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Republican Bill Aims To Thwart the FCC's Leaning Towards Title II

duckintheface Re:"Free Market" religion (181 comments)

I think you're right Dragon. Truly free markets are a very efficient means of allocating resources. The problem is that markets have no way of determining the will of the majority of people. Maximizing profits is not hte same thing as determining what is best for society. The belief that it is the same thing is what I call a religion. Once society, through it's elected representatives, has decided on a course of action, truly free markets within a regulatory framework are the most efficient way to reach that goal.

about a week ago
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Republican Bill Aims To Thwart the FCC's Leaning Towards Title II

duckintheface Re:Great Part of Republican-backed Industry Bill (181 comments)

You are exactly right. The ISPs have always been short term in their thinking. Under Title II they will be providing better and cheaper content to thier customers which will result in more customers. There is a reason that Comcast has the worst consumer satisfaction of any US company, with Time Warner a close second. They try to milk their customers for every penny they can get with their predatory "promotional" pricing. And now they have begun to milk the third party providers of internet content as well.

Ironically, in the long run these ISPs will do very well under Title II becasue they will be forced to grow their user base instead of shrinking it as has been the case in recent years.

about a week ago
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Republican Bill Aims To Thwart the FCC's Leaning Towards Title II

duckintheface Re:Explain this to a non-Americal please.. (181 comments)

You ask a good question. Democrats could have passed a law in 2009 or 2010 when they controlled House, Senate, and White House. But they didn't, partly becasue they were busy collecting campaign contributions from these same ISPs. Obama has waited until after his personal last election and until after the next- to-last election under his presidency to propose rules that should have been in effect the whole time.

Aside from campaign contributions, there may be one other reason for the late start on Title II regulation. It is only recently that content providers such as Netflix and Amazon have started producing quality programming and distributing it on the internet rather than on the TV channels controlled by the ISPs. This has undercut the revenue stream of these ISPs and encouraged them to begin differential pricing based on content provider. Comcast now charges extra to Netflix even though Netflix customers already pay for their internet service directly to Comcast. So they are "double billing" for the same service. If allowed to get away with this, the ISPs can be expected to continue to ratchet up the cost of accessing third party content, becasue they control the pipes. But the pipes were developed at public expense and using public right-of-way and so should be treated as a regulated utility.

about a week ago
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Republican Bill Aims To Thwart the FCC's Leaning Towards Title II

duckintheface "Free Market" religion (181 comments)

Does anyone think the sponsors of this legialation have serioulsly considered the issues of user access and cost? Of course not. As in so many areas of public life, Republicans have adopted the mantra of "free markets". Which is another way of saying on behalf of large corporations, "Let the Wookie win". Let the big strong arm-ripping behemoth have its way. This disregards the needs of the majority of the population and lets corporations take the profits resulting from public investment and tax dollars.

The internet has never been about "free markets". The internet was developed by the government and universities (with public funding). As far as the big ISPs are concerned, most of them, such as Comcast and Time Warner, make use of public right-of-way to carry thier signals to their customers. Most of this right-of-way was obtained either through imminent domain (for the public good) or for other purposes entirely (to carry power lines). This has resulted in a protected monopoly for these ISPs. They have no competition, the exact opposite of a free market.

Title II will treat the ISPs as utilities so that their rates will be controlled and their fiber optic cables will be available to all content providers under competitive conditions. This is really a free market in content, rather than the coroporate oligarchy envisioned by this Repucblican legislation.

about a week ago
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AI Experts Sign Open Letter Pledging To Protect Mankind From Machines

duckintheface Re: Why choose sides? (258 comments)

Not at all. Everything is flawed. Evolution means change to a form that is better suited to it's environment. That says nothing about perfection.

about two weeks ago
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AI Experts Sign Open Letter Pledging To Protect Mankind From Machines

duckintheface Re:Why choose sides? (258 comments)

Clearly you are upset that I left u out. But essentially you are confirming my point. If machines will not displace "even me", there is nothing to worry about. And if they can... then more power to them.

about two weeks ago
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AI Experts Sign Open Letter Pledging To Protect Mankind From Machines

duckintheface Why choose sides? (258 comments)

Why do these AI experts assume that biological intelligence is better? If machines are smarter, if they can out-compete humans and florish.... why should they be controlled by an inferior life form? Are we biased in favor of ourselves (how unique is that?) or can we just let evolution, in the larger sense, take it's course?

about two weeks ago
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Extra Leap Second To Be Added To Clocks On June 30

duckintheface Man vs Machine? (289 comments)

There are two domains to consider.... human and computer. Humans won't notice or care about sunrise being off by one second or even much more than that. Computers need exact consistency. So the solution is, as stated, to update the clocks to the actual rotation only infrequently. Everyone, man and machine, will be happy.

about three weeks ago
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What Northern Hemisphere Astronomers Are Missing From the Southern Hemisphere

duckintheface Open clusters (104 comments)

In 2008 I visited an observatory in Dubbo, NSW, Australia run by Peter Neilson. There were several open cluster visable that were more spectacular than any visible from the Northern Hemisphere. Half the sky is not visible from the US so we should not assume that we got the better half. :)

about a month ago
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Paul Graham: Let the Other 95% of Great Programmers In

duckintheface Great programmers should get higher pay (552 comments)

Sure, let the best programmers in. But the law should require H1B immigrants to be paid 20% more than the average pay for workers at the same level. This would ensure that the immigrants really are exceptional and are not beng brought in to undercut the wages of citizens. Over time, if there are lots of immigrants under this 20% requirement, the average wage will rise and so the pay of additional immigrants will also rise. This will continue until it's cheaper to hire citizen workers.

about a month ago
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Bill Gates Sponsoring Palladium-Based LENR Technology

duckintheface Re:"pioneer inventor of new technology" ??? (183 comments)

I guess you have made my case. :) Fonts. A minor derivative language. Astronomy visualization. For these the US taxpayer sacrificed $billons in lost revenue that had to be made up from the taxes of hard-working creative folks who actually make useful things. Gates didn't build his monopoly the old fashiioned (and legal) way. Microsoft inherited an OS monopoly from IBM becasue IBM was arrogant enough to think that only IBM could sell operating systems. Microsoft stole their monopoly in internet browsers from Netscape, for which they were convicted and fined (not heavily enough). Microsoft could go away tomorrow and the world would be a better place.

about a month ago
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Bill Gates Sponsoring Palladium-Based LENR Technology

duckintheface "pioneer inventor of new technology" ??? (183 comments)

TFA calls Gates a pioneer. Well, the covered wagon part is right. Please name something of value that was invented by Gates himself. Give up? Ok, without looking it up.... name something of real scientific or technological value invented by Microsoft Research Labs. That lab allowed Gates to take enormous tax write-offs but never produced any scientific or tecnological break-throughs. But hey, it was all in good tax-dodging fun, right?

about a month ago
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GCHQ Warns It Is Losing Track of Serious Criminals

duckintheface Mission Creep (229 comments)

The warrantless wiretap surveillance of citizens was originally justified as a national security necessity to fight terrorism. But it is ostensibly being used for a different purpose.... law enforcement against drug crimes. And you can be sure that it will also be used for surveillance of political enemies and for industrial espionage. There is a reason the Constitution guanantees that no search can be made without a warrant. It's because the power to snoop is a drug in itself, addicting those who have it to abuse those who don't.

about a month ago
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Can Rep. John Culberson Save NASA's Space Exploration Program?

duckintheface Re:Big bags of water... that's what we are. (156 comments)

A large impact could melt the crust of Earth to the mantle. Is that bad enough for you? There is no reason to think that impactors will be limited to mere Chicxulub size.
Distance to Mars per se is not the issue. It's the fuel requirement vs the transit time that matter. If human missions were sent at optimal planetary alignments and with constant ion engine acceleration, the transit time could be reduced to a few months. That reduces the need for on board life support, reduces radiation exposure, reduces health effects from zero gravity (since there would be "gravity" from the constant acceleration, and makes survival more probable.

What humans would do when they got there is what we are supposed to be doing here.... building civilization. The mission is not about science but about survival. That's why it's worth the blood and treasure.
You assume that our Earth civilization will still be able to support a Mars colonization mission in 5 centuries. I don't know when the pinnacle of technological civilization will occur. The sooner we get about the business of establishing a secondary self-sustaining outpost, the safer we will be.... from asteroids, runaway AI, grey goo, nuclear war, weaponized ebola, etc, etc.

I agree with you about the unsuitability of "inspiration" as a motive for colonization. I said that in my original post.

about a month ago
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Can Rep. John Culberson Save NASA's Space Exploration Program?

duckintheface Re:Big bags of water... that's what we are. (156 comments)

And what are people in space thinking about? They are mostly thinking about maintaining their habitat.... which is not necessary unless you insist on having people in space. Activities in near Earth orbit are close enough (by light speed signals) that the thinking can be done on the ground. Activities in deep space are very expensive and dangerous to maintian if you have human participants. That money would be better spent develping smarter robots.

about a month ago
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Can Rep. John Culberson Save NASA's Space Exploration Program?

duckintheface Re:Big bags of water... that's what we are. (156 comments)

Yes, if you had a self-sustaining moon colony it would survive most global disasters. But so would a Mars colony, and a Mars colony would be much easier to establish. Once you have boosted out of Earth's gravity well, the difference between going to Luna and going to Mars is minimal, especially for non-living supplies that don't require life support.

about a month ago
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Can Rep. John Culberson Save NASA's Space Exploration Program?

duckintheface Re:Big bags of water... that's what we are. (156 comments)

We have landers now that can soft land thousands of pounds at once. Much heavier weights can be balloon-bounce landed at higher shock forces. Many items, including food and reserve oxygen could stand such forces. As to how much.... you can't have too much. Start sending the stuff there and keep sending it for the 100 or 1000 years... as much as is needed. There is no higher priority than the survival of the species. We spent $2 trillion on Iraq and got NOTHING for it. So if it costs $10 trillion or $100 trillion or $1000 trillion to save the species, that would be a good deal.

about a month ago
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Can Rep. John Culberson Save NASA's Space Exploration Program?

duckintheface Re:Big bags of water... that's what we are. (156 comments)

If you think some tech is missing, what is it?

If a large asteroid hits earth, it could destroy all life including bacteria. So Earth is not safer forever. Eventually, a large asteroid will strike. Hopefully, by then our species will have moved on.

about a month ago
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Can Rep. John Culberson Save NASA's Space Exploration Program?

duckintheface Big bags of water... that's what we are. (156 comments)

The human body is a fragile bag of water, not well suited to radiation exposure, temperature extremes,changes in air pressure, high acceleration forces, or long periods of isolation from a sustaining biosphere. Almost anything that can be done in space is better done by robots. The ONLY reason for people to venture into space is to get to the surface of another habitable planet for which we are evolved. And there is only one such place in reach: MARS!

Yes there are good reasons for going to Mars. Greatest among them is to safeguard the species from any catestrophic impacts on Earth they would extinguish us. We have the technology to colonize Mars now. To make it economical, colonization should be a one-way pioneering trip. Nobody comes back, ever. (I made this suggestion to NASA 17 years ago and was told that NASA does not do suicide missions. Now, many folks at NASA have come around to my point of view. )

Rep. Culberson has not learned the crucial lesson from the demise of the Apollo program... that political motivations for exploring space are not sustainable in the minds of a fickle constituency that wants to be entertained by a list of new "American Firsts in Space". Colonization of Mars requires the serious dedication of the best scientists of Earth to the mission of human survival.

Forget the moon. In terms of the fuel required to reach it on a one-way mission, it is not really much closer than Mars. I has far less to offer as a base for a new sustainable human civilization. (Although I'm sure it would make a nice military base to shoot stuff at Earth). The fact the Rep. Culberson is talking about returning to the moon is the best indication that he is not a serious thinker about why NASA should be involved in human space travel.

about a month ago
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What Happens To Society When Robots Replace Workers?

duckintheface Re: Revolution (628 comments)

What do you mean by "our" ? Unless you are in the top 0.01% of the population, you will be the guy with the pitchfork.

about a month ago

Submissions

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End of the tenure process?

duckintheface duckintheface writes  |  more than 4 years ago

duckintheface (710137) writes "A professor at the University of Alabama in Huntsville reportedly (http://mediaelites.com/?p=12975) killed three members of the Biology faculty when she was denied tenure. After serving for seven years as Assistant Professor at UAH, Harvard trained biologist Amy Bishop, PhD was denied tenure and then allegedly opened fire in a faculty meeting, killing three and wounding three other members of the faculty.

As tenure becomes more difficult or impossible for even very talented candidates to achieve, many will find themselves... at the age of 35-40.... tossed out on the street with nothing to show for spending their entire adult lives working at low wages. Should we be surprised if this becomes a more common end to the tenure process?"

Link to Original Source
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Open Source as a model in the Presidential race

duckintheface duckintheface writes  |  more than 6 years ago

duckintheface writes "Ed Cone at CIO Insight has just published a four-part series comparing the Presidential campaign to well known technological models. In Part 1 (http://blogs.cioinsight.com/knowitall/content001/the_ground_game_open_source_vs_closed.html) he looks at the grass-roots based Obama operation as "open source" while the McCain campaign is run like a closed source project. (The comparison is made by a Republican staffer who apparently doesn't think much of open source.)

"The differences in the two campaigns start with the candidates themselves — not just McCain's much-discussed lack of computer skills, but Obama's interest in organizing, which staffers credit with inspiring the people-powered feel of the operation. Krohn says the Republican approach is more controlled and carefully monitored. 'It's the difference between open and closed source,' he says."
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duckintheface duckintheface writes  |  more than 7 years ago

duckintheface (710137) writes "Super-blogger Amanda Marcotte (of Pandagon.net fame) resigned today from her position with the John Edwards for President campaign under pressure from right-wing groups who objected to her personal views. http://www.pandagon.net/ Marcotte submitted her resignation because she felt that "every time I coughed, I was risking the Edwards campaign". Marcotte is famous for her biting feminist wit and insight into the way the religious right slams free speech. The line that brought her down? In a discussion of Catholic teachings on birth control, she asked rhetorically, "What if Mary had taken Plan B after the Lord filled her with his hot, white, sticky Holy Spirit?""

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