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Comment Re:What a deal! (Score 1) 413

Because the only person who will be elected is the person who is best at getting elected. (Throw in Arrow's Impossibility Theorem and not even that.) And since much of getting elected is convincing those who have power and influence to back you financially, etc. you get Obama. No worse than any before him, really. ( I am a bit tired of all the whining.) The only difference is that enormous power as accrued to the president, so incompetence is more widely felt and the consequences more severe.

Comment Re:Gots to find more ways to avoid taxes (Score 1) 533

Ok. You completely misunderstand the idea of property rights in terms of Libertarian thought. Part of my property right is the ability to enjoy my property, which means if you decide to build a freeway next door to mine, then you have diminished my enjoyment. Hence you have the Coase idea, which actually works quite well in the real world, see Mancur Olson's Power and Propsperity, which states in a world of well defined property rights, you can work out agreements so if you want to build a noxious factory next to my house, you need to negotiate with me. In a land of government control and influence, I have no choice. To show how power works, see San Francisco where the freeway that was designed to cut through city to the GG Bridge was halted once it began to encroach on more influential neighborhoods, and how it was torn down when those neighborhoods were "rehabilitated." The poor had no choice and no voice. The fact is, Government favors the rich and strong -- who can hire lawyers, lobbyist and others to protect and even promote their interests -- and not the poor and the weak. Hence, you never hear of major drug busts on college campuses despite the common knowledge that drug use is rampant, etc.,etc. Or, again, simply think about the legal protections which most corporations enjoy. They are LEGAL protections after all.

Comment Re:25% of the median wage (Score 1) 1106

Completely wrong. If it is a question of hiring someone $9.00 an hour to do menial work around one's store\bodega etc. -- including the cost associated with acquiring the laborer, etc. -- and doing it yourself, small business owners will do it themselves. It is the amount of productivity (and skill level) that an employee brings to the table that determines their salary. Otherwise, programmers would make as much as hamburger flippers. And we don't. Simple thought experiment, if print business mandated that all news websites must charge as much, per user, as the cost of a print newspaper, would the number of people going on Slashdot (now paywalled) increase or decrease?

Comment one word: JQuery (Score 5, Informative) 575

While it won't get you over the loosely typed nature of the language, it will make things a bit more manageable. You can write nice terse code which accomplishes oodles, as opposed to hand rolling everything. There is something nice to javascripting. I find it a nice respite. JQuery makes it beautiful.

Comment Becoming more inclined to open source (Score 1) 215

As someone who mostly works in Microsoft shops, I was disinclined to open source.

I must admit, as time has gone on my opinion on the sanctity of Intellectual Property has changed.

I am not sure that I am willing to state than anyone who charges for their code, their music or any product of their labors is a scoundrel. This seems to me to be a bit ass backwards. Prices tend to be a mechanism of establishing a reciprocal relationship. (I will give you this code if you give me back something of value in return) I find repellent the idea that I should have the right to demand from someone something for free. I do not go to the farmer's house and demand that he feed me.

At the same time, the farmer does not sue me for giving a piece of fruit to my son, or if I sell it to my neighbor for a bit more than the price I paid for it. The farmer claims no right to a piece of fruit once I have given him something of value in exchange for it.

The questions seems to be more, how do we approach the commodification of software, music and other intellectual pursuits, so that they the trade more easily in the marketplace, like fruits and vegetables. Needless to say, the attempt to place natural phenomena like genes and seeds under the umbrella of Intellectual Property tends to be huge a step in the wrong direction.

The problem is that the mechanism for enforcing IP rights is backwards. Once one sells their product, the idea the creator of the product has rights to the disposition of the property is completely ludicrous. It may mean, practically, that most software is free, except for bespoke software, as simple market forces will lower the price of most things to zero or as near zero as possible and the difference between Intellectual Property and produce is the former is much easier to copy than the other. Hence, while the labor of the farmer is embedded in each piece of fruit, the creative or "intellectual labor" is not so easily embedded. The model seems to be the Grateful Dead, who still profited from their labors, but made the product of their labors freely transferable to all. That, I believe, is the model software needs to go toward. But how to get there, and whether being part of a successful open source project is the best way, is, I believe, best discovered through the development of the software marketplace overtime.


Bicycle Thief Barred From Using Encryption 449

An anonymous reader writes "A teenager found in possession of a stolen bicycle was given probation, with a whole bunch of computer-related restrictions. He wasn't allowed to use social networks or instant messaging. He wasn't allowed to use a computer that had 'encryption, hacking, cracking, scanning, keystroke monitoring, security testing, steganography, Trojan or virus software.' The kid appealed, noting that the restrictions on social networking seemed overly broad, and restricting him from using a computer with a virus was difficult since viruses and trojans and the like tend to try to stay hidden, so he might not know. While the court overturned the restrictions on social networking, and changed the terms of computer restrictions to include the word 'knowingly,' it did keep the restriction on against using any computer with encryption software. Remember, this isn't someone convicted of malicious computer crimes, but of receiving a stolen bicycle. So why is perfectly reasonable encryption software not allowed? And what computer these days doesn't have encryption software?"

Astronomers Solve the Mystery of 'Hanny's Voorwerp' 123

KentuckyFC writes "In 2007, a Dutch school teacher named Hanny van Arkel discovered a huge blob of green-glowing gas while combing though images to classify galaxies. Hanny's Voorwerp (meaning Hanny's object in Dutch) is astounding because astronomers have never seen anything like it. Although galactic in scale, it is clearly not a galaxy because it does not contain any stars. That raises an obvious question: what is causing the gas to glow? Now a new survey of the region of sky seems to have solved the problem. The Voorwerp lies close to a spiral galaxy which astronomers now say hides a massive black hole at its center. The infall of matter into the black hole generates a cone of radiation emitted in a specific direction. The great cloud of gas that is Hanny's Voorwerp just happens to be in the firing line, ionizing the gas and causing it to glow green. That lays to rest an earlier theory that the cloud was reflecting an echo of light from a short galactic flare up that occurred 10,000 years ago. It also explains why Voorwerps are so rare: these radiation cones are highly directional so only occasionally do unlucky gas clouds get caught in the crossfire."

Comment Re:Experts (Score 1) 875

And if you are not an expert, and have no way to judge whether the global warming skeptics are right or wrong, then how do you know this is not the case?

You have basically said, that you believe your experts over other experts, based upon the fact that, well, you like your experts.

And what has been going on?

Changeable weather. Perhaps you should read more. There has been inexplicable weather since the dawn of mankind.

Comment Re:Experts (Score 0, Flamebait) 875

But even if you are not an expert in the field, then you have to exercise some criteria for whom to trust? The idea that X is an expert in the field, therefore is reliable, is bogus. Also, that somehow a consensus is the same as being correct. Before Darwin (or Wallace) the consensus was wrong. Before almost any major scientific breakthrough ( and even minor ones), the consensus was wrong. Why do you think a consensus now proves the validity of a given theory?

Experts once believed in racial theories, the benign nature of x-ray exposure, cranial measurements as proof of criminal tendencies.

If an expert can be wrong, then the problem comes down to discernment. If experts disagree, how do you choose which expert to follow?

If experts choose a course of action that is destructive to you, are you obligated to follow it? Are others obligated to impose it upon you? Are you obligated to impose it on others?

Does the fact that you renounce your freedom mean that I should also be enslaved?

Comment Re:Bad news for democracy (Score 1) 279

The fact is that cable companies enjoy monopoly privileges in any municipality they are located in.

That is stringent.

I am saying that any one should be allowed to run a line, dig under the ground -- with property owner's consent (not the city, since oddly enough, if you need to replace your sidewalk, it is the homeowners affair. Hence, he owns the walk.) Then anyone should have the privilege of doing so.

Since almost everyone would gain -- indeed, the digger could pay a fee to each homeowner for the right and the inconvenience, fostering competition, but also allowing the owner to capture some profits.

The fact is regulation -- whether net neutrality or cable regulation generally is constructed to favor those in power.

It is, after all, why you wish governments to mandate open source. You stand to profit, as an open source strategy consultant.

You should be allowed your self interest, but the moment you wish the government to mandate toward your advantage, then the spirit of democracy and equality before the law is completely usurped.

Regulations are never constructed to aid the powerless -- since those governing have nothing to gain and little to fear from the powerless.

It is all about self-interest. If you are not an atheistic mendicant, then you merely prove my point.

Comment Re:Bad news for democracy (Score 1) 279

No sorry, it is fascism. It is the usurpation of private property rights by the government without edict. Happened in Germany, Italy, Spain and France.

What you are saying is I, the private individual have a right to speak, but if the Arbiter (the government) decides what I say is "Unfair" then I (the individual) must give over my property or its use to a third party (or the government itself) to correct an imbalance.

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