Re: free expression, assembly, and association
free expression = free speech
2341 posts • joined 6 Mar 2017
"Linux is much better."
For most people, an OS is only as good as the software it supports.
Moving to a new OS is tricky enough without having to find replacement apps for every bit of software you need, if even such software was ever developed (as in many cases for many industrial controllers and niche applications). Even if a suitable replacement app exists, you have to relearn how to use it, it has to support all your existing files and play nicely with all the other software you have.
For many people who only need a browser and basic office tools, moving to linux should be fairly easy, otherwise it can get non-trivial very fast.
What is needed is to start teaching kids linux at school alongside or instead of windows
I've nothing against having a screen big enough to be easily read, but all essential information should go on the part the driver can see through the steering wheel, and all controls should be actual buttons/knobs/levers with tactile feedback which can therefore be operated without having to look. Besides that the rotary knob + button is FAR easier than a touchscreen control even if you can focus your full attention on the screen!!
"There isn't a research and development problem ... There IS a manufacturing and workforce issue"
This sums it up perfectly. Companies didn't move manufacturing overseas because they couldn't find any competent people or couldn't build factories, they did it because local competent people were more expensive than the competent people abroad, and local regulations made building and running factories more expensive than in places with less regulation.
The bill is framed as an investment in technology, but it's actually state funding to offset the additional expenses that fabs have to operate in the US instead of abroad. It's not really a handout to Intel etc because their extra income will, in effect, flow to all their US employees and contractors/suppliers*.
Same with the similair EU chip funding. I'm not saying its a bad thing, its actually good to be more self reliant for technology (also for energy which is another parallel issue).
*Distinct from pork, because it has a targeted end goal deemed to be useful to local society and not just to the reelection chances of some congresspeople/senators
Good analysis, I mostly agree.
Re a) in a world where crypto is widely accepted, there is no need to transfer to/from any fiat currency, but of course the point stands that someone is taking a cut
b) that's news to me - I would guess that for large transactions in the thousands, or large volumes of transactions to/from an account that would be the case, but if there is regulatory reason that it takes 1-2 days for a small IBAN transfer that is clearly over-regulation
e) the theory of central banks controlling inflation by controlling the money supply is a nice theory. In practice this is abused by governments over-printing. True inflationary control means matching the amount of currency to the amount of goods and services on the market, so the price of goods and services is stable. But central banks aim for constant inflation (even if the aim is very low inflation) because the capitalist system depends on it (if your tokens are devaluing it encourages spending rather than saving). This is based on the flawed model that equates constant economic growth with higher living standard and happiness*.
Even if the model that aims for minimal inflation were a valid one, central banks still fail to stick to it, because every time there's a crisis, governments cannot resist the temptation to print money rather than take tough and unpopular decisions. It is also very unhelpful that many people do not know the difference between rising cost of living and inflation (which is only 1 out of many possible causes of the rise of the cost of living), and many journalists and politicians speaking on the subject also seem to not know the difference!!
*Although that's a completely different debate
What would be a real-world use case for a cryptocurrency that is not a scam?
The use cases for existing cryptocurrencies seem to be:
a) cutting out traditional financial institutions who take their cut from every transaction, and having a pure peer-to-peer transfer mechanism. But while this cuts out traditional gatekeepers, there are still transaction costs on a crypto network (sometimes quite high)
b) cutting out traditional financial institutions who take days to execute a transfer, and have an immediate (or quasi-immediate) transfer mechanism. As pointed out in the article, this can be improved at least locally within a country by upgrading the traditional banking systems. Something that also needs to happen internationally.
c) allowing poor people access to banking services. Traditional banks are only willing to deal with people who have some money, so they can extract fees. Many people in the developing world have no access to banking services eg loans. Crypto allows a person to use their mobile phone as a cash wallet without having an intermediary hold the money in custody. There are pluses and minuses to this, but of course when someone doesn't have a lot of money they might prefer total control over what little thy have than deposit it at a bank. People with thousands / millions, on the other hand, are probably happy to have that deposited or invested with a reputable financial institution for a reasonable fee. Having a mechanism where network users can do peer-to-peer lending in a controlled (non-loan-shark) environment could be a good use case.
d) anonymity, although in crypto by definition the accounts are public the account holder can be anonymous. There is some scope for anonymous money transfers to happen, especially for people under repressive regimes, but lets face it a lot of the people wanting the anonymity want it to avoid tax or for criminal purposes. This is pretty much by definition a use case that no user would sign up to a central bank cryptocurrency for.
e) inflationary control, ie not allowing the network to arbitrarily generate tokens and thus devalue existing tokens. I don't think any central bank digital currency could offer this or would ever want to offer this.
Basically, apart from point c) there isn't much that uniquely requires a distributed peer-to-peer financial network. Although I certainly hope that pressure from cryptocurrency and new 'digital-only' banks starts steering traditional banks offer such 'luxuries' as real-time money transfers and non-extortionate international transaction rates
I'm not sure if whoever proposed that is thinking on the lines of - if we can harvest material from asteroids and do some space refining and manufacturing, we can avoid having to do that work on Earth and then send the finished articles up (including saving all the energy requirements by harvesting solar energy in orbit). One thing that this type of analysis usually forgets is that cooling is a problem in space, and processes that require massive amounts of heat need to be completely re-thought (if they are indeed possible). In any case we are probably a century or two away from that capability.
If we are talking about what I think we are, ie potentially sending up one giant rocket 'tanker' that can refuel other satellites and extend their life, that's an interesting idea (and probably workable in a couple of decades), but will do eff all for climate change
'Cleaning up the orbit' is all well and good to say, but how do you clear 100 million pieces of 1mm-size debris, not to mention however many more smaller ones?? Can't vacuum them up, catch them in nets, can't even locate them, and to catch them you have to match their speed even if you could find them (which, for the smaller ones, you anyway can't).
My wacky idea is some sort of high-expansion quick-setting foam - spray it from a small can into a large blob and push it into a slow-ish orbit on the path you want to clear. The idea is that the relative speed of debris is small enough that it won't punch through but get trapped inside, and the slow-ish orbit means it will eventually de-orbit itself (or the large size means it can be externally manipulated). That sort of assumes that most objects are orbiting in the same direction (which is mostly the case for parent satellites so should mostly be the same for debris).
Of course, space is Huuuuge, even just the narrow shell of the useful orbital plane, but given that rocketeers can insert a satellite into a very precise orbital position, whose launch, trajectory etc are probably known years in advance, it should be possible to clear the path from some of the debris ahead of the satellite's launch
"look as hollow as Nato's promises not to expand up to Russia's borders"
To be fair, far from promising to not expand to Russia's borders, NATO was quite open about wanting to do exactly that. An absolutely stupid thing to do, of course, but never be it said that the US is discreet about it's f*ckups
Not going into all detail but, Re 1)
'erecting the shell' is not the same as 'building'
This type of development, digging a giant hole and laying foundations takes 6 months. - 1 year. The building structure takes a week or two*. Plumbing, electricity, ventilation, tiling, plastering etc and finishing takes another 6 months - 1 year. Putting the walls and floors up is the easy bit.
Regarding the expressway, what you're saying is that China has built a motorway on mainland China that runs close to the coast by Taiwan. There is no tunnel
*plenty of Western firms can build a floor a day. They don't do 3 floors a day because they work 8 hours not 24, and they follow health and safety rules - it's not because they're not technically capable. That's a plus for the West not a plus for China
The problem with pumped storage is volume, both the metaphorical volume of electrical power and the physical volume of water needed. It's only practical in places where you can easily find height differences between plateaus (so must be a mountainous area that is still relatively accessible), and the area of (usually ecologically sensitive) land that would need to be flooded with water for the pumped storage is huge. Also, most of the low-hanging fruit for hydroelectric have long been dammed up and put to use (although quite possibly some hydroelectric-only plants could be rejigged to work as pumped storage with minimal conversion if they have space available for a 'low' reservoir).
The more appliances such as these aircons, electric cars, domestic heat pumps etc can adapt to consume 'cheap' electricity, the smoother the consumption curve will be, until you will basically have a flat demand, and no 'cheap rate' electricity - at least not in the sense we now know it where night-time electricity is cheaper because of reduced demand. Instead what will probably happen is that the cost of electricity will depend almost totally on available supply rather than demand. This in turn means that when intermittent sources (wind / solar) are plentiful, prices will be low, which in a subsidy-less world would mean that wind/solar become less economically feasible to operate.
That in turn means that pricing will be being updated 'on the fly' (and appliances will be following suit). With mass adoption, that could lead to situations where the 'clever' appliances are all dumbly switching on at the same time as electricity gets cheap, electricity demand spikes as do prices, and said dumb smart appliances switch off again. Rinse and repeat. Only half joking there... there needs to be a bit more additional smarts into these 'smart' appliances. To our advantage, it will be decades before these appliances become commonplace enough to trigger grid problems.
And the great long-term benefit (assuming no stupid smart behaviour as above) is the smoothing of demand, which would reduce stress on the grid infrastructure.
"why do self driving cars almost always have the same design as a driven car?"
I guess because up until now, the possibility of human intervention / driving was required. I guess given the right sensors and feedbacks, it would be possible for a human to do the driving completely remotely without needing any traditional controls (at least in an emergency and at low speed).
Either way I guess that driverless cars will in fact evolve into a way different layout once the need for traditional controls is gone.
In my experience, the vast majority of Christians might not (or might) have an abortion themselves but aren't that concerned about what others do. It's the fringe nutters that really care.
Unfortunately it seems that in the US, squeaky wheel gets the grease, and politicians respond to loud minorities far more than to reasonable people who keep to themselves
"Is the top of the can not sharp though?"
Surprisingly, no, though I am unsure of what sort of voodoo they work to make it so. The edge of the lid is also not sharp. I mean, neither is something you would want to push against with force, but they're blunt enough to rule out painful and bloody accidents. They also aren't sharp enough to slash any garbage bags (though in my case they anyway go to can recycling bin, no bag required)
"You need to practice your edging technique..."
That's in fact what I used to do when using a traditional opener (including the bit about levering the lid edge up with the last twist of the opener as suggested by the next reply from LogicGate), but with the new type it's far easier.
"The cans I hate are the ones with a ring pull"
Seconded!! (these can still be opened with a can opener, usually better and safer than with the ring pull)
I have one of those can openers which my wife bought at some point, probably just to have one. We mostly buy fresh food or jars, and the cans we get have pull-tops or the 'corned-beef-tin' key opening. First time I came to use it (no instructions of course), I had to work it out, and it was also weird as even while opening, it doesn't look as though anything is happening right until the whole lid is off.
But once started with it, I would never go back to a traditional opener, the way it leaves no sharp edges at all and the lid doesn't fall in is a great improvement on the old kind.
The 20-min vid is kind of overkill though :)
"We, as a group, haven't reached the point of world-wide famine.
Yet. It'll happen, because humans as a group are incredibly stupid."
Global population is expected to peak within next 50 years and then start to decline. Smaller families are a natural by-product of more wealth. China's population is already shrinking, and as other countries in SE Asia and, eventually, Africa, grow richer they will follow suit. Global population is predicted to peak at 9-10 billion.
Yes, humans as a group can behave in incredibly stupid ways, but humans can also be resourceful, clever, and occasionally do some pretty awesome things. So it's a bumpy road, but I don't think it will ever come to world-wide famine.
Not that I'd be around by that time, anyway
"Physical media is still the best " ( I guess the "that is in my personal possession and control" is implied )
Yes it is. The trick is keeping track of what is actually important to me that I want to download, secure and back up, and all the other digital gunk that just happens to be there.
"leave critical protections to the whims of future administrations"
yes and no. Technology moves so fast that it makes nonsense to codify certain provisions directly into law. Secondly, the law makes FCC "de jure" responsible for regulating carriers, not only "de facto". That means anyone believing the FCC is not properly regulating carriers can take that matter to court.
And, just generally speaking, I am a great admirer of writing laws that are short, simple, and understandable to the layman.
Firstly, writing them off the inventory is a budgetary exercise, it doesn't mean someone is going to pile them in a field and set fire to the lot. Secondly, it is perfectly possible to sell such parts as end-of-series or 'used' parts, expressly excluding any service or warranty. eBay/Amazon is full of such stuff. I think from the point of view of Intel they would not want to dilute their brand by offering any product without support or warranty, so they will be quietly shipped to some 3rd-party eBay vendor for a pittance.
That, or some Intel BOFH is going to have a big bonfire in a field, no doubt to get rid of some other evidence, while making a killing on the 'destroyed' drives on the side!
Maybe that is the perception, but it's really just perception that has been fuelled by the handful of 'rockstar' CEOs like Steve Jobs. I accept that CEO of a giant company is not a job with thousands of possible applicants, but it's also ridiculous to think that the applicant pool is just a handful of insiders, who are all potential Unicorn material. In any case what most companies need from a CEO isn't that 'unicorn' who will grow the business by 1000%, but a competent (and, dare I say, boring) administrator.
It is equally ridiculous to think that a CEO who earns £2.4 million really desperately needs a 35% raise and will jump ship without, nor that you can't find a competent CEO willing to do the job for £2 million. Given the average BT salary is probably in the £30-35k range, the CEO-to-worker pay ration jumped from 70-80X to 90-100X - ridiculous!!
Thanks to dumbing-down of complex subjects by both the press and politicians, most people now take "Inflation" to mean "rise in the cost of living", when the 2, while related, aren't the same thing.
"Inflation" is the increase of the money supply at a faster rate than the real output of the economy. For example the billions printed* by governments all over the world to help with Covid relief is inflation. While inflation does result in cost of living increases, it is only one of the causes, and not the end result (as it is often described). Other causes are Ukraine war (increasing energy and food prices through classical economics - supply-restriction), Brexit (increasing cost of paperwork & logistics).
What Infation is actually doing by increasing the amount of money in relation to the amount of products and services on the market is to deflate the value of products and services sold on the market - in effect it is the government 'stealing' a small amount from the whole economy, in order to use that for emergency (or not so emergency) projects, without having to raise taxes. (and, no doubt, the financial intermediaries take some cut).
In this specific case, cost of living all over Europe and particularly in UK is rising much faster than the £1500/yr being offered, so I'm fully supportive of the workers going on strike. As many others have said, top executives taking huge raises in a climate of giant profits is not a good look. 40k workers X £1500 is £60M. They could easily have doubled it and hardly dented the £1.3B profit, and still afforded to pay £700M or thereabouts to shareholders.
(not to forget, by the way that in the case of BT, most shareholders are either individual small investors, or pension funds and similair investment/pension vehicles whose ultimate beneficial owners are usually the same middle-class workers struggling with cost of living)
*not really 'printed', more like brought into existence on a spreadsheet
How can they compare packages that are, in effect, "infinite data" and for which, in theory, the per GB price is approaching zero?
My phone tells me I'm using about 10GB /mth mobile data. Many young people just don't have or use WiFi and just go with mobile data all the time , so might be using 50-100 GB/mth or even more.
I'm surprised so many advanced countries are at the bottom of the list and I think taking into account the above, the real situation is many users have cheaper mobile data than the study shows.
"what does it tell you about a country where state schools perform less well or are assumed to perform less well than private schools."
In Finland, contrary to common misconception, there are private schools... BUT they offer the same education based on the national education plan, just like public schools. Private schools get funding from the state and cannot charge fees to generate profit. Finland consistently scores in the highest places in education rankings. That is not a coincidence.
I theorise that for some governments, investing in public education is counterproductive since they prefer the public (and therefore their electorate) to be gullible automatons who are capable of fulfilling basic tasks required by their industry but incapable of thinking for themselves.
"The ultimate sanction would, I suppose, be suspension of those countries from the EU as punishment."
The actual sanction that would make them pay attention is to be cut off from the EU budget, particularly for countries that are net recipients of funding. Typically speaking, the democratic laggards are net recipients.
A business model that has no concept of quality, only the wringing of the highest price contracts by snake-oil salesmen at one end and the sourcing of the cheapest possible labour at the other. The continued success of a 20,000+ headcount company being held together by string, duct tape and those few dozen genuinely competent people who haven't jumped ship yet.
If these companies were in any way efficient in the way they operate, they wouldn't need cheap labour. Maybe 1 employee being paid 40k can perform better than 4 employees being paid 10k each.
Play them a tune on the world's smallest violin
I believe that real estate can be seized, even if not all of the cost was ill-gotten. Possibly there's some formula where he can either repay in cash the cost of the pool, or they offset the difference between whatever they raise from auctioning the house and the cost of the pool from whatever other restitution needs to be done. His wife's 'assets' would not really be recoverable, and they are in any case more a service than an asset (in the sense that the cost of two bags of silicone is probably a few cents, the actual cost is mostly in the installation!).
Generally speaking, if you spend ill-gotten gains on services/consumables (eg hookers and coke), amounts stolen can be recovered by seizing and selling off your assets. I guess if someone used money from a certain account to buy bitcoin, it could be identified at the point the money entered the fiat-to-crypto exchange and the ID of the bitcoin wallet containing the dosh could be found out, but I'm not sure any restitution could be made without the wallet owner's cooperation. Possibly the wallet could be flagged/monitored for future transactions?
Possibly, given the accuracy of modern GPS, the best bet would be convert as much as possible into gold, jewels or plain old cash, and bury them in the middle of nowhere (possibly a national park where you know it won't be developed, and the location can be noted to within a couple of meters). But then, getting gold, jewels and cash back into the system later is absolutely not trivial (and you might find 20 years down the line when you leave prison that cash has been banned)
Thorium is (in theory) the way to go. So far there are only experimental reactors, I believe only China is working on actually building a commercial prototype (and it's tiny - 2MW). But EU should really be heavily promoting investment in this. The reality is that even with heavy funding, the design, planning and construction in EU could take 20 years to come online.
And we really need to start now.
Essentially pumped storage, which is great, but it requires giant areas to be turned into artificial lakes.
eg Dinorwig capacity = 9.1GWh
If my calcs are correct, UK daily consumption is about 84,000GWh. To store just half a day's worth of electricity for half the UK demand (21,000 GWh) would require the equivalent of 2300X Dinorwig. The scale of flooding of pristine environmental areas required to even start making up the numbers is enormous.
Nuclear is a no-brainer to anyone who has been paying a bit of attention and can use Google and a calculator.
"threw bricks at cars that did not yield to pedestrians. .... They have become internet heroes "
I would certainly cheer on anyone throwing bricks at cars not yielding to pedestrians.
Local main road that kids have to cross to get to school was turned from 50kmh to 30kmh limit. This means that pedestrians (in theory) can cross anywhere, not only on zebra crossings (and therefore existing zebra crossings were removed).
But in practice a lot of cars just breeze through at 50+ even when they can see kids waiting to cross, possibly because their GPS tells them the limit is 50 (at least mine still does, even with an update from 2 weeks ago, more than a year since the speed limit change).
"if these sorts of devices are foisted on the general public, then many of them will be smashed wreckage within hours."
Somehow I doubt that. It's been common knowledge for ages the extent of spying which the Internet giants perform on their
clients users product.
Sandy B's "The Net" was out in 1995, almost 30 years ago!!
Yet the %age of web users who use ad blockers and reject cookies, %age of mobile users who switch off location tracking etc etc is still miniscule. It turns out that for the vast majority of people, convenience is far more important than privacy.
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