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Is Alibaba Comparable To a US Company?

Wycliffe Re:What a question? (108 comments)

The same is true of buying stock in companies that have a majority shareholder.

Not quite. There are minority shareholder laws which prevent such things as creating a new company and selling all your assets to them for a dollar.
Those laws only go so far though. They don't prevent you from creating a new company and selling all your assets to them for their fair market value.
So basically, minority shareholder laws don't prevent majority shareholders from screwing over the minority shareholders but they do prevent majority
shareholders from COMPLETELY screwing over minority shareholders.

As a side note, many investment sites like the motley fool actually like when management owns a significant portion of the company as it
means that they actually have some skin in the game and are less likely to screw the stockholders over in other ways.

12 hours ago

Trouble In Branson-Land, As Would-Be Space Tourists Get Antsy Over Delays

Wycliffe Re:They're not astronauts, they're ballast. (69 comments)

According to Google (, an astronaut is "a person who is trained to travel in a spacecraft". It doesn't say you have to "add" to the mission.

According to that definition then someone who is trained and never leaves the ground has more right to that name
than someone who pays $250k to be a passenger on a spacecraft. I don't think being called an "astronaut" should
be the goal but rather that you've been to outer space.

Personally, the description of what you're buying, to me, leaves a lot to be desired. Before I would buy a ticket,
I would want to know there was ample time to experience weightlessness and take pictures out the window.
Does anyone know exactly how long in space you're actually buying? It sounds like a quick up and back down
with maybe a few minutes of weightlessness. To me, that's barely worth it at free. I would want to spend at
least an hour if not 24 hours. Less than an hour and there are cheaper options like the "vomit comet".


Ask Slashdot: Is iOS 8 a Pig?

Wycliffe Re:Alright smart guy (412 comments)

Umm, no. Nexus devices are supported for 18 months as they specifically say

You're trying to argue but I think you just proved his point. Considering that most phones in the USA are
still sold with a 24 month contract, having only 18 months worth of support is a complete joke. 48 months
should be the bare minimum but even then it's hard to argue against the fact that both sides are doing their
own version of "planned obsolescence". Some of this will happen naturally as newer systems are faster
but it's annoying when you are forced to upgrade just to maintain status quo. I had an older android
phone and eventually had to upgrade because many of the apps stopped supporting my phone.


Amazon Purchases .buy TLD For $4.6 Million

Wycliffe Re: (64 comments)

Exactly. We really need to replace DNS with something that is distributed. Something closer to bitcoin.
Ideally there would be a way to register a new domain and then all the nodes come to an agreement and
after that point if there is a dispute then all the nodes can vote on who owns that domain. Something
outside the control of any one organization or country where noone had the ability to DDOS a dns
provider, make a website go dark by confiscating its domain, etc...

2 days ago

New Study Projects World Population of 11B by 2100

Wycliffe Re:No, It Won't (318 comments)

If you buy a shit-load of food and waste most of it, clearly your "interesting thing" is clearly untrue. The amount of food wasted in the west is ridiculous.

Waste most of it? Who does that? It could get wasted in the supply chain before it gets to my house but with a family of four, I doubt
I throw away more than 500 calories a week and there is no way that I come close to throwing away more calories than we eat.
The estimates I see are generally a 25-30% waste which isn't even close to "most of it" and even alot of that "waste" is in the
supply chain and isn't truly wasted but is instead feed to livestock or otherwise salvaged.

2 days ago

New Study Projects World Population of 11B by 2100

Wycliffe Re:No, It Won't (318 comments)

Assuming, just for the sake of argument, that every single American were living on 5000 calories per day. They aren't, but let's assume an extreme case.

Let's further assume that every single American could manage nicely on 1200 calories per day. They can't, but let's be extreme again.

In that case (large overestimate of food used, similarly extreme underestimate of food needed), we'd be able to feed approximately 1B more people on the food we "waste".

Which is 25% of the expected growth....

You're forgetting that all calories are not equal. American's consume a lot of corn in the form of beef and ethanol. If you include
the amount of corn required to make all the chicken, beef, and ethanol and also add in all the calories that could be grown instead
of tobacco, cotton, etc... then it's possible that the average american consumes considerably more than 5000 "equivalent" calories.

Note that the income of the 1%, if distributed evenly among the 99% would represent only about a 14% pay raise across the board. The wealth of the 1% would nearly double the wealth of the average American, if uniformly distributed.

I think it was rockafeller that when asked by a reporter why he didn't distribute his wealth to the poor that he reached in
his pocket and gave the reporter 3 cents and said "here's your share of my wealth". The 1% are extremely rich but you're
right, evenly distributed across the remaining 99% doesn't really help much.

3 days ago

New Study Projects World Population of 11B by 2100

Wycliffe Re:No, It Won't (318 comments)

Arguably not when a large (poor) African family consumes fewer resources than a small (rich) family elsewhere.

One of the interesting things about food is that no matter how rich or how poor you are you can only consume so much food.
Not for sure the exact range but everyone probably falls within a fairly narrow range of about 1000-5000 calories. Anything
outside of that range and you'll quickly die. Obviously beef consumes more corn than eating the corn directly and a huge
SUV probably consumes more ethanol than eating beef so a small rich family does consume more overall resources but when
it comes to just food the large poor family consumes alot more food. In times of overpopulation we could easily cut out the
beef and ethanol and have plenty of food to feed the world's population but it's doubtful that that would actually happen.

3 days ago

Use of Forced Labor "Systemic" In Malaysian IT Manufacturing

Wycliffe Re:If you're paying for a job... (183 comments)

if you're paying, then it's not a job.

The only exception I know of in the USA is certain companies (like insurance companies, trucking companies, or life guards) that require passing
a certain test or having a particular certification. In almost all legitimate cases you can take the test from multiple 3rd parties and the test or
certification transfers to other similiar type job and even in those cases most of the better companies will pay you to take the test or provide the
training free of charge. I would be very reluctant to work at any job that required you to pay for your own background check, drug test, etc... as in
most cases either these companies are scams or at best extremely cheap.

4 days ago

Sapphire Glass Didn't Pass iPhone Drop Test According to Reports

Wycliffe Re: didn't have to be worse.. (207 comments)

You can still buy high quality stuff (like car door handles) but there isn't much of a demand for it
because most people aren't willing to pay the premium for the product.
As a raw material, plastic is basically free but a chunk of aluminum is only a few dollars so it's
not the raw materials. It's most likely that the equipment to manufacture aluminum molds is
much more costly than the equipment to manufacture plastic molds because even in places
where there is sufficient demand and competition you still see a significant price jump to get
metal vs plastic.

about a week ago

School Installs Biometric Fingerprint System For Cafeteria

Wycliffe Re:Not about ease, about authority (230 comments)

Ok, a figerprint scanner might be overly complicated but then why did you then proceed to invent
an even more complicated system using picture ids, payment cards, pin numbers, touch screens, etc..
Seems like your system is alot more complicated than a simple finger scan. Kids are notorious
about losing things among other reasons.

The main reason I would object to a fingerprint scan would be because I don't want the fingerprint to
go elsewhere and the precendence of getting kids used to giving away their biometrics.

Our school uses a pin number. In kindergarten they all learn a 6 digit student number then they all
type it in to eat lunch. They don't have problem with stolen pin numbers because it pops up the
name to the cashier who quickly learns the kids names. Might not work in a larger school but even
in a larger school if it said the name out loud then their classmates would easily recognise if it
said a different name.

about a week ago

German Court: Google Must Stop Ignoring Customer E-mails

Wycliffe Re:define "customer" (290 comments)

Well, I have very recently been witness to a friend that had a problem with its gmail, and could quite quickly contact someone on google's support forums. They're not easy to reach if you don't know what to look for. Their reply on their email should include the link to those forums. Simple as that. But I imagine they don't want it to be easily found, they'd be horribly swamped.

This is exactly right. Their business model doesn't include tech support. I read somewhere that facebook makes something like
50 cents a month per user. You can't do much tech support for that. They would have have to completely change their business
model. I run a website with a completely different business model and we include a phone number. It's amazing how often we
end up having to diagnose 3rd party software whether it is a virus or a virus scanner that is interfering with our customer's use
of our website. We could tell them "not our problem" but then we would potentially lose them as a customer.

about a week ago

Surprising Result of NYC Bike Lanes: Faster Traffic for Cars

Wycliffe Re:Bikes lanes are nice (213 comments)

Bicycles honestly do belong on the road. Where else are you going to put them, on the sidewalk? There are pedestrians up there.

There are also plenty of "dual-use" trails which allow both bikes and pedestrians which don't seem to have a problem
with both coexisting on a single path.

about two weeks ago

Surprising Result of NYC Bike Lanes: Faster Traffic for Cars

Wycliffe Re:Bikes lanes are nice (213 comments)

Bicycles honestly do belong on the road. Where else are you going to put them, on the sidewalk? There are pedestrians up there.

In the town I live in there are zero pedestrians. Building codes must have even changed as some of the newer neighborhoods don't even have
sidewalks. As most neighborhoods do still have sideways and noone uses them, it would be much safer to beef up the sidewalks for bicycles
than add bike lanes. Sidewalks are several feet from the curb and you are much less likely to end up getting ran over by a car or hit a car door
that is being opened. A sidewalk is also less likely to collect broken bottles and debris like bike paths built on the shoulder do. Bicycles are
also generally slow enough that if there is a pedestrian that either the bike or the pedestrian can get out of the way and a pedestrian is much
less likely to get seriously injured getting hit by a bike than a biker is getting hit by a car. It would be cheaper, safer, and make more sense to
convert sidewalks into bike paths than it would be to convert the shoulder into a bike path which is what most cities seem to be trying to do now.

about two weeks ago

Turning the Tables On "Phone Tech Support" Scammers

Wycliffe Re:How about (210 comments)

THEM: Hi this is Microsoft and...
US: hang up
  Done. Fuck this war.

That's exactly what they want. It's the same reason that scammers say they are from nigeria even when they aren't.
They don't want to talk to you. They want the non-gullible to hang up as quickly as possible so they can quickly find
the little old lady who they can steal from. They called my mom and luckily she had 2 things going for her. First,
she doesn't know enough to actually follow their instructions and second, she called me. Otherwise she would
probably be out some money and I would be left cleaning up the mess. So sure, it's easier to hang up on them but
you are actually doing them a favor and helping them out by doing so.

about two weeks ago

German Court: Google Must Stop Ignoring Customer E-mails

Wycliffe Re:define "customer" (290 comments)

Would you describe yourself as one of Slashdot's customers?

Of course I'm one of slashdot's customers. Slashdot would be out of business if we (the customers) stopped coming to their website.
I tend to use the term "user" instead of "customer" but it's the same thing. Slashdot has a business model where instead of charging
their customers $5/month they have found advertisers that are willing to foot the bill in exchange for advertisements but that doesn't
really change who they are providing a service to just who is paying for it.

about two weeks ago

German Court: Google Must Stop Ignoring Customer E-mails

Wycliffe Re:define "customer" (290 comments)

Yes, but unfortunately there is still a lot of "not my department" going on there too. Our company is a large enough advertiser (several thousand a month)
that not only can we call them but they will actually call us if we shut our account off. So if we have a problem directly related to our advertising account
then it is easy to get someone on the phone that attempts to help us. Unfortunately, if we have a problem with gmail, we are still up a creek because they
don't seem to have any ability to either help you or connect you with a different department that can help you. I'm assuming if our accounts were a couple
order of magnitudes bigger that they would be able to find the phone numbers of the people in the other departments but as it stands we're in the same
boat as everyone else outside of that one department.

about two weeks ago

X-Class Solar Flare Coming Friday

Wycliffe Re:Made in America (145 comments)

So.... how are you fixed for firewood and natural gas?

Practically noone stores natural gas. There is LNG and CNG but it's not really very common especially not for households.
You're probably thinking of propane. Many rural people not connected to natural gas have a propane tank in their yards.

about two weeks ago

Massive Study Searching For Genes Behind Intelligence Finds Little

Wycliffe Re:Great news (269 comments)

It's actually a rather decent book. You should read it. It has other insights which are equally
intriguing. Like the fact that most people's friends and coworkers tend to be close in intelligence,
socioeconomics, etc... Most people with college degrees are surrounded by people with
college degrees. Heck, 1 in 5 people don't graduate from HS but if you have a college degree
I doubt you can name a single friend you have that doesn't have a HS degree and I would be
very surprised if you could name 5 unless you happen to work in an occupation that crosses
boundaries. This clumping is probably just as much a factor as many other factors people
tend to look at. We try to pretend we have a classless society but when a person with a
130 IQ only hangs around with other people with a 130 IQ they get a very skewed view of the

about two weeks ago

Using Wearable Tech To Track Gun Use

Wycliffe Re:Maybe (264 comments)

I don't think the point is to trust them. The point is to let them out a little early to save money while also keeping them
in line while they reestablish themself in society. A person who has a house, a job, a girlfriend, etc... is much less
likely to slip back into crime when the monitoring device eventually comes off than someone who is dropped on the
street the day after their sentence is up with nothing to their name.

about two weeks ago

Ask Slashdot: What Smartwatch Apps Could You See Yourself Using?

Wycliffe Re:No comments here yet... (471 comments)

The correct solution is to put all the "phone" functionality (antenna, transmitter, etc.) in the "watch", and use the "phone" as nothing more than a remote display and computing platform.

This is completely backwards. The cpu, antenna, and trasmitter are the bulky items as well as the power hungry items that need bulky batteries.
That's the part (along with the large display) that needs to be tucked away. The watch should basically just be a fancy remote display and remote
buttons for the phone. A small VNC type remote display protocol would probably work perfectly. The cpu hungry app can run on the phone and
export it's display to the watch (obviously taking into account the smaller screen size). The apps would still be android/iphone apps. It would
just be that now your android/iphone has a 2nd virtual screen and a few extra buttons that it can interact with.

about two weeks ago


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