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Comment By this logic (Score 5, Interesting) 238

shouldn't we also have usage-based pricing for the TV they sell us? So that we pay "fairly" for for the fixed cost of establishing the network? Why would that model be different, since it's not really about congestion, as admitted in the article?

The electric bill and buffet examples in the article are terrible: when we pay for electric usage, we actually are paying for utlization/generation; use more and something (coal, natural gas, etc.) actually gets consumed more. And most buffets are all-you-can-eat; if you're paying by weight or something, the analogy is the same — you're actually consuming something. But both bandwidth and TV channels are there no matter how much they're "consumed." Bandwidth can be saturated (the congestion problem) but it can't be actually consumed.

If we're going to talk about "fairness", let's talk about:

  1. 1. Fair access to the wired networks built out, frequently, under monopoly guarantees
  2. 2. Fair levels of monetization of the network: does the telecom industry really want the equivalent of a utilities commission deciding how much they profit?

Comment Re:No way. (Score 1) 979

But the objection still holds: you haven't told us what consciousness is, just that it's not "something else." Fine. What about the human cognitive processes working produces whatever-it-is that we experience as introspection, and why do we experience it the way we do?

Until someone can answer that question, functionalism has written a check it can't cash. Assigning consciousness to some not-yet-understood aspect of cognitive processes is in no important respect different than simply declaring consciousness "mysterious."

There's no explanation on offer for how processes such as the ones we're currently able to describe produce phenomena like consciousness -- so either there's a "something else," or there's "something else" about the processes that we don't yet know.

You can take your mystery in whatever box you like, but the point is that consciousness is not yet anywhere near being well-understood, even in principle.

Comment Re:No way. (Score 1) 979

The consciousness "debate" will never be settled (at rather, widely agreed upon), because the answer just doesn't mesh intuitively with human introspection.

And, put non-technically, that's kind of a problem for functionalism.

We need either (a) an explanation of how some activity describable in functionalist terms can account for the experience of introspection or (b) an explanation of why introspection is unimportant to the relevant definition of consciousness.

Since case (b) seems unlikely, and case (a) is a blank check drawn on an unknown account, the pronouncements of experts giving us a timeframe seem fairly unreliable.

Comment Re:Just to be clear... (Score 1) 698

And this opens up an interesting possibility to provide an incentive to properly mark packets for QoS (on the user's end).

If Comcast added to this the following wrinkle: packets marked for "bulk" QoS automatically get assigned to the BE traffic level, but do not count against the consumption metric used to prioritize the rest of your traffic.

Presto: anyone who both torrents and watches streamed video now has an incentive to use a torrent app that marks its traffic as bulk.

Additionally, maybe streaming providers start getting sophisticated about how they deliver their streamed video to try to make part of that bulk as well, or at least do so adaptively when congestion is low. And downloads to iTunes, etc., easily go bulk.

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