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Comment Surprised it's not more (Score 1) 124

That works out to about $800,000 per year. It's a lot for one person, but there are likely many people working on this. They're not even sitting back and watching the money roll in; they've been constantly working to keep up with the white hats. If there are more than 10 people working on this, they could probably get normal jobs that would pay nearly as well. So it actually looks like we're doing a pretty good job of making this unprofitable. I suppose the determining factor is local salaries, so it will be profitable in very poor countries but not in richer ones.

Comment The Trolley Problem (Score 2) 451

This is the same as the Trolley Problem, a famous philosophical dilemma, first proposed in 1967: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...
Basically, a runaway trolley is going to kill five people. You can either do nothing and let the trolley kill them, or pull a lever to switch it to another track on which it will kill only one person. There are many variations, including one in which you push a fat man onto the tracks to stop the trolley. Philosophers have written a LOT about it. Here are some humorous variations:
http://existentialcomics.com/c...
https://xkcd.com/1455/
http://www.mcsweeneys.net/arti...

Comment Re:Nonsense poll options (Score 2) 301

Technically I do have an account, because Facebook doesn't let you delete your account. Mine has been "deactivated" for years. I voted "no," but "none of the above" would have been more technically accurate. I don't have an active account that I use, and I haven't for many years, so it would be misleading to choose "yes." But I do technically have an account, so it's also misleading to choose "no." I voted "no" anyhow because I really wish I didn't have an account, and if I were up to me, I wouldn't have one.

Comment Re:Discrediting: the American way (Score 1) 337

Even if these allegations are politically motivated, it doesn't mean that they are false. There is an embarrassingly large amount of sexual assault, rape, and sexism in the world, and especially in the IT industry. There is a ready-made avenue to prosecute men in the tech sector because a whole lot of them engage in criminal sexual behavior. If we could stop the culture of sexism, the ready-made discrediting and prosecution would disappear. All men can help out simply by not behaving like creepy assholes, and by calling out those who do. And if you're going to challenge government surveillance, for fuck's sake don't go around raping people all the time!

Comment Re:I don't (Score 1) 507

Stupid question: I'm using a TV as a monitor for the past eight years now, it works very well and is sharp enough (but I don't watch any TV on it). When I bought it, there were no monitors of that size available.

What's the advantage of having a dedicated monitor instead of using a TV as monitor?

I used to only have one display: I would unplug my desktop monitor and carry it across the living room when I wanted to watch a movie on the couch. It took about one minute to switch. Since I upgraded my monitor I have an extra that I use just for watching TV/movies. I prefer using a monitor as a TV -- rather than using a TV as a monitor -- because I like a smaller display. I don't watch TV very often, so I want something that I can move out of the way when I'm not using it. If I preferred a larger display, I might use a TV as a monitor like you suggest. For small sizes at least, a monitor will be cheaper and have a better display at a given price point.

Actually, now that you mention it, I should probably just get rid of my second monitor and go back to having a single display in my house. It will save space and look nicer. I'll donate it or something.

Comment Bridges? (Score 2, Interesting) 157

Looked like a good idea until I remembered that bridges exist. It would have to be at least 10 feet higher than the largest trucks, so it likely couldn't be used on any roads that have anything above them. Where I live, this is virtually all roads. However, in areas without a lot of bridges I could see this being a pretty good idea. For roads that ban trucks and also have no bridges, it would work best, but I'm not sure how common that is. Also, how the heck is it going to turn? I could see this working on some of the perfectly straight avenues in Manhattan, but you'd have to move the traffic lights. At least it's fun to think about!

Comment Re:A combination of the above (Score 1) 229

I too use many of the options, so I had to pick Cowboy Neal. Dropbox for important small files or things I use regularly, local backup HDD that snapshots hourly for bulk files, and offsite backups whenever I remember to lug a HDD back and forth from work. (Of course I have two backup HDDs at work so I still have a backup in case my house burns down while I have one of the HDDs at home for backup.) The only things I really care about are in the cloud, offsite, and on a local backup, but that's a very small amount of stuff.

Comment Re:I've been predicted that (Score 5, Insightful) 415

Most people will sit around, eat, have sex, get fat, litter the planet with their directionless offspring, and otherwise get in trouble out of utter boredom and too-much-time-on-their-hands, all on the government dole.

Yes, this is exactly what the millions of Americans who are independently wealthy do all day. Or do they actually get a great education, work even harder than everyone else, and make great contributions to our society? Probably a little of both. If you don't think inherited wealth ruins the rich, there is no reason to think that a UBI will ruin the poor either; unless you think that the poor are inferior in an absolute and unchangeable sense.

Comment Time for a basic income? (Score 1) 415

One basic problem of our economy is that unskilled labor is perfectly competitive, meaning that the price of unskilled labor is always driven down to the cost of subsistence. Combined with high structural unemployment, this also means that bosses can treat workers ever worse, because the workers have ever fewer options. As technology improves faster, automation becomes more frequent and things look even worse for the unskilled laborer because there are not even enough unskilled jobs to go around. We have historically solved this problem by making it more attractive to hire unskilled laborers rather than replace them with automation, but this has a trade-off: it retards technological progress, and we end up with a bunch of people doing terrible jobs that could easily be replaced by robots, just because we have a moral preference for work. We could, however, give an incentive to innovation and automation while also avoiding the problems of mass poverty. If everyone received a basic income just sufficient for subsistence, then workers could quit their terrible jobs without starving, and a large portion of these jobs could be automated without leading to any social crisis. We could also do away with restrictions on the labor market that make it difficult to hire and fire unskilled workers (such as the minimum wage), because losing your job would not put you in danger of starvation. Technology could finally spring ahead unimpeded by politicians distorting the labor market in order to save obsolete jobs. There would be large efficiency gains in society as a whole, as we could eliminate complex welfare schemes, and probably a lot of employment litigation as well. It is not a perfect system, since much of the gains would be redistributed from the owners of capital (who will benefit from the automation) to our unskilled laborers. This is, of course, a massive distortion in the labor market, but I would argue that it is a better distortion than the complex system we have now, which hinders technological progress. Instead of forcing companies to keep people in obsolete jobs, these workers would have time and opportunity for re-training, increasing the pool of skilled laborers and making technological investment easier. If someone is really unable to learn any useful skills, they might just receive the basic income and remain unemployed, but this is already what happens in our current economy; we just have a gigantic welfare bureaucracy designed to pretend that we're not already doing this. A basic income would streamline welfare and shrink all levels of government massively, leading to further savings.

You might say that it's immoral to give millions of people a living wage for nothing, and that it will ruin the country, but we actually already do this: it's called "inherited wealth." Many millions of Americans inherit enough wealth that they would never have to work if they didn't want to, and yet they are still in the labor force. Humans have worked for millions of years. Each generation has left something lasting for the following generations to build upon, and we're finally reaching a point whereby we can successfully automate most unskilled labor. By instituting a basic income, we would simply acknowledge that the world's capital stock is, to a certain extent, the common heritage of mankind. We would also get a lot of awesome robots.

Actually, maybe I'm totally wrong and a basic income combined with eliminating a minimum wage would make it more attractive to hire humans, since you could pay them less. Who knows? What's the worst that could happen?

Comment Re:Amazing such a thing would be trusted (Score 3, Insightful) 54

Admitting the evidence is not the same as trusting it. The general rule is that any relevant evidence is admissible, and any evidence is relevant if "it has any tendency to make a fact more or less probable than it would be without the evidence." The Wayback Machine easily passes this test. The trier of fact has to look at all of the relevant evidence and make decisions about the quality of all of the items; he or she may decide that the data from the Wayback Machine is not of high quality. However, excluding the evidence means that the trier of fact cannot consider that evidence at all. It seems plain that the Wayback Machine is relevant evidence in an IP trial, as TFA says.

Comment Maria Schneider is a great jazz composer (Score 1) 246

It seems that a lot of people in the comments don't know who she is, but she is one of my favorite musicians, and certainly one of the greatest living jazz composers. Obviously she has no legal argument for claims of racketeering, but her general opinion on matters of music and the business of music deserves attention. She is an extremely talented composer who is trying to make a living producing top-tier music. If anybody is making it difficult for her to do that, we ought to examine why that is, and we ought to listen to her opinion about what's fair and what's unfair. It's already hard enough to make good music. It's too bad that Slashdot is publishing this with a sensationalist headline, and linking to a sensationalist summary that goes out of its way to make her sound crazy. Here is a more pertinent quote that sums up the real issue: "for the vast majority of the artistic community, including me, and every musician I know (and I know thousands), YouTube is a resounding disaster." Here is her actual letter, if anyone cares: https://musictechpolicy.com/20...

Comment Like tanks, but worse (Score 1) 52

I wonder if the rules will specify that the robots have to be anthropomorphic. If not, it seems a lot more sensible to just build one of the "human-piloted fighting robots" that we've been using for 100 years: a tank. Human-shaped fighting robots have the big disadvantage of being top-heavy and dependent on relatively small, delicate legs with complicated joints. Of course, that problem could also be solved by making a super-cool scorpion robot...

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