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Comment Re:Holy flamebait batman! (Score 1) 894

Your point about it going to everybody is a good one, and is the way social security managed to get past the conservative politicians in its day.

My question revolves around how society decides on the size of the allotment, balancing the temptation to demand endless increases in UBI against productivity.

How do we make it reasonably valuable while preventing it from becoming a political bribe to buy votes? In a comment below someone offered the suggestion that one can accept UBI or vote but not both. That would lead to serious, and IMHO, destructive divisions.

In conversations with like-minded coworkers, we thought about dividing a certain fraction of GDP, offset by various costs of government operations, split evenly among all citizens (including their children). In our thought experiments, we figured it might be enough to ensure that changing that fraction would require something like 90% consensus in the voting population (I cannot imagine the number ever decreasing). We were optimistic that level of consensus would be so difficult to achieve that it would offset the temptation to raise UBI excessively.

Comment Re:Holy flamebait batman! (Score 5, Insightful) 894

Uh, Bernie was pushing Socialism hard and were it not for the entrenched and dirty DNC and the Clinton Machine, he would now be the candidate of the Democratic party.

As a Bernie supporter, I would like to respectfully disagree, with the following argument: When Bernie began his challenge, he was nearly unknown to the general voting population. I think that the Democratic Establishment was planning on an essentially uncontested primary season, conserving resources to prepare for what they were certain would be a ugly, expensive general election campaign. They almost certainly failed (*really* failed) to understand the power of so many people that were left out of the conversation during and after the Clinton Triangulation era. (I also Obama arrived with such a delicate economy that his hands were tied...)

I think that if Bernie had gotten going 2 months (or better, 6 months) earlier in the run-up to the primary, the actions of the party and likely the results of the primary would have been totally different.

Finally, while think Hillary is too centrist, she has remained standing in the face of attacks that would demotivate nearly everyone else, and to the best of my knowledge is a walking encyclopedia of policy. I am not sure Bernie really had the connections or the policy background. It seems like he has a very attractive philosophy which I had hoped would lead to greater detailed policy objectives and plans.

Comment Re:Holy flamebait batman! (Score 2) 894

I am all for UBI if it can be implemented intelligently.

The money quote:

Remove loopholes and incentivize productivity as much as possible.

Is that possible? Philosophically, I am attracted to the concept but have a concern that the UBI would be the topic of ugly political (or worse, violent) struggle: Those on UBI want bigger UBI, those whose work (or those whose AIs work) want smaller UBI. It seems fraught with subjectivity.

Some rational way to balance those two forces must exist or a society implementing UBI would ultimately fail.

Comment Tencent: Everyone has control but the user (Score 1) 31

A coworker who regularly works in China finds WeChat to be the most effective semi-real time communication channel, a requirement when we are installing or supporting new installations.

As one who likes recordkeeping, I've been looking into ways to offload the informal but valuable information in the chat sessions. A bit of Internet searching has revealed that it might be possible to decrypt the database (apparently an encrypted sqlite3 db) given mobile device identification but it takes lots of extra effort and probably violates both DMCA and the EULA.

As far as I can tell, TenCent has ensured that the customer cannot save records of their own conversations.

I am suspicious of any organization that knows how to decode my conversations while simultaneously preventing me from keeping my own record of those conversations.

Comment Re:Luv these things (Score 1) 86

I've had good luck with the Odroid product line. The closest match to (what I asssume are) your needs is the Odroid C1+, which has PI-like extensibility, a much faster processor (faster than the Model PI 2B) which probably doesn't matter much, and built-in analog input. Note that the analog input is 0-1.8v.

If you're in the U.S., the easiest supplier is Ameridroid:

I have and used the Odroid-U2, Odroid-U3, and an Odroid C1 (before the C1+) They all worked just fine out of the box.

Comment Re:Meaningful Competition? (Score 1) 97

hmm that reminds, me what ever happened to internet over electric cables? The elect company's are not saving and replacing old infrastructure as they should be. I've seen plenty of news stories about how bad our grids are and how everything needs to be replaced but is not. Who owns the cables??

The neighborhood grid is owned by a single delivery company (AEP in most of central Ohio), while the generation is provided by "competitors".

The U.S. generally does not have broadband over power lines for two reasons:

  • We have more transformers, each with a smaller step-down ratio, than other countries (Europe, Japan, etc.) since our grid started earlier. BPL needs a repeater over each transformer.
  • Ham operators put up a pretty major stink about delivering high bandwidth over power lines due to an expectation of (and possibly experimental data showing) interference.

On the original article topic, I would totally vote to have an entity that is (at least lightly) accountable to citizens/voters in order to put a little competitive pressure on the current crop of duopolists. Digital/internet communication has transformed the way most of us work, and has become non-optional. I believe it's informative to note that many times that localities have tried to provide comms services, the entrenched players usually sue. I'm thinking it's a pretty good gravy train or they wouldn't be so protective of the turf.

Comment Re:Upfront costs will slow adoption (Score 1) 517

Bull shit. ...Hippy girls....

I am damn tired of the unreliability of our current grid. I am in central Ohio: our power blinks at least once/month, and every few months it's out for hours. After any real storm, it's a week or more.

If my house weren't surrounded by trees, I would have solar to offset/augment in normal times, and to work when the local power providers fail to deliver service.

Comment Re:quelle surprise (Score 1) 725

I'm with others upthread whose expectation is not that "nuclear is impossible to do properly", but rather "Nuclear is impossible to responsibly here". Executives with authority over large projects have an essentially perfect record of focusing on finances and schedule to the exclusion of all other factors, most notably the safety of the many people who are likely affected by the executives' decisions long after the executives have deployed their golden parachutes.

It's also worth noting that the executives involved have an essentially perfect record of focusing (there's that word again) on the difficulty of proving that increased frequency of negative health effects are due to the facilities that they manage.

So in the context of applying "scientific principles" to policy debates whether the debate is over nuclear safety or AGW, it's my opinion that people with well-financed megaphones argue that "science cannot prove anything" while simultaneously arguing that "scientific proof is required" before taking any action. Works for them, not so much for everyone else.

Some specific examples

  • Dangers of smoking
  • Nicotine addiction
  • Effects of polychlorinated bisphenols
  • Groundwater pollution due to nuclear technology

Finally, I'm old enough to remember that the only way to get industrialists off their lazy asses in the 60's and 70's was by "government action". "Self-regulation" wasn't worth a good GodDamn.

Comment market force: Let customers decide. (Score 1) 208

I tend to favor light regulation to ensure a level playing field, or alternatively a way to ensure a large enough pool of providers that customers have choices.

I really HATE the idea of reducing the market power of the end customer. It is my opinion that the current stream-of-consciousness rulemaking from the current FCC chair has that goal in mind. As things are progressing, with large content-providers being stuck with paying priority upcharge fees for the bandwidth and connectivity that THEY ALREADY PAY FOR, the ISPs (Comcast, TW, etc.) have another set of partners to collude with, without the need to satisfy the paying customers.

A plan that gives local ISPs a revenue stream other than their end customers is yet another erosion of the power of the customers in the marketplace, which is already so weak that we pay double or more for equivalent access than our international counterparts. Our market power is already severely limited by the lack of ISP choice in most communities, linked to the fact that there are only a few large providers nationwide.

I propose a rule requiring that an ISP's only source of income must be its customers. Is this "government regulation"? Or would it pass muster for the free market fundamentalists out there?

Comment Re:Zero info in article (Score 0) 198

Just one developer's observation... I have not yet seen Google fuck over developers and customers with the naked contempt shown by Microsoft or impenetrable garden wall of Apple.

Being operated by humans, I am sure Google will come over to the dark side and mis-use their market power eventually. Hopefully I'll be retired before then, as I am getting bloody tired of having to change infrastructure every time a formerly functional organization's mis-use of its market power becomes an unbearable burden.

Comment Apple: a Perfect example of Network Effects (Score 1) 198

No, "network effects" is the right term.

Apple had a very well-designed, well-built and convenient product with iPod. They followed up with the well-designed and convenient software product, iTunes. iTunes is so profitable and flawlessly exemplifies vendor lock-in, that they followed up with the same model for the iPhone and iPad.

One ecosystem, which just happens to not work very well with other vendors' products, and essentially never with open-platform systems.

That model is even sweeter than Microsoft's lock-in model, which was an improvement over IBM's lock-in model.

The company I work for has implemented some infrastructure with iXxx and they basically regret the decision; Apple's control is *very* effective at many levels, much to our disappointment.

Comment Re:not on die (Score 5, Informative) 110

what this means is the memory is not on the same piece of silicon as the CPU, just stuffed in the same chip package.

Which allows the designers to count on carefully controlled impedances, timings, seriously optimized bus widths and state machines, and all the other goodies that come with access to internal structures not otherwise available.

Such a resource could, if used properly, be a significant contributor to performance competitiveness.

Comment Re:Life's tough all over (Score 1) 461

Huge bucks spent to prevent states from requiring labeling. A great example is the coalition of the unwilling against California prop 37:

As I've written upthread, I would be fine with GMO if a) I were able to be aware of which products feature it so I can study the literature, b) Decide whether to do business with the dickheads indirectly and most importantly, c) Balance the legal power of the patent holders versus everyone else.

I don't suggest punishing Monsanto or anyone else for designing, building and selling a product. Unlike nearly every other business in the marketplace, Monsanto executives are uniquely interested in *preventing* people from knowing whether their product is part of the consumer end product. My only interest merely to be informed. The idea that fully informing purchasers of food products is "punishment" is very instructive.

I flatly disagree with the assertion that it is "punishment" to require that the marketplace be fully informed, and assert that it's a genuine privilege to block the flow of information that would otherwise be used to fully inform consumer decisionmaking.

I hear executives and PR flacks endlessly bleating about "the free market" but spend big money preventing exactly the information flow that makes the market "free". This is true for Monsanto, it's true for bankers and for many other industries that tend to externalize costs (environmental, health, systemic financial risk, etc.). My wife and I live conservatively to minimize our contribution to the power of these people.

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