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Comment David Manning says "But wait, there's more!" (Score 1) 48

Not just a rootkit, there's also another new patent-encumbered format you don't really need for doing something you'd be better off doing another way, and proprietary firmware that will take away advertised features at some as-yet unannounced date. David Manning says it's "this year's hottest new star!" but I think you'll BE MOVED to consider other options.

Comment Committed to the least they can get away with (Score 2) 121

Microsoft, owner of Skype (which Microsoft changed specifically for spying, not that Skype was trustworthy under its previous owner either as The Guardian tells us, "Eight months before being bought by Microsoft, Skype joined the Prism program in February 2011.") and NSA "provider" since 2007-09-11 (the NSA's first PRISM provider) wants us to understand their "commitment to our customers' security". Apparently that commitment is as little as they can get away with.

That's true of every software proprietor, Google included. The problem is the lack of software freedom which is designed to leave users at the mercy of the only programmers allowed to inspect, alter, and publish improvements to the proprietary software—these are the very programmers users couldn't trust with their security in the first place.

Comment Software freedom for cars is necessary. (Score 2) 102

I don't think that will be sufficient or even a good plan for the car owner.

The correct and complete solution is simple (and it's high time /. readers start endorsing this to each other and to their Congressional representatives): complete corresponding source code for all of the car's software licensed to the car owner under a free software license. I recommend the AGPLv3 or later in order to help maintain software freedom when people provide remote services to do this job. This would allow the car owner to have an application they trust running on and in the car which allows them to list all connections to other parties and selectively break whichever connections they wish ad-hoc. Few dealers would prefer this because it cuts them out of the loop; only dealers that genuinely want you to have the best available support and service, even extending beyond the dealer's business.

Practical problems with a dealer-only arrangement include: no possibility of getting this fixed ad-hoc (dealers in the US often don't do business on Sundays) which means your privacy means less to them than their ability to engineer new monopolies, no way to trust that the connection to someone's monitor is complete (you're trusting the dealer not to screw you but they have already shown a desire to do that in other ways), dealers are like any other business in that they sometimes go out of business which leaves car owners in the dark for getting this operation done, cooperative dealers are sometimes too far to realistically deal with (if I sell the car from the US mainland to someone in Hawaii they won't want to ship the car back to get this done because their Hawaiian dealer either doesn't exist or isn't cooperative).

Comment Re:Hyperbole stew (Score 4, Insightful) 510

Funny, I've always thought that "they hate us for our freedoms" was a joke, and understood as such by everyone. Are you telling me people seriously mean it when they say that? And that other people believe it? Because I always thought they hate you for destroying their countries and ruining their lives, and not so much about what you do when you are at home...

Comment Re:How is that supposed to happen? (Score 1) 387

So you draw the line "before _additional_ automation is introduced". Let's say I have a highly automated factory, and my competitor does not. If he introduces automation he gets to pay a massive tax that I don't - simply because I was earlier.

And do we count that "additional" automation from now? Or from 1980? Or from 1600? That's the line you are drawing. Where is the cutoff point?

Comment How is that supposed to happen? (Score 5, Insightful) 387

You (and others) seem to believe that "robots" are clearly defined pieces of equipment, that clearly take over someone's job. Something with at least a sinister metallic arm that you can point to and say "that thing has my job!".

Reality is that work has been steadily mechanized over a course of centuries, and that process will continu. Instead of you doing your job with a machine, it will be a slightly smarter machine doing the work - and it may or may not have an arm. Where do you draw the line, precisely? How is a law going to define what a "robot" is and what isn't? Is an assembly line one robot, or a hundred? How about the robots in your house: are you going to pay taxes on your mixer, your bread maker, your oven, your fridge, etc.? How about your car, are you going to pay taxes on that as well? Each of those devices save a lot of work, and in doing so, replace human labor. Are we going to pay taxes for all of that?

If you wish to apply tax in terms of displaced human labour, will you compare with assembly line labour of a century ago, or fully manual labour of a millennium ago? How about robots in China, how will you tax those?

Comment Re:Neckbeard Bigly (Score 1) 113

As has been speculated in many places, people are quite sick of the phony smiles and phony concern of the phony politicians who give you a phony handshake and express their phony grieve about your circumstances while at the same time making your situation even worse with every policy they have available. A person who says what he thinks is real, and that is what appeals to many people.

Also, some politicians care more about other countries and other people than they care about their own. It's lovely if they have nice manners, but for most voters, the only thing that matters is their policies.

 

Comment Re:A very good more basic question (Score 1) 722

Children are also people, they cost a shitload of money, and social programs aimed at them will also get replaced by UBI. Why on earth would you exclude them?

Your figure includes local and state level taxes. Not that it matters all that much. You might end up with "just enough to live on", but that would still be without all the other things like defense, healthcare, education, infrastructure, etc. If you want to get a realistic view of cost, try finding the current cost of social programs alone. Some quick searching suggests around $360 billion is what you're currently spending on that. The equivalent value in UBI would be $1125/person/year.

Ok, let's be silly here and exclude children and people we don't like. Now it's $1800/person/year.

Oh hey, we can recover that money by having them pay taxes! Let's put that at 40% (as you did). Now it's $1080/person/year. Can you survive on that? How about if you have children (since they don't get their own UBI)?

Comment Re: A very good more basic question (Score 1) 722

That's just normal wellfare, then. The whole point of UBI, the very thing that sets it apart from wellfare, is that _everyone_ receives it, no matter what. Its proponents frequently claim it will eliminate the 'giant overhead' of checking whether people are illegible.

As for taxes returned, sure, by all means subtract them. But please do keep in mind that this will eat into the $12000 I calculated earlier - and that was already too low to live on.

Comment Re:A very good more basic question (Score 1) 722

My _math_ is fine. And why wouldn't children get UBI? Do you believe there is no cost involved in raising a child? Clothes, food, education, hobbies, ...? Should all this money automatically come from the parents' income? Given that we are replacing _all_ benefit programs (including those for children) with UBI, shouldn't they also be receiving UBI?

Comment Re:Oh, noes... (Score 1) 110

Frankly, I'd rather have police accountability than privacy from having people see my face while I'm in public.

You realize that this is not an either/or choice right? We can give police body cameras & get the associated enhanced accountability and put safeguards in to prevent it turning to ubiquitous surveillance,

'Oh noes', like people are being irrational suggesting we limit ubiquitous surveillance.

Comment Re:A very good more basic question (Score 2) 722

You are apparently not aware of this but money (almost) does grow on trees. Ever wondered where the money that is around came from? It was printed by a central bank. And it still is. Just google Mario Draghi and what he's doing with the Euro lately.

citing from The Article:

No, it doesn't. Money is not by itself a resource. Instead it is a means of measuring value. If you create money without also creating value, all you do is dilute the supply of money. This works out great if you are the one making the money since you end up with a bigger share of the pie, but for everybody else it means their fixed amount has just become less valuable. Inflation is in a very real sense a wealth transfer from the poor (who don't own much, and have much of their capital in cash) to the rich (who have the ability to buy actual resources, rather than just money).

Throughout history, experiments have been run by very smart people with creating money from thin air. In France, rampant inflation led to the French revolution. In Germany, it led to WW2. In Zimbabwe, it has turned a fertile agricultural country into a desert that must import food. And in Venezuela, it has led an oil-rich country to not even be able to provide toilet paper to its citizens.

Having people work less - but voluntarily - is one of the benefits of UBI. Many people suffer involuntary unemployment due to automation. So we end up with a part of the workforce without ANY job and the other part with full jobs. It would be smarter to distribute jobs more evenly. But the present system drives everybody to try and get a fully paid job, as a matter of risk management: it could be anytime you lose that job and without a (substantial) financial buffer you'd be in deep trouble. UBI takes away that fear of existential threat - it gives you peace of mind and makes you less clingy to the job you have. It significantly improves your negotiating position towards (potential) employers.

It's a lovely sentiment. Like Star Trek, with everybody contributing, for free, to the best of their ability. Or like communism, with everybody taking and nobody giving. Hint: one of those is fiction.

One might also wonder if money were created for free, whether cost (of everything) would remain the same, or rise to meet the levels of available money. In other words, the program might be undone by rampant inflation.

Yes, there will be inflation. FYI the European Central Bank is desperately trying to increase inflation (my above comment regarding Mario Draghi)

I know. Do you know why he wants that? It's because he hopes to get rid of rampant government debt by obliterating the value of the currency. It's not because inflation is such a positive force, as you seem to believe. Oh, and there is this whole "wealth transfer to the rich" part as well, of course.

Comment Re:A very good more basic question (Score 2, Interesting) 722

I have yet to see any proponent of UBI come up with a figure for their supposed overhead, but that doesn't matter anyway: the cost of a UBI program is greater than the entire current government budget (including social programs, defense, healthcare, etc.).

The US federal budget is 3.8 trillion. There are 320 million people in the US. That works out to about $12000/person/year, which I suspect most people in the US would consider to be far too low to actually live on. And again, this is with zero spending on anything else: no defense, no healthcare, no education, no infrastructure, etc.

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