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Comment Re: Why not land on the moon? (Score 1) 298

Hardly an illogical position, unless you ignore the existence of unmanned spacecraft.

Just send the new vehicle to the moon and back unmanned, and once it's sufficiently tested, *then* you include crew. Of course that assumes the vehicle can operate unmanned, which might be presumptuous, but isn't completely unreasonable. Even the Apollo missions spent 7 years on unmanned test flights before the first manned capsule (Apollo 1) was launched, and it wasn't until Apollo 11 that they actually landed on the moon.

Comment Re:TANSTAAFL (Score 1) 206

Where did I say copyright hasn't benefited us? Or suggest doing away with it?

My point is simply that art, etc. wouldn't go away without it. It's a a deal on a broad spectrum - and at present it's been set very, very far in the industry's favor. Swinging the pendulum back strongly in our favor is a reasonable position to argue in seeking a happy medium.

And allowing non-profit copying for personal use would actually be returning to the original thrust of the law - preventing the big production houses from purloining artists content to mass distribute without paying any royalties. Hollywood was built on the back of copyright violation after all, safely distant from east-coast enforcement so they didn't have to share profits with the artists.

Comment Re:TANSTAAFL (Score 1) 206

Yes, it might well. It might also undermine the current markets for most software.

And yes, lots of smaller producers might stop as well.

That however is only indirectly relevant to the discussion - copyright is a social construct for the benefit of society through incentivizing additional creation by creating artificial scarcity. The only relevant question is whether the incremental change in production due to any copyright change outweighs the incremental change in society's access to it. If an alternative system results in 1/10 as much creation, but 20x more consumption, then there's a good argument that it's a better deal for society.

Whether it's a worse deal for creators is completely irrelevant - society are the ones offering copyright, and we must create rules that actually benefit us, and that hasn't been the case for a long time - pretty much ever since the big production houses were established and started bribing congress for more generous terms. Art was thriving for a very, *very* long time before copyright was even dreamed of, so it would be disingenuous to suggest it would go away without it.

Comment Re:TANSTAAFL (Score 1) 206

The problem is obviously not one for the industry, it's one for *society*. And copyright, like all other laws in a theoretically democratic society are created by society to serve society. If the current deal is disproportionately serving the industry rather than society, then it's probably time to change the rules.

Comment Re:TANSTAAFL (Score 2) 206

How about "for non-commercial use only" as the discriminating rule for copying? Seems like that would get right at the heart of the ethics of the situation. Art belongs to the world, but the artist controls the right *profit* from it.

That would also dovetail nicely with maintaining venue owners into needing a license for public performance. Unless of course the performance/venue is completely nonprofit, which obviously doesn't apply to movie theaters, bars, etc. that expect to make money off the people that the performance. helps attract to their establishment. If we want to carve another exception, that's a separate question.

As for hypocrisy - hardly. Change the rules for all new copyrights granted from this day forth, and the artists know exactly what deal they're getting. (And it's a considerably better deal than they've gotten for most of human history.) If they choose to continue making art, and as a nonprofit artist I can guarantee you that many will, we should feel happy to view it. And if you want to encourage someone to make more/better art, you're welcome to send donations, contribute to crowdfunded projects, etc.

Such a tactic might mean the end of expensive blockbusters, but that business model has no special right to continue to exist. Especially if it depends on criminalizing the vast majority of the population.

Comment Re:Finally (Score 1) 357

>from a business standpoint the only goal is money

And those businesses are themselves bullshit, and as a society we'd be better off without the lot of them, freeing resources to be directed towards businesses that are trying to deliver value, rather than doing the minimum necessary to con people out of their money.

Comment Re: Innovation (Score 1) 357

You don't get famous, and only very rarely rich, for perfecting existing technology. You become just one in a long line of engineers making incremental improvements.

Everybody knows the Wright brothers invented the airplane (or those other guys, if you're across the pond), but who made the first airplane that could actually reliably serve military or civilian applications? The stall-proof wing? Unless you're a aviation history enthusiast I doubt you have any idea.

Comment Re:Uber? (Score 1) 640

>I don't think you'd have to look far today to find people who believe democracy itself is fundamentally dangerous

Not surprising, pretty much every democratic government on the planet was built from the time of it's creation with various safeguards against the dangers of democracy. The fear of mob rule is hardly a new - it's long been well understood that large groups of people are far more irrational and easy to manipulate than individuals.

Comment Re:Uber? (Score 1) 640

A tiered license does have a certain appeal.

We could also start with requiring actual real training and competency tests to get any license at all, instead of the sad "I can score at least 70% on a paper exam of the basic laws and physics, and avoided killing anyone during my driving exam" that currently passes for such in the US.

Comment Re:Uber? (Score 1) 640

We already have several different classes of license, seems like most states have at least four classes - normal, heavy, heavy trailer, and motorcycle, and we manage to enforce them pretty well overall.

NOT by having license checkpoints, but by stopping obviously hazardous/reckless drivers and asking for their license, with penalties for being caught driving a vehicle you're not licensed for. No reason we couldn't do the same for crowded cities or winding black-diamond mountain passes - generally speaking the more demanding the road, the easier it is to spot the people who don't know what they're doing. And anyone who can fake it well enough to not get spotted - well they're not really the problem, are they?

Heck, maybe we could add an incentive to get people on board - for every level you're licensed beyond the current road and vehicle, your legal alcohol limit is increased. If you're qualified to handle a high-end sportscar on death-defying roads, then you are allowed a few extra drinks while operating your little 4-cylinder commuter along quiet back roads. Of course we could also cut the base limit as well - if you're only licensed for that little commuter on quiet roads, then you'd better be stone sober while driving. Think of it as added incentive to keep up on the training and qualification for a higher tier of license than you really need.

Comment Re:Uber? (Score 1) 640

Six figures? We're talking the Model S here - starts at under $70k, and only the most expensive model and options will push you over $100k. I'll admit I'm a bit out of touch, but my impression is that you're not going to get a whole lot of sportscar for that kind of money. Maybe similar peak engine power, maybe, but electric drive lacks the radical loss of power at low engine speed that characterizes gasoline engines, giving you a radically wider power band.

Comment Re:Uber? (Score 1) 640

Well, it's different in one way - it neither looks nor costs like a high-end sportscar. So it's putting that kind of acceleration in the hands of a lot more people - people who are arguably less in tune with the implications of that power than your average high-end sportscar buyer.

That said - tough. High starting torque is part of the basic nature of electric motors, and is a reality with a whole lot of upsides, so we're just gong to have to get used to it.

My sympathies go to their families, but the fault lies squarely on the person who decided to operate a powerful vehicle when drunk.

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