. And, voting for your ideal-candidate cannot detract from your vote for your acceptable-second-choice, even in those (nontrivial!) situations where IRV would betray you.

Comment roundheads (Score 3) 128

fsck round! There is no value in sphericality to _the owner_ of this device. The shape is a marketing gimmick to make it look enticing to a purchaser. I don't mind a little marketing, so long as it stays out of the way of usefulness.

Please go back to building me flat, stackable, rectangular boxen.

Beige ones.

And get off my lawn.

Comment Xanth (Score 1) 726

OK, so Piers Anthony's Xanth doesn't qualify as literature, but I was as addicted to it as a teenager as I ever was to the Hardy Boys in grade school. It was _fun_, people. Admit it: you laughed, too. It's not like you can hand the boy Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson until he's at least thirteen. The thing is 500 pages long.

Come to think of it, I wouldn't hand him Xanth until then either. He might accuse you of trying to sneak in a kissing book.

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