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Comment Not exactly, no (Score 1) 352 352

One huge trend in work over the last century or so has been towards automation. We need fewer people, or can do more with the same number of people, by automating some or all of peoples' jobs.

We don't need everyone to "build software" as you may think of it. However, we do need a substantial part of the workforce to automate their own jobs. Think about it. For most typical jobs, the ability to automate your work makes you more productive, more valuable, and can make you feel better about your life.

Automation, of course, means instructing machines.

Comment Re:Most people won't care (Score 1) 107 107

The Pirate Bay allows you to skip the red tape.

Unless something new has happened in the last decade, the only source leaks I'm aware of are NT4 and Win2k. So if you were willing to do without x86-64, most of ACPI, UEFI, IPv6, and pretty much every piece of hardware on your motherboard, I guess you could use that.

You can probably live without Metro, so there is that.

Comment Re:$805M budget (Score 1) 231 231

I hope you caught that the word "simply" in my post was flippant.

My point is a simple one: compared to other countries, the US health care system does not get anywhere near the value for money that other countries do. It spends far more and gets far less in return.

You could think up many possibilities as to why this is, and I'm sure that a lot of it is waste due to medical businesses (e.g. insurers) being run for-profit. But I think it's pretty clear to all sane people that you don't just cut funding and hope everything works out.

One possibility as to why the US spends so much more is that the whole system is not geared to preventative medicine. By far, the cheapest time to fix a medical condition is before it becomes serious, and uninsured and under-insured patients tend to only present after a condition has become serious.

What public service in the US do you think your new healthcare system is going to resemble.

In the US? Don't know. I was thinking something more like the NHS or Medicare Australia.

Comment Re:$805M budget (Score 2, Informative) 231 231

We spend about 834 billion a year on government healthcare subsidies.

Actually, plenty of people do want to cut that budget, but can't for ideological reasons.

The US spends just over 17% of GDP on health care, which is a figure only exceeded by Tuvalu. Most developed countries (e.g. most of Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Japan) the figure is around 9-10% of GDP. Even France spends less than 12%.

So, yes, you could cut that figure by a third simply by building a real public health system.

I don't know if Obamacare has helped or will help in any significant way. Given that the AMA supported it, probably not.

Comment Re:Aussie freedoms are inferior (Score 1) 337 337

Your notion that people win these elections based on how many people they throw in jail or something [...]

I said that they run their campaigns on that basis, not that they win on that basis. You are almost certainly correct that in most "races" there is basically no contest worth speaking of, and the electors have no clue what's going on and don't care. Nonetheless, I went through a phase a little while ago where I looked up campaign ads, and every single one was about this.

So I think it's fair to say that when it's a fought campaign, that's what the campaign tends to be on. Whether or not it helps is another question.

I don't mind the secrecy IN THAT CONTEXT.

The alternative, incidentally, is committal hearings, which are mini-court trials, with all the advantages that go with it (e.g. both legal teams are present, protection from self-incrimination).

Comment Re:Aussie freedoms are inferior (Score 1) 337 337

Elected judges was an attempt to put the judiciary under some kind of democratic control.

Perhaps that was even a good idea before the days of mass media. Today, judges run their campaigns on how many criminals they put away, not on how well they decide the law.

It's a similar story with elected prosecutors. In Australia, Aaron Swartz would still be alive.

As to grand juries... explain your problem there, I can't even anticipate what your issue is there.

Let me put it this way: Hope that you never end up before a grand jury. It operates behind closed doors. You cannot read a transcript of proceedings. You have no right to counsel and no protection from self-incrimination. You may be compelled to testify and compelled to produce documents. And judges do not run the show; most of the time, prosecutors do.

The running joke is that they would indict a ham sandwich if a prosecutor wanted to. A wrongdoer will also walk free of the prosecutor wants that, too. (Remember, prosecutors rely on election campaigns for their job; that is often a good incentive not to prosecute someone.)

As to plea bargaining, bullshit... every legal system has that to some extent.

The "extent" being that its scope is limited to the point where it can't be used as a tool of coercion.

The point I'm making is that being that the US has democracy as a theoretical tool to curb malfeasance by people who wield the power of the government, but in practice it doesn't seem to work; either electors don't care, or they are persuaded to care about things which are not relevant. Australia, instead, has laws.

Comment Re:Aussie freedoms are inferior (Score 1) 337 337

Every oppressor always starts with disarming the people.

Not even remotely true. At the risk of invoking Godwin, the Weimar Republic had tougher gun laws than... uh... that government that came after it. You know the one.

If you can convince people that oppression is in their own best interest, if you can hammer home the "fact" that some subset of the citizenry are actually outsiders or traitors, then history shows that an armed citizenry can be a dictator's willing accomplice.

Comment Re:Aussie freedoms are inferior (Score 1) 337 337

Honestly, if things keep going they way they are, I'm afraid something WILL break out.

Let me put it this way: The US actually rounded up its own citizens and put them in mass internment camps just a few decades ago. That did not spark a revolution. If that won't do it, nothing will.

Comment Re:Aussie freedoms are inferior (Score 1) 337 337

Don't take it the wrong way... but I like the bill of rights.

I can appreciate that. Something closer to the Canadian Bill of Rights would be even better, of course, but at least it's something, especially since marriage equality seems to be implied by it.

On the other hand, Australia doesn't have elected elected judges, elected prosecutors, grand juries, plea bargaining, civil asset forfeiture, police getting military surplus gear, Reid technique interrogations, or capital punishment. So you if you do get in trouble with the law, you'll probably be treated humanely and will get a reasonably fair trial even if you're not the sort of person who has $15M gathering dust.

We also don't have elected school boards. You can probably appreciate the advantage of that.

"Mach was the greatest intellectual fraud in the last ten years." "What about X?" "I said `intellectual'." ;login, 9/1990