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Comment Re:People tend to think others will behave as they (Score 5, Interesting) 134

It's an interesting situation, because "intellectual property" and the fact that people actually pay for it, is at complete odds with modern economic theory.

The general understanding of market economics is based on fundamentals like, "Supply and Demand" - and these are easily described using mathematical models: The greater the supply and the lower the demand, the lower the price will be, and vice versa.

If we look at intellectual property and software in particular, we find the following characteristics to be true:
1. It is difficult to create
2. Can be easily copied
2a. For little cost or effort
2b. An infinite number of times

So in a free market you end up with a product that is expensive and time consuming to create, but which once created, can be reproduced as much as anyone happens to care for. If someone wants 5,000 copies of your IP, they CAN and it wouldn't cost them a dime. This means the supply is infinite; in which case the demand doesn't matter and the going price for your product is: Zero! Zero dollars!

The rational economist / businessman see this and knows per their rational / purely selfish point of view, that they can never make money in a market where rational actors will simply "steal" their product by copying, sharing, and distributing it with each other. If you walked into a business class in the 1950's with videogames that can be freely copied past the first sale as your business model, you'd have been flunked out and laughed at.

Their solution? Artificial scarcity! Using the threat of violence against their own customers, these economists and businessmen impose DRM, fines, lawsuits, jail, and even death (should you actually defend yourself from police enacting these legalized threats) in order to limit the supply and force customers to pay for the product.

YET

We see today that games with limited or no DRM restrictions - in fact even games that are literally and intentionally given away for free - still attract profits, and not just small profits, but enough profits to continue running a business. Because the public irrationally supports people creating intellectual property in spite of the fact they can or have, obtained that intellectual property for free.

Ironically I often see in arguments about this (particularly at the hands of business-owned "news"), that it's the pirates, gamers, consumers who are being entitled and demanding. In spite of the fact these are the very people who pay money for things they can have for free to begin with. Meanwhile the publishers go out of their way to actively attack their own customers and spend millions on thwarting the copying and sharing of information. It's like living in a world where the buggy-whip makers have won and outlawed all automobiles. Actually - it's worse than that. It's a case of having automobiles already, and then monied interests outlawed them in order to sell their buggy-whips. It's so farcical I almost can't believe it's the way our modern economies function.

Comment Re:expanded (Score 2, Insightful) 660

Background checks are already done. Disallowing people on the FBI no-fly list allows the government to arbitrarily ban people from purchasing guns without due process in court and is massively open to abuse.

And while none of it would have directly outlawed firearms - that's because the democrats know they cannot get away with total and complete bans. Instead they try to chip away, bit by bit, until there are so many regulations and laws that you have to be rich or politically connected to own a firearm; an effective ban on 99% of us plebians.

The ultimate goal isn't making America more safe, either. It's about banning guns entirely. That has always been the end-goal of all the legislation the left continues to try and pass. Gun owners wised up years ago - when they see a liberal saying there needs to be a compromise what they see and hear is a liar who will make absolutely no compromise on his end, while demanding compromise on the other.

And very importantly, the statistical data does not actually back up the leftist viewpoint that firearms cause crime, violent crime, suicide, or homicide. In fact, the only "statistics" they're ever able to drum up are vague claims of "you're more likely to die from a firearm if you own a firearm!" and "more firearms means more firearm deaths!". They even just outright lie about mass shooting statistics.

Even better, the boogeyman of the anti-gun lobby: The deadly "assault weapons", are used in such a vanishingly small number of homicides that more people are murdered each year in the US from blunt weapons or fists.

Conservatives, Libertarians, and anyone else who values the second amendment and the right to self defense are quite frankly sick of the duplicity and hypocrisy surrounding this shit.

It was never about safety; it has always been about control.

Comment Re:frist post (Score 1) 569

Compared to the rest of the developed world, gun violence in the USA is still at appalling levels.

Well, here's how it all looks compared to the rest of the world:

http://i.imgur.com/9BwH7Q1.png - Gun ownership vs homicide rate, OECD countries
http://i.imgur.com/ugpsD0N.jpg - Gun ownership vs homicide rate, all countries
http://i.imgur.com/AB399V8.png - Race and Gender of firearm homicides in the US
http://i.imgur.com/uHo4EtB.jpg - Number of murder victims by weapon in the US

Comment Re:Shills =/= trolls (Score 4, Interesting) 244

Worse yet - there are people who honestly believe that the western countries and corporations aren't doing the exact same thing.

This isn't a problem coming out of Russia or China, it's a problem coming out of every authority group or special interest. FFS Slashdot has used the terms FUD and astroturfing in reference to Microsoft (and others) doing this exact shit for YEARS.

Pointing the finger at Russia/China is a nice way of deflecting the same criticisms leveled at the US government and corporations.

Can't shut the internet down, can't easily censor speech, next best alternative is to fill it with noise and propaganda so that no meaningful discussion can take place, and this problem is only going to get worse as chatbots and AI become better adapted at faking human communication. These groups have a strong understanding of human psychology and they will use every possible trick in the book to manipulate the public at large.

Frankly, I don't think Russia or China hold a candle to what the US is able to do.

Comment bitcoin (Score 2) 43

I'm seeing a lot of authority structures suddenly opening themselves up to bitcoin exchanges or trade, this coming at a time when the currency itself is nearing its built-in, fundamental limitations.

I think there's insiders, some very rich insiders, pressuring institutions to open up to bitcoin trading so they can get a big mass of suckers in and sell on the high to them all, just before the currency becomes effectively worthless due to problems in its design.

Comment Re:Before you get too excited about this (Score 1) 372

Why would a GBI massively increase inflation?

It's not printing new money, increasing the overall supply which devalues all pre-existing money. It's just a redistribution of wealth. (or as the proponents of it claim: A better and more efficient redistribution of wealth than currently existing welfare)

As such I don't see how it can actually cause inflation to increase in any significant way. This really just sounds like one of those easy to parrot talking points that don't have any truth behind them; it sounds true, but it isn't. Like the reason astronauts didn't float away from the moon was because they wore heavy boots.

Comment Re:Uh uh (Score 3, Insightful) 372

It's not really disagreeing with a solution - there's only been one solution put forward that I've even seen.

There is a very obvious problem of mass unemployment and automation, which is being soundly ignored by a lot of people. Most just flat out refuse to believe it's happening (There will ALWAYS be more jobs!), others accept it but want everyone to suffer (If you can't feed yourself and find a job, fuck you go starve to death).

If people don't like the idea of a guaranteed basic income, then I encourage them to come up with alternative solutions to mass unemployment due to automation, rather than just sitting back and criticizing every single proposed solution and doing nothing to actually contribute.

I'm not married to this GBI concept, but if there's nothing better to solve our economic situation, then I'm sorry but that's exactly what I'm going to vote for and support.

Comment Re:Good Literature Recommendations (Score 1) 244

Wouldn't necessarily be opposed; could be more stagnant as a society, but on the other hand, having 'leaders' who may actually face the prospect of having to live with the long-term consequences of decisions they made 500 years ago might bring some much needed sobriety to our political and economic landscape.

Another technology I'm curious to see the societal impacts of will be iron-wombs. On-demand population production at the fingertips of government and business. The only fictional setting I'm aware of even touching this idea is, weirdly, Battletech (really, not where you'd expect to see it). Although the societal changes aren't as well-thought out, or fleshed out, in the setting as I'd like.

Comment Re:$2500 a month? (Score 1) 866

I just want to say: You feel free to quit your job. I will absolutely take it while your gone.

GBI proposals don't give you a lot of money to work with - maybe that's fine for you; you've got a large nest-egg already perhaps, and can go into early retirement. That's also still great for people like me who definitely need more than what a GBI would give.

You take an early retirement, and people like me replace you and get actual decent jobs at decent wages, and perhaps in 10 or 15 years I'll join you in that GBI-backed early retirement.

Comment Planted evidence (Score 1) 306

Supposing the police were to plant evidence;
What could you even do to prove in court that the police planted evidence on your computer after it left your custody and entered theirs?

Full encryption and locking them out might work until you're forced to disclose passwords by a judge, granting them access.
Perhaps running your own "snapshot" system via backups similar to a git repository?
Maybe some sort of hardware/software checksum?

It just seems like a really simple and easy way for pretty much anyone (not just police) to incriminate you without much/any effort on their own part.

Comment Re:They already do. (Score 4, Interesting) 266

It's one of the reasons 4chan is as popular as it is.

I can go there, say whatever I want; "burn the gays!", "kill the niggers!", "Hitler did nothing wrong!", or even something as mundane as "Yeah, I actually support Trump" - anything and I won't be persecuted, ostracized, or otherwise attacked in real life for it.

And you know what that enables?
Actual political discourse. Because you no longer have to temper anything against the prospect of retributive action from people who oppose your political ideas. If someone thinks your idea is full of shit they can't just censor you, they can't just throw you in jail or even kill you. No matter how asinine (in fact, the more contrarian the post, the more visible it is due to the larger number of replies it will garner) someone will have to argue against your position in order to refute it.

And it's absolutely fantastic. It and the few *chan copycats are the only places on the internet where actual political discussion can take place. Where, rather than posting in a hugbox of like-minded people who echo your thoughts, you put yourself in a hurt-box where everyone tells you you're a dumbfuck moron who doesn't know what he's talking about, and you're forced to actually defend whatever argument you've made.

The only two issues the format has are: [1] signal-to-noise ratio; as there is a very large amount of spam that takes place due to the free-speech nature, and [2] moderation stepping in and censoring certain viewpoints/topics. (This doesn't tend to happen much on 4chan's popular boards just for the sheer number of posters that makes censorship almost impossible, but on the smaller sites as well as the smaller boards on 4chan itself, it's definitely an issue).

If you want to get the pulse of what the political undercurrents and beliefs in present day western society actually are, without the politically correct censorship that takes place, you go to 4chan and get the whole ugly truth of it.

Comment Re:Claiming patent on web pages with javascript? (Score 1) 123

IBM's basically excised everything important for the long-term functioning of their company, in the name of 'cutting costs'. They've got to monetize their few remaining assets somehow, and patents and lawyers are probably the most obvious to the beancounters. Sue everyone who looks like they might be infringing an IBM patent (And there's a lot of such patents); profit!

Inventing new products, systems, services? Fuck that. That takes long term investment, there's huge costs paying for labor that can't simply be replaced with H1B visa holders, and it's extra risky compared to almost guaranteed profits from abusing the courts and running shakedown 'protection money' scams on other companies who actually do the inventing and creating.

Just another item on the huge pile that's stagnating western economies - and with every politician bought and paid for by these corporations, in addition to corporate astroturfing/advertising, there's no effort on the governments' part to fix it. A lot of people are hoodwinked into believing it's a good thing. It's frustrating to watch this, because the long-term consequences are so obvious to anyone who can look further than next quarter's profit margin.

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