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Comment Re:Sunk cost fallacy (Score 1) 199

How does forcing them to use a different communication medium stop them from spreading ideas you disagree with?

If all the newspapers and TV stations in the world refuse to run a news story, then it'll prevent the story from spreading. It doesn't entirely stop it, obviously. Even before the Internet, there would have still been word of mouth. Still, it prevents it from spreading to the extent that it would have otherwise.

It seems to me that giving them the allure of being the 'stuff THEY don't want you to see' only helps promote it, instead.

You're conflating two things. You're talking about something like the Streisand Effect, where trying to hide information paradoxically causes it to spread. That can happen, although if reputable sources of information refuse to acknowledge it, it might still be relegated to the status of rumor. I'm talking about a different thing, which is more about whether credence and credibility are given to speech. Racism, for example, isn't a secret that people are curious about. No one is sitting at home thinking, "I heard something about this white supremacism. No one has ever been willing to advocate lynching, so the idea is so much more alluring now!"

It's more like, there are various people who are racist to varying degrees and in different ways. That's already in their lives. If the people around you who are credible members of the group you perceive as belonging to are all lynching people, talking about lynching, and advocating lynching, then there's a much greater chance that you'll end up lynching someone. If the suggestion of lynching elicits a response of "Hell no. That's fucked up. What's wrong with you?!" then you're less likely to lynch anyone. That's just how people work. If services like Twitter promote and amplify hate-speech, you're going to end up with more people thinking it's a normal and acceptable thing. If Twitter bans it and sends the message that it's unacceptable, then its prevalence lessens.

And yes, I know there will still be some backlash. There are white supremacists who are going to be irate any time you imply that white supremacy is not acceptable. There are some occasional assholes who will say the exact thing that that they think will be most offensive and get them the most attention. However, ultimately most people will generally adopt the social mores of whatever group they perceive themselves to be a part of. A responsible member of society tries to avoid and discourage horrible behavior and speech in order to encourage better social mores.

Comment Re:Because Manufacturers Suck (Score 1) 86

Can you imagine having to wait for, say, Dell to OK to every package for your next "apt-get update"?

Except Dell will do just this if the update has anything to do with hardware, and in most server environments a lot of it does. I've done the dosey doe with Dell on their server platforms with drivers, debating whether my problems are due to the vendor-supplied drivers sucking or whether the Dell-provided drivers six months behind the OEM vendor are at fault.

I think the problem carriers worry about is unapproved software that effects their networks. My guess is this is pretty remote in reality. but shikata ga nai.

Comment Re:So, the gist of it is... (Score 2, Interesting) 159

More than a burner, they should coordinate their burners. Load them up with tantalizing information that wastes a ton of investigation time, but being careful not to have any actual prosecutor conspiracies.

Use burners with known weaknesses or backdoors and set them up with passcodes or weak encryption so they look legitimate but are easily broken with diagnostic software.

Emails about stuff supposedly buried in parks, or sunk in lakes at specific GPS coordinates. Treasure-map fantasies. Rent a storage space and decorate it with Independence Day decorations, but make it sound like it's full of anarchist equipment.

Bonus points if you can capture video streams of the Feds digging up a park or walking into a storage locker filled with decorations.

If you did it right, they might get tired of grabbing phones with the idea that they won't know which ones have real solid info and which ones will leave them chasing their tails.

Comment Re:I'm all over this (Score 1) 118

There's a whole world of people for whom the bargain side of everything matters more than the thing they got a bargain on.

My dad is like this -- he will always put up with inferior quality or drastically reduced choice if it saves him a buck and it really has nothing to do with his financial status. In fact, he often has broken or otherwise unusable things cluttering his life that he can't use but can't get rid of because he "spent good money on them"

Meanwhile, he spends so much time shopping for a low price that he doesn't have much time left to enjoy the thing he was looking for a bargain on or the experience is so degraded by low quality that he doesn't get any enjoyment out of it.

In terms of this, it's ridiculously expensive for an average at-home movie night. There's a million movie choices for $5 or less at home.

But there's a lot of ways I could see $30 being reasonable -- a big new movie for a group, people with kids who'd spend $30 on a babysitter alone, etc. It kind of doesn't have to be the greatest movie ever made, because it's about the larger experience. Sure, you could do it 6 months later when it hits Redbox, but by then the impetus is gone because it's just another title.

Comment Re:Municipal/County Fiber (Score 3, Informative) 167

Yes, this is the model that makes the most sense.

It closely parallels the road system -- government builds the roads, but they don't deploy commercial services on the roads themselves -- ie, they don't get into the taxi business, the delivery business, etc.

I think it's telling and strange that they complain about this. For one, it says that they are less profitable on actual services delivered over the wire because when faced with competition where pricing is solely determined by content and not delivery.

Strange, because I would kind of expect that physical plant maintenance would be expensive. I see Comcast trucks all the time, which assume at least some percentage of involve physical plant work. If a city put in municipal fiber Comcast could connect subscribers to, I would expect that they would be thrilled to dump a shitload of plant maintenance overhead.

And at some point in the future, I would expect both competitors running fiber to the home and signaling limits on coax cable to render coax plants non-competitive, meaning that cable providers are sitting on something of a timebomb of aging infrastructure which will be very costly to upgrade.

I've often wondered if a smarter strategy for cable providers might not be offering to sell their municipal wire plant (coax to the house plus fiber distribution network) to municipalities. The cable company could spin off an independent plant management company which would actually run the plant -- I would expect any municipal plant to be managed under contract by a private entity anyway. The municipality gets an instant network to homes plus fiber distribution without having to do any construction and the cable company unloads a physical plant which will need a long-term investment to remain viable.

Comment Re:No complaints here (Score 1) 356

This is the 2nd winter in a row with less than average snow and higher than average temps. I certainly don't mind.

The best part is that it extends boating season by a month, another month when I get to run twin 350s and burn 20 gallons an hour!

If I can keep it up I may be able to warm it up to get another month!

Comment Re:goodbye jiffy lube hello $60-$100 dealer oil ch (Score 1) 242

The problem is, does screaming legalese and acts of Congress when you're standing there in the dealership to pick up your car (late for daycare pickup or something) and some low-wage flunky is telling you that you owe $1,787 because the repair isn't covered by the warranty really get you very far?

Sure, you might be *right* but they can say no, not give you your car back until you pay, and generally make your life miserable until you sue them and then they can drag that out until it costs you 10x what the invoice was.

I recently had some work done where the invoice exceeded a written estimate by 20% and explaining the fact that such an overage is illegal in this state really was not effective. They were literally more afraid of me screaming on social media or disputing the charge on my card than they were in breaking the law.

The legalese is great idea, but unless you can call the cops and get somebody arrested for violating consumer protection laws, the imbalance between a large business and the average consumer is so great that its almost like having no protection at all.

Comment Re:Features? Look Elsewhere (Score 1) 253

I was thinking about this yesterday in a similar way, how once a product's core functionality reaches a certain level you reach a point in its life cycle where as a user you're at risk of significant instability.

Inevitably the desire to add new features to justify additional licensing fees will lead to the "need" to rewrite or significantly restructure the core functionality and they never get that right the first time, often plunging products back to levels of instability not seen in many versions. And often not fixed for a long time, either, as feature bloat dilutes engineering resources and product managers and marketing fall on their sword to preserve the new version.

I sometimes wonder if a strategy to deal with this wouldn't be planning on switching to a rising competitor, even if it meant suffering a competitor's marginally lower stability. The idea being that the competitor hasn't hit a functionality & stability plateau yet and will be mostly increasing stability first and functionality second.

Comment Nonsense question (Score 1) 401

Until there is scientific evidence, it's a philosophic question and not a scientific one. From many philosophic standpoints, it's a bit of a nonsense question.

The basic problem that you're likely to run into philosophically is that, regardless of whether the universe is a simulation, it is our universe. There's no reason to think that it being a simulation would have any consequence for us, or that it would be detectable. Even if you were to find some artifact of the simulation, it would be indistinguishable from a weird quirk in physics. You could argue, for example, that the reason quantum mechanics is indeterminate is that the simulation doesn't actually calculate the location at particles at the smallest level until that level of accuracy is needed. It's a neat idea, but indistinguishable from "That's just the way physics works."

If this were a simulation, we have no access out to the larger "real" world outside of it, including the "computer" running the simulation, and therefore would have no grounds to make assertions about what that world would look like or how the simulation should work. We have no reason to think this supposed "real world" contains people, or creatures anything like what we've imagined. This supposed world might have entirely different rules of physics. The simulation might run on a "computer" that is not a computer, and is unlike anything we understand. Not only do we not know about these things, but we have no reason to believe the tiniest scrap of information about the supposed world is discoverable.

If we were to assume that our universe is a simulation of a sort that we know about, we should guess that the only way we would discover this deeper truth would be a revelation made by its creator. For example, there's no possibility of a character in Grand Theft Auto to learn that he's in a video game unless the developer programs the character to know it. Without the intervention of the developer to make this information available, the GTA character would have no way of figuring out whether the game is running on an AMD processor or Intel.

So given that, even if we assume for the sake of argument that we are in a simulation, we have every reason to believe that we can never discover evidence of it, and our existence in the simulation is indistinguishable from what our existence would be if we existed in reality. It's a distinction without a difference. Our simulated universe is still as real to us as the real universe would be to us if we were real. The whole thing turns into a broader philosophic question of, "What if the nature of the universe is actually unlike anything we understand, or are capable of understanding, and everything we think we understand is illusory?" It's a somewhat interesting question to ponder for a few moments, but it makes no sense to try to answer it. If it's the case that we're incapable of understanding reality, then there's no further use for inquiry.

Comment Re:Who is liable when your tv catches fire (Score 1) 178

The people inside a fully autonomous cars are passengers, not drivers.

Actually I put it into quotes in that instance because I was referring to the AI as the "driver". But an AI can't be fined or arrested, so someone else will need to be held responsible.

I don't think manufacturers will sell fully autonomous cars.

I agree that fewer people will buy cars, and that it may eventually become relatively rare for an individual to buy a car for their own personal use. Still, presumably someone will own the cars, and it may not be the manufacturer. You may have services like Uber buying cars from a company like Tesla. There may be companies that purchase vehicles for specific use, e.g. a shipping company may buy a fleet of autonomous trucks, or... I don't know... a hotel may want to buy a vehicle for their shuttle service. Though maybe you're right, and those will still be leased. I'm not sure how the economic and legal issues will play out.

Comment Re:Sunk cost fallacy (Score 1) 199

So, you're saying that censorship works?

Depends on what you mean by "censorship". If I don't post your views on my blog, am I censoring you? I suppose you could argue that I'm inhibiting your speech, but it's kind of a stretch.

But me refusing to endorse your views does "work", at least a little tiny bit, in terms of preventing your views from spreading. If enough people, or more specifically enough people who are influential enough, refuse to endorse views, and in fact oppose those views, then yes, it does "work" in terms of preventing those views from being enforced.

Twitter is not the only means of communication.

That's... kind of entirely my point. Twitter is a private company running what is essentially a blogging platform. They aren't responsible for stopping all violence, but they may be responsible (morally, if not legally) for the behavior their site enables. They are totally within their rights to say, "We don't want this kind of thing on our site," and it's not really censorship. It won't stop violence, but if they do a good job at it, it might stop Twitter from being a tool used to incite violence. If you don't like Twitter's terms of service, then use a different means of communication. As you note, it's not the only one.

Comment Add more fuel to .... (Score 1) 297

Add more fuel to the concept that there is a "talent shortage". Companies are just completely unwilling to pay what workers are worth or offer them any training flexibility or even kindness.

Modern employers feel completely entitled to perfect workers for dirt cheap pay and completely unfulfilling work.

Then they whine "labor shortage".

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