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Wikipedia's "Complicated" Relationship With Net Neutrality

Immerman Re:All Good Laws Have Costs (76 comments)

So what? Every individual in that corporation is free to do as they please, *as an individual*. As a corporation, with the corporate veil protecting every individual from personal responsibility for their actions, they should not be allowed the same rights as an individual who can be held accountable for their actions.

Remember, corporations are *specifically* designed to allow individuals to accumulate profit while being shielded from virtually all risks beyond losing their investment. Such a protection is anti-ethical to responsible citizenship.

As a compromise, if we extend more rights of person-hood to a corporation they should come with corresponding responsibilities. For starters how about we make the CEO legally responsible, personally, for the actions of the corporation? Someone dies due to corporate negligence, the CEO ends up in prison on manslaughter charges. Suppress evidence that your product causes cancer, the whole board of directors is locked up on charges of conspiracy to commit mass-murder. A modern-day corollary to the notion that the captain should go down with the ship - the person who exercises ultimate authority must also accept ultimate responsibility.

1 hour ago
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Wikipedia's "Complicated" Relationship With Net Neutrality

Immerman Re:Who picks what is universally valuable? (76 comments)

The Green Planet? Have you been hanging out with E.T.? This planet is mostly blue - the parts that aren't blue are mostly various shades of brown, with, yes, some green mixed in, especially in places sparsely populated by humans.

2 hours ago
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Wikipedia's "Complicated" Relationship With Net Neutrality

Immerman Re:What goes wrong without Net Neutrality (76 comments)

Have you considered how incredibly valuable something like Facebook is for large and poorly-organized impoverished communities? It's a communication medium unlike anything that came before it in terms of convenience and power to spontaneously coordinate people, and can be harnessed for substantial economic and organizational good - something *particularly* valuable for the most impoverished portions of humanity. Google as well - it's the closest thing to a real oracle that the world has ever seen - knowledge about anything you want to know, instantly at your fingertips. Heck, even when I know I want something from Wikipedia, I go to Google, because I know it will find what I'm looking for faster and more conveniently than trying to search Wikipedia directly.

Yes, the motivations of the companies are "evil", trying to lock-in emerging markets in their infancy, but the fact is that they provide services that can be especially valuable to the world's poor. Services which would go largely untapped if everyone had to pay by the megabyte to become familiar enough with the service to begin to harness it.

2 hours ago
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Wikipedia's "Complicated" Relationship With Net Neutrality

Immerman Re:Not a good move (76 comments)

Part of me agrees with you, but then I think about how much real-world useful information is available on wikipedia - stuff that can make a significant difference to the life of an intelligent person for whom even a $30 monthly internet bill would represent a large slice of their income. Or how valuable, in a business sense, social networking services such as Facebook can be for impoverished community trying to pull themselves up by their bootstraps. And I think that maybe the humanitarian benefits in such a situation outweigh the damage done by anti-competitive business practices. In certain situations. For now.

2 hours ago
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Voting Machines Malfunction: 5,000 Votes Not Counted In Kansas County

Immerman Re:Paper Vote Count on Site... (108 comments)

>My thinking is that it could be programmed to reject valid votes

That's easy enough to avoid, and I believe most paper&canner polling places do so: Have the voter feed their ballot into the scanner, which then immediately confirms or rejects it. That way the ballot is rejected right in front of the voter, and they can fill out a fresh ballot if there are any problems.

yesterday
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Voting Machines Malfunction: 5,000 Votes Not Counted In Kansas County

Immerman Re:I always insist on paper for vote (108 comments)

You can even get the best of both worlds by having a computer prepare the ballot for you, to get the many accessibility, correctness, etc. benefits of a computerized system. Just, for the love of liberty, make sure there's a paper ballot that can be verified by the voter and audited in case of discrepancies.

yesterday
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Health Advisor: Ebola Still Spreading, Worst Outbreak We've Ever Seen

Immerman Re:Idea (180 comments)

So, since the fed is already committed to maintaining inflation to stimulate investment, why not cause it in a way that helps out the bulk of the population, instead of just the people with huge investment portfolios?

yesterday
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The Schizophrenic Programmer Who Built an OS To Talk To God

Immerman Re:assumption (445 comments)

Or perhaps American ghosts are simply darker and more violent than most places. We did build the nation atop a giant Indian graveyard after all. :D

2 days ago
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The Schizophrenic Programmer Who Built an OS To Talk To God

Immerman Re:FTA (445 comments)

Clearly comments are a sin against functionality, wasting valuable working room with pointless explanations.

Personally I liked
> No networking, so malware is not an issue.

Obviously they aren't familiar with the thriving disk-born malware environment that existed when sneakernet was the only "network" in existence. Or maybe they mean that it will only be capable of running software written from the ground up on that machine - it wont even let you hand-copy code listings from another machine. Which might actually be pretty cool as a technical challenge, but render it pretty useless as an OS.

2 days ago
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Officer Not Charged In Michael Brown Shooting

Immerman Re:Death to Communists (1083 comments)

Oh, and no, I don't think all ideas have equal validity, but so long as a wide swath of ideas all depend on a keystone technology that doesn't exist (such as viable democracy) it behooves them all to cooperate on crafting that keystone, since *none* of them can get what they want until it exists.

And no, I don't imagine theocrats (or most any other type of -crat for that matter) have the slightest interest in a viable democracy - in fact it's anti-ethical to their own interests.

2 days ago
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Officer Not Charged In Michael Brown Shooting

Immerman Re:Death to Communists (1083 comments)

In what sense do the citizens in any of those examples own the means of production? Right, they don't. The production is owned by a government in which the people have little to no voice. Therefore, by definition, they are not communistic, no matter what their propaganda departments claim.

I agree that for the time being, large-scale centralized communism is doomed to failure. We need effective large-scale democracy first, and until we manage to invent, deploy, and confirm the long-term viability of such a thing you'll find me fighting against any attempts at installing a fascist government just because they fly a communist flag.

On the other hand, it's hard to deny that capitalism isn't exactly doing a whole lot better - the slide to fascism seems slower, but is nonetheless progressing steadily. And even the seemingly slower decline may simply be an artifact of the fact that the so-called communist countries pretty much all started out as thinly-veiled dictatorships to begin with, and thus had much less distance to fall.

You are also continuing to conflate communism with a centralized planned economy - and there's no particular reason that the two should be associated - except for the fact that, to date, all the governing bodies claiming to champion communism has been far more interested in consolidating wealth and power - for which a centralized planned economy is extremely useful.

Again, your arguments are all attacking the usefulness of communism as a cynically deployable flag to rally the populace, and say nothing whatsoever about its value as an economic system.

Tell me this: Why do you consider it morally permissible for the oligarchs to claim the vast majority of wealth for themselves? Because that's the inevitable endpoint of capitalism, even without regulatory capture: wealth catalyzes the accumulation of wealth. So as long as you have government-backed private property rights those born to wealth will continue to concentrate ever more wealth from the populace. Government-backed private property rights are themselves a long-term form of institutionalized theft - in the wild you own only what you can keep, and wealth redistribution happens as a matter of course as the strong and sneaky reappropriate it from the transiently wealthy.

2 days ago
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Revisiting Open Source Social Networking Alternatives

Immerman Re:decentralized? check. open source? check (85 comments)

So, what is your business plan to attain the popular uptake necessary to achieve the network effects required to make it viable? The technical challenges to create a social networking site are relatively trivial - in terms of user-facing functionality Facebook isn't *that* much different from the BBSes of yore. Decentralization makes things more interesting, but the real challenge is to make it culturally (and economically) viable.

2 days ago
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Elon Musk Talks "X-Wing" Fins For Reusable Rockets, Seafaring Spaceport Drones

Immerman Re:Back to barges? (96 comments)

Yes, it's definitely not a simple problem to solve, which is exactly why I would expect them to take the opportunity to test potential solutions whenever possible. For example - there's no reason there needs to be any fuel left in the tanks: by the time you've hit the atmosphere you're pretty much done with the rocketry stage of your journey - choose your reentry point carefully and you can rely on aerobraking and gliding for the rest of the journey to the salvage yard. Only after you're confident with your ability to do that do you need to worry about working on your ability to do a powered landing for reuse. Meanwhile powered-landing technology is getting developed for both the first stage and cargo capsule, so will likely be a relatively simple addition to the second stage once the reentry issues are solved.

2 days ago
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How the Pentagon's Robots Would Automate War

Immerman Re:Red Queen (115 comments)

In fairness he mentioned GDP, not government budget. Assuming both of your numbers are correct the military is responsible for consuming about 4% of GDP, while the entire government budget is responsible for about 20% (20% of 20% = 4%).

I agree that's certainly not chump change, and could be spent in far more productive ways, but a waste of 4% is unlikely to dramatically alter the course of human development, and is dwarfed by other, more voracious forces. In fact, as I recall it's estimated that between 20-50% of all economic activity in the US is wasted to corruption. Now *there's* a windmill worth tilting at if you want to dream about how economic waste is holding us back.

2 days ago
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How the Pentagon's Robots Would Automate War

Immerman Re:Remember how fast the USSR copied the nuke? (115 comments)

Not really. You're far, *far* more likely to be injured or killed in an automobile accident than in a terrorist attack. We're *told* that terrorists are a credible threat because a lot of powerful people are accumulating a lot of wealth and power by implementing a response.

And the fact that the kind of weapons that would be optimal for fighting terrorists in an urban environment with minimal collateral damage are pretty much the exact same kinds of weapons you'd want for policing an oppressed population? I'm sure that's a complete coincidence and that none of political elite funneling resources towards their development have been even mildly influenced by unsavory dreams for the future of our country. /sarcasm

2 days ago
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How the Pentagon's Robots Would Automate War

Immerman Re: Who is the enemy? (115 comments)

Granted, glass is typically pretty stable. But this would be *radioactive* glass, making further decay inevitable.

2 days ago
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How the Pentagon's Robots Would Automate War

Immerman Re:So it's not Skynet vs humans (115 comments)

As in "Safe from the Three Laws"? Because I think that's about the only kind of safety we know how to instill in a decision-making robot.

2 days ago
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Officer Not Charged In Michael Brown Shooting

Immerman Re:Death to Communists (1083 comments)

Yes, an economic system in which the workers own the means of production is inherently an evil concept that promotes mass-murder and anyone who even want to discuss the potential should be publicly executed. Every right-thinking person knows that the oligarchs have a god-given right to control the economic destinies of the masses, and the burgeoning automation boom is proof of God's favor as large masses of the working class become superfluous, further tilting things in favor of the capitalists. /sarcasm

I'll grant you that every large-scale attempt at communism so far has had horrible fascist overtones, but I think that's more a matter of not yet having the social technologies necessary to provide the necessary level of organization without being consumed by corruption. I would even go so far as to suggest that the vast majority of cases where a regime came to power flying the flag of communism were actually cynical manipulation of the people with the specific intent of establishing a fascist state with the new regime pre-corrupted at the helm. And if the workers don't own the government, then any government-run economy can not, by definition, be communism.

On the other hand, smaller-scale deployments of communism, such as many monasteries and even family households, seem very robust. The problem appears too be in scale. All attempts thus far have been via giving government ownership of production, importantly though, there's no inherent reason why communism requires centralized control: For example we might instead simply alter corporations so that they're democratically controlled by the population - essentially one person, one voting share. You'd likely need to leave some personal incentives in place to promote competition between corporations, so it wouldn't be "pure" communism, but it would likely be closer than anything seriously attempted at a large scale.

The real problem with communism, as I see it, is democracy. Because let's be honest, we suck at it. Pretty much every "democratic" institution in the world has been subverted to serve the ends of a select few. And until we can reliably prevent that from happening, any large-scale deployment of communism is doomed to failure. Capitalism too. So long as the wealthiest merchant-princes are allowed to corrupt the rules of the game facism/neo-feudalism is the only predictable outcome.

On the plus side better democracy is something almost everyone can agree is a good thing - so let's all of us, communists, capitalists, socialists, anarchists, etc. work together solving that problem first. The kings of the modern world may object to the people getting a strong voice at the table, but if the economy does not ultimately serve the populace, then the populace is under no obligation to serve the economy.

2 days ago
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Elon Musk Talks "X-Wing" Fins For Reusable Rockets, Seafaring Spaceport Drones

Immerman Re:Back to barges? (96 comments)

Yes, and I would not expect such launches to realistically attempt a return until the "easy" launches were being returned consistently. But conceptually at least, speed is a problem easily fixed by grazing the upper atmosphere a few times to get down to "normal" reentry speeds.

In fact though, a collection of large high-strength metal cylinders seems like it could be a valuable asset in orbit - perhaps rather than deorbitting them we could have them synchronize orbits and anchor to each other. Bind them in bunches of a dozen or so and you start having a rather tempting skeleton for a large space station in geo orbit. Could be an interesting product to offer. The bundles might end up sitting in a graveyard orbit for decades before being used, or then again maybe someone decides to send up a few welding robots to practice remote zero-G construction outside the magnetosphere. I'm not sure how difficult aluminum-lithium alloys are to work with, but turning a bundle of fuel tanks into a space station seems like an excellent place to start practicing.

2 days ago
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Elon Musk Talks "X-Wing" Fins For Reusable Rockets, Seafaring Spaceport Drones

Immerman Re:Back to barges? (96 comments)

Perhaps not, but every launch is an opportunity to test aspects of a potential recovery system. Testing ideas, gathering data, etc. I'd be kind of surprised if they didn't at least turn their eye toward experimenting a bit now that they seem to have gotten the basic launch mechanism worked out. After all right now it's just dropped in the ocean - if you could even just get it to do a controlled glide to a desired location you could potentially make at least a small profit by delivering the hulks to European salvage companies.

3 days ago

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