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Comment Re:Init alternatives (Score 1) 280

99.9999% (six nines!) is 31.5 seconds of downtime per year. If you get an outage, it's not reasonable to expect anyone to be able to investigate anything in 31.5 seconds, let alone fix it. So any system with six nines of availability must be architected so that it is a cluster of servers, with automatic failover. If a single server crashing can take out your availability SLA, then the system needs to be rearchitected.

With 99.99% (52.56 minutes per year) of availability, having a backup server will still help. Even on a sysvinit-based system, there are so many things that could go wrong that cannot be fixed in 52.56 minutes. What if the hard disk crashes? You've barely got time to replace it and reinstall the OS, so you really need one that's already set up and ready to go.

If meeting your uptime requirement depends on having easy-to-debug boot scripts, then something is very wrong.

Comment Re:Please get informed (Score 2) 667

I doubt Trump will surprise. Nixon may have created the EPA, but under Trump it will be headed by Myron Ebell, who is an outspoken climate change denier.

Let's assume for a moment that you're right, and that Donald Trump and Bob Walker just want to shuffle programs between different agencies, without changing the total dollars spent. If the goal is to "de-politicize the research", how does this reorg even achieve that? Why is NASA's research more political than the research by the EPA?

Moving NASA's Earth Science program to Ebell's EPA would very clearly be the end of it. This isn't a neutral approach to scientific research, it's political spin on an attempt to defund climate change research.

Comment Re:Unless we know the number of non-dupes. (Score 1) 488

Which once again begs the question why Comey broke the FBI guidelines to not insert himself in the middle of the political process, especially so close to the election.

My guess is that it's because the Republicans humiliated him in a congress hearing and Comey didn't want this to happen again, so he erred on the side of "openness". Even if this does go against DOJ policy and maybe even the Hatch Act.

I'm a Hillary supporter, and I think the whole email "controversy" is silly, but I have to admit that even I found this entertaining:

Comment Video (Score 2) 94

I'm surprised TFA doesn't have a video. This is what they're talking about:

For some reason people these days always seem to want to "disrupt" things. It's not enough to create something new; you have to destroy everything that came before you to be considered a success. I think Intel's drone show looks nice - it's very serene and calm - but fireworks are explosions. This is not necessarily worse or better, it's just a different thing from fireworks, and doesn't look like it'd create the same atmosphere.

On a semi-related note, those who like fireworks might this: It's a daytime fireworks show that uses colored smoke trails, as well as microcontrollers to synchronize detonations. Some very cool effects.

Comment Re:Post-Brexit? (Score 2) 80

It depends how you measure it. The US is the biggest export destination of UK goods, but by far more stuff gets imported from Germany than the US:

The UK exports $51 billion to, and imports $44.4 billion from, the US.
The UK exports $46.5 billion to, and imports $100 billion from, Germany.

And if you combine the rest of the EU, it is far bigger than the US, in terms of trade with the UK.

But anyway, that's missing the point. His point of his comment was that the UK should expand trade to countries which aren't similar to the UK in terms of desktop-vs-mobile usage, which are places beyond both the EU and the US, like India.

Comment Re:Why? (Score 1) 143

iMessage does more than SMS - it supports things like encryption, photos, group chat, continuity (start a conversation on one device, and continue on another), etc. If an iMessage user talks to a non-iMessage user, then you're right, it does route the message over SMS, but with reduced functionality.

Now here's where Apple got clever (or evil, if you're an Android user like me). Normally the messages that you receive are drawn inside blue bubbles. But when you're talking to a non-iMessage user, their messages appear in green bubbles, to let you know that some functionality won't be available. To an iOS user, another way of viewing this is: the person you're talking to has a shitty phone which doesn't support all the awesome things that an iPhone does.

This is particularly noticeable when you're in a group chat. If one of the people is a "green bubble", then the whole group chat is routed over SMS and therefore functionality gets degraded to support them. The Android user essentially drags everyone with them back to the dark ages of SMS, and Apple subtly shames them with green bubbles. The Android user doesn't even notice this, but every iPhone user does.

For just basic functional messaging, this doesn't matter - SMS gets the job done. But for social chatting, it can be a problem. When kids these days want to start a group chat using a feature that isn't supported by SMS, they'll have to decide whether to forget about that feature, or just not invite the Android user.

I've spoken to one iOS-using college student who says that even though Android phones are on par with iPhones (not better, just on par), iMessage is the one thing that keeps her from even considering Android. If you're in college trying to make new friends, your choice of phone can get in the way of your social life!

There's plenty more "green bubble" hate if you search on Google. Here's an example:

Comment Re:Holy flamebait batman! (Score 1) 917

No, I wouldn't implement this today. My point was that it could be a plausible option in the future, based on back-of-the-envelope calculations on today's numbers.

Also, the average social security payment is more like $14k per year, $24k is close to the maximum payout that only gets given to high-income people.

Comment Re:Holy flamebait batman! (Score 1) 917

We could give everyone a UBI of at least $5k today, possibly even $10k, without costing anyone an extra dollar. There may or may not be moral hazards, although recent surveys from Sweden suggest that these are not as bad a people initially think. And this might sound harsh, but the sort of people that would stop working after receiving a $5k or $10k UBI are probably not really contributing that much to society anyway, so it might not be that big of a loss to the rest of us if they drop out of the economy.

But anyway, here's how the math would work:

The population of the US is 319 million.

Of those, 122 million pay federal income tax (source:
Suppose that for those 122 million people, we gave them a tax hike of exactly $5k
Under a UBI, they could get an extra $5k, which exactly offsets this tax hike

So there are 192 million people left
Keep in mind that UBI replaces existing welfare payments, like social security and food stamps
Social security taxes bring in $920 billion (source:
Food stamps cost us $74.1 billion (source:
That's enough to pay just over $5k to each of those remaining 192 million people

I haven't bothered to look into how much we're spending in admin costs to apply means testing to these welfare systems, and I haven't looked into how much money the various state governments are spending on various welfare schemes - all of this would become unnecessary under a UBI.

However the Cato Institute has looked into this, and they think we're spending $1 trillion per year on "welfare" (source: I'm not sure I fully trust their analysis, but I'll take this as an estimate of the upper bound of what we could afford. So this, combined with social security revenue, would add up to $2 trillion per year to share amongst the 192 million non-taxpayers, which would give a UBI of just over $10k.

No need to tap into our Medicare funds, or cut any of our other expenses. We could continue to pay medical expenses, pensions, fund NASA and wage unnecessary and expensive wars around the world.

So that's where we're at today. In the future, there could be technological advances that make us more productive, and mean that we can lower our labor participation rate. The OP asks us whether UBI is the way to go in the future, and I'd say it's a plausible option.

Comment Re:Obligatory SMBC (Score 1) 367

I disagree that a utilitarian car should sacrifice the pedestrian.

Every car on the road creates some amount of risk to the safety of the general public (which is why we're having this discussion in the first place) whereas the risk that pedestrians create for others is negligible.

Programming cars to always sacrifice the pedestrian would send a strong message to society that it's safer to be a passenger in a self-driving car than a pedestrian, and encourage people to create more risk (which is then offloaded onto the rest of society).

Comment Re:I even have a name for it... (Score 1) 367

This game has been around for a long time, when I was in school it was called "chicken". Adults are programmed to stop for children, and it's not considered a bug or a design flaw. The people playing the game are the ones that need to change, and there are ways to do that without having cars run over people on purpose.

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