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Comment Free speech is overrated (Score 1, Flamebait) 78

It's always interesting to contrast European and American views on the limits of speech. The Germans have very strict regulations on what you can say for obvious reasons given the abuse of free speech in that country's mid-twentieth century history. They recognize that sometimes one man's rights conflict with another's. Which was more important, Hitler's right to speak or the right-to-life for a million Jews?

In America speech is a lot more free but this also brings with it the danger of propagating hate speech. Organizations like the NRA, KKK and Westboro Baptist Church are examples of people who abuse that freedom and help to sow hatred which puts the lives of others in danger.

Thankfully FB is a private entity and hence not bound by the First Amendment. It's good to see Zuck finally waking up to his responsibilities and snapping out of the libertarian dream-world where nothing bad happens when people get to say what they like. Hate speech and lies have real world consequences, and it's okay to take a stand for truth.

Comment Re:Myth: Mayer didn't do well for Yahoo! (Score 3, Insightful) 156

The bottom line is that CEOs are supposed to generate value for shareholders

Reports say that Meyer ordered underlings to not buy the resources to prevent and then not report the security breaches at Yahoo! That cost shareholders more than $1B in valuation on the Verizon deal.

That's one heck of a negative RoI. She had the wrong instincts, she did the wrong thing, and her owners paid dearly for it.

speculation about what someone else might have done is unproductive

No, all her competitors invest in security and are not punished by the market for doing so. This is comparing her to the field, not some ubermensch ideal.

Comment Re:BrickerBot (Score 0) 110

Yeah .. there's nothing like a vigilante of whom you approve.

That Batman is the #1 superhero indicates that a very large majority of the public recognizes that the State is limited in ability, resources, effectiveness, and competence.

Imagine you're at a shopping mall, some nut comes in and starts throwing knives at passersby, taking out one shopper every five to ten seconds. There's a grandpa there packing a 9mm under his coat. Do you:
a) want the grandpa to take out the knife-attacker
b) call 911 and wait for the police to arrive

Statists will generally sacrifice all the people's lives in scenario b) because they value group power over individual life, liberty, and property. Non-statists believe in self-defense and third-party defense as a right and even a societal obligation and will go with a) and save all those lives. The Statists will then show up to call grandpa a 'vigilante'.

Fortunately, the Internet is inherently Stateless so the third-party defense doctrine applies. As far as motive - we just heard a couple days ago about the teens on moral crusades, and then there's the possibility that people (at Dyn?) lost their jobs over the recent high-profile Mirai attacks and would want to see that botnet brought down.

Comment Price Elasticity (Score 1) 248

the one that will extract the most profit from consumers' wallets

Oh, dear, an article by a Marxist still living in 1860. They love them class warfare vocabulary.

The online shopping sites are not trying to get the highest price they can for every product. They are trying to get the optimal price for every product.

Often times the optimal price can be the lowest price, or close to it. One only needs to look at Walmart's position at #1 on the Fortune 500 to understand this is true.

The optimal price is one that enables the highest overall profit for the company. Keeping customers coming back is absolutely one requirement for maximizing profit. Low prices directly benefit consumers and producers in many markets.

What Marxists fail to understand is that profit is the information signal that is sent through the economy from consumers to producers to indicate that they approve of what they are doing. A 'Like button' in the parlance of our times.
  Profit is a very good thing, and it benefits consumers by constantly refining the goods available on the market and the prices of those goods.

Granted, Marx didn't have the benefit of game theory or information theory to work with, but modern writers have no excuse for ignoring modern learning (that's already 60-80 years old). Here's a recent Freakonomics episode on price elasticity that might help some aspiring writers (or even economists) who don't even want to take the time to read.

Comment Re:More Vehicle compatbility (Score 1) 177

Would be even better if there was a practical way to plug other vehicles into the network.

I kinda doubt the Tesla superchargers suck at what they do. Tesla has the biggest infrastructure to date and has opened its patents to other manufacturers to use. There is very little benefit to the owner of a Volt or Leaf to not being able to use the supercharger network. There may be benefit to the other vehicles' manufacturers to make their systems proprietary (maybe GM is delusional about "owning all the gas stations of the future" or some silly thing like that).

Y'know, some manufacturer had to first develop the standard gasoline filler spout and gauge, and the other manufacturers' have done pretty well by cooperating on those, keeping diesel out of gas engines, etc. Perhaps at the time Studebaker thought they'd own all the gas stations of the future. Coopetition needs to be described to the boardrooms often times, though.

And, there, you have a car analogy for your car problem. Yo, dog.

Comment Re:No data, pay as you go only. (Score 1) 206

People are trying to minimize the money you get constantly while trying to maximize what they take from you.

Don't take the money from yourself. I pay $36-something for 4G Verizon MVNO / 5GB through Walmart and the ability to access data on the road saves me more than $36 a month (Gas Buddy, kids-eat-free deals, GPS navigation, Prime audio books, etc.). It would harm me economically to get a cheaper plan.

Comment Re:where does all this money come from? (Score 3, Interesting) 513

i'd be mad as hell if i lived in one of these places and was subsidizing experiements to give people money without them contributing in any way

The liberal in me wants to react very strongly to this, but I did spend four years as a student in an English city called Salford. That place was infested with vast numbers of people who lived out their lives on the dole, many of them with no family tradition of work going back a few generations. They were generally troublemakers who got their kicks from attacking students (physically and verbally) on a regular basis. Crime levels were very high. One good thing is that there wasn't much gun crime since guns are so rare and hard to get in England, but instances of burglary, auto theft, shoplifting and anti-social behavior was just off the charts.

It will be interesting to see the outcome of these experiments, but I'm not optimistic about them.

Comment Unemployment (Score 5, Insightful) 513

Automation has been going on since the industrial revolution, yet new jobs seem to keep on being created. My current job didn't really exist twenty years ago.

People keep predicting the obsolescence of humans but unemployment these days in most rich world economies is not that high. That said, it would be good if we had better ways of measuring employment beyond the binary employed/unemployed states. If someone's not claiming unemployment benefit and working then it's assumed that they're doing okay, but they might be working three minimum wage jobs and barely getting by. That should be as worrying to policy-makers as someone not working at all. Then we might be in a better position to see if we're at the point where we need a universal basic income.

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