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Comment Took a while to figure out why Trump lost so badly (Score 1) 244

It's the Miss Piggy Machado thing. It took me a while to figure out why that particular skeleton in his vast closet of skeletons has destroyed Trump's candidacy. Also, I'm quite disappointed that Slashdot has so little intellectual energy these days... Some clever person should have figured this out long before I managed to slog through the implications.

The largest constituency that is strongly supporting Trump is poorly educated men, where he used to have a lead of something like 60%. America is mostly a well educated nation, so the size of the bloc is not overwhelmingly huge (or YUGE, as the Donald pronounces it), but if he had any chance of winning, it depended on their votes.

Unfortunately for Trump, they are mostly married. Even worse, most of their wives aren't as stupid as they are, partly due to regression towards the mean but mostly because women tend to be smarter than men. (Okay, maybe that's basically my opinion, but all of the stupidest people I've met or heard about were men.) Smart wives can manipulate their husbands, and one way or another, they are going to be pushing their husbands away from Trump. The "Miss Housekeeper" skeleton is destroying him with women.

Machado is being attacked quite vigorously now, but this is a case where shooting at the messenger is only making it worse. Any bad things she might have done can now be blamed on her highly negative interactions with Trump himself. She really is rubber and Trump is the glue now. She was barely an adult when she fell under Trump's malevolent influence, and I can't imagine too many women siding with Trump.

Trump is toast. Loser.

(So what do you think about the cocaine allegations? Regarding the next debate, if Trump shows up, should he pee in a cup?)

Comment Re:Do we have to let the winner out of the arena? (Score 1) 57

Maybe you are sincere, but I've concluded that this thread is just a waste of time. Maybe it's just an artifact of inline posting that makes you look like an intellectually dishonest Sophist, but we don't need another religious war on that issue.

Good day, sir. I'm sorry you wasted so much of your time, but even sorrier that you wasted so much of mine.

Comment Re:I'm trying to look at this objectively (Score 1) 244

I don't think you are giving the founders sufficient credit. They tried quite hard to SOLVE the problems, not just complain (like the Donald). I'm not saying that coalition government is a perfect solution, but I do think it would have been better than the Electoral College approach. They were plenty smart, but they couldn't think of everything, and the ideas about coalition majorities were developed later on.

It seems you understand the problem. So how can you argue for the 3rd parties (from your earlier post). There are two ways that new parties become one of the top two parties in America. One is when an old party kills itself, which is how I interpret the end of the Whigs and Federalists. The other is when the single ruling party cuts itself to pieces, which is how I interpret the split of the Democratic Party in the election of 1860, which allowed the Lincoln's Republican Party to win.

Given the current situation, we're going to get Hillary or Trump, and when you compare them head to head, I just cannot understand how the election can be close. Yeah, she's a lawyer, and I don't like lawyers, but the evidence says she's a highly skilled lawyer, which means she will apply those skills for her clients' best interests. If she wins the election, we'll essentially become her clients and I think she'll probably do a good job. She even has the potential to do a great job, while I think Trump's potential goes to the opposite extreme.

At this point I think the so-called Republican Party is just a brand hijack, and it has become too sick to cure. We definitely do need a second party, but I think the GOP has to go away first to make room. I'd prefer the Greens over the Libertarians, but that's farther down the road.

Comment Re:Do we have to let the winner out of the arena? (Score 1) 57

It's kind of hard to take you seriously, but I'll make an attempt. I rather think I'm wasting my time and would recommend you do some background reading. However, the areas of your apparent ignorance are so broad that I am hard pressed to suggest a starting point.

In the case of a natural monopoly, excessive profits can become quite harmful. I think the obvious solution in the case of a true natural monopoly is careful government regulation and special taxation, with some of the tax revenue being invested in research to break the monopoly. You don't seem to understand the definition in Wikipedia, but it does talk about first mover advantage. There is some confusion there, but it's easier to use Windows as an example because a solution is also obvious.

Imagine that Microsoft were divided into 5 competing companies. Each new company would start with a copy of all of the source code and equal shares of the people and facilities. Each shareholder would get corresponding shares in each of the new companies. Some of the new companies would make good decisions, get more business, and grow. Others would do less well, but the important thing is that the competition would drive stronger improvements in the OS and applications. The Windows platform would continue to exist as a standard, but a public standard rather than a secret one. If the overall pace of innovation increased, then everyone would win. The model would be more like an amoeba family rather than a 'unified' cancer.

Comment Re:Was there supposed to be a question? (Score 1) 244

Don't get overconfident. It might be the dystopian movie where the evil mastermind is luring us to our fate... Trump might be holding his fire. Well, he's not that smart, but his campaign manager seems to be.

It's the last debate that will be closest to the election, and many American voters seem to have all the attention span and long-term memory of fruit flies.

Comment Re:I'm trying to look at this objectively (Score 1) 244

Don't fall into the trap. Vote for someone else. Anyone else.

It's a trap that is hard-coded into the Constitution. The founders understood the risks of fractious political parties, but they wanted a system that would give the president a "mandate" to act strongly when emergencies required it. They had all lived through such an emergency and all agreed that the strong leadership of General Washington had been essential to victory. (Washington could have become king if he had wanted to.)

Their solution was a winner-take-all mechanism for selecting presidents. Not their best work, as shown by how many times it's been amended. The stable dynamics of "winner take all" are two competing parties, or one permanently dominant party. Any third party can only weaken the most similar party by sucking off voters.

The real problem is that elections are decided by the largest chunk of the votes, and the bell curve means the peak is always in the middle, so whichever side a party started from, it tries to move to the middle of each issue. No ideological consistency, or rather political ideology always gets sacrificed for victory.

Coalition government allows for political parties to have stable ideologies, but at this point it would require a massive rewrite to adopt it in America. The founders had their limits.

Comment Re:I'm trying to look at this objectively (Score 1) 244

Most insightful analysis I could find, but the lack of "funny" comments was disappointing. Have we all lost our senses of humor? The debate was certainly a target-rich environment for jokes.

I want to expand on one of your points and introduce one new one. The old point is whether it is "smart" to avoid paying taxes and the new one is branching from your broad attribution of "they're both liars" to consider the kinds of lies and liars.

Trump can claim that he didn't actually say he is not paying taxes, but he definitely claimed it is smart to not pay them. As a logical rule, "If 'smart', then 'not pay taxes'." You have surely heard the Donald claim he is smart. Modus ponens, he does not pay taxes. We also have an existence proof from the tax returns Hillary cited, but maybe Trump will claim he has become more stupid than he used to be. I'm not holding my breath waiting for that claim. (Then again, confessing to not paying taxes in front of 80 million tax-paying voters certainly could be regarded as evidence of stupidity.)

However, I reject the claim that not paying taxes is good. There are certain functions that can only be performed by governments, and if everyone followed Trump's example, then society would collapse. We can (and probably will) argue all day about what those functions are, but absolute nihilism loses as soon as two people agree to work together against the one nihilist.

Now onto the topic of liars and lies. Perhaps the easiest way to approach the topic is by considering it from the perspective of professional versus amateur? I would say that Hillary is a professional liar, AKA a lawyer. A large part of legal training is learning how to "handle" the truth when it conflicts with the best interests of your client. You hire a lawyer for that reason, and the main thing I dislike about Hillary is that her top personal identity is probably "lawyer" or even "corporate lawyer". (I certainly wish our top politicians had higher personal identities such as "philosopher" or "statesman", but that is not how it works in America these days. "Government of the corporations, by the lawyers, for the richest 0.1% shall rule the earth.")

In contrast, I would argue that Trump is an amateur liar. If he was just a real estate agent, then you could argue he is hired to lie convincingly on behalf of the actual property owners he is representing, but if he is an actual player in the game (as he claims), then he is just lying for his own advantage--and the thousands of lawsuits are evidence that he's pretty bad at it.

In conclusion, I think Hillary is a skilled lawyer, and if her client is the American people, then she will represent their interests skillfully. Indirect evidence, but I actually think she was a fairly effective Secretary of State who inherited an incredible mess from Dubya. President Obama was able to focus more on the domestic messes because she was doing so well with the foreign messes.

Getting a bit far off topic, but I think my ontology of lies is relevant (with apologies to Heinlein):

Level 0: Self-contradictions. You know there's a lie without checking (and it's possible both sides are false). Most of Trump's amateurish lies are L0. (He's a L0ser?)

Level 1: Counterfactual. Any fool can check the facts. Many of Trump's lies are L1.

Level 2: Partial truth. What makes it a lie is knowing the rest of the story and withholding it, but this can be a professional technique. This is where Hillary usually is. (She would doubtless claim that time constraints preclude full disclosure, but lawyers are also taught how to stall.)

Level 3: Framing. This broad category involves distorting the meanings of words or providing misleading contexts. Also logical tricks like the classic "Have you stopped beating your wife yet?" This is actually where serious propaganda works. Trump has no idea (unless he's clinging to his teleprompter), Hillary sometimes uses these techniques, but mostly Level 3 is for the serious professional liars like Roger Ailes. (BtW, when Ailes bails, then you know to dump Trump.)

Me? Tell a joke? Sorry, but as an original Trekkie and fan of Mr Spock, I had my sense of humor removed.

Comment Was my personal information used for this? (Score 3, Interesting) 40

Trying to judge from this summary if I was involved... There was a quasi-fake account created using my name and email address. One so-called support person claimed it was created with a bug in the Android reader, but I'm not convinced and the "discussion" went on for some months without solving the problem in the obvious way. (Nuke the imposter and block the email address.) I gave up for a long time, but after a year tried again and escalated all the way up...

Suddenly the problem seems to have gone away, but Amazon got all quiet about it. There were three or four "phase transitions" over the 15 months the problem went on, but only two of them seemed to have clear angles for making money--but this article seems to have suggested a couple of angles that I hadn't considered. My latest theory was that it might be something like the Wells Fargo scam, creating fake accounts to boost some kind of internal accounting numbers. Based on dormant accounts?

Just for background, I had used Amazon around the year 2000. I had accounts on and one of the international Amazons, but after they abused my personal information, I stopped doing business with them. (Still reading lots of books, but NO plans to use Amazon EVER again.) However, at least one of the accounts still exists, and it is possible that some of the information from that account was used for the fake account--but Amazon refused to provide any details to prove (or disprove) it.

Comment Re:Limit their bandwidth? (Score 1) 277

I'm not sure I believe them, but I've read claims that there will be many billions of IoT devices. Sometimes mitigation is not enough.

However, in practice I'd guess that a sophisticated attacker would individually test each of the zombies (obviously in an automated manner) to determine their network connectivity. That would probably detect any throttling, too, and allow the attacker to optimize the attacks themselves.

Just thought of another problem with your proposed solution: What if some IoT devices legitimately need larger amounts of bandwidth to accomplish whatever purpose justified the connectivity in the first place?

Trying to think of a construction alternative suggestion, but it's obviously a hard problem. In general, I think we need to go after their business models, and that will work if they are in it for the money and the money dries up. However, these days there are increasing numbers of bad actors working at the state level, and their funding is hard to touch from the outside... That means you need to target some other link in the chain. Tax the manufacturers in proportion to the vulnerability of the devices they make?

Comment Lest you forget...the music industry is fine... (Score 1) 307

The music business is doing fine

HOW they are doing fine, I have no idea. I know I sound old, mainly because I am, but I am quite astonished what my nearly-teen daughter listens to. It's not that I don't get it... some of it catchy. But so much of it is just terrible in every way. I pull songs off of youtube for her, mainly because I can then monitor what she listens to and I can look up the lyrics as well. Also, she listens to things like parodies of songs and other things that aren't necessarily under the thumb of the music industry.

The other reason I can't believe they doing fine is because the entertainment industry has never really embraced digital music. If they had done so back in '98, '99, 2000, etc. they would have been able to capitalize on the desire for it. Instead, they fought against it. Just like VCRs, cassettes, CDR, DVDR, etc. They just can't loosen their grip on trying to maintain complete control. This is no different.

And I will say, I do listen to youtube at work, it's easy to just pull up some music. And if there is a particular old album out there that I don't have... it wouldn't be inconceivable to just download it from youtube, rip the audio, and run mp3splt with silence detection to get individual tracks.

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