* Posts by Identity

285 posts • joined 20 Aug 2009

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Makers of Snowden movie Citizenfour sued by ex-oil exec

Identity
Stop

Re: This is one of those "Only in America thingies" isn't it?

True that in these here Benighted States, anyone can sue anyone for anything. Often that means only extra stress, more crowded court calendars and richer lawyers. In this case, if this guy has standing, I'll eat my hat. (Fortunately, I don't wear one...)

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Bring back big gov, right? If only the economics, STUPID, could tell us more

Identity

Re: GIGO

In the 50's, economic activity returned after being constrained by the war (not counting the war machine). Men returning from war had either jobs or the GI Bill, while women generally left the workforce to raise families, etc. (That's a gloss, but you get the idea).

Today's greater demand, due to a larger customer base, is met by 1) more productive workers (largely due to technology), so fewer are needed 2) automation, requiring a much smaller workforce 3) low-cost foreign workers displacing high-cost locals. Where manufacturing, etc is returning ("on-shoring"), those workers are required to work at salaries and benefits significantly inferior to those of previous generations. I'm speculating about numbers, but I suspect that for every Google engineer driving up costs in San Francisco, there are at least a thousand WalMart and Amazon employees who, despite working full time, are thrown onto Government largesse due to the differential between what they're paid and the cost of living.

Banks appear more interested in their own profit than in benefiting society. The debacle of 2008 should be proof of that. Contrast that with the attitude exemplified by "It's a Wonderful Life" <http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0038650/>. The bank no longer carries your loan — it slices and dices it and serves it up as a derivative. On that score, the derivatives market exceeds the actual economy (global GDP) by a factor of 10!

So here we run up against a question of whether the consensual fiction of money is more important than actual flesh and blood persons; whether corporations are more important than a living planet.

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Identity
WTF?

GIGO

As a dedicated cruciverbalist, I often run into the word 'olio,' which might be defined as a mishmash — a good definition for the thinking behind this article. There are so many unconsidered factors that trying make it jibe with reality is a stretch. I haven't got much time, so here are just a couple.

Regardless of GDP or productivity rates (which in any event are as dependent on the level of technology as anything else), big unions (in the US at least) allowed many — especially those with lesser educations — to make a decent middle-class living. The death of unions was coupled with automation and off-shoring and led to a mass decline in living standards. Look at Detroit. Who, ultimately, didn't suffer? The top 10% and even more so, the top 1%. Here, they like to fancy themselves job-creators and makers, but given that actual labor and production is done by someone else, you could as easily think them economic vampires, and (with regard to automation and off-shoring) job-craters. Real wages for most have not increased in 40 years.

Speaking of technology, remember that computers started as a means for better artillery calculation — surely a wartime advance. One needn't look too far to see how that blossomed into a productivity engine.

Then we have the matter of standard of living. Lots of things are better. In the forties, no one had a TV nor a Cuisinart nor any of a thousand other advances. It's easy to make the case that social factors have declined — families have disintegrated, in many places children no longer are familiar with nature, neighborhoods are vastly in decline, along with the support groups they fostered, (suggest reading: Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community <http://www.amazon.com/Bowling-Alone-Collapse-American-Community/dp/0743203046/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1419181527&sr=1-1&keywords=bowling+alone+the+collapse+and+revival+of+american+community>) Medical care and knowledge has surely advanced. On that score (again in the US) medical care is the largest cause of bankruptcy. BigPhRMA provides these miracles at an unaffordable cost. Look at the cost of early AIDS medication or more recently, Gilead Sciences hepatitis cure.

Worldwide, where once poor backward countries were the rule, now everyone aspires to the American lifestyle. There are matters of competition, supply and demand to consider, now over a MUCH larger base. One hundred yeas ago, world population was about 1 billion, and that largely rural. Today, it's pushing 7 billion from one side or the other and most are urban. Economic stresses from this alone make me goggle.

OK, out of time, so one last technical point — when you try to compare rates over time periods, it's misleading to lay a 26 year period against an array of 6—10 year periods. Go read "How to Lie with Statistics' <http://www.amazon.com/How-Lie-Statistics-Darrell-Huff/dp/0393310728/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1419181214&sr=1-1&keywords=how+to+lie+with+statistics>

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El Reg Redesign - leave your comment here.

Identity

Re: El Reg Redesign - leave your comment here.

Yeah, hate it. Too much white space BS. You guys getting old and NEED BIGGER TYPE? I may be able to navigate after I find everything, but IMHO, 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it.' Back, back you crazy beasts! BTW, need "print article"

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Australian Government funds effort to secure wearable data pulses

Identity
Pirate

Only semi-relevant...

The Canadian sci-fi show Continuum posited a health bracelet called Halo that not only monitored health but could be programmed to deliver pharmaceuticals at need. The corrupt chief cop loved the idea (he was on the board of the manufacturing company) because you could quell disturbances with the push of a button. POOF! Miscreants tranquilized!

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Hominid ancestors beat humans to the drinks cabinet, say boffins

Identity
Go

Re: Pleasure pathways...

I think this must be more widespread. I have witnessed birds eating fermented fruit and falling of branches. As we all know, birds are direct descendants of dinosaurs, so it's possible there was prehistoric boozing...

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'Cleantech' a dirty word for VCs? RUBBISH!

Identity
Stop

A couple of thoughts...

Have you heard of T. Boone Pickens? That oil billionaire invested heavily in wind power, though by own admission, it was the right investment at the wrong time. http://hotair.com/archives/2012/04/11/t-boone-pickens-ive-lost-my-a-in-wind-power/

How about Tom Steyer? Apart from his (currently) larger footprint in politics, he and his wife, Kat Taylor, have donated tens of millions of dollars to alma maters Stanford and Yale for "advanced energy" research. http://www.forbes.com/profile/thomas-steyer/

...and I know the very thought makes you bulimic, but how about Generation Investment, founded by David Blood and Al Gore? (Always liked 'Blood and Gore'...) http://www.generationim.com/

As for Government intervention in new technologies, have you heard of the internet?

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Has Switzerland cracked the net neutrality riddle?

Identity
WTF?

Where do you get your so-called information?

Speaking as an American, living in America, most people are not upset by the quality of their electric service. It's actually pretty good — and I live in a small city in a fairly rural state. Now Comcast is another issue entirely. I spoke to an employee of theirs who said most of the calls he gets are for disconnections. The quality of their product is decent (but nowhere near as good, say, as S. Korea for internet...). It's their service, billing and everything else that turns customers against them. (Some years ago, the FCC held a hearing in Boston to find out what the problems were, and Comcast brought in street people to fill (and nap in) the seats.) Personally, I use a small, local company (that is in the process of being bought out by a slightly larger local company, so we'll see how that goes...) that is friendly, competent and consistent in it's billing. They do not throttle or prioritize. And by the way, most Americans do want regulation, to judge by the number of comments. Perhaps there's a majority that hasn't been heard from and doesn't give a s#*t, but how would we (and you) know?

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If only 0.006% care about BLOOD-SOAKED METAL ... why are we spending all this cash?

Identity

Questions

How many Fairphones would $4bn (if that's even the correct figure) buy? Why are they not subsidized and touted by the major carriers?

NB: I know nothing of the specs of said phone.

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Identity

Re: "The Dodd-Frank Act...

The line item complained about is the most minor part of the act. If you wish to junk Dodd-Frank solely on this score, you're throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Laws are subject to amendment, and if one part is not doing the job, it can be removed or changed.

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FUTURE ROBOTS will EXTERMINATE UK jobs – study

Identity
Stop

Think about it

30+ years ago, Alan Watts foresaw that machines would (as they had been) increasingly do the work of men. He proposed that we be paid for the work machines do for us!

On another front, the premise had always been that with increased automation, leisure would increase. Plainly this has not proved to be the case (unless you want to count unemployment as leisure) — we seem to have less time than we did 50 years ago, even with vastly increased productivity and population. It is said that, in New York, "you look rested" is an insult...

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Ex-NSA lawyer warns Google, Apple: IMPENETRABLE RIM ruined BlackBerry

Identity
FAIL

Correlation

is not causation!

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Piketty-Poketty-Poo: Some people are JUST ITCHING to up tax to capital ...

Identity
Facepalm

Bias?

"…overturning the standard (and very widely agreed) convention in economics that we don't really want to be taxing capital or the returns to it.'

that is, widely agreed to by those with capital and returns thereon...

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Fanboi-and-fanfare-free fondleslabs fail to fire imagination

Identity
WTF?

Really?

What did you expect?

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Boffins who stare at goats: I do believe they’re SHRINKING

Identity
Alert

It has been speculated

that as the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere increases, vegetation will grow larger and faster, but have less nutritive value — essentially hollowed out. If the 'men who stare at goats' are correct, then coupled with less nutritive food, we may well be looking at yet another extinction.

You may want to console yourself that the climate isn't changing, and anyway puny man could never do it,* but Pew Oceans said over ten years ago that 92% of large ocean fish were already extinct. Audubon claims 1,300 bird species are facing extinction. According to the World Wildlife Fund's newly released Living Planet Report, based on the Living Planet Index, which is a database maintained by the Zoological Society of London, 52% of all wildlife has been lost since 1970, with 76% loss in rivers and other freshwater systems.

RECOMMENDED READING: The Sixth Extinction

http://www.amazon.com/The-Sixth-Extinction-Unnatural-History/dp/0805092994

*In case you've forgotten, or are otherwise unaware, the three stages of denial are:

1) It's not happening

2) OK, it's happening but it's not as bad as you say

3) OK, it's happening and it's as bad as you say, but it's somebody else's fault

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LONG ARM of the SAUR: Brachially gifted dino bone conundrum solved

Identity
Boffin

A more in-depth look

can be found/heard here:

http://www.npr.org/2014/10/22/357622139/bigger-than-a-t-rex-with-a-ducks-bill-huge-arms-and-a-hump

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Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...

Identity
WTF?

What a confused mess!

First, if utility has no more of a distinct definition than happiness, then either as an economic goal (or is that gaol?) is, in your quaint term, bollocks. "'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean-neither more nor less.' [Lewis Carroll]" Economics, as unscientific as it is, is an attempt to describe what people do and demonstrate their philosophy in action, rather than some stricture we should be guided by.

Second, it's hardly one or the other. One may put oneself in a position where they will be 'unhappy' in order, say, to make money 'utilitarianly' to send back to the family, which will make them 'happy,' or certainly happier than knowing their family is starving...

Lastly, though somewhat anecdotally, let's look at Detroit — that quintessentially rustbelt city — where one can buy a lovely house (architecturally speaking) for $500. Why are people not flocking in droves to move to Detroit? Because they'd be living in Detroit, where crime is rampant, so is unemployment and the city is cutting off people's water because they can't pay the bills and knocking down abandoned properties right and left. They are actively trying to shrink the city.

You can mean your words to mean whatever you want, but the facts on the ground, apparently, don't have to agree...

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Identity

Re: Declaration of Independence

It is not happiness which is offered but the freedom to pursue it. Still think it's stupid?

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Remember that tale of a fired accountant who blamed Comcast? It's kinda true, says telco

Identity
Joke

TYPO

PWC, as I remember, was involved in some shady or negligent accounting scandal a while back, but even so, an accounting firm should be exacting and not allow typos in their public statements. To wit,

Mr O’Rourke was employed in one of our infernal firm services offices. The firm terminated his employment after an infernal investigation concluded that Mr O’Rourke violated PwC’s ethical standards and practices, applicable to all of our people. The firm has explicit policies regarding employee conduct, we train our people in those policies, and we enforce them. Mr O’Rourke’s violation of these policies was the sole reason for his termination.

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Yes. Economists DO love MAGICAL, lovely HUMAN SELFISHNESS...

Identity
Megaphone

Some quotes to consider in re all of this:

"You can always count on Americans to do the right thing - after they've tried everything else." —Winston Churchill (though you can easily substitute those who rely overmuch on economics for Americans. As a side note, those who relied overmuch on Just In Time process were, when it all went wrong, known as JITheads.)

"In the long run, we are all dead." —John Maynard Keynes

"This gave a cosmetic boost to the economy, but his economic problems otherwise remained immense. Sir Humphrey, having majored in Latin and Greek, did not understand economics. Hacker, having majored in sociology, did not understand anything really. Sir Frank Gordon, the Permanent Secretary of the Treasury, was at an even greater disadvantage in understanding economics, for he was an economist." —Jonathan Lynn and Anthony Jay from Yes Prime Minister, p.390

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Identity
FAIL

Re: Rare earth

I disagree. Religion seems to have had an equal bad influence.

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Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'

Identity
Boffin

Generally correct

However, a couple of things bear mentioning:

We hear here nothing of cost of and standard of living. Raw numbers really tell us very little.

Further, I heard this morning from Naomi Klein that in Ontario, where she lives, "the government passed a really ambitious green energy plan, and there's a requirement that if you want to benefit from the subsidies, you have to produce a certain amount of your solar panels and wind turbines in Ontario. It was successful: 31,000 manufacturing jobs were created, closed down auto plants opened up and were turned into solar production plants; in the green economy that everybody talks about. And then Japan and the European Union took Canada to the WTO and said that this violated our obligations because you're not allowed to favor local industry, and in fact, there have been several trade challenges like this: the U.S. has challenged China, has challenged India, for its subsidies it supports for renewable energy." Bang goes the income for those 31,000 and the thousands or millions similarly afflicted.

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Yahoo!... Our Alibaba stake's worth BILLIONS. Oh – our shares are in the toilet

Identity
Boffin

That's what makes horse-racing

There are those who think the market is always right. They just may, in the long run*, be correct but many of us will not live that long. One only needs to look at the day-to-day fluctuations to know that on a shorter time frame, valuations may be wrong. Sometimes, the net asset value of an issue is greater than the price. We call that a bargain, and those with patience and perspicacity often benefit.

In the matter turning cash over to shareholders, in a (somewhat) famous court case, Dodge v. Ford Motor Co. (170 N.W. 668 (Mich. 1919)) the plaintiffs complained that Ford was using cash to build it's business (by lowering prices so that sales would grow), when that cash (even that which was only potential, had the prices not dropped) rightfully should be turned over to shareholders as dividends. They won. The ruling enshrined the idea that corporations exist solely for the profit of shareholders.

*I can't help but remember Keynes statement that in the long run, we're all dead.

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Poverty? Pah. That doesn't REALLY exist any more

Identity
Boffin

Ah, yes — semantics

I can't disagree with using words to describe things as they are, rather than as we'd wish them or wish others to believe them to be. My mother always said 'being broke is being out of money; being poor is a state of mind.'

That said, while we certainly have a higher living standard than centuries ago (or even decades ago — things we take for granted today were not available for love nor money; the average man or woman today is richer than the kings or queens of old, even with less money) or in less developed places, that doesn't mean poverty (by the definition offered here) has disappeared. Are there no homeless on the streets of the UK? There certainly are here in the US, though fewer than, say, 30 years ago. Sure, the general rise in public health has increased the standard of living for all; the institution of government programs have helped — even prevented some from being homeless. And so on... If you want to say that in less developed places, people are really poor, whereas we are not, well it's all in the comparison, isn't it?

On a side note, as for China in 1978, I'm told that for the average rural citizen, the standard of living had not changed in centuries. It was once said that the Emperor is very far away (The Mandarins of Imperial China were, by then-current standards, quite wealthy, indeed.). So was the Committee... Such lack of material goods was still rampant, but I remember the barefoot doctors where once there was little or no healthcare, and that may have been largely traditional. It said that in the 1950s the three most-wanted things were a watch, bicycle and a sewing machine. In the '80s, it was a TV set, refrigerator and a washing machine. It was a mobile phone, a computer and an air-conditioner in the 1990s. Today, China ranks sixth in the world in terms of GDP. One cannot say with certainty that there are "three most-wanted" things, but most media agree that housing, automobile and kids education are the three most-wanted in today's Chinese families.

How about us? I'd guess that in the 50s, US families wanted a house, a car and a TV. According to a report this morning, millennials are no longer as interested in large purchases like a house or a car — probably a smart phone is #1.

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THE DEATH OF ECONOMICS: Aircraft design vs flat-lining financial models

Identity
Boffin

An excellent article!

Despite the brouhaha (especially from the Worstall crowd and those to the right of him [Not long ago, one of Mr. Worstall's commentards declared me an idiot for saying you can't have infinite growth in a finite system, with which even Mr. Worstall apparently agrees, though he niggles about where the limits are.]), Mr. Watkinson has it just about right, with a few niggles.

That banks create debt is indisputable, but I don't believe it's their sole purpose. They also serve to create and move money (velocity being as important as supply). If I'm a bank and you come to me with $100 (substitute £, if it helps...) for deposit, in this limited example, the money supply is now $100, but then I lend $50 to another party, the money supply is now $150, even though the books balance. And, as one bankster said to me during a small dispute, "I can't sugar coat it: we're a bank — we charge interest!" (Of course, nowadays, they don't pay interest...) Though the movement is largely unidirectional, I suppose, we could say that all money is debt...

As regards GDP, in this brave new world, the idea of GDP being tied solely to resources and the value added thereupon is outdated. A vast amount of our economy is in services. You can strain language to call it value-added, but frankly you're not adding value, but creating value out of nothing, unless you now want to declare such things as creativity a natural resource. To my mind, that's a step beyond.

As a last point, we need to rethink economy in relation to traditional care for the aged (etc.). Just as machinery has replaced human and animal labor, so too we will see it in this field. In fact, it's already starting to happen in Japan. When people live longer (even if healthier longer) and reproduction starts to drop (as in Japan), they cannot rely on a good supply of human caregivers, particularly given the limited space in the country and the traditional antipathy (though that's too strong a word, perhaps) to foreign labor. As a result, there is a push on for mechanization. In Africa, which generally is not as technologically developed, disease (AIDS being a prime example) has cause the loss of a vast swath of the population in the prime of life, leaving the young to be cared for by the old. This presents its own difficulties. War and Ebola are not helping.

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iOS 8 release: WebGL now runs everywhere. Hurrah for 3D graphics!

Identity
Boffin

A Little Revisionist History

At the time, Apple had a (late, unlamented) plugin known as QuickTime VR [QTVR], initially released in 1994 (if Wikipedia got the date right). It worked both with QuickTime and as a browser plug-in. As i remember, it was best suited for spinning things around...

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Limits to Growth is a pile of steaming doggy-doo based on total cobblers

Identity

Re: Parameter error

@ Robinson

I suppose ad hominem attacks are not beneath you, so I wonder what is?

That said, 1) you missed the word "if" and 2) the idea that population will rise to 9bn and then fall due to wealth is a) rank speculation and b) not borne out by history. No one will deny that the wealth of the United States has only increased in 200 years, but population has steadily risen. True, poor agrarian families often a) feel the need for more hands to do the chores, so have more children and b) have little or no opportunity or desire for birth control. In such societies, often life expectancy is lower and infant mortality higher. However, in Africa, the main cause of population decline seems to be disease, which by the way is a function (though not sole, by any means) of concentrated populations.

I have watched local populations of shorter-lived species, like squirrels, boom and bust, and there is no reason why humans cannot follow that path. Indeed, no one knows or can know what the human population will be in 2100. Perhaps we'll all stop breeding, à la Children of Men; perhaps we'll all be dead from hubristic actions or disease or perhaps those causes will result in a vastly reduced population. We use math to make some kind of an educated guess, even though the farther you get away from the known, the wider the margin of error.

The point, dear reader, is not the numbers, but that we live in a finite situation, into which we cannot continuously inject more and more demand without limit. Optimism is all well and good, but it is no cure. As Mr. Worstall noted, "starvation is a substitute for food," just not a good one...

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Identity

Re: Parameter error

My information comes from

http://www.eolss.net/sample-chapters/c11/e1-13-02-05.pdf

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Identity
FAIL

Parameter error

Seems to me, just like The Limits to Growth cited (which, admittedly, I haven't read, so I'll go with Mr. Worstall's take), said Tim Worstall makes the same kind of error — when you limit either the information going in or the conclusions you'll allow, you're bound to come up with a crap conclusion. Here, we speak solely of energy and mineral resources (in the general sense). Without trying to make a detailed argument, factor this in:

In 1800, there was one city with a population of 1 million — Beijing. By 1900, the population of the world was about 1 billion, mostly agrarian, with at least ten cities exceeding that population (London the most populous with 6,480,000, followed by New York with 4,242,000). By 2000, the world population was nearing 7 billion, with many cities around 20 million (Tokyo the largest at 26,400,000, followed by Mexico City at 17,900,000. New York, only the fifth most populous had grown to 16,600,000 — approximately a four-fold increase in 100 years). If we are able to survive and maintain that world growth rate, by 2100, there will be 49 billion people on the planet.

Already, and for some time now, we have been having problems with our fisheries. According to Pew, about 10 years ago, 92% of large ocean fish were already extinct! Sure, we're doing fish farming (which is barely taking up the slack, if that, and we can switch to species that were hitherto distasteful, though history shows when we do that, we soon extinct them, too. Witness the Patagonian toothfish a.k.a. Chilean sea bass.

Fisheries are not the only place where we are seeing scarcity. With more and more people, and increasingly those wanting the American lifestyle, the writing is on the wall. (I've heard —but can neither prove nor demonstrate— that if the current population were to live that lifestyle, we'd need four Earths.) However much there is of any given resource, that number is finite. If we do not get off this planet in a big way and find more resources, then there will be consequences that all the economists —of whatever stripe— in the world cannot solve. Other than that, any solution will have to rely on natural systems, whether that means living within the carrying capacity of the Earth or Mathusianism, I cannot say.

I'm not altogether hopeful...

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Britain's housing crisis: What are we going to do about it?

Identity

Re: Where do I begin?

"It also creates lucrative opportunities for rent controlled tenants to illegally sublet their apartments to people who pay more-or-less market rate - so the tenant gets the cream for free."

That's illegal, and generally against the terms of the lease — which is not to say people don't do it...

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Identity
FAIL

Where do I begin?

While I cannot speak to the UK housing situation, this essay is fraught with error of both fact and ideology.

So, let me start with the latter: plainly, this is written from an economic rather than social point of view. It makes the assumption that the so-called market will find the ideal situation for all concerned. First, let's begin with the fact that there is no such thing as a perfect market. Joseph Stiglitz won his Nobel proving this. People are always trying to 'warp' the market to suit their own desires.

I am familiar with rent control in New York City. This is a very expensive place to live, exceeded by few (I think San Francisco, London and Tokyo are among them, but that's neither here nor there...). Rent control is the only way many can afford to live there (example follows). Strictly speaking, if the essay were right in its assumptions, that there are plenty of places to build in the city, economic constraint would not hinder it — any new construction can be rented at whatever the owner wants. Further, the rules of rent control are called, strictly speaking, vacancy decontrol. Which means that when the occupant departs, rent at whatever desired level may ensue. (Again, really neither here nor there) my father lived in a rent controlled apartment in Manhattan. He was the Creative Director at a smallish advertising firm, belonging to Litton Industries. He was middle class (remember when there was such a thing?) and when he died, he left an estate of only a few thousand dollars. His rent was $300/mo, which he'd been paying since the '60's. At some point, the building went co-op and he had the choice of buying his apartment (for around $30K) but declined, because he "didn't want to be tied to those nuts" — the other owners. God knows what the costs of owning (in taxes, fees, repairs, assessments, etc.) would have been, though... When he died, that one bedroom apartment went for $300K. He (or at least, I) would have been richer had he bought, but he thought like an ordinary human with personal wishes and not like a theoretical economist.

One last issue, and then I'll leave off (though there's more to say): when an insurer pays a claim on your destroyed house, they are paying (ostensibly, at least) the cost of rebuilding less deductible. This does NOT include the land. If your house was worth 10x the insured value on the open market, once the builders are done, you can turn around and sell it for that!

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ROAD TRIP! An FCC road trip – Leahy demands net neutrality debate across US

Identity
Pirate

One has to be careful

Years ago, the FCC held such a meeting Boston. Comcast paid people to come off the street and sleep in the seats so there would be vastly limited room for those who wanted to discuss the issue. Just having the meetings isn't enough.

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Yosemite Siri? Apple might plonk chatty assistant on your desktop - report

Identity
Gimp

Some years ago...

Apple had a speech command system (which remains today as the Speech preference pane), which put up an avatar that would execute certain canned commands when addressed by name. They based their avatar on TV personality Connie Chung and called her Connie. You'd have to say something like, "Connie, open Word."

When they were initially trialling it at the Boston Apple Center, it didn't quite work. One tester could not get a response and asked an Applenaut, "Is Connie turned on?"

To which, that worthy replied, "That's an awfully personal question!"

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Beware WarKitteh, the connected cat that sniffs your Wi-Fi privates

Identity

I'm surprised

someone would let a Siamese wander the neighborhood. In my experience, they're quite subject to catnapping...

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Surprise! Government mega-infrastructure project cocked up

Identity
Boffin

I agree, but

one thing typically missing from Cost/Benefit Analysis is often termed 'externalities.' As a crude example, when we look at clearing a section of Amazon rainforest, we'll count the cost of bringing in the people and equipment, reduced by the value of the lumber removed, and then tossing in the value of the jobs created and the cattle raised. Ignored is the value that forest provided in CO2 —> O2 (including carbon sequestration), habitat for the forest denizens and even the potential value of pharmaceuticals that might be developed from the existing flora and fauna.

As Mr. Worstall says, it all hangs on the assumptions you make. People seem inclined to make only those assumptions that benefit themselves in the short run.

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CIA super-spy so sorry spies spied on Senate's torture scrutiny PCs

Identity
FAIL

I understand

that by the time the public document is released, it will be so heavily "redacted" that you could use it as a room-darkening shade.

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Bose says today is F*** With Dre Day: Beats sued in patent battle

Identity
WTF?

Delaware?

Not East Texas?

(—Yeah, I know Delaware is corporate-friendly, but E. Texas is more patent troll-friendly!)

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eBay impulse buyers STAY AWAY: Holy Grail Superman comic book to fetch $2m+

Identity
Coat

Really?

"...primary grader Paul Litch said in a release."

Don't you think they could get someone more qualified than a child?

Mine's the one with the attached mittens...

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HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs

Identity
Boffin

Not that Mr. Worstall

or any of the self-declared Libertarians out there would necessarily agree, but another source of jobs is Government. Of course, Government can generally create only Government jobs, but some them can actually be useful. The secret, as always, is to find the proper balance. When Government listens only to Big Business, the system is thrown out of whack with some of said businesses accepting the good things Government provides (roads, disease control, etc.) but refusing to pay for them by dint of clever tax strategies or even decamping to pastures green. And as Mr. Worstall says, Government then ignores other legs of the figurative table, which are actually holding the whole thing up. Further, when Government sucks up too much of the available resources and becomes bloated, it is like the tail wagging the dog.

On another issue, I submit that growth beyond the needs of the population; growth for the sake of growth; growth to run up the numbers is indistinguishable from inflation.

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Banning handheld phone use by drivers had NO effect on accident rate - study

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Boffin

For any number of reasons

I find this study suspect. It's plain that many people use phones in the car without having accidents. Also plain that people have accidents without using phones. Likewise, attention to driving, skill, conditions of all sorts [including not only road, but inebriation, traffic, light and so forth], amount of enforcement, etc. are all highly variable. The smaller the sample, the less likely it is to be accurate. Add to this, the caveats mentioned herein, and you've got one useless study — which even scientifically cannot be counted on unless replicated.

I wonder who paid for this mess?

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Go

Re: re : James 51

Really? In Massachusetts, green means go and red means go...

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BMW i8 plug-in hybrid: It's a supercar, Jim, but not as we know it

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It seems to me...

it would be next to impossible to get out if parked in a parking lot [car park].

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Delaware pair nabbed for getting saucy atop Mexican eatery

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Coat

Old Joke

A couple were going at it on the roof of a whorehouse when the action got so frantic, they fell off. A passerby knocked on the door and said to the madam, "Lady, your sign fell down."

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Coat

Old Joke

A couple were going at it on the roof of a whorehouse when the action got so frantic, they fell off. A passerby knocked on the door and said, "Lady, your sign fell down."

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It's finally happened: Bloke builds BOFH-style goofing-off cattle prod

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Black Helicopters

Just wait

until they're mandatory!

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20 years on: eWorld, Apple's spectacular online 'portal' failure

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WTF?

Freudian typo?

"whom Firedman also credits..."

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Luxembourg patent troll suing world+dog

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FAIL

Mistake

They SHOULD have filed in Texas. Delaware, (in)famously corporate-friendly, probably won't support this kind of shenanigans...

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Blame WWI, not Bin Laden, for NSA's post-9/11 intel suck

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Boffin

Re: All Governments are dangerous and can easly end up as criminal gangs

There's more than a whiff of bias here. In the 19th century, banks in the US were private enterprises endowed with the power to create their own currencies. Some of these were even known as 'wildcat banks,' because only wildcats could reach them, making it difficult-to-impossible to redeem the notes. Needless to say, many of these failed, causing MUCH economic hardship. President Jackson lost significant sums on paper money, and thus became a 'hard money man.' US Government banking began with the Civil War, as Lincoln passed the National Banking Act (1863) to fund it. This not only gave us a National Bank, but created for the first time a national currency.

But here's the thing: ALL currency is fiat money. It is a consensual fiction. If you really want to solve these problems, you'll have to replace it. You might have bad names for people who want to do this, though...

SHAMELESS PLUG: You might want to read my book, The Root of All Evil, available for free! at http://books.noisetrade.com/cacohen/the-root-of-all-evil

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Big Brother

And yet...

In 1929, Secretary of State Henry Lewis Stimson shut down the State Department's cryptanalytic office saying, "Gentlemen don't read each other's mail." (Though he later reversed this attitude.)

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We're ALL Winston Smith now - and our common enemy is the Big Brother State

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Black Helicopters

Re: @Irongut and others

Have you not heard of the 'secret room' at AT&T at 611 Folsom St. in San Francisco outed by former AT&T technician Mark Klein?

https://www.eff.org/nsa-spying

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