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Comment I am happy for my freedom (Score 0, Offtopic) 75

My laptop died while I was on travel. I want to select my next expensive device carefully, so I need a disposable computer, something I can hand off to a computerless person in a few months. I went last night to Micro Center and bought a $219 Acer laptop, a $55 250GB SSD and a $35 8GB stick of DDR3L RAM. And a screwdriver, spudger and static strap.

2 hours later, I was able to shove an Ubuntu 16.04 live DVD into the drive of this thing and start computing on the hotel network. The removed 500GB hard drive preloaded with Windows 10 (yuck) and the OEM 4GB stick of RAM sat alongside it.

I was able to completely avoid Microsoft's preloaded pile of shit and other than throwing a couple of switches in the BIOS, it was fairly painless...for me*. And I got a pretty responsive system for my effort. Compare and contrast to the cellphone situation.

I roll with an iPhone for this reason. My last Android device (HTC Desire Z) was my last Android device, ever.

*this system being such a POS that I had to remove the entire motherboard, blower fan and WLAN card to change out one SODIMM of RAM. The plastic bottom even has a nifty RAM chip pressed into the (nonremovable) solid bottom of the case, as if it were some kind of access door.

Comment Re:Stay off the slippery slope (Score 2) 162

(Ignoring your views on windows for a moment here). Let's say we capped Bill's net wealth at $1B, once he got that $1B, he could have dismantled MS and stopped development of Windows entirely. There's no incentive to continue with a wealth cap, so why not?

No, wealth is the incentive capitalism uses to provide value to society. Every trade provides a benefit to both the consumer and the producer, or otherwise, they would not participate in that trade.

However, there do exist economic rents, monopolies form, and wealth trickles up in reality. A wealth tax stops wealth from being hoarded in unproductive ways, and addresses these unfortunate facts of the real market. Productive wealth provides goods and services to the rest of the population.

Now, I'm sure you're a socialist or something who has never actually studied economics. I recommend you take an online course in the fundamentals of microeconomics. Once you can mathematically prove the first and second fundamental welfare theorems, then I will look forward to any arguments you have with my statements. Until then, I think you are following feels over facts, and as good as your intentions may be, that road leads to dark places, starvation, poverty and death.

A wealth tax, UBI and some adjustments to income and capital gains taxes can provide both the required incentives for those who chose to chase wealth, while making that pursuit a benefit to all, especially in a future where almost all jobs become redundant in world dominated by AI and robots.

Comment Re:Reminds me of a crazy, hot girlfriend (Score 4, Informative) 294

> still far safer, cleaner, more efficient and better than coal, gas, wind, solar etc etc.

This got voted -1, but statistically, nuclear actually does cause the lowest number of deaths per MWh energy produced.


There really is nothing safer than nuclear, and the facts back this up. Still, when did /. moderation ever have anything to do with reality?

Comment Re:Stay off the slippery slope (Score 2) 162

Instead of a wealth cap, which removes the incentive to provide value to society, perhaps a wealth tax should be levied on wealth beyond a certain level.

A 1%/year tax on net wealth would encourage productive use of wealth, so that wealth then necessarily benefits society.

There are good justifications for this, because wealth is protected by the state and the people, and so those whose wealth we are protecting, should pay for that protection, and about 1% flat wealth tax beyond a reasonable amount (maybe $2M, or whatever puts you in the top 1%) makes sense.

Furthermore, a wealth tax, along with a small UBI, means that the a wealthy few can support a large population, providing for their desires in accordance with the free market, as the AGI revolution replaces almost all jobs with capital.

I propose that a wealth tax and a UBI are the closest practical implementation of lump sum transfers specified in the second fundamental theorem of welfare economics.

Comment Re:What is it that you say? (Score 1) 442

No, they're not dropping that veneer.

Saying you compete with someone, isn't the same as saying you're the same kind of business. e.g. courier bikes, courier pigeons, telegrams and email can all compete with one another, but work differently and might have really good reasons for being regulated differently.

(BTW, I'm not taking a position about how Uber should or shouldn't be regulated; I'm just saying that there is nothing about their reaction which implies they're admitting anything.)

Comment Re:The targets aren't fixed points. (Score 1) 191

> it has philosophical incompatibilities between it and the concept of democracy because of the loss of free will due to addiction, which need to be resolved

I'll resolve this for you now, the best I can, which is that philosophical free will simply does not exist. There is nothing in physics that gives rise to free will, we are deterministic (though chaotic and unpredictable) bioelectrochemical machines. Free will is merely an illusion. We have no more free choice than a planet does to orbit the sun, or a rock dropped from height to fall to the ground.

In microeconomics, we study economic agents AS IF they were following an unknown utility function. Not that they have a utility function, but they behave as if they were always maximising a utility function. In this sense economic agents have a WILL, or a desire. The free market, maximises all agents ability to follow their WILL FREELY, in so much as they don't harm other agent's ability to follow their free will.

In this sense, a drug addict maximally follows their free will when they are allowed to consume the drug they are addicted to. That maximises their free will, completely independent of whether or not philisophical free will exists, which I propose it does not.

So, drug addiction then has no philosophical incompatibility with democracy or the free market and free will at all.

For further philosophical examination of this problem you can read Jon Stuart Mill's On Liberty, or study an online course in fundamentals of microeconomics.

Comment Re:Microsoft broke my scanner once... (Score 1) 216

More people need to be made aware of VueScan. Cross platform, acceptable price, unbeatable scanner support. My father has a SCSI Minolta Dimage with APS support. Drivers up to Windows 2000, XP worked with a bit of hacking. SANE doesn't want to know about it.

VueScan? Just works.

I have no stake in this. I am just a happy customer.

Comment Re:Publishing porn without actor permission (Score 2) 133

I am not sure it's a matter of 'not caring'. I think it's a matter of litigation following the money, and there was no pot of gold at the other end of the "Fappening" investigation.

You can see it too with the dim view that most courts take towards ACLU/EFF type cases. The logic seems to go "this case doesn't matter, since it will have no practical effect, so why am I being forced to decide it?" In reality, it does have a practical impact on governance, but courts tend to view that as dollars and cents. I wonder if we should be upset about that, or happy that the courts are less than eager to be making political decisions?

Comment Re:Publishing porn without actor permission (Score 2) 133

Sounds like E&O coverage. They'd find a way to avoid paying in this case. That's more than half of what insurance companies spend time doing - finding ways to weasel out of paying for the purchased coverage. I did that for a while and then had to take many showers to clean off the sleaze of manipulating people into screwing themselves out of payment.

He was also personally liable to the tune of I think $10 million. I also don't think the $135 million would be all his anyway. And they'll try to siphon it all off with the judgement anyway - first thing the lawyers should do is petition to impound that money for the duration of the appeal.

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