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Study Finds Link Between Artificial Sweeteners and Glucose Intolerance

packrat0x Re:Does HFCS count? (294 comments)

You didn't eat enough fiber with your sugary snack, so you had a blood sugar spike. It's why apples are better for you than apple juice.

about a month ago
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FCC Chairman: Americans Shouldn't Subsidize Internet Service Under 10Mbps

packrat0x Why Americans pay too much for too little (353 comments)

Telephone service in the USA is granted monopoly service districts by the 50 state governments to one or more telephone companies within each state. This originally was to encourage the provision of local telephone service when telephony was relatively new (more than 100 years ago). Companies, such as AT&T, operated local districts and franchised technology to other local providers. AT&T began selling long distance (between local districts) in 1885 and coast to coast long distance in 1915. The Kingsbury Commitment (1912) provided for interoperability between telephone networks. Over time, holding companies (including AT&T) acquired local providers and created large multi-state networks. [End of the Line, by Leslie Cauley]. So while the federal government may talk of improving things, the fundamental problem is the 100+ year old state monopolies that inhibit competition in telephone service.

Cable television service (including internet) in the USA is regulated by the 50 state governments. However, the (federal) Cable Communications Act of 1984 [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cable_Communications_Act_of_1984] has been both positively and negatively disruptive. The act was used by cable companies to force state and local government to provide right-of-way access to customers. Either by leasing government owned right-of-way or by forcing electric power companies to lease space on neighborhood overhead power poles. (Note: power companies also have state granted monopolies, which allowed the state governments to force compliance.) Initially there were many providers and a great deal of competition. The problem is the act allowed for Cable Television Franchise Fees [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cable_television_franchise_fee]. These fees are based on gross revenue collected by the cable company from customers within a local government (ie city, county, or parrish). The local governments discovered that competition drives down prices, which in turn reduces these franchise fees. Thus, local governments have been discouraging competition amongst cable companies.

This is why Americans pay too much money for too little bandwidth.

about a month ago
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Harvard's CompSci Intro Course Boasts Record-Breaking Enrollment

packrat0x Re:Not sure if troll but.. (144 comments)

Did anyone look at the PDF's properties?

$ pdfinfo course_enrollment_statistics_icg.pdf
Title: C:\db_scripts\admin\dat\course_enrollment_statistics_icg.pdf

Licensee used to create PDF

Creator: SQRP/6.2/PC/Windows NT 4.0/Oct 29 2001

Software used to create PDF

Producer: PDFlib 3.03 (Win32)
CreationDate: Fri Sep 12 16:34:00 2014

aaaaa... what? O_O

about a month ago
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When Scientists Give Up

packrat0x Another Country (348 comments)

The US of A has too much debt (and contingent liabilities). Perhaps another country is willing to pick up the tab?

about a month ago
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3 Recent Flights Make Unscheduled Landings, After Disputes Over Knee Room

packrat0x Re:How would we know? (819 comments)

I don't need the knee defender. If you are sitting in front of me, you will not be able to recline your seat.

Amen to that. I try to be nice to the other passengers, but I start with the premise that I don't owe them a reclining seat.

about a month and a half ago
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Companies That Don't Understand Engineers Don't Respect Engineers

packrat0x Re:Database? (371 comments)

Very few software developers would be considered engineers - calling yourself one doesn't make it so. There is an element of rigor required in engineering that is typically missing in software development. Would you want the same level of competence that you find in Adobe Reader or Internet Explorer surface in a suspension bridge you're crossing or a skyscraper that you work in?

I see the same level of competence in first model year cars, as you see in Adobe Reader or Internet Explorer. And it is for the same reasons: Add these features. Get it out the door by ship date. We''ll fix the problems next year.

about 2 months ago
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Writer: Internet Comments Belong On Personal Blogs, Not News Sites

packrat0x Re:Has this person ever read Slashdot? (299 comments)

This seems to hold true for most broad-interest sites like newspapers and magazines where comments can be downright awful, as opposed to sites like Slashdot with a self-selected and somewhat homogeneous audience.

If you read Slashdot at -1, you'll see plenty of horrid comments. Heck, people can be quite rude in +5 posts, although usually not both rude and stupid. Slashdot isn't helped by being self-selected or homogenous; it's helped by heavy moderation, both by users and by admins. Newspapers and magazines seem to leave their commenters to their own devices more. Rather than modding down the trolls, people reply to try to debunk them.

I normally read slashdot (well, skim) at -1, and the comments here are relatively decent. It really helps that I can browse as a single webpage. Compare slashdot to "news" sites, where the "noise" overwhelms the signal. And since slashdot has (had?) a reputation for tech articles, many of the commenters know how to type.

about 2 months ago
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The Great Taxi Upheaval

packrat0x Re:over/under (218 comments)

It's a conundrum-type problem, trying to find the sweet spot. You basically need to decide if the over-burden of regulation is going to cost more than what you are preventing. And that's if you're a corporation. If you're a government trying to please the public, you have a mess of moralists who don't care about economics and demand 100% perfection which requires a lot of rules and almost always costs more than accepting 5% graft.

Here in the United States, the cut-off is approximately 15% graft. I suspect this may be from the high costs of auditing and investigation quickly outpacing cost recovery.

about 3 months ago
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Comparison: Linux Text Editors

packrat0x Re:Please tell me I'm wrong... (402 comments)

Joe's Own Editor. Read the top line (press ctrl-k [then] h for help) . It's soooo hard to learn.

about 3 months ago
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Texas Town Turns To Treated Sewage For Drinking Water

packrat0x Price Comparison (242 comments)

"At 60 cents per 1,000 gallons, it's far cheaper than any other source of water..."
I believe Israel is desalinating ocean water for 0.50 USD per cubic meter, which would be 60 cents per 316 gallons.

about 3 months ago
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ARM Launches Juno Reference Platform For 64-bit Android Developers

packrat0x chicken and egg problem (69 comments)

"Without any hardware to test on, developers are leery of committing to supporting new hardware features. Without software that takes advantage of new hardware capabilities, customers aren't willing to pay for new equipment."

Is it not the manufacturer's interest to provide initial software / libraries? At least version 1.0?

about 4 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Correlation Between Text Editor and Programming Language?

packrat0x Re:main two (359 comments)

Perl: joe

Joe's Own Editor!

I use JOE for teaching students how to write code. That way they can concentrate on learning the material and not how to make the editor work.

about 4 months ago
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Researchers Unveil Experimental 36-Core Chip

packrat0x Why I like multi-core: (143 comments)

Because Windows programs have a habit of taking over a processor; acting like I am still using DOS.

about 4 months ago
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IRS Lost Emails of 6 More Employees Under Investigation

packrat0x Re:Huh? (465 comments)

I said "may" age out, subject to official policy and budget constraints. Alternatively, emails related to assigned case files need to be saved, archived on CD, and/or printed out for the case file. Emails with general instructions such as "Ask for more information from 501(c)'s which have to following words in their name..." are considered internal, and not case related. The email servers are for work only, so most email is plaintext or attached PDFs / Word DOCs. The emails probably use less space compared to what you would see from private accounts.

about 4 months ago
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IRS Lost Emails of 6 More Employees Under Investigation

packrat0x Re:Huh? (465 comments)

Do these people not run Exchange or some other centralized emailing system? When I used to work as a systems administrator, none of the companies I worked for stored emails on the client side. It was all done through Exchange, held on the company servers and backed up to tape. If a client crashed, at most they lost a few minutes of unsyncronized drafts.

Yes, the IRS runs Exchange. Yes, they have back-ups of the servers. However, back-ups from more than 2 years ago may age out. Thus, if you wait 2 years and dd if=/dev/[zero|urandom|random] the harddrive, you can make emails hard to recover.

about 4 months ago
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Internet Transit Provider Claims ISPs Deliberately Allow Port Congestion

packrat0x Cable company monopolies (210 comments)

They may not be de jure monopolies, but they are de facto monopolies. And it's for one simple reason: cable franchise fees. The county/parrish/city receives a percentage of the gross revenue collected within their borders. The more money people pay, the more revenue local government collects. An additional provider would only split the customer base, push prices lower, and lower total customer payments (at least in the eyes of government). There is no incentive for government to encourage another provider to enter the local market, and every incentive to discourage additional providers. And it doesn't matter if we consider this rational, it only matters if it's considered rational by local officials.

about 5 months ago
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Texas Family Awarded $2.9 Million In Fracking Lawsuit

packrat0x Compliance is not a complete defense (146 comments)

"Additionally the company noted that they had complied with all applicable environmental regulations."
Doesn't matter. If you cause damage, you owe damages.

about 6 months ago
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Charter Challenges Comcast/Time Warner Merger

packrat0x Cable customers shafted by state government. (90 comments)

"Time Warner Cable operates in 29 states, but thanks to the old system of regional and municipal cable monopolies, Comcast and Time Warner Cable don't compete anywhere."

This is your state government(s) shafting you. The states created laws which allow cable monopolies. Local governments collect a franchise fee on the gross revenue of the cable companies operating within their boundaries. In the eyes of local government, less competition means higher prices which means more tax revenue (without voter feedback). Local government passively discourages competition through regulations, filings, public meetings, disclosures, insurance requirements, etc. Some local (and state) governments *actively* discourage competition.

about 7 months ago

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