Slashdot: News for Nerds


Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!



Two Cities Ask the FCC To Preempt State Laws Banning Municipal Fiber Internet

mrlibertarian Re:raise money privately? (174 comments)

If it is easier for a municipal company to get access to existing municipal infrastructure, then the municipal must be making it harder for private companies to do so. This is an example of the local government standing in the way. Remember, I said they need to get out of the way.

Financing through municipal bonds is another example of government cheating, because holders of municipal bounds are exempt from federal income tax. Also, any extra "sense of legitimacy" that a municipal has is probably based on the assumption that a municipal company will be bailed out with tax payer money if necessary. Once again, if residents want high speed internet, can't it be provided by a company that follows the rules of every other private company?

As far as easements, I've never liked the idea of governments forcing easements on private property. I think the existing easements that were created by governments are immoral, and should be retroactively converted into a leasing agreement, in which property owners allow private companies (cable companies, power companies, etc.) to rent easements for a period of 5 to 10 years for some agreed upon yearly fee. That way, the relationship is more like landlord and tenant, instead of master (i.e. government) and slave (i.e. property owner).

12 hours ago

Two Cities Ask the FCC To Preempt State Laws Banning Municipal Fiber Internet

mrlibertarian Re:raise money privately? (174 comments)

Municipal companies like this are not funded through taxes..

Then why not start a private company? Why does it need to be a municipal company?

13 hours ago

Two Cities Ask the FCC To Preempt State Laws Banning Municipal Fiber Internet

mrlibertarian raise money privately? (174 comments)

If the residents of these cities want fiber internet, can't they just pool their money and start a privately owned ISP? Not only would the early investors get the internet speed that they want, but they'd make a profit as well after their company takes off. Or, if they want to, the early investors could even run the ISP like a cooperative. All that the city would have to do is get out of the way.

Now, if you tell me that that can't happen because customers would not be willing to pay enough money for their service to make the privately owned ISP profitable, then that means most residents don't actually want high speed internet. Right? If residents truly want high speed internet, then they should be able to make it happen without using any coercion.

It's not as if there is a free rider problem here; no one is getting internet service without paying their fair share. So, if you're telling me that we need taxation to "solve" this problem, then you're tacitly admitting that residents aren't willing to put their money where their mouth is, unless they are forced to.


States That Raised Minimum Wage See No Slow-Down In Job Growth

mrlibertarian Re:Against Minimum Wage, For "Jobs"? (777 comments)

It's always amusing to see these people who are against raising the minimum wage justify their claims by saying that it will decrease jobs. For one, there is no evidence of that, only primitive debunked economic theory.

If you want to really see the effects of minimum wage, you should look at teenage workers. Teenage workers tend to be the most untrained, and therefore, the workers most affected by changes in the minimum. When you look at the effects of the minimum wage on teenage unemployment, the evidence is absolutely damning: In both the UK and New Zealand, teen unemployment rose strongly after a teen minimum wage was introduced.

Now, if you want to argue that teenage workers should be unemployed, go ahead. But if you're willing to admit that the minimum wage increases teenage unemployment, then you're going to have to do some serious mental gymnastics to believe that the minimum wage does not have any negative effects on those members of society who are older, but also relatively unskilled and/or untrained. The study referenced by slashdot proves nothing, because it is focused on the general unemployment rate, rather than the unemployment rate of the least productive members of society.

5 days ago

Winners of First Seized Silk Road Bitcoin Auction Remain Anonymous

mrlibertarian Re:Can bitcoins be blacklisted? (88 comments)

It probably isn't practical, because there are ways to anonymize coins, such as Dark Wallet. But if bitcoins could be black listed, then they would no longer be fungible. Therefore, any company who attempted to do this would probably be shunned by the bitcoin community. In short, a blacklist maintained by "the powers that be" is fundamentally incompatible with the philosophy of a decentralized currency such as bitcoin.

about three weeks ago

Google Starts Removing Search Results After EU Ruling

mrlibertarian Re:Good. (138 comments)

If a person is "affected by" out of context information, that simply means that other people decided to act differently towards that person based on that out of context information. You may not like how these other people decided to treat that person (i.e. refused to offer him or her a job in a particular industry), but these people are human beings, and therefore, entitled to make their own decisions, even in situations where you believe they are not fully informed.

By suppressing information because you believe it is "out of context", you are infringing the right of the speaker to spread the information, and you are infringing the right of others to make decisions based on that information. The fact that others made decisions based on that information that you don't approve of, does not prove that the information should have suppressed. If you believe that information is out of context, the correct response is to add your own voice to the conversation, so that you can provide context. And, once again, if others choose not to listen to you, that is not a good argument for censorship.

about a month ago

Google Starts Removing Search Results After EU Ruling

mrlibertarian Re:Good. (138 comments)

The fact that your crime is not forgotten does not make it a life sentence. We all know that George Bush plead guilty to DUI when he was young, and yet, he was still able to find gainful employment (i.e. president of the US), because most people were willing to forgive him for something he did in his youth.

The fact is, the knowledge in my head is mine, and, assuming that I didn't sign a contract to keep it a secret, I have every right to make that information publicly available and searchable on a search engine. You, on the other hand, seem to believe that if my knowledge is about you, then we should act as if you own my knowledge, and thus, you should be able to override my freedom to disclose my knowledge about you.

The so-called "right to privacy" is not actually a right at all; it is simply what people call it when one person interferes with another's ability to share his or her memories and thoughts with the rest of the world.

about a month ago

Girls Take All In $50 Million Google Learn-to-Code Initiative

mrlibertarian Re:Sexism (548 comments)

ability to [Y] != desire to [Y]. Assuming that every [group X] should have equal representation in [profession Y] is to assume that every [group X] has roughly the same number of members who want to do [profession Y]. Also, examples of countries where [group X] has equal representation in [profession Y] do not prove this assumption, either. For all we know, it may be that [profession Y] is merely seen as lucrative, and therefore members of [group X] are willing to do [profession Y] to make ends meet. They only way to truly know what members of [group X] want is to see what they would do if they had enough money to pursue whatever interest they want. And if different groups pursue different interests, it is not sexist to say that the differences in interests may have a genetic basis.

about a month ago

Bitcoin Exchange Flexcoin Wiped Out By Theft

mrlibertarian Re:Yea, but HOW (704 comments)

You can protect bitcoins with multiple passwords. So, you could set up a system where the bitcoins in cold storage are only accessible if a certain number of owners and/or trusted employees are present. Now the bitcoins are invulnerable to hacking (because they're in cold storage), and they can't be stolen unless all of the trusted individuals decide to break the law together. With a system in place like that, only the small number of coins in the hot wallet are at risk.

about 5 months ago

MtGox Sets Up Call Center For Worried Bitcoiners

mrlibertarian Re:Regulation of currency (240 comments)

In a free market, there would be far more exchanges to choose from, and so it would have been much harder for a poorly-managed exchange like Mt. Gox to rise to the top. The reason that there is a scarcity of bitcoin exchanges to choose from is not due to too little regulation; it is due to too much. The anti-money laundering laws in the U.S., for example, scare most banks away from anything that is related to bitcoin, and that makes it very hard for law abiding citizens to start an exchange in the U.S. Why do you think that Coinsetter, a NYC-based forex trading platform, does not offer a way for U.S. citizens to deposit dollars? It is not because they are scared of competing; it is because they are scared of what the U.S. government will do to them.

That being said, even in a free market, there would be failures. No one really thought that Mt Gox would manage to lose all of the bitcoins in its cold storage. That's just breath-taking incompetence. But the flip side is, people have learned a lesson. Unlike the modern banking world, there are no moral hazards here, and that's a good thing.

How do we prevent a Mt. Gox style collapse in the future? By having auditors come in and making sure that companies are actually following security best practices. For example, storing bitcoins in cold storage (which makes hacking impossible), and protecting those bitcoins with multiple signatures (so that no one person inside the company can steal them). If the government would just give out of the way, this would happen naturally. But most people expect the government to act as the referee, so the government will probably mandate the regular auditing of exchanges. The government will take credit for making the bitcoin world safe, when in reality, the government was never needed, and, worse, they facilitated our current situation by making it tough for good actors to enter the market.

about 5 months ago

Kansas To Nix Expansion of Google Fiber and Municipal Broadband

mrlibertarian Re:A little misleading (430 comments)

So what do you do when you are in an area that isn't going to be high profit and already has an incumbent with no interest in providing good and reasonably priced service?

Perhaps a potential competitor could ask residents to help fund the initial cost of building the infrastructure. Perhaps the company could promise that every resident who offers a certain amount of start-up capital will receive free service for some period of time upon completion of the infrastructure. Or perhaps the competitor could offer stock to the residents, so that the residents could make their money back over time if the company is successful. Either way, the municipal should stay out of the negotiations.

Of course, if a company makes residents an offer, and the residents decline, that simply proves that the residents are not willing to put their money where their mouth is. Sure, it costs more to serve rural areas where the residents are more spaced out, but that makes perfect sense; it costs more because it takes more resources. If the residents want the municipal to step in, then what they are really saying is, "We want someone else to pay."

As an analogy, if I live in the desert, then I'm going to pay more for air conditioning. I don't expect the government to come in and help me because my air conditioning costs are higher than the rest of the country. Why should it be any different when it comes to deploying fiber in urban vs rural areas?

about 6 months ago

US Justice Blocks Implementation of ACA Contraceptive Mandate

mrlibertarian Re:This is the problem with religious people. (903 comments)

Yes, single payer would fix some problems, but it would also create a lot of new ones. The problem with a single payer system is that if the government pays, then the government sets the price. Therefore, advocating single payer is the same as advocating that every health care service be price controlled. The problem with price controls is always the same: if the price is too high, we will have a surplus, and if the price is too low, we will have a shortage.

The government, in order to keep taxation levels from skyrocketing, will probably set the prices too low and create shortages. These shortages are likely to be exacerbated by the inevitable increased demand that comes when people no longer have to spend their own money. People will have every reason to consume as much healthcare as they can get their hands on, and they will have no financial reason to moderate risky and unhealthy behaviors, such as smoking and overeating. In summary, we can expect many shortages (i.e. rationing, wait lists, etc.) in a single payer system.

about 7 months ago

US Justice Blocks Implementation of ACA Contraceptive Mandate

mrlibertarian Re:This is the problem with religious people. (903 comments)

The fundamental problem here is that the government has coupled health care and employers together. For some strange reason, the ACA did not fix this problem. We need to decouple health care and employers by eliminating the tax break that employers get. If we do that, then we'll no longer care what health care plan our employer offers, just as we don't care what car insurance plan our employer offers.

about 7 months ago

The Luddites Are Almost Always Wrong: Why Tech Doesn't Kill Jobs

mrlibertarian Re:Sure, to *differently skilled* jobs (674 comments)

If I started at $40,000/yr 30 years ago and make $75,000/yr today and suddenly lose that because my entire industry has been obsoleted....

How often are these things "sudden"? The process of automation is not developed and deployed overnight. It is up to you, as a worker in an industry, to stay informed of the threats to your job security by new technological advancements. As the possibility of automation gets closer to reality, you should be preparing for your next job while you still have a stable income, as opposed to sticking your head in the sand and hoping the world doesn't change around you.

about 10 months ago

Did Goldman Sachs Overstep in Criminally Charging Its Ex-Programmer?

mrlibertarian Re:Lemme get this straight (186 comments)

Treasuries and Reserves are both government debt instruments. The only difference between them is the interest rate, because in general Treasuries are highly liquid.

It sounds like we have a very basic disagreement here on the definition of words. I mean, I don't understand why you would say that Reserves (with a capital R?) are a debt instrument. Reserves are not a debt instrument. They are money, ready to be loaned out at any time. And if money is not "highly liquid", then I don't know what is.

Also, this entire thread started because you claimed that the Fed doesn't "print money", and I still don't understand how you can say that. If I go to a printing press and print money, then I have "printed money". And if I do the same thing electronically, then I have still "printed money". If I spend that money to buy assets, you can call my transaction an "asset swap", but clearly my "asset swap" was preceded by "money printing".

Call it whatever you want, but it remains a simple fact there is no mechanism in our system for these reserves to enter the economy.

What? We do have such a mechanism. Reserves enter the economy whenever banks loan out those reserves. After all, the word "reserve" means "Something kept back or saved for future use or a special purpose." If a reserve can never be used as a loan in the future or in the case of an emergency, then in what sense is it a "reserve"?

Reserves do not constrain bank lending and adding reserves does not increase bank lending.

Reserves do not constrain bank lending, but lack of reserves do in a system with minimum reserve requirements. Adding reserves does not necessarily increase bank lending, but adding reserves immediately increases the potential amount of lending.

about a year ago

Did Goldman Sachs Overstep in Criminally Charging Its Ex-Programmer?

mrlibertarian Re:Lemme get this straight (186 comments)

The money multiplier crashed during the recent economic crisis.

Yes, because of the Fed. The Fed inflated the monetary base like crazy, and then paid interest to the banks to hold on to those excess reserves. Because of that, excess reserves went from 2 billion in 2008 to 1.8 trillion now.

So, what happens when interest rates start to rise and the economy starts to improve? Suddenly, the Fed's 0.25 interest rate is not going to be enough to keep the banks from loaning out all of those excess reserves. And that's when the inflation crisis is really going to take off. Check out this article if you want to know more.

about a year ago

Did Goldman Sachs Overstep in Criminally Charging Its Ex-Programmer?

mrlibertarian Re:Lemme get this straight (186 comments)

The Fed isn't "printing money," they are conducting asset swaps in which the private sector exchanges one government debt instrument for another with a lower interest rate.

Are you talking about Operation Twist? That began in September, 2011 and ended in December, 2012, and that was always in addition to QE. QE, or quantitative easing, is when the Fed buys fixed-income securities on the open market. So, you are correct that the Fed is swapping assets, if you mean they are swapping "newly printed money" in exchange for "mortgage-backed securities/U.S. Treasuries".

Anyway, have you seen what has been happening to the monetary base since 2008? If that is not "rapidly printing money", then what is?

Prior to the financial crisis, private credit expansion (facilitated but not initiated by Greenspan) led to inflation.

Greenspan caused interest rates to fall by printing money. Low interest rate, in a system rife with government-created moral hazard (FDIC, Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, etc.), is a recipe for disaster. The Fed is really less of a firefighter and more of a pyromaniac.

Of course, all of this money printing hasn't led to a big spike in consumer prices, nor has it been able to push the unemployment rate below 7% for almost 5 years now. But, we'll have to see what happens when the Fed starts tapering. My guess is that the economy will start tanking, and then it will be time for QE4. And, much like a drug addict, we'll need a larger dose if we want to stay high. How many doses do we need before stagflation begins? I'm not sure, but I know we'll find out.

about a year ago

Skype Overload Interrupts Zimmerman Trial

mrlibertarian Re:Whole Trial is bullshit (325 comments)

Zimmerman's claim is that he got out of the car and walked in the same direction to see the name of the street to phone it in. If true, that would explain why he didn't argue with the operator.

So, unless he is lying, he didn't "chase down" Martin. I suppose you could argue that Martin felt threatened when Zimmerman reached into his pocket to get his cellphone. But that argument only makes sense if you start with the assumption that any civilian who shoots an unarmed teenager must be in the wrong and you reason backwards from there.

1 year,22 days


mrlibertarian hasn't submitted any stories.


mrlibertarian has no journal entries.

Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account