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Comment Re: nothing of any us to us on moon (Score 1) 365

Well, no not "profit" yet. We'd have to discover something on the moon that's rare enough, and in enough demand on earth for there to be any profit in sending a giant rocket to the moon in order to bring back a fairly small amount of stuff. I haven't done the math, but at this point I doubt the economics come anywhere close to making sense.

Judge Invalidates 13 Motorola Patent Claims Against Microsoft 109

walterbyrd writes "Microsoft scored a victory against Google-owned Motorola Mobility this week after a judge scrapped 13 of the latter party's patent claims in a years-long dispute over H.264-related royalties. Waged in U.S. and German courts, the battle involves three patents (7,310,374, 7,310,375, and 7,310,376) that Motorola licenses to Microsoft for several products, including the Xbox 360, Windows and Windows Phone. PJ is commenting on the case over at Groklaw.net."

Comment Re:It isnt a bet (Score 1) 73

An investment can be a positive sum game for society. A bet is zero sum game. They are inherently different. Can you, inidividually, lose your shirt in both cases? Definitely yes. However, people investing in other people's ideas, inventions, business models, etc. is a significant part of the reason why you and I are able to have this exchange over the internet today. Gambling isn't capable of such an amazing feat.

Comment Re:More important... (Score 1) 242

To be fair, that 95% of musicians aren't really worth listening to (compared to the best) and most of that other 5% aren't either. The fact that any musician is able to become fantastically rich is a bit of a modern phenomenon that exists due to modern technology making their music available to billions around the world. Considering that, it's not surprising that most of the money ends up in the hands of top musicians. Why listen to mediocre song, when you can listen to the best?

Comment Re:How the hell can you bump NASA? (Score 1) 242

What? Pretty much every wealthy country currently in existence has an economic system that generally meets Wikipedia's high level definition of capitalism:

Capitalism is an economic system that is based on private ownership of the means of production and the creation of goods or services for profit.[1] Other elements central to capitalism include competitive markets, wage labor and capital accumulation.

China is currently bringing millions upon millions of its citizens out of poverty by moving to a more capitalist economy.

Capitalism definitely has its problems. But as the saying goes, it's the worst system except for all the others that have been tried.

Comment Re:Real fraud (Score 1) 215

If you truly believe that the citizens are incapable of electing not-terrible leaders (or, for that matter, weighing evidence fairly when seated on a jury), then what you're really advocating is some form of dictatorship.

No, you are not. People are definitely free to make an argument for dictatorships if they so choose, but fearing some of the drawbacks of democracy doesn't require you to advocate a dictatorship. Polybius argued that all of the "basic" forms of government were flawed (rule by one, rule by few, rule by many), and that a government that consists of multiple bodies using all of the basic forms of government would be superior to one of the most basic government. The idea was that all of these different institutions would have their own powers and keep the other institutions in check. He also saw as an example of this (consuls, the senate, popular assemblies).

If you fast forward to the enlightenment, the somewhat related idea of "separation of powers" was developed. The idea here was (again) to have multiple institutions (typically along the lines of executive, legislative, and judicial branches) that each have their own set of powers, where in theory some of those powers are designed to keep the other branches in check. The United States is a pretty good example there (not too surprising as the concepts are related and the people who developed the US constitution mostly had classical educations and modeled the constitution on the Roman Republic to an extent).

The thought behind both of these concepts is that because there are multiple institutions all battling for power, the system won't degrade into a bad, abusive system as quickly as one of the pure forms. Like all forms of government, there are downsides. A big one (that we see in the US today) is gridlock. It can be difficult to get anything done, and that's partially by design (its more difficult to abuse one's power if its more difficult to use it), but there can be pretty serious consequences to that. For example, the budget disaster going on in the US right now.

Comment Re:PC? (Score 1) 608

Sure, and that strategy could be to demonstrate how racists are wrong. Over time, as the typical person becomes less racist, the effects of social mobility will gradually erode those economic differences.

The nice thing about that strategy: it doesn't involve pursuing racist policies that undermine your goal.

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