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Comment Re:There will be commercials (probably) (Score 1) 126

Yeah we've seen the "no commercials" promise before when cable TV was becoming a thing and it was bullshit then too. They'll only stay away from commercials long enough to get a subscriber base. Commercials are where most of the money is and it will be hard for them to ignore that fact. I have a hard time imagining Netflix being immune to the siren's call of that much cash forever.

Is it really? Take the Superbowl which is one of the few items where we have pretty much all the numbers. In 2014 there was 49 minutes 15 seconds of commercials, $4.5 million average per 30 second slot and 111.4 million viewers. That works out to a little less than $4 per viewer. So if you offered $5 to watch it ad-free you'd be beating the advertisers. That's not bad for about four hours of entertainment with both a football game and the half time show and it's supposed to be super-expensive compared to normal ads. Granted one display != one viewer so they'd have to charge more than $5 but still I bet there's a lot of people who'd like to out-bid the advertisers.

Comment Re:Self-fulfilling Prophecy (Score 2) 217

I always thought the elite schools attracted people not for their education but for the benefits of their social connections to a lot of rich and well-connected people.

What would Facebook be if Zuckerberg had instead gone to Purdue or Texas A&M instead of Harvard? How much of his success is due to the fact that he had access to a lot of rich and influential people?

Comment Re:Pussy says what? (Score 1) 485

I actually thought he might do it just because he's effectively in prison now, as a way out that lets him save face.

Clearly, I gave him too much credit. He's apparently content to live out the rest of his days in a gilded cage, grasping at any pathetic attempt to stay in the spotlight-of-disgrace.

Comment Re:liar (Score 1) 485

How could you possibly interpret his statement like that?

Because he said almost exactly that? Fuck the bankers? Cool. Fuck the DNC for rigging their own primary? Hey, no fair!

People seem set on ignoring the single most important detail about this "partisan" issue - The people wanted Sanders vs Trump; the GOP grudgingly honored the will of its constituents (even though they largely expected to lose as a result), while the DNC rigged every step of their primaries to get the "right" woman on the ticket (and did lose as a result).

As for "one sided" - Nope!, the Russians hacked both sides, they just didn't find anything "juicy" enough about the GOP to bother with.

Comment Re:HBO needs to get its head back in the game (Score 1) 126

The HBO subscription is only worth it if you have a peer group that also has an HBO subscription and so it's important to watch things at the same time as them. I stopped buying DVDs about 10 years ago when renting became a lot cheaper than buying, but I've recently started again with boxed sets. Even if I only watch each episode once, it's cheaper than any of the streaming options, plus they're practically DRM free (as in, the DRM is so broken that it may as well not exist) and I can copy them to a mobile device for watching on long trips. Oh, and I get to wait until there are multiple years of something before I watch it.

I do wonder a bit what would happen to the economics of TV series production if most people did this. You'd expect a TV show to make a loss for the first few years, but then be profitable over a longer time, which is a very different model from the current mode of any profits after the first year are a nice bonus, but not factored into the accounting calculations.

Comment Re:And ISPs are jacking up rates (Score 1) 126

The real reason net neutrality is on the ropes is this: the idea was barely discussed by anyone during the election, in comparison to other issues. The companies that stand to profit from net neutrality are electronic media companies, and the companies that stand to profit from its removal are electronic infrastructure companies, and both will continue their fight under the covers. There wasn't much input from the electorate on the topic at all this cycle.

Actually I think it's way more old media vs new media, here in Norway where the main broadband revolution was DSL from telcos and the fiber revolution was lead by a former power company the "electronic infrastructure companies" seem pretty happy just to sell you bits and bytes. My impression is that in the US it's different because so large a part of the American population get their broadband through cable. It seems both bandwidth caps and anti-net neutrality gouging is primarily driven by cable companies wanting to drive customers to their own services instead of using online services and remain the gatekeeper and middle man between the content and the customers.

Comment Re:Remote work is validated once again. (Score 2) 109

It's not really meant as a joke. For a lot of managers, at its core, managing is about being in charge, and being in charge is about dominance.

And it ultimately looks like innate primate behavior. They're achieved status in the troop and they need to dominate the other members or they fear they will lose their dominance.

Comment Re:Advertising and greed (Score 1) 126

I think the cable companies started ramping prices to consumers first, then the networks caught on and began demanding more carriage fees, figuring that they weren't going to let the cable company profit while they didn't.

Then the production companies and sports leagues caught on, and figured they weren't going to let the networks get fat and profitable, and THEY demanded more money, part of which the networks tried to make up with more advertising.

And now we're in this spiral where they've gotten used to just regular increases, and as soon as any one of them demands an increase they all demand an increase.

The net result is that the pricing to consumers is out of whack and it's so filled with commercials the value proposition is wiped out.

Comment Re:Sitting too much ages you by 8 years (Score 1) 109

And jogging and bicycling increases your chances to get fatally hit by an automobile, train or plane.

I wondered about that a while back, so I did some investigation into the odds. It turned out that the risk of riding a bike is in the same ballpark as riding in a car when measured on a per-hour basis.

While the risks aren't insignificant, they turned out to be clearly better than the risk of being out of shape and keeling over prematurely from a heart attack or similar problem.

I do avoid some of the things that probably skew the cycling risk numbers higher, such as riding at night, or riding on hilly country roads that lack shoulders.

Comment Re:Remote work is validated once again. (Score 2) 109

You're fighting the cultural expectations of management and power, and likely at the root, primate dominance.

Your boss assumes that being boss requires some level of physical control of you, and that means controlling your locality to reinforce his perception of dominance and control over you.

It goes a long way towards explaining why incompetent employees who show up and don't evidence much insubordination are tolerated so well.

Comment Re:Catastrophic man-made global warming (Score 2) 224

Perhaps, perhaps not. Venus is still very poorly understood. In its high temperature environment its conditions are largely self-sustaining (preventing the sequestration of CO2 in rock), although it's also unstable, prone to broad temperature and pressure swings. It also appears to have undergone a global resurfacing event about 300-500mya, if that gives a clue as to how unstable the planet as a whole is. ;) We don't know what caused it, or really anything about it. Part of the planet's properties are now a result of it having lost its water rather than being a cause, such as its hard crust. Obviously its lack of a magnetic field is responsible for its loss of water, but we don't know exactly when or why it disappeared (there are of course theories... I had always just assumed it was the slow rotation rate, but the last research I read suggested that not enough to account for it). Other issues as to how Venus ended up as it did may be related to size - although it's only a bit smaller than Earth, that may be the initial factor that set its fate in motion - for example, its lithosphere in general appears to be thicker and higher viscosity on Earth, which could have hindered or prevented plate tectonics, and thus subduction of carbonates.

Either way, it's a mess now at the surface (though rather comfy ~55km up ;) ). And I'm not so sure I buy into some of the proposed ways to fix it (terraforming). For example, some have suggest mass drivers ejecting the atmosphere. Let's just say you can pull it off, and then you start building oxygen in the atmosphere - what happens next? The crust is something like 7-9% FEO; it's going to rust away whatever oxygen you make in short order.

Interestingly, I'd argue that this is possibly the salvation to Sagan's airborne-microbe concept for terraforming Venus. The main criticism is that if you engineered some sort of carbon-sequestering microbe on Venus (or artificial equivalent), you'd end up with a deep surface layer of graphite surrounded by some hugely hot, dense oxygen layer, and the atmosphere would explode. But that would never happen; at Venus surface temperatures and pressures, the surface rocks would rust away the oxygen as fast as it was created, even in tiny quantities, with the wind blowing the dust around to collect at low/eddy areas. So you're laying down bands of carbon and iron oxide as you burn through the planet's iron buffer. Where have we seen this before? Right, Earth, ~2,3 billion years ago, banded iron formations. Just like on Earth, you'd eventually burn through the iron and start to accumulate oxygen. But by then the graphite is already underground, buried in iron dust.

It's not a fast process. But it has precedent. Microbes already rusted at least one planet, and that planet's surface conditions weren't nearly as favorable for rusting as Venus's.

Comment Re:Saving the world with a Tax. (Score 4, Insightful) 224

The idea of a tax isn't as silly as you make it sound. The problem with most forms of pollution (from a purely economic standpoint) is that one person or company gains the benefits from polluting, but everyone pays the costs. This is known as an externality. Taxing pollution fixes this and means that the polluting technology becomes more expensive to operate and makes the barrier to entry for non-polluting technologies higher. If something is producing a lot of carbon dioxide but costs $5/widget, and you add a tax that amounts to $2.50/widget, then a replacement technology that doesn't emit any CO_2 but costs $7/widget is now cheaper to use. This means that you can bring it to market before you've got the economies of scale to push the price down below $5/widget.

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