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Comment Re:I would sell it (Score 1) 654 654

I used to bike to work in Houston, only 4 miles, but it required a shower and change of clothes upon arrival most of the year. If you've got those facilities, great.

I also used to bike/gym early in the mornings on Miami Beach, and the gym (and job) didn't have showers. There I would sit forward in my desk chair until the A/C dried the sweat (30-45 minutes) and then go change clothes. It worked well for me at that particular job, but not every office culture understands sweaty employees.

Both places got a little more interesting when caught in a thundershower - rain gear is kind of a joke when the rain is falling sideways as if tossed from buckets. There's also some issue of being delayed by lightning storms, regardless of your opinion of getting wet, going out during a heavy lightning storm is just irresponsible. Luckily most of those pass within 30 minutes or less.

Comment Re:Cars are investments. (Score 3, Informative) 654 654

The London tube is an amusing starfish... if you need to go to/from the center, it's great.

If you're out on an arm, and you need to get to a similar spot on the next arm, it's the bus for you, or even walking would be faster.

I tried to ride the bus, waited almost an hour before one showed up, but it wasn't one bus, it was all seven buses that run that line, apparently they had stopped off at the pub or something and then all hit the road at the same time.

Comment Re:It's all about the routes, dummy (Score 2, Interesting) 654 654

My favorite is when the routes are changed, with poor communication about the changing (signs on stops are wrong, info from the "telephone for help" line is wrong... etc.) Waiting for an unexpected extra 2 hours after sunset in the cold goes a long way toward making people forget about the bus as an option.

Comment Re:I would sell it (Score 5, Insightful) 654 654

Depends - does the public transport system suck less than driving a car?

Yes, driving 45 minutes through rush hour traffic sucks, but when the alternative is to drive 20 minutes, then spend an additional 40 minutes riding on public transport, waiting for a transfer, and finally walking exposed to the weather for 10 minutes at each end of the trip (40 minutes total exposure, just long enough to get totally rain-soaked at both the beginning and end of the day)... well, then, it doesn't really matter if you give that away for free, does it?

Comment Re:UK rules (Score 2) 63 63

Active epilepsy is rare, but not as rare as people think: about 1:100 people. Roughly 1:25 people will have more than one seizure in their lifetime.

Photosensitive epilepsy is even more rare: about 1:100 among people with epilepsy. So, this means that a stadium filled with 50,000 people (from a completely unbiased cross-section) would have 5 photosensitive epileptics present. But selection is always at work, and photosensitive epileptics tend to shy away from things that might trigger their condition.

While you probably don't have epilepsy, and you probably don't have epileptics in your immediate family (genetic bias also at work...), you probably know several - even if you are not aware of it. Due to the social stigmas, most epileptics hide their condition as best they can. If we, as a society, actually believe in equal access for the handicapped, epileptics are a grossly under-served slice of the population. Being considerate of the photo-sensitives is a nice gesture, but it isn't helping the other 99%.

Comment Re:Economic growth is not a function of pop. growt (Score 1) 503 503

China is an interesting case - they have slowed population growth, but are in the process of rapidly "tapping into" the existing population as members of the economy. Simple head counts don't tell the economic story, it's how much those people participate in the system - are they isolated farmers, basically growing their own food, building and maintaining their own houses, roads, wells, etc.? In that case they contribute essentially zero to the economy beyond what little "tax" the government might be able to levy off of their farm production. Now, if the farmers buy equipment, increase efficiency in the fields, send their children to the factories to work, and start buying other things from the factories, that's going to be a similar effect as an increase in headcount in an "economically engaged" country.

Tune-in, turn-on, drop-out can have an opposite effect, turning active members of an economy into commune-dwelling non-members. I don't think we've ever had a significant example of this kind of economic exodus that out-paced immigration and birth rates.

On the issue of profits and the "free market," one of my bigger concerns is how volatility is being used to stifle competition. It looks like a wildly competitive market when commodity prices swing up by 80% then down by 40% the following year, but, in reality, I think it damages competition and increases profits because consumers aren't in control, they don't have time to find the best price when the prices are changing by 10 and 20% on a weekly basis. Of course, gasoline is a huge poster child for this, but I have also seen it in the grocery store - weekly "BOGO" specials cutting prices by 50%, seemingly to desensitize consumers to the fact that "normal" prices are now at 100% markup, and if you want to bargain shop, you'll have to build your own warehouse to take advantage of the pricing scheme.

Comment Re:World figures for fertility (Score 1) 503 503

The numbers say the birth rate is below replacement, but in my lifetime I have seen the population rise by approximately 30%. The economy doesn't really care if you're growing population by births or immigration, in-fact older immigrants are already "full consumers" who don't have to be educated or go through those 15 years of "sub-consumer" status.

When the population stagnates, fewer companies will be able to point to continuous growth as justification for higher share prices...

Comment Re:It only works with no scarcity (Score 2) 503 503

Birthrate is also quite low in Russia - where they aren't quite calling themselves wealthy yet.

This "high-wealth = low birthrate" correlation seems to be a favorite mantra of those who are optimistic about our planet's future - all we have to do is make everyone wealthy and the birthrate thing will happen voluntarily.

Thing is, these "wealthy" countries have a lot of poor people, and a majority of the population that is full-time employed just to keep roofs over their heads. These people are heavily incentivized by their lifestyle to not have children. It's not a lifestyle of abundance or non-scarcity.

Never invest your money in anything that eats or needs repainting. -- Billy Rose