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Denmark Makes Claim To North Pole, Based On Undersea Geography

JaredOfEuropa Re:Just to be clear ... (184 comments)

Indeed, only the biggest companies have that integration. These are the "sprawling multinational oil corporations" GP was talking about. By the way, even the majors increasingly farm out work and expertise to service companies, and we're now close to the point where the small national oil companies can now hire that same expertise to handle more complex exploration and production projects, without needing to bring in the majors.

And here's your citation: Oil Company Earnings: Reality Over Rhetoric for the US. For the Netherlands: Winst op benzine rekbaar begrip. Long story in Dutch, but the most optimistic view (that of the ministry of economics) still puts the ratio of tax vs profits at 4.6:1

2 days ago
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Peru Indignant After Greenpeace Damages Ancient Nazca Site

JaredOfEuropa Re:Despicable Greenpeace (464 comments)

Just Google it, do your own homework.

2 days ago
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Denmark Makes Claim To North Pole, Based On Undersea Geography

JaredOfEuropa Re:Just to be clear ... (184 comments)

You mean the oil companies that are putting billions upon billions of dollars on the line and running significant risks, as opposed to the government who just stamp a concession and sit back to collect. Compare the nr. of dollars earned vs. the amount invested by oil companies, and you see decent but not exorbitant returns. Especially with the price of extracting that oil rising, and the price per barrel being relatively low at the moment. Now compare the amount of money that the government makes at the pump, compared to what the oil companies make. You know, the guys who find, extract, move, refine and ultimately sell it to us. In the US the ratio is 7:1; in Europe it's much worse. States do pretty well by that measure.

Of course you can argue that it's good that the states profit so much from oil, since ultimately that means we profit (by lower taxes or better services). However you can consider if the government is really the best party to decide how to spend a windfall like this. Look up "Dutch disease" to see what I mean. Norway is doing a lot better with that extra income, but they are the exception rather than the rule.

2 days ago
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Vinyl Record Pressing Plants Struggle To Keep Up With Demand

JaredOfEuropa Re:Loudness race (432 comments)

This. As far as I can hear, compression is the main difference between vinyl and digital, and that's something that is caused by the guys doing the mastering, not by the medium. For fun, compare a recording of an album like Californication on vinyl against the CD, and marvel at the difference. Now, rip that vinyl to your computer and turn it into a file using a lossless codec (or even use MP3 at a higher bitrate). You'll find that the audio file will faithfully reproduce the vinyl recording, pops, crackles, "warmth" and dynamic range and all.

It's sad that masters made for vinyl are not available as digital downloads, but perhaps ther ecord companies prefer to serve the long tail of the market with physical vinyl exclusively. Because selling proper masters might well eat significanly into that market, social factors and album art notwithstanding.

4 days ago
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Peru Indignant After Greenpeace Damages Ancient Nazca Site

JaredOfEuropa Re:Despicable Greenpeace (464 comments)

Memberships and influence. Greenpeace have repeatedly shown to put those before their stated goals, before simple integrity and truth, and before their own volunteers. Greenpeace's real mission is Greenpeace.

5 days ago
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Julian Assange Trying To Raise Nearly $200k For a Statue of Himself

JaredOfEuropa Re:class act (171 comments)

Maybe the CIA are thinking the same thing. They send the "artist" and his helpers into the embassy to make a cast of Assange, freeze him in carbonite instead and smuggle him to the USA that way. He'll end up as the favourite decoration in John Brennan's office.

about a week ago
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Seeking Coders, Tech Titans Turn To K-12 Schools

JaredOfEuropa Re:Motives (105 comments)

Recommending people to learn how to code because computers play an ever-increasing role in our daily lives is laudable if you're a tech writer and open source advocate, but if you do so as a tech billionaire, you motives are immediately suspect? That's nice...

Besides that, the difference between coders and non-coders in any profession is remarkably apparent; people who have learned coding at some point in their life seem to be the better troubleshooters and analysts. There are other ways to acquire those useful skills and some people will have a natural aptitude for them, but apparently coding is a very good exercise to impart them. I'd say that coding is a useful subject in school even for people who will never code professionally later in life.

about a week ago
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Utilities Face Billions In Losses From Distributed Renewables

JaredOfEuropa Re:Uh, no. (280 comments)

But you're not just selling widgets, you are also building roads to be able to bring those widgets to your customers, and paying for those roads with the sales of those widgets. If your customers are making their own widgets but are still using your roads to buy and sell them, your loss not only consists of the 1 cent net profit per widget; the average per-widget cost of that road is a loss as well. This means that you have to start charging the cost of the road separately instead of rolling it into the cost of each widget, and that is the problem: utilities will have to change their business models but in a lot of cases regulation prevents them from doing so.

about a week ago
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Utilities Face Billions In Losses From Distributed Renewables

JaredOfEuropa Re:That day (280 comments)

No, and that's part of the problem. I pay a small fixed fee and a per kWh charge to my utility. Presumably, the fixed fee doesn't pay for the infrastructure, but what they make on the power they sell me on average lets them operate at a profit. If people are buying a whole lot less power because of domestic solar installations, the utility won't be able to cover their costs.

The other problem is that solar power is competing at consumer level prices, which often include an hefty tax. That makes solar attractive to consumers, but it also means that when you are generating a surplus, the utility is effectively buying that power back from you at consumer prices as well. Even if they can sell that power elsewhere and perhaps shut down a generator or two, it means that instead of generating power at a marginal cost of €0.02/kWh and selling it at €0.19/kWh, they buy and sell at the same price and make nothing.

about a week ago
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Comcast Sued For Turning Home Wi-Fi Routers Into Public Hotspots

JaredOfEuropa Re:Useful (291 comments)

Don't Comcast allow subscribers who have turned on the Xfinity service in their on router access to all other Xfinity hotspots? That's how my ISP sells its customers on the service (it's opt-out, but they did provide easy instructions on how to disable it).

about a week ago
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AdNauseam Browser Extension Quietly Clicks On Blocked Ads

JaredOfEuropa Re:Not all advertisers are evil -- no, really (285 comments)

True, advertising does serve a useful purpose. The problem is with the people who think it's a good idea to make their ad just a little bit louder, brighter or bouncier than the rest, so it gets noticed more. And then of course the rest of the advertisers, even the well-meaning ones, are forced to make their ads a little louder still. Yes, even the "regular" advertisers do this: television ads have been normalized in terms of dBs and often in compression as well. But those same exact same ads do not behave so well on unregulated channels, such as broadcasters' websites showing repeats of their shows with ads in between. Some of those ads fairly blast out your eardrums, and that's not just laziness on the webmaster's part for failing to adjust the volumes properly; those ads also have extreme compression (for higher perceived loudness) that is absent from the televised versions.

about two weeks ago
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Node.js Forked By Top Contributors

JaredOfEuropa Re:Joyent unfit to lead them? (254 comments)

I agree that the patch is silly. However, the use of "they" or "them" in the singular, gender neutral sense has a very old history in the English language, more than a century at least.

about two weeks ago
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Node.js Forked By Top Contributors

JaredOfEuropa Re:Joyent unfit to lead them? (254 comments)

From the Joyent guy:

[...] to reject a pull request that eliminates a gendered pronoun on the principle that pronouns should in fact be gendered would constitute a fireable offense for me and for Joyent. On the one hand, it seems ridiculous (absurd, perhaps) to fire someone over a pronoun -- but to characterize it that way would be a gross oversimplification: it's not the use of the gendered pronoun that's at issue (that's just sloppy), but rather the insistence that pronouns should in fact be gendered. To me, that insistence can only come from one place: that gender—specifically, masculinity—is inextricably linked to software, and that's not an attitude that Joyent tolerates.

This is about replacing "he" with "they" somewhere. Noordhuis' single response in the comments section to this change was "Sorry, not interested in trivial changes like that.", and a flamewar that is as stupid as it is predictable ensues. Joyent then jumps to the conclusion not just that rejecting a trivial change like this constitutes an insistence on principle that pronouns should be gendered, but that such insistence springs from the notion that masculinity is inextricably linked to software. And this is a sacking offense? MikeRT called it right when he used the term "SJW tools". To me, this would at most be cause to remind the employee of whatever Diversity policies the company has in place.

about two weeks ago
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Aliens Are Probably Everywhere, Just Not Anywhere Nearby

JaredOfEuropa Re:intelligent non-human life (334 comments)

So far the evidence seems to weigh in favour of us being top dog in our immediate surroundings (earth, the solar system at least, perhaps nearby interstellar space as well). It is possible that superintelligent stuff exists near us, invisible to us, but very unlikely that this intelligence would leave no trace or mark that we can perceive yet not fit in our simple theories of physics and nature (indicating existence of another intelligence). And as far as the universe is concerned, we may well be near the top of the intelligence spectrum; superintelligence may be extremely rare or even impossible.

Gods or superintelligent beings, I'll believe in them when I see them, or at least when we see something inexplicable, clearly artificial or some phenomenon far outside our models that would require superintelligence to pull off.

about two weeks ago
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Is a "Wikipedia For News" Feasible?

JaredOfEuropa Re:US Centric? (167 comments)

Pretty much anything having to do with Dutch euthanasia laws or cannabis use.

about two weeks ago
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Is a "Wikipedia For News" Feasible?

JaredOfEuropa Re:Comparison to Wikinews (167 comments)

Since they "are still in early stages", how would you want them to differentiate themselves? I can think of a few things that can set it apart from a site like Wikinews which is based on vanilla Mediawiki:
- Multiple, personal, compound filters (subject, region, country, town, breaking, highest ranked)
- Rich feeds (mail, RSS)
- A personalized front page based on your filters with some "suggested reading" thrown in
- Article ranking based on moderation and reputation (of both source site and submitter)
- Comment section (we need our flamewars)
- A mobile app (yes, you can go with a mobile theme, but some newspapers and news aggregators have apps that actually make finding and reading stuff a lot easier)

about two weeks ago
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Probe Into NSA Activity Reveals Germany Spying On Germans

JaredOfEuropa Re:Laws need to reflect game policies (83 comments)

Pretty much this. The only place where I could see such a catch-all work is to ensure that mandates given to government agencies are interpreted as narrow (or as explicitly) as possible. And even there, the same danger exists i.e. constant challenges of that mandate could cripple essential and legitimate government functions.

about two weeks ago
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Probe Into NSA Activity Reveals Germany Spying On Germans

JaredOfEuropa Re:A feature of Western *democracy*? (83 comments)

He with nothing to hide should not have to fear for his privacy.

I'm not okay with the local Stasi installing bugs in my house. By the same token, I am not okay with them listening in on private conversations held over the phone or on the Internet. Even if it means a couple of terrorists go uncaught. Because what surveillance buys you is at best temporary security: a few high profile busts, and wrongdoers will find ways to evade that surveillance, which isn't all that hard.

about two weeks ago

Submissions

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Journals

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Packaging, the scourge of the 21st century

JaredOfEuropa JaredOfEuropa writes  |  about 6 years ago Packaging, in the broadest sense of the word, is starting to really piss me off.

Let's start with physical packaging. Whatever happened to the days when a fish would be packaged in yesterday's paper, small parts (screws and bolts) came in a little cardboard box or paper bag, and some stuff wouldn't be packaged at all? These days, some packaging (most notably the so called blister packaging) can be deathly dangerous to open. I'd like to propose one single, simple rule for packaging: one should be able to open it by hand. I'll make two exceptions: stuff that is notoriously easy to steal can go into blister packs, and it's acceptable to require a knife, key or any old sharp implement to cut packing tape.

Then there's labelling and pricing. Another simple rule: either provide a label or price tag that comes off clean, or don't label at all. When I buy a present for someone, a book, a DVD, a bit of wood that I intend to finish properly, a glass ornament, whatever, I would very much like the object in question to look nice. So why is it that shops insist on using labels that will tear when removed, and will leave a nasty gooey residy that won't come off no matter what? I can kind of understand putting such labels on packaging or on paperbacks... but not on expensive gifts.

And finally, there's the matter of "packaging" software. Some more rules:
- I DO NOT WANT software that I run only "on demand" to install some resident "helper" software to check for updates or whatever. You can check for updates when I start your program. Are you listening, Apple?
- I DO NOT WANT to answer the same questions over and over again whenever I install an update of your software. An update should be just that: replace the software that is already there with no questions asked; do not treat it as a more or less fresh reinstall. Are you listening, Zone Labs / Checkpoint?

Major issues to be sure... Come to think of it, if this is what I worry about, I suppose I have a pretty good life.

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Cat pictures!

JaredOfEuropa JaredOfEuropa writes  |  more than 10 years ago *sigh* No words of wisdom or idle banter to write in the journal today. Nevertheless, the question on my last journal entry has been answered, so time to push it off the top.

Today, I offer the bored reader who aimlessly wandered into here: cat pictures of Dolly and Mickey

These two little furballs are my cats. Enjoy!

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Hmm, stupidity

JaredOfEuropa JaredOfEuropa writes  |  more than 10 years ago "Against stupidity the very gods themselves contend in vain". If only I could remember who uttered this particular wisdom.

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Suspicious white dot in Slashdot

JaredOfEuropa JaredOfEuropa writes  |  more than 11 years ago So... what is this funny little white dot that appears on the slashdot pages just under the banner ad? *pokes the dot* I don't trust you.

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JaredOfEuropa JaredOfEuropa writes  |  more than 11 years ago As someone pointed out, it should be

find ~your -name '*base*' | xargs chown us

instead of

chown -R us ~your/*base*
as my sig currently reads. I'll change it later, I suppose...

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Redundant posts...

JaredOfEuropa JaredOfEuropa writes  |  more than 11 years ago From now on, these will automatically be metamoderated 'unfair'. Don't waste your moderator points on insightful posts that happen to be dupes. Mod some other insightfull stuff up, or mod the fluff down. That is all

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Most hated words and terms

JaredOfEuropa JaredOfEuropa writes  |  more than 11 years ago Boredom sets in once again, work is slow today. Anyways... There's a few annoying words that have wriggled their way into everyday idiom, at least in some circles. My personal top 3 of most hated ones.

3) Cracker. The rest of the world calls such a person a hacker, and will continue to use this word, no matter how much you try and drill the hacker/cracker distinction into them. Give it up already.

2) Wardriving. A term that fails in so many ways to convey what it actually means, and makes most people think of something having to do with Osama bin Laden.

1) Blog. An odd way to abbreviate the word 'weblog', and one that sounds like sicking up at that. Blog. Blogging. Yeck. Someone please come up with a better and nicer-sounding word.

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Slashdot oddities...

JaredOfEuropa JaredOfEuropa writes  |  more than 12 years ago Who the hell is Saskboy (id 600063) and what is he doing on my "preferences" page?

Also... one begins to wonder where my moderator points are after over a year of being at this place. What gives? (and yes, I did check the "want to moderate" box).

Oh well, time for another bottle of wine

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