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+ - US Millennials: The Cheapest Generation->

Submitted by Paul Fernhout
Paul Fernhout (109597) writes "Just noticed this two-year old Atlantic article on how US Millennials (aka Generation Y) are not buying houses or cars as much as previous generations, but are buying smartphones instead and using those phones to get on-demand access to things like Zipcars or other "sharing economy" services. It says: "In 2010, adults between the ages of 21 and 34 bought just 27 percent of all new vehicles sold in America, down from the peak of 38 percent in 1985. Miles driven are down, too. Even the proportion of teenagers with a license fell, by 28 percent, between 1998 and 2008. ... Just as car sales have plummeted among their age cohort, the share of young people getting their first mortgage between 2009 and 2011 is half what it was just 10 years ago, according to a Federal Reserve study. ... Smartphones compete against cars for young people's big-ticket dollars, since the cost of a good phone and data plan can exceed $1,000 a year. But they also provide some of the same psychic benefits — opening new vistas and carrying us far from the physical space in which we reside. ... If the Millennials are not quite a post-driving and post-owning generation, they'll almost certainly be a less-driving and less-owning generation. That could mean some tough adjustments for the economy over the next several years. ... Education is the "obvious outlet for the money Millennials can spend," Perry Wong, the director of research at the Milken Institute, told us, noting that if young people invest less in physical things like houses, they'll have more to invest in themselves. "In the past, housing was the main vehicle for investment, but education is also a vehicle." In an ideas economy, up-to-date knowledge could be a more nimble and valuable asset than a house."

Of course, education via the internet or through FOSS educational simulations may not cost that much either. Also, we are also seeing the bubble on student loan borrowing nearing the bursting point, where more and more young people are deciding to bow out of the entire academic credentialing arms race given the uncertainty of a financial return on such an investment (as much as education via schools or other venues may have other non-financial benefits)."

Link to Original Source

+ - 10 things that scare the bejeezus out of IT pros->

Submitted by Paul Fernhout
Paul Fernhout (109597) writes "ITWorld has a slideshow that begins with: "As Halloween approaches, some may be creeped out by vampires and zombies and other minor evils. But IT workers know that just a few words can carry more horror than most ordinary souls can imagine — with nightmarish results ranging from wasted IT resources to botched rollouts to failed projects. Presented for your approval: 10 short sentences that will truly make your blood run cold this Halloween.""
Link to Original Source

Comment: Ebola can be spread by people who show no symptoms (Score 1) 284

According to a Nobel scientist quoted here: http://www.naturalnews.com/047...
"In voicing support for Christie's quarantine, Dr. Beutler -- current director of the Center for the Genetics of Host Defense at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas -- told the website, "I favor it," adding, "I favor it, because it's not entirely clear that they can't transmit the disease." He was referring to currently asymptomatic healthcare worker Kaci Hickox, a Doctors Without Borders nurse who recently returned to New Jersey after treating patients in Sierra Leone and was quarantined in the state for 65 hours. She was eventually taken to her home state of Maine.
    "It may not be absolutely true that those without symptoms can't transmit the disease, because we don't have the numbers to back that up," Dr. Beutler continued in his NJ.com interview. "It could be people develop significant viremia [where viruses enter the bloodstream and gain access to the rest of the body], and become able to transmit the disease before they have a fever, even.
    "People may have said that without symptoms you can't transmit Ebola. I'm not sure about that being 100 percent true. There's a lot of variation with viruses," he added."

Also apparently sneezing can potentially spread Ebola for several feet and it can live on surfaces for days:
http://www.naturalnews.com/047...
http://www.naturalnews.com/047...

Ways to decontaminate with robotics UV:
http://www.naturalnews.com/047...

Some suggest vitamin C may help:
https://www.patrickholford.com...

Others disagree: http://scienceblogs.com/insole...
http://www.abovetopsecret.com/...

Comment: Misses point: most heart disease nutritional (Score 2) 61

by Paul Fernhout (#48263509) Attached to: Why Every Cardiac Patient Needs a Virtual Heart

https://www.drfuhrman.com/libr...
"Interventional cardiology and cardiovascular surgery is basically a scam based on a misunderstanding of the nature of heart disease. Searching for and treating obstructive plaque does not address the areas of the coronary vascular tree most likely to rupture and cause heart attacks. If there was never another CABG or angioplasty performed or stent placed, patients with heart disease would be better off. Doctors would be forced to educate our citizens that their heart disease risk is determined by what they place on their forks. Millions of lives would be dramatically extended. To abandon the theory of stretching and cutting out areas with plaque would shut down interventional cardiology, nearly all cardiovascular surgery, and many suppliers of the biotechnology. In many cases, interventional cardiology is the major income generator to hospitals. The ending of this ill-conceived, out-dated and ineffective technology would dramatically downsize hospitals in the United States and free up over $100 billion annually in medical care costs. Besides being ineffective, interventional cardiology places the responsibility in the hands of the doctor and not the patients. When patients finally realize they must take control of their heart problems with aggressive dietary modifications (and when needed medications for temporary periods) we will essentially solve the health crisis in America.
    The sad thing is surgical interventions and medications are the foundation of modern cardiology and both are relatively ineffective compared to nutritional excellence. My patients routinely reverse their heart disease, and no longer have vulnerable plaque or high blood pressure, so they do not need medical care, hospitals or cardiologists anymore. The problem is that in the real world cardiac patients are not even informed that heart disease is predictably reversed with nutritional excellence. They are not given the opportunity to choose and just corralled into these surgical interventions.
    Trying to figure out how to pay for ineffective and expensive medicine by politicians will never be a real solution. People need to know they do not have to have heart disease to begin with, and if they get it, aggressive nutrition is the most life-saving intervention. And it is free."

Comment: Comprehensiveness, organization, tools (Score 1) 266

by Paul Fernhout (#48254895) Attached to: A Library For Survival Knowledge

The site seems notable for its comprehensiveness. I also though it would be great if Lindsay Books would have put copies of everything online for free (like via Archive.org) before it shut down, since most of what it had sold were reprints of content now in the public domain. I'm assuming the site in the article may have much the same stuff?
http://www.lindsaybks.com/

While a related project by me hasn't really got going strongly yet, the OSCOMAK project was a hope to organize all this sort of info and more to let people design whatever individual or community infrastructure they wanted. From pages linked here put up around 2000:
    http://www.kurtz-fernhout.com/...
"The Oscomak project is an attempt to create a core of communities more in control of their technological destiny and its social implications. No single design for a community or technology will please everyone, or even many people. Nor would a single design be likely to survive. So this project endeavors to gather information and to develop tools and processes that all fit together conceptually like Tinkertoys or Legos. The result will be a library of possibilities that individuals in a community can use to achieve any degree of self-sufficiency and self-replication within any size community, from one person to a billion people. Within every community people will interact with these possibilities by using them and extending them to design a community economy and physical layout that suits their needs and ideas.
    As the internet has grown, it has enabled collaborative work which has created many success stories, including Linux, Python, GCC, Squeak and other projects. We want to harness that power and apply it to organizing technological knowledge in concert with many interested individuals.
    The main project goal is to develop an on-line library of technology ideas, techniques, and tools, including a range from high-tech processes like plastics to medium-tech like ceramic houses to low-tech like spinning wheels. Also included will be biotechnology processes, like perennial agriculture, companion planting, sheep farming, and eventually cloning and DNA synthesis.
    One process to be included is a way to convert the high-tech computerized library to a low-tech paper one as desired. Key to the whole endeavor will be to present everything in a how-to fashion. Also needed is a way to map out and simulate the interrelations of processes; for instance, sheep raising requires veterinarians, antibiotics, feed, fencing, and shears; shears require a blacksmith, metal, and a furnace. This latter feature also would be used to keep track of the product flows into, out of, and within a community's entire economy."

Been plodding along on this idea for a couple decades, but still not much to show... But, still a bit...

Our garden simulator from 1997 was part of this -- to help people learn how to grow their own food in an efficient and sustainable way.
http://www.kurtz-fernhout.com/...

My hopes for this go back to the 1980s and before, even envisioning something like the world wide web to support it:
http://www.pdfernhout.net/prin...

No doubt many personal failings and distraction have contributed to my limited progress -- especially the distraction of trying to create better software tools for distributed knowledge sharing and programming like the Pointrel system and PataPapa.

None-the-less, there is also an aspect to which the current economic order is not too keen on such work. As is suggested by John Taylor Gatto:
https://web.archive.org/web/20...
"Iâ(TM)ll bring this down to earth. Try to see that an intricately subordinated industrial/commercial system has only limited use for hundreds of millions of self-reliant, resourceful readers and critical thinkers. In an egalitarian, entrepreneurially based economy of confederated families like the one the Amish have or the Mondragon folk in the Basque region of Spain, any number of self-reliant people can be accommodated usefully, but not in a concentrated command-type economy like our own. Where on earth would they fit? In a great fanfare of moral fervor some years back, the Ford Motor Company opened the worldâ(TM)s most productive auto engine plant in Chihuahua, Mexico. It insisted on hiring employees with 50 percent more school training than the Mexican norm of six years, but as time passed Ford removed its requirements and began to hire school dropouts, training them quite well in four to twelve weeks. The hype that education is essential to robot-like work was quietly abandoned. Our economy has no adequate outlet of expression for its artists, dancers, poets, painters, farmers, filmmakers, wildcat business people, handcraft workers, whiskey makers, intellectuals, or a thousand other useful human enterprisesâ"no outlet except corporate work or fringe slots on the periphery of things. Unless you do "creative" work the company way, you run afoul of a host of laws and regulations put on the books to control the dangerous products of imagination which can never be safely tolerated by a centralized command system."

And my own economic life has pretty much been at the fringes of all this -- most often as a temporary programming contractor doing the heavy lifting at big corporations. And the money from that has let me have some limited time to work on my own stuff. And my wife's work to empower communities to organize and benefit from their own stories is likewise at the fringes:
http://www.workingwithstories....

Most of modern economics (especially what is taught in business school) is about how to chain people down with manufactured wants and how to keep them in ignorance, not how to liberate people by helping them meet their essential needs and by enlightening and truly educating them to be self-directing and generally productive. I'm not saying there are not exceptions and alternative niches (Minecraft and Space Engineers are excellent examples) as are book series like David Gingery's "How to make a machine shop from scrap". But in general, teaching a person how to fish, let alone how to make fishing gear, is not supported well by powers that profit by increasing centralization. It can be found, and some people even make a living at it -- but it is at the edges...

As another example, (given the Google doodle of today about Salk's 100th birthday), assuming the following linked info is true, that it is much more profitable and empowering for a medical elite to convince people they need a vaccine to prevent Polio then to teach them that things like eating (profitable) mass-produced white bread and refined sugar might be contributing greatly to the disease, meanwhile redefining polio diagnosis in ways so the numbers go way down even if paralysis does not:
http://www.whale.to/vaccine/po...
http://www.whale.to/vaccine/po...

Or likewise to explain to people they should change their diet instead of have stents put in for heart disease:
"Scientific Studies Show Angioplasty and Stent Placement are Essentially Worthless"
https://www.drfuhrman.com/libr...

Unfortunately, massive centralization and food monocultures and learned helplessness (promoted by much schooling) and oil dependency and doctor/drug dependency which are all at the heart of so much centralized profits is at odds with national security and civil defense in a broad sense. But basic ideas like the meaning of words like "educated" (which does not mean "schooled") or "skilled" or "secure" or "health" and so on have become so twisted over the last fifty or so years as the old (even then declining) can-do farm boy and backyard mechanic culture of the USA that won WWII has faded away. Most attempts to help rekindle such traditions (outside of perhaps computing, and even then) are met with the implication it is lunacy to think democracy and security and health requires an educated an empowered and equipped populace. But there remains an individual hunger for such a past, and Kickstarter projects and Mineraft and Space Engineers and even Little Big Planet such still show that... As do things like health boards there people try to educate themselves. As is still Slashdot (struggling as it is these days compared to seven years ago), where people help educate each other about technology.

Something like the article's survival library should be hosted at every US library given 100 GB can fit on a small part of a modern hard disk.

Beyond that, here are other things the USA would do IMHO if it was serious about national security for the nation, as oppose to national security of profits for a tiny elite:

http://www.pdfernhout.net/reco...
"We the people need to redefine security in a sustainable and resilient way. Much current US military doctrine is based around unilateral security ("I'm safe because you are nervous") and extrinsic security ("I'm safe despite long supply lines because I have a bunch of soldiers to defend them"), which both lead to expensive arms races. We need as a society to move to other paradigms like Morton Deutsch's mutual security ("We're all looking out for each other's safety") and Amory Lovin's intrinsic security ("Our redundant decentralized local systems can take a lot of pounding whether from storm, earthquake, or bombs and would still would keep working"). "

http://www.phibetaiota.net/201...
"The greatest threat facing the USA is the irony inherent in our current defense posture, like for example planning to use nuclear energy embodied in missiles to fight over oil fields that nuclear energy could replace. This irony arises in part because the USAâ(TM)s current security logic is still based on essentially 19th century and earlier (second millennium) thinking that becomes inappropriate applied to 21st century (third millennium) technological threats and opportunities. That situation represents a systematic intelligence failure of the highest magnitude. There remains time to correct this failure, but time grows short as various exponential trends continue.
    To address that pervasive threat from unrecognized irony, it would help to re-envision the CIA as a non-ironic post-scarcity institution. Then the CIA could help others (including in the White House) make more informed decisions to move past this irony as well.
    A first step towards that could be for IARPA to support better free software tools for âoecrowdsourcedâ public intelligence work involving using a social semantic desktop for sensemaking about open source data and building related open public action plans from that data to make local communities healthier, happier, more intrinsically secure, and also more mutually secure. Secure, healthy, prosperous, and happy local (and virtual) communities then can form together a secure, healthy, prosperous, and happy nation and planet in a non-ironic way. Details on that idea are publicly posted by me here in the form of a Proposal Abstract to the IARPA Incisive Analysis solicitation: "Social Semantic Desktop for Sensemaking on Threats and Opportunities" http://slashdot.org/comments.p... "

Anyway, enough ranting for now. Glad to see people are still keeping the flame going of the ideals and techniques for liberty the USA claimed to be about at least when I was growing up. I can still have hope that even if we see another cultural collapse (which history shows us happen again and again), that even with bigger challenges than the past, there will be more know how potentially around. Still, it would be best to avoid such collapses given you never know how they will play out, especially with so many WMDs around in various nation's arsenals.

What surprises me most about this perhaps is that thinking through these details about survival and technological webs is so potentially interesting that I don't understand why more people don't do it for fun? Minecraft crafting recipes are just scratching the surface of that...

Comment: Like from a release of GMO Klebsiella planticola? (Score 1) 418

From: http://www.gmwatch.org/latest-...
----
"The EPA had done a variety of tests on this organism, all of which indicated that it would not be toxic to humans or animals. They were only a few weeks away from releasing these bacteria into the wild, when Michael Holmes, a graduate student at the University of Oregon, came looking for an interesting thing to study for his doctoral thesis."

Under the direction of his academic advisor, Elaine Ingham, Holmes elected to do his thesis on the effects of this genetically engineered KP on plants, something which had not occurred to the EPA, as it was not required for the release of new genetically modified organisms, Lawton notes in his Acres USA expose.

Holmes study revealed, after testing samples of plants growing in sterile soil, soil with regular KP and soil with genetically engineered KP, that no plants in the latter soil were growing as the alcohol produced by the bacteria had killed them all.

At the time, Lawton notes, the EPA was envisioning that farmers would use these bacteria in a kind of fermenting process to convert plant material into a mixture of 17% alcohol and 83% mineral sludge, which could be poured off into the soil and reused.

"If that had occurred, the genetically engineered KP could have colonized the entire planet over the course of several years, turning all of the soil where it grew into barren dirt."

Ingham said that problem was and still is that the EPA only looks at the immediate impact of new genetically modified organisms on animals, and does not take into account the larger impact on the ecosystem as a whole. That approach can work to a limited extent when working with chemicals, which can break down and dissipate over time. But living organisms have the ability to procreate and overwhelm the natural ecosystem.

Comment: Basic income from a millionaire's perspective? (Score 1) 714

To answer your question, see my essay: http://www.pdfernhout.net/basi...
"One may ask, why should millionaires support a basic income as depicted in Marshall Brain's Australia Project fictional example in "Manna", but, say, right now in the USA, of US$2000 a month per person (with some deducted for universal health insurance), or $24K per year? With about 300 million residents in the USA, this would require about seven trillion US dollars a year, or half the current US GDP. Surely such a proposal would be a disaster for millionaires in terms of crushing taxes? Or would it? ...
      Now, let's continue to look at this from a millionaire's point of view. The streets might be a lot happier. The families would not be struggling as much, and so the kids would be happier. Why should a millionaire care about other people's happiness? Well, there are obviously moral reasons. But ignoring them, in general, communities would be safer. There would be less resentment towards the rich, who after all, were making this all possible. Nobody would be so poor they had nothing to lose by committing an assault to steal a walled or break into a home. (Assuming drugs were legal, and regulated, there would be less addicts doing property crimes for habits.)
    There might be a much larger variety of goods and services for millionaires to choose from, given every unique person had some money so the market heard their needs and even whims. The money would keep flowing, especially because there would be no transaction taxes to slow it down. Entrepreneurial millionaires would be in a good position to benefit from all this demand, creating companies to satisfy all these needs that the market was now listening to.
      With all artists, writers, inventors, programmers, and so on freed from the need to worry about earning a daily living, the digital world would blossom with an endless array of free music, free images, free idea, and the physical world would be beautified with free artworks and the streets would be livened with free street productions and plays. So, the millionaire's remaining wealth would go farther, with less entertainment that needs to be paid for. Basically, millionaires would be benefiting, like everyone else, from a robust peer economy and gift economy.
    On a personal level, there would be a lot less desire for people to marry millionaires just for the money. For some ugly or nasty millionaires, this might be a hardship. But for most, this would actually be a blessing. They would be less likely to be taken advantage of by social climbers or fortune hunters. Millionaires would have to worry less about their kids being taken advantage of too. With a basic income, there would be a lot less desire by people to marry for money. So, a certain social problem would be greatly reduced in the lives of millionaires. There might still be some of this, but the overall situation would improve greatly.
    Similarly, there would likely be less kidnapping. For potential kidnappers or other criminals, when you get $2000 a month in income already, why risk being thrown in jail where your income goes to the upkeep of your prison and you lose your chance of making your own decisions as to how to spend it? While there would still be crimes of passion, total money-related crime might drop way down.
    Right now, a profit driven health care system has sized emergency rooms for average needs, and those emergency rooms are often full. With a basic income and more money going on a systematic basis to the health care system, the health care system emergency rooms will no longer be overrun with people there for reasons they could see a doctor for. So, emergency care would be better for millionaires. Millionaires with heart attacks won't be as likely to end up being diverted to far away hospitals because the local hospital emergency room is full. Likewise, emergency rooms might, with more money going to medicine, become sized for national emergencies, not personal emergencies, so they might become vast empty places, with physicians and other health care staff keeping their skills sharp always running simulations, learning more medical information, and/or doing basic medical research, with these people always ready for a pandemic or natural disaster or industrial accident which they had the resources in reserve to deal with. So, millionaires who got sick or injured in a disaster could be sure there was the facilities and expertise nearby to help them, even if most of the rest of the population needed help too at the same time too. In that way, some of this basic income could be funded by money that might otherwise go to the Defense department, because what is better civil defense then investing in a health care system able to to handle national disasters? So, any millionaires who are doctors (many are) would benefit by this plan, because their lives as doctors will become happier and less stressful, both with less paperwork and with more resources.
    With a basic income, from a millionaire business owner's point of view, there would be no need for social security as a payroll tax. There would be no need for affirmative action or reparations for slavery. There would be no need for a family-leave policy. There would be no need for unions (though there might still be some, but they would no longer resist technological innovation that eliminated jobs, since that increased wealth for everyone). There would be no need for unemployment insurance. There would be no need for all sorts of employment laws we need now. There would be no need for a minimum wage to protect anybody from destitution.
    Essentially, with a break in the link between having a job and having a right to consume at a moderate level, workplaces could be organized however they wanted. And potential employees would just vote with their feet about where they wanted to work to make the most money, have the most fun during the day, or do the most good for society as they saw it. While it is true that many unpleasant jobs would no longer find low wage workers to do them, for those jobs, either wages would go up, or they would be automated or redesigned out of existence, for example, like with some towns that have garbage trucks with robot arms to pick up curbside standard garbage cans. So, overall, most of the jobs that remained would be ones that people really wanted to do. There would no longer be the threat of poverty and starvation to motivate workers, but that make for happier companies, and thus happier managers and CEOs, and so more happiness for most of the millionaires that are the managers and CEOs. Everything would just be a little less stressful.
    There still might be a need for pollution regulation (as a negative externality of the marketplace), but everyone would have more money to pay a premium for greener products. And there might be a lot more innovation going on to make compliance with low or zero emissions manufacturing easy.
    There would be no need for public schools or a public school tax, because families would have enough wealth per child to hire tutors or pay for private schools or to just stay home and teach their own through homeschooling/unschooling. Likely, towns would be more interesting places to be, with people of all ages having fun on the streets. Cities and town would come alive again with the laughter of children. And these would not be the mean dispirited hopeless children sometimes found on today's streets -- these would be compassionate, confident, hopeful children who were following a social example of generosity by the wealthy. These would be the kind of children who would say "Mr. you dropped your wallet!" instead of running off with it. With so much hope, the parents of these children would be more hopeful too, so they would vote for hopeful politicians and hopeful policies, the kind to build up the world instead of hunker down and build fortresses and prisons, the kind that might treat drug addiction as a medical illness and societal illness, not a personal crime. ...
      So, for all these reasons, millionaires and billionaires could sleep more soundly at night, especially those with social consciences. Those with social consciences would have recognized that while the market is great at creating wealth, it is also great at concentrating wealth which creates problems, since the market does not hear the needs of those without money to shout out for them. But, a basic income gives everyone in a society a voice with which to talk to the market, whether the market needs their labor or not. And with rising automation like AI and robotics, better design, and limited demand because the best things in life are free or cheap, more and more the market will not need humans to be involved in production, and so there will be less and less jobs for humans to do. So, this approach deals with a fundamental problem with divide-by-zero errors in mainstream economics, the kind of errors that cause unrest of various types.
    The fact is, the basic income is already about what most millionaires might be earning off their investments after inflation (assuming they have anything left after the recent market crash). So, in a way, this proposal makes everyone in the USA into effective millionaires (or close to it). So, that means that millionaires have a lot more potential friends in the local neighborhood with a millionaire-level of spare time to do fun things with during the day. So, being a millionaire will be a much less lonely thing in our society. And should a millionaire have children, the millionaire knows, no matter how irresponsible with money their kid might be, that child will always be a millionaire, in terms of a basic income. ..."

Comment: Re:Cold Fusion Current - WITTS (Score 1) 350

by Paul Fernhout (#48175827) Attached to: The Physics of Why Cold Fusion Isn't Real

For more background on WITTS, see: http://peswiki.com/index.php/D...

Or also an open source version of one of those idea by a different group: http://peswiki.com/index.php/O...

Just pointing out the info -- making no claims about the validity of any of it. In general, the peswiki is a big collection of similar claims. Of course, only one of them needs to be true to change the world significantly.

Here is something posted to the peswiki myself, previously sent to Rossi about why he should open source his eCat rather than try to make money off it (assuming it actually works as suggested):
http://peswiki.com/index.php/O...
"The key point here is that breakthrough clean energy technologies will change the very nature of our economic system. They will shift the balance between four different interwoven economies we have always had (subsistence, gift, planned, and exchange). Inventors who have struggled so hard in a system currently dominated by exchange may have to think about the socioeconomic implications of their invention in causing a permanent economic phase change. A clean energy breakthrough will probably create a different balance of those four economies like toward greater local subsistence and more gift giving (as James P. Hogan talks about in Voyage From Yesteryear). So, to focus on making money in the old socioeconomic paradigm (like by focusing on restrictive patents) may be very ironic, compared to freely sharing a great gift with the world that may change the overall dynamics of our economy to the point where money does not matter very much anymore."

Comment: Yes, prison is tough on guards, too (Score 2) 407

by Paul Fernhout (#48169219) Attached to: As Prison Population Sinks, Jails Are a Steal

http://www.denverpost.com/news...
"They harden themselves to survive inside prison, guards said in recent interviews. Then they find they can't snap out of it at the end of the day. Some seethe to themselves. Others commit suicide. Depression, alcoholism, domestic violence and heart attacks are common. And entire communities suffer. ... Prison work "bleeds over into your private life. You go into restaurants, you sit with your back to the wall. You want to see all the entrances and exits, and you notice if somebody is carrying something bulky. You can't turn these skills off," said Matthew von Hobe, 50, a former manager at the four-prison federal complex in Florence. He knows of two colleagues who committed suicide."

So, like you imply, looks like a tough road to rehabilitation for many prison guards...

Good to see so many comments mentioning the lead connection to violent crime. There are nutritional connections too.
"Omega-3, junk food and the link between violence and what we eat: Research with British and US offenders suggests nutritional deficiencies may play a key role in aggressive behaviour"
http://www.theguardian.com/pol...

The problem is, of course, the prison is one of the main social safety nets in the USA, and also that putting people in prison boosts the employment rate (jobs for guards, prisoners off the unemployment roles). We need to rethink our economy, like with a basic income that a person does not get while incarcerated?

Also related to show how bad it could get:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K...
"The "kids for cash" scandal unfolded in 2008 over judicial kickbacks at the Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Two judges, President Judge Mark Ciavarella and Senior Judge Michael Conahan, were accused of accepting money from Robert Mericle, builder of two private, for-profit juvenile facilities, in return for contracting with the facilities and imposing harsh sentences on juveniles brought before their courts to increase the number of inmates in the detention centers."

Here is am excerpt from a related satire by me regarding expanding prisons for copyright violators that I sent to the US DOJ a dozen years ago in response to a slashdot article, but sadly sometimes it seems people may be taking it more as a blueprint than a cautionary tale: :-(
http://www.pdfernhout.net/micr...
"""
My fellow Americans. There has been some recent talk of free law by the General Public Lawyers (the GPL) who we all know hold un-American views. I speak to you today from the Oval Office in the White House to assure you how much better off you are now that all law is proprietary. ...
      First off, we all know our current set of laws requires a micropayment each time a U.S. law is discussed, referenced, or applied by any person anywhere in the world. This financial incentive has produced a large amount of new law over the last decade. This body of law is all based on a core legal code owned by that fine example of American corporate capitalism at its best, the MicroSlaw Corporation.
    MicroSlaw's core code defines a legal operating standard or OS we can all rely on. While I know some GPL supporters may be painting a rosy view of free law to the general public, it is obvious that any so called free alternative to MicroSlaw's legal code fails at the start because it would require great costs for learning about new so-called free laws, plus additional costs to switch all legal forms and court procedures to the new so called free standard. So free laws are really more expensive, especially as we are talking here about free as in cost, not free as in freedom.
    In any case, why would you want to pay public servants like those old time -- what were they called? -- Senators? Representatives? -- around $145K a year out of public funds just to make free laws? Laws are made far more efficiently, inexpensively and, I assure you, justly, by large corporations like MicroSlaw. Such organizations need the motivation of micropayments for application, discussion or reference of their laws to stay competitive. MicroSlaw needs to know who discusses what law and when they do so, each and every time, so they can charge fairly for their services and thus retain their financial freedom to innovate. And America is all about financial freedom, right! [Audience applause].
    [Inaudible shouted question] Prisons? There are only a million Americans behind bars for copyright infringement so far. No one complained about the million plus non-violent drug offenders we've had there for years. No one complained about the million plus terrorists we've got there now, thanks in no small part to a patriotic Supreme Court which after being privatized upheld that anyone who criticizes government policy in public or private is a criminal terrorist. Oops, I shouldn't have said that, as those terrorists aren't technically criminals or subject to the due process of law are they? Well it's true these days you go to prison if you complain about the drug war, or the war on terrorism, or the war on infringers of copyrights and software patents -- so don't complain! [nervous audience laughter] After all, without security, what is the good of American Freedoms? Benjamin Franklin himself said it best, those who don't have security will trade in their freedoms.
    I'm proud to say that the U.S. is now the undisputed world leader in per capita imprisonment, another example of how my administration is keeping us on top. Why just the other day I had the U.N. building in New York City locked down when delegates there started talking about prisoner civil rights. Such trash talk should not be permitted on our soil. It should be obvious that anyone found smoking marijuana, copying CDs, or talking about the law without paying should face a death penalty from AIDS contracted through prison rapes -- that extra deterrent make the system function more smoothly and helps keep honest people honest. That's also why I support the initiative to triple the standard law author's royalty which criminals pay for each law they violate, because the longer we keep such criminals behind bars, especially now that bankruptcy is also a crime, the better for all of us. That's also why I support the new initiative to make all crimes related to discussing laws in private have a mandatory life sentence without parole. Mandatory lifetime imprisonment is good for the economy as it will help keep AIDS for spreading out of the prison system and will keep felons like those so called fair users from competing with honest royalty paying Americans for an inexplicably ever shrinking number of jobs.
    Building more prisons... [Aside to aid who just walked up and whispered in the president's ear: What's that? She's been arrested for what again? Well get her off again, dammit. I don't care how it looks; MicroSlaw owes me big time.]
    Sorry about that distraction, ladies and gentlemen. Now, as I was saying, building more prisons is good for the economy. It's good for the GNP. It's good for rural areas. Everyone who matters wins when we increase the prison population. People who share are thieves plain and simple, just like people who take a bathroom break without pausing their television feed and thus miss some commercials are thieves. Such people break the fundamental social compact between advertisers and consumers which all young children are made to sign. And let me take this opportunity to underscore my administration's strong record on being tough on crime. MicroSlaw's system for efficient production of digitized legal evidence on demand is a key part of that success. So is the recent initiative of having a camera in every living room to catch and imprison those not paying attention when advertising is on television, say by making love or even talking. Why without such initiatives, economic analysts at MicroSlaw assure me that the GNP would have decreased much more than it has already. Always remember that ditty you learned in kindergarten, Only criminals want privacy, because a need for privacy means you have something evil to hide. ...
      By the way, I am proud to announce government homeland security troops are successfully retaking Vermont even as we speak. Troops will soon be enforcing federal school standards there with all necessary force. Their number one priority will be improving the curriculum to help kids understand why sharing is morally wrong. Too bad we had to nuke Burlington before they would see the light, har, har, [weak audience laughter] but you can see how messed up their education system must have been to force us to have to do that. And have no fear, any state that threatens the American way of life in a similar fashion will be dealt with in a similar way. I give you my word as an American and as your president sworn to uphold your freedom to live the American lifestyle we have all grown accustomed to recently, and MicroSlaw's freedom to define what that lifestyle is to their own profit.
    So, in conclusion, a body of legal knowledge free for all to review and discuss would be the death of the American dream. Remember, people who discuss law in private without paying royalties are pirates, not friends. Thus I encourage you all to report to MicroSlaw or your nearest homeland security office anyone talking about laws or sharing legal knowledge in other than an approved fashion and for a fee. Always remember that nursery school rhyme, there is money for you in turning in your friends too.
    God Bless! This is a great country! [Wild audience applause.]
    Addendum -- March 4, 2132 -- Freeweb article 2239091390298329372384 Archivists have just now recovered the above historic document from an antique hard disk platter (only 10 TB capacity!) recently discovered in the undersea exploration of a coastal city that before global warming had been called Washingtoon, D.C.. It is hard for a modern sentient to imagine what life must have been like in those dark times of the early 21st Century before the transition from a scarcity worldview to a universal material abundance worldview. It is unclear if that document was an actual presidential speech or was intended as satire, since most digital records from that time were lost, and the Burlington crater has historically been attributed to a Cold Fusion experiment gone wrong. In any case, this document gives an idea of what humans of that age had to endure until liberty prevailed.
"""

Comment: Suggested self-replicating space habitats (Score 1) 352

4 years ago: http://pcast.ideascale.com/a/d...

From there:

My suggestion for a "Game Changing" project is that NASA (possibly in partnership with NIST) could coordinate a global effort towards designing and deploying self-replicating space habitats that can duplicate themselves from sunlight and asteroidal ore (developed under free and open source non-proprietary licenses as progress towards "open manufacturing").

NASA showed the basic technological feasibility of this with work in the late 1970s on space habitats, and also in a 1980 study called "Advanced Automation for Space Missions".

In a long-term space mission or a space settlement, a self-sustaining economy must be created and supported. Therefore, addressing the problem of technological fragility on Earth due to long supply lines and the inaccessibility of key manufacturing data (because it is considered proprietary) is an essential step in the development of the development of human settlement in space. Addressing such fragility would have immediate benefits to improve intrinsic and mutual security globally, and would help humanity survive in the face of plagues, wars, global climate change, asteroid strikes, earthquakes, and whatever other disasters might strike unexpectedly. As the loss of New Orleans showed, Mother Nature remains a formidable adversary even when people are not fighting amongst themselves over perceived scarce resources.

A NASA-coordinated effort to organize manufacturing information and use it to design such habitats (or seeds that would grow such habitats), as well as improve the state-of-the-art in collaboration software, could thus help meet needs both currently on Earth and in the future in space.

Nothing NASA is doing now compares with this at all in terms of gaining the excitement and participation of the world's technologists and technically-minded youth, given this project would have the scale of the entire FOSS movement applied to manufacturing (and simulation). Achieving this goal of a self-replicating space habitat could justify literally trillions of dollars in effort to create a technological infrastructure that could support quadrillions of human lives in space, making nonsense of current worries of "Limits to Growth" or "Peak Oil" or "Overpopulation" or whatever else.

While NASA could coordinate this effort, many other organizations including NIST (and its SLIM program), DARPA, universities, and manufacturers globally could also participate in this effort.

As a whole, this project would help increase US security as a sort of public outreach by helping the global security community transcend ironic and outdated visions of what security means, given that so much abundance is possible through modern technology and this NASA effort would demonstrate that:

"Recognizing irony is key to transcending militarism "

http://www.pdfernhout.net/reco...

See here for more details:

http://groups.google.com/group...?

This effort could also be done in conjunction with this other proposal I made:

"Build 21000 flexible fabrication facilities across the USA "

http://pcast.ideascale.com/a/d...

Comment: Fed Reserve research: rewards reduce creativity (Score 1) 839

by Paul Fernhout (#48164281) Attached to: Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right

See Dan Pink's presentation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

So, much of the premise of differential rewards to spur innovation is flawed (even though it does apply to some extent for hard manual labor not involving much creativity). What Dan Pink says motivates people most to work in creative innovative directions is a sense of purpose, a sense of autonomy, and an increasing sense of mastery.

Also on that theme by Alfie Kohn:
http://www.alfiekohn.org/books...
http://www.amazon.com/No-Conte...

See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T...
"The book argues that there are "pernicious effects that inequality has on societies: eroding trust, increasing anxiety and illness, (and) encouraging excessive consumption".[5] It claims that for each of eleven different health and social problems: physical health, mental health, drug abuse, education, imprisonment, obesity, social mobility, trust and community life, violence, teenage pregnancies, and child well-being, outcomes are significantly worse in more unequal rich countries.[1] The book contains graphs that are available online.[6]"

And see also, on how the logic of diminishing returns in economics got replaced by the concept of "Pareto efficient":
"Economics for the Rest of Us: Debunking the Science That Makes Life Dismal"
http://www.amazon.com/Economic...

Also on the social dynamics and mythology related to all this: http://conceptualguerilla.com/...

You made a good presentation of the roots of the better ideas behind capitalism. But somehow along the way, as power accumulated and corrupted our main social institutions in the USA and elsewhere, those ideas got stretched into neoliberalism... Here is a conceptual video on what happens as those neoliberal ideas expand:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

For some comic relief (and a bit more insight), the first novel in a futuristic sci-fi series featuring cybertanks fighting against neoliberalism (especially in the third novel in the series started by the Chronicles of Old Guy by Timothy Gawne):
http://www.amazon.com/The-Chro...

As long as we have an economy based mostly on exchange and capitalism, and as automation takes more and more jobs, it seems like we would need a basic income to make the system more humane and also keep it going by creating demand. So, to do that, we can just reduce the age of the first Social Security payment from age 65 to age 0, and fund that via taxes and fees royalties on use of government assets (like the Alaska Permanent Fund) and so on. However, long term, as I say on my website, we will likely see a mix of advanced subsistence production (3D printers, solar cells, Mr. Fusion), an expanded gift economy (FOSS, Freecycle), better democratic planning (like via the internet), and an exchange economy softened by a basic income.

Comment: Post-scarcity post-docs? :-) (Score 1) 283

by Paul Fernhout (#48109901) Attached to: Glut of Postdoc Researchers Stirs Quiet Crisis In Science

You might find the intro of this book of interest (just noticed it today) as it talks about the conflict between scarcity and post-scarcity ideas, including market failures and market-based solutions: http://books.google.com/books?...
"Sustainable Growth in a Post-Scarcity World: Consumption, Demand, and the Poverty Penalty -- by Philip Sadler"

IMHO, universities have an implicit moral obligation (including "in loco parentis") to be candid and as accurate as possible with their students about things like career prospects; that they fail to do so as evidenced by this issue is problematical whatever the reasons (including "selection bias" that you only see relatively successful academics working in universities and the advice they give may have worked for them decades ago but may not be very useful either now or for other personality types).

If you look at other countries like in Western Europe, there is not as much of a conflict between being reasonable "successful" in a field and having a family and hobbies and such. Example: http://www.salon.com/2010/08/2...
"Germany's workers have higher productivity, shorter hours and greater quality of life. How did we get it so wrong? ... But even before the recession, American workers were already clocking in the most hours in the West. Compared to our German cousins across the pond, we work 1,804 hours versus their 1,436 hours â" the equivalent of nine extra 40-hour workweeks per year. The Protestant work ethic may have begun in Germany, but it has since evolved to become the American way of life. ... In comparison to the U.S., the Germans live in a socialist idyll. They have six weeks of federally mandated vacation, free university tuition, nursing care, and childcare. ... How did Germany become such a great place to work in the first place? The Allies did it. This whole European model came, to some extent, from the New Deal. Our real history and tradition is what we created in Europe. Occupying Germany after WWII, the 1945 European constitutions, the UN Charter of Human Rights all came from Eleanor Roosevelt and the New Dealers. All of it got worked into the constitutions of Europe and helped shape their social democracies. It came from us. The papal encyclicals on labor, it came from the Americans. ..."

Various studies show that overwork does not make people more productive in the long term. Lots of things suffer -- including creativity. Overwork in the USA is a cultural pathology. BTW, it is also problematical to try to motivate the best creative work via rewards:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

As for technological innovation, there is a lot of discussion related to that by people like Langdon Winner and E.F. Schumacher (including related to "appropriate technology"). Just look at how US federal dollars went as subsidies via land grand colleges to big agriculture research vs. small farm research. Why were research funds for decades going into ever bigger mechanized harvesting operations and related plant varieties (the tasteless tomato) instead of multi-purpose flexible agricultural robotics useful for small farms and heirloom seeds? Why is funding "Seed Savers" heirloom seed production (seeds with a variety of natural resistance and good nutrition) or remineralizing US soils via ground up rock dust not one of the USA's top defense priorities vs. defending long supply lines of imported oil used to create monocultures propped up in dead soil doused in petro-chemical-derived synthetic fertilizers and pesticides?
http://www.seedsavers.org/
http://remineralize.org/

Markets may be good at producing certain types of abundance, but in the absence of political oversight, markets are problematical when it comes to distributing that abundance, creating healthy working conditions, or managing the risk of market failures. Just ask Alan Greenspan:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10...
"But on Thursday, almost three years after stepping down as chairman of the Federal Reserve, a humbled Mr. Greenspan admitted that he had put too much faith in the self-correcting power of free markets and had failed to anticipate the self-destructive power of wanton mortgage lending."

I'll agree with you that there is a very complex dynamics of the whole system, with lots of parts interconnected in surprising ways. This post-doc issue is just one piece of the puzzle reflecting a lot of trends. And it is unlikely it will be made a lot better without considering the complex dynamic of the whole system -- which is just the sort of thing one might think "smart" people would be studying -- if they were not "disciplined minds" with assignable curiosity assigned to prop up a failing status quo: :-(
http://www.disciplined-minds.c...

I don't know about short-term solutions, but in the next couple decades, it seems pretty clear to me that, given increasing automation of mental labor, our entire current economic system is going to undergo a huge transformation. What exactly the end result will be remains to play out... But the "economic literacy" you imply IMHO is getting to be more and more a historical thing related to the 20th century, and will be less and less applicable as the 21st century unfolds. Something I wrote on that back in 2008: http://www.pdfernhout.net/post...

Comment: Displacing cheap solar PV with LENR (Score 2) 2

by Paul Fernhout (#48109617) Attached to: Cold fusion reactor verified by third-party researchers

I would agree that cheap hot or cold fusion (or something similar) is probably about the only thing that could displace cheap PV economically. PV doesn't take that much space on a global scale for our current power needs (a small patch of the Sahara desert could produce our current needs), but cold fusion would be so much more compact and in that sense be more aesthetic and not shade out any green plants or disrupt fragile desert ecosystems. Also, if (and likely when) our energy use grows, including for things like space launches, then solar starts to get iffier (like if our global energy use grows by 100X). We probably don't need to grow our energy use like that to be happy at roughly the current population (although 3X is likely as other countries continue to industrialize).

The biggest new thing a compact energy source such as LENR as described makes possible are improved mobile systems (space craft, flying cars, autonomous yachts, etc.). Solar will likely never be that compact for human-scale mobile systems, where the need for a big surface area conflicts with other mobile requirements for sleekness.

Still, that is if cold fusion / LENR works. This "verification" still is debatable as these researchers seem to have been tangentially involved in evaluating Rossi's work for years. So, this report is not as "independent" as one might like (even if I thought it was notable as a story). But there are many other reports by others. Things remain still unsure until you can buy one at your local big box store or via Amazon -- or your utility company uses them. :-) Of course, if ten university teams were saying they had such test results, well that would also be pretty significant. One collection of authors at a couple less prestigious institutions is still in the realm of fraud or self-deception or some other confusion. On the other hand, as with the original "cold fusion" reports at MIT twenty years ago dismissing the phenomenon, there is an incentive within the status quo to dismiss such claims because they would potentially disturb existing social and financial relationships (like hot fusion funding, fossil fuel subsidies, now solar PV research, etc.).

+ - Cold fusion reactor verified by third-party researchers 2

Submitted by Paul Fernhout
Paul Fernhout (109597) writes "ExtremeTech reports that "Andrea Rossi's E-Cat — the device that purports to use cold fusion to generate massive amounts of cheap, green energy — has been verified by third-party researchers, according to a new 54-page report. The researchers observed a small E-Cat over 32 days, where it produced net energy of 1.5 megawatt-hours, or "far more than can be obtained from any known chemical sources in the small reactor volume." The researchers were also allowed to analyze the fuel before and after the 32-day run, noting that the isotopes in the spent fuel could only have been obtained by "nuclear reactions"...""

Comment: Well said! (Score 2) 55

swb's comment is insightful too. The best reason to go into space is because we are happy on Earth and want to grow that happiness further.

That said, it is not unreasonable to want a distributed population for reasons of backup and resiliency, as well as reasons for new perspectives/exploration/innovation. Humans run simulations to learn things, and space habitats may develop a variety of approaches to things that are new and useful.

Also, as human technological power grows, the Earth becomes ever smaller and the stakes for a global mistake (e.g. bioweapon, nuclear war) get every higher -- even as we should do what we can to reduce and contain those risks as appropriate.

See also:
http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/K...
"A planet is the cradle of mind, but one cannot live in a cradle forever."

NASA should have been doing these sort of hab missions decades ago IMHO. Better late than never!

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