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US Wireless Spectrum Auction Raises $44.9 Billion

jratcliffe Re:Just curious who decides.. (55 comments)

Broadly, it is general revenue to the treasury. In this case, a chunk of it was allocated ahead of time. Congress passed (and the President signed) the "Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012." That legislation instructed the FCC to find spectrum in this set of bands to auction off, and allocated a portion of the proceeds to (a) defray the cost of moving the existing users of the spectrum and (b) building a public safety wireless network.

So, the FCC, while it conducts the auction, does so at the request of, and on the behalf of, Congress.

about an hour ago
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How One Small Company Blocked 15.1 Million Robocalls Last Year

jratcliffe Re:Implement locally? (145 comments)

In this case, yes. But, in general, someone with an important call might not be calling from a cellphone, and hence not have the opportunity to send an SMS.

yesterday
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How One Small Company Blocked 15.1 Million Robocalls Last Year

jratcliffe Re:Implement locally? (145 comments)

Assuming they're calling from a cellphone.

2 days ago
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Comcast Pays Overdue Fees, Offers Freebies For TWC Merger Approval

jratcliffe Re:"Let me ask you.... (77 comments)

Oh, and by the way, their competitors are already "allowed" access. Cable companies don't overbuild each other because it's a great way to lose money.

2 days ago
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Comcast Pays Overdue Fees, Offers Freebies For TWC Merger Approval

jratcliffe Re:"Let me ask you.... (77 comments)

Revoking their franchise IS shutting down cable. The system belongs to the operator. You can revoke their franchise, but then you have to either build out a new system, from scratch (figure $800 per home passed, or $150M for a city like Minneapolis, and that's just for the outside network), or get another company to come in and put up the money, even though you've just kicked out a cable company (not exactly an enticing proposition).
I suppose you could try to eminent domain the system, rather than building it out yourself, but that's a couple of years of litigation. Meanwhile (i.e. absolute minimum a year, probably 2-3), your constituents are without cable TV or internet service.

2 days ago
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Comcast Pays Overdue Fees, Offers Freebies For TWC Merger Approval

jratcliffe Re:Franchise Fees are evil (77 comments)

Part of the merger should be the requirement that franchise fees across the country need to be made illegal. They are only used to limit competition in a legal form.

The franchise agreement in my town states that no other cable company can sell services here. That's wrong.

That franchise arrangement is already illegal. The text of the document may say that, but it's unenforceable (unless your town is actually some sort of private development, and even then, it's probably unenforceable).

2 days ago
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Comcast Pays Overdue Fees, Offers Freebies For TWC Merger Approval

jratcliffe Re:"Let me ask you.... (77 comments)

....just how can you be bought? And how cheaply?"

Also, shouldn't Minneapolis' club being removing the franchise for the unpaid franchise fee? If I don't pay Comcast, they turn off my cable.

Yeah, most politicians aren't that enthused by the idea of shutting down television and Internet service for a large % of their constituents.

2 days ago
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Valve's Economist Yanis Varoufakis Appointed Greece's Finance Minister

jratcliffe Brave Man (326 comments)

Finance Minister of Greece ranks pretty high on my list of "you could pay me enough, but it would be A LOT" jobs.

3 days ago
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Blogger Who Revealed GOP Leader's KKK Ties Had Home Internet Lines Cut

jratcliffe Re:OP is completely full of shit (418 comments)

Citing redstate.com doesn't exactly help your credibility (just as citing salon.com wouldn't). Looking at the Snopes piece, there's not enough to prove conclusively that he knowingly spoke to a white supremacist group, but it's by no means debunked or clearly not true.

http://www.snopes.com/politics...

If Scalise thinks this claim is libelous, he should definitely sue the blogger. Not sure he really wants to be questioned under oath on the topic, though...

about a week ago
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Bitcoin Volatility Puts Miners Under Pressure

jratcliffe Currency Hedging (290 comments)

Having your expenses denominated in one currency, and your revenue in another, leaves you open to currency fluctuation risk. This is why currency hedging was invented in the first place.

about two weeks ago
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Tesla To Produce 'a Few Million' Electric Cars a Year By 2025

jratcliffe Re:More EVs = More Infrastructure = More Sales (181 comments)

The "Tesla outsold Mercedes S-Class" claim again? That was true for 2013, during the end of the S-class model generation, which had unusually low volume (13k units). Definitely not true for 2014, when the S-class sold 25k units in the US. My 15k unit number for Tesla in the US is actually a high-end estimate, more likely to be 13-14k. So, Tesla's 2014 US sales are going to be a bit more than half those of the S-class. I don't have data on the 7-series handy. As for the ELR, that performance has more to do with Cadillac (which hasn't been successful thus far going after the German lux lines across the board) than Tesla.

Don't get me wrong, the Tesla is a great car, but let's not get carried away.

http://www.mbusa.com/mercedes/...

about two weeks ago
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Google Aims To Be Your Universal Translator

jratcliffe Re:English to American (122 comments)

The Westboro Baptist folks were very excited when they heard that millions of fags are burned in the UK every day.*

*With apologies to Gaiman & Pratchett, who made this joke years ago in Good Omens.

about two weeks ago
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Tesla To Produce 'a Few Million' Electric Cars a Year By 2025

jratcliffe Re:More EVs = More Infrastructure = More Sales (181 comments)

Tesla sold somewhere in the neighborhood of 15k (probably a bit less) cars in the US in 2014. BMW sold 340k, Audi sold 180k, and Mercedes sold 360k. Tesla slightly outsold Maserati, and came in behind Jaguar.

about two weeks ago
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Four Facepalm Bugs In USPS Label-Printing Site

jratcliffe Re:You are making things WAY TOO COMPLEX (182 comments)

Wait, you mean I'm supposed to breathe while I pour the shampoo down my throat? Thanks, I've been doing it wrong all this time!

about three weeks ago
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Gunmen Kill 12, Wound 7 At French Magazine HQ

jratcliffe Re:islam (1350 comments)

OR let me ask it this way. Name one Islamic Nation where Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Atheists or anyone else is actually FREE to practice their religion (or lack thereof).

How about the country with the world's largest Muslim population: Indonesia?

about three weeks ago
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11 Trillion Gallons of Water Needed To End California Drought

jratcliffe Classic pricing problem (330 comments)

Make something free (or nearly so), and people will use lots of it. CA's water problem is by no means insoluble.

1. Figure out how much water the state can sustainably use.
2. Set a price for water usage. Set a flat price for all users, residential, commercial, industrial. No reason that some users of water should get it more cheaply than others.
3. If usage remains above the level determine in #1, raise the price.
4. Repeat process until usage falls to the level determined in #1.

Of course, this process would likely result in a big chunk of the unsustainable agriculture in CA going under, but so be it - basing a business on the assumption that you'll get continued massive discounts on a key input isn't particularly wise planning, and there's no reason why other CA water users should be forced to subsidize those businesses.

about a month and a half ago
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BT To Buy UK 4G Leader EE For £12.5 Billion

jratcliffe Re:That's a lot of acronyms, isn't it? (39 comments)

Actually, even if they did stand for something, they'd be initialisms, not acronyms. /pedantry

about a month and a half ago
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Snowden Leaks Prompt Internet Users Worldwide To Protect Their Data

jratcliffe Dubious About This Survey (53 comments)

Some really odd responses in here, that make me question the honestly of the responses. For example, on 35% of Chinese respondents believe their government restricts access to the Internet?

Secondly, on the Snowden question, the question calls out for a "yes, I have" response. People don't want to admit to surveyors that they don't know something, so a good study will actually test whether they actually know about Snowden, or are just not willing to admit ignorance.

Finally, it doesn't say what the "steps" people took actually are, so it's very hard to say what impact Snowden's actually had.

There is a section asking about what people are doing differently on the net vs. last year (changed password, not go to certain sites, etc. etc.), but that was asked of all respondents, not just those who say they know of Snowden, so there's no output on what specific changes people made. Would be interesting to see the responses to that question separated between those who know of Snowden, and those who don't.

about a month and a half ago

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