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Comments

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Google's Mapping Contest Draws Ire From Indian Government

TheSync Re:Ignorance is no excuse ... (95 comments)

Indian Constitution Article 21: "Protection of life and personal liberty. No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law."

Note that the phrase "due process" is not in the Indian Constitution. For more information on why it was replaced with "according to procedure", see this reference.

2 days ago
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Experiment Shows People Exposed To East German Socialism Cheat More

TheSync Re:let me correct that for you. (613 comments)

In what way? Is private enterprise disallowed? Do workers own the means of production?

There is a big difference between France which rates "Moderately Unfree" on the Index of Economic Freedom and say Denmark which ranks "Mostly Free".

In France there is far more labor regulation and price controls. France also puts far more regulation on mergers & acquisitions, especially foreign ones. France also maintains a large number of state owned enterprises with stakes in telecommunications, media, aerospace, automobile, and other industries.

Of course France is also nothing like Belarus with Soviet-era state ownership of land and government-controlled collective farming.

about a week ago
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Experiment Shows People Exposed To East German Socialism Cheat More

TheSync Re:Wrong Control Variable? (613 comments)

I am a citizen of a third world country myself (India)

India is a socialist country. It is much less socialist since the 1980's and the beginning of economic reform of the "permit raj", but it is still rated "Mostly Unfree" on the Index of Economic Freedom.

We will see if Mr. Modi can continue the free market reforms.

about a week ago
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How One School District Handled Rolling Out 20,000 iPads

TheSync Re:Completly Blindsided. (285 comments)

From the article, it sounds like CVUSD isn't an independent organization.

CVUSD is an independent organization. It put "Measure X" on the ballot in 2012 to raise $41 million for iPads. 66% voted "Yes".

CVUSD board members are elected, including Juanita Duarte, a three-term board member who is facing trial on charges of embezzlement, and Anna Lisa Vargas, a soft-spoken freshman board member who was targeted by a recall effort last year.

CVUSD is also laying off 147 workers including pre-school teachers to avoid bankruptcy.

about a week ago
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How One School District Handled Rolling Out 20,000 iPads

TheSync Re:meh. (285 comments)

Given iPads are like $400-500 each

A used iPad1 can be had for $100-$150.

Of course, I'd be more up for purchasing these if the particular school district did a randomized test of their effectiveness.

about a week ago
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Malaysian Passenger Plane Reportedly Shot Down Over Ukraine

TheSync Re:Wow. Terrble Turn. (752 comments)

The majority of those on board were Chinese... Basically Russia's only ally in this whole mess. Things are about to get very interesting.

In the era before Sina Weibo, the Chinese Communist Party had no problem sacrificing Chinese people for political objectives. Keep in mind that the Chinese have their own potential breakaway areas, and are loath to agree that the global world should have any say in domestic affairs. We'll have to see whether that has changed with the Interwebzors...

about two weeks ago
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Rand Paul and Silicon Valley's Shifting Political Climate

TheSync Re:What Kim Stanley Robinson said of libertarianis (533 comments)

The "People's Republic of Austin" as it is derisively called here is the most "progressive" city in Texas

Yeah, the state income tax rate in Texas is 0.0%. Oh my, quite progressive.

In Silicon Valley, for earnings between $49,774.00 and $254,250, you'll pay 9.3% income tax, and highest earners pay 12.3%.

You can carry an unregistered, concealed firearm in Austin. You can't in San Jose, and you'll need to register your handgun there as well (so it can be confiscated later :)

 

about two weeks ago
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Rand Paul and Silicon Valley's Shifting Political Climate

TheSync Re:This is the problem with having a two party sys (533 comments)

In most of Europe, the "economically conservative but socially liberal" parties have economic policies to he left of the Democrats

Switzerland, Ireland, Estonia, and Denmark are now ranked more "Economically Free" than the US by the Heritage Index of Economic Freedom.

For example, government spending accounts for 33.8% of the economy of Switzerland, 40% for the US.

about two weeks ago
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Rand Paul and Silicon Valley's Shifting Political Climate

TheSync Re:What Kim Stanley Robinson said of libertarianis (533 comments)

given the overwhelming historical association between "liber"tarian ideology and slavery

That is complete BS. The libertarian ideology and associated economic-centric thought has always been against slavery.

Indeed, the term "the dismal science" in reference to economics first occurs in Thomas Carlyle's 1849 tract entitled "Occasional Discourse on the Negro Question", where he found it was "dismal" in "find[ing] the secret of this Universe in 'supply and demand,' and reducing the duty of human governors to that of letting men alone." Instead, Carlyle felt that the "idle Black man in the West Indies" should be "compelled to work as he was fit, and to do the Maker's will who had constructed him." Carlyle's view was attacked by early libertarians such as John Stuart Mill (whose "On Liberty" addresses the nature and limits of the power that can be legitimately exercised by society over the individual.)

But the philosophical core of the region and the tech industry remains fundamentally progressive. That's why it remains the king despite decades of conservative "small government" states desperately trying and failing to replicate it on any remotely competitive scale.

San Jose became a tech hub because of Stanford (a private university) and Moffett Field (military spending on radio and later aerospace technology). It is unclear to me that "progressive" economic policies had much to do with it. If anything, the annoying level of government control over building (i.e. artificially inflated house prices) and horrific public schools of Silicon Valley are a huge negative (I would never work there without a pay rise to afford private school for my kids, for example), not to mention the high level of taxation on high income workers for California state income tax.

There are of course other tech hubs in the country, including Austin, TX (home of Dell), where "normal" workers can afford housing. And every major company that may have been founded or has headquarters in Silicon Valley tend to have operations in other parts of the US or the world.

about two weeks ago
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Rand Paul and Silicon Valley's Shifting Political Climate

TheSync Re:Greed (533 comments)

Greed is a disease more deadly than heroin, hardening your heart and turning you into a right-wing monster, driven to amassing ever more power and lucre until you feel absolutely justified in bending society itself to your warped, dystopian world view. Rockefeller, Walton, Koch, Ellison, Zuckerberg; all the same fuckers.

On the other hand, using "hate of greed" as a political weapon actually kills tens of millions of people, Mao (Great Leap Forward, Cultural Revolution) , Pol Pot (Killing Fields), Stalin (Holodomor).

As opposed to bringing you cheaper oil (Rockefeller), cheaper retail products (Walton), better mechanisms for oil refining (Koch), better databases (Ellison), and better ways to staying in contact with your friends for free if you are willing to watch some ads (Zuckerberg).

Moreover, it should be remembered that it is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.

about two weeks ago
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The First Person Ever To Die In a Tesla Is a Guy Who Stole One

TheSync Re:Only 100 mph? (443 comments)

is that so special in the US?

It is more rare for someone to do 100 mph where he crashed.

about three weeks ago
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Alcatel-Lucent's XG-FAST Pushes 10,000Mbps Over Copper Phone Lines

TheSync Not really news? (149 comments)

The 10GBASE-T IEEE 802.3an standard supports 10Gbps Ethernet up to 100 meters over shielded CAT6 or 55m over unshielded CAT6 twisted pair.

about three weeks ago
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Foxconn Replacing Workers With Robots

TheSync Re:more leisure time for humans! (530 comments)

We don't even have to get to monopoly levels to see private industry engaging in politics to limit and hamper new entrants to the market.

You are correct about that. Government should have as little power as possible to regulate trade so that private industry can not use government power to hamper new entrants into the market.

The only time your investment in the stock market is going to a company seeking funding to do anything like create jobs, is when you buy stock directly from the company.

And people only buy stock directly from a company because...they believe they will profit from selling it to someone else later. The secondary market drives the primary one.

about three weeks ago
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Foxconn Replacing Workers With Robots

TheSync Re:more leisure time for humans! (530 comments)

Capitalism can achieve all of those things but it does lead to monopolies. There is plenty of historical examples including our own robber baron periods here in the USA

Unfortunately the "robber baron" concept is a myth.

Take Standard Oil for example. It had 4% of the market in 1870. Its output and market share grew as its superior efficiency dramatically lowered its refining costs (by 1897, they were less than one-tenth of their level in 1869), and it passed on the efficiency savings in sharply reduced prices for refined oil (which fell from over 30 cents per gallon in 1869, to 10 cents in 1874, to 8 cents in 1885, and to 5.9 cents in 1897). Although Standard Oil's efficiencies did allow it to dominate the oil industry (85% market share), it never achieved a total monopoly (in 1911, the year of the Supreme Court decision against it, Standard Oil had roughly 150 competitors, including Texaco and Gulf).

One of Rockefeller's harshest critics was journalist Ida Tarbell, whose brother was the treasurer of the Pure Oil Company, which could not compete with Standard Oil's low prices. She published a series of hypercritical articles in McClure's magazine in 1902 and 1903, which were turned into a book entitled The History of the Standard Oil Company, a classic of antibusiness propaganda.

Or take the Union Pacific (UP) and the Central Pacific (CP) railroads. These were not created by capitalist processes, but were state socialist creations by The Pacific Railroad Act of 1862. For each mile of track built Congress gave these companies a section of land - most of which would be sold - as well as a sizable loan: $16,000 per mile for track built on flat prairie land; $32,000 for hilly terrain; and $48,000 in the mountains. Compare with the privately built Great Northern transcontinental railroad.

Or take Cornelius Vanderbilt, who invented ways to make travel and shipping cheaper. He used bigger ships, faster ships, served food onboard. He cut the New York-Hartford fare from $8 to $1.

if you hadn't noticed there has been a jobs problem of late, capitalism isn't exactly a panacea.

Nothing in the world is perfect (including government), however you may want to compare the US unemployment rate of 6.1% with the French unemployment rate of 10.1% or the Spanish unemployment rate of 26% (France and Spain are ranked only "Moderately Free" by the Index of Economic Freedom).

And capitalism frequesntly just leads to fewer jobs because it is more profitable to do more with less workers involved.

Where is your data on this? The number of employed people in the US has always tended upwards with only a blip during the most recent financial crisis.

Of course you are correct that US employee productivity per hour rises all the time due to investment in productive capital.

There are only three countries in the world with higher productivity per employee hour than the US. One is Norway, which gets 20% of GDP from oil, and none of those countries have more than 3 million workers. Ireland is one, and it is currently rated "Mostly Free" by the Index of Economic Freedom, as is Luxembourg.

one person with $1,000,000 doesn't spend as much money in the same way that 20 people with $50,000 each would.

One person with $1 million would invest that money into capital, producing new jobs and technology. That capital would be spent on business goods, salaries, etc. All of my savings are in stocks, for example. The "paradox of thrift" is also a myth.

For example, Manufacturers' New Orders: Nondefense Capital Goods Excluding Aircraft which was $70 billion dollars last month.

In fact a number of companies rely on those welfare programs in order to supply a very cheap work force.

I believe you have things backwards. Wages tend to be set by the competitive market for employees, not by availability of welfare programs. If those welfare programs went away, it is unlikely those workers would be paid more by their employees. Now some of the workers, more highly impoverished, may become more incentivized to find ways to accumulate human capital to improve their incomes (or to finish school, etc.) or perhaps to engage in entrepreneurism (I know plenty of recent immigrants without a high school education and without access to welfare programs who make enough to survive doing gardening, building, babysitting, and other odd jobs). Moreover if welfare programs were reduced to those not currently working, they may be incentivized to re-enter the labor force.

about three weeks ago
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Foxconn Replacing Workers With Robots

TheSync Re:If everyone loses their jobs... (530 comments)

The animation studios are all in Bangalore.

There certainly are Indian and South Korean animation studios.

Transformers 4 was mostly done by Industrial Lights & Magic, although now that I take a close look it was actually co-produced by Paramount and China Movie Channel. It was also mostly shot with Canadian IMAX cameras.

Regarding Bollywood, Dhoom 3 did $8 million and Chennai Express did $5 million in US box-office. I think that Bollywood movies are still a bit too cheesy for US audiences, although clearly Indian producers could make US-targetted movies if they wanted to.

about three weeks ago
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Foxconn Replacing Workers With Robots

TheSync Re:more leisure time for humans! (530 comments)

Capitalism is a system designed to reward capitalists.

Capitalism is a system designed to assure private property rights. Through assuring protection of private property from appropriation form the state, the risk of investment is lowered, thus encouraging investment. Investment provides the capital that allows new types of jobs to be created and technology to be improved.

Thus capitalism rewards capitalist investors with enhanced returns on capital, rewards laborers with better and more well paying jobs because of improvements in their productivity due to higher levels of capital investment, and rewards consumers with improved products and technologies.

Monopoly is the natural end state of Capitalism. The big fish eat all the smaller fish, until there's only one big fish left.

Where is the evidence for this? Private property protection encourages competition because it incentivizes investment in new companies and technologies. We see this for example in accelerating Fortune 500 turnover and the turnover of the DJIA. For example, today we barely recognize the former DJIA companies Owens-Illinois Glass or Central Leather. The economic term for this is creative destruction.

Many large companies exist today created from scratch that did not exist 50 years ago (Starbucks, Best Buy, FedEx, Dell, Cisco, Sysco, Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, eBay, Facebook, ARM, AMD, Intel, Nvidia).

It is particularly difficult for a large organization to remain competitive over a long period of time. They build up too many entrenched internal power centers and often become blind to market change and technological change. See IBM for a company that started as mainly a hardware company, but has totally lost that market and is mainly a software consulting company today.

On the other hand, when the commanding heights of the economy are in the hands of the state, it is easy for the government to enforce monopolies of state-owned enterprises through regulation.

while the poor starve to death

Most actual deaths of people due to starvation occur in countries with low levels of economic freedom, not in countries that embrace private property rights and capitalism. Recent famines in Senegal, Gambia, Niger, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, DRC, Ethiopia, and North Korea are occurring in states ranked in the Index of Economic Freedom as being "Mostly Unfree" or "Repressed", with many having a long recent history or even still being ruled by governments that claim allegiance to Marxist socialism (for example, Nigerien Party for Democracy and Socialism, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, or the Workers' Party of Korea).

about three weeks ago
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Seattle Gets Takeout By Amazon

TheSync Re:$15 minimum wage (61 comments)

Since Amazon is probably well aware of the law in Seattle and they are going forward with it, apparently the numbers work OK.

I think the point is that restaurants that already have delivery drivers (such as pizza parlors) may be more willing to outsource delivery to Amazon in order to not have to pay the higher minimum wage to the delivery people on their payroll.

[BTW, why should I worry about the minimum wage rise? I'm not a young, low-skill worker. If they loose their job, it is not my problem...until they decide to become self-employed entrepreneurs and rob me at gun point]

about a month ago

Submissions

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Australia's Failed Government-Owned Broadband

TheSync TheSync writes  |  about 5 months ago

TheSync (5291) writes "Sold as AUS$43 billion gigabit fiber to the home (FTTH) solution, Australia's National Broadband Network (NBN) project is now the project is now years behind schedule and $30 billion over budget. The NBN has only 78,000 fiber subscribers, with a price of $93,000 per subscriber. Also most of those subscribers chose 25Mbps/5Mbps service rather than 100Mbps/40 Mbps speeds. It is unclear if NBN will be killed or changed into a fiber-to-the-node (FTTN) system."
Link to Original Source
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California seeks to shut down coding bootcamps

TheSync TheSync writes  |  about 6 months ago

TheSync (5291) writes "VentureBeat reports that the California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE) sent cease and desist letters to Hackbright Academy, Hack Reactor, App Academy, Zipfian Academy, and others. These bootcamps have not yet been approved by the BPPE and are therefore being classified as unlicensed postsecondary educational institutions that must seek compliance or be forcibly shut down. Unless they comply, these organizations face imminent closure and a hefty $50,000 fine."
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Dark Matter Found in Cold Gas Clouds

TheSync TheSync writes  |  about 7 months ago

TheSync (5291) writes "Astrophysicist Jessica Werk of the University of California, Santa Cruz studied light from 38 quasars using the Hubble Space Telescope. By looking at the spectral fingerprints in this light, she found that galactic halos harbor at least 10 times, and possibly up to 100 times, as much cold gas as researchers had estimated. If her estimate is correct, it would account for the two-thirds of galaxies’ baryonic matter that astronomers have been looking for. This could go a long way to explaining where all the "dark matter" is."
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"Cosmos" remake coming to FOX in 2014

TheSync TheSync writes  |  about a year ago

TheSync (5291) writes "The long-awaited remake of Carl Sagan's amazing "Cosmos" series, "Cosmos: A Space-Time Odyssey", will be coming to FOX television next year. It will star astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. Surprisingly, Seth MacFarlane of "Family Guy" fame is an executive producer. MacFarlane was introduced to Carl Sagan's widow Ann Druyan by deGrasse Tyson, and MacFarlane helped them pitch the show to FOX executives."
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NY AG Subpoena's Craigslist for Post-Sandy Price Gougers

TheSync TheSync writes  |  about a year and a half ago

TheSync (5291) writes "In the wake of Hurrican Sandy, the New York State Attorney General has subpoenaed Craigslist, demanding that the site identify more than 100 sellers whose prices on post-Sandy gas, generators and other supplies were of an “unconscionably excessive price” during an emergency. AG Eric Schneiderman said: “Our office has zero tolerance for price gouging [and] will do everything we can to stop unscrupulous individuals from taking advantage of New Yorkers trying to rebuild their lives.""
Link to Original Source
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Dyle Mobile TV launching on MetroPCS in 2012

TheSync TheSync writes  |  more than 2 years ago

TheSync (5291) writes "Twice is reporting that Dyle Mobile TV, the consumer-facing brand launched by Mobile Content Venture, announced that they are partnering to enable MetroPCS customers to watch live, local broadcast television on their mobile phones later this year. This service uses the new ATSC A/153 Mobile DTV standard that allows existing television stations to provide mobile digital television service in addition to their existing HD signals."
Link to Original Source
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Venezuela's Chavez calls for Internet Regulation

TheSync TheSync writes  |  more than 4 years ago

TheSync (5291) writes "The AP reports that Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez is calling for regulation of the Internet and cracking down on false Web stories. In a televised speech, Chavez said: "The Internet can't be something free where anything can be done and said. No, every country has to impose its rules and regulations.""
Link to Original Source
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Massive Rube Goldberg Machine Rules YouTube

TheSync TheSync writes  |  more than 4 years ago

TheSync (5291) writes "US indie band OK Go has filmed a music video with an awesome 4-minute long Rube Goldberg Machine done in a single shot. The machine is timed to the parts of the song, and actually "does things" to the band members. The video is #1 YouTube's most-watched video of the week, with over 3.5 million views. The video was produced with MIT’s Media Lab and Syyn Labs, and contains the MAKE Magazine car from the 24 Hours of LeMons."
Link to Original Source
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FTC to Regulate Blogs

TheSync TheSync writes  |  more than 5 years ago

TheSync writes "The Washington Post is reporting that the Federal Trade Commission is planning to regulate blogs. They are concerned about bloggers who receive compensation from the companies whose products they blog about. The regulation would clarify that rules against deceptive and unfair business practices apply to bloggers. So if Slashdot gets money or non-cash support from Linux vendors and they put up articles about how bad Microsoft is, watch out!"
Link to Original Source
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"Definitive evidence" for ancient lake on

TheSync TheSync writes  |  more than 5 years ago

TheSync writes "Eurekalert reports on "definitive evidence" for an ancient water lake on Mars. A UC Boulder research team has discovered evidence of a shoreline on Mars of a 3 billion year-old lake 80 square miles in area and 1,500 feet deep (roughly the equivalent of Lake Champlain). Images came from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Water carved a 30-mile-long canyon that opened up into a valley and forming a large delta during a time when Mars is generally believed to have been cold and dry. The lack of additional, lower shorelines, shows that the lake dried up very quickly."
Link to Original Source
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First Images of Memories Being Made

TheSync TheSync writes  |  more than 5 years ago

TheSync writes "Eurekalert reports that researchers at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital, McGill and UCLA have captured the first image of protein translation that underlies long-term memory formation. A fluorescent protein showed the increased local protein synthesis during memory formation, which requires cooperation between the pre and post-synaptic compartments of the two neurons that meet at the synapse."
Link to Original Source
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Mortgage Securitization Software Author Mea Culpa

TheSync TheSync writes  |  more than 4 years ago

TheSync writes "New York Magazine has an article written by Michael Osinski, an author of early software to enable collateralized mortgage obligations (CMOs). He even created a language for mortgage-backed bonds called BondTalk. He says "I never would have thought, in my most extreme paranoid fantasies, that my software, and the others like it, would have enabled Wall Street to decimate the investments of everyone in my family. ""
Link to Original Source
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UK and Obmama to Rate Web like MPAA

TheSync TheSync writes  |  more than 5 years ago

TheSync writes "The NYT reports that "A British cabinet minister says the government is considering a plan to work with President-elect Barack Obama on a new ratings system for Internet Web sites..to protect children from inappropriate material...similar to the one employed by the Motion Picture Association of America". Creepy!"
Link to Original Source
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No Free Broadband 100 Years Ago (Pneumatic Tubes)

TheSync TheSync writes  |  more than 5 years ago

TheSync writes "Division of Labor blogs on a report written 100 years ago by a commission appointed by the Postmaster General that came to the conclusion "That it is not feasible and desirable at the present time for the Government to purchase, to install, or to operate pneumatic tubes." The original NYT article is here. If only we had gotten the free government Intertubes in 1908!"
Link to Original Source

Journals

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Why does Slashdot hate/ignore Economics?

TheSync TheSync writes  |  about 6 years ago

So on today's article Supplies of Rare Earth Elements Exhausted By 2017, we have these comments rated +4 or more:

The problem isn't economics, it's the idiots that try to invoke it in the way we see them doing here. The fact that the price of a commodity increases when it's in short supply doesn't cure the shortage or make it less of a problem; it merely allocates what supplies remain to those who are willing to pay the most. It's a manifestation of the shortage, not an explanation of it.

In a severe food shortage, yes, the price of food shoots up. People who can afford it continue to eat well (albeit at the expense of other things), but others starve. As far as your typical affluent conservative is concerned, the market has efficiently "solved" the problem.

Economics is the new God of the Gaps. You don't know the answer? Silly old physical laws getting in the way? No problem; Economics dictates that someone else will be motivated to come up with a solution. It's impossible? Why, that just makes it more valuable!

If you are a true economist, then fuck off and play with your stock markets and leave actual science to actual scientists.

I don't know why so many people who may otherwise be informed are so hateful of economics. It is a bit like the reaction from creationists.

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WiFi Cardboard Horn Antenna

TheSync TheSync writes  |  about 11 years ago

I had my summer intern to build a cardboard horn antenna for testing long distance 802.11b connections. Here are three pictures of it: 1 / 2 / 3. It has about 10 dB gain over a PCMCIA card wireless NIC. The antenna is based on this design.

We tested it across the Memorial Bridge in Washington, DC. Not only were we able to get a signal, but from the DC shore near the Lincoln Memorial, we were able to pick up wireless access points in Rosslyn, VA.

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