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Here Comes the Panopticon: Insurance Companies

Artraze Re:Want to pay for behavior riskier than yours? (353 comments)

> Nobody wants to pay for claims arising from behavior riskier than their own.

Well of course! Because when bad things happen to other people it's because of their risky behavior, and when they happen to you it's "bad luck".

On a related note, I wonder how many more accidents happen because of "safe" behavior done mindlessly than "risky" behavior done safely...

about three weeks ago
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Servo Stock 3D Printer Brings Closed-Loop Control To Reprap

Artraze Re:Move along nothing to see here. (56 comments)

> First off, almost nobody is missing steps in their cheap 3D printers. They simply do not move fast enough for that to happen.
> And if they are missing steps you have a bigger issue, usually lots of friction somewhere.

Well, keep in mind that not moving fast enough is a bit circular: One reason they don't move fast enough is to prevent them from skipping steps. Of course, on hobby machines rigidity is probably a bigger issue so it's not terribly helpful in that regard.
(I will say, though, that steps can be missed outside normal operation if the machine crashes. Feedback is nice for identifying that quickly!)

> Secondly, 200 steps per rotation is normal for motors. However, the drivers everyone is using do 16x microstepping,
> good for 3200 steps per revolution. Accurate steps per revolution. That's better then 4096 +- 2 steps.

No. Microstepping (and indeed stepping at all!) is a zero torque accuracy. In a motor, torque is only generated when the magnetic fields are unaligned, a situation known as "slip". If the fields are aligned (zero slip), there is no force and so no torque, but the rotor is exactly where you expect it. Maximum torque occurs at 90 degrees from the poles, and if that is exceeded you lose a step. The idea of the stepper is that the poles are so close that the maximal 90deg slip (+/- 1/4 step) is insignificant (usually only a degree or less) and therefore you can infer an amount of positioning based on that. All microstepping does is rotate the poles; you will still have the same uncertainty because the width of the poles is unaffected.

Granted, if the stepper in providing much more torque than is needed the slip will be pretty small. However, unless you have very low friction and zero other torque you can usually expect to always be a least a (16x) microstep or two off your expected rotation. Haven't you ever wondered why the advent of cheap microstepping drives hasn't killed small step steppers and encoders? You're still only as accurate as your physical step size.

In addition, steppers are generally used with minimal gearing. Other motors will usually have to be geared down pretty significantly which means that a motor mounted encoder will provide a "geared up" precision. Yes, backlash can be a problem but it's actually not a much as people like to think (for reasons beyond the scope of this discussion).

So to compare:
A) 200 step stepper, 16x microstepping, direct-drive : ~1000 counts per rev
B) Brushless DC motor with 4096 encoder and 10:1 gear box: ~20000 counts per rev.

> I'm also willing to argue that it's more expensive.

You better believe it! Brushless DC motors are less expensive than steppers, usually, but steppers are a one piece solution. All you need is a single chip driver and a shaft coupling are you're done. If you want to use a DC motor, you need all that and a gearbox (which could maybe be a low pitch ball screw in this application), an encoder, an encoder reader (a microcontroller is fine, but one per axis!). You also need better control software too.

In the end, though, you get what you pay for and that setup will beat the tar out of a stepper directly driving a timing belt. However, it's also far better than your average reprap mechanics, which will lack to rigidity to actually use it to its fullest. So now you have to build a better frame, etc, etc. And all of a sudden you've got a $20k industrial machine and not a $1k hobby one.

So, I agree that for the application there is nothing at all to see here. Cheap servos for a cheap machine are pointless and steppers are the right solution. After all, the difference between 1k and 100k counts per rev doesn't really matter if your extruded plastic is +/-0.1mm. However, for a better machine a closed loop servo is really the only way to go.

about 2 months ago
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Talking To the Public: the Biggest Enemy To Reducing Greenhouse Emissions

Artraze Re:Translation: Let's FORCE it on them! (324 comments)

Yeah pretty much.

The trouble, of course, isn't that people are too stupid or too obstinate to understand, it's that the case being made it setting off BS alarms everywhere. Global warming is a hard sell when Al Gore is guzzling gas flying around the world to talk about how bad it is and how people need to cut back. Anyone is going to look at that and see "cutting back" as what the poor need to do to sustain the lifestyles of the rich, and 'carbon credits' as the excuse. People know that nuclear power doesn't emit CO2, but the fact that it isn't being pursued as a solution indicates that global warming isn't as scary as nuclear power. And rather than reuse-reuse-recycle programs, we get consume-more programs like cash for clunkers and cell phone kill switches.

The problem isn't with communication, it's about leadership. Show people that you're concerned, and maybe they'll start to believe you. Or don't and just fuck them over... it's a nice win-win for those in charge.

about 3 months ago
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Can the ObamaCare Enrollment Numbers Be Believed?

Artraze Re:Fuck Obamacare (723 comments)

> I don't know why forcing everybody in the United States to buy managed healthcare plans would improve the situation at all.

It's not; it's more of a deal with the devil, if you will. Forcing people to buy insurance is mostly the corporate handout part of the bill, made in exchange for things like the insurance companies loosening pre-existing condition restrictions, etc. (Whether it's a good deal is certainly up for debate, but I don't think it was.)

As I mentioned above, hospitals must help people too poor to pay, and they loose a lot of money; by forcing people to buy insurance, they can get paid. And, of course, the insurance companies are paid too, because they ultimately change more than the cost (that's how insurance works). Because the poor get subsidies, it's mostly taxpayer money fueling that machine. Additionally, it forces young people to buy insurance which is a generally quite profitable area since problems in young people are generally much less frequent and expensive to treat.

At the end of the day, though, it doesn't really do anything to fix the anti-free-market effects that created the problems to begin with. It just cements the protection racket in place (particularly with the pervasive deductible plans): pay an insurance company or pay 3x the fair price when you see a doctor.

about 4 months ago
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Can the ObamaCare Enrollment Numbers Be Believed?

Artraze Re:Fuck Obamacare (723 comments)

> This ALWAYS this you crybabies whine about right up until it is your ASS being left out front of the hospital. Then it is all about SAVE ME!

Prior to ACA hospitals were required to provide emergency medical care regardless of the person's ability to pay under the EMTALA. Granted it might not be great care, but the idea that someone would be left out of a hospital if they had a serious problem is just FUD. Theoretically people are still responsible for paying any care they receive, but in practice so often they are low income with a lot of debt already and the hospital will just write it off.

In fact, one of the reasons for ACA was because the EMTALA was a huge problem. It was estimated that about 55% of emergency care goes uncompensated. By forcing people to carry insurance, hospitals will be less on the hook for emergency care.

So to your point, with or without ACA you wouldn't be left out of a hospital, but now with ACA they can better make you pay.

about 4 months ago
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Can the ObamaCare Enrollment Numbers Be Believed?

Artraze Re:Fuck Obamacare (723 comments)

The 16th amendment is extremely dangerous. It gives the federal government the constitution power to tax your income without limit or restriction. While a "free speech tax" per se might be ruled unconstitutional, when it comes to freedom regarding your money the rule is quite clear: pay your taxes or else.

So, you are "free" to not pay the insurance companies, of course, but the government is allowed to tax you as much as they want if you don't (well, if you do too, but for less at least). Maybe it might be worth it to you at some penalty level, but that can always change.

about 4 months ago
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Mozilla CEO Firestorm Likely Violated California Law

Artraze Re:Poor poor bigot (1116 comments)

> People with religious delusions want everything to be about their cults, but reality doesn't work that way.

Way to flamebait. Good thing you're on the party line or you'd have gotten modded down.

The simple fact of the matter is, that everyone wants everything to be about their beliefs, "cult" or not. In a democratic society we work out (or are supposed to) something that works as a good enough compromise, but at the end of the day it's basically all arbitrary crap. I doubt you'll find a law on the books that derives itself from anything much like pure reason... They're really all there because people didn't like one thing or another, and wanted to make sure that wasn't allowed. "That's annoying" "That's mean" "That's weird" "That cost me money", etc. Really, "against my religion" is probably one of the rarer reasons for a law to be on the books. When it comes to gay marriage, I quite honestly think that more people are against it because "That's gross" rather than any religious reason; they just use religion as an easier point of debate.

about 4 months ago
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A Bid To Take 3D Printing Mainstream

Artraze Re:clunky software? (143 comments)

Microwaves are pretty much totally on my point because:
A) They cost like $50 for a cheap model
B) Meals are cheaper than the cheapest restaurant

If 3D printers get to that point, they may become mainstream.

about 4 months ago
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A Bid To Take 3D Printing Mainstream

Artraze Re:clunky software? (143 comments)

> More like the fact that CAD software packages cost many thousands of dollars, and no good free alternatives exist.
> Or that mechanical design is inherently challenging and is an expensive skill to develop.

I'd say that these are not "mainstream" issues but rather content creation issues (and creators are quite niche). While text documents are pretty easy to create for a normal printer, once you move past those content creation becomes much more challenging and niche. DVD burners are pretty mainstream, but home mainstream is movie production? Etc.

> Or that the printers themselves for commercial grade machines also cost many thousands of dollars.

That's the real issue. From a mainstream, consumer perspective, what's the value of a 3D printer? If you aren't a creator making sculptures or parts for other creations, what do you make? And what's the savings vs buying it or something quite similar?

There are enough people in this world that basically every generally useful product is cheaply mass produced and widely available. When it comes to consumers, 3D printers are a solution looking for a problem. Until they cost only a couple hundred bucks and can produce sporks for cheaper than you can buy them at Walmart, there just isn't enough utility for them to go mainstream.

about 4 months ago
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How Many People Does It Take To Colonize Another Star System?

Artraze Re:Sure, but... (392 comments)

I'm skeptical of those numbers anyway: There have been times where the total number of humans was less than 40k with some speculation that there were as few as 2k for a while. That discounts, say, early settles to regions that then became the native people. How large a group traveled through the Bering Strait to the Americas? With current knowledge, we could screen the initial people for genetic diseases and organize breeding programs to maintain diversity, so we could probably be successful with even less.

Anyways, the ability to freeze bits (sperm, eggs, embryos) already exists and the projected lifetime of sperm at least would easily cover the journey plus the formative years. Heck, it's probably a better solution than legions of people even from a purely genetic perspective as you could probably better control radiation damage.

So that means genetics aren't really going to be as important as:
*) Builders - You aren't going to grandma's. You'll need able-bodies people to build you colony. Robots can help, but it's still going to require a decent crew. Even if you don't maintain this size group throughout the journey, you'll need it when you arrive, meaning the ship needs to have facilities for them to grow up in.
*) Parents - You need to keep people alive to teach new people what being people is. Books and other media will help, but you need a decent assortment to give an understanding of 'society' and prevent one bad egg over the 300 years from spoiling the bunch.
*) Society - Kinda tied to the last point, but you can't just have 10 people playing poker for 300 years. You need some ability to socialize, have friends, create, consume, etc.

I'd side with the anthropologist on this one: 150ish, a small village worth. Genetics are basically a solved problem and pretty much a footnote on the laundry list of problems that colonizing would face. Heck we don't even know if Proxima Centauri has a planet!

about 4 months ago
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U.S. Court: Chinese Search Engine's Censorship Is 'Free Speech'

Artraze Re:The Founding Fathers are crying.. (284 comments)

> If I run a website, I'm not allowed to control or limit what comments and content other people put on it?

Of course you are, but only if you actually want to. If the government tells you to control it or else they'll drag you through audits/courts/etc until you do then that's a problem.

Granted, said government in this case is the Chinese, so I'm not surprised the case was thrown out but I can understand why it was brought.

about 3 months ago
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Are DVDs Inconvenient On Purpose?

Artraze Re:tldr (490 comments)

Sure content providers may not always know what's going on, but they are most certainly not so out of touch as to think that ripping steams is a real concern. Well, maybe in so far as an end user tool to save the stream might be a threat, but realistically DVD and BR are easily rippable and better quality so I doubt the concern is that great.

about 4 months ago
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1GB of Google Drive Storage Now Costs Only $0.02 Per Month

Artraze Re:Yeah, you can totally trust your data... (335 comments)

Ridiculously high is right.... 11 nines uptime works out to be less than a millisecond per year. At that level if you're going to need to specify allowable ping times.

In reality, Google only offers 99.9% per month (99% for "reduced availability", I'm not sure what these prices are for) and the value of the guarantee is pathetic: they credit (not even refund) you a maximum of half your bill that month if availability is =95%. They could be down a full day and only knock 25% of you bill next month. That can barely be considered an SLA.

Also, given that consumer internet is 100% (to be generous!) you're basically guaranteed better uptime in the common case (accessing your data at home) storing it locally. If you're hosting via, say, ownCloud for use by your phone then, sure, Google Drive may have better uptime.

Anyways, given the premium over a hard drive as the parent pointed out, you just buy (and power) two and run as RAID0. You could even buy a spare or two which could be used as a backup until one of the primaries failed.

about 4 months ago
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How Do You Backup 20TB of Data?

Artraze Re:reduce the amount (983 comments)

Agreed.

Regardless of whether or not 20TB is hording / excessive / inefficient, what it almost certainly is is replaceable. Let's face it, you aren't CERN, most of you data is probably media that you can reacquire with relative ease. It's not being stored because it's irreplaceable it's being stored because it's convenient. A RAID isn't too bad, but add in managing backups and where has that convenience gone? If it costs $10+/month to backup your ripped/downloaded movies, why not just sign up for Netflix?

Just make a list of all the replaceable data (e.g. videos you have the original disc for) you have and then buy an external hard disk / Blurays to back up the rest. If you lose your RAID, well, it'll be annoying to rebuild, but you built it once... (Besides, I doubt you could restore 20TB over residential internet less time!)

about 4 months ago
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Second Federal 'Kill-switch' Bill Introduced Targeting Smartphone Theft

Artraze Re:"... as a means to reduce theft." (158 comments)

Temporarily disabling cell towers is completely different from permanently disabling phones. In one case a phone will work the next day or in the next town or as a music player. In the other, you're out a couple hundred bucks and all the data you had on it.

about 5 months ago
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YouTube Ordered To Remove "Illegal" Copyright Blocking Notices

Artraze Re:Bullshit (427 comments)

YouTube doesn't block videos in the US containing copyrighted music. Instead, it adds ads to the video and a little "buy it on iTunes" (or whatever) link. I'd presume that some of the ad dollars are kicked back to the MPAA or other relevant racket organization in addition to the free advertising 'buy' link as payment use of the music.

Given that apparently Grooveshark pulled out of Germany because of GEMA's fees, I imagine that YouTube is encountering the same issue: GEMA wants too much money per view than YouTube can afford to pay. (About 25 cents/view, I gather.)

Would you rather they say "YouTube can't afford to pay GEMA for"? It still doesn't make GEMA look good. Honestly, I think that makes GEMA look even worse. After all, if you do take "grant" to mean "for free", people can still think that it's reasonable (if annoying) for GEMA to not give YouTube their music. Saying "can't afford" makes GEMA look like, frankly, the extortionists they are.

The problem GEMA has, in reality, is that people like YouTube and don't like them and other IP barons. And even worse for them, YouTube seems to have come up with some form of agreement with nearly all the rest of their counterparts. Thus, in a case of YouTube vs GEMA, GEMA will always look bad because that's the bias people are starting with. Even if you just say "YouTube couldn't come to an agreement with GEMA" what's the reaction? "GEMA sucks; why can't they work something out."

about 5 months ago
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Federal Judge Rules Chicago's Ban On Licensed Gun Dealers Unconstitutional

Artraze Re:hold it (934 comments)

> The constitution says that we have the right to own and possess guns

No actually, it doesn't. Rather, it says:
"... the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

It's a subtle but very important difference. Basically, the constitution says what the government can't do, rather than what the people can. So instead of saying the people can have guns as you claim, it says the government can not stop people from having them. Preventing people from buying, selling, etc. guns would certainly infringe on the people's right to keep and bear arms, so isn't allowed.

Your argument would be akin to saying that the government could imprison you for speech, because being in prison doesn't really limit your ability to speak freely. Or that no police search is unreasonable because it's always reasonable for the police to make sure that you aren't committing any crimes. Or... etc. If your goal is work around the law you can almost always do it while still paying some amount of lip service to it, which is why courts and judges exist.

about 7 months ago
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Google Cuts Android Privacy Feature, Says Release Was Unintentional

Artraze Re:Sounds like it worked (324 comments)

> Google is most likely saying that they haven't figured out a GOOD way to prevent apps from just exploding when a permission that they expect to have is denied.

That is (or at least was) their excuse with regards to not allowing permission controls. However it was bullshit then and it's even more bullshit now. Not all phones/tablet have GPS and even if they do it can be off. SD cards be be ejected (time was when that was the only bulk storage), tablets don't have phone modules, etc. There are probably a very small number of things guaranteed to be available, your contacts being maybe the only one. I'd hazard that the danger for the model as they had it was that an app might write something to the fake dataset and expect it to be there on the next read. Solvable as this all is, but they aren't trying.

Anyways, it was poorly conceived and poorly implemented and I don't mind it being gone. It ignored app permissions so that it would be active even for apps that requested nothing and made it difficult to identify apps that were actually problematic. More frustrating, it was targeted only at privacy and not security, which I'd think was just as much a concern.

> Personally it doesn't make much sense for an end-user to retroactively deny permissions.

You're assuming a perfect free market where there are infinite apps and you can find one that does exactly what you need and doesn't require any excess permissions. In reality, however, there aren't that many options. Sometimes there's only one: social games, bank, etc and that app requires more permissions than you want to give. Certainly you can go without, but why am I forced to let your app do whatever it wants on my device? Yeah, it's your copyrighted app, but it's not like I'm agreeing to install a GPS in my tablet, turn it on and ensure I have signal. So why can't I simply deny access to the GPS?

Honestly, the ability to revoke permissions would be great for developers too. There is (was?) a unit conversion app out there with two versions. One had currency conversion and needed an internet connection to determine the current rate. The other lacked the currency conversion and the internet permission. If users could revoke permissions or developers could set them as optional it would have made the second version unnecessary. A great deal of apps suffer the same issue. Most permissions are intended to be little niceties: a store wants GPS to find the nearest but could use zip code, an app wants contacts to auto complete but could just fire up the builtin contacts app. So on and so forth. Forcing permissions to be all or nothing forces develops to choose between adding features and appearing like a front for the NSA.

about 7 months ago
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Wikipedia's Lamest Edit Wars

Artraze Re:I have to laugh over the rolling vs howling... (219 comments)

Would you describe it as rolling on the floor howling with laughter?

I liked that the editorializing on the "British" vs "American" pronunciation proclaiming that it should, of course, be pronounced in an "English" manner.

about 7 months ago
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Chimpanzee "Personhood" Lawsuits Fail In New York Courts

Artraze Re:Human soceity not ready for this (370 comments)

> Human society is not ready to grant intelligent animals sentient or human status.

It's the intelligent animals that aren't ready for "human status" and sentience has nothing to do with it. The natural order of things one of 'strongest makes the rules' and that's true regardless of sentience. Humans, however, decided that constantly struggling for dominance wasn't a very efficient way of doing things and figured that if everyone played nice life could be better. The agreement to 'play nice' is human society and things like rights and freedoms are the benefits to joining in. Humans are still free to opt out and follow the natural order, but as it turns out all of the other humans together are pretty strong and more than capable of exerting dominance, usually by putting the offender in a cage.

In other words, society isn't about sentience or intelligence, it's about agreeing to a social contract. That contract puts restrictions on you beyond the natural order (e.g. you can't just beat someone up because they are weaker than you) but also gives you benefits too (e.g. people stronger than you aren't allow to beat you up). If a human doesn't (criminals) or can't (children) sign up we generally throw it in a cage or keep it as a 'pet' (usually respectively). The same is true for nonhumans, the only real difference is that society is opt-out for humans and (theoretically) opt-in for them.

This wasn't opting it; it was a farce. It's a bunch of humans trying to force some animals into an agreement with the full understanding that the animals don't understand it and will never even try to honor it. The goal basically being to change their label from 'animal' to 'criminal' (I don't think they're even trying for any stage in between) in hopes that the latter will provide some benefit that the former doesn't. If a nonhuman is willing and able to enter into the human social contract, then I honestly think there will be a place for it. Sure there will be xenophobes as there always are, but I think society as a whole would view it as an interesting and worthwhile experiment. Until that time, however, if you want animals to be treated better make that case not some nonsense personhood case.

about 7 months ago

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