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Comment Re: If he gets busted... (Score 1) 88

One way we could look at this is as a cost function on the devices. For a market-based system to work, things have to have costs that ideally reflect their total cost. Cheap IOT devices that are a huge threat to the system don't have an adequate cost assigned to them unless something like this steps in. Perhaps this just evens it up a bit. Carbon tax for IOT?

Comment Re:Cellular allegedly competes with wired broadban (Score 1) 154

That's funny. That kind of choice is like saying a long-haul over the road trucking company has a choice in their transportation capability because they can switch from Peterbuilt tractors to one of Ford, Chevy, or Dodge pickup trucks.

I couldn't even switch from Verizon fiber back to Verizon DSL; Verizon yanked the copper as soon as they installed the fiber.

Comment Re:I think someone without a degree wrote that sum (Score 2) 329

I think these two comments (parent and grandparent) hit the nail on the head. There are plenty of idiots who think they are skilled labor - both with and without degrees. And there are plenty of people with skills - both with and without degrees, some of whom have a very hard time finding a position. The problem seems to be that companies have a hard time figuring out how to tell who is skilled, and who isn't.

In general, a college degree should be a good indicator of whether someone can stick to a task and walk away with a result. Couple the degree with a GPA, and it might give some hint as to the quality of the work that person can do. (yes, degrees vary in quality, and some schools degrees aren't worth the paper they are printed on; I'm just talking in general.) However, the absence of a degree doesn't automatically mean a person is an idiot. I worked several years without a degree, and I did good work. I went to school and got a degree after observing that people seemed to get paid more with a degree, and significantly increased my rate of pay while working for the same company. (Although I looked at the degree at that time as "just a piece of paper", I now believe that my schooling *did* improve my capabilities and make me a more valuable employee.)

After I worked for the same company for quite a while, I quit to resolve some problems. When I returned to the workforce, I had trouble getting a new position. A big handicap for me was that I suck at being an interviewee, other factors could include my age. I finally landed a position, but at 20% less pay. A year and a half later, after my employers saw what I could do, I got my pay bumped up 25% (i.e., back to what it had been at my previous position). At the same time, I saw an individual with whom I had worked in my previous position, who was definitely less skilled than I, get a job with one of the companies that chose not to hire me (in the same general field), probably making just as much as me (based on my knowledge of the position and the firm).

This is obviously anecdotal evidence, but it reflects my experience. I can add more anecdotes - my wife knew of an open position with the company for whom she works, we had a friend who was a good fit for that position, and my wife asked him to apply as he was looking for a new position. Despite having a resume that showed he was very qualified for the job, he didn't even get a telephone interview - his resume never made it through the HR screen to the hiring manager.

I'm glad that I'm not looking for work right now, because my experience looking for it a few years ago really sucked. On-line applications that took an hour or two to complete, often with little or no response other than a "we got your application" for my trouble. I hear that on the other side, companies are drowning in resumes submitted to on-line positions. A wealth of applicants, and no sure way to screen them that really separates the wheat from the chaff.

So, if companies are making major commitments to finding skilled applicants from all sources, and not just focusing on people with college degrees, perhaps that is a good thing. But I hope that they have figured out how to determine who is good and who isn't... and I really hope that they can do it in a race/age/sex blind manner. But that's probably asking for too much.

Comment Re:Hypocrisy (Score 4, Insightful) 154

I don't know what the man is talking about; I have only one choice of broadband provider - Comcast. At my last residence, I had only one choice of broadband provider - Verizon. Is he saying that I have "choice" because I can relocate my household if I want to change ISPs?

Service providers are in privileged positions: Doctors, lawyers, banks, telephones, internet

Because of those privileged positions, service providers are limited in what they can do with the private information they are privy to through their privileged position

Imagine if your doctor, while treating you, was building a profile of your particular health problems, your family life, and any other personal information that they could gather from you through their conversations with you about medical problems, possible causes, and potential solutions. Imagine then if your doctor then used this profile to send you targeted advertisements in the mail, and made automated phone calls to your phone, trying to sell you goods and services related to what the doctor knew about you from you profile. Further imagine if your doctor was free to sell your profile to anyone else, so that they too could contact you and try to sell you goods and services, or use this information for any other purpose.

Imagine if your lawyer, while helping you with your legal affairs, was building a profile of you and your particular personal and business relationships. Imagine if that lawyer then used that profile to call you up from time to time, and offer to solve other problems that they inferred you had, and to send you e-mail, postal mail, and even automated phone calls advertising their services in areas that they thought you might need based on their personal knowledge of you. Imagine still further if your lawyer made your profile available for sale to others who wanted to know more about you and your personal and business affairs.

Imagine if your bank, privy to all of the entities with whom you exchange payments for personal and business matters, used their knowledge of those payment exchanges to build a profile on you, which they then used to target you and your family for marketing purposes, selling you goods and services they thought you might be interested in based on your current payment exchanges. Imagine still further if they then made this profile available to the whomever else wanted to pay for it, so that these 3rd parties too could understand your personal and business payment relationships, and use that information for whatever purposes these 3rd parties chose.

Imagine if the telephone company was allowed to monitor your daily phone conversations using automated voice to text transcriptions, to amass a profile on you based on who you talked to about what, and then use that information to market goods and services to you that they thought might be helpful or useful to you. Imagine still further that they sold this profile to whomever else wanted to know with whom you spoke, and what you talked about, on a daily and continual basis.

Out of these analogies, the most direct one for internet service providers is to telephone service providers, but all of the others are applicable too, because the information that we communicate through Internet connections includes communications to all of these service providers. Telephone service providers are not allowed to monitor the content of our telephone calls, and they are even limited in what they can do with the signal information (who we are calling). Internet services have a direct logical equivalent to dialing a telephone call and holding a conversation; its the connectionless and connection-oriented streams of data packets that form a logical unit corresponding to a telephone call. If we donâ(TM)t allow telephone companies to monitor our telephone calls and use the information regarding what we talked about (or even who we called), why does it suddenly become âoeokâ to allow an Internet service provider to do so?

An Internet service provider snooping on our streams of data packets is directly analogous to the telephone company wiretapping all of our phone calls, collecting the information on what we talk about and with whom, and using it for their own marketing purposes or selling that data to others. That information includes our conversations with our doctors, our lawyers, our bankers, and more. It is morally reprehensible to even suggest that such behavior from a company in such a privileged position is allowable.

Comment Re:"I love the USSR Glove. It's so bad." (Score 1) 300

And then there are stories like my father-in-law, who almost went blind because in his province, the powers that be wouldn't authorize surgery on his eye because he was too old (10 years ago). He managed to convince someone in the next province over, through connections, and got the surgery. So he's had 10 more years of sight. I don't know what the ratios are, but its not all sweetness and light.

Comment Re: Participation Trophy (Score 1) 300

My idea of the function of government is to provide those services that it makes sense to provide on a collective basis to the taxpayers who fund the government to provide them, not to "transfer wealth." As I understand the political use of the term "transfer of wealth," it isn't used to describe the normal activity of paying taxes to the government so that the government can use the accumulated funds to provide services that benefit the taxpayers. The phrase "transfer of wealth" refers to the practice of taking wealth away from those who have "too much" and giving it to those who have "too little," with a lot of argument/discussion about where the lines for "too much" and "too little" should be drawn. And a little bit of pain because those who have really "too much" are usually capable of gaming the system to avoid paying, leaving those who just have more than "too little" to foot the bill.

In the US, "we the people" created our federal government "in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity." We can know that, because the folks who did it took the time to write it down. Other countries have different origin stories, but that is ours. To understand the contemporary meanings of those terms, it's necessary to study the ideological origins of the United States. A book that might guide one is this one https://www.amazon.com/Ideological-Origins-American-Revolution/dp/0674443020. Wealth transfer isn't in there.

Comment Re:Participation Trophy (Score 1) 300

I don't think nearly as many people are "entrepreneurial" as you seem to think. I'm not convinced that a UBI won't work, but I think it's a pretty Pollyanna viewpoint to think that it will work as well as some proponents seem to think. And I know people who just do what they need to do to "get by," which a UBI will make that much easier.

Some of the "founding fathers" of the US believed that the strength of the US lay in its agricultural economy and the availability of land that made it possible in theory for everyone to provide for themselves, and I'm not sure that worked out so well. How much better will it turn out to have people who theoretically don't need to do anything at all?

Comment Re: Participation Trophy (Score 1) 300

A potential problem with a UBI is that money, like everything else, has a value. And when things are easy to come by (like you don't have to work for them), their value goes down.

Part of what drove the "housing bubble" in the US 10 years ago was the "cheap money" for mortgages brought about by artificially low interest rates put and kept in place to help the economy recover after the double whammy of the "tech wreck" Internet stock collapse in 1999 followed by the al Qaeda attack in September 2001. Folks could bid up the price on houses because the low mortgage rates let them throw more money into the deal without their "monthly payment" going up. Housing prices went into the stratosphere before it all collapsed, with the losers being people who bought real estate at the inflated prices and didn't manage to sell out before the inflated prices collapsed. The winners were the folks who had bought at "normal" prices, sold out at the highs, and didn't need to buy back in (e.g., they rented instead).

Making money worth less isn't usually good for an economy, which will probably react by raising prices (so that it takes more of the money that is now worth less to obtain a given commodity). I'm very interested in seeing how UBIs interact with an economy on a large scale, but small scale pilot projects are unlikely to demonstrate these effects. That's unfortunate, because those are exactly the effects we need to understand before we engage in a wholesale adoption of UBI.

Comment Re:Story is exactly the opposite of headline (Score 5, Insightful) 83

I underwent firearms training in a US state that also permitted, according to statue law, deadly force to prevent a variety of felonies in addition to severe bodily harm to us or someone else. We were advised in class that any such use of deadly force by us, mere citizens, would most likely result in a homicide conviction. Statute law is one thing, case law and jury outcomes are another. Heck, in some US states you can be found guilty of homicide for using deadly force to protect yourself from death or grievous bodily harm if a jury (making a judgement after the fact and not in the heat of the moment) determines that you had the opportunity to flee and did not avail yourself of that opportunity - sometimes even if you are in your own home. So-called "castle doctrine" and "stand your ground" laws address these in some US states, but not all.

The police are generally not under any such limitations. There was a case in Maryland (when I resided there) where an officer used deadly force against an unarmed, naked man, and that was thought to be be ok because the officer, standing in the doorway of his cruiser, was able to determine that the use of deadly force was necessary to protect himself from that extreme threat. I was under no illusion as to what result I could expect in court if, as a homeowner, I used deadly force against an unarmed, naked intruder in my home. I would be laughed all the way to jail if I claimed I had reasonable (not bare) fear of death or grievous bodily harm from the unarmed, naked guy.

I don't think allowing drones to pack deadly force is a good idea at all, not for private citizens and especially not for the police. The militarization of police in the US is already a big problem, and his (robot-deployed lethal force) is a line that we (our society) is crossing, and it is not a good one. The use of the police robot armed with explosives to kill the guy in Texas http://www.cnn.com/2016/07/09/opinions/dallas-robot-questions-singer/ was the first foray across this line, and others will probably follow. Not good at all, in my opinion.

Another step towards making subjects out of citizens.

Comment Re:Liberals are evolved, conservatives are primiti (Score 4, Insightful) 416

I'm not completely sure that this isn't a troll, but I'll answer up as if it isn't. It would have been better if it wasn't an Anonymous Coward posting with no way to establish the context from which the author has spoken...

This illustrates a big part of the problem. A belief that a particular political viewpoint is so correct, and another so wrong, that merely expressing views associated with the latter automatically makes one wrong.

It may be the case that loonies are more likely to identify with a conservative, individualistic political ideology more so than a group-think government-take-care-of-me political philosophy, and since loonies tend to be outspoken and get attention, those loonies might be seen as the face of that political philosophy. But that appearance doesn't make it so.

The current trend of folks wearing a liberal banner shutting down conversations about significant issues simply because the alternate viewpoint from theirs MUST be wrong because it's not their viewpoint is troubling to me. It's the political equivalent of sticking one's fingers in one's ears, closing one's eyes, and vocalizing "nyahh nyah nyah" as loud as one can. Donald Trump won the election because a significant number of people in the US voted for him. Wouldn't it make sense to try and understand WHY people voted for him rather than just shouting "He's not MY president" and suggesting that the political process in the United States has somehow gone off the rails because your candidate didn't get elected? It doesn't seem like very evolved behavior to me.

People believe all sorts of things, and they believe them for all sorts of reasons. Dismissing others beliefs because they don't line up with the beliefs that you hold dear isn't a sign of intelligence; it's a sign of close-mindedness. From my viewpoint, it seems like a lot of liberals are the kind of people who like living in a denser, urban environment, while a lot of conservatives are people who like living in a less-crowded, non-urban environment. Perhaps this acts as a filter for political beliefs. Perhaps it's possible that liberal beliefs work well in an urban environment, while conservative beliefs work well outside of that environment. I currently live in a US state that has a tradition of having individualistic citizens, yet has developed significant urban populations in some parts. The political demographics seem to support the notion that urban-dwellers are more liberal, while non-urban dwellers are more conservative. Does this mean that the future of the human race is to live in dense urban environments with liberal politics? I hope not, because that isn't an environment that I would like to live in, and one that I have specifically chosen NOT to live in. Is my choice invalid? Am I broken or defective because I don't want to live that way, or is it a valid choice of mine to not live that way?

I believe many things and have rejected belief in many others. I've been called a Skeptic before I was aware that it was a thing because I believe in evidence-based reasoning. I was raised in a northeastern US state as a southern baptist, but threw away the religious beliefs I was taught when I went to college and found a better explanation with more evidence. I've spent a lot of my professional career using knowledge and reason to to separate fact from fiction, to understand why things have occurred, and what is most likely to make things work better in the future. In my mind, THAT is a more evolved human. The use of reason, thinking based on evidence, and considering all of the data, not just the data that favors what I would like to be true.

As soon as one starts labeling things, including people, one ceases to be able to truly understand them. Labels are useful abstractions, and its human to use them, but some of the most interesting discoveries come from peering past the labels to truly see.

I would like to see some political dialogs that don't assume right and wrong based on party membership, I would like to see political dialogs that don't reject other's beliefs simply because they are counter to one's own. And for the sake of the FSM, I would really like to see an end to self-appointed moral superiority.

Comment Re:Never mind that, just ban the goddamned things (Score 1) 107

I think I agree with your position in general. The devil is in the details, however. Drones are interesting, and have at least the appearance of being somewhat different than everything that came before them. They can be used as a camera platform, and they can take that camera places where cameras couldn't go before (not easily, anyway) where they can be used to infringe upon people's privacy. They can interfere with aviation without a clear indication of which person is controlling them, although this may be less of a problem than some make it out to be (I'm sure the owner of a multi-hundred/thousand dollar drone doesn't want it to get run over by an airliner). We don't worry too much about what people can do with an airplane, because the high cost of entry to owning/flying an airplane helps keep the nuisance level low, but drones have a very low entry cost (comparatively) and we don't have enough experience yet to know what that will do to their nuisance-ability.

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