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Comment Re: Oh boy (Score 1) 377

But that's how it's =supposed= to work. As someone once pointed out, the Founders *designed* the system to promote legislative gridlock, under the theory that the less legislation gets passed, the less *stupid* legislation gets passed.

My feeling is that even if Trump sucks, it's better to have someone who will argue with Congress, rather than a rubberstamp for every lunacy that comes down the pike, as I expect would happen with Clinton in the office.

Comment Re:Impressive (Score 1) 106

>False. What telecoms â" correctly â" object to, are efforts by local governments to compete with them. Private businesses, individuals, or non-profits are fine...

No. They lock up the last mile and do everything they can to stop private competition as well. If you're lucky enough to live in a densely populated and affluent area, you might be able to get high speed internet through microwave (the pricing is actually pretty competitive), otherwise you're going to be stuck choosing between the two horribly shitty options of either AT&T or Comcast.

It's a duopoly, and enforced by our legislators that are bought and sold by them.

http://www.politico.com/story/...

Comment Re:Thanks for the great answers (Score 1) 159

>There is a saying in the C++ community, that many language features are intended to protect against Murphy, not Machiavelli.

And yet as C++ progresses, it becomes easier and easier to write simple and performant code that can't be exploited. We're a long way from the strcpy() days. I can, for example, uppercaseify strings without ever using a pointer, iterator, square bracket, or at(). And the strict typing of C++ stops every one of the exploits detailed in those Perl Jam videos, with -Wall being there to watch for anything you can do that is technically legal, but a bad idea.

>Unlike Java, Perl does not even try to protect you from malicious programmers. Being a scripting language, Perl also doesn't try hard to protect you from careless programmers. Nonetheless, these particular examples of brokenness would be hard to encounter by accident. You can't say that of PHP.

Very true. You will definitely encounter more accidental weirdness in PHP. But long past are the days where it was common practice in PHP to pollute your variable namespace with parameters passed in by the user. But the point of those videos is that even if you are a security conscious programmer, following established language patterns, the weirdness of Perl - the language itself - works against you in your goal of trying to write secure code.

Comment Re: The Republicans want to make everyone work (Score 5, Insightful) 1135

What?

No, you have to fund UBI by taxing productive assets - that's the whole point: ensure everyone in society is getting the benefits of productive assets, not just the owners of the productive assets. The only way to do that without wholesale socialism (state ownership of productive assets) is by taxing the productive assets.

Simply creating money like you suggest, without tying that money creation to increased production, is a textbook case for triggering runaway inflation.

Comment Re: That radar really worked well in florida eh el (Score 1) 166

Any articles? I couldn't seem to find anything other than this one that says crashes are reduced by 38%, but there were no cost figures.

That said, I don't think it's a buggy-whip problem: 14B Euro per year might be correct, but I don't think it's a win for society in monetary terms - I'd question the assertion that the return on investment is greater than one.

For example, the mandate in the US for rear back-up camera costs society about $25 million per life saved, because it's a couple hundred bucks times several million cars, to save only a couple hundred lives - which is on the order of billions. Given US GDP per-capita is only about $53k, society is losing money there - 80 years times $53k is only about $4.25M, so society is paying at least 5 times the average monetary value of a life* to save one. Now I used something close to life expectancy; it's worse if you only consider working-age years (which is what, 50 years or so?).

It is indeed sad when accidents cost lives, but we passed the point in vehicle safety where the incremental cost of accidents avoided exceeds the losses of the accidents themselves (in aggregate of course - there may be individual accidents which cost more).

*It's sadly harsh, but society has to think of things on economic cost at this scale. Put another way: nobody sensible would pay $100 for an insurance policy that only pays out $20, but that's kind of what mandated automobile safety features does these days.

Comment Re:Not a surprise... (Score 1) 269

If there's excess demand, prices go up encouraging more buildout of supply (unless that's being blocked by government). If supply exceeds demand, prices go down encouraging the shutdown of less-efficient or unnecessary production.

That only works on a long-term sense, not on an hour-by-hour or day-by-day scale. Electricity price changes or gasoline price changes on the spot market don't do anything for "encouraging buildout of more supply".

There is also the pesky asymmetry in most (all?) industries where existing plants can be idled much faster than new capacity can be constructed. If corn prices jump, you can't decide to produce some extra corn this week. The profit made due to short-term price spikes is often not reinvested in new production, because the barrier to entry is too high for new participants to invest given the "normal" prices, so the price spikes truly are often just a windfall to producers. Most econ courses won't cover that important feature of real markets.

So the problem isn't really "inefficient production" in isolation - it's "inefficient balancing of production and storage to be robust to expected (and unexpected!) sudden changes in production or demand."

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