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Comment Re:The Saudi government is barbaric (Score 1) 195

You genuinely believe that donations to the Clinton Foundation is what keeps them in power and unpunished? rofl

Why would I believe something that you made up in your own head to fight as a strawman? Oh, I get it. Because you're hoping that by distracting with that juvenile rhetorical technique, that people will forget that the Clintons DO in fact rake in millions of dollars for their own family and cronies (only a sliver of their foundation's revenue goes to anything other than internal paychecks and perks/expenses) in exchange for providing political access to those who pile on the cash. Of course you know this, and are trying to wish it away. Especially the part where she was encouraging that while she was in office, giving lots of access to those who paid her husband. But do carry on, and pretend it didn't happen. Feel better now?

Comment Re: sure! (Score 1) 297

Gold is undeniably a compelling leader in the "Hey, do you need an handy abstract representation of value?" market.

It is effectively impossible to counterfeit(all the metals that look kind of golden aren't nearly dense enough; Tungsten and DU have the density about right but are wrong in basically all other respects, nuclear synthesis isn't really counterfeiting but is uneconomic, it's tricky to alloy with something cheaper without being caught by even fairly primitive measurement of volume and weight; etc.), it's pretty scarce, it can be divided/combined/melted down/reshaped easily(unlike precious stones, say, where the value of two halves of a diamond is markedly lower than the value of the larger stone), people find it appealing, and so on.

The problem is just knowing what situations do, or don't, reward possessing a handy abstract representation of value. Too little civilization and you either can't find anyone willing to sell you stuff; or run into somebody who knows that the exchange rate between gold and iron is actually pretty favorable when the iron is of the right shape to stab the guy with the gold. Too much civilization and the fact that it's an inert, unproductive, comparatively cumbersome to transport/store/transact with lump of deadweight makes it a pain compared to whatever currency is being reasonably well managed at the time.

It's only in the intermediate situations, where you are developing a real market; but don't have anyone competent enough to produce worthwhile currency; or have a real market but a previously stable currency is on the rocks; where it really shines. Outside of that, it's just jewelry, anticorrosion coating, or a specific commodities position that might be useful under certain specific conditions as part of a larger portfolio.

Comment Re:this is a cultural issue, not a technology issu (Score 1) 195

You're undoing your own argument. Culturally, nobody gives a damn if you dance at the Jefferson Memorial, though some people might give a damn if a bunch of people wasted time writing and fussing about legislation to change that law that nobody cares about. On your other topics, you've made your own counterpoint. Culturally, the west has moved very quickly on areas like gay marriage. In practical terms, it's a done deal. There will be lots of little rough edges to clean up for a few years yet. Meanwhile, the Wahabbists and their ilk in the Middle East are going full-throttle backwards into the medieval days they miss so badly.

Comment Re:SJW (Score 2, Interesting) 195

That's because the people who run around screaming about "social justice" do that primarily to distract from the fact that justice is the LAST thing they actually want. How about providing some examples of people who stamp their feet, shout down speakers at colleges, and otherwise rant away ... being actually constructive people interested in open conversation rather than repression of anyone deemed insufficiently onboard with their agenda? Some specific examples to counter the well-earned broad brush of derision would be helpful. But what are you going to trot out ... BLM? Occupy Everything? The Eat The Rich With Bernie Sanders movement? People who insist we switch all pronouns to "it?"

Comment Re:SJW (Score 1, Insightful) 195

Meanwhile on Slashdot the only people actually acting like SJWs are the people who use the term SJW...

No. Calling out liberal totalitarians is not the same as seeking to actually DO the things (like squelching speech through the power of government) that liberal totalitarians actually do. Though you are performing the approved-by-liberal-elites correct response to being called out - immediately lie about it in hopes that will deflect reality.

Comment Re:What did he do? (Score 2) 195

He financed their construction.

Well, that's not entirely clear. If the Saudis bought them, then the Saudis financed them. If the Saudis bought them for less than what they cost, then either the manufacturer(s) subsidized some of the cost, or the taxpayers did. Which brings us to the fact that such expenses come out of the discretionary budget, which means it's essentially paid for almost entirely by income taxes or by debt that will be serviced by income taxes ... and that means that only about half of the people in the country actually have a hand in financing such things because the other half pays no income taxes. And of the half that does pay them, of course a small portion of that group pays the majority of those taxes.

So, "we" is indeed not an obvious thing, here.

Comment Re: sure! (Score 4, Insightful) 297

Even gold depends on the shared belief that there will be somebody else willing to accept it in exchange for goods of actual use within a survivable period of time after whatever crisis you are expecting passes. Certainly more durable than a few electronic IOUs or fiat currency issued by a nation state that is now on fire/crawling with zombies/etc; but the intrinsic utility is pretty limited. If the apocalypse needs corrosion-resistant connectors, gold has you covered; you could substitute it for lead in ballistic applications; but that's pretty much the list.

With the exception of people expecting to deal with explosions(where bunkers are a natural fit; and fairly commonly used in varying degrees of sophistication); a lot of this disaster-prep stuff falls into an unhelpful category of being both overprepared and underprepared: If you are concerned, it's pretty easy to justify enough supplies to weather a breakdown in our efficient-but-tightly-stretched supply chains; but you don't usually need a bunker to do that. If you have a crisis more serious than not being able to buy groceries for a few months in mind, however, the problem stops being "Do I have enough MREs?" and turns into "Am I set for subsistence farming and/or tribal warfare; and do I really want to bother with that shit anyway?" unpleasantly quickly.

It all seems aimed at a (not impossible; but not necessarily plausible) medium-size disaster; which will somehow be big enough that the 'stash of supplies in the basement' crowd is doomed; but small enough that your bunker isn't going to be plundered by local militias and there will be a society worth living in waiting for you when it's time to open the door again.

Submission + - SPAM: The first streamingpocalypse hit records in the 1930s. It was called radio.

David Gerard writes: The music industry occasionally forgets that entertainment is an optional expense, consumer confidence is a critical material condition for what they do, and when times are tough people stop spending. The first streamingpocalypse hit the record in the 1930s: it was called "radio". 100 million records were sold in the US in 1930; 6 million in 1932. The difference was people had (1) radios (2) no money, because it was the Great Depression. A bit like now!
Link to Original Source

Comment Re:I'm confused... (Score 1) 284

While I fully agree that (while we sometimes do our best to pretend otherwise) US constitutional protections of speech are vastly better than the world's in general, even the parts not commonly considered to be despotic hellholes; and I think that letting Team Morality into the TLD business will be a clusterfuck; it isn't clear that ICANN being under US contract ensures that US standards prevail on the internet; or that the aforementioned clusterfuck is avoided.

Since ICANN has no actual teeth, aside from the inconveniences of being incompatible, it is already routine for entities of various sizes; from home networks with cheapie routers whose embedded DNS servers give themselves a name friendlier than; to companies trying to keep employees off facebook at work; to the Great Firewall of China and the 'Halal Internet' of Iran; to implement a 'mostly what ICANN says; except when we disagree' assignment of internet names and numbers; and when you have legal authority(and sometimes direct ownership or control) of the ISPs, that counts for a lot.

On the Team Morality and the TLDs side; the Department of Commerce couldn't, or didn't feel like, keeping ICANN from treading the road of total insanity of allowing gTLDs to proliferate like mad. That terrible plan already has the trademark lawyers, the morality police, every last idiot with sensitive feelings about anything, and so on up in arms and likely to keep squabbling until the heat death of the universe.

If it were actually the case that ICANN is a good vehicle for advancing America's better nature worldwide; and that maintaining American operation of ICANN was instrumental to keeping it that way; I'd be 100% against letting anyone else touch it. I'm just not convinced that either of those are particularly true. It is easy, and people already do wherever they have the requisite power, to operate "ICANN, minus what I dislike" and have it stick against all but moderately determined users. Some countries do it much harder than others; with the US most enthusiastic when copyright is involved; but ICANN has zero effect on how easy it is.

Comment That depends... (Score 1) 87

I know that "That depends" is the second most frustrating answer(after "yes and no"); but it is true here.

Across what geographic area, set of topics, etc. are these minutely articles distributed?

If you consider a global scale, and a fairly wide variety of interests(not necessarily serious niche stuff; but all the sections that a major Sunday print newspaper traditionally had); one article a minute is downright patchy coverage.

If you are talking a local news outlet; or a "just the foreign events large enough to be relevant" offering; it strongly suggests that they are really, really playing hard with the 'minimum publishable unit' concept.

If the once-a-minute number is across a whole stable of publications catering to different interests; then it might be the case that once you remove the celebrity gossip they actually only publish every ten minutes; Given how few genuinely just-a-local-paper operations exist these days, the quoted publication rate is probably across a media empire that isn't expected to appeal to any single individual: it'll probably have local news for more places than any one person could live/work; cultural tidbits across more fields any one person cares about; politics from around the world, and so on.

I'd argue that there are really two better questions: Ignore the stated total output; and ask "How much are they publishing that I find worth reading?" and "Is their focus on speed killing their ability to focus?" The first question is obvious: you don't enjoy news by the pound or by the word; you enjoy news by how much you actually feel like reading. The second is slightly trickier: Mere 'data' are pretty easy to come by. The sorts of news reports that you get when you give an experienced reporter plenty of time and room to dig into a matter he is experienced with are much less so. If an outfit's metrics-driven chase after viral listicles has caused them to cancel all reporting that can't be reworded from AP feeds by interns within 20 minutes; they've hollowed themselves out and it barely matters how fast they churn out "content" because none of it will add up to anything. If they just generate a lot of material because they have a lot of people reporting; that's a different matter.

Comment Re:I'd like to hear a coherent argument (Score 3, Informative) 284

Isn't that a pretty easy one? Unless you adhere to a reading of the constitution that allows for virtually no federal government activity at all(in which case ARPA probably shouldn't have ever had the cash to spend on the project; and the Department of Commerce either shouldn't exist or should be a tiny fraction of the size and scope); the US government clearly has the authority to spend allocate DoD funds to an R&D project deemed to be of military interest; to hire somebody to handle the technical work bundled under the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority; and to transfer the contract for the same functions over to the Department of Commerce once it became clear that civilian and commercial applications of the technology were where the action is.

That doesn't mean that the US has any right to get other people to care what its DNS servers say; what media types it defines, etc; but it takes a pretty narrow reading of their powers to suggest that they don't have the authority to set up a body to publish that sort of thing in the hopes that others will adopt it because being compatible is more valuable than getting to DIY every aspect of the system.

So far as I know, nobody has ever claimed US authority over 'DNS'(indeed; back in the heady days of the .com bubble, companies trying to get users to point to their nameservers so that they could sell shitty vanity domains were a dime a dozen; and nobody even argued that US nationals had any duty to abide by ICANN-defined names and numbers; it's just that the market value of DNS servers that live in a strange world of their own turned out to be pretty limited). ICANN's authority, to the degree it has any, is founded in the fact that it's a pain in the ass to administer and maintain systems that have drifted out of compatibility with what the majority is using.

Even today, and for years now, DNS servers and other infrastructure routinely flout ICANN in situations where the benefits are greater than the costs(oddball hostnames on LANs; lazy content blocking by providing bogus IPs for sites you don't want users getting to, just choosing your own damn port because you feel like running your protocol on it, etc.) They pay more attention in places where incompatibility would hurt more: competing claims on various TLDs would get to be quite a mess; your life would really suck if your pet flavor of IP starts to differ enough that you need custom routing hardware, that sort of thing.

Nobody needs ICANN's blessing to just ignore them; but it's pretty easy to justify the Department of Commerce paying some people to be DNS jockeys.

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