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Comment Re:Its always been like this (Score 1) 508

Labor doesn't create wealth, it simply moves it around. Wealth is actually created when someone reliable consumes something and promises to pay for it. Wealth is the ability to buy something without having to immediately pay for it.

CEO pay is market driven. Not based on their labor as much as on their effect on the stock price, etc. This is why the math that explains their value in terms of labor will never make sense to the poor laborer.

Stock holders hire the board, the board sets the CEO pay. Most stock holders are fine with giving a fraction of their stock value to a single person if that single person can make their stock go up in value even more. Now that math works. So one "employee" in the company has more effect on stock price and such employees are in short supply so their pay is astronomical (but insignificant to the individual share holder's percentage). Similar effect with a movie star. A single star can drive up ticket sales more than any one camera man or lighting guy.

Is it fair? Yes. Because it is consistent with market forces and contract. Does it seem fair? Not if you use the same math for every person in an organization and only look at the amount of perspiration expended.

I used to work for a company that was started by an engineer. It grew, went public and then stagnated. The stockholders brought in a hot CEO that didn't know as much about the product as the founder. But he knew how to be a CEO. He could charm anyone. Knew people. Understood manufacturing. etc. Doubled the sales of the company in 2 years. Got paid more than any person who worked at that company. Was that fair?

Stockholders offer the huge payoffs to hotshot CEOs because bringing in some mba that doesn't have a proven record and entrusting the company to them is a much bigger deal than the fact you saved a lot of money on their pay. If a stock holder is more concerned about the CEO pay than the stock price then the market will teach them a lesson pretty quick.

A lot of rich people would like you to think that CEO pay is the problem and most people are happy to follow along. Don't think the government can actually touch true wealth and therefore have true power. The biggest impediment to short term profits is a government effective in empowering actual democratic capitalism instead of a few powerful companies doing what they please. And saying to a rich person you are going to control them by taking their wealth just makes them laugh. You don't have that power anymore because the populace gave it away while trying to take it. If you can get the population ginned up on wealth redistribution, etc then this plays into their plans. Usually the populist movement drives up taxes on capital, which then drives wealth away, weakening the central government, which then borrows money and needs help from actual wealth and real power, further driving the laborer into serfdom. But the serf had fun doing it.

Notice how there is more cash out of the market now (trillions of dollars at last count) than ever before in history and governments everywhere are in more debt than ever before? People will eventually stop asking their increasingly weaker governments to fix the problem and instead appeal to the real power but these corporations will not operate by the same ideals as a democracy. These vassals will convince the king to grant them territory and "attract" laborers to tend their fields.

Comment Encryption = freedom (Score 1) 583

As tools improve, anyone will be able to manufacture a rogue super intelligence quickly. The universe favors the person who complicates things over the person who is trying to figure out how they complicated the thing (encryption). We should assume that rogue intelligence agents (of varying levels of human-machine hybrid) are trolling the internet on a regular basis and protect our systems accordingly. The alternative is to reduce personal freedom and try to stop the development of systems or ideas before they become a threat. That is a fool's errand. Instead, keep legitimate systems sufficiently advanced in encryption that online society may continue to flourish. People keep saying we need more encryption. I agree. One of the milestones of the growth in any public system is the level of encryption (think locks on doors) present. A good indicator of a free system is the presence of malware. Be it the press, government or software.

Comment We don't need no thought control (Score 1) 331

For a given quality, malware can be a good indication that your system is open and free.. Be it the press, government or software. To paraphrase a great quote, Those who would give up essential freedom in their software for "security" deserve neither. What can prepare a person for freedom? The ability to be responsible leads to a rich and diverse education.

Comment The missing factor? (Score 3) 1037

It appears some people have rushed to assume that the primary causation in the drop of religious activity is knowledge. However, the researcher says that the internet accounts for about 25% of the drop and theorizes that of that 25%, knowledge could be a large factor. But there is a another factor that was not mentioned that is common on the Internet and I suspect also in the larger but still unknown region of 50% causation. Entertainment. I suspect that entertainment correlates not only to a drop in religious activity (particularly among the more easily distracted) but the measured drop in friendship depth, increase in loneliness, violence, etc. I think we need to figure out our mental health in the same way we are figuring out our physical health. Then we can measure the effect of certain types of recreation in a similar way to how we measure the effect of eating unhealthy or not exercising.

Comment peace with the unknown (Score 1) 529

As a researcher, I spend most of my time at work being wrong. I don't have the luxury of proving a past insight/thesis or always trying random combinations. It can wear on you after awhile. It is hope in what is currently unproven (the goal) that keeps me at it. Hope with as much help from reason as possible. Spending each day operating in reason alone is not enough to handle the big questions. When we operate so far out from the known, how do we know we are moving away or towards our goal? Hope is a muscle. The more you exercise it, the more you can sustain operating even further out on the edge of what is known. Those who belittle hope and claim only reason is needed, have no framework to deal with the unknown. And the hope that does operate in secret in their mind is treated as a skinny stowaway. If you rely solely on reason you are just another customer of the known, buying the latest toy. To be original, you have to have experience with the unknown. There are a lot of people trying to handle the unknown. Some have abandoned reason. Some fight the engine of their hope and wonder why they are depressed. Hope is a muscle.

Comment malware can be a good indicator of an open system (Score 1) 748

...be it your government, press or even computer. I don't understand people who think we can achieve a utopian future where there is no malware in our public spaces and yet we are still open and free. It takes the community, working together in constant vigilence, to keep the streets clean and the law respected. Look at the human body, it is an amazing information system and yet it spends upwards of 10% of its resources fighting malware. If manmade system x is not doing the same it is either not as adaptable or the malware it faces is pretty pathetic compared to what nature can design. Walled gardens are the end of free and open systems that are essential to creativity. MS expanding the defenses of their operating system is not anti-trust. And it won't solve the problem of course.

Submission + - Low latency satellite internet via entangled 1

kbaud writes: Ask Slashdot: I understand that entangled photons cannot transmit information faster than the speed of light, LEO satellites are not non-ideal for internet because of their high latency (among other things) and that there are issues with free space transmission of photons over large distances that would have to be resolved. Accepting that, would a system that uses a ground laser to bounce off a mirror in geo orbit to another ground station be able to communicate between the ground stations with latencies similiar to the speed of light distance between the ground stations (say ~500 miles) and not the ground to satellite link (which is ~40k miles)?

Comment Same wavelength as blue-ray but shorter pulses (Score 1) 260

Yes, the spot diameter(405nm) is the same as blu-ray but the length of the pit is shorter due to the faster switching speeds. This the real breakthrough and where the increased storage density is coming from. Also, 100w peak power at these speeds is not that much actually. Even at 1ghz, the average power is so low I doubt these can barely warm a piece of paper. I have seen IR laser diodes in 5mm plastic cases that are rated at 100w peak. Trust me, the average power is actually well below 100mw. The higher peak power doesn't increase recording density but does increase recording speed (which is a desired trait as density goes up).

Comment Re:big difference between plumage colors and an ey (Score 1) 153

Prigogine's belief that determinism is no longer a viable scientific belief is at odds with quite a few other scientists - including Darwin. But more interesting... You or someone you know now has proof that isolated simple systems can produce complex systems in universe time scales? Do tell.

Comment big difference between plumage colors and an eye (Score 2, Interesting) 153

Animals have been shown in the past to be able to exhibit various adaptions (beaks, spots, hair color, eye color, etc) by turning on a particular gene in their set. What this study adds is some information on how likely the adapted animal will mate with the non-adapted form. But this isn't all that new either, some guys prefer blondes (look at its effect on Iceland). Now an animal without an eye producing an eye and not by activating existing genes would be a neat trick. Basically you would have spontaneous generaiton of complexity (complexity here being different than mere information). Information theory has no problem with adaption but it does have a problem with spontaneous generation of complexity out of a less complex system.

Comment Re:Why are we launching DVDs into orbit? (Score 1) 464

You would think.. The rate for the shuttle is about $10k a pound last I checked. This has not stopped them from carrying aboard big heavy outdated Maglites weighing several pounds when smaller, brighter LED flashlights can easily be found. From pictures I have seen, the shuttle crew uses 3D cell size mags (along with 2AA size). I estimated how much the tax payers where paying to carrying those things in orbit with all their spare batteries (since they have such a poor runtime). I came up with over 20lbs of flashlights and batteries costing the taxpayer over $200k a launch. I suspect they have to use them since mag has a bunch of lobbyists. But I am sure this is not the only example.

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Logic doesn't apply to the real world. -- Marvin Minsky