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Comment: Re:Democracy and small city states... (Score 1) 283

by Pfhorrest (#49785395) Attached to: Obama Asks Congress To Renew 'Patriot Act' Snooping

We are a representative democracy, and also a republic, and those are not the same thing.

The US is both a democracy and a republic.
The UK is a democracy but not a republic.
North Korea is not a democracy but is a republic.
Saudi Arabia is neither a democracy nor a republic.

Being a democracy or not is about how and by whom the power of the state is exercised. Being a republic or not is about in whose name the power of the state is exercised.

A republic is a state that officially belongs to the people, in whose name its power is exercised. The degree to which the people themselves direct the use of that power can vary from complete (in a direct democracy) to partial (in a representative democracy) to none at all (in an autocracy).

A democracy is a state that is directed and controlled (to at least some extent) by the people, whether the power of that state is in their name (as in a republic) or not (as in a monarchy).

The US is a republic, because the power of the state is officially that of the people (which is why court cases are titled things like "The People vs ..."). But the US is also a democracy, because that power is exercised, indirectly through representatives, by the people themselves, and not held by an autocrat who wields it in their name and ostensibly for their good but without any input from them.

Comment: Can't hardly find a dumb phone anymore (Score 1) 312

by Pfhorrest (#49757045) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What's the Best Dumb Phone?

My mom is unfortunately on my phone plan because she can't manage her own finances well enough to pay for a phone herself.

Last November she lost her closest-thing-to-a-dumb-phone-I-could-get-her. It would still do web stuff, but... in a very dumb way, like "smart" phones before the modern (iPhone/Android/etc) smart phone era did. I simply could not get her a phone that only make phone calls, but that was close enough for those purposes.

And then she lost it, and I had to replace it. I wanted the cheapest goddamn dumbest simplest most basic phone possible. All she wants or needs to do is make phone calls. She doesn't give a flying fuck about texting or internet or anything! (Or she didn't at the time, and I wish it had stayed that way). All. She. Needs. Is. A Phone. But to get her a "dumb" (not even, like before) phone would have actually cost me more than their cheapest generation-or-two-old smart phone, a Galaxy Mini S3. Now she's fucking addicted to it and sucking up all the data (that I barely even use) on my plan.

What the fucking fuck has happened where it is simply impossible to get just basic phone service without paying more for it!?!?

Comment: Re:Yes & the sheer amount of existing code/fra (Score 3, Interesting) 413

by Pfhorrest (#49746207) Attached to: The Reason For Java's Staying Power: It's Easy To Read

I've never used any of the three languages in discussion here, and would barely count myself as a programmer at all, and upon initial reading of each of these routines this was my interpretation:

Java (I assume yours is): For every integer (call it "i") in the set "items", if "i" is less than ten, do whatever the 'add' function of the 'results' object does to it. (No idea what that function is, but my first guess would be to do the math of "results" + "i". Upon reflection after seeing the other languages' versions of this routine, I get now that it means "put 'i' as a member into the set 'results', or more loosely, "add 'i' to the set 'results'".)

Haskell: The set "items" contains members 1, 15, 27, 3, and 54. The set "results" contains every member of that set ("items") that passes the filter of being less than 10. (This is the clearest to me, and the one that shed light on the purpose of the other two).

Python: The set "items" contains members 1, 15, 27, 3, and 54. The set "results"... uhh.... assuming this does the same thing as the Haskell function, I'd guess it means that "results" contains every "item", where "item" is any item in the set of items, but only if "item" is less than ten; a roundabout way of saying, in a more Java-like fashion, "for every item (call it 'item') in the set 'items', if 'item' is less than ten [then that is part of what the set 'results' equals]".

Comment: Re:My god you people need to think about economics (Score 1) 1090

by Pfhorrest (#49741489) Attached to: Los Angeles Raises Minimum Wage To $15 an Hour

The company is valuable because it makes high profits.

It makes high profits in large part by paying low wages to its employees.

Thus the wealth of the owners of the company is directly due to the poverty induced in its employees.

Nobody needs to sell anything to reverse this. Just paying the employees more would accomplish that, but that would come at the cost of the profits of the company, and thus the stock value, and thus the wealth of the owners, who aren't willing to make that sacrifice.

Comment: Re:Let me tell you about mine. (Score 1) 164

by Pfhorrest (#49738371) Attached to: I spent Mother's Day this year ...

I wasn't really the one making a generational analysis, just casually agreeing with someone else's that sounds pretty plausible from my personal experience and the things I hear other people saying.

Anyway, with regard to average incomes, the mean personal income is approximately equal to the median household income, both of which in turn are approximately twice the median personal income. Which suggests that the median household has two median income-earners supporting it, not one earner supporting five people like your family did. The days when it was plausible for most people to support a household with one income are long gone now. Which means single people, or people like me whose significant others don't make much, face even greater challenges. A single person who wants to live an independent life (and not be crammed into a house with strangers who aren't even family) has to pull the financial resources of two people to accomplish that.

Comment: Re:ENOUGH with the politics! (Score 1) 1090

by Pfhorrest (#49738175) Attached to: Los Angeles Raises Minimum Wage To $15 an Hour

I'm not replying on my degree to get me anywhere (and I'm somewhere relatively good now, making over twice the median income), but replying to the AC who suggested that anyone working a low-paying job in tech must be some kind of stupid. I don't know what better evidence against stupidity one can offer than academic grades, unless we want to get into an IQ dick-measuring contest...

(And to cut it off before it begins: "success is the best evidence of intelligence" is not a valid response because it begs the question.)

Comment: Re:Slashdot is dying; mod results confirm it (Score 1) 169

by Pfhorrest (#49738093) Attached to: When it comes to Slashdot ...

I guess things like "all rent and interest should be eliminated", "all laws are death threats", and "anything requiring a license is antithetical to liberty", "all social services should be privatized and replaced with an aggressively progressive negative income tax", and "we can eventually get rid of the state if the government is investment-funded rather than tax-funded" aren't controversial then?

Comment: Re:Hmm... (Score 1) 1090

by Pfhorrest (#49733699) Attached to: Los Angeles Raises Minimum Wage To $15 an Hour

"Middle class" does not just mean "an average person". It is possible for (and the actual case that) most people, and the average person (which are different things themselves), are not middle class.

A middle class person is someone who has assets enough that he's not dependent on borrowing them from others to survive (which would make him lower class), and yet not enough that he doesn't have to work (which would make him upper class). I've had trouble finding statistics on things like how many people own their homes (seems its always about how many homes are owner-occupied, which is not the same thing), but a quick look at the median income and median housing price makes it pretty clear that the vast majority of Americans are not homeowners and thus not even middle-class.

Even among the vast lower-class majority, most of them are not even average in terms of income. The average (i.e. mean) American makes around $50,000/yr; that's about the national GDP per capita, all our incomes divided up across all of us to get the theoretical average American. But the median American makes more like $25,000/yr; that is, half of the country makes half of less of what the theoretical "average" American makes. It's hard to find data on the mode income, that is, what the typical American, or the largest group of Americans, make, but the bad sources I can find suggest it's under $10,000/yr.

Most Americans are so fucking far from middle class it's not even funny, and even the theoretical "average American" barely has hope of maybe eventually reaching the middle class before they die.

Comment: Re:ENOUGH with the politics! (Score 1) 1090

by Pfhorrest (#49733629) Attached to: Los Angeles Raises Minimum Wage To $15 an Hour

You don't have to work in a tech company to work a tech job, and there are plenty of tech jobs that can easily pay less than $15/hr.

I've worked a tech job of some sort or another my entire life (fixing computers at a local computer shop, network administration for small businesses, web development, etc) and until three and a half years ago I had never made more than $15/hr. And that's with a bachelor's degree with highest honors and a 4.0GPA, so intelligence has nothing to do with it.

The job market fucking sucks. (And it's goddamn expensive just to live in California).

Comment: Re:Who will replace the Republicans? (Score 1) 608

by Pfhorrest (#49730785) Attached to: The Demographic Future of America's Political Parties

It wouldn't stay a one-party system. This has happened before. The first party system in the US was Democratic-Republicans vs Federalists. The former completely destroyed the latter eventually, and then split into what became the Democrats, and the Whigs; the latter of whom were eventually destroyed in turn and replaced by the Republicans.

If the Democrats destroyed the Republicans, either another party (the Libertarians most likely) would just rise up to replace them the way the Republicans replaced the Whigs, or the Democrats would split into two parties (I would expect a libertarian-leaning party and a socialist-leaning party, both of them socially liberal).

Comment: Re:Republicans could... (Score 1) 608

by Pfhorrest (#49730751) Attached to: The Demographic Future of America's Political Parties

The rich want teeming masses of poor people. If all the people who really can't afford kids did the smart thing and didn't have them, and within a generation or two the lower classes vanished due to not reproducing, it would be terrible for the rich, who depend on a desperate and entirely replaceable labor force to serve them for cheap. If there were fewer poor people, it would mean the ones who remained had greater leverage, and wouldn't be kept poor and subservient as easily.

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