89 posts • joined Monday 13th August 2007 17:03 GMT
Re: Hidden costs/benefits
I was going to mention health insurance, but I assume that's less of an issue in the UK, and this seemed like a pretty thoroughly UK-centric article. It can be a major obstacle to going freelance in the US, unless you have a spouse with a steady job with good health insurance.
Pensions aren't really an issue in the US, in that no one gets them anymore, anyway, except civil servants.
On the plus side, tax law here is a lot simpler -- although probably only because we've only had a couple hundred years to muddy it up. ;)
Re: @Alan Esworthy Betting against the MAN
I have no doubt that some of my peaceful, orderly neighbors would happily steal me blind if they believed there was no entity that could punish them for it. One doesn't have to look far to realize this; even highly civilized places quickly revert to violence and looting if there's a temporary absence of government-enforced law and order. You don't have to look as far as Somalia to see that; just look at the looting and violence that happened after Hurricane Katrina, or during the 1977 blackout in NYC.
Throughout human history, power and wealth have always gone to whoever could most convincingly threaten violence against other people. It's the natural state of humanity. This is why revolutions almost always end as military dictatorships (our own revolution in the US was a fortunate exception.)
As I see it, government is an exercise in giving the biggest guns to an entity that we have some amount of control over, instead of leaving the choice of our rulers up to chance and violence. Given that I couldn't even hire a mall cop for what I pay in taxes, much less my own private police force, I'm going to stick with it.
Re: Warnings from History: Wikileaks... Cyprus....
The Cyprus haircut was about as quiet and unexpected as a 4th of July parade. *I* heard it was coming weeks ahead, and I don't even follow financial news very closely. The fact is, in spite of all their outrage, the foreign investors who had money in Cyprus banks knew exactly what they were getting into. In the current economic climate, banks don't promise 9% APR on savings accounts unless they're on the verge of collapse.
Re: Betting against the MAN
Because Somalia is what a state without a strong central government becomes.
Let's say, in your imaginary governmentless state, you buy your own police and military services. But so do your competitors. Guess what happens if they want you shut down? Now you're a warlord, trying to defend your territory against a rival warlord. Except you have a sign on your door that says "CEO." Well done.
Re: Betting against the MAN
I'd suggest relocating to Somalia, then. There's no functioning government to worry about, and you can negotiate directly with the local businessmen who provide military and police functions in each region. (We usually call them "warlords," but that's just semantics.) It's libertarianism in action.
Me, I'll stay here and keep paying my taxes.
Time to switch to another imaginary currency. I suggest Linden Dollars.
Re: A non-merkin writes....
US banking regulation is managed by a whole raft of different agencies, with overlapping responsibilities. It's kind of a mess. Generally industries lobby to have their particular slice of territory regulated by whichever agency they think will have the fewest resources for policing their activities.
Re: Betting against the MAN
Not that I like Nixon, but by that point we were on the gold standard in name only. The dollar's value relative to gold had been repeatedly adjusted.
But there's nothing magic about gold. It has very little practical use, so it really amounts to yet another currency that has value only because we agree it does. During the era of money being linked to gold, we had inflation when there were large gold strikes and deflation when there were gold shortages. Favoring a gold standard is just another way of saying that guys in other countries digging with shovels will regulate the economy better than the Fed. You might honestly believe that's true, but at least be up front about it.
Re: Betting against the MAN
I expect Bitcoin itself will remain largely unregulated. It's the point where Bitcoins are exchanged for real US dollars they're interested in, since that can become a conduit for money laundering.
Also, taxation is only "theft" if you aren't getting anything in return. People who hope to avoid taxes via alternative currencies or other dodges are just trying to get the benefits of a functioning government without having to pay for it.
The problem with suits is you have to spend a LOT of money to get a good one, and if you buy a cheap one you look like a used car salesman. And then a few years later it's out of style because the lapels are 5mm too wide or it has four buttons on the cuffs instead of three. I feel like they're a result of management who get five times our salary thinking we should be spending as much money on clothes as they do.
Re: Can't pull it off
I used to work for a bank that insisted everyone wear a suit and tie at all times. It was fun trying to install cards in desktops while simultaneously trying to keep my tie from falling into the dusty guts.
Re: trousers are more comfy anyway
The problem is, if I spent a big stack of cash on custom-tailored trousers, I'd feel very reluctant to crawl under people's desks in them. Wearing expensive pants in an IT environment is like using an iPad as a doorstop.
Harder to ignite...
...is a bit of an understatement. Once, while using diesel fuel to light a fire, I dropped a match into a puddle of it. It put out the match.
Re: Owners of rival devices will disagree, but the sales say it all.
It depends on what you want out of a car. Toyota has a reputation for reliability. Frankly, all most people really want out of a car is a transportation appliance that doesn't give them trouble. A Corolla delivers that admirably.
Mind you, I'm more of a Honda type myself, but I can see why Toyotas sell like they do.
Losing the optical drive doesn't bother me all that much...Apple's "Superdrives" consistently seem to fail after a few years, so I expect I'll have better luck with an external one. My suspicion is that their slot-loading design causes the drives to eventually end up full of dust.
I don't find the "setting them off" part scary, but I am wary of the "putting thousands of pounds of plutonium on top of a rocket and boosting it through the atmosphere" part. If the rocket explodes in flight you've just made the world's largest dirty bomb.
If these really do appear in 2015, I bet by 2045 it will be illegal to drive a car manually except on a closed course. People will shake their heads at the idea that unreliable, inattentive meatbags ever piloted objects traveling at 70 mph.
Re: Methane from Cellulose
I suspect the reason we're not trying to make methane from cellulose is natural gas is still cheap and plentiful, especially with the advent of "fracking" techniques. I doubt any process for making methane can compete, unless the input material is free and the usage point is nearby -- e.g., dairy farms will sometimes use methane from decomposing manure to generate power.
You're correct that it's never drawn that much interest as a motor fuel. There are a few reasons for this; the main ones are it's difficult to store in a compact way (has to be highly compressed, which means cylindrical takes that eat up passenger space) and it's still more expensive than gasoline per BTU. It also has distribution issues -- it can only be distributed economically to fueling stations that happen to be in areas that have natural gas pipelines.
It mainly sees use for powering captive fleets, especially ones in areas where pollution is a major concern. I pretty routinely see it used to run taxicabs, for example.
Yes. It's insufficiently impressive to your friends, which defeats the purpose of buying a $50,000 car.
I think this is why I've almost never bought a used car and gotten the original keys...just copies of copies that barely work. The previous owner probably put the original in a "safe place" and then forgot where that was. ;)
The one exception was, oddly, a 40-year-old Saab 95, which still had the original key. Unfortunately it didn't have most of the original LOCKS. ;)
Re: Good way to shut down an "underground unregulated" currency
The underground nature of it is rather overstated. Very few places accept bitcoins directly, and the moment you convert it to some other currency, you're in a regulated market.
To me it seems like it's an "underground currency" in about the same way Beanie Babies were in the 90s. Something that briefly had a significant value because people thought they could buy in cheap and then profit as the market went up.
Inflation isn't likely to be an issue
...at least not for the reason you state.
The algorithm is designed so each new coin takes more and more processing power to create, so the rate of inflation should be controlled to a fairly low level. (This means the people who got in on the ground floor, when the coins were "cheap" to create, made out handsomely. Rather clever, really; the person who designed it designed it to give himself and his friends an automatic head start in wealth. Not *quite* a pyramid scheme, but it sorta looks like one if you squint just right.)
That doesn't mean it can't collapse relative to other currencies, of course, as it appears to have done.
Mesothelioma? Seems like an odd application
What's the point of early diagnosis for an incurable disease? At best, it lets you agonize for longer about the fact you're going to die young. Not to mention making you uninsurable.
You actually got IR to work?
IRDA sounded like such a good idea. I never, in practice, got it to work reliably. I could occasionally get my laptop to sync to my Palm via IRDA, but most of the time it would fail halfway through and I'd end up digging out the cable. Another fun experience was having someone walk between your IR-enabled laptop and your IR-enabled printer, resulting in the printing of gibberish.
Where I work we still have some electronic door locks that are programmed via IR from a PocketPC, and I get that to work about one try out of three. Any slight misalignment and it gives up, locking the PocketPC and forcing a hard reset.
Re: Swings and Roundabouts
Your post is mostly true, except that health care for the unemployed is now nearly impossible to get. Most states have eliminated those programs due to lack of funding, or instituted quotas that require long waiting lists for coverage. Standards for receiving disability benefits have also been tightened. It's true that if you're a child, or a senior with no assets, you can still usually get care, though.
No hospital is allowed to discharge patients - no matter their financial condition - if doing so would endanger their life...
While that's true for emergency care, it doesn't do much for people with life-threatening chronic conditions. A friend of mine who has insulin-dependent diabetes and some mental health issues is facing losing his medical disability benefits, and I honestly don't know what he's going to do. Even if he somehow scrapes together the money for the insulin, the last time he was off his psych meds he tried to kill himself twice.
Ironically, what disqualified him for disability was finding a full-time job, which he worked for three months before illness forced him to quit again (He has some other long-term medical problems that cause him extreme fatigue due to lack of vitamin absorbtion...which could be helped by injections, which he can't afford.)
IMAP + multiple machines = headache
Unlikely. Industrial control systems are highly implementation-specific, even if they're running the same hardware.
I suspect these are high-maintenance vehicles. When I visited a Marine base I got the impression that maintaining the vehicles used for training there was a full-time job for a significant number of people; military gear like this is often built with the assumption that it won't travel a huge number of miles in its lifetime before being either destroyed by enemy action or written off in a mishap on rugged terrain, so being used day in and day out for training tends to consume spares rapidly.
Re: I was hoping
While DC arcs aren't self-extinguishing, they will extinguish when the power is cut off. ;) I'm guessing an interlock will cut off the high voltage power the instant the handshake pin disconnects -- and if they follow good connector design guidelines, the DC pins will be longer and make first/break last. As a backup I would expect either a high-voltage DC breaker or a fast-acting silver-sand fuse.
Re: Back of the envelope
Most electric cars have a small radiator to dissipate heat from the electronics and in some cases the battery pack. I know on the Tesla the radiator fans will cycle on as needed during charging to keep the electronics cool; I'm sure other electric cars are similar.
10 kW is about the equivalent of the waste heat from a 20 shaft horsepower engine. It doesn't take much to dissipate that. It's easy to lose sight of just how massive the heat dissipation from a traditional car needs to be.
It's cooled via radiation
On clear nights the ground loses heat to space via infrared radiation, actually becoming colder than the air temperature. This is why a car parked in the open will get frost on the windshield and one parked under a roof won't -- the roof blocks the car from radiating heat to space. The cold ground then cools the lowest layer of air, which is what causes inversion layers at night.
Re: They are going about this the wrong way
Keep in mind that DARPA sponsoring something is generally a sure sign that it will never actually work. But hey, if you get funded you can play with some nice toys at government expense. ;)
I'm glad this case was decided the way it was, because I feel rules like this that criminalize things everyone does are often used selectively against people who displease those in higher positions.
Government policies about technology use can be strange, because they often don't keep pace with changes in the technologies people use. For example, if you're a public employee in the state of Washington, "de minimus" use of your office phone for personal matters is okay. However, *any* personal use of your office Internet connection is illegal.
They have bigger fish to fry
You have to understand Singapore's, uhm, interesting priorities.
Cutting 600 fiber optic cables = 15 months in jail.
Having sex with someone of the same gender = life in jail
Possessing 1/2 kilo of marijuana = death penalty
So clearly they didn't catch him because they were too busy with the real criminals.
Re: How are they getting a separate stream?
Stormwater runoff is kept separate in newer systems, but is combined in some older ones. (The reason it's kept separate now is the sudden influx of water during a heavy storm can exceed the plant capacity and cause a sewage overflow, which is generally frowned on these days.)
How are they getting a separate stream?
I'm curious how they're getting greywater as a separate stream from sewage; in every US city I've been familiar with, they all arrive at the treatment plant in the same pipe.
Lack of context
One of the big problems I perceive with Metro is, for an OS meant to help new users, it has a serious lack of context clues to tell you what's clickable. The standard of shading buttons to look raised didn't come about because it looks pretty -- it came about because it clues you in that this is a clickable button. Metro's flat squares, un-windowed text, and magic screen regions you have to put the mouse into provide few hints to the user about how to proceed. It's not very discoverable. I never would have figured out how to navigate Win8 if someone hadn't told me to put the mouse in the upper right corner, or how to log into the stupid thing if someone didn't tell me to click and swipe upward.
Yeah, we're all in a race to the bottom now. Or rather, a race to a midpoint that's a lot lower than the standard of living we're used to enjoying. The middle class was nice while it lasted.
Re: What's all this then?
I suggest you fly there immediately and tell them the tides that they're seeing reach their villages are actually a hoax created by the international scientific community.
Either that, or put your money where your mouth is -- buy up the land that's about to become cheaply available, and if you're right you can turn it into a private resort and make a bundle when it *doesn't* slip below the sea. ;)
Re: Strange, then,
That's a valid point. But it's also not as if, if the market could bear $2000, they would be paying the workers any more than they do now.
Re: in general
It's a failing of the US defense community in general -- they always try to fix problems with technology instead of investing in human capital.
Re: Strange, then,
Would it matter if they were? The additional profit would all go to the top 1% anyway. The workers on the ground haven't shared in corporate profit increases for many years now.
Well, it used to be...
These days it's mostly the government that ends up holding the risk, thanks to the influence of nearly unlimited corporate cash on politics. The thing to remember about corporations is they're essentially machines for privatizing profit and socializing risk.
If you *do* switch numbers, there's a good chance the old one will end up pointing to a phone sex line. There's a company in the US that specializes in the 800 number equivalent of domain squatting -- they acquire available 800 numbers and forward them to phone sex services. They now own about 25% of the 800 number space:
Re: Re: Replaceable cogs
Independent consulting pretty much has to be your exit strategy in this industry. Otherwise you basically have until age 45 to find a long-term stable job; after that no one wants to hire you.
I think the glut of unemployed tech staff after the tech bubble burst caused companies to think of IT workers as easily replaceable -- if one quits you just hire another one straight out of college, and if that's too hard, you bring in someone on an H1B.