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Comment Re:It's not his arrest that is a priority (Score 1, Troll) 356

Making an example out of Assange won't help anything though, there will just be someone else stepping up. Assange is not the problem, you are.

There's an old proverb: "When everyone you meet is an asshole, it means that you're not beating up all the assholes fast enough and if only you can speed it up, everyone else will eventually become convinced that you must be one of the good guys."

I know it doesn't sound eloquent, though.

Comment Re:hmmm, yes (Score 1) 218

I heard that some people were installing patches from some dude named "Microsoft" and that company got caught red-handed, writing and distributing malware. (They wrote Windows to work directly contrary to the interests of the user. For example, they went to extra trouble to make it not be installable on modern hardware.)

Installing unaudited software written by people you don't know may sound crazy, but the vast majority of users routinely do something far worse: they install software written by people they do know, where they know that the author is the user's adversary.

Comment This industry is trying hard to flip me (Score 1) 52

So.. in the past I have advocated in favor of "smart TVs" because even if you don't use the features, they're basically "free" (as in beer). Some processing power is already going to be there anyway, and it's not like the chips are expensive. The price of Raspberry Pi should give you a good idea of the most it could possibly cost, and even that is a pretty pessimistic estimate.

But that position was based on the assumption that "utterly and completely worthless to me" was the lower bound of what the user would get out of it.

If the software is going to be hostile, such that the value of a smart TV over a dumb TV might actually be negative, then I have to retract my thumbs-up.

Comment Re:Self-Driving? Yes. Shared? No. (Score 1) 168

I just don't see self-driving long term tipping the scale in favor of renting more than it is today.

I think it comes down to this: Robot drivers are a nice feature for owned cars, but I don't think it expands the attractiveness of ownership as much as it expands the attractiveness of sharing.

Robots don't make ownership more attractive to many people who would otherwise not have bought a car. How many people are thinking, "I'd buy a car if they drove themselves, but they don't, so I'm going to get around some other way"? Maybe some people, but I don't think many. Most people who own cars are willing to drive them; they might prefer to read a novel on that desert roadtrip, but having-to-drive isn't a deal-killer. So your new customers are people who are willing, but unable. Is that a lot?

But how many people are thinking "I'd take a robot taxi, but it doesn't exist yet, so I'm going to get around some other way"? More, I think. If you can take the driver out of the comparison, the two cases of car rental and a taxi hire, just sort of blend together into unified case. I think that new thing can serve situations where people currently settle for solutions where they aren't really happy, turning more Nos into Yesses. And I also think those situations where people aren't happy, aren't very extreme; if the shared car scenario where just a little better, it would make a big difference. I know that Uber/Lyft tipped a lot of people who were not taking taxis all the time.

Comment Re:Simple math... (Score 1) 339

Ok, excellent example.

You're pretty smart, right? So tell me: are you confident that you are getting the best-possible deal on insurance? Do you understand all the ways the companies compete (and don't) and exactly how high you should have your deductible be, to get the "best" premiums vs risk mitigation? Have you actually read your whole policy, and researched every term that you thought might have a technical meaning other than its superficial meaning?

And are you tuning it every year, as the insured object depreciates?

Maybe you've got this nailed, but you'd be exceptional. Getting some aspect of this sub-optimally, wouldn't signify to me that you're stupid. You might be lazy, you might have enough income that you don't give a fuck about an extra $20/year, etc.

Now if someone else points at a guy who has a $100 deductible on his car, and says "we're idiots," you're gonna say something like, "Hey, I don't have all my shit perfectly together, but that fuckwit isn't representative of us all!" and that's really all I meant to say about gambling. If you had to gamble, you'd probably get it about as right as you get your insurance.

And you probably get your bullshit-detecting about as well, very roughly. That you miss sometimes, doesn't mean you're an idiot. We're not idiots; we're just in zero-sum competitions with people who are experts in their fields.

The Internet

Tennessee Could Give Taxpayers America's Fastest Internet For Free, But It Gave Comcast and AT&T $45 Million Instead (vice.com) 341

Chattanooga, Tennessee is home to some of the fastest internet speeds in the United States, offering city dwellers Gbps and 10 Gpbs connections. Instead of voting to expand those connections to the rural areas surrounding the city, which have dial up, satellite, or no internet whatsoever, Tennessee's legislature voted to give Comcast and AT&T a $45 million taxpayer handout. Motherboard reports: The situation is slightly convoluted and thoroughly infuriating. EPB -- a power and communications company owned by the Chattanooga government -- offers 100 Mbps, 1 Gbps, and 10 Gpbs internet connections. A Tennessee law that was lobbied for by the telecom industry makes it illegal for EPB to expand out into surrounding areas, which are unserved or underserved by current broadband providers. For the last several years, EPB has been fighting to repeal that state law, and even petitioned the Federal Communications Commission to try to get the law overturned. This year, the Tennessee state legislature was finally considering a bill that would have let EPB expand its coverage (without providing it any special tax breaks or grants; EPB is profitable and doesn't rely on taxpayer money). Rather than pass that bill, Tennessee has just passed the "Broadband Accessibility Act of 2017," which gives private telecom companies -- in this case, probably AT&T and Comcast -- $45 million of taxpayer money over the next three years to build internet infrastructure to rural areas.

Comment Re:Self-Driving? Yes. Shared? No. (Score 2) 168

This is the thing that has had me scratching my head. People equate self-driving cars with 'always rent the car'. I don't understand why everyone things those two are necessarily tied together.

They aren't necessarily tied together. Of course some people will want one thing and not the other.

But they happen to go great together. For every person who needs their car to be personal space, there will be n people who don't need that. I think n is a big number, like 19 or something. Some people probably think that's absurd and the real number is incredibly low, like 3. Cool, whatever. I'm not a pollster or market analyst.

There are even degrees. How much money is a mobile safe and personal cleanliness standards really worth to you? How much money-saving would tip you? What if we're talking about your family's second or third car, the one that's only getting driven 3000 miles per year? Are you sure you're willing to spend an extra $20,000 on a second mobile safe to avoid carrying a backpack or briefcase, if we were talking about 20 days per year instead of 200 days per year? There are going to be so many possible intermediate cases, not just across the whole population, but even within one person's life. I suspect there's a real market here, and I would probably be one of its customers if the numbers were right.

Comment Re:Its called mass transit (Score 1) 168

Smaller cities need working bus systems that aren't starved for money in order to be useful.

Look at it this way: shared cars (with robot drivers) are a way to get the flexibility needed to scale down to possibly accomplish what you just said.

It's a tiny bus with a flexible schedule. It's less efficient than a larger vehicle full of passengers, but more efficient than a larger vehicle with two passengers, or everyone having to drive their own car. It's another tool on your toolbelt, for addressing certain-size problems. And it happens to be an extremely popular size.

Comment Re:Yep (Score 1) 96

Once a site DOES take responsibility for the posts - filtering, banning, controlling - then they logically would become responsible for the content therein

Would you consider Slashdot to have taken responsibility for the posts here? Moderation exists, but they aren't the ones who do it. Seems like it'd be the moderators, not the host, who would lose safe harbor. (But they aren't hosting anyway, so there's no safe harbor to lose.)

Comment Re:Simple math... (Score 1) 339

Nah, we're stupid. .. Millions of people play the lottery .. Ditto casinos

Millions do it, but do most do it? I think gambling is just a niche, for some (far less than half) fraction of the population. That just tells me some people are stupid, not "we're stupid."

Heh, googled it. All the top results are about addiction. Anyway, it looks like around 1/6 to 1/4 of people gamble. That's much higher than I would have guessed (I thought it'd be more like 1/20 or something like that), but nevertheless, telling me a quarter of the population are fuckwits, doesn't tell me the average person is a fuckwit.

Also, about the fuckwittery: I think some (most? I hope) people who gamble, know they are losing money and that the house must necessarily make a consistent profit off them. They're doing more than gambling; they're buying something. I don't value what they're buying, but they do. Perhaps they like being around gold wallpaper, and enjoy drinking the "free" drinks that they're buying. (Am I stupid for buying electricity that I feed to the computer I play games on, even though I never win electricity back?)

Leadership is different; unlike gambling, it's something that you have to tolerate. It's very hard to have a life free of leaders.

Imagine there were a law that you are required to gamble! So you go looking for the least-worst game. (Craps, I guess?). Eventually all the non-gambler-type personalities are playing craps, because they're forced to. Then the craps houses have to compete, so one of them offers "free" drinks, another one offers a subtle rule change that you have to analyze carefully, and another one has cool animated wallpaper. Are you sure, even as a non-stupid person, you're going to get that choice right? Will you even remember what value you're trying to optimize? There's a law that you have to lose money, so are you trying to minimize that loss, or are you maybe trying to find the one with the best drinks, or the least travel time from your house? The more the houses compete, the more complex the problem will get. Eventually you will be up against people who a very good at making the choices be hard. You'll be thinking travel costs you $0.180 per mile when it's really $0.188, or drinking "free" drinks that are worth $2.91 to you, but they got their cost down to $2.78. You'll think their Fizzbin game's Tuesday rule is an advantage, but actually it puts you up against better players, and two of them (which two?) are agents of the house.

Comment Re:Simple math... (Score 1) 339

I don't think it's because we're stupid. I think it's just because we're not super-smart. (And good thing we're not, because then we'd be up against some amazing liars!)

You are probably a bad-ass motherfucker at something, and possibly several things, the more Rennaissance-Man-like you are. But you can't be an expert at everything (you just can't). So you're going to fall back to less-impressive (but still .. sorta decent) heuristics, both when you try to do those things, and also when you try to figure out if someone else is good at those things.

Your heuristics can be deceived. You probably have some countermeasures against that, too, but just like the topics themselves, the meta-topic of judging other peoples' expertise, isn't something that everyone can be a bad-ass motherfucker at. And sometimes the person deceiving you can be a bad-ass motherfucker at deception.

An average leader candidate ought to be able to trick an average person about half the time. Now throw in a dynamic selection process, where more persuasive candidates move forward ahead of the less-persuasive ones, and well-vetted leader candidate ought to be able to deceive a majority of people.

We, average-skill deception-detectors, are faced with the some of the best deceivers.

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