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Comment FTC, not FCC, is the correct agency. (Score 2) 191

Most of the harm from ISP misbehavior is the manifestation of one of two perverse-incentive situations:
  - integration of an ISP into a content-provider megacorp, leading to penalization of competitors or other perceived threats to the larger content-providing component.
  - an under-competitive market situation (monopoly, duopoly, other under-four-competitors) situation, allowing ISPs to provide less than they promised or less than what is expected of "internet service" without a "vote with their feet" option for customers.

Both of these are not internet-technology issues and both are things the FCC handles poorly, and which are outside its mandate. They're better handled by such agencies as the FTC and DOJ, under antitrust and consumer fraud models, than by the FCC.

With respect to the content-provider/ISP vertical integration issue: Trump has already come out opposing the ATT/ Time-Warner merger. Additionally, the mainstream media's pile-on against his campaign has left him with no love for the "content providers". I'd be willing to bet that he'd be all for antitrust action to split up the other ISP ("content transport") / news reporting ("content generation") partnerships under the rubric of "breaking up anticompetitive vertical integration". B-)

Comment Re:Well then... (Score 1) 586

Why didn't they start this years ago when Obama extended and expanded the Patriot Act?

Probably because:
  - Servers in the US have First Amendment protection
  - Servers in other countries have whatever protection - or restrictions - the other countries have.

In particular:
  - Moving certain data (such as encryption software) from the US to other countries may violate US export laws. (Backing up a server in the US to a server outside the US is more clearly an export than serving in the US something that was downloaded in the US.)
  - Storing certain data - such as personal information, NAZI propaganda, or criticism of various governments - may be illegal in various countries.

So setting up a backup in some other country was probably perceived as more risk than leaving the data solely in the US under Obama, while the perceived risk to the data under Trump may be enough to move the volunteers to take on the extra trouble .

(If Brewster hasn't commented on this by then, I'll try to remember to ask him the next time I see him. But that's probably most of a year away...)

Comment Re:Congress has passed a law... (Score 1) 154

If the Republicans want to rubber stamp a clown cabinet, so be it. Should be a fun four years.

Cabinet is just some of the President's direct reports. No big deal. He can just wait until the next Senate recess and make recess appointments. Meanwhile, he can talk to anybody he wants WITHOUT a confirmation, and if congress leaves open a cabinet post with special powers, he can just wield them directly, himself, until it's filled. That means he can either rubber-stamp the UNofficial advisor's advice, or substitute his own decisions. That's more power for him than even having the Senate confirm a puppet (who might turn out to be Pinnochio and go his own way on something).

What IS a big deal is appointment of federal judges, federal appellate judges, and Supreme Court justices. The Ds applied the "nuclear option" to the first two, so expect the Rs to follow suit - and extend it to the third if the Ds get in the way.

Comment "Person of the Year" isn't "Best ..." (Score 1) 145

Thanks TIME ... for lowering the bar even further, human garbage all over the world can now realistically aspire to be your man of the year.

Time's "Person of the Year" isn't "BEST Person of the Year". It's "MOST INFLUENTIAL ON THE WORLD Person of the Year". That's why people like Castro get it.

Time has pointed this out LOTS of times.

IMHO Assange is a good candidate for THIS year. Trump did a lot of shaking things up, too - but mainly by being elected. As with Obama's Nobel Peace Prize, it's a bit early. I'm sure he'll have more effect on the world once he's ACTUALLY BEEN INAUGURATED and has been yanking the levers of power for most of a year.

Comment Re:You misunderstand the point of it. (Score 1) 1424

urban/rural split.

The focus on this is a laughable anachronism.

Which just goes to show how provincial you are.

Take a look at the continental-states-by-county maps from the recent election. Notice that the blue counties are, almost without exception, the sites of large cities or suburbs, while the red counties are primarily rural.

Obviously, it is you who misunderstand it: Alexander Hamilton described the framers' view of how electors would be chosen, "A small number of persons, selected by their fellow-citizens from the general mass, will be most likely to possess the information and discernment requisite to such complicated [tasks]."

From my favorite historian: "Whatever Alexander Hamilton's reasons for doing anything probably had little to do with anyone else's view. ... He was pretty much a sworn enemy of Jefferson, Madison, and anyone else who was in favor of the rights of the common person." He was also the primary, and outspoken, opponent of the Bill of Rights.

Comment You misunderstand the point of it. (Score 1) 1424

[The electoral college would be operating exactly] as it was intended: giving the electors the ability to prevent a moronic populist from ascending to the presidency is arguably precisely the entire point of the electoral college.

You misunderstand the purposes of the electoral college. They are:
  1. To limit the opportunity for corruption to swing the presidential election
  2. To steer a middle ground between "One Man One Vote" (which would let some single-digit number of high-population states control the presidency, leaving the rest of the states unrepresented in the executive branch) and "One State One Vote" (which would do much the same but with the high-population states and their masses of citizens as the unrepresented ones).

It still does both.

2. is the part you always hear about, and which leads to the occasional "minority president" in a close race and/or one with an urban/rural split. It's working exactly as intended, keeping New York, California, and .

1. may not be working in the WAY it was intended, but the system still accomplishes it. The electoral college serves as a firewall, limiting election fraud by a corrupt political machine (such as Tammany Hall or Daily's Chicago) to no more than their state's electors. If the presidency were determined by a popular vote, ONE corrupt machine could fake up a massive margin and swing any close election.

Remember the Florida recount in the Bush-Gore 2000 election? If the presidency were decided by the POPULAR vote you'd have to recount the WHOLE COUNTRY in such a situation.

If the use of electors, rather than straight tabulation of votes, ever reflected an elitist intent to provide an opportunity to override the will of the population, that has long since been obsoleted by the mechanism of their selection. They are chosen by the candidates' parties or the candidate himself, and the positions are usually a reward for especially faithful service. So don't hold your breath waiting for a wash of "unfaithful electors" to swing this election to Hillary.

Comment You missed the point. (Score 3, Informative) 137

Try that with real science journals and see how far you get.

You missed the point.

If you read even the SUMMARY of TFA, above, you'll see that the POINT was that the fake-journal operations are buying up REAL journals, with real reputations, and converting them into more pay-for-play fakes. (Their customers will no doubt be willing to pay even more for placement in a respected journal, before its reputation collapses.)

Comment Re:So... (Score 5, Informative) 1321

It's the various academicians that still can't believe Trump won because, "nobody I know voted for Trump".

This is a case of:
  - A security researcher using the close election and hand-wringing over possible cheating to try to institutionalize actually CHECKING the paper audit trails against the tabulated results, before discarding the paper.
  - And calling for candidates who lost close elections (on either side) to ask for a recount - because that's the only way to get it to happen in THIS election before the paper ballots ARE discarded, after the deadline which is JUST DAYS AWAY.
  - Then the mainstream media (in "nobody I know voted for Trump" mode because they don't TALK to anybody outside their echo chamber) trying to spin that into "academics say Hillary lost due to vote-rigging".)

Read TFA: He explicitly says he thinks it's unlikely Hillary lost due to rigging, that the unexpected trump win was due to massively defective polls.

Disclaimer: I've met Halderman. He's a top-notch computer security researcher (and teacher of such in academia) and a cool head.

Comment Re:Sounds Nice (Score 2) 41

Service is poor. No web bill payment...

A rural WISP, serving a handful of customers and not part of a chain, is a small operation. A "Mom-and-POP" if you will. ("POP" = "Point of Presence", the term of art for the site to which the customers are connected.)

Such operations don't have enough revenue to do fancy web design and e-commerce systems. The may be one or a handful of people, some or even all part time, maybe not even the "day job" for the principals. They may even be a hobbiest or some other Net-lover-or-needer who got fed up with the big ISPs ignoring their little rural area (and the downsides of satellite ISPs), brought in a high-speed line, and set up a WISP to offload some of the bandwidth and costs. They are doing well if they're able to keep the net up to their customers.

This is what the Internet was like in the early days, before the telecoms and cable companies got involved. Enjoy!

Comment Re:Karma (Score 2) 393

The trees get their water from precipitation, either directly as rainfall or from later snow melt.

And the water in the rainfall came from the humidity in the air (which was then "squeegied out" by the mountains forcing the air upward).

But much of the water in the air came from the imported irrigation water, evaporated by transpiration in irrigated plants (and a bit from wet surfaces). Very little of the water imported to west-of-the-Sierras ends up in the Pacific Ocean or refilling overpumped underground aquifers, nearly all ends up in the air, blowing toward the mountains, to fall as rain or snow.

This is good, because the water off the coast of California is mostly the Alaska Current. It's cold, so it doesn't humidify the air much. (Swimming in it will kill you in 15 to 30 minutes. The dewpoint in Silicon Valley, when the wind isn't coming from the land, runs around 50F.) Indeed, much of the humidity coming from the ocean is the result of the imported water that DID make it to the Pacific - arriving substantially warmer that what was already out there.

So, though the mountain trees get their water from rain, snow, or fog, the rain, snow, or fog gets ITS water largely from the imported irrigation water.

Comment Not ENTIRELY silly. (Score 1) 393

Scientists blame five-plus years of drought on the increasing tree deaths

Next up: lung cancer causes smoking!

It's not entirely silly written backward like that. Trees transpire a lot of water from the ground into the air, where it later falls as rain downwind (or uphill, where it can then fall as rain (or snow, becoming snowpack) and feed rivers that flow back upwind, to repeat the cycle.)

Not enough to account for the drought, though. But nonzero nonetheless. B-)

Also, grass would do it far more than trees. (Grass evaporates six times as much water per acre as a lake surface - or swimming pools.)

Comment Re:SCOTUS: Anonymity necessary for free speech (Score 4, Insightful) 233

I don't understand why buying a domain name would be considered free speech.

What part of "slippery slope" or "chilling effect" don't you understand?

Without your own domain you're at the mercy of others to get your words out. (In case you hadn't noticed, a couple of the big-name services are currently engaged in purging "hateful" posters and suppressing display of articles ferom "fake news" sites. When you get down to the actual posters and sites suppressed, the actual definitions seem to actually be "conservative".)

Just as the right to free speech and a free press includes the right to become your own publisher - whether printing leaflets, pamphlets, or newspapers. Look at the documents from the U.S. revolution, things like _The Federalist Papers_. To do that effectively today you'd need your own domain - and publishing your contact information would bring the wrath of several power groups down on your head.

Comment TFA completely left out Datapoint. (Score 4, Interesting) 74

Federico Faggin ... later went on to design the Intel 8080 and the Zilog Z80 with Masatoshi Shima, a Japanese engineer with a "steel trap mind ...

Which leaves out the fact that the 8008 was not an in-house-conceived upgrade of the 4004. Instead it was a commission, from Datapoint corporation, to implement the instruction set of their Dreatapoint 2200 terminal as a microprocessor chip.

A failed commission at that: TI dropped out early, and Intel got theirs to work, but with a chip that came in late, and slower than Datapoint's 100-ish chip TTL design (even though the latter's ALU was serial rather than parallel). So Datapoint and Intel agreed to settle the contract, with Datapoint being refunded the costs and Intel getting to sell the chip as their own when they got it finished, and make derivatives.

Great deal for Intel. Not so hot for Datapoint, whose flagship terminal was now facing competition based on their own instruction set and designs.

When you cut a deal with a big semiconductor house, you have to watch out for this sort of thing. As I understand it, the TI calculators came from a similar situation where TI built a 4-bit processor as a commission for a calculator manufacturer, then built and sold their own products around it and its follow-ons.

Similarly with Ford and Motorola. Ford commissioned the processor for the EEC-III without including an option for a spin to include design upgrades identified as very-useful-to-necessary. They identified several things that would make the chip better. So they reported them to Motorola in the hopes they'd incorporate them in a follow-on despite no contractual obligation to do so. They did make a follow-on with the improvements, which they sold to GM. B-b

So, as with a Deveel, if you think you cut a good deal with a semiconductor company, be sure to count your fingers, then your toes, then your relatives...

Comment Re:The reason for the two tiny unusable back seats (Score 1) 247

Your insurance rates are not based on how many seats it has, ... It is purely based on cost of repair of car, along with your driving record.

and the computed probability of the car being in an accident, which is not JUST your driving record.

But they don't compute that based on every model of car. That would bury them in law-of-small-numbers noise. They need a large enough sample for the averages to show through. So they group many "similar" cars and take aggregate statistics.

It happened (about 1990, when I decided to buy a sporty car while I still had reflexes good enough to enjoy it) that one of the big group boundaries was two-seaters versus four-seaters. Of course the sports cars had ended up in the two-seater groups and trashed their estimated probability of being involved in an accident, relative to four-seaters. So there was a big difference in premiums between the two- and four-seaters. The auto companies had responded to that by making "four seater" sports cars with token rear seats. Example: The Diamond Star Motors Misusbishi Eclipse / Jeep Eagle Talon / Plymouth Laser. (Apparently there was a similar difference between the accident rates of standard and "crew-cab" pickup trucks that led to the jumpseat phenomenon, as well, about the same time.)

Now maybe these days the insurance companies have wised up and adjusted their group boundaries to avoid this auto company hack. But that is how it was, at least back at the start of the last decade of the 20th century, according to both my auto dealer and my insurance salesman at the time.

Comment Re:So, its now on par with... (Score 1) 247

Really nothing special. It just so happens that the drive they use (electric) is especially well suited for low speed acceleration.

Like a motorcycle (with its insanely high power-to-weight ratio), an electric vehicle, in principle, can apply just enough torque to keep from spinning the wheels, and thus accelerate at a rate proportional only to the tires' coefficient of rolling friction. This is essentially the limit of acceleration for ANY wheeled vehicle.

Some sports and race cars cheat it - just a little - by using aerodynamics to put a little more downward force on the driving wheels at high speeds, and some race drivers raise the coefficient slightly by pre-heating (melting) the rubber. Both are equally possible with an electric drive. Meanwhile, the smooth, controlled, application of torque possible with electric drive makes it easy to track the friction coefficient - all the way back to the total stall at startup. So a well-designed electric drive SHOULD be able to beat or tie ANYTHING ELSE in a sprint.

But the early electric cars were designed by companies who thought the target market was deep-pocket eco-freaks and government-driven purchases and market distortion victims. So they didn't do the work to obtain performance. It took Elon Musk and some of his colleagues to realize that high-performance electric cars had a (voluntary) market, and actually build cars for that market.

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