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Comment why? (Score 1) 226

Why do companies, particularly Google in this case, remove basic options and features in software as if it is costing them money.

Google particular seems to shut down small-mid size projects that can be incredibly useful and profitable.

Two examples:

1. Google Movie Showtimes...this was great, it was a nationwide very accurate movie showtime page that was a feature on Google...it didn't require much maintenance once it was already built. Also, they still have to have staff working on movie results...except they now use a Netflix-like side scroller that requires a user to click to get more info.

2. Google Wave...it could have been Slack. Slack is exactly Google Wave only with a polished interface. How much is Slack valued at right now again?

Comment abusable by design thanks GOP (Score 3, Informative) 179

So what are we going to do about it? Point the finger of blame? Or defend ourselves? Your choice.

Both of course.

How can you defend yourself if you don't know what is attacking you?

Proper defense necessitates "pointing the finger of blame"...aka identifying the cause of the problem.

Fortunately we already know: Pharmaceutical companies make drugs abusable on purpose and incentivize doctors to prescribe them.

Democrats have been pushing for more pharma regulations for years, Repubicans opposing them.

Republicans have fought over and over to make it easy for these abusable drugs to get FDA approval.

Oxyconin is a perfect example, read up:

"In 2006, Giuliani acted as the lead counsel and lead spokesmen for Bracewell & Giuliani client Purdue Pharma, the makers of OxyContin, during their negotiations with federal prosecutors over charges that the pharmaceutical company misled the public about OxyContin's addictive properties. The agreement reached resulted in Purdue Pharma and some of its executives paying $634.5 million in fines"


Comment Re:P-300 Waves (Score 1) 151

It's about deliberate and demonstrable intent. Furthermore, it's about intent that can be proven in a court of law. In this case, the guy not only sent the image to someone known publicly to suffer seizures of this kind, he explicitly stated it was his intent to give the guy a seizure, and thereby do harm to him.

that makes sense...

didn't know he stated that explicitly...some DA bucking for a promotion might latch onto that and make a big headline-grabbing case out of it...that explaination is rational

Comment Re:Netflix didn't "innovate" (Score 1) 209

Getting there required innovation

Yes, from engineers on a project doing regular coding work....but that's not what I'm talking about.

"innovation" is such a misused and over-broad term these days....

Netflix's concept is not "innovative" from a startup perspective.

Everyone in the world thought it would be cool to watch movies over the internet...the only problem was copyright holders.

Comment P-300 Waves (Score 1) 151

I wonder if the reason the FBI took this meme sent on Twitter so seriously has something to do with the alleged "brainwashing" neuroscience techniques pioneered by Delgado and others.

Flashing memes get sent by the millions over the internet daily, some sent with the intent of causing seizure. Why take this one so seriously?

There seems to be a very limited number of answers, so it makes me wonder. This just seems so non-sensical and asymetric...punishment does not fit the crime whatsoever.

Comment Netflix didn't "innovate" (Score 0) 209

Netflix was a successful DVD rental by mail company that got the MPAA and copyright holders to put their content online for streaming. That is not some kind of "tech innovation"

Yes, I'll grant you that Netflix's deal to allow streaming required *marketing* innovation...some kind of innovative way to package the deal to copyright holders...that is true.

That's business and marketing innovation...it's not tech. An example of tech innovation is Youtube. They were able to build a system that allowed users to upload video and it worked well on the low-bandwidth internet of the time. The innovation was the technical ability to code and program a system to allow users to do that and make it scale.

Why does this matter?

Billions of dollars are invested into "innovative tech startups" every year...it's better for our industry (and our jobs!) if investors and the general public understand exactly what "innovation" actually is...in other words, I'm promoting anti-hype.

Comment Universal Basic Income (Score 2) 392

The solution to our jobs being automated is implementing a Universal Basic Income.

The future is here...it's happening...it's absolutely necessary to transition to a system that guarantees income.

The loudest objection, "We don't have the money"...it's simply not true...if we had even the tax levels of the halcyon 1950s Eisenhower administration, we could do it.

Comment Modified "no" as in the Mars Trilogy (Score 4, Interesting) 224

I like how KS Robinson handled the question in the Mars Trilogy.


This is one of the long-simmering questions of the trilogy of novels, so don't read further if you plan to read the books (Red Mars, Green Mars, Blue Mars).

In Mars Trilogy, life at the sub-cellular level on Mars and life in the universe at large is seen as almost certainly to exist, but so distant either on large or microscopic scales that humans will basically evolve so far that they can control space/time before we could find it.

Seriously, it's explained very well. I do not do KSR justice, but briefly it's like this...

Potential proto-life forms and such things get smaller and smaller...these are things that are classified and tested as methods of life evolving from inert material, and they find some bits of quasi-organic compounds in tectonically active sub-surface ice, but they can never completely prove that the substances viability to evolve into life is either due to contamination or not.

On the galaxy and universe scale, KSR takes a modified "So where are they" stance to *intelligent* life. It's like a possibility horizon that extends outward all the time from earth in all directions.

We would have heard from anyone close enough to visit in any sensible time and relay that info back to earth. Plus life-extention and quasi-immortality via mind-uploading are in thousand year timescales compared to 9^10 year time-scales for sending probes or visiting even with faster-than-light travel (which isn't yet invented in the books) considering the galaxy and universe is so incredibly vast.

Basically the answer is "We would have met them by now, but we'll never know for sure, given all we can imagine 'knowing' might mean in any context, limited by space-time."

The books have a small aside about a group that makes a quasi-generational ship to begin a trip to a new star, which will 'only' take 45 years, in a time when humans live to be 300 years and older due to technology that helps put it all to scale.

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