* Posts by Tom 13

7611 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Piketty thinks the 1% should cough up 80%. Discuss

Tom 13

Re: Politics of Envy

Don't confuse the progressive fascists with facts. Especially when they are in the middle of a good 2 minute hate.

Tom 13

Re: The welfare state and the lack of influence of the ordinary person

The welfare state is really important and needs to be kept, however keeping in mind the way public pensions work (current pensioners getting money paid in by current workers) and demographic shifts (more pensioners per worker) is not sustainable in it's current state.

The problem is that no matter how critical you think the welfare state is, it simply has no long term sustainability. You've identified the pension issue. You mention briefly but largely ignore the demographic issues. And you skipped key rational behaviors of the welfare state.

Pensions: while I personally would prefer to have all of my retirement money invested in publicly traded companies (shares and bonds), even that hides the reality that current pensioners are always paid from current workers. That is fine as long as there are 20, 10, or even 5 current workers per pensioner. Which brings us to the demographic shift.

I haven't independently confirmed that the UK has a baby boom issue similar to the US, but I imagine you do. Right now the number of people on pension is growing to the point that you have at best 2 people per pensioner and are rapidly shifting to 1 employed per 2 pensioners. There is no level of productivity that makes that work.

Finally, you have the rational reaction to the welfare state. This was actually the key bit of the Laffer curve and which progressives are always in denial. If you have welfare benefits* to the tune of say $25,000/year, and someone offers you a job at $26,000/year, is it worth it to take the job? The rational answer is probably not. In particular, if at $26,000/year you lose the welfare benefits, your marginal increase is $1000. For which you are going to have to work 2000 hours. That works out to 50 cents and hour marginal gain. So from a purely self-centered view, you're better off keeping the free time than taking the job. It's a perverse incentive and it is only one of them. Even if you fix the pension and demographic problems, this part will eventually overwhelm any welfare state.

*Using US numbers since there the ones with which I'm most familiar. While the specific values will change for the UK and various EU countries, the principle remains the same.

London officials declare cabbie-bothering Uber is legal – for now

Tom 13

Re: Taxi driver

Theoretically the fastest routes are the ones along the edge of the paper.

If this is the level of your practical thinking, I don't ever want to work with you on any project. I've never been in a city where that is true. There's always some practical consideration that subverts it. In my neck of the woods, it's the fact that the roads are in fact not a grid.

Tom 13

Re: On that note

I can see an argument for the taxi and not the mail. For the mail, they have an established route that goes by the delivery location every day anyway. A change in the route resulting from road work doesn't change that the mail still has and constant delivery schedule. Taxis are definitely ad hoc, heading only to your destination at the specific time you hire them and only for that trip. So charging for the detour seems fair, so long as the detour is actually for road work and is the shortest/quickest (depending on your which minimum you are seeking given known congestion) route to the destination. The problem is too many people don't feel taxis deliver that service.

No spinning rust here: Supermicro's cold data fridge is FROZEN

Tom 13

re: pricing compare to the high capacity tape systems?

Probably not relevant per your observation later: Tends to be driven by logically faulty laws.

It's been years since I ran into the issue. I was working for a small screwdriver shop at the time and our big client was a small local bank chain. In response to a new banking regulation they had to have all transactions from some date forward accessible on the network. The only way they could find to comply was building out a needlessly large array that they planned to increase by half a terrabyte a year. Of course that was back when a terrabyte was an unbelievably large amount of storage. To get the same effect today you'd have to say you were planning to expand your storage by 500 Petabytes a year.

Also, your caveats on optical drive storage apply equally to tapes. Spinning rust doesn't solve the issue as much as it side steps it. Since the data needs to be maintained live, it gets copied whenever you change the underlying storage format.

I would say that the one advantage of paper over microfiche is, properly stored it has about the same life span and it doesn't get those streaky lines from the readers.

You've got two weeks to beat off Cryptolocker, GameoverZeus nasties

Tom 13

@ ken jay

we should be carefull of what we click and always check that you know the sender and you are expecting this email.

We have a user here who got hit by someone last week. It came from a user he knew. It said it was a government GMail account and a document had been shared. Document title looked appropriate for an ongoing discussion he's having with the sender. Clicked on the link and ....

Not sure how the security incident is being resolved because I'm not part of it. But users talk, especially when they get hit while doing everything the IT Security Training courses tell them to do. Could he have picked up the phone and confirmed the document was actually sent by the user? Sure. But in your standard office environment, is it reasonable to expect every user to call the sender each time they receive a document? Because sending an earlier email saying you are about to send a document won't necessarily help in this instance.

Supreme Court nixes idea of 'indirect' patent infringement

Tom 13

Re: The patent

No very similar prior art.

While I generally concur with the intent of that statement it generates problems. Consider machining a new fastener which includes a novel way that improves the strength of the connection for the size of the fastener. The initial applicant patents it. A competitor looks at the patent and comes up with a novel way to avoid a couple of machining operations required by the initial applicant. Under the current system the competitor can patent the improvement. Under your example he can't. Second patent still has to pay the first because he still had the original concept. The first doesn't have to pay the second so long as he follows his old method, but if he wants to improve the process he has to pay the second person.

Tom 13

Re: Interesting ruling, but

But what if a drug company develops a pill that's a cure for leukemia, and someone copies it by producing a pill that contains all but a couple ingredients

No worries there mate. Lots of places do that now only they don't even separate out a component or two. Some just ignore patent law completely, others put up smoke screens about social justice. But the drug companies have worked it out. Sucks to be me in their solution since I get to pay for all the free loaders, but hey it's all good for social judgement and sticks it to the man.

Tom 13

Re: Once more . . .

Something has to be done as the Federal Circuit is clearly - as the Supreme Court shows - misconstruing, ignoring or attempting to subvert statutes and precedent in order to rule consistently in favour of patent holders.

Remove the specificity of it being SCOTUS and patents and you have a more general and accurate indictment of our current court system. Too often the courts subvert the clear wording of the laws to enable some outcome they deem socially beneficial. The problem here is that there is a good reason that power was reserved to legislatures. Legislatures can say "oops we goofed, let's undo that" courts can't. Their precedents stand.

Is the answer to life, the universe and everything hidden in Adams' newly uncovered archive?

Tom 13

Re: "how many mice are needed to screw in a light bulb?"

That joke is so 1980s. These days you couldn't get 2 cockroaches in a light bulb. Or at least, what laughingly passes for a light bulb.

SCIENCE explains why you LOVE the smell of BACON

Tom 13

Re: If God cared enough he'd rescind those rules.

He did. But only for True Believers.

Tom 13

Yep, bacon even makes bacon better.

Tom 13

Re: And when did pigs become indigenous to the US?

Quite some time ago:


Tom 13

Re: see it all washed down with copious amounts of Coke.

No, no, no, no! The proper breakfast drink is copious amounts of Florida Orange Juice made from California oranges.

Tom 13

Re: Yank my chain

Leave it to El Reg's staff to get 'Merkin bacon wrong. Proper bacon is never crisp. It is fatty and chewy. Properly cooked, the fat is a translucent color with just enough brown so you know it has been near heat. Canadian bacon isn't, it is ham by a different name.

Congressman pitches bill to disarm FCC in net neutrality warfare

Tom 13

Re: Congratulations on the correct use of "fascist".

Wrong. Mussolini's Fascism is connected to the Roman concept by name only. For Mussolini it was the State controlling the businesses to control the population. It's roots in Fabian/Socialist/Communist* philosophy put the state over the business interests.

*You may wish to argue over the leaves and branches, I want the whole tree removed.

USA! USA! ... Aw, screw it. Motorola to close Texas smartphone plant

Tom 13

Re: Turns out it really is hard to make things in the US, after all

I turned in expecting to find some insight into cost or regulatory issues which make it more difficult to manufacture things here in the US. What I read instead was a laundry list of EPIC FAIL from Motorola:

On launch, the Moto Maker store – one of the Moto X's key selling points – was available only in the US. British and European customers weren't able to order custom versions of the device until almost a year later.

What's more, some customization options such as phone back pieces made out of real wood weren't even available to US customers until months after the phone launched.

...but added a number of unique, user-friendly features, such as pervasive voice control and a "contextually aware" lock screen that reacts to sensors.

You can't sell product if your supply chain isn't up and running when you start selling things. You can't sell to people who can't access the website. This whole damn thing looks like it was setup to fail, or at best take advantage of some national short term tax write offs and maybe some bennies given by Texas.

US citizens want stricter CO2 regulations by two to one – Yale poll

Tom 13

Re:the quantifiable physics of radiative forcing

Because for all you claim it is quantifiable, nobody has accurately measured it, then published the paper including the raw data as well as the corrective formulas.

Tom 13

Re: linked to a project page for a climate change communication project.

He didn't link, the author did. To the people who allegedly ran the unbiased poll. They're as unbiased as the National Tobacco Institute. The smokestacks and the open remark prove it.

And the poll is worthless. They don't tell you anything about the internals. Which means their poll, like the hockey stick and the tree rings is bullshit.

Tom 13

Re: This one is predictable

If it's from Krugman, it's reliably wrong. If its from the NYT it's reliably wrong. You're so called facts are screwed either way.

Seedy hacker steals 1300 Monsanto client and staff records

Tom 13

Re: Being neither American nor at all clued-in

Because like all Progressive Fascists, they don't really give a crap about technology or IP rights no matter how much they protest to the contrary. They've been told Monsanto should be the object of a good 2 minute hate, and they daily engage in one.

MH370 'pings' dismissed as false positives

Tom 13

Re: Surprise!!!

My money is on they don't find this plane, but they will eventually find Amelia Earhart's lost plane.

Still watching DVDs? You're a planet-killing carbon hog!

Tom 13

Re: Why not simply suggest that america

We've considered those options. But we've determined that as in the 1770s, we still have no desire to abandon the project and return home.

But thanks for the thought.

Tom 13

Re: going to the cinema is a crime against the planet, too?

In more ways than one these days. But that's a different topic.

Tom 13

Re: diesel to natural gas

Are you sure that works net on net? According to the tree huggers methane is even worse than diesel as a warming agent and with more of it being moved around, more of it is sure to inadvertently leak into the atmosphere.

Seems to me the only way to do that is move the trucks to battery and the electric generation to nukes, solar, or unicorn farts. And as we've already examined the problems with those to death here on El Reg, I'll leave it at they seem pretty pointless as well.

Tom 13

Re: films like Frozen or Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs.

Be thankful for that. It could be Sponge Bob or Hannah Montana.

Tom 13

Re: end of its CO2 footprint regardless of how many

Actually not. Each time it is played there is probably an additional CO2 contribution for the player, the monitor/tv, and possibly air/heat and/or lighting in the room. The real question is, assuming everything but the player are constant vs streaming, does the player use more, less, or the same energy on subsequent viewings? As noted, since the graphics are crap I can't tell which way those bits fall. Also, when I follow the link I get a page not found error. So the three cases would fall out thus:

* more energy for player just leads to increasing theoretical gains for streaming.

* The same energy reduces the percentage of improvement over streaming asymptotically toward the energy profile of streaming.

* lower than streaming eventually gives less carbon to physical media.

However I do have to say that while it may on occasion be intellectually stimulating to try to logically debate how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, it is still pretty pointless outside of that realm.

Tom 13

Re: Amazon sent a few pallet loads of money and some hookers

Sounds like maybe you should sue Amazon for anti-competive behavior under the Sherman Anti-trust Act.

No, wait. So sorry, I forgot: that act is only available to Amazon when suing Apple.

Amazon turns screws on French publisher: Don't feel sorry for Hachette, it's just 'negotiation'

Tom 13

Re: it was a court, and a pretty comprehensive trashing it was, too.

Every contract, combination in the form of trust or otherwise, or conspiracy, in restraint of trade or commerce among the several States, or with foreign nations, is declared to be illegal.


Every person who shall monopolize, or attempt to monopolize, or combine or conspire with any other person or persons, to monopolize any part of the trade or commerce among the several States, or with foreign nations, shall be deemed guilty...


It's flat out wrong to say the act was to protect consumers. The language clearly demarcates it is about not restraining trade. Apple did NOT restrain trade. Any publisher who gained a cost saving edge was free to cut prices to suppliers. The MFN clause does NOT prohibit that. It just says you the business can't charge Apple more as a means of generating the monies which allow a competitor better pricing. In effect, the MFN clause is Sherman Anti-trust Act language included in the legally binding contract between the two companies.

What the trusts did that caused the law to be passed was to create monopolies which allowed them to set prices at will. At this point in time, Amazon is the Standard Oil of online direct sales. Their behavior as cited is precisely price setting behavior, and worse it is not simply price setting behavior on something they produce, but on the producers of something they sell.

This is plain and clear for anyone who actually reads the law for the sake of the law instead of promoting a personal vendetta.

Tom 13

Re: it was a court, and a pretty comprehensive trashing it was, too.

And the whole time you were holding up that deal, WE told you it was all a smoke screen to leave Amazon in a position to dictate to publishers the prices at which they will operate. In short, yet another government sanctioned monopoly because Amazon were the ones greasing the political wheels.

But no, you wouldn't hear the truth because Amazon is a good little progressive Nazi.

Poll: Climate change now more divisive than abortion, gun control

Tom 13

Re: I'm writing from New Hampshire

Typical Progressive. You crapped in your home until it was unlivable, then invaded elsewhere and are now converting it into the same sort of hellhole you just left. But you denigrate the people who kept your new home safe and pristine until your arrival.

Tom 13

Re: Consensus & Modelling

Minor nit: the Earth being flat was never really a scientific consensus. More of a popular misconception. We knew at least as far back as the Greeks that the Earth was spherical and that knowledge was never lost even if it took Magellan's voyage to definitively prove it to the satisfaction of some. Not sure why this persists as an urban legend, but that is probably the nature of urban legends. I'd probably substitute "heavy objects fall faster than light ones".

Otherwise spot on.

I'll add one other note. I have a friend who does some work that feeds into computer modeling. He's noted that you don't use the real physics equations in most models because they fail rapidly in the computational matrix. Instead you use some sort of linear approximation that looks similar to the real equation. But then you have to know when to switch to a different linear approximation. Seems like the sort of thing that is useful when modeling well understood mechanisms, but a hell of a way to go about predicting things that aren't well understood.

Tom 13

Re: These kind of polls do nothing to further the debate.

It's not about the debate. It's all about the benjamins (or bullseyes for Brits, but that doesn't scan quite so well), even here on El Reg where the guarantee of 4 pages of posts drives up the ad revenue.

Tom 13

@ dan1980

No, his example is spot on.

The only reason you think it's a strawman argument is that you've been through enough summer and winter cycles to KNOW that the temperature curve isn't linear. If you were to compare actual climate data with the time period Micky in Micky's example, we'd be maybe 3 minutes into the 6 weeks. And it doesn't matter how rigorously you reviewed that 3 minutes worth of data, it is worthless without at least one summer cycle.

Tom 13

Re: insightful argument and links to evidence which supports your argument?

Well that's the rub isn't it. We skeptics hold that the political aspects have so overwhelmed the studies that even the evidence has been corrupted, which makes an insightful argument citing it impossible. There's only one way to get the discussion back on track, and the warmists refuse to do it:

Publish the raw data, the correction equations and methodology, and all the parameters for the models in an open source style release so anyone can examine it from the ground up.

Tom 13

Re: Yet another poll from the warmists

Perhaps he should have included a question about how trustworthy Tea Party types think Social Scientists are. In my own admittedly small poll, I found they are the only group rated lower than "environmental" scientists.

Why are Fujitsu and Toshiba growing lettuce in semiconductor plants?

Tom 13

Yamamoto needs to stop in fly-over country instead of just denigrating it.*

“is still is an industry where people do work based on their knowledge and their skill sets and intuition.

Agricultural farming today is almost as high tech as working on a server farm. You establish the exact position of your farm, contract to a satellite data analysis service and have them fax or email you the data on how much fertilizer, pesticide, and water to add to which portions of the field. If you're on the bleeding edge of the technology, you get a data download with GPS coordinates to plug into your tractor to automate the process.

*Absent that, maybe he should at least catch up on his Lois and Clark episodes. Lois made the same gaff when visiting Clark's parents.

You know all those resources we're about to run out of? No, we aren't

Tom 13

A small amount of gold is used in almost every sophisticated electronic device. This includes: cell phones, calculators, personal digital assistants, global positioning system units and other small electronic devices. Most large electronic appliances such as television sets also contain gold.

One challenge with the use of gold in very small quantities in very small devices is loss of the metal from society. Nearly one billion cell phones are produced each year and most of them contain about fifty cents worth of gold. Their average lifetime is under two years and very few are currently recycled. Although the amount of gold is small in each device, their enormous numbers translate into a lot of unrecycled gold.


It's not often one gets to call Warren Buffett and idiot, but in this instance he is.

Tom 13

Re: Paper rots quite quicky.

Not in a modern land fill. And by modern, I mean pretty much anything after 1930. There was an archeology class that did a "dig" in a landfill. They pulled out readable newspapers from 1945.

In an attempt to do away with the awkward smell of your typical dump, we've created zones where no decay mechanisms are at work. Clay lined pits, no drainage into the local water system, etc. It seems to me sensible garbage processing would find ways to easily extract the recyclable bits, then turn the rest into a sludge that you purposely decompose, possibly yielding other resources that while not directly profitable at least offset some of the cost of rendering the garbage into something that is more readily disposed. But again, its a game of price point numbers.

Tom 13

Re: I divide recycling into three types

there is no practical way to decompose it into the basic elements of sand, water, aggregate and cement that went into its formation. emphasis added.

It doesn't say it can't be done. It says it isn't practical to do so. Which was exactly his point. Theoretically, you can do it. Even if it involves a nuclear reactor and targeting particles at certain nuclei. But that isn't necessarily practical.

Tom 13

Re: areas of acute poverty, recycling what we in the UK or USA

It is rare to find a statement which is absolutely true, so within certain limits, yes. Sometimes those areas of acute poverty are taking things apart by hand because a shyster has sold them a bill of goods without explaining about the toxic materials involved. Absent that I concur.

Tom 13

Re: It is because being a member of the EU

No. I was looking at a Venn diagram of your EU arrangements the other day. It's positively Byzantine. Withdrawing from the EU doesn't necessarily withdraw you from the EU Trade arrangements, only the harmonization bits that are driving so many Brits to fits. By all means, keep the trade agreement, but kick the world government without representation to the curb. It works even less well for you than your monarchy did for us on this side of the pond.

Tom 13

Re: they're going to be long gone from their post before

I wouldn't say that exactly. Maybe on your side of the pond, but I doubt it even there. We have idiots who manage to stay on the high salary plus retirement benefits public dole for 30+ years. They're always in office when it hits the fan. They're just good at shifting the blame.

Tom 13

Re: Ahem. @ BlueGreen @Squander Two

Clearly oil will run out. It's been predicted for decades. But 'only a couple of years ago' is not long term. Or is it?

Every 5 years since at least back to 1970, some august body of sanctimonious idiots has predicted that we will run out of oil within 15 years. That's a long enough track record from me to put you in with the rest of the end of the world doomsayers.

Tom 13

Re: Ahem. @ BlueGreen @Squander Two

Acknowledged fossil fuels are running out, nuke builds are getting behind schedule..

Blah, blah, blah, blah blah.

Look here you sanctimonious pinhead: Your kind have been making this exact prediction since the 1970s when the bogey man was the coming ice age instead of global warming. We were supposed to be out of oil no later than 1995 which was going to cause WWIII which was going to leave the cockroaches in charge of the planet. Your track record for predictions is worse than Herbert W. Armstrong. At least after three failed end of the world predictions he learned not to do that any more.

Tom 13

@ Squander Two

> It may, it may not, but either you don't assume it, or you do and you make that assumption explicit. He didn't.

Oh, please. If someone doesn't explicitly state "I think we might be using different technology in a thousand years' time," the rest of their argument is rendered invalid?"

What's even more amusing is, that's exactly the assumption all the tree huggers make when talking about "renewables". They don't know exactly how it's going to work, but as soon as they get those evil money grubbing corporations out of the way, the science will be simple. But they don't state explicitly that they don't know how we're going to get there.

Tom 13

Re: What has happened to the good science journalists?

It's simples:

The Progressives heard Bill Murray's line from Ghostbusters and made it the cornerstone of their agenda. You know the line: "Back off man. I'm a scientist."

Boffin fights fire with EXPLOSIVES instead of water

Tom 13

Re: Is there anything that WonderJake can't do?

Get lost?

Tom 13

@ Grikath

No, the oil well example is still starving the well for oxygen. The heat from the fire raises the temperature of all the metal in the oil rig above the ignition point. Because it is raw oil, it takes a bit of time for the heat to vaporize the easily flammable bits so you have some time to get in and cap the well. But if all you did was detonate the bomb, the fire would eventually ignite again.

Still a different beast because it is a point source, not a long line of ignition. In theory, if you could run explosive all the way around the perimeter of the fire and detonate it simultaneously, you could do the same thing with a brush fire. But it's sort of like the random swap sort algorithm*, it works, but it's impractical.

*Friend of mine from college told me about a friend who submitted this one is a first level course. It's not quite a bogosort. Instead it first checks to see if the list is sorted. If it isn't it selects two random elements. If they are in order it selects another set of random elements. When it find a pair that aren't in order it swaps them, then checks to see if the list is in order. Even in the 1980s the sort would complete on a normal computer, it just took an inordinate amount of time.

Tom 13

Re: oil continued to gush out but now not burning.

Yep. And sometimes they had a limited time to get in and cap the well before the fire restarted because metal might still be hot enough to restart it.

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