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Comment Re:This is, how the system should work (Score 1) 149

Standard Oil was accused of "predatory pricing" moving into an area, underpricing until the competition left, and then raising its prices using it's new-found monopoly power.

It was only a couple of decades ago that anyone looked at the data.

Turns out that they did indeed move in with lower prices, and that their competitors fled, but they kept the lower prices. (and why not? unlike their competitors, they were quite profitable at those prices).

hawk

Comment Re:They are also often newer (Score 1) 164

Don't look at me for sympathy :)

I bought this house in a middle class neighborhood about 30 years ago. It has degraded to lower middle class. (Hey, it makes for cheap security: noone in the neighborhood has anything worth stealing, so burglars don't bother us . . .)

I can get highspeed from Cox, may many poxes befall their house.

Centurylink, which used to be the phone company, can't deliver more than 3 mbit service here (but, gee, if I dig the trench to the street, they'll supply 8 conductor rather than 4 conductor phoneline . . .).

Bizarrely, they send an add every week or two for their Prism and high speed, even though it can't be purchased . . .

I'd take it in a heartbeat. Heck, I'd probably buy from russian hackers or the devil to get away from cox . . .

hawk

Comment Re:This is retarded conservatism to help 'coal' (Score 5, Informative) 408

The problem is that even if coal is completely deregulated, it's not miners who are going to be doing the extraction. The future of mining is automated. At best this will just give the coal barons a few more years of profit and do dick for the miners.

But it's not even going to be that good. Natural gas is killing coal, so there isn't even going to be a coal industry by the time renewables dominate. This is a classic "buggy whip" problem, in that there ain't gonna be no more horse-drawn carriages, so there ain't gonna be no more buggy whips. Whatever you think of Clinton, she was telling the miners the truth, their jobs are quickly becoming obsolete.

And the same goes for lots of other industries. Manufacturing is rapidly automating, so that even mass repatriation of US industrial capacity is not going to deliver the same level of employment that was there even thirty years ago. There's nothing the US government can do about it, short of outlawing automation and renewables, which would be sheer madness.

Christ, no less than Rick Perry himself has admitted the US needs to stay in the Paris Accord. Even the most pro-oil of pro-oil politicians know full well the jig is up. Oil isn't coming back, and as the price falls away it's impact on the economy diminishes. Coal was the first because it's the most expensive and most obviously harmful, but it applies to all the fossil fuels.

Comment Re:I hope he wins his suit (Score 1) 672

"Doctor" had a long established meaning before the modern MD in the US was concocted: a doctor was a person who had acquired significant knowledge in an area, *AND* had contributed to that body of knowledge. (It comes from the Latin verb "to teach").

The modern MD was created specifically to borrow the prestige and legitimacy of the doctors of the university at at a time when contemporary medicine was at least as likely to cause harm as to help. It created a system of training, but dropped the second prong (contribution to knowledge).

As a real doctor, I find the borrowing of my title an adequate tradeoff for the vastly improved healthcare, but I get a good laugh when a mere MD tries to distinguish that he is a "real doctor." (If he as actually published in a peer reviewed journal, or developed a new technique, he is indeed a real doctor. But they are a small minority).

MDs also like introducing themselves as "Dr. Smith"; real doctors rarely do--I've never done it outside of a classroom.

The DDS is kind of an MD knockoff with the same missing second prong.

Chiropracticy, well . . . they should only be allowed to operate under the direct supervision of real physicians, but that's another issue. "Menace" would be a better title than "Dr." for them, but I digress . . .

And as for attorneys . . . the (american) JD is actually the old LLB (Bachelor of Law). In about the 1960s, law schools started switching over, even offering replacement diplomas to their alumni. It was about some kind of parity with MD.

The LLM is a legal master's degree, almost always in tax in the US.

And then there is the LLD, the PhD equivalent, an actual doctor. These are rare, you see an occasional law school dean and so forth. And, notably, Neil Gorsuch, the newest Supreme Court Justice, holds one. (for all I know, he's the only JSD or LLD to ever sit on the court, but I haven't bothered to look, as it's really not that important).

Substantially all medical school and law school faculty have published and contributed to their bodies of knowledge.

hawk, doctor of economics & statistics

Comment Re:Music and film are essential in two senses (Score 1) 68

I'm not sure we should be dictating commercial restrictions on the supply of all creative content to an entire continent based on the three people in that continent who are studying film or music analysis.

In any case, lots of people are commenting here as if forcing sales to the entire EU to be at the same price will bring the cheaper prices to the richer nations. It seems far more likely that it will bring the more expensive prices to the poorer nations. Your "background music" licence is exactly the kind of expendable luxury that could suffer under the more uniform regime.

Comment Re:Incorrect (Score 1) 408

Do you have any actual evidence that wind farms have this effect? This strikes me as arguing that NASA shouldn't use gravity assist because it robs a planet of some of its momentum.

In other words, while you're technically correct, the effect is so small as to be irrelevant. But tell you what, if you have evidence that wind farms actually have this large an effect, then provide citations. And no, some blog is not a citation. I mean peer reviewed or primary literature.

Comment Re:It's true (Score 2) 258

Pixar was unique in Silicon Valley companies in that we had deadlines that could not move. The film had to be in theaters before Christmas, etc. I'd see employees families come to Pixar to have dinner with them. I took the technical director training but decided to stay in studio tools, first because Pixar needed better software more than they needed another TD, and second because of the crazy hours.

Comment Re:Good or bad for customers? (Score 1) 68

Sorry, but that just isn't how economics works.

Firstly, market segmentation is absolutely routine, including by purchaser power. There are countless ways to appeal to people who can afford to spend more, and businesses do this all the time. Have you ever seen a box for a "coupon code" when you ordered something online? That's market segmentation in action. Post coupons to everyone on the poorer street in your example, and now everyone isn't paying the same price.

Secondly, as someone who actually runs some online facilities at-cost, I can tell you that it is a real problem for people in less well-off nations if your price online is the same everywhere. You can't lower the headline price because if everyone was paying the lower price then you literally couldn't afford to keep these services running at that point. However, then the people where salaries and costs of living are generally lower can't keep up, so they lose out. The kind of adjustment we're talking about here is the online equivalent of posting coupons to all the homes in the poor part of town.

The genuine, uniform market price you're talking about doesn't exist in most real markets, because most real markets are not uniform.

Comment Re:Good or bad for customers? (Score 1) 68

You're talking about a monopoly situation. For works covered by copyright, that already exists in the sense that for any given work the rightsholders can decide to offer it only via certain channels.

However, unless those works are also essential, the customer still has the option not to buy them at all, and if the price is too high they will choose to spend their money elsewhere.

Moreover, while individual works may have a monopoly supplier, most creative works will be in competition with other works for providing information, entertainment, etc. Those competitive effects also moderate pricing, preventing the kind of "extraction" model you're talking about.

Around here, Amazon won the pricing war for most CD/DVD/Blu-ray content long ago, yet today it would still be cheaper for me to binge-watch a lot of TV shows through Netflix than through buying all the box sets. Amazon's prices for buying permanent copies of films or shows I really like on disc aren't much different to what they were a few years ago when you could still easily buy the same things in bricks and mortar stores.

Comment Re:What does this do to content? (Score 2) 68

It seems unlikely that EU law will prevent a vendor from selling something at all in selective member states if there is a good reason not to. We looked into this issue when the EU VAT mess was the big news a couple of years ago, fearful that some sort of anti-discrimination provisions would say otherwise. The experts made some straightforward arguments that, for example, declining to sell to customers elsewhere in the EU would be OK if the costs of operating the new tax scheme were prohibitive, because that would be a strictly commercial decision. Presumably complying with the law of the land would also be considered an acceptable basis for making such a decision.

Comment Re:Good or bad for customers? (Score 1) 68

The EU is working being a common market, where it started.

That's lovely, and when the economic situation in all EU member states is similar, maybe they'll achieve it. In the meantime, it is far from clear that this is a good thing.

At least in the sort of context we're talking about here, the "real market price" you mentioned is what someone is prepared to pay for something, no more and no less. Forcing people from areas with very different economic situations to pay the same price just means a lot of things won't be accessible to people from those places that can't afford the same rates as their wealthier neighbours.

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