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Comment Re:over-simplification of economy (Score 1) 433

Nonsense. Economics is the study of how people exchange goods and services.

Yes, but apparently a 'successful' economy is one which is always growing...

Sure it is. But the AC assumes that growth inevitably means increasing consumption of natural resources. It can mean that, but that actually only works in a context where the natural resources in question are abundant. Once they become scarce (perhaps artificially), then growth comes from finding ways to use resources more efficiently.

A successful economy is one which is improving the standard of living of the people in it. There is no reason why that process cannot be endless... though the definition of what constitutes improvement absolutely will change over time.

Comment Re:Question (Score 2) 433

So unlike what Marxist said central planning actually works best to quickly grow backwards, agrarian even, economies rather than improving advanced economies.

That actually makes perfect sense if you study Marx's core economic theory, the labor theory of value. In that view, all production is about organization of labor, with some attention to the sources of raw materials. There is no discussion at all of the role of innovation, or information, and the theory is focused on a world in stasis, in which the materials, processes and outputs are all well-known, and unchanging.

But progress comes from the creation of new ideas, ways to make new goods, or make old goods with less labor or less, or different, raw materials. An economy organized on communist principles has few mechanisms for encouraging innovation. The Soviet Union made a big deal of identifying and nurturing smart people and giving them the resources to invent new science and technology, but that is perhaps the least important part of the innovation that moves an economy forward. Not that new science and technology isn't hugely important, but the aggregate impact of millions upon millions of small improvements in processes and business models is larger, especially on the general standard of living. So, the Soviet Union was able to stay in shouting distance, more or less, of the United States in terms of technological progress... but was unable to keep the grocery store shelves stocked. That is in the inevitable result of a system that doesn't incentivize and reward small-scale innovation.

Comment Re: Not entirely true (Score 1) 118

Posting something about your employer without being anonymous is just plain stupid!

Depends on your employer. I post stuff about my employer all the time, under a slashdot username that is the same as my corporate LDAP username, and have gotten kudos for it. I've also gotten a couple of calls from legal, asking me to be careful about commenting on legal issues, but the attorneys apologized effusively for doing so, and pointed out that they recognized I was being careful but just want to reiterate that it was important.

But my employer is particularly open-minded, and particularly confident in its employees' judgement. You need to understand your context, and YMMV.

Comment Re:Google giving the Business.. (Score 2) 102

That does suck, though...introductory rates and such are never guaranteed. Still, it beats my Comcast by a pretty wide margin - $70 gets me 30/10, and that's consumer-capped. I'd jump at the chance for 100/100 (or even 50) at $75.

And you're only getting a consumer service level agreement which is, basically, that if it doesn't work they'll fix it when they get around to it. I'm sure the Google Fiber business class service includes a more typical business SLA, with defined maximum response times and compensation for excessive outages. That sort of SLA typically triples the price vs a consumer service with the same bandwidth.

Comment Re:Google giving the Business.. (Score 1) 102

So, with the price change, that means we'll have to pay, basically, double to maintain our 1 Gbps, otherwise we lose 75% of our speed to pay the same price.

Or, you could drop down to the consumer tier and pay less per month than you currently do... but give up the business-class service level agreement that you have.

If you're getting 1Gbps with a business SLA for $125 per month right now, that's an *amazing* deal. Comcast would soak you for twice that for 100 Mbps. I currently pay $120 per month for 15/3 (Mbps) with a business SLA, though that's because I'm out in the sticks where there are very few options available.

Comment Re:How Much? (Score 1) 71

I thought that much was obvious, but for those who have not been paying attention, we are close to using up our hydrocarbons.

Maybe four centuries for all sources of fossil carbon, hydrogenated or otherwise, depending on usage rate.

Remember that "reserves" means "the stuff we already found while exploring". Nobody with a financial clue spends today's private money exploring for stuff they won't be digging up and selling for decades. So you only have more than about 20 years of "reserves" when there have been giant finds, the known reserves are too expensive to exploit and there might be easier stuff out there, or too much of the known reserves are unexploitable due to things like government intervention. There's no doubt quite a lot more out there, though it's still finite.

Running out is not a disaster. We can easily make all the stuff that's made from oil and there are other energy sources - including more coming down the pipeline. We're only digging/pumping up most of our energy and much of our chemical feedstocks right now because it's CHEAPER than the alternatives.

But it's not cheaper by much. (Photovoltaic is now becoming competitive with grid power in many areas, even without government market distortions, and the tech just keeps improving.)

By the time the fossil fuels run out we'll have lots of alternatives, and they'll run out by gradually getting more expensive, so people will smoothly transition to alternatives (thanks to Adam Smith's "Invisible Hand"). The main problem (if the CO2->global warming conjecture is true and substantial) will be keeping the Earth from crashing into the next orbital-mechanics driven Ice Age (as humans MAY have been doing for about the last 10,000 years or so, as the orbital climate-forcing has been curving down steadily.)

Comment Caller id spoofing already broke that. (Score 1) 119

The real way to handle it is to create an open source shared black list, have people sign up for a service, and vote when they answer a call on whether or not it is a telemarketer or robo-call.

Caller ID spoofing already broke block lists. By the time a call gets to your local telco there is no way even for them to tell where it really came from. They regularly spoof their identity - often as others they're robo-calling, or even as the phone they are calling.

IMHO the only way available currently is to trace back a particular call, from telco to telco, to see where it DID come from - then go after the actual robocaller. (Good luck getting that implemented, though. Or getting it to work across all countries, rather than letting the spammers run from safe havens.)

Comment Re: drone ship landings require a lot less fuel? (Score 1) 101

I don't need to stand by the rotation theory. However, the 2.5 degrees that the Earth rotates are about equivalent to the downrange distance.

The first stage is going about 1/5 of the target LEO orbital velocity at separation. While you might well model the trajectory as a parabola over flat ground, given the lack of fuel I would expect that SpaceX puts a lot more care into their trajectory. So far I've failed to attract the attention of the person responsible for Flight Club, the most trusted modeling of SpaceX flights, but I'll message him directly.

Comment Re:Public Admission of Stupidity (Score 1) 219

So a pedestrian in dark clothes, at night, not hearing an electric car, and jaywalking by stepping out from between vehicles means the driver drives like "a moronic asshat."

you do know that electric cars are almost silent, especially at low speeds, right?

I don't know about the Model S, but the Nissan LEAF isn't. It has a speaker in the driver's wheel well that makes noise when the car is moving at less than 20 mph. Over 20 mph tire noise is loud enough to be quite audible.

Comment Re: Wow... (Score 2) 219

Show of hands: who thinks Elon Musk is above having a staffer make up this email or making it up himself?

I think they're too smart to do something like that. The probability of it being found out is low, but the PR damage caused by such fraud would be extreme. On balance, the expected risk of such a move is way too high. Plus, there's every reason to expect they have received some emails like this.

Tesla does not have a good record of repeat customers

Cite?

Comment Re:A pattern emerges (Score 1) 161

I understand the concern, but there's really no evidence for it. Your examples of what Samsung and Microsoft have done aren't evidence... and Google has little more control over Samsung than over Microsoft. Could Google decide that it no longer cares about openness? Sure. But we're actually working quite hard to push it the other direction, and I see no reason to expect that to change.

What is the thing you're saying Google has done "in firmware" for Android for Work, but hasn't "flipped the switch"? Android for Work does nothing in firmware, it's all in Android; the only thing remotely close to that is the use of TrustZone for authentication and crypto key management -- and I'm the engineer responsible for those TrustZone components, and I can't figure out what "switch" you're talking about.

Comment Re:I really don't understand this drone applicatio (Score 4, Insightful) 43

Why would you use a heavier-than-air craft to essentially hover? Wouldn't an aerostat accomplish the same goal at a much lower cost, and lower risk of bodily harm should it fall from the sky?

I don't know why they chose it. Here's my take:

An aerostat requires tethers, which are points of failure, and has enormous wind drag. Lose the tether(s) and you lose control. Then you have a large, failing, floating device at the mercy of the winds, dragging first broken tethers, then its own large structure, on an uncontrolled path along the ground, wreaking unknown havoc.

A powered heavier-than-air (but still ultralight) has little drag and can also be made to change locations easily. With good design, if it begins to accumulate failures that jeopardize its continued operational ability, it can be made to fly to a repair site and land - after its backup has arrived to take its place.

If you have catastrophic events - like huricaines, tornadoes, or forest firestoms - it can easily be moved away (to land for shelter or fly around or above the storm) and brought back when the environment is calmer. You don't even have to take it out of service. Just fly it above the tropopause. The stratosphere is probably a good place for it to operate anyhow: Negligible weather, no cloud shadows for solar-powered planes, and gives you a lot of coverage per drone. (Balloons can get there, too, easily. But 50,000 feet or so is a LOT of tether.)

Comment Re:why not do this (Score 1) 161

A warning is what we've had for several years now, and it's proven to be inadequate.

I understand this. What I was saying is that there should be a way to disable the new behavior (perhaps a setting in the Developer Options, where ordinary users would never see it) for those who don't need such a muscular approach.

The problem with that approach is that someone selling/giving you a pre-compromised phone would just flip that switch before they give it to you. If you're not going to be bothered by a big warning during bootup, you're definitely not the sort who will dig through the settings and find that problem... or factory reset the device to reset all of the switches.

If the new method really doesn't get in the way, all this is moot.

I think that's the case.

Comment Re:How smart is Snowden, exactly? (Score 4, Insightful) 106

I thought he was just a pretty average govt. tech employee that decided to leak a bunch of documents. Now he seems to be treated like a leading expert on security? Is there something I missed here? Is his research something beyond a Google search?

How does one become an expert on security? Spend lots of time reading, thinking and studying. What else do you think Snowden has been doing for the last three years? He may not have been a security expert before collecting and leaking the documents, but he's clearly a pretty smart guy, and very motivated to care about security and privacy issues. He's been trying to use the pulpit his fame has given him to highlight those issues, and he's also clearly been doing his homework.

Aside from all of that, though, what's the point in questioning his expertise? If what he's saying doesn't make sense, say so. Your post isn't "insightful", it's just a variation of the argument from authority fallacy... in this case trying to discredit his ideas by citing his lack of authority, rather than addressing the ideas themselves.

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