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Steve Forbes: Bitcoin Not Money

medcalf Re: Fiat Currency (692 comments)

You buy computers, right?

1 year,2 days
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Steve Forbes: Bitcoin Not Money

medcalf Re: Fiat Currency (692 comments)

The Romans used money. This was accepted not because of taxation but because the coins were precious metals of known content and weight. The Roman hyperinflation came from adulterating the precious metals with base metals, and from altering the coins' weights. Hence the use in the later empire of scales and touchstones to establish the value of the currency. People reverted to barter after the fall of the empire because the legal infrastructure that it took to maintain relatively trustworthy money standards was gone.

Forbes is right that bitcoins are not money. Neither is the US Dollar any longer money. Both are, however, currency. And both are accepted for the same fundamental reason: people believe that they are portable stores of value with predictable behavior.

1 year,2 days
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New Pope Selected

medcalf Well, I'm Pagan, but (915 comments)

If he reestablishes the martial orders and calls a crusade, if consider conversion.

about a year ago
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New Pope Selected

medcalf Re:Haters Gonna Hate (915 comments)

Your bigotry is showing. I'm not Christian and even I know the Christian answer to this, which is that the old covenant of Leviticus was replaced by a new covenant from Jesus. What is especially ironic is that the Catholic Church does not have anything against homosexuals per se, so long as they are celibate. Which, by the way, is why there are so many homosexual priests, since priests must also be celibate.

about a year ago
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How the U.S. Sequester Will Hurt Science and Tech

medcalf Re:And Yet... (522 comments)

Technically, it's not at the PPA level. It's a level higher, so no, it's not every program in the budget, actually. There are some that will not have that cover (because they're small), but most of the cuts allow for a lot more flexibility in how they are cut than it would at first appear. As it happens, the President is using that flexibility to make the cuts as bad as possible, rather than as easy as possible. So I'm saying that nothing bad must happen, but that doesn't mean that nothing bad will happen.

Frankly, if we can't cut the budget back to where it was in the scary dark ages of, say, 2010 without the world falling apart, then we have way bigger problems than this sequester. But in actual fact, we are not talking about cutting anything, but about slowing the rate of growth in programs. So really, it's all crap political theater.

about a year ago
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How the U.S. Sequester Will Hurt Science and Tech

medcalf Re:And Yet... (522 comments)

Fine. There is one department whose budget will be a tiny bit less. Do you argue with the basic premise that the government will, overall, spend more money than last year even after the sequester, and that this is hardly some epic disaster?

about a year ago
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How the U.S. Sequester Will Hurt Science and Tech

medcalf Re:House Republicans (522 comments)

I know, I shouldn't feed the trolls. But I do have to note that the Republican-controlled House has been passing budgets while the Dem-controlled Senate has not, which is why we've been running on continuing resolutions (and thus running up $1T per year in new debt). I also have to note that the Republican-controlled House has pushed through at least three bills to avoid the sequester, but the Dem-controlled Senate has killed all of them. I also have to note that the President and the Dem-controlled Senate have not put forward any plan except vague notions of raising more taxes on "the rich," which is their answer to every question, apparently, including "Where shall we have lunch." Moreover, I have to note that the President has threatened to veto all of the ways the Republicans have proposed to avoid the sequester. Which I must finally note was in fact the President's idea as a lever to get the Republicans in the House to agree to tax increases, not the last time that taxes were raised, but the time before that.

I don't trust the Republicans in government further than I can comfortably spit a rat, but take off your partisan blinders for a moment and look around. The world is both weirder and more wonderful than your blinkered view will allow in.

about a year ago
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How the U.S. Sequester Will Hurt Science and Tech

medcalf And Yet... (522 comments)

There isn't a single Federal department that will not spend more money this year even with the sequester than they spent last year. The $85B in cuts from the sequester is somehow magical: the whole government — every basic function — apparently falls apart without this sliver of money (in a $3.6T overall spending plan), again noting that they will still spend more money than last year, even with the sequester. Amazing, really.

Wait! You don't think.... No! Surely politicians wouldn't play games with government services for political gain? Say it isn't so!

about a year ago
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SpaceX Launching Dragon Capsule to ISS Today

medcalf Re:This is a great day for the private space progr (79 comments)

There was nothing wrong with the paint. The rocket is white. So are the wisps of vapor partially obscuring the S clearly painted on the rocket.

about a year ago
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Time Warner Cable: No Consumer Demand For Gigabit Internet

medcalf As a Time Warner customer (573 comments)

I'd just like the service they do provide (a decent 20MBit) to stay up and maintain low latency. I have experienced numerous periods where service just goes away, and even more where packet loss climbs drastically or the latency goes through the roof. I don't care about gigabit speeds as much as I care about reliability. Deliver the latter and I'll think about paying for the former.

about a year ago
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Music Industry Sees First Revenue Increase Since 1999

medcalf Re:digital killing music (393 comments)

You should check out Glass Hammer. I think you'd like them.

about a year ago
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NOAA Report: World Labor Capacity Dropping Because of Increased Temperatures

medcalf Re:What global warming? (337 comments)

I've encountered people who doubt that the climate is warming. I said that I hadn't encountered people who claim that climate does not change.

about a year ago
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NOAA Report: World Labor Capacity Dropping Because of Increased Temperatures

medcalf Re:What global warming? (337 comments)

I've never actually met or read anyone who argues that climate doesn't change. In fact, that was one of the original criticisms of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming as a hypothesis: climate changes, and the current/recent climate differences do not appear to be outside of normal ranges. But, you know, nice straw man and mockery and all.

about a year ago
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NOAA Report: World Labor Capacity Dropping Because of Increased Temperatures

medcalf Re:Huh? (337 comments)

I take it you don't spend much time around farms, for instance. Heck, a lot of the tractors now have air conditioned cabs.

about a year ago
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NOAA Report: World Labor Capacity Dropping Because of Increased Temperatures

medcalf Re:Huh? (337 comments)

Who pays for crap like this?

If you live in the US, you do. This was a NOAA (hence government, hence paid by taxes) report.

And yeah, it's crap, but it strokes the malthusians and doomsayers nicely, so it will be popular crap.

about a year ago
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Music Industry Sees First Revenue Increase Since 1999

medcalf Re:digital killing music (393 comments)

And yet, between YouTube, iTMS, Amazon, a local indie station, and satellite radio, I am finding and hearing more great music than any time since the early 80s. And far more of the money I'm spending on music is going to the artists than did then. So in short, I think you're wrong.

about a year ago
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Linus Torvalds Explodes at Red Hat Developer

medcalf Re:Linus Torvalds is his own worst enemy (786 comments)

Statistically nobody asks "how do I change the screen resolution on Linux".

You're proving his point: statistically no one uses Linux on the desktop.

about a year ago
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How Close Is Iran, Really, To Nuclear Weapons

medcalf Re:looking at his bio... (299 comments)

Knowing where a person is coming from is useful. I did not use "activist" in a context that implies a negative, but it certainly implies a bias. I, too, have a bia on issues of interest to me; I think everyone does. But do keep in mind that someone who is an activist on a particular issue is going to have a very different viewpoint from someone who is not.

about a year ago
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How Close Is Iran, Really, To Nuclear Weapons

medcalf Re:Define what "close" means (299 comments)

I doubt that would stop them for a moment. After all, the Muslims are constantly on about how we can't fight them during Ramadan, but they fight each other all through Ramadan. I suspect Iran would not hesitate a moment before killing millions of Arabs (the Iranians are Persian after all, and the Arabs they'd be killing are largely Sunni anyway, while the Iranians are Shi'a) and destroying Islam's "third holiest site," which became so rather notably about the time that Israel took control of it. Odd, that. In any event, I certainly wouldn't count on the Iranians being held back from striking Israel directly for these reasons. They aren't likely to attack Israel directly, though, mainly because Israel has a survivable nuclear force, and would immolate Iran in response.

about a year ago

Submissions

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Golden Spike Working on Private Moon Flights

medcalf medcalf writes  |  about a year ago

medcalf (68293) writes "NBC reports that Alan Stern's Golden Spike Company is planning commercial trips to the Moon:

A group of space veterans and big-name backers today took the wraps off the Golden Spike Company, a commercial space venture that aims to send paying passengers to the moon and back at an estimated price of $1.4 billion or more for two.

The venture would rely on private funding, and it's not clear when the first lunar flight would be launched — but the idea reportedly has clearance from NASA, which abandoned its own back-to-the-moon plan three and a half years ago.

Golden Spike's announcement came on the eve of the 40th anniversary of the launch of Apollo 17, the last manned moonshot. Backers of the plan, including former NASA executive Alan Stern and former Apollo flight director Gerry Griffin, were to discuss the company's strategy at a National Press Club briefing at 2 p.m. ET, but some of the details were laid out in a news release issued before the briefing.

A key element that makes our business achievable and compelling is Golden Spike's team of nationally and internationally known experts in human and robotic spaceflight, planetary and lunar science, exploration, venture capital formation, and public outreach," Stern said in the news release.

"

Link to Original Source
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Telecommuting == "Doing Business in a State"?

medcalf medcalf writes  |  more than 2 years ago

medcalf (68293) writes "Apparently a New Jersey tax court recently held that if a company has just one employee telecommuting from that state, the company is subject to corporate taxation in that state. This has to discourage the use of telecommuting, at least by smaller companies that don't already do business across a lot of states, if it stands. In particular, it could be devastating to the "app economy", where employees of a very small company may each be in a different state. (It seems to me that the ruling and the underlying law are a state usurpation of Federal interstate commerce powers, but that doesn't mean the Federal courts will feel the same way.)"
Link to Original Source
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RIP Steve Jobs

medcalf medcalf writes  |  more than 2 years ago

medcalf (68293) writes "Steve Jobs has passed away. Details undoubtedly will follow, but most importantly, condolences to his family and friends."
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Climate Skeptics More Scientifically Literate?

medcalf medcalf writes  |  more than 2 years ago

medcalf (68293) writes "A new study by Yale's Dan Kahan, et al, suggests that people with more scientific and technical literacy are less likely to see CAGW as a threat. From the abstract:

The conventional explanation for controversy over climate change emphasizes impediments to public understanding: Limited popular knowledge of science, the inability of ordinary citizens to assess technical information, and the resulting widespread use of unreliable cognitive heuristics to assess risk. A large survey of U.S. adults (N = 1540) found little support for this account. On the whole, the most scientifically literate and numerate subjects were slightly less likely, not more, to see climate change as a serious threat than the least scientifically literate and numerate ones.

"

Link to Original Source
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Don't Be mumble mumble

medcalf medcalf writes  |  more than 3 years ago

medcalf (68293) writes "Is Google using its mobile OS position to suppress competition to Google's other services? According to a lawsuit by Skyhook: yes. Skyhook's claim is that Google forced Motorola and another provider, possibly Samsung, to use Google's location services instead of Skyhook's. I have not been able to find a response to the suit by Google.More at Businessweek."
Link to Original Source
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Must you keep left?

medcalf medcalf writes  |  more than 3 years ago

medcalf (68293) writes "Tom Tom has released Star Wars voices for their GPS units. Darth Vader, C-3P0 and Yoda are currently available, with Han Solo apparently coming. The joke in the title, by the way, is from the "studio recordings" of the voices."
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A possible end to the Flash on iPhone impasse?

medcalf medcalf writes  |  more than 3 years ago

medcalf (68293) writes "The Guardian's Charles Arthur calls attention to an idea from Poorly Rendered for a way that Adobe can show that Apple is just wrong about Flash on the iPhone: produce a version for jailbroken iPhones. If they can do so with good performance and security and stability and good power management, Apple's largest public arguments become untenable. But could they meet that technical challenge, when they have not yet delivered Flash working well on any other mobile platforms?"
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Curated Computing

medcalf medcalf writes  |  more than 3 years ago

medcalf (68293) writes "Ars Technica has an opinion piece by Sarah Rothman Epps on the iPad and other potential tablets as a new paradigm that they are calling "curated computing," where third parties make a lot of choices to simplify things for the end user, reducing user choice but improving reliability and efficiency for a defined set of tasks. The idea is that this does not replace, but supplements, general purpose computers. It's possible — if the common denominator between iPads, Android and/or Chrome tablets, WebOS tablets and the like is a more server-centric web experience — that they could be right, and that a more competitive computing market could be the result. But I wonder, too: would that then provide an incentive for manufacturers to try to lock down the personal computing desktop experience as well?"
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Flash is not a Right

medcalf medcalf writes  |  more than 3 years ago

medcalf (68293) writes "Game designer Ian Bogost enters the debate about Flash:

[A] large number of developers seem to think that they have the right to make software for the iPhone (or for anything else) in Flash, or in another high-level environment of their choosing. Literally, the right, not just the convenience or the opportunity. And many of them are quite churlish about the matter. This strikes me as a very strange sort of attitude to adopt. There's no question that Flash is useful and popular, and it has a large and committed user base. There's also no question that it's often convenient to be able to program for different platforms using environments one already knows. And likewise, there's a long history of creating OS stubs or wrappers or other sorts of gizmos to make it possible to run code "alien" to a platform in a fashion that makes it feel more native. But what does it say about the state of programming practice writ large when so many developers believe that their "rights" are trampled because they cannot write programs for a particular device in a particular language? Or that their "freedom" as creators is squelched for the same reason?

"

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