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Job Automation and the Minimum Wage Debate

teg Re:Communism is the only way forward (870 comments)

Pure capitalism is letting the market decide which leads to the monopolization of industries.

Nope.

Nobody's ever succeeded in establishing a coercive monopoly without government backing. In a free market, monopoly is a non-issue. For example, when Alcoa was the only vendor of Aluminum in the United States, the pricing of aluminum fell continuously.

-jcr

Standard Oil and Bell says otherwise, in different ways.

The first one is just a matter of "are you big enough, ruthless enough and no rules stop you, you can get rid of competition that way".

The second one - Bell - is interesting. For some services, like telephony, if you don't have government regulation you will get a natural monopoly. The phone companies would earn more money if they merged - no need to ever compete on price, or duplicate infrastructure. The price would be based on the value to consumers, not on the marginal cost of providing it as in a perfect market. And competition would be hard to come by - refuse to receive and make calls to this network. Knowing this, a competetive network would never appear in the first place.

about three weeks ago
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Neil Young's "Righteous" Pono Music Startup Raises $1 Million With Kickstarter

teg Re:Coastline Paradox & Audiophilia (413 comments)

There is no need for a new format. The idea that LPs are better is hogwash. The only time LPs sound better is when they are mastered with more dynamic range than whatever you are comparing them to is.

That statement requires you to define "better". An LP, with all its limitations (a CD can contain all the information on the LP, and more), can still sound better to someone who likes that particular distortion. Or has a deeper experience because of the entire ritual of listening to an LP, caused by other limitations - cleaning it before playing, listening to the entire record in the sequence the artist/producer wanted it, look at the cover etc.

about a month ago
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Neil Young's "Righteous" Pono Music Startup Raises $1 Million With Kickstarter

teg Re:Reality check (413 comments)

Most of the point would be to go from MP3 or AAC to lossless. While a 320 kbps mp3 made today will sound far better than a 128 kbps mp3 made fifteen years ago, it still a lossy algorithm that tries to remove sound most people will miss the least. That doesn't mean it's not gone.

Going from CD quality to 24/96 would be another matter, and not likely to bring much, if any, benefit.

about a month ago
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Scientists Revive a Giant 30,000 Year Old Virus From Ice

teg Re:30,000 year old nope (121 comments)

Sci-fi novel aside, I really wonder what are the risk that a 30k years old virus would be able to survive in our environment. I'm no microbiologist, but am I wrong to think the virus is not equipped to infect any "modern" living organism?

A virus isn't living in the first place.

about a month and a half ago
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Tim Cook: If You Don't Like Our Energy Policies, Don't Buy Apple Stock

teg Re:so let me get this straight (348 comments)

not only does apple control everything about the phones we buy, but they think they can tell the owners to fuck off? One more reason that I wont ever buy another apple product

The owners agreed with Cook - the right wing loonie didn't get support from the rest of the shareholders. Which makes sense, as Apple needs not only to have the current premium products associated with its brand, but align with its potential customers - and above all, avoid really bad associations. Or just being boring.

Image is very important for premium brands - and that's what the majority of the shareholders wants Tim Cook to continue to cultivate, alongside its innovation focus.

about a month and a half ago
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Drive-by Android Malware Exploits Unpatchable Vulnerability

teg Re:Attention Fanboys (120 comments)

Android: Tell me again why you think your platform is more secure when the vast majority of the user base cannot access software updates?

BlackBerry: Anyone at BlackBerry can easily intercept everything your phone does, so don't even try.

iOS: No, your fingerprint scanner does not make your phone more secure. Get over it.

What about Windows Phone? Just because you haven't seen one, it doesn't mean they don't exist. People who thought the same about unicorns have been proven wrong.

about 2 months ago
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Drive-by Android Malware Exploits Unpatchable Vulnerability

teg Re:Attention Fanboys (120 comments)

iOS: No, your fingerprint scanner does not make your phone more secure. Get over it.

Apple doesn't say its safer. In fact, Apple considers LESS safe than the PIN, because you can always enter the PIN. Or if the reader fails to get a valid fingerprint, you need the PIN to unlock. Or if you reboot. PIN trumps reader every time

The only way it's "safer" is that it encourages you to use a PIN where you might not have used one before because it's less annoying to unlock.

Another big advantage: Since you don't have to enter it as often, you can use a password rather than a pin. I exchanged my 4 digit pin code for an alphanumeric password of length 9 after I got a 5s. Thus, it has increased safety for my phone.

about 2 months ago
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Sony's Favorite Gadget Is Kinect

teg Re:Not going to happen (222 comments)

Microsoft is going to hold on to that thing for as long as they can. It's not going away for several different reasons.

The first and largest is that the Kinect is a product differentiater. It makes the XBone different from the PS4.

Indeed. The "price of Kinect" now is probably around 200$. Without the Kinect, the consoles are very similar - except for the XBox One being slower. Thus, if there was no Kinect they'd have to set the price be quite a bit lower than the PS4.

about 2 months ago
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Google Sells Motorola Mobility To Lenovo For $2.91 Billion

teg Re:ouch! (172 comments)

That said, the Motorola purchase seems particularly insane, the only logical reason for Google to make that purchase was to build their own phone which is something they didn't even try.

"Patents"..

about 3 months ago
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Norway Rejects Bitcoin As Currency; Taxes As Asset, Instead

teg Re:How is Norway going to know? (245 comments)

The car must be registered and insured.

I'm actually starting to like the USA again...

Cars are registered and insured in the US at the state level, the federal government isn't party to it. Frankly, even at the state level, insurance is not filed with the state unless you have prior convictions of lacking required insurance (then you have to file a SR-22, at least in Texas).

My auto insurance is between me and my insurance company, I have a card to show a police officer if pulled over that I carry at least the minimum required coverage, but the government doesn't know how much, only that I have "enough".

As for a "wealth tax", are you serious? Blah... if it is taxed when I earn it, then you can't have another go at it, that is the whole idea of no double taxation. We fought a war of independence to rid ourselves of such nonsense. Of course, we have the death tax, which is clearly unconstitutional, but seems to be ignored anyway, so perhaps I shouldn't talk. Stupid government not following its own rules.

As far as insurance goes - you only need to have liability insurance. If you want to insure your car for theft and damages, that's voluntary - but being able to pay for damages caused by you isn't. And as Norway is a rather small country, rather than a federation of states, expect it to have information and powers that you'd usually think would would be separated by "federal" and "state". You get a sticker every year showing that the yearly road fee is paid, and that liability insurance is OK.

Wealth tax has some bad side effects - like most taxes - and fortunately, the new government is working towards removing it. However, the Norwegian tax system is in general more sane than the US system - lower rates and less loop holes - so it isn't all bad. And more importantly, Norway has a healthy budget surplus - the key to any sane tax cut.

about 4 months ago
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Norway Rejects Bitcoin As Currency; Taxes As Asset, Instead

teg Re:How is Norway going to know? (245 comments)

When the time comes that you can easily buy a Ferrari for bitcoins they will also have a chance of noticing, and will ask you how you could afford that Ferrari.

How or why would they ever know I bought a Ferrari? Are such purchases reportable in Norway? (they aren't in the US)

The car must be registered and insured. Also, Norway has a wealth tax and you'd have to list it there. Of course, you could try to find a way around all of these but the harder you try, the more likely they'd get for money laundering etc. instead if they actually caught you.

about 4 months ago
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Safari Stores Previous Browsing Session Data Unencrypted

teg Re:Local file (135 comments)

If you include the encryption key with the backup, it doesnt matter either way. If you dont, its not a terribly useful backup.

Apple's Time Machine can use full disk encryption. You need a password/passphrase to be able to read from the disk later, which is rather useful. If someone steals my iMac and my onsite backup, they can not access any data - the system, as well as the backup, are both encrypted.

about 4 months ago
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Nelson Mandela Dead At 95

teg Re:What a great man (311 comments)

Absolutely. Was he still considered a terrorist by the US, or did he live to see that finally set right?

Mandela was removed from the US terrorist list in 2008. However, he had been able to travel in and out of the US the entire time - and had even received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from George Bush in 2002 - so this looks more like an oversight than anything else.

about 4 months ago
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China Prefers Sticking With Dying Windows XP To Upgrading

teg Re:If you can read Chinese you pay twice in China (333 comments)

I found I could not change the language from Chinese. Some research showed I was expected to pay for an upgrade to get Windows, that I paid for, to actual be usable. Microsoft really don't promote legal use of their products with such attitudes!

I don't quite understand, you were surprised by this? You were in China and bought a netbook locally, of course it's going to be the Chinese version of Windows. I understand the interfaces used on many Linux distros come with support for a large number of languages out of the box, but Windows comes in different versions for different languages and the ability to change the entire operating system to a different language is a feature you have to buy. It's always been that way and I'm not sure if that even changed in Windows 8. I'm sure part of this is to recoup the development costs with translating and localizing the OS.

The reason is not the recoup the development costs - the reason is Price Discrimination: The ability to charge a different price in different markets. The optimal price for Windows in the US is much different than the optimal price for Windows in China - and if you can charge different prices here, Microsoft will make more money. Restricting language change is one mechanism to avoid Americans paying Chinese prices.

about 4 months ago
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Geeks For Monarchy: The Rise of the Neoreactionaries

teg Re:Of course, democracy hasn't managed (730 comments)

Churchill also said that 'The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.'. As to your quote, I bet Churchill was laughing inside, saying this.

Churchill also said: "Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time."

about 5 months ago
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Science Museum Declines To Show Climate Change Film

teg Re:Sea levels used to be much higher (398 comments)

About 7000 years ago:

"The Older Peron... throughout the period, global sea levels were 2.5 to 4 meters (8 to 13 feet) higher than the twentieth-century average."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Older_Peron

True, but infrastructure(there wasn't any) and populations were a lot more flexible then. Right now, with the concepts of property, cities, countries the impact of a 4 m rise in sea level would be catastrophic.

about 5 months ago
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Science Museum Declines To Show Climate Change Film

teg Re:understandable (398 comments)

So.. AGW is not real because you don't like the proposed courses of action that might help counter it. Got it.

Or don't see that this course of action actually will fix the problem, for a variety of reasons - even though they recognize that the evidence of AGW is overwhelming.

Speaking of evidence - it's always seemed rather odd to me that the ones most opposed to AGW, "because of lack of evidence", are the same people that are most likely to be passionately religious. These two positions are at the complete opposite ends of the "proven" scale.

about 5 months ago
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22-Year-Old Norwegian Magnus Carlsen Is the New World Chess Champion

teg Re:How does he do against computers? (131 comments)

I was watching a live stream of the match, which also showed the next moves suggested by Houdini. Interestingly both players were pretty consistent in selecting the highest ranked moves. The exceptions were the "blunders" which lead to Anand's defeat.

Actually, while they often selected the best move, they also often selected a lower ranked possibility - e.g. 3 - 4. A computer won't do that. However, a computer won't blunder the way they did either. You can come quite far in chess if you never do a move that is shown to be a huge mistake in e.g. 5 moves for each side...

about 5 months ago
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22-Year-Old Norwegian Magnus Carlsen Is the New World Chess Champion

teg Re:How does he do against computers? (131 comments)

At the time, Deep Blue was the 259th most powerful supercomputer in the world with special purpose chess chips, a regular desktop today would be strong but not that ridiculously much stronger.

That is true, but software has also improved. We have better chess algorithms (especially pruning algorithms). But, even more importantly, we have better databases of previous games, and opening moves. Playing good chess has less to do with thinking, and more to do with remembering, than most people realize.

The new world champion is an interesting deviation here. The previous world champions have relied on extensive preparation - a main part of which is going through existing opening theory and finding weaknesses of the opponent, plus "new theory" - new ideas or moves from previously played opening positions. In some cases, these variations can go on for many moves - and a surprise there can topple an opponent. This requires extensive preparation and a requires a lot of memorisation.

Magnus Carlsen's trademark is to avoid most of these if possible - and get "out of the book" and into a position where the opponent must play, rather than base the game on memory, as early as possible. Of course, against a computer "the book" is so large - and keeps growing - that this will never happen. Eventually, you'll be playing against "the book" all of the time - the computer will follow successful games, and avoid blunders where they happened. Winning there, as a human, will be impossible.

about 5 months ago

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