Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 Internet speed test! ×

Comment Re:Correction: (Score 1) 338

Those telcos are forced to provide service to everybody at the same price, which means they make a profit on tightly packed businesses in the city and that offsets their losses on the more widespread customers out of town. If the city comes in and serves only the tightly packed businesses, they can easily offer the service at a lower price and still make money or break even, and the telco ends up losing their profitable customers and therefore their ability to offset their losses elsewhere.

I'm not against "municipal broadband", but they need to be held to the exact same standard as all other carriers in the same area. That might well mean offering service to out of town customers, also.

I didn't understand the fuss until last time this came up and someone in the industry explained it quite clearly in a +5 post.

Okay... BUT internet providers are not regulated like the telcos. None of them are forced to provide service to the boonies. So it seems you are arguing that a non-existent present against the possible municipal broadband future.

Comment Re:Bricking or Tracking? (Score 1) 299

The Government did not invent roads. Roads existed long before the Government made them, in fact most towns and cities had roads without a Government mandating and taxing people for using and building them. If you are referring to the Highway programs, those were not Federal Government ideas. Those were citizen and business owner ideas. The program went to the Feds because it was easy at the time, and saved States from having to negotiate connecting points.

The Government may have expedited some of the process, but we don't know how much because we only implemented one Federal highway program. In other words, it's impossible to measure help or harm from the Federal program. Did it add some benefit, sure, but you can't truthfully claim that it's all because of Government.

There is a period in our history in which most road building was handled by the private sector. The result was a difficult navigate mess of toll roads over much of the Northeast. The interstate highway system was an antidote to that sort of nonsense and has be an incredible success

I'm not sure how many photos you have seen from the 1800s, back before the Government handled trash pickup, but I have never seen any that show giant trash piles in every lot. As with roads, trash pickup was happening without Government intervention as well. The Government didn't come up with concepts like "If you drink water with trash in it, it's not good water", we knew that well before a take over by the Government.

Actually in cities of substantial size garbage removal was a serious problem. New York in the late 1800s like most large cities in world history STANK and was infested by rats. The government may not have invented a desire for clean water but there is no question that it took laws enacted by the government to stop private industry from putting garbage in our water, and air, and everywhere else.

Your last example is the worst. Firefighters used to be all volunteers, and many fire departments still run on a measurable percentage of volunteers. Large cities collect taxes for dedicated people, and people can choose to live there or out in the sticks where they lack the services and don't pay the premiums. Believe it or not, Firefighting has happened in communities for as long as we have had communities without Government intervention.

There is a great example of a big city that had private firefighting. London. If you were able to purchase fire insurance your insurance company provided fire protection. As a result there were as many different firefighting companies as insurance companies and they competed often with disastrous results, while the poor were left to the mercies of whatever ad hoc bucket brigade might form up. It was in response to the tremendous failure of this sort of fire protection that public sector firefighting was started.

In all of your examples, there is not a single case where you can claim that Government is needed. You can in some cases claim it adds benefits, but at the same time it's difficult to measure how much. Road building (construction in general) has, and historically has had, significant levels of political corruption.

It's impossible to provide hundreds of pages of concept in a post, so I'll recommend you read Stephan Molyneux or listen to his podcasts on anarchism. I don't agree with him on everything, but it's good for the brain to contemplate alternative opinion.

I'm sorry but you are just incorrect. In each of the cases that you cite it took government to represent the interested of the whole society to fix the problems created by the private sector approach. There are simply some things that make sense for the people to control.

Comment Re:No Advertising does not power the Internet. (Score 1) 418

Actually, the only worthwhile TV in a long time has been supported by donations (PBS), subscription (HBO), or taxes (BBC). The rest is dreck.

Has your PBS affiliate ever carried

"The Wire," HBO, paid for by subscription
"Six Feet Under," HBO, paid for by subscription
"The SImpsons," dreck after about the 6th season.
"Breaking Bad" HBO, paid for by subscription
"Halt and Catch Fire" ? haven't heard of it. Oh well.

Comment Gotta see The Wind Rises (Score 1) 209

Miyazaki's new movie about a Japanese airplane designer frequently features the fanciful designs of Caproni. While watching the movie I kept thinking how odd it was that they made a biopic about real people and had such unreal planes, but I was wrong every strange plane in the film was real.

This one crashed on it first test flight.

Anyway it is a fantastic film. If you love aeronautical history it just cannot be missed.

Comment Re:Deniers (Score 1) 869

The solution in the short term is to use the best methods to obtain petroleum based products, fracking, to keep costs down so we have enough research money to throw into things like geothermal electricity, battery technology, and geo-engineering solutions to removing CO2 from the atmosphere. That might have a chance. But simply complaining about those who are going about the business of making things better for us NOW is of absolutely no use whatsoever.

The first sentence makes a certain amount of sense. However it is important to point out that this is not currently happening. There is not investment on the scale needed to bring about alternate energy sources in the time frame needed. It is also worth noting that the only thing that has reliably increased efforts for efficiency or alternate energy is high petroleum costs.

The last sentence seems to assume that the petroleum companies are working on "making things better." They are not. They are working very hard to make things worse by continuing to produce oil gas etc. at the lowest possible cost and spending tons of money on propoganda with the goal of preventing society from taking the steps we need to take to prevent our home from becoming inhospitable to our species.

Comment Re:Macroeconomics 101 (Score 1) 676

...When the federal reserve increases the supply of money, inflation is the net result. The net result of the fed increasing the money supply and inflation, is a tax on everyone who currently owns US dollars, as each of their dollars now purchases fewer real goods

Not exactly. The (money supply) times (velocity of money) equals (cost of goods), times (production rate).

So, if the amount of money increases but velocity of money and the production rate (amount of goods produced per unit time) stay the same, the result is inflation.

However, conversely, if the production rate increases but the money supply and velocity of money does not, then the cost of goods decreases-- that's deflation. (Note that this is production rate, not productivity: production rate equals productivity time population times employment fraction.)

A steady economy is one in which the money supply increases exactly at a rate equal to the production rate-- in this case, the cost of goods stays constant (assuming that the velocity of money doesn't change).

Very good, but our situation is a little more complex. Our money supply has been increasing so quickly that the government stopped publishing the numbers about a decade ago! Inflation on consumer goods has not kept pace as one would expect from these equations. There is a really good reason for this. The new money enters the economy via the financial sector, through the huge bailouts, the quantitative easing, and the purchasing of "troubled equities." That money has never actually entered the consumer economy. It has just been recycled in the financial economy. The only money that entered the real goods economy was through the stimulus which was tiny in comparison to all the other money injected into the economy. That is why the stock and derivatives markets have soared while wages have stagnated. That's why there is something like 50 times more value in total derivatives trades per year than the world GDP. There has been huge inflation in that sector, which in the absence of comparable inflation in the consumer economy, has enriched the participants in the stock and derivatives market at the expense of the rest of humanity.

Comment Re:Love the quotes (Score 1) 233

Taking 10 years off work to homeschool a child shouldn't be something that unusual

Yeah maybe it shouldn't, but seriously how many people do you know that have enough savings or income from a single parent to take a 10 year vacation?!? Personally I don't expect that I'm going to get a whole 10 years of retirement.

Comment Re:How about "play by your own rules", eh? (Score 1) 266

You want to keep the public off your backs, quit playing all these bullshit "Big Brother knows best" games

I'm afraid that this gets it a bit backwards. The government, or really any concentration of power, will always push the limits of what it can do, will always break the rules, and will always abuse its power. The only way to prevent or even delay this from happening is to never get off the back of the government.

You leave them to their own devices for a minute and they'll abuse their power. You leave them to their own devices for 35 years or so (like we've done) and you'll discover you no longer live in a functioning democracy.

Comment Re:False equivalence much? (Score 5, Insightful) 518

What problems? You seem to think that there's some "immoral" reason against the sale of organs. But we have here an example where something which is supposedly "moral' kills a lot of people each year through organ shortages.

Okay how about this problem: In a world where human organs are bought and sold, where do most of those organs come from? The poor. And since they will be expensive, where do they go? To the rich.

Here is another one: In the poorest corners of the world will people have children for the purpose of eventually selling all their paired organs?

Here's a hell of a problematic question: Who gets the money for a heart or any other single organ? And another: When it is legal to trade in some kinds of ivory it is hard to distinguish the legal stuff from the poached stuff. How will we prevent organ poaching? Do we really want to create a strong financial incentive to murder, or worse farm people for their organs?

Saving a life is not always the highest moral result.

Comment Re:9.1 (Score 1) 1009

Win 95 - crap
Win 98 - great
Win ME - crap
Win XP - great
Vista - crap
Win 7 - good
Win 8 - crap

So it's like Star Trek Movies, alternating good with crap. The question is, when they produce two steaming piles in a row will they throw their hands up and give it to JJ Abrahms to throw out everything that makes sense and replace it with lens flare and explosions?

Comment Re:Regulate this (Score 1) 295

Its not the brightness, its the focus and alignment that is the problem.

It is simply not a reasonable assumption in the US that people are capable of properly aligning their lights. It is also not a reasonable assumption that people will recognize that their lights are badly adjusted or that if they do recognize it that they would pay someone to fix it. The evidence is abundant on any public street after nightfall. Therefore any light technology that relies on individual car drivers to properly adjust their lights to prevent unsafe glare, is an unsafe technology.

Now if there were abundant evidence that 55W halogens were not bright enough and accidents (not caused by other factors) were caused by insufficient light, then it might be another matter. But that simply isn't the case. Superbright lights solve a problem that didn't exist and cause new problems.

Comment Re:Stronger headlights (Score 2) 295

Also, widen the angle of your side mirrors.

Of course this just brings all the assholes with overbright lights that are in each of several lanes to either side of you into view.

I think the solution is not to change the people being blinded. It should be to change the condition that blinds people. Everything brighter than a 55W halogen is just too bloody bright for safe use. Even when installed and adjusted correctly xenon and HID lights are too bright when going over a rise.

Comment blinding lights (Score 4, Interesting) 295

Two: what are you driving? I've got a... car. With the cut-offs in my HID projectors, 100% of my light emission is at or below the bumper level of a car in front of me. Even were I in an SUV, I'd be getting your trunk deck. Excluding anyone driving a monster truck, proper HID projectors aren't causing your problem. Unless you're driving a skateboard. Laying down.

Lots of arguing going on but the simple fact is that a very large percentage of lights on cars on the streets these days are entirely too bright. I don't really care if their high beams are on, their lights are poorly adjusted, or if their lights are improperly installed they are too bright and it is dangerous and extremely unpleasant. And regardless, even when adjusted and installed properly and not on high beams all it takes is going over a slight rise and presto blinding lights that are way too bright are shining in my eyes.

Laser lights will significantly compound this problem. They should not be allowed. I honestly believe that we should ban HID lights and go back to 55W halogens being the brightest lights available.

Slashdot Top Deals

Elliptic paraboloids for sale.