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  • Nov 13th, 2016 @ 12:28pm

    Facebook has a lot of blame, because...

    Facebook shows people the "news" they like, not the news they might need. A bigot will be shown more stuff that appeals to a bigot, and less and less (or none) of the progressive or reality-based stuff out there. Similarly, progressives will get shown progressive stuff, so they may not even realize there's a huge chunk of people out there living in their insane hate-infested la-la land, in the Facebook echo chambers.

    Is that why Trump won? No, he won because people are desperate and want change. They wanted change with Obama, then he screwed everybody by being ultra-establishment, and now Clinton came along and promised more of the status quo. People voted against business as usual, not for that lunatic Trump.

    And at least partially, Facebook's curating of people's news will have contributed to achieving the level of stupidity needed to vote for Trump.

  • Nov 13th, 2016 @ 12:23pm

    Well, what do you expect?

    It's capitalism. One very successful way to get more money, which means you get more freedom also, is to steal it. You can extort people, rob people or defraud people - and these are all done because there is strong incentive to do so.

    The system is innately broken as it encourages this kind of thing. It's everyone against everyone else, so again, why would anyone be surprised? Only by switching to a cooperation based social system where people have their needs met as a matter of course will we finally design crime away.

    That said, malware can be mitigate almost entirely. Just disable all Office documents that have unsigned macros, make it impossible for the mail app to open executables and disable windows scripting host on the computer and you're malware proofed. If hospitals can't manage to do these things, they have incompetent admins or more likely highly incompetent leadership.

    And any equipment manufacturer who has a system that can be infected with malware should be sued into oblivion for failing to create a safe device.

  • Jun 10th, 2016 @ 1:11am

    Highway robbery by armed bandits.

    If you convict someone of a crime and take the property that was most likely acquired through criminal means, that's fine. The property should be sold at auction and the money go to fund something sensible, like social security. Under no circumstances directly back to the police force, which then has a direct incentive to falsely accuse people.

    But taking money from citizens without ever giving them a day in court?

    Highway robbery. It fits the textbook definition. Just because these people have uniforms and a paycheck from the state doesn't mean they're not criminals.

    Merriam-Webster defines it: "robbery committed on or near a public highway usually against travelers." Ie, exactly what is being done with impunity right now in Oklahoma (and other places).

    Why isn't there an uproar? Why aren't these police being arrested by federal authorities?

  • Jun 10th, 2016 @ 1:02am

    Military tech doesn't belong with police.

    The military-industrial complex are no doubt thrilled that they can sell even more stuff to the nation for grotesquely overinflated prices, but when you give the police military equipment, they start thinking they need military equipment. Against a lone drug use who shoplifted?

    If the ACTUAL military used tactics like these they'd be censured or prosecuted, most likely. But apparently cops can do it at home with impunity.

    American policing is incredibly broken. And this is just one facet, another would be the for-profit policing where the cops are literally armed bandits who stop citizens and drain their cash cards on the spot now in Oklahoma. Highway robbery, by any definition.

  • Jan 7th, 2016 @ 2:19am

    No such thing as good ads, though.

    All ads are ways to brainwash people into buying crap they don't need, juts so people will give money to the site so the site can keep operating.

    The whole methodology is insanely bad and makes little sense. Unfortunately, to fix it and to remove all ads everywhere forever, we first have to make one minor adjustment - end capitalism and competition and switch to a real-world based cooperation focused approach. We need that for many reasons, though, including this one.

  • Dec 8th, 2015 @ 10:43pm

    Maybe Americans have wised up?

    Yes, the President is a figurehead but he or she does still have the veto and is the leader of their respective party. I'm hoping Democrats will see Clinton for the war-mongering pro-corporate hawk she truly is and vote for the sane alternative, Bernie Sanders. Sure, Bernie would be fighting an uphill battle against everybody including the Democrats, but at least he'd have the visibility and authority behing the Presidency to do it with.

    Trump, well, the man is a clown and a buffoon and not very competent. It's not that hard to get rich when daddy hands you millions and say go play. What's amazing is that he managed to fuck it up several times by bankruptcies...

  • Feb 11th, 2015 @ 10:39pm

    For-profit policing is insanely stupid.

    The police is supposed to be an organization dedicated to upholding the law and protecting the public. For that reason, it HAS to be fully tax payer funded. Giving the police a profit motive for enforcing the law is guaranteed to lead to massive problems. The US already has a mass quantity of cases where cops straight-up legally rob people on the roads, and when they have a financial vested interest in "catching criminals" so you can then seize everything they own, they will almost certainly overreach again and again.

    Fines and the like should go straight to the federal government, or somewhere where the cops levying them doesn't gain money for their own organization directly. Send all the fines straight to social services or something and give the police the same yearly budget allocation fully tax-payer funded instead of making them money-chasing thugs like now.

    Having the cops worried about making money is asinine and guaranteed to lead to massive problems. Like this, now.

  • Jun 6th, 2014 @ 10:20am

    Not surprising

    Consequences for destroying the evidence and spitting the court in the eye: nil.

    Consequences for being caught with the evidence: potentially more than nil.

    Answer: destroy all the evidence.

  • May 21st, 2014 @ 10:56am

    Well, it's not that easy

    The NSA probably has a lot on the President after all the data collecting these several past years, so it probably can't be easy for him to accept if, say, the NSA threatens to publish nude photos, drug smoking or some compromising pictures of him with the hookers and such if he didn't derail this act... oh well, joking aside, how do we know what the NSA is and is not doing? With the massive info they have gathered, do we really believe the politicians are immune to blackmail of threats?

  • Dec 27th, 2013 @ 4:51pm

    UBI isn't a solution

    UBI would, first of all, probably replace all social programs, not augment them. That would make it possible for some people to mismanage their UBI to the point where they could no longer get the social services they need.

    Furthermore, of course, ignoring the rules of a competition-based social system by trying to retrofit a cooperation-based approach on top of it is idiocy. The solution is to abolish the competition-based social system entirely and move to a proper cooperation basis that doesn't even use things like trade or money. This is going to be necessary since the vast majority of all jobs will be automated away, and this is colliding head on with a population hike to 10 billion people in 2050.

    The sensible approach is to make everything free and instead just provide the social services we need with the resources they need as a matter of course. Good places to read up on that would be http://www.freeworldcharter.org or places like the Venus Project.

  • Jun 14th, 2013 @ 3:23am

    Simple enough - bad goals, bad result.

    Health care in America is simply wrong in its approach to providing it.

    It's a complete fail in the basic philosophy of it. How badly it fails and in what way isn't even all that relevant unless you discuss how to fix the whole thing - sure you can try to treat the symptom like high bills (lord knows US healthcare is good at going for the symptom over the root illness, too) but if you do that instead of treating the illness you'll kill the patient.

    Simply put: universal/single payer can be encapsulated with "High quality care for everyone as affordably as possible, but without penny-pinching it to death."

    For-profit care? "Maximum money for every greedy hand in the chain, while producing some sort of care at the lowest attainable cost and quality possible in order to maximize the profit margin."

    It's hardly surprising care in America is an ultra-expensive nightmare for a huge percentage of the population. As with everything else in a capitalistic state, a great many need to suffer so that a few can reap sickening profit.

  • Apr 10th, 2013 @ 4:55am

    Capitalism.

    This is standard cutthroat capitalism. An oligopoly or monopoly isn't going to offer more than the most basic of basic services in return for outrageous fees. Why would they? They are required by law to make the maximum profit for their shareholders, which means as low quality as possible for as much money as possible.

    The same mechanism is in EVERY BUSINESS in every walk of life on planet Earth. It's one of the primary mechanisms that's destroying humankind, in fact.

    So of course, if a competitor comes along that is large enough and threatening enough and with a compelling enough alternative, they'll change their tune - until such a time they can form an oligopoly with the new competitor so they then jointly jack up the costs and lower the quality again.

    In a capitalism, monopolies and oligopolies are the inevitable end result in every field. The only reason this case is a bit different is that Google isn't a business built on providing Internet connectivity - they sell cloud services, so they can take a financial hit from this because having superfast broadband enables them to sell their services.

    If Google were your typical ISP, they'd be oligopoly-ing along with the rest of them in short order.

    Only someone truly stupid would think that AT&T doesn't work this way. The lack of competition is keeping quality hideously low, and they won't build better until somehow forced.

  • Mar 22nd, 2013 @ 12:49pm

    "IP" doesn't spur, it slows down

    Patents only serve to make it that much harder to innovate as would-be innovators have to try to contort themselves around using existing knowledge rather than using it and improving up on it or integrating it. Yes, you can pay royalties and stuff, but that's obviously never going to be step one or two. Sometimes, the people holding the patent just won't let you use it at all to avoid competition.

    Copyright is just as bad in its own way, it just affects other areas rather than innovation in tech fields - there, it retards the rise of new culture, which is arguably as bad or worse. People can't take existing culture and build on it freely, they have to try to work around what's already there.

    The only reason either of those things exist is because of our flawed approach to society, running it on the extremely toxic concept of "money" and "trade" in the first place. It's time to leave that behind and create a world of abundance, where neither patents nor copyright exist. All people should have their needs for food, shelter, education, entertainment etc met regardless; once we do that, we can innovate without worrying about who holds some ridiculous "patent" preventing us from moving forward.

  • Jan 12th, 2013 @ 5:25am

    Re: Money > Life

    The entire world operates on that notion. It's not just drugs. Everything.

    Money > clean air. Money > clean water. Money > a future.

  • Nov 12th, 2012 @ 1:06pm

    Exposure, not enforcement.

    The only major problem new artists or artists in general have is getting exposure to enough people to achieve some sort of critical mass. Remove piracy and you remove a huge free advertising channel that, yes, may cut in slightly to the revenue stream (though nobody has proven it does, yet) but it also exposes a lot of people to the material. If you can grab something and explore it without putting money down, chances are a lot better you will. But big music still wants to get the good old days back, when they were the only gatekeeper and made money hand over fist for nothing, really. They still write their contracts that way... even a successful band will wind up in debt for quite a while, while the record company rakes in millions.

    Worried about music pirates? That's them, right there, big music.

  • Oct 20th, 2012 @ 1:07pm

    An opportunity wasted as well.

    CD's were also created to be a better sounding medium than vinyl. Especially dynamic range was a holy grail on vinyl, albums were made to the greatest dynamic range achievable in that medium.

    Then the CD came along and the earliest generations of material was awe-inspiring in that regard. A drum was a drum, that stood out the way a percussion instrument should. And then some jackass figured they'd compress the sound to make it sound "louder" so they stood out when people did trial listening in stores, which leads us to today when the music is so compressed it's total trash, a mush of compressed noise instead of a proper dynamic piece of music.

    The industry should have just focused on quality and continued to focus on quality and not worried about whether or not it could be copied. People buy stuff because they feel it's worth buying, but these days not even audiophiles buy mainstream CD's, because they sound like crap. Well, that and because they hold artists that are crap too, if we're talking major labels.

  • Sep 5th, 2012 @ 8:05am

    Copyright is in itself a bad thing.

    Copyright was put into place at one time to attempt to safeguard that nobody took a brand new creative work (at the time, basically just a book), ran off copies right away and sold those without paying the author. At the time, it made sense, because we weren't ready as a species yet to abandon money and trade completely. Now we are, and we have to. And in a world where all humans have their needs met by default, the rewards for writing a book or singing a song will still exist, they just won't be limited to getting tons of money to buy crap with.

    When is it enough with the conflict-based society, really? Can't we transcend it before we destroy the world rather than later?

    This absurd situation just highlights how loony we've let things become in the desperate quest for cash. Another one is the on-going situation with Apple-Samsung-Google lawsuits. It's tragicomic to watch them waste so much time and energy on, at the end of the day, nothing.

  • Apr 19th, 2012 @ 5:36am

    Enforcement vs good service

    More proof that taking a hard line is just stupid. Bans and "enforcement" is almost invariably a bad idea. Anyone sane would choose to make content as easy and enjoyable to get as possible and then simply seduce people away from pirating - it's still more work to go find "illicit" copies than it is to just subscribe to a service and get them delivered to your set. Price it reasonably and remove all the BS and watch people subscribe in droves.

    Instead, they're choosing to screw their paying customers over and are trying to literally change civil liberties and laws to make taking a hard line even easier - even though nobody anywhere truly believes DRM or enforcement will work.

    I don't know why they'd do this, because it seems so stupid to me, but I presume somebody somewhere makes more money from it, just like the "war on" drugs is still being "fought" because a lot of people make a lot of money off it. Any sane observer of the whole thing will have realized by now that the only way to truly make things better is to legalize everything and then seduce the users away from being junkies and treating people who need help getting out of it... but again, that would just totally interrupt the gravy train for the DEA, the for-profit prison complex, probably some alphabet soup agencies we don't even know yet and so forth.

    A softer line to the goal you're after invariably works better than trying to enforce your way there... but that presupposes that your stated goal is your actual goal, and not just a smokescreen. I think we're seeing lots and lots of smokescreens right now.

  • Jan 12th, 2012 @ 3:26am

    Keep in mind that there is a storm coming.

    The fecal matter is about to impact the rotary air impeller in no uncertain terms in the relatively near future. The US is in too much debt to get out of it gracefully, and people are suffering in increasing amounts as the wealth imbalances get worse and their rights are taken from them.

    That, combined with the US clearly following the "10 step program" to outright fascism that every other democratic nation that converted to a fascist state did and you have the recipe for a serious storm. The state will need tools to clamp down - the NDAA is one such tool, as is PIPA and SOPA. One is direct control, the other information control.

    As Martin Luther King once said, we should never forget that everything Hitler once did in Germany was legal, and that helping jews was illegal. Right now, in the US, slapping a citizen in irons indefinitely and torturing him is also legal.

    Problem?

  • Dec 8th, 2011 @ 10:06am

    Saddened but hardly surprised by this.

    Really, it's all downhill from here. America is a fascist nation that actually has its politicians stand up in Congress and claim that the nation is a terrorist warzone and that they need to be able to lock citizens up without any due process - and the President may veto it, because it doesn't give him enough powers to lock people up...

    This patent hysteria and doing these things that are so wildly against any kind of common sense isn't going to stop until we make it stop, and it's going to take the total redesign of society into one that uses the scientific method to address social concerns - not the say-so of bought and paid for crooks in Congress and the Supreme Court.

    You can't really spin this particular case in any way to make it good for anybody in the real world, and it's not the first case or even necessarily the most egregious - the entire way of thinking that this exposes is a sign of a sick, sick society.

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