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Uber Now Blocked All Over Germany

jjo Re:Good... (312 comments)

No one denies that Germany has the right to make the rules within its jurisdiction. We do, however, reserve the right to laugh at those rules if they are silly. For example, if German law required carriage of passengers for hire to be done in horse-drawn vehicles, the problem would not be Germany's right to make such a law, but its complete absurdity. Outlawing Uber is similarly absurd.

about three weeks ago
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NADA Is Terrified of Tesla

jjo Re:manucturer dealers could be worse (455 comments)

If a manufacturer wants to screw itself by preventing its customers from experiencing the orgiastic joy of buying their cars from a dealer, why stop them? It's not 'monopolistic' since sensible customers can pass up the cars sold by the evil direct-sales model and flock to other manufacturers who let them buy through their fair, pure, and utterly ethical car dealerships. :-)

about 3 months ago
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Canadian Court Orders Google To Remove Websites From Its Global Index

jjo Re:This order cannot stand (248 comments)

I'm not suggesting that anyone move anywhere. I'm just saying that just as Google pulled out of mainland China to escape an intolerable legal system, it would pull out of Canada if this order were allowed to stand. One presumes that most of the Google Canada employees would look for jobs at other companies in Canada, and that Canadians would switch from google.ca to google.com (or perhaps to google.fr). Everyone would be the poorer for this.

about 3 months ago
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Canadian Court Orders Google To Remove Websites From Its Global Index

jjo This order cannot stand (248 comments)

I fully expect this order to be reversed, either by judicial or by legislative action. I say this because Google cannot possibly accept this precedent, since their business simply couldn't operate if it had to comply worldwide with the laws of every country it does business in. At the last resort, Google would pull out of Canada rather than accept this order, and the Canadians are sensible enough to see that as something they really do not want.

about 3 months ago
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Swedish Fare Dodgers Organize Against Transportation Authorities

jjo One beer puts you over the limit? Not here. (389 comments)

I don't know where you are posting from, but here in the USA one beer with dinner will not put you over the legal limit. Even for a very petite woman, consuming one beer over the course of a dinner will barely get your BAC above 0.03%. The limit in the USA is 0.08%.

Even if you are in a jurisdiction where one beer puts you over the limit, get real. You are talking about operation of machinery that is highly dangerous when operated improperly. Aircraft pilots are in the same situation, and they are prohibited from any alcohol consumption for 8 hours (or more) before flight. How is your situation as a driver essentially different from that of a pilot? Do you want pilots having a beer with their dinner in the cockpit?

about 4 months ago
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Can Science Ever Be "Settled?"

jjo Re:i interpret it to mean (497 comments)

What, precisely do 90%+ of scientists working agree on? That AGW exists, and that's all. You won't get 90%+ of scientists to agree on the implications of AGW. In particular, you won't get them to agree that the current computer climate models are Holy Writ, only doubted by the ignorant. The Al-Gore crowd refuses to acknowledge any possibility of error in the climate model forecasts, even though any honest climatologist will admit that the models are imperfect.

Anyone who claims the ability to predict the future behavior of a complex, imperfectly-understood system with 100% accuracy doesn't really understand how the world works.

about 6 months ago
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Are Bankers Paid Too Much? Are Technology CEOs?

jjo It's a non-zero-sum game (712 comments)

Do you honestly believe that the economy is a zero-sum game? If I'm a goldsmith and I decide to make a couple more earrings this week, and I thereby increase my income, am I stealing that income from someone else? Have I not created a non-zero-sum game? With billions of people contributing greater or lesser amounts to the world economy every hour of every day, anyone who considers it to be zero-sum has a warped sense of reality.

about 6 months ago
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No. of vehicle license types I hold:

jjo "Certificate", not "License" (312 comments)

I hold a driver's license for a car, but the documents I hold for operating boats and airplanes are "Certificates". The State of New Hampshire requires me to hold a "Safe Boating Certificate" (evidence of successful safety training) while operating a boat of more than 20 Horsepower. The FAA does not issue pilot's licenses, but rather certifies that I have been "found to be properly qualified to exercise the privileges" of a pilot.

about 9 months ago
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US Light Bulb Phase-Out's Next Step Begins Next Month

jjo What you are missing is competition (1146 comments)

What you are missing is competition. A monopoly light bulb manufacturer might behave in exactly the way you describe. In a competitive market, while manufacturers might like to ensure a high demand for replacement bulbs by designing them for short lifespans, they would end up with dissatisfied customers who would no longer buy their product, but instead buy from manufacturers who provided the long-lived bulbs people really want.

about 9 months ago
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Man In Tesla Model S Fire Explains What Happened

jjo Re:They should upgrade the warning ... (526 comments)

How do you know that the 'invisible hand' is impotent to improve safety? It's true that for a many decades the automotive consumer was indifferent to safety, so the 'invisible hand' was indifferent as well, but now safety is a selling point. Luxury cars vie to introduce new cutting-edge safety enhancements that consumers choose because they want them, not because of government mandates. If they prove worthwhile, these enhancements then trickle down to the broad market. Because of externalities (i.e, the danger from someone else driving an unsafe car), some regulation is indeed necessary to ensure safety, but to assert that government alone can improve safety is preposterous.

about 10 months ago
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Why Can't Big Government Launch a Website?

jjo Re:yeah, those bastards (786 comments)

Here is prime example of what passes as political discourse in Washington these days. Calling your opponents 'hairless apes', and thereby giving yourself license to completely ignore and de-legitimize their arguments. Another gem: the Democrats shut down the government in order to blackmail the Republicans into voting for Obamacare funding, yet partisan Democrats say that it was the _Republicans_ who did the shutdown. The Republicans voted to fund the entire Government except Obamacare. It was the Democrats who joyously embraced the opportunity to shut down the government and blame the Republicans. The Democrats steadfastly blocked all attempts to ameliorate their shutdown until they collected their Obamacare ransom.

about a year ago
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PDP-11 Still Working In Nuclear Plants - For 37 More Years

jjo Instruction set (and language) elegance (336 comments)

Having programmed the PDP-8 and then the -11, I can draw two lessons from the experience:

  1. You can get stuff done even with an instruction set that looks like a dog's breakfast.
  2. Everything is much better with an elegant, well-designed instruction set. You don't truly appreciate this until you've done without it.

These two lessons can be directly extended to higher-level programming languages as well.

about a year ago
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Google Files First Amendment Challenge Against FISA Gag Order

jjo Re:UK Libel laws.... (163 comments)

And how, exactly, is Google's legal team going to conduct a libel case in which they are prohibited (by US law) from disclosing their evidence?

about a year ago
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Canada To Stop Producing Pennies In 2013

jjo The USA should accept reality too (362 comments)

The penny is just as pointless in the USA as it is in Canada. Of course, the USA is considerably behind Canada in recognizing the changes wrought by inflation. In addition to abolishing the penny, it should abolish the dollar bill and introduce a $2 coin as Canada did many years ago. (If you wanted to be really far-sighted, you could establish a plan for when to abolish the nickel and the $5 bill and introduce a $5 coin.)

Unfortunately, currency reform would not only face stiff opposition from the zinc lobby (because penny is largely zinc now), but from the politically well-connected Crane Company in Massachusetts, which manufactures all of the paper used in printing US currency. The absurdity of vending machines and tollbooths needing to accept paper money (much more expensive than coins) counts for nothing as against a corporation with skilled lobbyists.

about a year and a half ago
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Senate Renews Warrantless Eavesdropping Act

jjo Re:Secrecy is sometimes necessary (218 comments)

Tell the victims of 9/11 or the Madrid bombings or the Tokyo subway gas attack that 'terrorists' don't exist. If any court hearing a secret wiretap application is, ipso facto, an illicit 'Kangaroo Court', then we are giving carte blanche to anyone inclined to mass murder.

about a year and a half ago
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Senate Renews Warrantless Eavesdropping Act

jjo Re:Secrecy is sometimes necessary (218 comments)

But if you admit that secret judicial proceedings are necessary in handling wiretap applications, then the entire argument against the FISA court falls apart. If the FISA court is an illicit 'kangaroo court', then any court considering a wiretap application is illicit as well.

about a year and a half ago
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Senate Renews Warrantless Eavesdropping Act

jjo Re:Secrecy is sometimes necessary (218 comments)

If you want to wiretap a US Citizen, then get a warrant. Period.

How do you get such a warrant except behind closed doors? Are you proposing that all wiretap warrant applications should be public? Are you proposing that every target of a wiretap application should be informed of it and allowed to oppose it in court? This would make the wiretap a joke. Maybe that's what you propose: abolish wiretapping, with or without warrant. If so, then law enforcement will be severely hampered and people will indeed be less safe.

about a year and a half ago
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Senate Renews Warrantless Eavesdropping Act

jjo Re:Secrecy is sometimes necessary (218 comments)

If you grant that a society must sometimes intercept the communications of its adversaries, you must also grant that such interception must be done in secret, since it is otherwise useless.

about a year and a half ago
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Senate Renews Warrantless Eavesdropping Act

jjo Secrecy is sometimes necessary (218 comments)

Unfortunately, even the most democratic society has enemies that seek to damage or destroy it. Intercepting their communications is one of the most effective ways to counter such people, and such interception would be futile if it had to be publicly announced beforehand.

about a year and a half ago
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Senate Renews Warrantless Eavesdropping Act

jjo A secret court is better than none (218 comments)

Most people don't understand that, under current judicial precedent, warrantless wiretapping of international communications is constitutional, needing only the approval of the Executive Branch. The secret FISA court is a legislative attempt to regulate this executive power. Without FISA you would have a secret bureaucracy making the decisions instead of a secret court.

about a year and a half ago

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