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Comment Also phone service was fucking expensive (Score 1) 190

Back in the day phone lines were so much, you didn't get to have your own phone line. You had a "party line". What's that? That's where everyone in your area as the same phone line. One line, multiple houses. It would ring a different number of times to tell you who the call was for, and if you wanted to call out and someone else was using the line you had to wait. Also this meant everyone could listen in on your calls, of course. However, that was the only way phone was affordable for most people. That's not to mention the cost of long distance, which in the old days was anything off your local exchange.

And for all the bitching about Internet service, it does keep getting better, by a lot. When I first got connected to the 'net 14.4kbps was all I could get. Faster modems were out at the time, but that's all my ISP supported. As time has gone on, I've got a steady and fairly regular set of speed increases until now I have a 300mbit connection. About 21,000 times speed increase in around 21 years. Not too bad, overall. Price is in the same ballpark too. Currently I pay $100/month for that connection. Back in the day it was $20/month for Internet and about $25/month for a second phone line, I can't remember precisely. So about $70/month in today's dollars. For that price I'd have to step down to 150mbit Internet, if we wanted to keep all things far. Still 10,000x faster. Not really that bad for a couple decades, particularly compared to a lot of other, more mature technologies. My electric service sure isn't 10,000x as good as it was in the 90s.

So ya, fiber and gig or 10gig Internet hasn't come to everywhere yet. So what? It is getting rolled out, perhaps not as fast as we geeks would like, but it is still happening, and tech improvements are increasing bandwidth on copper formats as well. What we have now works well for most people, and the improvements we've seen are not insignificant.

Comment Contact the ISPs in your area (Score 1) 190

You can get fiber, if you are actually willing to pay. You just aren't willing to pay for it.

What I mean is they'll sell you a fiber connection, as fast as you'd like, but you'll have to pay the full costs. You pay what it takes to have the line run and installed, and then you pay the full rate for an unmetered dedicated connection and they'll do it. Real enterprise class service with a nice SLA and all that. Thing is, that is going to run 5 figured (maybe 6) on the install and 4 figures or more for the monthly. That's what it really costs, that's what actually running dedicated fiber costs and what dedicated bandwidth costs.

What you want is CHEAP fiber. You want them to roll out a PON network on their dollar, and then sell you can your neighbours access to share that bandwidth for a low price. That's fine to want, but demanding it as if they owe you is unreasonable. Particularly since for something like that to be economically feasible everyone needs to be willing to pay, not just you. If it is a shared network, with the costs not being paid upfront, then a bunch of people need to pay, and need to do so for a fair bit of time.

If you look in to it, you'll find more than a few people that have no fucks to give about fast Internet. any modern service is "fast enough" for them. You can't convince them to spend on higher speed connections. My parents are like that. They have 12mbit cable. They can buy at least 100mbit where they live, maybe more (I haven't checked lately). They just won't. They are happy with what they have. They've used faster Internet, when they visit me they get to use mine which is 300mbit, but they don't care. To them what they have is good enough and they would rather spend the money on other things.

So if you are really willing to pay, and I mean pay the actual installation, operation, and bandwidth costs for dedicated fiber line, you can have that. However if you aren't willing to, and I can't blame you if you aren't, you can't then demand that they should give you stuff for cheap.

Comment Re:and if I shoplift a rack full of CD's it's just (Score 4, Insightful) 89

Because copyright law is bunch of crude analogies hacked together that used the physical encodings of information as a proxy for a creator's financial interests in a work. It worked great in the age of print when mainly you were talking about books which were cheap to mass produce but expensive to copy.

But today, conceptualizing an author's rights to a work as a monopoly on copying leads to nonsensical results. Suppose I download a song to the same computer twice, as can easily happen. Technically because the thing I did wrong was copying, I infringed *twice*; however it hardly does twice the harm to the author's interests. On the other hand if I copy that song once but listen to it a thousand times, you could reasonably argue I'm doing more harm to the author's interest than if I downloaded it a thousand times but *never* listened to it.

It's all just a way to get content creators paid; a ridiculously complex and arcane way, but it's familiar because it's traditional. You can't expect it to make sense, especially by trying to draw subtly different analogies.

Comment That last bit is the real trick (Score 1) 190

We are pretty good these days about keeping track of shit. Probably not as good as we should be, but still pretty good. However we have LOTS of old infrastructure. The documentation can be bad or non-existent. There's not an easy way to deal with, unfortunately, since it isn't like we can just open up an access panel and have a look at what's there. It'll continue to be a problem for a long time, perhaps forever.

Comment Re:Let me know when ... (Score 1) 286

The football analogy is stupid. Reaching the 35 yard line has no value in itself, indeed neither does reaching the 0 yard line. The only thing that goes up on the score board is getting into the end zone.

Generating, say, half of your energy from renewables is more like reaching the half-way point in your quest to earn a million dollars; the half-mil in your pocket has utility right now. What's more since non-renewables aren't going away overnight, reducing their use is immediately useful in reducing carbon emissions and other pollution.

The economics of renewables are considerably different than non-renewables, which means we have to adjust our thinking (and engineering). To maximize the impact of renewables, we need a much better electricity grid, which will help us smooth over local variations in supply. We'll also need to work on storage at some point. Storage for renewables doesn't have to be as physically efficient as it would be for non-renewables, but it has to be cheap to build and operate.

Comment Re:Tzar Bomba (Score 3, Informative) 897

Actually... This thing can potentially deliver up to 15 separate warheads, which could in aggregate sum up to 50 MT, which coincidentally was the approximate yield of the Tsar Bomba. However those warheads would have immensely more destructive capacity than the Tsar Bomba.

The reason is simple geometry: the energy of an explosion is dissipated in three dimension, but people live on an approximately two dimensional surface; all that energy which goes down and up is wasted. To do more destruction, you need to find a way of distributing the energy of the attack across the surface of the Earth, which can easily be done by delivering two warheads of half the size, or even better ten warheads of 1/10 the size.

This is what is behind the whole "area the size of France" thing. You couldn't do that with a single massive bomb, but ten smaller bombs might do the trick. Also note that terrain makes a difference -- as it did in the Nagasaki bombing, which missed its mark, causing the blast to be contained by the Urakami Valley. Southern France is extremely rugged, so it is unlikely that all of France could be destroyed by one of these things; however, there's no question that France as a country would be destroyed.

Comment Re: Watches are worn as bling (Score 2) 325

I like Skagen, and they're a rare example of clean design at an affordable price. I especially like an Ancher model -- the arabic version with leather band for general wear and the baton dial for dress. The Holst with day/date dials combines two things I don't usually like (subdials and day/date complications) but does it in a way that I actually like quite a bit. For me it's not the existence of the complication per se, but the readability of the watch. Unfortunately the Holst is a bit on the thick side, but you can't have everything. Shave 3 mm off the thickness and you'd be looking at a $1000 watch.

There are few odd missteps in the lineup. Their rectangular dress watches have batons in a circular pattern, which is a bit... unusual. They also have a watch that has a month calculation. It's done nicely, but it's an utterly ridiculous feature.

Overall Skagen designs remind me of Baum et Mercier at about 20% of the price, and just little bit more Scandanavian if you know what I mean.

Danish Design watches seem pretty similar; I wouldn't be surprised in they came out of the same company. They almost certainly use the same movements. Ironically the faces seem less Scandinavian to me but what do I know? One of their designs reminds of the famous Swiss railway clocks.

I don't have watches from either of these companies because I focus on vintage pre-80s watches.

Comment Of course there is. (Score 1) 141

Smart people usually spend slack-ish time examining things they *might* want to do. It doesn't mean they *do* want to do those things, but one thing most of us know by now is whenever you're asked to do something, "in a hurry" is the default pace, and yet "slapdash" is not acceptable. So you don't want to be in a position where you use time figuring out how to use Material Design that you need for coding or testing.

And even if you don't use those little hypothetical forays, they're still valuable in understanding your competition, both weaknesses and things you can learn from them.

Comment Re:How dare you try to get around us regulating (Score 2) 114

And yet other companies manage to stay in business without committing fraud.

The reasons for emissions regulations are so that when consumers make the cost/performance tradeoff when buying a car, they don't externalize costs -- which is an economist's way of saying make other people pay for their choices. A car would be cheaper and perform better if it didn't have a catalytic converter (just dump your partially burned hydrocarbons on everyone else), EGRs (just dump your NOx on everyone else), PCVs (spread engine oil over everyone else) and mufflers (dump your noise on everyone else).

All of that stuff you'd be dumping on everyone else costs everyone else. You can argue about precisely how much it costs them, but it is certainly not zero.

So let's turn your little rhetorical device around: How dare you fraudulently make the public subsidize your business?

Here's the thing about markets: they're not about making everyone happy. They're about efficient distribution of resources. If costs go up producers are unhappy and some of them go out of business. That makes the owners and workers unhappy, but it is a rational response to costs going up. Dumping those costs on others and pretending they don't exist isn't rational; it's hysterical.

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