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Your missing the point. If the cartels can get RPGs from the Mexican military, they can get rifles from them also.

Oh. That makes a lot more sense now.

So what's the good choice then?

The Gresham's law analogy is a crock. Gresham's law happens because the government compels merchants to accept the bad money as being equivalent to the good, but it can't effectively compel customers to spend the good money.

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Yes, without government coercion, it's simply Thier's law: good money drives out bad. So if software tends to degrade over time, what's playing the perverse role of preventing people from switching to better modules/software?

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There are of course all sorts of ways that a public API can become an entrenched standard (x86, Windows, PHP, JavaScript, C++, HTML, Java). Collectively we call it "lock in".

The thing is, the software wouldn't have been adopted in the first place if it didn't fulfill some need. Evolutionarily speaking, it's better for the cost of removing to be high and the benefit of keeping it to also be high. The most evolutionarily fit would be software that's essential, yet complicated, obscure, and unsexy, so it doesn't attract attention of idealists who will put in sufficient resources into rewriting it.

Even better if it attracts passionate advocates who will fight removal.

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OpenSSL immediately comes to mind, but I don't think JavaScript really fits the model - it is still evolving into a better language. In a very real sense, EMCA7 is an entirely different language than EMCA5.

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Managers? They don't stop bad code that still solves the problem but they do stop refactoring and other improvements that aren't directly tied to a customer's issue.

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...or the customers themselves, who are unwilling to pay for any change for which they cannot gauge the impact upon their user experience. Sometimes the management explicitly says, "We know this is bad practice, but the customer will not pay for good."

This is why cheats like the "speed up loop" appear. If developers can justify any change to the code on the basis of perceived performance improvements, there is an incentive to intentionally degrade initial performance in an easily reversible way. Removing the speed bump is then bundled with the developer-desired refactoring.

The practice is ethically dubious, but then again, so is allowing an ignorant to command an expert in his own area of expertise. When the management has no understanding of technical debt or the software life cycle, some may choose to simply pre-pay some of the pension plan for the product's maintenance phase out of the development budget, rather than waste time explaining things.

The management life cycle plans for some software products are very much like a prospective father, who decides that his child will be born in 4.5 months, because he'll assign two mothers to the gestation project, instead of just one. It will learn calculus by age 4, will be fully grown by age 8, and will be more beautiful than an airbrushed model. It will then stay young and productive forever, while working 24-7, without complaint, for the benefit of the family. When the kid dies from everything cancer at 12, the dad blames the doctors, who did exactly as he asked, while repeatedly warning him that deviating so widely from the established parameters for life is certain to end in disaster.

You cannot command a doctor to raise the dead. You cannot command a lawyer to win the case. You cannot command the contractor to build the structure as both "safe from EF5 tornadoes" and "with lots of windows". You cannot order the scientist to find significance in the experimental data. And you can't tell a software team to build the "do what I want button" in a short amount of time, with a tiny amount of money, with great quality.

The basis behind Gresham's Law is that the state fixes one variable for market value and intrinsic value is left floating. People retain the items with the highest ratio of intrinsic value to market value (good money), and spend those with the lowest (bad money). Everyone does it, so the worst money circulates fastest.

In the case of software, the quality is often fixed at "meets customer requirements" and the cost is left to float. People with the lowest cost to quality ratio are retained, and those with the highest are let go. If the cost variable were fixed instead, higher-quality software would dominate.

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> You cannot order the scientist to find significance in the experimental data.

Heh.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiple_comparisons_problem

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The answer to that question is probably full of insights for Product Designers trying to improve the retention metrics of their products :)

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Eating fermented food always decreases my social anxiety. But I think the hops and/or distillation process kills off any bacteria that may have been in them, so i have doubts as to the causal mechanism.

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I see you. :)

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No, of course not. It's really easy to come up with a system that always comes up with "good" results if you rule out "screwy" voter preferences, with a sufficiently restrictive value of "screwy".

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"Screwy" in this context means the sort of intransitive situations referred to in the parent of my last comment.

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Except he has no chance of winning. I'll vote for him anyway, but...

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I don't understand how it even makes sense to file criminal charges against a corporation. It would seem to me criminal charges should have to be files against actual persons.

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I agree entirely. However, it has been ruled that corporations are people.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporate_personhood

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Where else are they living? People visit the ISS, but they don't really live there.

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don't live there? they receive mail, store clothes, and coordinate bathroom time...

buddy, you're only visiting earth for a precious handful of years

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They're on the Earth, but they're not living.

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It's amazing how high birds can fly http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_birds_by_flight_heights

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Unfortunately it's likely that many many types of animals take advantage of low-altitude wind-streams, especially during migrations.

But maybe we could place several of them into the jet-stream (at 10-15 km) which is higher than all birds except one type of vulture.

Edit: Nevermind, Google is working on exactly that: http://www.gizmag.com/google-x-makani-power-airborne-wind-tu...

The cable seems to be the most difficult part: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-altitude_wind_power

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I agree. Transcript without the slides, almost as good as both. Just slides withouyt transcript or audio, shit sandwich.

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