×

Announcing: Slashdot Deals - Explore geek apps, games, gadgets and more. (what is this?)

Thank you!

We are sorry to see you leave - Beta is different and we value the time you took to try it out. Before you decide to go, please take a look at some value-adds for Beta and learn more about it. Thank you for reading Slashdot, and for making the site better!

Comments

top

Ask Slashdot: Why Is the Power Grid So Crummy In So Many Places?

_Sharp'r_ Re:Super-capitalism (467 comments)

Show me a monopoly in the United States that isn't enforced by the government and you might be able to start to make a point here.

The reality is that power company monopolies exist most everywhere in the U.S. today because the government legally requires things to be that way.

Companies have no power to enforce a monopoly without the government making laws giving them a monopoly. Even if a capitalist managed to achieve a local monopoly on something, the only thing keeping their competitors away is if the barriers to entry are larger than the potential profit.

You can claim that there are some natural monopolies, but if these are actually natural monopolies, then why would it require a law to prevent anyone from competing with them?

13 hours ago
top

Ask Slashdot: Why Is the Power Grid So Crummy In So Many Places?

_Sharp'r_ Re:Simple answer. (467 comments)

When you have government price controls (see for example, your local public utility commission), the natural result is that the company they've setup as a monopoly has only an incentive to deliver the worst possible service they can get away with, spending the least possible on everything, and pocket the rest.

It works that way in every industry it's been tried, so there shouldn't be a big surprise it works that way in the local electricity market. The real question is why do we keep having our government set things like this up... oh, that's right, most people are ignorant of basic economics and public choice theory.

yesterday
top

Ask Slashdot: Why Is the Power Grid So Crummy In So Many Places?

_Sharp'r_ Re:Super-capitalism (467 comments)

Why do people keep conflating complete government control of an industry, to the point where the government outright decides who your local power company is and exactly how much they charge you, with capitalism? You could make a good case for calling that model socialism, or communism, or even fascism, but it's the exact opposite of any sort of market-based capitalism...

Sure, when the people in government decide to take complete control of an industry, the people in the industry become reduced to working their government masters for their own benefit, but the issue there isn't a lack of government power.

Ever heard of a public utilities commission? They're the ones who approve rates, expansion, rules for how the power company functions, etc...

yesterday
top

Two Google Engineers Say Renewables Can't Cure Climate Change

_Sharp'r_ Re:Environmentalists is why we still pump carbon (618 comments)

Fukushima and Chernobyl are deadly enough reminders.

Would it surprise you to learn that the deaths from producing renewables is orders of magnitude higher than the deaths from all the reactor meltdowns combined?

If so, do a little research and prepare to be surprised.

yesterday
top

Researchers Say the Tech Worker Shortage Doesn't Really Exist

_Sharp'r_ Re:What BS. (424 comments)

Exactly. The biggest issue is that it's difficult for a PHB, even a technical one, to reliably determine ahead of time who is worth 2x what everyone else is getting for a particular technology job and who is worth 1/2.

Then once someone is hired, in most companies HR makes it impossible to either give appropriate raises to those who actually deserve it or to get rid of those who aren't worth their salary as long as they're minimally performing.

2 days ago
top

Can the US Actually Cultivate Local Competition in Broadband?

_Sharp'r_ Re:Government is evil! (135 comments)

Unregulated last mile wiring looks like this [ggpht.com]. It's a "natural monopoly" because the alternative is a dangerous, unmaintainable eyesore.

Except of course, as best as I can tell, your image appears to be from India, where the companies responsible for those poles are chosen as regional monopolies heavily regulated by the government. That short of undercuts your argument....

I agree that a co-op is a decent middle ground, especially in rural areas where the residents may be more interested in the services than might be otherwise profitable for companies to create the infrastructure. The key for me to that is that the co-op actually be voluntary, not a co-op in name only, but really just another required-by-the-government organization that they decided to name a co-op.

about two weeks ago
top

Can the US Actually Cultivate Local Competition in Broadband?

_Sharp'r_ Re:Government is evil! (135 comments)

What stops you from competing with an ISP in the last mile? You could do it right now..open your own competing cable internet/copper wire internet/fiber internet provider to the premises.... except of course that's currently illegal in most parts of the U.S.

Last mile is not a natural monopoly... if it was, the government wouldn't have to make it illegal to try, people just wouldn't be willing to waste their money trying without any possibility of success.

Are there first mover advantages in many of the last mile connectivity markets? Sure there are, but If your city only allows one cable company to lay any cable, it isn't the market nor private enterprise preventing competition. There's only so much crap customers will put up with from the first mover before they're willing to look elsewhere, but when they're not legally allowed to....

about two weeks ago
top

Real Net Neutrality Problem: 'Edge Provider' vs 'End User'

_Sharp'r_ Re:Which way are the bits going? (97 comments)

I know it's unusual, so I apologize for the shock, but while I was replying to your post, I was actually agreeing with you.

Specifically, "I really hate how cynical I'm getting, but our corporate and government overlords keep taking our freedoms and most people are cheering them on. Good consumers. No need to be a citizen. Just be a good little consumer.", but just expanding on the mechanism a bit.

The FCC will inevitably kowtow to the corporate and other interests and lock in their vision of what the Internet is and is for, discarding the reality of what it can be and what the rest of us would like it to be.

So, carry on...

about three weeks ago
top

Real Net Neutrality Problem: 'Edge Provider' vs 'End User'

_Sharp'r_ Re:Which way are the bits going? (97 comments)

Once you invite the FCC into regulating the Internet, you end up with a few appointed non-technical guys whose first loyalty is to a political party (In this case, Democrat, but I'm not saying GOP-controlled FCC would do a much better job of regulating) or to the special interest groups they support defining the various parts of the Internet in ways that make no technical sense, but allow them to accomplish their supporters very financially and power-based objectives.

As a result, the Internet becomes required to stagnate under their defined model, severely restricting the ability of the people who actually run it and use it to innovate in order to serve people better and slowing improvements in technology until they can be made to fit under stupid artificial distinctions like "end user" and "edge provider".

They're not actively trying to mess up the Internet, it's just a known side-effect of allowing them power to do so under public choice economic theory.

So for all of you who kept advocating for the FCC to get involved in regulating the Internet under the naive belief they'd impose your personal vision of Network Neutrality, this is the type of regulations you really get, plus distinctions between land lines and wireless, and all the other crap they're going to keep "refining" the rules to cover over time.

Those who kept pointing out the reality of the FCC regulating anything (that it really just puts Verizon, et al in charge) every time a network neutrality discussion occurred on /. will just quietly think "Toldja so" and hope people remember this the next time they advocate for a government commission which will inevitably suffer regulatory capture to control something else.

In the meantime, you'll eventually wish you could just purchase from a provider the service you actually want to have, but by the time they tell you that sort of service is now illegal, it'll be too late.

about three weeks ago
top

EU Sets Goal To Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions 40% By 2030

_Sharp'r_ Re:...and everybody gets to be right (172 comments)

If you are wondering about the impact of carbon dioxide on say, forests, this type of question is easy to research with a quick Google search. In 30 seconds, I found this NSF study by Harvard researchers, for example, not exactly normally a hotbed of pro-GHG folks.

It's actually quite well-established that increased carbon dioxide levels are very good for plant growth. As it turns out, it also enables them to grow while needing less water, for example.

about a month ago
top

Ballmer Says Amazon Isn't a "Real Business"

_Sharp'r_ Re:IBM no longer a tech company? (283 comments)

Ballmer's grandstanding. I'm pretty sure he understands the numbers in Amazon's 10-K filings.

Amazon made $745 million in income from $74 billion in sales last year, for a net income of $274 million.

That even seems understated, because they're obviously spending way more to expand their capacity than they need for just supporting their current operations. Last year, they have a net cash flow of $5.5 billion from operations, then spent $ 3.4 billion on purchases of property, equipment and software. Even after spending that much geared towards growth, that still leaves $2 billion in free cash flow to spend.

Let me put it another way, Amazon's net worth (assets minus liabilities) has gone from $17 Billion in 2010, to $23 Billion, then $27 Billion, now $33 Billion end of 2013. You don't do that without being profitable each year along the way, regardless of what they decide to do with the profit, which is clearly currently to reinvest the cash in order to expand quickly and grab as much market share as they can.

Ballmer's just jealous that no matter what Microsoft does or who they purchase, they can't convert their windows/office cash cows into a worthy reinvestment, because they're essentially out of new ideas, having mostly missed the ground floor of the Internet revolutions. So Microsoft's best bet is to act like a mature company and pay dividends so their stockholders can use that money to invest in something like Amazon.

about a month ago
top

EU Sets Goal To Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions 40% By 2030

_Sharp'r_ Re:The bad news... (172 comments)

Nice try, but feeding people (or even draft animals) calories to perform manual labor produces more GHG than using more efficient methods like coal power plants. :)

Not that there's anything wrong with more GHG production, but broken window fallacy and all that as well...

about a month ago
top

EU Sets Goal To Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions 40% By 2030

_Sharp'r_ Re:...and everybody gets to be right (172 comments)

Because you're assuming the conclusion.

Have you considered the possibility that increased carbon dioxide emissions are good for the environment, because it encourages more plant growth? That it's good for people, because it enables them to live a better lifestyle? Even the possibility that a few fractions of a degree of warming would be a net benefit? I'm not suggesting you accept those positions based on a /. post, but have you actually looked into it yourself, maybe talked to an economist or a agricultural biologist about the tradeoffs? From your post, it seems your assumption is that both sides agree on what would be "better", but they don't.

The "leaders" who supposedly agree that carbon dioxide emissions are bad show by their actions that they really don't think so. If you look at what the global warming/climate change/climate disruption/whatever environmentalists actually advocate for and do personally, it's obvious that their goals have more to do with the means of controlling emissions more than the actual emissions themselves.

Why would anyone who disagrees with them take the position that they should empower that crowd to control their lives, when they don't even agree reducing carbon dioxide emissions is a good goal, let alone agree with the proposed means for reaching the goal?

about a month ago
top

Researchers Scrambling To Build Ebola-Fighting Robots

_Sharp'r_ Re:Economics plays a role here (87 comments)

You should have started at the top of the thread.

The FDA ordered Zmapp to stop testing back in July and ordered TMK-Ebola research suspended in January.

These were private companies trying to create treatments and vaccines who were literally stopped by the government.

As the government was actively preventing Ebola treatments, before having them "do this vital task", perhaps we should look at their record on the issue?

about a month ago
top

Researchers Scrambling To Build Ebola-Fighting Robots

_Sharp'r_ Re:Economics plays a role here (87 comments)

You apparently didn't read the whole article:
"On Tuesday, Health and Human Services (HHS) had to outsource efforts at an Ebola vaccine to the Baltimore-based Profectus BioSciences Inc. The company will receive $8.6 million to research and test their vaccine, a fraction of NIH funding that went to the above projects."

NIH is part of HHS. It is "the primary agency of the United States government responsible for biomedical and health-related research".

about a month ago
top

Researchers Scrambling To Build Ebola-Fighting Robots

_Sharp'r_ Re:Economics plays a role here (87 comments)

Are you attempting to disagree with me, or agree with me? It's not very clear...

What is your statement about the CDC in reference to? I don't see anyone here suggesting the CDC is the NIH. Was this meant sarcastically, like, "Well the NIH is no CDC", to imply that despite how screwed up the NIH is, at least they aren't as screwed up as the CDC has demonstrated itself to be recently?

The NIH is the government agency responsible for funding an Ebola vaccine research project (which they've recently assigned a budget of $9 million), which is why wasting $39 Million on other things instead of Ebola in the recent past is relevant.

In terms of the DOD, yeah, I agree that they waste tons (literally) of money, along with pretty much every other government agency, but unless you're trying to make that general point, the relevance to this discussion escapes me... The NIH obviously has the money for funding researching related to Ebola, they just chose not to spend it on that until very recently, previously having "higher priorities", like discovering why fat women go on fewer dates than skinnier women. I mean, hey, these are apparently deep mysteries to everyone in the government which require serious academics to delve into...

about a month ago
top

Researchers Scrambling To Build Ebola-Fighting Robots

_Sharp'r_ Re:Economics plays a role here (87 comments)

Pretty sure if you have the money to spend $39 million on researching why obese girls have a tough time getting dates, developing origami condoms, etc... the problem with not starting a $9 million research effort earlier isn't related to overall funding levels so much as to incompetent administration and politics driven priorities.

about a month ago
top

Researchers Scrambling To Build Ebola-Fighting Robots

_Sharp'r_ Re:Economics plays a role here (87 comments)

Why do we have no good Ebola treatments already right now? Regulations. The FDA ordered Zmapp to stop testing back in July and ordered TMK-Ebola research suspended in January.

How much sense does it make to send a bunch of troops to Africa to build isolation camps (yeah, yeah,call them hospitals) for them? Zero. I mean, to your point, it's not like we couldn't save money by just paying local contractors to put up some buildings. Why do we want the military in the African construction business? Is it because that's the only tool available and the only semi-useful thing they could think of for them to do? Ideally, we wouldn't send anyone near other people with Ebola. It's called quarantine...

about a month ago
top

Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right

_Sharp'r_ Re:Let me get this right (839 comments)

Why should I (and others) trust your price determination about various people's value and wages over the preferences of billions of people as expressed in the prices actually paid?

It's all well and good for you to think you know more than everyone else combined about what people's efforts and contributions should cost, but you'll perhaps understand my skepticism of that when you provide no empirical basis for your valuations other than it happens to be your personal opinion.

Is it possible that the markets for CEO/lawyer/engineer/scientist do a better job of pricing those occupations than you would? I'm pretty sure the Soviet Union (and others) have rediscovered the hard way that you can't just get rid of markets and prices for things and believe that some elite knows how to set all the relative needs and values.

Our current system, although distorted via government regulations, import/export restrictions and licensing, is still the product of literally thousands of years of continuous development and trials in the real world. It effectively results from billions of people's individual choices and the preferences they express through those choices about what to buy and who to buy it from (including labor).

Perhaps you could consider an economics class from someone who isn't a Marxist?

about a month ago

Submissions

top

Google Engineers - Renewable energy "simply won't work" to solve climate change

_Sharp'r_ _Sharp'r_ writes  |  2 days ago

_Sharp'r_ (649297) writes "Two Standford PhDs, Ross Koningstein and David Fork, worked for Google on the RE<C project to figure out how to make renewables cheaper than coal and solve climate change. After four years of study they gave up, determining "Renewable energy technologies simply won’t work; we need a fundamentally different approach." As a result, is nuclear going to be acknowledged as the future of energy production?"
top

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

_Sharp'r_ _Sharp'r_ writes  |  more than 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
top

Touchable Holograms Demonstrated

_Sharp'r_ _Sharp'r_ writes  |  more than 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.""
top

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."
top

_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?"
top

_Sharp'r_ _Sharp'r_ writes  |  more than 8 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?"

Journals

Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?