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Submission + - Malibu Media stay lifted, motion to quash denied

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes: In the federal court for the Eastern District of New York, where all Malibu Media cases have been stayed for the past year, the Court has lifted the stay and denied the motion to quash in the lead case, thus permitting all 84 cases to move forward. In his 28-page decision (PDF), Magistrate Judge Steven I. Locke accepted the representations of Malibu's expert, one Michael Patzer from a company called Excipio, that in detecting BitTorrent infringement he relies on "direct detection" rather than "indirect detection", and that it is "not possible" for there to be misidentification.

Submission + - Something "Unexpected" Happened When Seattle Raised The Minimum Wage

schwit1 writes: The latest research comes from the University of Washington which researched the impact of Seattle's recent minimum wage hike on employment in that city (as background, Seattle recently passed legislation that increased it's minimum wage to $11 per hour on April 1, 2015, $13 on January 1, 2016 and $15 on January 1, 2017). "Shockingly", the University of Washington found that Seattle's higher minimum wages "lowered employment rates of low-wage workers" (the report is attached in its entirety at the end of this post).

Yet, our best estimates find that the Seattle Minimum Wage Ordinance appears to have lowered employment rates of low-wage workers. This negative unintended consequence (which are predicted by some of the existing economic literature) is concerning and needs to be followed closely in future years, because the long-run effects are likely to be greater as businesses and workers have more time to adapt to the ordinance. Finally, we find only modest impacts on earnings. The effects of disemployment appear to be roughly offsetting the gain in hourly wage rates, leaving the earnings for the average low-wage worker unchanged. Of course, we are talking about the average result.



More specifically, we find that median wages for low-wage workers (those earning less than $11 per hour during the 2nd quarter of 2014) rose by $1.18 per hour, and we estimate that the impact of the Ordinance was to increase these workers’ median wage by $0.73 per hour. Further, while these low-wage workers increased their likelihood of being employed relative to prior years, this increase was less than in comparison regions. We estimate that the impact of the Ordinance was a 1.1 percentage point decrease in likelihood of low-wage Seattle workers remaining employed. While these low-wage workers increased their quarterly earnings relative to prior years, the estimated impact of the Ordinance on earnings is small and sensitive to the choice of comparison region. Finally, for those who kept their job, the Ordinance appears to have improved wages and earnings, but decreased their likelihood of being employed in Seattle relative other parts of the state of Washington.

Still not convinced? How about a recent report from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco that finds that "higher minimum wage results in some job loss for the least-skilled workers—with possibly larger adverse effects than earlier research suggested."

Submission + - Orangutans face complete extinction within 10 years (independent.co.uk)

campuscodi writes: Orangutans will be extinct from the planet within 10 years unless action is taken to preserve forests in Indonesia and Malaysia where they live, a conservation charity has warned.

The Bornean orangutan was officially listed as critically endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) last month, joining the only other kind, the Sumatran orangutan, in that classification. In just 25 years, more than a quarter of Indonesia's forests – 76 million acres, an area almost the size of Germany – have disappeared. One of the main reasons is to clear land to make way for palm oil plantations.

Comment Re:A news? (Score 2) 184

Maybe I'm mistaken, but I was under the impression that at least part of the reason Cyanogenmod exists was to make a usable Android that didn't depend on Google Play Services. Also, Cyanogen Inc. (the company commercializing Cyanogenmod) has partnered with Microsoft to promote Microsoft services instead of Google's.

Submission + - Why are GitHub and WordPress.com censoring content? (networkworld.com)

Miche67 writes: The internet is known for the free and rapid dissemination of uncensored information, but lately sites and services have been censoring content--including GitHub and WordPress.com.

Bryan Lunduke says: "GitHub, a service primarily used for open source and free culture projects, recently censored a repository that contained information proving the NSA developed malware targeting numerous systems." And WordPress.com "censored content posted by “Guccifer 2” that was potentially damaging to the reputation of the Democratic party."

Neither organizations have responded to requests by Lunduke to find out why they took those actions.

This comes after Twitter and Facebook came under fire for their censorship actions.

Lunduke poses the question:

When something that many people feel is important to their lives occurs and the major online platforms for disseminating that information censor them, what does that say about those platforms?


Comment Re:A news? (Score 3, Insightful) 184

It's a great tool to keep people in your ecosystem. Every time a person goes out and shops for a new phone, they look at all makes and models. If you have a system that defines an upgrade path for users, where they know they'll never be left behind on an antiquated OS, they're MORE likely to upgrade, not less likely.

Third-party Android device makers don't give a shit about Google's "ecosystem." In fact, many such as Amazon and Cyanogen (Inc.) are actively hostile to it.

Comment Re:No surprises there (Score 1) 161

Growth is technical progress.

People today are more wealthy than people 10 or 20 or 50 years ago. The median family spends less on food, Cars have more features, yet only reflect a purchase price of 56% of the purchaser's income in the median case. We've gone from extremely-expensive computers with 4MB EDO RAM and 33MHz CPUs to having high-speed, multi-gigabyte RAM, 64GB storage devices in our pockets as a simple fact of life. Communication is ubiquitous with cell phones and high-speed Internet.

Clothing is cheaper; people today have about 50% increased access to more and better healthcare than people of the 90s; and we spend nearly half our money on luxuries.

Automation won't just put us into caves and cages to be fed a nutritious gruel by robotic keepers; it will make the Tesla Model S the household car of the lower-middle class, while the poors make do with that currently-$45,000 Model 3. It will place more electronic gadgets into everyone's hands. It will dramatically increase the access to healthcare, while lowering the cost of complex tests and treatments. $800 ceramic-on-ceramic fillings--the best remediation you can get for dental caries--will become the standard, even among the poor, because they cost $20.

The poor will not simply be shoveled off into the corner. They'll work, hard, and live beneath the rest of us, as they do today. They'll work and they'll live as well-off middle-class families live today. Their hard-earned money will buy them the sorts of $2,000 appliances I purchase for myself, because that $1,897 double-oven stove only costs $350 in the world of the future (well, there's inflation, but the poors have that much more money, too, so whatever).

Luxury. Technical progress brings luxury down to the people. There was a time rags were made of old clothes because cloth cost more than 90% of the population could afford; people wore one or two sets of simple clothing--nothing fancy and expensive, because frills and pleats increased fabric use--and many were haphazardly dressed in the poor's last-season fashion, tacky and out-of-style, handed down to the rabble because it simply won't do in noble social circles. Now we all have 10 days's worth of fancy clothing, coats, hats, a million pairs of shoes... things that would have cost us 15 years's salary--and, the fancy stuff with all the pockets and pleats we use today, 40 or 60 years's salary--back then.

Remember when a cell phone cost $4,000 in 1983? In 2015 that's over $9,000; two hours per week of talk would cost you $550/month. Not everyone can afford that; yet poor people buy a $60 feature phone or spend $170 on a used iPhone, and $60/month for unlimited talk and text plus 3GB data. I use under 500MB of data, so I spend $33/month and just get Ting.

How many rich people luxuries do you use now? How much of the stuff you're using is a much-more-advanced version of something that was available to people who could spend 3 times the median income on it 25 years ago? Your cell phone is comparable to a multi-million-dollar supercomputer in 1985. Microwaves were an invention of the air force, because a million-dollar radar emitter in a fighter jet pumps out a lot of microwaves, and they put a door in the cockpit where you can slide in a tray of food and then have yourself a hot meal; your microwave probably cost $70.

Do you really think people will just roll over and eat the slop the robots pour down their throats? We'll do what we've always done: Get richer. We'll take all the luxuries of the rich and then complain they've found new toys we can't afford.

Comment Re:No surprises there (Score 1) 161

improving an economy's efficiency lowers the unemployment rate rather than saying that lowering the unemployment rate improves an economy's efficiency because otherwise you are talking nonsense.

They're both sort-of true. Higher employment means higher production-per-capita, thus more buying power per-capita, thus more wealth; although an extremely-low-unemployment economy falters because of labor shortage, thus can't grow.

Efficiency in an economy is complicated.

One of the primary drivers of efficiency is technical progress. Technical progress simply means new technology allows us to produce more goods in the same labor. Take the same population, employ fewer farmers, employ more engineers, employ more doctors, and still produce the same amount of food because the farmers plus engineers are able to output more food per total labor hour; these doctors used to be farmers, but we don't need them anymore, so now we have healthcare. When you get down to money, you realize all the services being bought are paid for by consumers (that's where revenue comes from, and we pay wages out of revenue), and so necessarily things must get cheaper as a percentage of the per-capita income (that doesn't say the distribution is equitable; just that the cost of product X is a smaller fraction of *all* money being spent).

I like to talk about the cost of wage dollars. An employer pays an employee's wage, plus payroll taxes, plus benefits, plus unemployment insurance premiums; and the employee pays income taxes and such things as OASDI and Medicare (not to mention sales taxes, VAT, etc.). An employer has to spend some number of dollars for an employee to take home some number of dollars--for example, $1000 minus 6.2% OASDI is $938; at a 25% tax rate, the employee takes home $703.50. An employee's time is divided among products, and the employer's cost is divided into products; the employee must buy those products (and produce the revenue source to pay wages of employees) out of his wages.

Obviously, more take-home pay per employer cost means more maximum buying power. A business may or may not lower the price of goods to a minimum. Tere are economic pressures which cause this to occur to varying degrees, which is why food has a slimmer margin than diamonds and cars have a slimmer margin than food (lots of bulk negotiation up the production chain for cars; the manufacturer might make 10%, but the coal and steel mines negotiate low-margin contracts for multi-billion-dollar profits). Still, a 10% or 3% or 40% margin is a proportion on top of cost; and costs have always trended toward stability--lowering--when technology improves, else we would never advance as a society because we'd never have the consumer buying power to buy anything we hadn't bought before.

That's efficient. It's why progressive taxes are efficient, why some forms of universal basic income are efficient, and why accomplishing economic goals such as state welfare to greater effect with lower cost is efficient: consumers end up with more spending money per dollar paid as production cost by employers, and thus can buy more.

That effect tends to not simply lower unemployment, but stabilize the economy: when there are problems, your Jenga tower doesn't just collapse; it wobbles a little, and a piece falls off the top.

Your argument is that the economy is a zero-sum game, for business A to be successful it must reduce the success of business B. This is false

Technical progress would suggest that an economy is not a zero-sum game because the economy grows.

That does not mean that the economy is infinite at a given time. The economy, as it is now, has limited consumer buying power. In the future, technical progress will increase the per-capita buying power, and population growth will increase the number of consumers, thus causing an exponential (f(t) = g(t)*p(t))) growth in the economy. For any point in time (t), there is a limited amount of consumer buying power in the economy.

That means any business which grows gets its growth from the growth of the economy--a limited resource--or from the reduction of another business. Because the growth of an economy is a limited resource in that the economy only grows by so much in a span of time, not all businesses can be successful; there is a limited amount of new business success available. That means they're competing.

Does that make sense?

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