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* Posts by Squander Two

851 posts • joined 26 Mar 2012

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

Squander Two
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Re: Econimics as a fashion item?

> Only an idiot would ever say such a thing.

Like the Buddha, you mean?

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White LED lies: It's great, but Nobel physics prize-winning great?

Squander Two
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You can lead a horse to English, but you can't make it parse.

> Pretty unequivocal in what it is saying. Add a blue LED to a Red one and a Green one and you can get a white "bulb".

Really can't be arsed giving a point-by-point breakdown of the piece, but you maybe need to learn the difference between "and" and "therefore", and note that Tim was explicitly writing about both bulbs and screens.

> Half your selective quotes don't refer to the LED work, but instead to other uses of GaN - not part of the Prize award. What was your point?

So what's your point now? You claimed that the whole article was completely dismissive of the scientists' work -- because it cast doubt on points made which you also insist are nothing to do with their work. I point out that the article is full of praise for the work. Even if half the quotes are irrelevant (because they relate to some of the work's broader applications rather than just LED bulbs), so what? They're still praise. I can't see even a smidgen of this derisory contempt for the Nobel-winners' work that you claim saturates the article. You're reacting to something that isn't there.

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Squander Two
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Re: It's a PHYSICS award

> RTFA

I have, twice. I can see why you might think that it says that you can only get white light by mixing red, green, and blue, but it really doesn't. One might even say that it has been carefully worded to avoid saying that. RTFA.

> instead it comes across as trying to downplay the significance of the Prize.

Oh, yes, I see what you mean:

It's an excellent piece of work, enabling a whole new ensemble of energy efficient lamps and colour LED screens, and fully deserving of the prize. And yes, it might well change society in wondrous and wonderful ways. ... whatever happens in the world of lighting, gallium nitride has already changed our world. It's the basis of the higher density we can now achieve in optical storage. ... this is a good example of basic research that got commercialised very quickly. Blue lasers are still (just about, depending upon which generation of them you want to talk about) in patent and that's why the portion of the research done at Nichia Corp was so valuable to the company.

Yeah, it's practically dripping with bile-laden derision.

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Squander Two
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Re: Time to roam the technical journals

> It's not just about better light. The invention of usable blue LEDs, and the race for efficiency that followed, launched a broad range of new technologies.

From the article:

But, before we go there, we should point out that whatever happens in the world of lighting, gallium nitride has already changed our world. It's the basis of the higher density we can now achieve in optical storage.

> I would call it a world changing invention.

From the article:

And yes, it might well change society in wondrous and wonderful ways.

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Squander Two
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Re: It's a PHYSICS award

Oh, and also, the Nobel Committee did write:

As about one fourth of world electricity consumption is used for lighting purposes, the LEDs contribute to saving the Earth’s resources. Materials consumption is also diminished as LEDs last up to 100,000 hours, compared to 1,000 for incandescent bulbs and 10,000 hours for fluorescent lights.

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Squander Two
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Re: It's a PHYSICS award

> The first 4 or 5 commentards already did a neat job.

Their explications were certainly very interesting, but they were writing in response to an error that was not in fact in the article.

> Its a "could fill 4 football stadiums" moment. ... That then gets cherry picked by the Guardian, who push a pro-renewables editorial agenda.

So... what? Therefore no-one must respond to it? I don't get it.

Like I said, that pro-renewables agenda is accepted by our governing classes and is the basis of legislation that affects us all. It doesn't seem that unreasonable to write about it.

> By which point we are so far away from the fact that it's a Physics prize, awarded for some bloody good work that the Nobel itself is irrelevant to the meat of Tim's article.

Again, so what? The Register had already covered the news of the prize here. So what's your point? The Register may publish one and only one article about each piece of news? When one piece of news brings a particular related issue to public attention, The Register may never write about that related issue? Again, I don't get it. Just how fucking boring do you want this website to be?

> "Worstall on the Weekend - Will the LED revolution be all it's cracked up to be?" would have been far more apt and pissed me off far less.

You do know writers don't write their own headlines, right?

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Squander Two
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Re: @ scatter

> Well it results in the same illumination levels for longer periods of time.

I.e., more lighting.

> The thrust of the article was that there would suddenly be a big increase in illumination levels

I've just reread it in case I missed something, and nope, sorry, you've projected this onto it; it's just not in there. The article points out that, when light gets cheaper, we buy more of it. It doesn't go into specific details about exactly where that spending occurs.

> it's always rolled out by people trying to diss energy efficiency in lighting.

I don't see any of that here either. I don't think that pointing out that increased efficiency may not have the effects some people claim it will is the same as opposing efficiency.

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Squander Two
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Re: actually.....

> We did start to light up more stuff immedeately

I don't think the article suggests at any point that we didn't.

> I think if you take all those lumens into your equations you'd get quite a different figure.

I think you're mistaken about what that figure is. It's not money spent on things that happen to emit light; it's money spent on lighting.

And even if you did take those things into account, the result would be that we're spending more resources on lighting, not less.

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Squander Two
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Re: It's a PHYSICS award

> I don't really understand that Physics stuff, so what I'll do is have a stab at explaining it, get it wrong

Whatever you may think of Tim's article, he has at least explained the economics he's presented. Unless you explain the bit Tim got wrong, you're not exactly outdoing him, are you?

> focus in on a small quote from a commentary surrounding the actual awarding of the prize

Hmm. A quote from an eminent physicist explaining the societal importance of the prize in a way that is both representative of what lots of other people are saying about it and is also illustrative of the basis of current legislation. It's hardly some obscure immaterial point, is it?

Apart from that, you seem to be angry that a writer has used something that is currently prominent in the news as a springboard to talk about something that is closely related to it. But surely that's a completely normal everyday event.

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Squander Two
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Re: @ scatter

> I'm sure there'll be some rebound through people leaving lights on longer ... but that's quite a different thing to adding lots more lighting to increase illumination levels within the home

Leaving lights on longer is adding more lighting to increase illumination levels within the home.

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Squander Two
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Re: What if energy comes from clean sources? Does it then matter?

> One thing this author seems to have ignored, is that energy, sooner or later is going to stop being from fossil fuels, and from cleaner sources.

By "ignored" do you mean "written about the other day"?

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Squander Two
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Re: Let there be light!

> The curious thing is why local government think they are in such desperate economic times.

They don't. They're pretending they do in order to blackmail the public. "Nice library you've got here. Be a terrible shame if something were to happen to it. Like, for instance, Westminster threatening my gravy train."

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Squander Two
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Re: Apologies, typo here

> Does it get more complicated given the ambient light cast off by the myriad devices in our lives like computer and TV screens and the dozens of other devices with luminous displays even if it's just a green led on the router, a red one on the switch and a blue one on the modem?

Depends what you're measuring. If you're measuring the actual cost of bringing your home up to a certain level of litness, yes, that all complicated matters considerably. But if you're measuring the amount that humans spend on lighting, it doesn't. A router may throw a bit of light into a room, but that's a side-effect; when someone spends £50 on a router, they never think "And 30p of that comes out of my lighting budget."

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Bono apologises for iTunes album dump

Squander Two
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Be fair

I thought a lot of the backing was rather good -- special mention to Adam for playing some interesting bass for the first time in his life. Where it all went wrong was every time Bono opened his mouth. The melodies are just so twee.

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Squander Two
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Where the leprechauns are

> I've never even heard of a leprechaun outside of:

> 1-US cartoons

> 2-English people on St. Patrick's Day

Clearly never been to Dublin Airport, then.

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Nokia Lumia 735: Ignore the selfie hype, it's a grown-up phone

Squander Two
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Two or three columns

Older users may also regret the inability to use the phone in the old two column view – it uses three column view by default (meaning smaller tile text) and it isn't possible to reset it to a two column view, an accessibility snafu.

Either the 735 has a special version of WP8.1, or this is wrong. I can certainly switch back and forth between two or three columns on my 1020.

Settings > start+theme

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Want to see the back of fossil fuels? Calm down, hippies. CAPITALISM has an answer

Squander Two
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Re: Here is what I don't understand

I have often said that, regardless of the arguments about the economic justification for subsidising alternatives to oil in order to cut pollution, there is a decent justification for spending some of the defence budget on them.

I believe that's also Sarah Palin's argument for drilling in Alaska.

Same with agriculture, actually. We currently pay farmers to produce food we don't need because of some romantic idea that no farmer should ever have to change career, which seems like a collosal waste of money. Surely it would make more sense to spend some of our defence budget on farmers in order to ensure that we always have the expertise and infrastructure to produce our own food, just in case.

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Squander Two
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Re: Capitalism is hoping it wont catch on.

> There are too many vested interests to allow a truly disruptive technology like renewables catch on.

A list of truly disruptive technologies that overturned (or are overturning) massive and powerful vested interests:

Personal computers

Railways

Radio

Email

The Web

Automobiles

Nuclear electricity generation

Gas electricity generation

Mobile phones

Downloadable music

The telegraph

The Suez Canal

The telescope

Mechanised looms

It's an incomplete list.

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Squander Two
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Re: Economic sense isn't enough

> far fewer people than you expect will rush out and buy it.

How do you know how many people Tim expects will buy it? And why specify that they buy it promptly? All he said was "then people will buy and install it". Economics happens at the margins, so that's all we need.

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Squander Two
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Re: Tim's hopes for solar and wind are doomed

> It's also wrong. The Sun does shine at night.

That was, in fact, my point.

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Squander Two
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Re: Is your money where your mouth is?

Since the whole point of carbon taxes is that they make fossil fuel more expensive in order to increase the incentives to develop alternatives, we are all of us paying through the nose for the development of alternative energy. Almost every thing we buy is more expensive as a result of those taxes.

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Squander Two
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Re: Tim's hopes for solar and wind are doomed

> the sun does not shine at night

I am duly impressed by your level of technical expertise.

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Squander Two
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Re: petrochemicals -- just, not fossil fuels

> We stopped finding things to burn in 1965. (by which i mean that the rate at which new oil fields are discovered peaked in 1965. We've found less and less every year since

We stopped finding things to burn in 1965. (By which I mean that we did not stop finding things to burn in 1965.)

FTFY

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Squander Two
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Re: Good point

> neither of those two methods change the amount of energy available.

Obviously not, but they do lead to changes in the techniques we use to harness the available energy.

The amount of energy available is the same as it always has been: inconceivably huge, more than we could ever need. Availability doesn't matter; harnessing matters.

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

Squander Two
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Re: @ecofeco

DougS,

I think you are mistaken. You're arguing on the assumption that The One Percent are the top 1% of society, either by income or by wealth. But they're not. "The One Percent" is a catchy marketing term used to mean "those fucking bastards with their cigars and their top hats and their private jets who are to blame for everything wrong in my world." The idea that 1% in this context indicates some sort of fraction -- a hundredth, say -- is frankly naive.

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Squander Two
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Re: Piketty is all about wealth distribution. This is all about income distribution.

Of course they have something to do with each other, but they're nowhere near as closely correlated as you seem to think. As I mentioned elsewhere, I'm in the UK's top 10% by income and bottom 10% by wealth. And I am not remotely unusual in that respect. Most people with mortgages, for instance, have negative wealth.

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Squander Two
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Re: You seem to be misunderstanding.

Employment follows demand in aggregate. Changing career can still be very difficult for individuals.

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Squander Two
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Slavery

> western capitalism has had all of the wealth stolen from damn near everyone else in the world, including the mind boggling wealth generated by the enslavement of hundreds of millions of africans for 200 years (yeah, i am looking at you too America)

Slavery was the normal way of humanity for millenia. What distinguishes Western civilisation in history was not that it participated in it just like everyone else but that it stamped it out, completely unlike everyone else. America was a bit later than the British Empire in that regard, but they still got there in the end.

There is some reasonable debate about just how much wealth slavery actually generated. Slave owners at the time certainly thought that they needed it, but the fact is undeniable that productivity has increased massively since it was abolished -- and the British Empire reached its height after abolition. Worth remembering, too, that very few Africans were enslaved by white Europeans; they were mainly enslaved by other Africans and then sold to white Europeans. So, if enslavement generated so much wealth, we should be able to see a lot of that wealth in Africa, especially in the Arab states.

I know some historians argue that what really killed slavery was mechanisation, the simple fact that machines work better than slaves and so destroyed the economic argument for it. Certainly, all nations that industrialised became rich, whilst not all nations that used slavery did.

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Squander Two
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Re: Ditch the white cat, please @ecofeco

> Or did you forgot about some recently failed government IT projects? Defense contracts? Insider trading? Market gaming? Rate rigging? Let us know when one these sounds familiar.

You seem to be implying that, because some rich people are corrupt and/or criminal, they all are. That's the same as saying that all poor people are burglars.

>> No, they invest it.

> Oh they do, do they?

> From FT. You know, that bastion of lefty ideologues.

I honestly have no idea what point you're trying to make there. There's certainly nothing in that FT piece suggesting, for instance, that Asian billionaires refuse to use banks. In fact, it says:

Yet, one of the common characteristics of the world’s billionaires is their entrepreneurialism.

So that's job creation. And:

Billionaires increased their holdings of cash and cash equivalents such as shares or bonds in the period to an average of $600m each from $540m last time. ... Wealth-X and UBS said the level of cash held signalled that many are “waiting for the optimal time to make further investments”.

So they've invested lots of money and are intending to invest even more.

What did you think the article said?

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Squander Two
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Re: Life is just a ride..

> As a country we hardly produce anything to trade.

That's wrong for two reasons. Firstly, we produce quite a lot of expertise, which is very tradable. Secondly, even if you insist that that people's time and effort and knowledge don't count for some reason and that the only produced things that matter are solid objects, British manufacturing has been steadily increasing in output for decades. When people talk about the death of our manufacturing industries, they are referring to the fact that we no longer emply a lot of people in manufacturing. But that's for the same reason we no longer employ half the population of the country in agriculture: we've got much better at it. We didn't stop doing it.

> Fractional reserved banking keeps the majority working "more for less" in debt paying interest hence the social inequality. ... I am pointing out that if a system is to work it has to include all.

You are implying that jurisdictions in which banking is not available to the masses are preferable for the poor. The evidence is against you.

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Squander Two
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Re: income inequality AFTER TAX is reducing

> Many of the studies are done on pre-tax and pre-redistribution incomes.

Funnily enough, that is now known as Worstall's Fallacy.

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Squander Two
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Re: RE: Identify Generally correct

> Any industry can be turned into 'a success' if government money is thrown at it

People who claim that subsidised renewable energy firms are a success very rarely claim that the bailouts of 2008 showed how successful our banks were.

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Squander Two
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Re: Ditch the white cat, please @ Matt Bryant

> The use of such high-end luxury goods is a staple misdirection of the Lefties intended to focus attention on 'the excesses of the rich'.

Exactly. And I don't think these people realise what the 1% are actually like. The demonic Lear-jetting, whore-quaffing fat cats they envisage are probably more like the 0.01%. Most of the 1% are a bit more normal, I find: they have very nice cars and big houses, but they drive the cars themselves and the houses have mortgages. And a lot of them are Guardian-readers.

Course, that's 1% by income, not by wealth. Which is fair enough, since that's what this article is about. That's the other thing: the anti-one-percenters don't seem to even be aware that there's a difference between income and wealth, just bandying their favourite number around without thinking about what it means. Personally, I'm in the top 10% in the UK by income and the bottom 10% by wealth -- I have negative wealth -- which just goes to show how silly it is to conflate the two.

> How about chocolate - do we really need chocolate, even for 'that time of month'? No, if we are to only focus humanity's efforts on the noble goal of producing 'what is best for all' then chocolate appears to be a frivolous luxury item.

Funnily enough, that's what the law actually says in the UK: biscuits are VAT-free, but chocolate biscuits, being luxury items, are taxed. Our lords and masters at work.

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Squander Two
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Re: Ditch the white cat, please

> If there is one thing the post-Reagan era has taught us, it is that trickle-down economics do not work.

I see lefties make this claim from time to time (usually verbatim, interestingly (is there a manual or something?)), and find it frankly baffling. What we've seen in the post-Reagan era is more of the planet than ever before drag more of its people further out of poverty than the wildest dreams of our ancestors ever envisaged. (OK, maybe not the very wildest. Some of our ancestors were crazy.) And it's not thanks to Communism, is it?

> What actually happens when the very rich get more money, is that they hoard it.

No, they invest it. They may well invest it out of pure selfishness, because they want it to breed more money, but that doesn't matter to those who are invested in, does it?

There may well be a handful of crazy super-rich people who convert all their money into cash or gemstones or whatever, place it into big wooden chests, then bury it. I agree that such people's wealth is not trickling down (unless a poor person finds one of their maps). I don't agree that such people are representative of the economy or significantly influential on it.

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Squander Two
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Re: Life is just a ride..

> Money does not exist, it is not based against any earth resource for example redeeming the notes for gold like it used to be

Can you explain what makes what you think of as money valuable and why what I think of as money isn't valuable?

What's so great about gold? It's just stuff. Why should it be worth more than a person's time and effort? Or, more precisely, why should some solid stuff have a more "real" value than a person's time and effort?

If I ask you to build me a new house, and I pay for all the materials and your food, will you do it for free because you won't be giving me any earth resources?

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Squander Two
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Re: Fine up until the last point...

> the rich happen to run the political discourse that affects everyone

Oh, so that's why they're so poular.

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EU to accuse Ireland of giving Apple an overly peachy tax deal – report

Squander Two
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Re: for a more balanced understanding

You'd think, since Tim writes for The Reg twice a week and is an expert on this sort of thing, they might have dropped him a quick mail to check if this was bollocks before publishing it.

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

Squander Two
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Re: @Squander Two - @Tim Worstal - "you've got that $1.25 a day at US prices to play with...

> I have no "antipathy" towards charity

Great.

Can you see why objecting so strongly to the following might have given the impression that you did?

I think it's just great that individuals step in to prevent the destititution of their fellows when the State fucks up. [...] Or, as we might say, what in buggery is wrong with charity?

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Squander Two
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Re: @Squander Two - @Tim Worstal - "you've got that $1.25 a day at US prices to play with...

> As I said, this is not simply a fuck up, it is a *policy* of deliberately fucking people up.

Well, you said several things, one of which was:

> Charity like this should *NOT* be necessary, because the State should *NOT* fuck up like this.

So don't blame me for responding to what you did in fact write.

That aside, two things.

Firstly, the state is not the government. The state is the whole apparatus, including us the electorate. If the state is supposed to do something and is failing to do it, then it is fucking up, regardless of whether the government are trying to do it and fucking up or the electorate are fucking up by electing a government who do the wrong thing. (In fact, Lanchester's argument is that using the term "poverty" instead of "inequality" is making it more likely that the electorate will do that.)

Secondly, I agree that it would be lovely if the state always did exactly what everyone wants, and I would also like the Moon on a stick and a pony, but, given that the state, being comprised of humans, doesn't always do what everyone wants, I think it's great that private individuals do what they can to redress the perceived inadequacies via charity. Don't you?

> Why should we have to "step up with private charity" when we are already paying taxes to support the people who need it

Well, there are two ways of looking at that. Firstly, there's the matter of our taxes being wasted. On that, I couldn't agree more: I object, in principle, to having to spend money on helping people, myself included, who cannot get what we are assured by our lords and masters we have already paid for via taxation. That's just appalling. But, principles aside, the fact is that some people do still need help. What do you tell them? That your principles prevent you from helping them and that's the Government's fault? Or do you help them?

In short, I understand your anger regarding the need for charity, but I don't understand your antipathy to charity itself.

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Squander Two
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Re: Smith disagrees with you on poverty

Surely, since the appalling poverty in China described by Smith, what has happened in China is that that level of poverty has drastically decreased while inequality has increased. Which of those two results should we care more about?

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Squander Two
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Re: @Squander Two - @Tim Worstal - "you've got that $1.25 a day at US prices to play with...

> No, it's what I would like to tell idiots like Ian Duncan Smith, along with "Get a conscience, you petty minded bastard!"

OK, whatever, but what you actually objected to was Tim's saying that he thinks it's great when people step up with private charity to make up for the state fucking up. I think it's great too. I agree that it would be lovely if the state never fucked up, and I would also like the Moon on a stick and a pony, but, given that the state, being comprised of humans, fucks up, I think it's great that private individuals do what they can to redress the fuck-ups via charity. Don't you?

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Re: Ironic.

> Because pretty much every indicator of well-being you can think of would have improved?

Right, so you don't care about people's actual wealth. Just indicators.

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Re: @Tim Worstal - "you've got that $1.25 a day at US prices to play with...

> Charity like this should *NOT* be necessary, because the State should *NOT* fuck up like this.

Is that what you tell people who need charity?

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Re: "you've got that $1.25 a day at US prices to play with...

> And you can get those walls for $1.25 a day, can you?

Wattle and daub? Yes: it's mud. Building costs don't come into it, as people built these crappy huts themselves. Land costs are immaterial to serfs who are living on someone else's land on the condition that they work it.

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Re: Ironic. @ Vociferous

> I'm pretty sure the author wants people to stop talking about poverty and start talking about inequality because he wants society to do less about it.

I'm pretty sure you're wrong, but, rather than my getting into an argument about the various things Tim's written over the years (I'm sure he can manage that for himself), why don't you go read the excellent John Lanchester piece in The Guardian that Tim was referring to? It seems clear to me that Lanchester's reasons for wanting to ban the use of the word "poverty" are the exact opposite of what you claim.

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Re: Semantics

> Me? I don't care what you want to call it

OK, let's call it "rape", then.

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Re: Ironic.

> the financial crisis meant that the median income dropped, thus meaning that many people on 13kish a year went from being in poverty, to being out of poverty. No change in financial conditions, food actually became more expensive in the period, yet they were now part of the celebration that poverty was being reduced.

Another good example is what would have happened if Scotland had voted Yes. Inequality in both Scotland and England would have dropped overnight, with, again, no actual changes to anyone's income or wealth. Why on Earth would we celebrate that?

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Re: Maybe

> But someone let down is less in "poverty" and more "mistreated".

Exactly. Yes, there are some poor people still in our society -- not absolutely poor, but still pretty fucking screwed by even quite hard-hearted standards. But our welfare state, as designed and intended, would, if correctly implemented, make sure that there weren't. People who are living in poverty are legally entitled to enough state help to get them out of that poverty, but are victims of bureaucratic fuck-up.

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Drones CAN'T deliver goods ... oh. Air traffic control system backed by NASA, you say?

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The really important questions no-one's asking

1: Will drones leave a little card with "We called but you weren't in" on it?

2: Will they do this even when you're in?

Without this basic functionality, I fail to see how they can possibly replace van drivers.

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

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> Why would they possibly want to vote to reduce the value of their life savings so you can buy a cheaper house?

So their children will move out?

> For a great many people paying these large mortgages, their house is their pension. They need to sell it and downsize to fund retirement, and they made that choice decades before you want to start meddling with the market.

Who's meddling with the market? The state, not me. The proposal in question here is to stop meddling with the market, not to start.

The decision to use houses as pensions has already been screwed by that meddling in the market, as insane house price rises increasingly lead to people having to use their houses to fund their children's houses. It doesn't look like a particularly reliable decision either way.

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