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Comment Re:Question (Score 1) 475

But slave economies produce much less than free economies. He is confusing enriching the ruling class with maximizing productivity.

No, Marx wasn't confusing those things. My brief synopsis was inadequate.
He was saying there is more to consider than just productivity by comparing immorality of the 19th century factory worker system to immorality of 19th century slavery.

The tradeoff is for the market to decide.

The market doesn't decide anything. People who seek power make the decisions. The market does not determine who those people may be.

What you said after that is babbling. It makes me wonder if you're trying to make fun of anti-socialists such as myself.

Comment Re:over-simplification of economy (Score 1) 475

No, a successful economy is one with optimal use of resources and utilizing the best goods/service exchange patterns available.

Please, people, can you stop the fashionable 'anti-economics' whining, and instead of reading feel-good leftist "I hate big companies" and "free market is evil" articles read some real economics textbook? It's not that hard, it's quite interesting and practically no advanced math is required.

I have to agree with this AC.
The problem here is that the previous posters are conflating "successful economy" with "successful society", or even perhaps "a society I would want to live in". They are not the same thing.
They may (or not) be related; they may (or not) be interdependent, but they aren't the same thing.

Comment Re:Question (Score 4, Interesting) 475

No centralized, planned economy has ever outperformed a free market, capitalist one. Ever.

You are correct.
Karl Marx predicted and directly addressed this about 150 years ago.

He said that capitalist societies will always be able to have greater productivity than communist ones.
He also said that productivity was not the best measure of a society.
He also pointed out that slave economies are very good at making some people very rich, but that does not make it OK.
He drew a parallel between chattel slavery in the Americas and factory workers' wage slavery. (keep in mind this was 1800's)

At what cost do we seek productivity? What tradeoffs should society make between the productivity of unencumbered capitalist societies and basic human treatment of the working classes? What is the tradeoff in freedom for the wealthy and freedom for working classes? That is, people at the bottom who work hand to mouth aren't really free, especially if they cannot grow their own food or emigrate
Well, again, Marx's experience was mid-19th century British factory system, and with how The Enclosure made otherwise free people into virtual slaves. I think his observations of that time were true, but we don't do things that way anymore, or not so much.

For most people, workers in unfettered 19th century capitalism have lives much like workers in the 20th century "communist" countries.
OK, well there was never anything like 19th century child labor in the Soviet states, but otherwise it's close in most ways.

In Marx's time, it was common practice that workers who showed up late were beaten, thugs were sent to bring in workers who didn't show, and they would be locked in the factory until the days expected production was done. Also, in many places you had to have a permit to work or live in an area, so leaving wasn't much of an option either.

So in the modern world, we have a middle road.
Private ownership of production as in capitalism, but socialist in that the government makes rules for worker protection, environmental protection, and a social safety net.

So, back to the original post.
The planned economy advocated by the article in order to be stable would have to lay down a combination of 19th century "do what we say or starve" with the Soviet's "we only produce what we think you need".
Only now it would be MBA's and the kind of people that wrote SAP that would be guiding the future.

Marx also said at one time that the only country that he thought would be able to have true communism was the United States. So much for his ability to make predictions.

Comment Re:Environmental impacts? (Score 3, Insightful) 321

Maybe something like that.
The paper says the falloff in these diseases began in the 1960's, so we're talking about people born late 1800's to early 1900's.
It would not be due to asbestos use/disuse. Asbestos was a fairly new product - peak usage was around the 1960's and the symptoms take many years to decades to show, so if there were a relationship between the major diseases and asbestos, it would suggest that asbestos is good for you. (Note: I'm saying this means there is no relationship; I am not claiming that asbestos is good for you)

Same for food additives - the first generation to experience the falloff in diseases weren't raised on the wide rage of additives we have today, but rather just salt and nitrites for preservation. The drop-off in use of nitrites may explain some of the dropoff in colon cancer rates, but that is controversial.

The generation that would be dying in the 1960's and after would be the last generation that grew up dependent upon wood fires for heating and cooking .
Burning wood produces a witch's brew of chemicals including aromatic hydrocarbons.
And also there's the drop-off in cigarette smoking in recent generations.

Another thing that's different is recent generations are the first in which most people did not have the panoply of childhood diseases that used to be so common.
Measles, mumps, the chicken pox, etc have many serious side effects.

Comment Re:And it'll only get worse (Score 5, Informative) 205

Maybe YOU should RTFA....this is all about counterfeit products.

Nonsense. TFA doesn't refer to a single case of "counterfeiting". p>

It kind of looks like you're just being argumentative. That's fun, I know, but at some point you should give the rest of us a break.
This article is not just about the bed-tightener.
To save other people (and you) the trouble of RTFA, I'll pull out the quotes that address the gist of the matter.

From the article:

In May, reported on a Facebook group, now consisting of over 600 people, whose members have seen their designs for t-shirts, coffee mugs and iPhone cases show up on Amazon at a fraction of the price of the originals. The designers described it as a game of whack-a-mole, where fakes pop up more quickly than they're taken down.

Birkenstock has seen dozens of stores at a time hawking its Arizona Sandal for $79.99, a full $20 below the retail price. The names of the online storefronts change all the time, one day including the monikers Silver Peak Wine Cellar and Ryan Hollifield and the next Keila*Knightley and Bking sewneg.

"Amazon is making money hand over fist from counterfeiters, and they've done about as little as possible for as long as possible to address the issue," said Chris Johnson, an attorney at Johnson & Pham LLP, which focuses on intellectual property and brand enforcement and represents clients including Forever 21, Adobe and OtterBox. "Word is out in the counterfeit community that it's open season on Amazon."

And this, Even Alibaba says they're doing fakes.

Counterfeiting online is nothing new of course, particularly when it comes to commerce. Alibaba, the Chinese e-retail giant, has been dealing with it since launching in 1999.

Some form of the word counterfeit shows up 30 times in Alibaba's latest annual report, and founder Jack Ma said in a speech last month in Hangzhou, China, that the fakes are of "better quality, better prices than the real products, the real names."

From a sub-link:

"They respond and take down the images, but the very same images go up within a week by another new seller," said Kristi Spencer, whose e-commerce site Golly Girls sells personalized sports-themed T-shirts, backpacks and notebooks. "Counterfeiters are selling low-quality knockoffs of other people's artwork."

Comment Re:Do Processing unit makers build alikes? (Score 4, Interesting) 127

When I was somewhat younger, I was a so-called field engineer responsible for keeping some discrete element computers running.

Here's a picture of a module. This would be a single logic element such as a flip-flop, NAND gate, OR, etc.

The CPU cabinet was a huge box full of these things. The I/O controllers were in another cabinet, and the memory was in another cabinet.
The other boxes (storage, printers, card readers) had these same modules in them.
I never was main support for a CPU using those modules, but had some peripherals that had those things inside.

In more modern computers, these modules were replaced by logic cards. A PCB would have the transistors/diodes, etc to make a single element such as NAND gates, flip-flops or whatever, and these cards might have as many as 4 or even 6 logic elements on a single card. woo-eee!
I was lucky to be supporting such modern machines.

These old machines required hand-tuning such as manually synchronizing the clock signals between the near and far part of the cabinets.

The oldest machine I had to maintain was an 80 column card reader that used mechanical relays for all the logic elements. That was so long ago that the nightmares have stopped.

Comment publicly available information (Score 5, Interesting) 95

People keep saying it was gathered from publicly available databases.

What publicly available database has gun ownership? Neither the states nor the feds knows who owns guns. It's against the law (I know, lol) for them to maintain a database of gun owners.

And how about household income? Where can a person get the household income of other people from a publicly available database?

Comment Why is the school storing any medical data? (Score 1) 262

Where they store the medical data is a secondary consideration.
What they are storing would be a major concern, and also for how long they are storing it.
Also, I'd want to know whether the records will be destroyed after graduation.

I assume that it's not a college or university.
I would ask why the school is storing any medical data on the student. I also assume that the child would be getting their medical care from a hospital or clinic and not the school. The school cannot be doing anything more than the most trivial medical care, so there's no need for school records of that.

I can imagine needing for some students to have some record of life-threatening allergies, vaccinations, or special needs such as diabetes.
And I'm not sure that data even needs to be in a medical record format.
Also, such data does not need to be accessed anywhere off-campus, and it has no need to exist after graduation.
For example, consider dietary restrictions. Is the school cook going to be access the student's medical records to get that information? I don't think that would be a good idea.

If you have a child with problems that the school must know about for safety reasons, then you'll want to participate in whatever program they have. It may suck, but this is a case of small danger (loss of privacy) vs large danger (loss of health/life).

But if you have a healthy kid, here is what I would worry about if they're keeping medical records on the kids. It's mental health statements.
I'd worry whether school "medical" personnel are making diagnoses of mental problems and putting in the schools medical record. For one thing, it's likely to be a poorly done diagnosis, and the other is that is something that could turn up later to haunt her if the records are later shared with some other institution.
I suspect that HR people would be more likely to overlook a missing arm before overlooking a school psychologist's suspicion of of manic-depressive behavior or schizophrenia.

Comment Re: Fix the idiotic headline (Score 1) 81

Actually, a computer science undergrad disproved the Turing test when he asked a panel of AI experts "If a computer that fools a man into thinking it's a man proves the computer is as intelligent as a man, is a computer that fools a dog into thinking it's a dog as intelligent as a dog?"

Good story, but that's not what the Turing test is about. Passing the Turing test does not imply that the computer is as intelligent as a human.

Comment Re:Fix the idiotic headline (Score 1) 81

This robot no more mad a "dash for freedom" than does a car rolling down a hill because the owner forgot to set the parking break. Please let's not have Slashdot contribute to the blatant and foolish anthroporphizing of machines having zero intellect.

AC, you've failed the Turing test, again.

Comment Re: Truly Epically Dumb to Destroy It (Score 1) 287

One Case where it was specifically the mode used,

However, that's only one.
I know about that one. It's a good reference because there is an actual document from that time of their actions and intentions.

My objection is that it is too much of a stretch to take the siege of Fort Pitt (1763) and extrapolate from that to say that Europeans had a policy of intentionally spreading smallpox as some form of germ warfare. Consider that involves extrapolating to 250 years before Fort Pitt, the early 1500's, when the disease first began spreading. And no one accuses the one of the first explorer, Hernando de Soto, of intentionally spreading diseases, and his expedition was one of the greatest carriers, that I know of.

If people were to say, "there's this one time some British gave items to the Indians that were known to be infected", that would be fine. But the idea that there was some genocidal plan put in place to exterminate the Indians from North America using germ warfare is a bunch of hooey and not supported by historical records.

When I try to research this, all I ever see evidence for is the Fort Pitt incident.
Well, there's Churchhill and the Mandan outbreak that has been shown to be a fabrication.

The various European diseases had already been destroying the Native Americans since the early 1500's (250 years before Fort Pitt) by simple contact, and smallpox was but just one of many plagues. No one had to do anything to spread these diseases other than just show up and say hello.

The eventual spread through North America of European diseases was unavoidable.
Primitive cultures and thought patterns want things to always have a cause or purpose that you can point to, someone to blame, but plagues don't have purpose. We want to blame someone, but not everything that happens is due to human agency.

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