* Posts by Identity

330 posts • joined 20 Aug 2009

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So, was it really the Commies that caused the early 20th Century inequality collapse?

Identity
Boffin

Well, that's one man's opinion...

It is, of course, very convenient and simple to develop a world view if you're selective about the facts you choose. I will not posit mine here (no doubt suffering from similar flaws), but I can mention some things forgotten.

During the earlier periods, the salaries of the heads of corporations (latterly known as CEOs) was perhaps 7x that of the lowest paid worker. Today it is many hundreds of times greater, and even more so, if you factor in cheap off-shored labor.

Before 1974, salaries and standard of living rose on a near-yearly basis. After 1974, salaries (excluding corporate officers and factoring in inflation) remained stagnant.

Prior to the 60's, most families were supported by a single (usually male-earned) salary. With the advent of the women's movement, women who felt they'd been getting the short end of the stick, entered the workforce in great numbers. Now, it's common — even necessary — for multiple paychecks to support a a family. It's my belief that while those 60's white male-based employers outwardly responded negatively, in secret they rejoiced at the near-doubling of the workforce, especially with cheaper labor. (Even today women fight for equal pay for equal work.) The trend for off-shoring continued the joy as corporations raced to the bottom to find the cheapest labor. (And why wouldn't they? It is the sole purpose of corporations to profit.) This played into the breaking of union power (which was not helped by some apparent corruption among unions — I'm looking at you, Teamsters.)

American wealth was boosted by huge infrastructure projects, not least of which was the National Highway System, which fostered trade and travel with it's concomitant growth effect on the economy. This was paid for with taxes. Somewhere along the line a general tax revolt ensued, egged on by the rich who admittedly bore a large burden. Without taxes and with the addition of huge defense expenditures (military-industrial complex, anyone?), today we are faced with crumbling infrastructure, which we could rebuild, but those think government should pay for nothing but defense object and we are at a stalemate. Obama's plans for such came to very little.

The Glass-Steagall Act was an attempt to protect the ordinary citizen from predation by monied interests. Even though Roosevelt (decried as a class traitor and blamed for just about any and every governmental or economic ill that ensued by my right-wing friends) was cool to the idea, it became the law of the land until it was repealed under Bill Clinton. (For those unaware, among other things, it prevented the combination of commercial and investment banking.) Not too long thereafter, the world suffered what we now term 'the Great Recession,' caused in no small part by those banks playing money games with the economy (there are many good histories of what happened.) We need mention only in passing Credit Default Swaps; slicing and dicing unsupportable mortgages as investments which the issuers, themselves, bet against; and interest-rate rigging — though of course there are many issues as deep. Average Americans suffered dreadfully and were further taxed with paying for a bailout. Those banks (the ones that survived) did very well, thank-you and their officers, even better.

I'm quite sure there's more, but I've gone on long enough...

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Prof Hawking cracks riddle of black holes – which may be portals to other universes

Identity
Boffin

Another Country Heard From

Perhaps 30 years ago, I read in a book by Freeman Dyson the theory that the other side of a black hole is a white hole, spewing matter and/or energy into another location, perhaps another universe. It has been posited that in another universe, the big bang would appear to be a white hole.

"The concept of a “white hole,” a hypothetical object emerging spontaneously from a singularity – or a time-reversed version of a black hole – was introduced by Igor Novikov in 1964, but without referring to it as a white hole. The following year the concept was independently considered by Yuval Ne’eman, who called the object a “lagging core.” The apt name “white hole,” which may first have been used in 1971, soon became popular while “lagging core” was forgotten. Contrary to the black holes, white holes or lagging cores are not believed to exist in nature. They were sometimes called “little bangs,” a term also used with somewhat different connotations (Hoyle 1965; Harrison 1968).'

—http://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/1301/1301.0219.pdf

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The good burghers of Palo Alto are entirely insane

Identity
Boffin

Re: I'm shocked!

@ TW — re: ERM

Presumably, whether developed or not, this other land you speak of is owned. If not by the City itself, such a required use would again be a taking. If you are saying the current owner(s) would be allowed to build low-income housing or a trailer park for same, there can be no objection — save for the rancor of the abutters should such a project be implemented.

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Identity
Boffin

Re: I'm shocked!

@ TW — taking in law

Not sure what you're referring back to, nor do I know UK law. In the US, while the point is somewhat moot, there are plenty of examples where it is.

• On the [New] Jersey Shore, landowners have been barred from building on land they bought for that purpose.

• In Massachusetts,Title 5 requires homeowners on septic systems, before the sale of their houses, to either hook up to city sewers (at their own expense, and with the ensuing sewer charges, where once it was free) or have their systems tested and certified by state-chosen contractors (again at their own expense which, 25 years ago, was $800). Should the system fail the test, it must be remediated (again at the owner's expense) or hook up as above. The Massachusetts Constitution states:

[ARTICLE X] "…no part of the property of any individual can, with justice, be taken from him, or applied to public uses, [EMPHASIS MINE] without his own consent, or that of the representative body of the people. "

(When I brought up this inconsistency during the hearings for Title 5, I was told there are some issues more important than the Constitution!) Apparently, this issue has been problematic for a long time. In the current legislative session, a bill has been put forward to remedy this:

Bill S.896

"An Act relative to due process to prohibit the Commonwealth and its political subdivisions from adopting environmental and developmental policies that would infringe or restrict private property rights"

I could go on, but I won't.

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Identity
Boffin

I'm shocked!

"given that it's the good burghers of Palo Alto – through their city council – who decide on which pieces of land you can build on in that fair city, then they're fucking insane to be paying for something which they themselves created for free."

Is TW serious? Since the current owner has undoubtedly paid for the property, for the city council (et al) to simply withdraw permission for anything other than the current use amounts to government seizure by eminent domain. Surely that does not jibe with Worstallism. In fact, the US Supreme Court (in Kelo v. the City of New London [strangely by majority of the liberal justices]) ruled that a higher tax value is sufficient reason for such seizure.

Not that I'm recommending this. Among the other problems with this week's screed is externalities. When we say, "for our wealth stock is, by definition, our capital, and GDP is the annual income that we gain from employing that capital. If we're getting less GDP from the same capital, or we've more capital producing the same GDP, then the society is becoming less efficient," we are saying that things like environmental preservation have no value, primarily because they are not monetized.

And I will say again that rises in prices (too often confused with value) are more often than not synonymous with inflation, and are not really growth.

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Collective noun search for security vulns moves into beta testing

Identity
Devil

What about...

"infestation?"

I voted for scourge as the most reasonable of the bad choices provided, but only to see the results, Vulns (already in use) is an excellent choice,

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Boffins spot a SECOND JUPITER – the gas giant's baby sister

Identity
Headmaster

Nubile?

nubile |ˈn(y)oōˌbīl; -bəl|

adjective

(of a girl or young woman) sexually mature; suitable for marriage.

• (of a girl or young woman) sexually attractive : he employed a procession of nubile young secretaries.

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Want Edward Snowden pardoned? You're in the minority, say pollsters

Identity
WTF?

Re: Birds of a feather

See icon

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Identity
FAIL

Re: Scared yet?

Honestly, we do not have a democracy in America. It was meant to be a republic ("What sort of government have you given us, Mr. Franklin?"

"A republic, madam, if you can keep it.")

Unfortunately, we could not — it's now an oligarchy; some might argue a kakistocracy.

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Copyright troll wants to ban 'copyright troll' from its copyright troll lawsuit

Identity
Devil

Re: Never Heard of Them.

Actually, it seems they are suing people regardless of whether they have partaken in any way.

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Identity
Joke

Slightly related story

Don't know if this is true or not...

Australian Police have been unable to recommend a prosecution for the following scam:

A company takes out a newspaper advertisement claiming to be able to supply imported hard core pornographic videos. As their prices seem reasonable, people place orders and make payments via check.

After several weeks, the company writes back explaining that under the present law they are unable to supply the materials and do not wish to be prosecuted. So they return their customers' money in the form of a company check.

However, due to the name of the company, few people will present these checks to their banks.

The name of the company: "The Anal Sex and Fetish Perversion Company"

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Global spy system ECHELON confirmed at last – by leaked Snowden files

Identity
Black Helicopters

Re: Nice Article (9/11)

One could, perhaps, be forgiven for branding me a conspiracy theorist (though after this article, you have to wonder). I would suggest the anyone interested look for the film "Loose Change," which is available free (and virally) online. Pay particular attention to "Operation Northstar,' which dates from when all this began.

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So just WHO ARE the 15 per cent of Americans still not online?

Identity
Unhappy

RE: Follow-up: are you able to avoid Kim Kardashian if you stay offline?

Barely, if you avert your eyes from the tabloids at the check-out counter.

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Your voter-trolling autodialer is illegal: The cringey moment the FCC spanks a congresscritter

Identity
Devil

Re: @IR

Alexander Cockburn wrote in The Nation many years ago (you can tell how many by the example) the following [paraphrased]:

The difference between Republicans and Democrats is, if a Contra were raping a nun, the Republican would say, "Go for it!" and the Democrat would say, "Now, you know that's not right. Ask her nicely and if she says 'no,' I'll help you."

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US State of Georgia sues 'terrorist' for publishing its own laws ... on the internet

Identity
Stop

Is that so?

"It's also clear that Georgia did not put its finest lawyers on the case…"

What makes you think so?

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BREAKING NEWS: Apple makes money

Identity

Re: Record profits yet Wall St says No

"apple have lost 90% of the smartphone market."

...and yet rake in over 90% of the profits in that market, so I'm not sure your stat is correct,

BTW: watch those caps!

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Asimov's ghost! Oil and gas rigs could be taken over by robots

Identity
Terminator

Hmm...

Assuming (and we all know what 'to assume' does...) they succeed, would they then employ the droids in all oil and gas circumstances, given that it is cheaper in long run (or so they assume...)? Oil and gas fracking has driven a lot of new employment in these here United States, such as the boom in North Dakota, which previously employed but a few bachelor farmers, used car salesmen and a sheriff or two.

What will happen to the roughnecks? Think of the children!

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Foxconn's going to 'exploit' Indian labour? SCORE! Bye, poverty

Identity

Re: OK, then...

@DavCrav

Get a sense of humor, Dude!

On top of that, you are mathematically wrong.

Let's assume, for sake of discussion, that the wasters' net worth is ridiculously, egregiously low —say, $1,000 each (bearing in mind that a higher value would just bring up the average). That's just a rounding error in Bill Gates' $79.5 billion net worth. <http://www.forbes.com/profile/bill-gates/>.

So, the mean average is (1000+1000+79.5B)/3=2650000066.666666666666667

The median average is (79.5B-1000)/2=39749999500

The only average that doesn't give a result in the billions is the seldom-used modal average [more people have value x than any other]. With that, the average is $1,000.

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Identity

Re: OK, then...

@John Brown (no body)

Then I suppose the installation of suicide nets at Foxconn was replicated in all these other companies you mention, like Pegatron?

http://www.bloomberg.com/slideshow/8/2012-03-30/inside-apple-s-foxconn-factory.html

http://www.cnet.com/pictures/the-making-of-an-iphone-pictures/14/

No. Hmmm.

As for Apple bashing, I'm not one to do that, as I wouldn't be where I am today (wherever that is) without Apple.

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Identity
Boffin

OK, then...

Two wasters are sitting in a bar when Bill Gates walks in. "Hurrah!" shouts one, "Drinks for everyone!"

"What are you doing?" asks his friend.

"Our average net worth is now several billion dollars!"

This could point to the state of your Chinese factory worker, who — while better off than when he was in his village, else why would he be there? — is by no means flush. Look back, too, to the stories of overwork, dormitory living and suicides at Foxconn. And this, too, could well be exported.

But apparently, even they are getting too expensive, so 'let's go hire cheaper Indian labor!' Yes, theoretically when the global supply of exploitable and cheap labor is gone, all pays will have to rise. But even that is not a panacea, as the cost of living rises, sometimes and in some places more than the increase in pay. Until then, it's a race to the bottom, with the glorious capitalists trying to make us all rich beyond the wildest dreams of a Bangladeshi dirt farmer.

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AT&T: We'll play nice with net neutrality, just let us gobble DirecTV

Identity

Meanwhile...

National Public Radio reports this morning that T-Mobile wants to slurp Dish Network.

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iPhone case uses phone's OWN SIGNAL to charge it (forever, presumably)

Identity
Boffin

Remember Zeno?

Q: If Achilles covers half the distance to his destination every day, when does he arrive?

A: Never

(Of course, at some point the distance is so small as to be negligible, and impossible in the physical world not to negotiate...)

Even giving the 'inventor' the benefit of the doubt, eventually the charge will be so small, it won't power your phone for the smallest fraction of a picosecond.

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Go for a spin on Record Store Day: Lifting the lid on vinyl, CD and tape

Identity
Boffin

Some additiponal info

First, I'm amazed and gratified that Record Store Day has spread across the pond (and who knows where else) after having been started by my local retailer, Bull Moose Music.

Second, if you're so old (like me) as to have a system from back in the day (mine includes a Thorens TD 160), there are devices like iRecord that are analog-to-digital converters that can be used to put digital files on computers, iThings and flash drives from anything with RCA plugs, including video as well.

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US Senate to probe the Obama-Google love-in

Identity
Holmes

So...

Google:Obama=Enron:Bush. At least Google does less harm to society AKA "Don't Be [too] Evil"

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Light the torches! NSA's BFF Senator Feinstein calls for e-book burning

Identity

Re: Shurely

Yes

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Feds cuffed for allegedly PILFERING Silk Road drug souk's Bitcoins

Identity
Trollface

Hmph!

I don't see the problem here. St. Ronnie Reagan told us the Government is our enemy and we should all be entrepreneurs...

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A Quid A Day for NOSH? Luxury!

Identity
Boffin

Just a niggle, since we're being so statistical, and all...

In 1990, the world population was 5.2 billion or so. Today, it's approaching (if not passed) 7 billion. therefore, 1.91 billion was was 36.7% of the world, roughly. Today's 1 billion is about 7%. Progress, indeed! Now, what per cent of the world in 1990 was 'developing' compared with today?

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Layla enjoys a Sanskrit makeover: Clapton set to become one of several Gods

Identity
Facepalm

And I thought

Sanskrit is a written, not spoken language.

("It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.")

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Google drops a log into its cloud. A log analyser, that is

Identity
Childcatcher

For those unfamiliar

http://nicktoons.nick.com/videos/clip/stimpys-big-day-log-song-1.html

http://nicktoons.nick.com/videos/clip/log-for-girls.html

http://nicktoons.nick.com/videos/clip/powdered-toast-man-commercial.html

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The secret of Warren Buffett's success at Berkshire Hathaway

Identity
Stop

A little knowlege is a dangerous thing.

TW's article is clear — and just a tad obvious, to anyone who follows these things. However, I must niggle at his characterization of the US insurance market as non-competitive. As a Brit, he can be forgiven and does indeed know there are various state regulators. However, there are extreme differences from state to state. For instance, Massachusetts actually sets the rates, so everyone pays the same if fall into the same group, and the state requires (again for instance) every driver to carry insurance. No real competition there — insurers must compete on things like service (gasp!). In neighboring New Hampshire, the state does not set rates and the premiums for any given policy will vary from company to company. There is a small market in Massachusetts residents trying to figure out how to register their cars in New Hampshire, even though Massachusetts is a 'No Fault' state...

Similar variances abound.

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US Senators hope to crack down on the trade of private information

Identity
Big Brother

Good idea

...even if it has a snowball's chance, given the Repuglican control of the Congress. Still however, physician — heal thyself!

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(Re)touching on a quarter-century of Adobe Photoshop

Identity

Re: Find Edges is NOT useless

Unsharp Masking produces a result that is different, often resulting in unwanted color or highlight variations, in my experience.

PS: I've been a graphic designer since before computers and started using Photoshop with v. 1.07

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Identity
Boffin

Find Edges is NOT useless

Here's a trick for those who like and/or use this kind of thing:

•Duplicate a layer (be it a flat background or otherwise) and run Find Edges on the duplicate.

•Select All and copy

•Create a new channel and paste

•Delete the duplicate layer

•Select the new channel from the Select menu

•Go back to the original image layer with the new channel (alpha) selected

•Run Gaussian Blur on the selection

I call this Gaussian Sharpen and have created an action to do this

PS: It's also good for some artistic purposes, but I leave that to you...

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Boffins baffled by the glowing 'plumes' of MARS

Identity
Alert

From Wells' "War of the Worlds"

"Men like Schiaparelli watched the red planet--it is odd, by-the-bye, that for countless centuries Mars has been the star of war--but failed to interpret the fluctuating appearances of the markings they mapped so well. All that time the Martians must have been getting ready.

During the opposition of 1894 a great light was seen on the illuminated part of the disk, first at the Lick Observatory, then by Perrotin of Nice, and then by other observers. English readers heard of it first in the issue of Nature dated August 2. I am inclined to think that this blaze may have been the casting of the huge gun, in the vast pit sunk into their planet, from which their shots were fired at us. Peculiar markings, as yet unexplained, were seen near the site of that outbreak during the next two oppositions.

The storm burst upon us six years ago now. As Mars approached opposition, Lavelle of Java set the wires of the astronomical exchange palpitating with the amazing intelligence of a huge outbreak of incandescent gas upon the planet. It had occurred towards midnight of the twelfth; and the spectroscope, to which he had at once resorted, indicated a mass of flaming gas, chiefly hydrogen, moving with an enormous velocity towards this earth. This jet of fire had become invisible about a quarter past twelve. He compared it to a colossal puff of flame suddenly and violently squirted out of the planet, "as flaming gases rushed out of a gun." "

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It's not easy being Green. But WHY insist we knit our own ties?

Identity
Boffin

Really? Think a bit further

In RE, Adam Smith's pin factory:

[from my book, The Root of All Evil, available on Noise Trade as an e-book]

Adam Smith, in his Wealth of Nations, illustrating how the division of labor results in greater productivity, famously used the example of a pin maker. He described how a solitary pin maker might make but one and no more than twenty pins in a day. That man would have to draw out the wire, straighten it, point it, prepare and set the head, whiten the pin and place it in its paper. He would also (though Smith does not mention it) have to procure materials, find customers and sell to them, deliver the goods and keep accounts. All this speaks of broad (if not deep) knowledge of all aspects of pin making.

Smith goes on to describe how if each of these tasks were assigned to a different individual, a group of maybe ten might make 4,800 pins in a day — far more than if those ten were solitary pin makers. Unfortunately, each of these ‘assembly line’ workers would not need to (and probably would not) have all the knowledge required to make and sell pins. They might well be more productive, but they would be lesser men. Despite being more productive, they could be paid less. Henry Ford liked this idea a lot.

In later days, technology replaced these men with pin making machinery that might produce as many as 100,000 pins in a day. But then, no one would know how to make pins. That’s considered acceptable, even though the men are all out of work, except for the guy who throws the switch and the one who occasionally must come in to work on the machine, since we can have all the pins we want.

In today’s world, such productive technology is reversing the trend and moving us back in the direction of the solitary artisan. Only twenty-five years ago, if one wanted a full color publication with photographs, he would need a writer, a photographer, a typesetter, a graphic designer, a color separator, a stripper, a plate maker, a printer and a binder, at a minimum. (This doesn’t include paper and ink merchants or distribution and delivery people, either.) All along the process, these nine people would be fully capable of identifying errors made by others previously. It served as a check to ensure quality workmanship. Such an operation is an art, a craft and a science.

Now, however, a solitary designer can call up stock photography on the internet, place it in the article he’s written in his page-layout document on his computer, impose and output color separations, then send it all off by e-mail to a computer-to-plate automated printing press. One artisan can easily produce what was once the work of nine. Nine people can produce nine times as much. That artisan is responsible for knowing the full process. Why, inside of a few short hours, he can produce 45,000 full color, bound books —of the wrong thing! And many of the specialist craftsmen have become graphic artists, responsible for their own projects, thus driving their pay down as their number increase.

++++++++++++++++++

Additionally, one might think from TW's article that centralized power generation and the concomitant distribution lines is the way to go — after all, there's an example where a few can generate for the many and free the many up for more useful and/or profitable work. Really? I can think of a couple of things wrong with that: 1) a centralized power plant, say a nuclear station like my local Seabrook, makes a fine target, 2) should all or part of the system go down, everyone involved is down and 3) distributed power generation, such as having solar panels on everyone's roof will prevent problems 1 and 2, while increasing the wealth of the owner. (Yes, I know they're inefficient, but they are getting better and cheaper. At the current state of the art, I could wipe out my entire electric bill. [Truth in Advertising: last time I looked (a few years ago), such a system would cost me $17,000, which at my current usage and assuming (hilariously) that there will be no rate increases, would take 15 years to pay off, leaving me with perhaps 5—10 years of free electricity, given the life span of the unit. I probably will not be in this house then.])

Lastly, a quote from my haftorah:

Q: Who is rich?

A: He who rejoices in what he has.

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Watch: China has made an internet censorship THEME SONG

Identity
Big Brother

Sense aside,

the music sounds more Soviet than Chinese...

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SWINGBELLIES! Take heed! Drinking WINE is good for your LIVER

Identity
Holmes

This is news?

Why— we've known about this for yonks! Yonks of plonk!

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GRUNTY CHIMPS 'blend in among locals' after moving to Scotland

Identity
Coat

Is 't niet mogelijk?

Dat zij hebben vertaalen geleerde? Och, aye...

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Chipotle insider trading: Disproving the efficient markets hypothesis

Identity
Boffin

May I remind you...

that Joseph Stiglitz won his Nobel for showing that perfect information in markets is unobtainable — one party almost always knows something his/her counterpart does not.

On another matter, we sometimes have conditions where Governments (and even corporations) a) know the true price of a given commodity or service because they fix it and b) the massive purchase of said commodities or services helps regulate those prices. There are social values to this. The US Government has steadfastly refused to bargain for the price of pharmaceuticals used by its services (Medicare, for the elderly and disabled), the VA (for veterans), etc. The result is we have the highest prices in the world. (No mention here of the lobbying and campaign funds provided by pHarma, headed by former powerful Congresscreature, Billy Tauzin...)

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SCIENTIFIC CONSENSUS that 2014 was record HOTTEST year? NO

Identity
Stop

Propaganda!

"...arguing for massive government and economic action, action which people would not take voluntarily - that is action which will make people poorer, then."

Really? Here in the states, while there is a government subsidy (which is paid for by the tax-payers), it is entirely voluntary and if you should decide to take advantage of it and reduce the cost of a solar array, you may very well wipe out your electric bill (according to the late, lamented roofrays.com, I would), which at worst would be a wash, and might even make you richer, as electric rates keep going up (15% this year alone, here). But don't fret about the poor downtrodden corporate utilities. They want you to pump the free solar energy back into the grid (to run your meter backward). Should you pump in more than you use, they don't pay you for it, no — they get free power to charge others for!

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Apple wants your fingerprints in the cloud

Identity
Stop

What could go wrong?

Hmmm...

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Preserve the concinnity of English, caterwauls American university

Identity

Re: funny

In America, the concept of 'world + dog' would generally be rendered as 'everyone and his brother.'

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Identity
Headmaster

Past "tence?"

spelling AND usage

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Identity
Headmaster

Q&A

Q: What is the greatest problem in America, today — apathy or ignorance?

A: I don't know and I don't care!

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Identity
Coat

Amen,brother,

but as e'er, eschew obfuscation!

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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.

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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

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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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