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Comments

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Researchers Find Security Flaws In Backscatter X-ray Scanners

_Sharp'r_ Re:This is ridiculous. (146 comments)

If you want to get all strict-constructionist on this matter though, planes, cars, buses, and rail didn't even exist when the Constitution was written, so one could argue that there's no Constitutional protection when travelling by anything beyond horseback, carriage, or walking.

This argument doesn't make any sense, and certainly wouldn't to a strict-constructionist.

Either the Constitution was intended to cover any type of travel when originally written, or it wasn't.

If it was, then any type of travel is protected, because nothing in the Constitution authorizes the government to restrict travel.

If (as you argue) it wasn't intended to cover, say, flying, because it didn't exist at that time yet (silly, no one really argues that but let's go with it...), then still, nothing in the Constitution authorizes the government to restrict travel via flying.

The fallacy you seem to be falling into is thinking that the Constitution needs to explicitly permit or protect a particular freedom (like travel) or else the government can do what they want in regards to it. The Constitution doesn't grant people rights and doesn't protect only enumerated freedoms. It enumerates specific powers for the government and reserves everything not specifically granted to the States and the people.So if the Constitution doesn't apply to something, then the Federal government doesn't have any authority whatsoever in regards to that something.

In actual fact, the courts have ruled that any limitation on the fundamental right to travel must pass strict scrutiny. See a few hundred thousand links from Google.

2 days ago
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Amazon's eBook Math

_Sharp'r_ Re: Disengenous [sic] (306 comments)

There are maybe 4 authors that are obviously right wing and published by the big 6 in fiction.

And none of them got started in the last 15 years or so, they're all established names who sell too many books to justify dumping. You know TOR's editors hate that Card is their biggest selling author, but they can't come up with an excuse to drop him as long as he still sells well.

Anyone newer than that will be with Baen, or one of the smaller or indie imprints.

about three weeks ago
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Amazon's eBook Math

_Sharp'r_ Re:Disengenous [sic] (306 comments)

Quick, name one publicly right-wing midlist fiction writer currently published by one of the big 6.

Take all the time you want to think about it.

Non-fiction and (especially) celebrity/best-sellers who can write their own contract are treated differently.

about three weeks ago
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Amazon's eBook Math

_Sharp'r_ Re:Disengenous (306 comments)

As an author, I can tell you that Amazon and their eBook pricing means more money (overall) for Authors. Maybe not for the "best seller"s who don't actually sell many books, but their publishing house prints lots of them and sends them out to stores, so while they end up on the bargain rack or destroyed, they still make the NY Times list based on the lay-down. Yeah, the authors people don't actually want to read will ultimately make less money, but the real authors that people like and want to buy from will make a lot more.

There is currently a battle going on in the industry between the special favorites of the big 6 publishing houses and the midlisters and independents. There are very few authors who can get a reasonable deal out of one of the publishing houses. Everyone else is getting contracts which require them to sign away their works forever, sign away any future works in the same genre, sign away all electronic rights, etc... for a $5K advance on a one or two book contract.

The midlisters and indies are running to ebooks and small publishing houses as fast as they can. It's not a mystery why. Amazon will pay 70% on an ebook. A publisher will typically pay maybe 15% (on poorly documented bookscan sales numbers, even on eBooks, which should be exact!) Where they used to purcahse only limited publication rights, which expired after they took the book out of print, now they want contracts where the author will never get their book back, even if the publishing house isn't actually doing anything with it.

If you are a well-known celebrity, or you sell millions of copies, then a big 6 publisher may work with you on somewhat fair terms. Otherwise, they won't edit you (it's gotten much worse over the last few years), they won't market you and they'll barely make sure your latest book stays on store shelves for a month.

The big 6 publishers are not only an issue in terms of IP rights and author payments, but they are also a very bad gatekeeper. Ever wonder why so many old SF authors stopped publishing and much of what is out there now is crap? It's because they're being picked by a publishing house with a NY "editor" who probably doesn't even like SF. They literally drove popular authors (who wrote what people actually wanted to read) out of the business. If an author sold too much (i.e. more than the editor projected), did they reprint and push the book? No, they'd keep the same print run and just stop publishing it when it hit the number projected as the max, usually tiny. Baen was the only real exception of any size in the industry. Jim Baen also did eBooks right from the start (gave old ones away in order to promote newer books in the same series/by the same author). That's all just starting to turn around because of Amazon, on-demand publishing and eBooks. Old famous authors are even starting to put out the books their publishing house stopped selling, or that they couldn't get published in the first place because it wasn't the editor's latest fad.

Also, the big 6 publishing houses have a massively left-leaning bias. They've spent decades now killing the sales numbers of entire genres because the authors were required to toe the line of the latest politically correct movement. You can date books in some genres by the issues and characters the editors required. Many books that adults like have been pushed into YA categories, just because if it it's not "edgy" enough, the NY editors don't want to buy it. Forget about what will sell, they buy what they'll want to tell their NY publishing friends about at the next cocktail party.

Scalzi is the poster-child cheerleader for the big 6 publishing houses. He's on the "inside" of the publishing establishment and does everything he can to defend them. He could care less about SF authors, just about his publishing buddies.

You want the real scoop on Amazon and Authors? Go look at Mad Genius Club, or According to Hoyt.

about three weeks ago
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Greenpeace: Amazon Fire Burns More Coal and Gas Than It Should

_Sharp'r_ Re:It's a shame (288 comments)

If it weren't for them, we'd have the environment of China because businesses do not care. Pollution is the tradgedy of the commons - folks pollute and the rest of society pays for the costs.

The "businesses" in China, in contrast to the environmentally cleaner portions of the world, are essentially part of the government. Chernobyl wasn't exactly a private enterprise either.

The solution to the tragedy of the commons is private ownership and liability in order to change the incentives, not more government government regulations. You complain about the Atlanta area, but last time I checked, Georgia Power was a regulated government-granted monopoly.

I agree that it makes sense for people to do things that save them money (and resources in the process), but I object to the idea that solutions to environmental problems is what more government control produces. The worst environmental offenders are government agencies and tightly government controlled industries around the world.

Who do you think takes better care of a forest? Tree farmers who own the land and want to get the most long term value out of it, or government bureaucrats who are marking time until their pension kicks in?

Most of the current fashion in environmentalism is a way for some people to tell themselves they're morally superior to the less "environmentally conscious" while they do ridiculous things like sorting and recycling glass, with the other side of the movement profiting handsomely by selling them what they want to hear and using it all as an excuse for the government officials to reward their friends.

about a month ago
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Western US States Using Up Ground Water At an Alarming Rate

_Sharp'r_ Re:Peak Water (377 comments)

The natural price of a commodity is the clearing price, AKA the price where the available supply matches the available demand when those in the market for that commodity aren't prevented from agreeing on a mutually satisfactory price.

The government agencies setting the price artificially (which is why the reference to naturally) have tended to set it too low. That results in a shortage of water as more water is purchased for immediate use (vs among other things, storing for sale later, in forms such as an aquifer) than would be if the price were higher.

We've been using prices to ration scarce goods for thousands of years. They work very well at it. They lead to the situation where the most economically efficient use is made of the resource.

If you think the only cost of ground water in the west is digging a well and pumping it out, you likely don't live in the west. Essentially all the water in most western States is used by whomever owns the water rights. Most of the water rights are currently owned by government agencies, water boards, etc... which have been accumulating them for a long time (If you don't use your water rights continuously, the government will take them and add them to their own rights. If there is a water rights title dispute, the government purchases them for pennies on the dollar because then they can legally resolve the dispute in their own favor and claim the water rights, where a private citizen couldn't, etc...). They then turn around and sell the water at artificially low prices to the politically powerful. In CA, that's the farmers.

I happen to own (along with 500 acres with a well on it) a significant portion of 860 acre-feet of water rights in a rocky mountain state and I grew up in CA, so I'm fairly familiar with the way water works out west.

about a month ago
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Western US States Using Up Ground Water At an Alarming Rate

_Sharp'r_ Re:Peak Water (377 comments)

The world isn't overpopulated.

There is one very simple option to prevent overuse....let the price rise naturally until water usage decreases enough that you aren't draining aquifers. Currently the local governments (CA,especially) artificially decrease the price of water for farms in the desert, so of course you get this entirely predicable (and predicted by economists in the past) result.

about a month ago
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IRS Recycled Lerner Hard Drive

_Sharp'r_ Re:I've seen IRS computers (682 comments)

A long time ago, when managing some government service contracts, I had someone from the BLM walk in and essentially say, "It's the end of the fiscal year and we need to spend some money left in our budget, what's the most expensive PCs and multiple monitor setups you can find to sell us to replace all our current machines with?"

I doubt Lois Lerner, a Director managing a group with 900 employees, was making due with old obsolete hardware like the guys in the trenches do. She managed a $90M+ budget, so I'm sure they could find some cash to keep her PC up to date.

about 2 months ago
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Free Software Foundation Condemns Mozilla's Move To Support DRM In Firefox

_Sharp'r_ Re:Corporate directed not volunteer direct ... (403 comments)

Yeah. When the original volunteers make statements Hollywood finds offensive, they have to go, right?

"the W3C willfully underspecifying DRM in HTML5 is quite a different matter from browsers having to support several legacy plugins. Here is a narrow bridge on which to stand and fight — and perhaps fall, but (like Gandalf) live again and prevail in the longer run. If we lose this battle, there will be others where the world needs Mozilla.

"By now it should be clear why we view DRM as bad for users, open source, and alternative browser vendors:

        Users: DRM is technically a contradiction, which leads directly to legal restraints against fair use and other user interests (e.g., accessibility).
        Open source: Projects such as mozilla.org cannot implement a robust and Hollywood-compliant CDM black box inside the EME API container using open source software.
        Alternative browser vendors: CDMs are analogous to ActiveX components from the bad old days: different for each OS and possibly even available only to the OS’s default browser.

"I continue to collaborate with others, including some in Hollywood, on watermarking, not DRM."
- Brendan Eich, 22 October 2013

about 3 months ago
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FCC Votes To Consider Next Round of 'Net Neutrality' Rules

_Sharp'r_ Re:Freedom? (182 comments)

Stop confusing the State worshipers with the idea that everything doesn't automatically belong to the "majority".

Next you'll be spouting on about inalienable rights or some such...

about 3 months ago
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FCC Votes To Consider Next Round of 'Net Neutrality' Rules

_Sharp'r_ Re:The Democrats killed Net Neutrality !! (182 comments)

... allows the ISPs to misbehave while the FCC cannot enforce the rules.

Since when is people managing their own networks now considered misbehaving? The FCC can't enforce rules that don't actually exist (yet).

But don't worry, the Democrats will ensure we go down the path of the government setting the rules on the internet and for ISPs. Can't let people have the freedom to manage their own networks in accordance with their desires and their contracts with their customers, after all... that would be too much freedom.

Think back to this in a few years when we're lagging behind the rest of the world more because the FCC is now in charge of allowing "innovation" on the internet.

about 3 months ago
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London Black Cabs Threaten Chaos To Stop Uber

_Sharp'r_ Re:It's about power, not being a customer (417 comments)

It's generally the powerful who get to write the regulations you're so fond of.

That's why we have in powerful taxi companies who "own" a government granted medallion pissed off that there might be some new competition for customer's transport dollars by independent drivers and their previously lobbied regulations aren't stopping it.

No customer needs to be "protected" from Uber, a service they are free to choose to use or not use based on their own evaluation of if it fits their needs better or not. All Uber does is allow independent drivers to have the same type of dispatch infrastructure that the big taxi companies have, but more efficiently.

about 3 months ago
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F.C.C., In Net Neutrality Turnaround, Plans To Allow Fast Lane

_Sharp'r_ Re:Down the river... (410 comments)

It's a good thing we got the FCC involved in all this rule making about the internet. Just think where we'd be if it wasn't for the FCC enforcing net neutrality all these years....

about 4 months ago
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Aereo To SCOTUS: Shut Us Down and You Shut Down Cloud Storage

_Sharp'r_ Re:Doubt it will shut down cloud storage... (342 comments)

When you're complaining about how the government helps their large donors get what they want, the words you're looking for are "Public Choice Economics", not "Free market!"

A free market implies that the government minimally interferes in the market, just enough to set a level playing field, not that the government determines market outcomes at the behest of it's backers by killing competitors.

about 3 months ago
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For $20, Build a VR Headset For Your Smartphone

_Sharp'r_ Re:Instantly the most practical solution (50 comments)

Yeah, this is a $20 solution...of you've already purchased a more expensive smartphone, web cam and don't mind moving your head reeeeaaaaally slowly so the lag from the screen mirroring to your phone doesn't affect you too badly.

about 4 months ago
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IRS Can Now Seize Your Tax Refund To Pay a Relative's Debt

_Sharp'r_ Re:your plan is stupid (632 comments)

So the fact that this particular bad law was written and passed by Democrats over the veto of a Republican, including the specific provision being added by a Democrat, makes Republicans solely responsible for it?

I think you're missing something in your logic there.....

about 4 months ago
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Job Automation and the Minimum Wage Debate

_Sharp'r_ Re: But.. but, socialism! (870 comments)

Factory work during the industrial revolution was much preferred to the agriculture work that preceded it. That's one major reason lots of people left the farms to head for the city and a factory job. The people doing the work were much better off in the horrible conditions you decry than they were trying to eke an existence out of the dirt. Now we've replaced most of the worst factory jobs with robots and people are even better off in soft service and office jobs. There's been a lot of progress made in wealth and productivity and that progress will continue unless misguided individuals manage to use the government to continue to slow down or stop it.

If you just want people to have a job, any job, then give them spoons and set them to digging and filling in ditches. It not about have "work" available, it's about the best use of people's time to produce the most overall wealth. Anything we can do to further mechanize things and use capital goods to make labor more efficient makes us all wealthier in the mid to long run.

about 5 months ago
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Girl's Facebook Post Costs Her Dad $80,000

_Sharp'r_ Re:and then we will need some kind of basic income (387 comments)

They are there because the employers can get away with it because there's not a shortage of unskilled employees.

And when you require their employer to increase the wage for their position, the employer will now hire a more qualified individual instead, since they have to pay for that anyway, leaving the less skilled employee (who is supposedly being helped) eventually out in the cold.

If your employer was suddenly required to pay 50% more in salary for your current position, do you think you'd keep your job long-term against other, more qualified people who would suddenly want that position as opposed to their old one? It all shakes out similarly in the end for those who used to make under the new minimum wage, typically the most needy among us who already have some of the fewest options.

about 6 months ago

Submissions

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Brazilian Judge orders 24-hour shutdown of Google, Youtube and Executive arrest

_Sharp'r_ _Sharp'r_ writes  |  about 2 years ago

_Sharp'r_ writes "Judge Flavio Peren of Mato Grosso do Sul state in Brazil has ordered the arrest of the President of Google Brazil, as well as the 24-hour shutdown of Google and Youtube for not removing videos attacking a mayoral candidate. Google is appealing, but has recently also faced ordered fines of $500K/day in Parana and the ordered arrest of another executive in Paraiba in similar cases."
Link to Original Source
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Touchable Holograms Demonstrated

_Sharp'r_ _Sharp'r_ writes  |  about 5 years ago

_Sharp'r_ writes "Physorg reports that researchers from the University of Tokyo have developed holograms that can be felt with bare hands. Acoustic radiation is used to create pressure on hands tracked by two Wiimotes and an IR marker. Judging by the videos it's still pretty crude, but "researchers demonstrate how a user can dribble a virtual bouncing ball, feel virtual raindrops bouncing off their hand, and feel a small virtual creature crawling on their palm.""
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Computerized Election Results With No Election

_Sharp'r_ _Sharp'r_ writes  |  more than 5 years ago

_Sharp'r_ writes "According to breaking Spanish language newspaper reports, (translations available, USA Today mention), Honduran authorities have seized 45 computers containing certified election results for the constitutional election Zelaya wanted, but that never took place. The "certified" and detailed electronic records of the non-existent election show Zelaya's side having won overwhelmingly."
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_Sharp'r_ _Sharp'r_ writes  |  more than 7 years ago

_Sharp'r_ writes "I'm trying to design the least expensive way to make OpenOffice, email, and a web browser available to students in a new charter elementary school. In my past experience working with charitable computer donations, I can usually get three to four working computers out of five donated "broken" computer systems, usually with plenty of monitors, keyboards and mice left over. I'd like to use one computer for multiple students by attaching multiple monitors, usb keyboards and mice.

The infrastructure is FreeBSD, with only a few MS Windows systems for certain staff. We're planning to use either FreeBSD or Linux with remotely stored home directories for the donated student desktops. These are multi-user operating systems in terms of physical resources required and operation, but only one physical console per machine. What drivers/OS versions support multiple local input devices and monitors that can be attached to a specific login session? Will this require virtualization? Is there a config I haven't found that you can use to assign these devices to specific ttys? Have you done this before?"
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_Sharp'r_ _Sharp'r_ writes  |  more than 7 years ago

_Sharp'r_ writes "Nethercomm has offered proof that they can use commercial gas pipelines to homes and businesses as waveguides for wireless broadband. The pipelines attenuate the wireless signals and allow for Terabit wireless links to last-mile customers over their existing natural gas connections. What's next, broadband over water pipes?"

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