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Comment Re: You wouldn't download an Oreo (Score 1) 182

The other argument is ridiculous, too.

Of course their analogy is highly questionable, since transmitting data over a network doesn't actually consume anything, now does it? You eat the cookie, the cookie is gone, but you transmit data over a network, the network is still there and can transmit data endlessly.

When you eat a cookie, it isn't gone. The biological cycle eventually moves that load of nutrients back around through plants and animals, with sunlight as input energy, and human work brings about a new cookie.

When you use a network's bandwidth, the remaining bandwidth is reduced. If your network has 1Tbit/s of bandwidth and you consume 200Gbit/s, that leaves you 800Gbit/s to work with. If people start pulling 700Gbit/s, that's half a Tbit of bandwidth that's being consumed. It's gone, unless you can beat back people's usage.

Comment Re:How exactly is Amazon screwing me over? (Score 1) 110

Yes, and it's curated links. Real media says "man with gun stopped by armed restaurant patron," Drudge links to it; media says, "Armed patron was actually undercover cop; another patron opened fire and hit someone with a stray bullet," Drudge doesn't link that follow-up.

You can do a lot by filtering information.

Comment They say that as if they know how to write policy (Score 1) 65

What's the advantage of this policy? It looks like a fixed fee without charging separate rental fees would encourage all customers to rent, else they're paying for someone else's modem. That the modem rental cost to you is essentially a $2 fraction of your bill instead of a $10 line-item only occurs because 80% of users are paying that $2 but not renting a modem; so why wouldn't you? On the other hand, if the modem rental is a separate fee, everyone gets to avoid it by buying an $80 modem... except poor people, who can't take the outlay, and have to pay the extra $10/month. The good news is those poor people would probably pay that $10/month anyway, since everyone would take advantage of modem rental, so there's no difference at the bottom end.

In other words: this proposed FCC policy does no harm to the poorest, but helps the less-poor. Okay, I'll buy it.

We've been universally bad at good consumer policy, in general, which is easily pointed out by Federal cell phone fees.

The Utility Users Tax for Wireless ($4 per serviced device) costs America over 90,000 jobs. When you factor in the Federal USF Cellular fee, it's almost 113,000 jobs.

These regressive taxes most strongly target the poor and middle-class, as they represent a larger percentage of income for users with lower incomes. An average 2.4-person household with one cellular device per person currently pays $115.20/year; for households with more persons, it's higher, and a two-adult, three-child household with five phones would pay $240/year.

A 0.01638% increase in all Income taxes would draw the same Federal revenue. A median-income household would pay $8.84/year; a minimum-wage household would pay $2.38/year; and a top-1% household would pay $278.46/year.

In terms of income tax, the average 2.4-person household as reflected above, paying $115.20/year, would pay a higher percentage the less income they have. The median-income household currently pays 0.213% of their income in these cell phone taxes; the minimum-wage household pays 0.794%; and the top-1% pays 0.000678%.

So there you have it: Federal wireless fees are equivalent to a higher income tax the lower your income actually is. I'm not saying the FCC's policy here with cable modems is bad, but we should be concerned whenever they start tinkering with fees because this shit happens.

Comment Re:It's missing the full picture (Score 1, Insightful) 198

It's lower-efficiency anyway, thanks to separation and storage energy costs. You used clean energy? Great! You used 2,000MW of energy instead of 600MW, which means there were 1,400MW of coal energy that could have been clean energy but weren't because you wasted all that clean energy doing a bullshit hydrogen stunt!

Comment Re:26 out of how many? (Score 1) 106

The point appears to be that some concentration of users in one small area have complained their shit is blowing up, and have been shown false or insubstantiable; meanwhile across the whole world, fractionally as many actual, legitimate or apparently-legitimate reports have come in. The United States seems to have few enough reports of exploding phones that it's not actually worth checking too hard if people are bullshitting.

Comment Re:Not a surprise (Score 3, Insightful) 106

I'm surprised it didn't happen with Tesla's autopilot (4 reported claims, 1 of which looks probably-true but has been questioned, the other three of which have zero substantiation and are of the form "my car crashed itself! It must have been that autopilot-thingy I heard about last week!"). Happened a lot with Toyota's acceleration thing.

Comment Re:Wow, spend $3billion? (Score 1) 161

It's not just that; mental health is one of the most complex problems available, and it's a big part of disease.

Cancer is hard to fix. HIV is hard to fix. Congenital defects (genetic diseases) are hard to fix. They're easy to identify, easy to understand, and easy to describe; and even knowing everything about them, it's hard to find a way to fix them. When we do, the fix is difficult, complex, error-prone, and severely harmful to the patient. Most diseases are handled by vaccination or by ignoring them until they go away (e.g. flu medicine makes you feel alright until your body gets rid of the flu on its own).

So you think we'll just start picking at these things a bit harder? Okay, sure.

Let's not forget that there's an entire class of diseases you can't even see. When depression or dysthymia kicks in in full force, your trained psychiatrist might not notice. When they do notice something's wrong with you, they're likely to mis-identify what. When they do correctly identify what, they don't have a way to make it stop; they have to go through a huge set of behavioral and pharmaceutical treatments that can affect the disease, diminishing it as much as possible so you can cope. When they manage to find a working treatment, that treatment is unstable, and may fail in the future just because your brain, liver, or kidneys are doing something different, or you're not hydrated as well, or not sleeping as much--as you get older, you sleep earlier and wake earlier, or sleep more, or sleep less, and that can change around your mental health problems and the appropriate treatment.

I'm not saying cancer isn't important; just if you want to take on disease, cancer is not your model for "how hard could it be?"

*A* person with mental health problems doesn't cause much inconvenience for anyone. *A* person with HIV can spread the disease. The existence of all of these diseases, however, places economic strain on our society which does, in fact, make me poorer. Treating all these medical conditions is a waste of time and resources, and could be spent making other crap that our income could buy--that *I* could buy, since the cost of everyone's medical benefit would be lower (cheaper insurance) and thus the price of everything relative to everyone's income would follow, thus I'm able to buy more things. The sum total of all disease does, in fact, affect us all in profound ways, and reducing the impact of those diseases (treating them more effectively, eliminating them entirely, etc.) would make us all much richer.

Comment Re:What's our take away on this supposed to be? (Score 1) 86

Actual "Normal use" involves lots and lots of data. Hundreds of movies, millions of hours, TV content, commercials, use as a PC monitor, game systems, the lot. It's impossible to actually measure that in a controlled environment without actually running everything across the TV; it's possible to approximate it for naive algorithms (i.e. the TV doesn't know about the test, but knows about real-world usage behavior).

I've collected a set of various types of media--e-mails, Web pages, musics of different genres, photographs, flat CGI graphics, digital painting, 3D rendering, computer binaries, and so forth. Given this set of 700 things representative of normal computer files, we can test and analyze the performance of any compression algorithm in normal use. Given this set of 700 things representative of normal computer files, we can also write a specialized algorithm to get almost-infinite compression on the whole set.

Comment Re:Even bad its good (Score 1) 86

The whole point is that consumers don't know what they're buying. Energy Star rating on a 79 watt TV over a 109 watt TV that's on for 12 hours per day? That's $1.86/month. If your TV lasts 10 years, you might save $225. As such, this is quite possibly the least-important thing you should concern yourself with when buying a new TV--in fact, you should probably just flatly ignore the power consumption within the same class (e.g. Energy Star LED TVs). (Note: a 55 inch LED LCD panel consumes around 60 watts, while an equivalent 39 inch consumes some 40W.)

Because consumers take this stuff seriously, we can upsell to them, impressing that our TV is a better option because it's slightly more power efficient--when, in fact, that power efficiency provides the consumer with approximately NOTHING. You'd save more by dimming the lights while watching TV, and the savings is like 0.15% or 1/650 of minimum wage. For reference, the average consumption of your lights is $185/year or $15.42/month, 1.3% or 1/78 (9/650) of minimum wage.

The whole point is to confuse people.

Comment Re:Wow, spend $3billion? (Score 1) 161

Zuck seems to think that just because he's brilliant with computers (and making money with computers), he's brilliant at other things.

It takes some finesse he doesn't have.

There's two real requirements to fixing arbitrary massive problems in the world: be a polymath, and understand where and how to leverage effort. Being a polymath means you actually have to approach new and interesting problems by learning about them; and that learning will always be incomplete, so you have to take what you know and lean it against people who can pick it apart.

Zuckerberg wants to solve disease. I want to solve a great many of the United States's economics problems in one move--poverty, economic stability, technological growth, and the broken welfare system. These are both problems we're not experts in; how do the approaches compare?

Zuckerberg's answer is, to summarize, "I have all this money, so I'm going to pay all these smart people to fix disease forever. Incoming cancer cure!" Buy into your own research center and have them figure it out.

My answer involved a lot of ruminating on the way economies function, on monetary policy, on the source of wages (it's revenue, which is spending, which is income), and so forth. I inspected the government's spending, their taxes, and the income distribution in America. I identified problems in the welfare system. I identified risks--business risks in the end point, transitional risks getting from here to there--and created mitigations and contingencies to handle them. In the end, I came up with a Universal Social Security plan; a transitional phase to get from here to there; and explanations on how to lower landlord risk so that the stable income the USS supplies is enough for landlords to profit by renting, largely by reducing the risk of evictions and empty units, thus reducing the cost-of-risk and associated high rent costs required to maintain profitability.

If I had Zuckerberg's resources, I could take this plan to a campaign. I could get the attention of economics researchers, congressional staff, and eventually Congress. Instead of standing up and saying, "Hey, let's solve poverty! We're all rich here, it can't be hard. Maybe we could give out scholarships so all these people can get job skills and start working!", I've developed a plan that accounts for the basic facts of economics and the current economic situation, identifies a method of handling the problem, and avoids and controls the negative consequences of those actions.

If Zuckerberg wants to cure a disease with his freaking billions, he needs to find a disease into which he can supply some profound insight. That's going to take months or years of pouring over the problem himself, not small billions of dollars sunk into yet another research shop. This is the kind of thing you see Hopkins students pulling out of their asses; if we knew how to pick those specific individuals out of population just as their brilliant ideas were forming, we'd put them all in a room together and solve all disease in like $4 million. That happens to be completely impossible.

Comment Re:Wow, spend $3billion? (Score 1) 161

Yeah I don't think 10 years is long enough for him to figure out how to make dopamine great again.

I might be a little cynical, though. I got Modafinil for ADD because I had major trouble focusing, and because I had an ADHD diagnosis (and shitloads of drugs) all through school since I was 8. Can't focus? Keep starting things, but not finishing? 5 years of piles of shit I have never attended to? Must be ADD. Seems legit.

Seemed legit until the ADD went away.

I crashed hard after 2 weeks of Modafinil. Total dopamine depletion, near as I can tell. It took me a couple days to recover, but man, now I know why people whine so much about depression; I don't remember feeling that horrible when I was depressed before. Now I'm slightly depressed, I'm less fidgety (didn't really think I was fidgety before; man was I wrong), I can focus, my mind doesn't seem to be scattering all over the place... this is nicer, I guess. There's just the slight problem that I have NEVER had a rewards system, never really noticed I didn't have a rewards system, have been driven by boredom and pain and loss rather than actually feeling good, and am suddenly starting to understand why my doctor thought I was depressed even though I don't *feel* depressed--just because I have no friends, no idea what the fuck "family" is supposed to mean, and can't quite give a straight answer about whether I "take pleasure in things that are supposed to be pleasurable", whatever the hell that means.

We figured ADHD out already: that part of your brain is off, and there's a big add to the toxic dose of amphetamine--while anything over 2.5mg of meth might be really fucking bad for YOU, the super-ADHD-kid over there is actually healthier on 15mg of meth, but gets the same toxic effects you do when he gets more than 2.5mg past that. We can treat ADHD pretty easily--that is, your psychiatrist can figure out the right dose of amphetamine-like stimulants; YOU might kill yourself trying--but we can't make it go away. If my problem was just ADHD and a bunch of other mental health issues caused by having ADHD (because it does that), the immediate answer to schizoid personality disorder, insomnia, bipolar disorder, and major depression (anhedonia) would be more stimulants, done and done.

Everything else has the same problem, but worse. We don't know wtf to do about depression, bipolar disorders, and the like. We've got treatments, and your psychiatrist will spend a lot of time and effort tinkering around with various combinations of pharmocopia to try and get you functioning something like normal. These drugs might need adjustment every few months. You might find a drug that works, and then need a different one in 8 months. Somebody in 1999 suggested that stimulants are only really bad long-term, so we can handle those first two weeks of antidepressants being shittier than depression itself by putting you on amphetamine until your real drugs kick in; but watch out for really freaking bad responses to amphetamine.

Good luck solving mental health, dude.

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