* I don't think campaign financing is that big of a deal in Germany
* There are a lot of TV ads from politically extreme or plain weird parties during election time. There also is a satirical party that makes pretty funny ads.
* The politically extreme parties can refund their advertising costs if they are above a certain threshold of votes, which causes some controversy
Edit for clarity: of course every party can refund their expenses, but for politically extreme parties this is controversial
I disagree with this one. How about this instead?
* Create a legal doctrine that linking is legally the equivalent of a citation in a printed publication
If something is protected free speech in a book or magazine or newspaper or flyer, it should be so on the internet. If something would not be protected free speech when published in a book, etc., then I don't see why merely being published on the internet should make a difference.
In other words, the internet is just another publication medium. In most areas it does not need different laws. The ones we have for other media are fine.
I bet the MPAA et al have used this tactic to their own advantage thus far. I'm aware of this concept from negotiation tactics and it's made me think of the current situation in a completely different way. Thanks Joel.
I think a good case can be made that different durations are appropriate for these rights, and also that different durations are appropriate for different kinds of works.
Let's start with artistic works. In particular, let's consider the infamous Mickey Mouse copyrights.
The reproduction right should be fairly short. It's purpose is to allow the creator to get paid for their time and effort in creating the work. We maximize creating of new works if creators can get paid for creating. If creators cannot do so, and so have to turn to ancillary methods of making money, they have less time for creating. (This is why the argument that musicians can make their living touring is not persuasive to me. I'd much rather have great musicians creating new music than spending a lot of time playing their old songs over and over and over to make a living. How would we feel as programmers if employers did not pay us to program--they hired us to do tech support, and then told us that we should be writing programs on our down time so there would be something to provide tech support for?).
I think it is quite reasonable for the derivative works right, on the other hand, to have a very long term. That encourages other artists to come up with new characters to tell their stories. I think we'd have a lot less great cartoon characters if everyone who wants to make a cartoon could just make their own Mickey Mouse cartoon.
A long derivative works right also helps preserve our culture, by preserving the artistic integrity of bodies of work. A fictional character, such as a Mickey Mouse, or a Frodo, or a Harry Potter, or a Sherlock Holmes, has a personality, character, mannerisms, morals, etc., developed by the creator. They become in a sense real and part of our culture. If someone else comes along and starts producing fiction with those characters that does not fit in with how those characters should behave, it diminishes the value of the original to society. If you want to write stories about hot boy on boy wizard sex, make up your own wizards--leave Harry and Ron alone.
To summarize so far, for artistic works like films (including cartoons) and fictional books, I'd like to see a relatively short reproduction right combined with very long derivative works rights.
For utilitarian works, such as computer programs, it would not make sense to have a long derivative works right. Programs do not become beloved parts of our culture. (Characters introduced in programs sometimes do--Mario and Zelda are good examples, so I'd argue that while the game code for a Zelda game should have a short derivative work right because it is a program, if you make a game based on it you would have to come up with new characters).
I'd also be careful not to stir the hornets' nest that is the patents system. Depending on how you do it, you end up on the opposite side of companies like Apple and Microsoft, which you need on board for any push on copyright (easing copyright rules would make it easier for them to keep building tools for creatives; easing the patent system will just make life easier for their competitors). Patents, copyright and trademarks are not as closely intertwined as some people believe, they are actually very different concepts.
1) How are we going to prevent this powerful lobby group from betraying us (the smaller guys) in the laws they lobby for?
2) How are we going to determine who gets to participate in this equal share of air time on these YouTube/FaceBook spots? Do I get a spot if I want one? Who gets to decide? The same GOP/DNC? How do we prevent YouTube/Facebook from working deals with candidates for favors after they get elected? How do we guarantee candidate A has the same face time as candidate B? What if candidate B is campaigning on shutting down this technology lobby, will he still get face time?
I suppose all of his suggestions are better than the current situation, but I don't feel they are that much better. We are still going to have to become incredibly vigilant and anti-apathetic with these new powerful groups we form, and I just don't think that's realistic, given our current situation.
Google, Facebook, etc. could be the main contributors, but smaller companies would donate too (there might be a very significant long tail).
It could lobby for everything Joel talks about.
I am not 100% sure about this, but isn't the "Internet economy" much, much larger than the "Entertainment economy?"
I don't hold out much hope of curing the corruption in our political system but I do hope that we can continue shining a bright light at corruption so more people know what is happening. Unfortunately it is the threat of a bright light of public accountability that causes attacks on Internet freedoms.
I fully support a move away from TV-dominated campaigns to Internet-dominated campaigns, especially since the Internet is more interactive anyway.
Ten years as a period for copyright? How about you go first.
Since the tech industry understands copyright so much better than everyone else it might be good for them to set an example and show all the 'old' dodo-like industries how it's done.
After ten years all code should be made open-source. Google has made plenty of money - and I think it's time that they release their algorithm so other innovative and disruptive companies can make better use of it. I mean, how many Google bikes can one ride behind?
Fogcreek has had a nice run too - surely some open-sourced FogBugz would be of great value in second and third world countries that have emergent tech sectors but can't possibly afford the cost of the real service? Certainly, even 10-year-old Fogbugz is going to help society a lot more than license-free copies of My Big Fat Greek Wedding  or Stuart Little 2 .
Anyway, since many of these places exchange rates means they could never purchase software in the first place, it's not like there would be any lost sales, right?
Oh another thing: very important:: a short term of copyright like a few years would be the biggest boon to Hollywood ever as they could simply sit and wait for works to drop into the public domain before turning around and producing them without paying the creators a penny. There would be tons of creators strung along via a studio option - just long enough till the work dropped into the public domain. It would harder than ever for individuals to profit from their creative work and easier than ever for Hollywood to make money off of it.
So - sorry to say - I'm a bit disappointed! But that's just my fault - assuming that people who knew so well the cure for the ills of the content industry would actually have an idea about how that world works. My bad.
I think calling Congress could be effective, but it'd be hard to get the volume required to make a difference, and there is no bill to explicitly support. Likewise, an IIAA might work, but it seems like Google, Facebook, and Twitter would have to be deeply involved to make a difference.
My only remaining thought is to use the tactics of the MPAA and RIAA: hire a lobbyist. The only thing I could think of would be a sort of Kickstarter project. Everyone pledges money, and once a target is reached, a lobbyist is hired to draft a bill on Issue X, and lobby Congress for its passage. There'd have to be a sympathetic member of Congress in order to introduce the bill, and I'm sure a serious amount of money would have to be raised, but this is the only way I can think of that the average joe on the Internet could do anything besides complain on HN. Thoughts?
Its easy to kvetch on your favorite Internet forum, but if you get things started your Congressional reps will listen.
This is way easier than cold-calling a customer!
These are numbers that are pretty small compared to the value and salaries generated in either the entertainment or tech industries. The difference is that the entertainment industry has developed the culture and institutions to direct some of their value toward political activities. The tech industry largely has not.
Joel's idea of free political advertising on tech properties could be problematic because advertising, even if freely given, has an economic value. Corporations are expressly forbidden from donating money to federal political campaigns, so this whole idea might be squashed by the FEC.
I'm not sure what this fixes. I already get to see and hear campaign ads incessantly. What would be my desire to go watch more on YouTube? They've already become background noise to me because the messages originating from the candidates and super PACs range from heavily spun at best to plainly false. I don't learn anything from them.
Better would be to offer more compelling solutions than ads. Things like highly interactive, real-time Q/A and debating schemes would engage the electorate by allowing them to rapidly see who is for real and who is an empty, purchased, Presidential-looking shell.
I'll throw out one specific idea: during debates, let's have a Watson-like presence on stage that is, in real time, able to display the BS-factor of what's being uttered. Wouldn't that be fun?
(1) I wish I could upvote this article 100 times. I am in complete agreement with Gowers. I published a couple of articles in Elsevier journals in grad school, because my advisor thought it would be important to get my first job, but I'm pretty confident I can avoid this from now on.
(2) There are free online-only journals, e.g. http://www.integers-ejcnt.org/, unfortunately they are not very prestigious. I don't know what can be done to remedy this.
(3) One commenter suggested that peer reviewers should be compensated, but I disagree. First of all, you don't really "sign up" to do it; typically editors pick someone they know and just ask them to referee. I do a fair bit of this. It is not an unproductive use of time, as keeping up with research literature and thinking critically about it is already part of our job.
In addition, we are paid in a somewhat unusual way; we get flat salaries (plus grants) and are expected to do "service" in addition to research and teaching. If refereeing paid substantial money, where other informal methods of participating in the mathematical community do not, I think this would lead to an odd system of incentives. For example, for me a referee report might well take anywhere between five minutes and twenty hours. What amount of compensation would be fair? And would there be pressure for more favorable reviews?
(Note that "informal methods of participating in the mathematical community do not pay" is only mostly true.)
Feel free to ask me questions.
I'm surprised nobody has done it yet, there must be some stumbling block I'm not aware of.
Rough on those articles, and will leave (some) gaps in your references, but that is Elsevier's actual source of power.
The editorial team could be selected through a semi-democratic process, if required.
Is it that tough? How many big names in science are required to pull this through? The technology is dead-simple - the main problem is to cross the critical threshold of number of articles submitted and number of editors.
edit; It turns out there is something worth taking a look at on the front page right now:
They seem to have become one of the very few reliable communication hubs for individuals with, let's say very strong personal views (i.e. Anonymous, Hackers, Etc).
Willful participation in a DDoS doesn't sound like a good idea (being a criminal offense in Poland) just as much as the whole concept of getting the government to change their mind by taking down their websites (especially those belonging to parties not involved in the ACTA ratification process). One thing that folks behind this seem to have failed to learn from the SOPA battle is to make it impossible for the government to present the protesters as the bad guys in this situation in the mass media.
I'm definitely going to the protest.
Safecast (http://blog.safecast.org/) is "a global sensor network for collecting and sharing radiation measurements to empower people with data about their environments." They are working on some really awesome tech and helping people in Japan.
So for example, in line with the first theorem you can algorithmically verify/decide all statements in a subset of Euclidean Geometry (the subset which does not deal well with circles). And in the second part you can have theories which can verify themselves. Or that it is possible to prove a theory complete and consistent as long as you can find a suitably powerful model outside of it.
The following sentences have some of the 'flavor' of Godel's theorems:
"This sentence is false." â'if true, then false.
"These are not words." â'if true, then irreconcilable with its own truth.
(mathematicians: is that right?)
"ya. it means that there is an unlimited space in between every number."
I haven't studied GĂ¶del's proof and have to admit I would probably have to brush up quite a bit on my maths to be able to, but to me this simple joke offers a more pedagogical and perhaps more meaningful understanding of GĂ¶del's (first) incompleteness theorem.
How many people would be more likely to watch if they expect something similarly funny to happen?
I can't think of a single reason why someone who had the intention of watching the match would no longer be interested in it because of a two minute clip (loosely related to the match and not containing any "spoilers"). On the other hand I can think of a reason why someone who didn't know about or was debating watching, will now watch.
The clip added value, not simply didn't reduce it.
This is an obvius mistake, as not all of the 3 Million from Dec 2010 continued to be a customer in Sept 2011. I roughly assume they lost 800.000 customers in that span (i think its more), then the newly aquired customers triple to 1.2 Million. Thus Zynga makes 50$ profit per customer.
Good god. My concern would be whether they will still be able to milk people for $150 after there are 12 step programs and "just say no to Zynga" PSAs.
sounds like crystal gazing to me.
To pick a few examples, range-based for, variadic templates, and non-static data member initializers are huge improvements to the language.
Great. Finally a reason enough to go back to C :-)
Or is it telling us that people who get to choose (free software) aren't going to be using C++11?
I can't tell.
The point is that defence is the one area where you are meant to take the very long view. Australia has fastidiously and consistently kept up its end of the ANZUS alliance. We had experience in exercising secondary sovereignty due to our long allegiance to Britain. When the mother country proved to be incapable of defending us in World War II, we started sending our soldiers to fight in American wars instead of British ones.
You think we'd have learned the lesson that empires can be selectively blind when time comes to deliver the serious help.
The one interesting little twist in the Australian defence architecture is that we have a nuclear science organisation that has been maintained since the 1950s. The official reason is for the science, but it just so happens that we have a cadre of several hundred scientists of the kind you'd need to build a bomb in a few years if that seemed necessary. Plus quite a few British scientists who worked on the British weapons program retired here in the 60s and 70s. Perhaps as a thankyou for letting the Brits blow up Maralinga they passed on a few hints.
But really, it all comes back to the central problem that none of our politicians can tell their elbow from their arsehole, or TCP from tea. The guy who was chosen to negotiate the AUSFTA was a farmer who didn't understand the fuss about the IP provisions. We've had a series of Communications ministers who are an exciting mix of different species of arrogant ignorami.
Technology is not taken seriously in this country. That's the bottom line.
If the USA interfered with our footy finals it would be war.
One of our prime ministers once referred to Australia as "the arse end of the world". Seems more like the US is the arsehole of the world and they've got us (and others like the UK) puckering up
I really detest the way our politicians, from both sides, grovel to and fawn over the US. The reaction of Gillard (our current PM) to Obama's recent visit was just downright embarrassing. But what can we do? I wish we were more like the NZ of old who told the US Navy where to go http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ANZUS#New_Zealand_bans_nuclear_... (very much watered down account. it was a huge political rebuff to the US at the time)
Luckily NZ is too small for anyone to care. Hopefully we get to keep our ban on software patents a little longer. Although the recently introduced "3 strikes" law (ISPs are forced to monitor your interent use, and warn you if you get caught on an MPAA honeypot torrent. 3 warnings and your internet connection is cut) is dubious.
3 strikes law: http://www.itnews.com.au/News/254485,new-zealand-passes-thre...
NZ/US FTA: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Zealand%E2%80%93United_Stat...
Interesting side note, the founder of Megaupload was hunted down in New Zealand.
This sort of sums up Reddit for me. 4chan is an example of what some Usenet groups were years ago, a community of like minded individuals debating their world views which are fundamentally similar and who share a common background/mindset. I suspect there is a relationship between the commonality of the participants and the vibrancy of the community.
It has been my experience that when you take a set of self selected folks and give them a wide ranging area to discuss, their discussions about most topics are energetic and self-reenforcing. This makes for a very strong community experience.
I first noticed it hanging out with 'air force' kids (which is to say early in my life everyone I hung out with, their parents, like mine, were serving in the air force). That shared experience, moving from base to base, base housing which was always nearly the same, stores with the same goods, etc, we (the kids) seemed to have remarkably similar views about things. I noticed it again when I went to college, the bulk of the folks who entered engineering were all there for similar reasons and that created a community with a common set of interests and values. For many folks college was the first place they had experienced the 'community effect' that arises when there is a 'kind of people' selection criteria affecting the overall group.
I am glad for the successes of Reddit. Staying vibrant and alive will be a challenge, it is for any community, but they have a good start.
I disagree with the article; there is no one reddit culture. One can go to r/politics, r/gardening, r/fitness, or r/askscience for example, and they all feature their own cultures and own biases. For example r/fitness has a culture focusing on weight lifting for fitness. But for people who are into fitness through running, there is r/running. The same thing goes for politics: r/politics tends to be left leaning, but you can find right leaning people in order subreddits.
There are thousands of vibrant community subreddits were people with similar interests (and sometimes opinions) participate. All with their own cultures and moderation rules for what are acceptable posts.
Subreddits combined with voting and good moderation make reddit way better than usenet, Digg in its heyday, or 4chan.
So please don't deny the good for the perfect.
Reddit, has been ridiculed enough for being bad for X reasons. But hey, that's the only thing existing out there. And it works well for vast majority of the people. People who are out there just for chat or a serious discussion on a sub reddit.
I have seen that this thing works in many cases. If you have some good idea that can solve problems. Work on it and get an implementation out. Even if for the moment the working quality of that thing or the implementation quality of that thing isn't upto the mark.
This can be seen manifest in things like programming languages too! People criticize Php/Perl for all sort of reasons. But hey, remember they are so much useful and practical in the real world the elusive perfect that is supposed to replace never comes into existence. Because the elusive perfect is always in never ending path of ideation and implementation, in form of some abstract concept.
People call bash scripts and solutions hacked together using sed/bash/Unix text processing utilities crud, non readable, not elegant or whatever. But remember they often serve as the fastest way to solve some very difficult problems in seconds/minutes. While an equivalent verbose elegant language would take hours of effort writing and testing the program.
Sometimes an existing ugly solution survives in the real world, it wins and persists and nothing really replaces it. For many reasons, it was first to arrive. It convinces people that it can be useful to them. It is practical, it can survive and maintain the niche for a long time.
Meanwhile the elusive perfection, never arrives.
Reddit works and wins on the same principles.
Has Reddit considered providing a public backup functionality ala Wikipedia? Anyone have thoughts on this?
1. They didn't screw up their site. 2. They scaled. Not without struggles tho.
So Hollywood's finally figuring out their representatives can't be trusted to act in their interests? Shame, that. Must be tough. They have my sympathy. No, really, I mean it. Can't imagine what they're going through.
The answer isn't to kick these specific bums out. It is to change campaign finance laws to make contributions illegal. I'm not sure what people here would agree to that doesn't amount to censorship though. Should the MPAA be disallowed to make a political commercial and pay for its broadcast?
My cat would be a better lobbyist.
There, I said it!
That statement is neither proof that I am a corrupt insider, nor is it sufficient evidence that I have control over Barack Obama.
"Bribery, a form of corruption, is an act implying money or gift given that alters the behavior of the recipient. Bribery constitutes a crime and is defined by Black's Law Dictionary as the offering, giving, receiving, or soliciting of any item of value to influence the actions of an official or other person in charge of a public or legal duty."
However, it does raise questions about lobbies in general. I'm not american, so when I arrived here, I was surprised by how widespread the phenomenon was, and I've been trying to understand the reasons behind it. From what I read, lobbies basically give money to politicians for their campaigns is that right?
My first question is: why do they need that money? I mean, where I'm from (France), politicians don't spend a tenth of what their american counterparts spend for there campaign. So how did the US arrive to a point where so much money is needed to win an election?
My only guess is that they noticed that the probability of being elected was proportional to their media visibility. Meaning that some people vote for the guy they see the most on tv. And when I say "some people", I mean a lot of people. So my second question is: "Is our voting behavior not responsible for the phenomenon of lobbying"?
Again, this is an external point of view. Please do tell me if I'm missing something.
Many folks think that there is already way too much money in politics, particularly to those politicians who are incumbent. Consequently, if the MPAA/RIAA stop buying our politicians out from under us, maybe we'll get them to pay attention to us again.
That's really where the MPAA should be spending its money anyhow: convincing individual voters that piracy is hurting their business and what the effects will be. Honestly, I do think we need some modifications to the copyright regime in this country (US). I just want the MPAA/RIAA to stop bypassing the voters and appealing to the folks we elected to represent our interests.
If the MPAA/RIAA stop funding elections, that means victory for the rest of us.
Actually let us hope he makes a few more comments like this one so that even more people can see what the MPAA are really about.
There are some local rootstriker groups starting up in SF and what not trying to come up with a sane solution.
It goes to show how apathetic the general population is, how representative democracy really hinges on funding from corrupt corporations, and how the entire government structure of the United States needs reworking. It might be the people who vote, but right now, every politician knows that money buys more votes (campaigning, etc) than doing the right thing.
How is this not corruption?
David Pollack created lift. He also created and ran scala-tools.org, a maven repo and documentation host for scala stuff. He's recently decided to transition off much of his scala involvement, in part because his new startup visi.pro uses neither scala nor the jvm.
Several months ago he asked for help taking over scala-tools. There was not much response, and amongst the handful of people who stepped up, there was some sort of personality conflict.
In response, he temporarily shut it down and is transitioning the site to new hosts and maintainers. The internet is pitching a tantrum. Pollack is put out, since all the whiners where invisible when he was asking for new maintainers several months ago. Also, whiners who neither helped then and aren't stepping up to help now reek of entitlement: what right do they enjoy to Pollack's continued donation of time and money, just because he historically provided something the community liked?
83 days, 14 hours, 23 minutes, 11 seconds until this site shuts down. Contact me if you can take over maintenance.
Unless it's constantly in their face, they won't feel the urgency, and so they won't act.
However, now that Dave's said "time's up", the urgency is felt, but there's nothing people can do, thus their frustration.
You can say "The users should have known" till you're blue in the face, but so long as you fight against human nature rather than guiding them in ways reinforced by their nature, you have only yourself to blame for the fallout. Such is the responsibility that comes with leadership.
Consider this: An employee quits his job. Do you say "Yes, he has the right to quit, but..."? No. There is no "but". He has the right to quit, period.
Involuntary servitude isn't allowed even when someone is getting paid for it, what the hell makes you think it's acceptable when they aren't, and are even investing their own resources?
He's not being a jerk, he's not being harsh. His right in this matter is absolute, and he's already given the community more of an opportunity than was necessary -- legally, ethically, or socially -- to step up. He has no obligation of any kind to keep putting his time and money into it. If you want slavery, build yourself a time machine, don't demand that he do it for you.
It's not like his standpoint is wrong, or incorrect, even selfish or unreasonable. Yet it does still damage the community and nobody will take responsibility for said damage. This is why people get paid for things. No matter how altruistic your intentions and actions, if people come to rely on your service then they will be upset and frustrated when it disappears.
TL;DR - He's right, he doesn't owe anyone anything. That doesn't make his actions any less damaging though, and simply glossing over this as "user entitlement" is ignoring a systemic problem with unfunded open source projects.
It often bothers me the vitriol that open source projects get for not fixing some bug or even add some feature that certain user considers important. But I don't see a best course of action than simply ignoring them. There's no upside to wasting your time and mental energy replying.
(By the way, I agree with the author. I just think this post is preaching to the choir. The targeted people will just disregard it).
Seems to me that what we have here is a techie programmer type who does not entirely get customer relations, and hasn't managed to shape the message that well. Which is pretty much as it should be, the two skill sets don't usually collide. And I suppose why companies that can afford it get customer relation advice or employees. Perhaps some of these groups or what ever, should look for volunteers who do understand PR. Maybe they would be looking to bring this open source spirit out side of tech related areas.
Again he has every right to do what he is doing its his stuff , but its still a very disrespectful way he went about doing it.
He also points out that many fundamental economic principles are flawed, and have been proven to be flawed for years, but economists lack rigor, and would rather live in their "supply meets demand, actors are rational, and the market is in equilibrium" fantasy-land.
Oh, and in about 2006, he warned that there'd be a recession caused by a debt-deflation, just like in 1929. He warned that the government would continually underestimate its impact. He also thinks that the best way to "reset" the system is with a "modern jubilee" - the government engage in massive quantitative easing (which they won't, because they don't realise what's causing the crisis, and how bad it is), and should hand out the free money to tax-payers rather than giving it to banks, as the banks have lost their appetite for risk and won't create new money even if you feed them.
But mainstream economists only study basic calculus, linear algebra, and statistics, not ODEs, and don't believe anything they don't understand. A 50 year old professor (or central banker) isn't going to go back to school and sit in a class with sophomore engineers, just to be able to understand what "complexity theorists" and "econophysists" are talking about, so they just pretend that it doesn't exist. There's no conspiracy, they just don't read or teach anything more mathematically advanced than IS-LM (which is stone age). Their journals don't accept non-mainstream papers for "methodological reasons" (they don't understand basic differential equations), or because it "doesn't sit well with the current theory" (it proves them wrong) and since there's tens of thousands of them they tend to dominate the field.
As anyone who has studied complex systems understands, the evolution of interactions among even very simple agents is enormously sensitive to initial conditions. (That's often taken as the very definition of chaos in deterministic systems.) So it is almost always wrong to draw strong conclusions about a complex part of the real world based on your computational model of it: vary one parameter a little bit and you end up with something that looks completely different.
This is why agent-based models, like the one employed in this study, are widely despised in economics and the other social sciences despite offering a way to do experiments that would otherwise be impossible in these fields. We simply don't know enough about people and how they interact to build meaningful models, and we probably never will.
For example, an economist might point out that the model presented in this paper doesn't account for the spacial distribution of gas stations and consumers, for buyers' and sellers' expectations of future prices, or for any number of conceivable and inconceivable factorsâ"almost all of which would affect aggregate outcomes in the model, I would bet, just as the authors found that the speed of reacting to price-changes did. (That was the only parameter the authors varied, by the way.) And of course we could model the problem in many fundamentally different ways to start with.
In other words, this is much different (and harder) than building an N-body model of the dynamics of Alpha Centauri, where's there's basically one force (gravity) that operates in the same way on a bunch of things that can all be described adequately by a single parameter (mass).
Why punish it? By this reasoning, all you need to do is to give buyers better information so they can react faster.
The problem with gas prices, I suppose, is that you have to drive around to collect them, and once you come to a station, if you decide its price is unacceptable there's a cost to checking out the next one (the time it takes you to drive there).
Seems like there could be a mobile app that tells drivers the gas prices at stations in their vicinity, which, according to the article, should change the system's behavior mode to push prices down instead of up.
Taking this a bit further, the best way to fight this phenomenon may be to improve buyers' ability to react quickly to the market. I'm sure there's some startup ideas here for specific instances of "market".
By contrast, when sellers react quickest, they are quick to copy others offering poor value for money. This reduces the number of sellers offering good value for money in a vicious cycle that drives prices as high as possible.
Does this model match practice?
i.e. If we consider all industries in which there are price cartels, particularly those that were formed without price collusion, could the existence of those cartels be attributed to sellers reacting faster than buyers?
Also, are we confident of the converse? That there an no examples of non-collusive cartels in markets where buyers react faster than sellers? This seems plausible to.
Our best bet solution is currently regulation. Not great, but it works.
A friend of mine has done a lot of research on the major credit card companies for his hedge fund. He noticed that these companies tend to raise their fees basically in lock-step (when one does it, the others follow quickly).
This behavior seemed counter-intuitive to me -- I would have guessed that the companies would compete to keep fees low. But this actually makes some sense in a world where the seller (the credit card company) reacts much more quickly than the buyer (the fee-paying banks and merchants). Banks and merchants can only switch credit card issuers if they can get their customers to (i.e. the card-holders). Therefore, it's possible for a card company to raise fees without losing market share right away. Other card companies take note and their dominant strategy is to raise fees as well.
Surprisingly and scarily in tune with Zeitgeist Moving Forward 
Nevertheless, defeating SOPA is hugely significant, because it shows that we CAN be politically effective. Politics can operate as a kind of nonviolent intimidation: if our opponents have the reputation of being politically effective, and our group has the reputation of being politically ineffective, individuals think it's not worth their time trying to influence politics.
Take software patents. Whenever this comes up, there are always gloomy posts saying that we will never defeat the patent lobby. This perception deters everyone from trying to.
EFF does a good job. But I think more of us need to be active as individuals, on a day to day basis rather than just when the trumpet sounds like this. Suppose there was a website where you could sign a pledge which said: "I will spend 1/2 hour a week working against internet censorship". and then provided stack-overflow-like facilities whereby activists could suggest useful actions and vote on which are the best; and collect data on which arguments seemed most effective. Not only would this make us more effective, it would declare that we were a force to be reckoned with.
Anyone up for making such a website?
When it comes to technology, I'm optimistic that it has almost limitless potential to revolutionize. My instinct tells me though that a startup aimed at competing against Hollywood doesn't have to be about inventing alternate forms of entertainment, but rather to work at optimizing on alternate means of production and distribution of the already successful form of entertainment. Recent efforts with other media have shown that most optimizations are about cutting out as much unnecessary intermediary layers as possible.
I'm convinced that a number of people currently working within the Hollywoodian system are unhappy with the present arrangements and I would not be surprised if a few were to come out the woodwork because of this YC invitation. Their expertise will be essential, because if my guess is correct, I think that a large majority of people on HN are complete ignorami when it comes to making a movie or a tv show. We're more consumers and critics than we are creators or producers of such material.
Another thing would be to look at what currently exist that tries to spearhead such alternate efforts. Is it successful? What are the problems? What has been tried? Where's the data?
First, let's ask the people who currently work on the fringe of Hollywood how they're doing it.
People who invest in movies invest for the same reasons all of us invest in anything-- to make money.
Hollywood is a business, albeit one rooted in entertainment, but let's face it-- many artists are also just in it for the money.
I don't think our world view of "entertainment" is going to shift the way that YC suggested in it's call for action. I think most of us (unfortunately) are still going to want to watch movies like Transformers 3 at a $200 million budget than a $1million dollar indie flick.
So, once we've recognized that uprooting involves figuring out how to finance movie production instead of shifting the realm of entertainment (at least, for our generation, perhaps future generations will just want to watch WOW and starcraft online), then we're getting somewhere.
Unfortunately, figuring out a way to finance a film that costs tens or hundreds of millions to produce is a pretty tricky endeavor.
Still, it will be pretty awesome when Brad Pitt signs onto his first crowd-sourced flick =)
But here's the thing - you can probably make a dent but "killing it" ?
Wouldn't that be like making professional sports obsolete?
There is just too much money and organization and you are never going to get all the fans to try something else instead and stay with it.
The real problem is that money has buying power in Congress. Money shouldn't buy votes. I don't know what the solution is but I'm fairly sure that's the problem.
Eventually movies will be democratized, but killing the RIAA/iTunes cabal seems like the obvious first step.
Start funding shows, movies, and productions.
Or figure out how to get 100MM people (or more) subscribed at $10/month (or more) to check-mark which shows and movies they want created. Then use the revenue from that to make the production.
Maybe even make the process completely democratic, where actors (known, and unknown) can send in their auditions and you get to vote on it. Then use YouTube or NetFlix for distribution, and provide downloads.
There is more to it than the above, but that pretty much cuts the studios off, and Hollywood in general, at the knees, and gives control to the consumers.
As more and more people switch to online sources of entertainment, their industry is simply being diluted by Youtube's, Hulu's, Reddit, HackerNews and the Apple App Store.
So in their dying breaths, they are spending $100 million a year trying to take control of the very industry that is diluting their power over our information and their control of our minds. It sounds very George Orwellian, but I mean really.. have you seen Fox news? It's a parody of itself.
Rupert Murdoch tried his best to have a go at the online industry with Myspace and we all know how well that turned out for him, so I guess the self-professed billionaire tyrant figures if he can't beat them, why not just try and own them?
Try as I might, I have had a hellofatime using Forth (and now Factor) to get nontrivial things done. But I keep trying, because I find the philosophy so compelling. And I figure I'll learn something.
He has always considered Forth to be a 'personal leverage' tool rather than a programming system suited to a team. Similar in this regard to Lisp and J I suppose. The fact that he has never hired a programmer (!) reinforces this notion.
I wish him luck with his chips....
"Second, it's irresistible to anticipate the future and expect the problem to grow in a certain direction. Thus code is added to facilitate future changes, which rarely occur. This is a good strategy, but can be put off until the future arrives."
Should we even know what the future is likely to hold? I'm in a big corporate - perhaps that skews things where I am, but we have a relatively clear roadmap for the next couple of months at least, and I am loath to ignore that, although I am mindful of the problem mentioned as well: I don't try to solve future problems before we get there.
Should I cease specifically allowing for them?
NB the organisation I am working in allows approximately 2% of developers' time for refactoring.