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Comment Re:buh, bye (Score 1) 494

I think a large problem with primaries is that, in most states, you have to be registered with the party before you can take part in their primary. Sure, you can game this by switching registration before and after, but it's still very limiting. The POTUS would be more representative if the primaries were not allowed to do that. Sure, it means that one side can try to vote for a joke candidate to make it easier that their own candidate wins the office, but it also means that "honest" voters can pick a candidate from the other side that they would be most likely to support (or least likely to oppose, anyway.) If that person does get into the office, it's still involvement from more of the population in doing so, which might help fight the "us vs them" mentality in US politics.

Of course, the Democrats and Republicans both bank heavily on that very "us vs. them" mentality to rally their base, so I wouldn't expect change in the primaries, electorate college, or first-past-the-post voting short of a revolution (political or physical.)

Comment Re:4/5 in favor (Score 1) 751

Rich people can hire only so many servants and drivers and people to wash their cars and be nanny to their kids. There are only so many people needed to service the robots. Only so many people needed to do the dirty work. And those are just the low-paying jobs.

But there's one dystopian job that would employ most people: lab rat.

It appears to be the nature of the wealthy and powerful to want more wealth and power. Once the tiny minority controls the vast majority, what more is left? Life. They will want to live longer (immortality is a nice idea), be healthier, and put little time and effort into it. This requires medical advances, which requires research and human trials. Experimenting on monkeys and mice can only help so much; using live humans would be better.

So, with a giant population starving, they'll start hiring people to go through medical experiments, and doctors/researchers to plan and do them. Patient protection laws? Ha, they'll control the government so those will be abolished quickly. Doctors unwilling to perform such acts? Yes, that sure was a problem for Germany and Japan during WWII, or for any doctor or scientist that says things like "Smoking is relatively harmless" or "Global warming is a complete crock".

So the rich will pay just enough to keep people in decent health until they're old enough to be lab rats, and then they can either starve or work as one. If a subject is lucky, they'll get a neat-o benefit. But more likely they'll be horribly mutilated or, you know, die. The only problem will be keeping the number of subjects low enough to maintain a steady supply of future subjects. Looks like people are starting to revolt? Hire more subjects! Ideally those with the most individualistic tendencies.

Comment It will adapt (Score 1) 519

Unlike giant, rusty conglomerates (such as members of the RIAA), small studios that rely on advertising will adapt--they'll have to, or they'll die. Many already have, using services like Kickstarter and Patreon to run campaigns for funding. Digital content sites have long had stores to purchase physical goods, using profit from that as (partial) funding.

Companies that offer subscriptions in addition to ad-supported revenue will likely lock down more of their content behind the subscription, offering scraps and glimpses to entice people to subscribe. I would also expect existing subscriptions to spread into tiers, so people can use cheaper subscriptions to get access, albeit at lower quality or content than the full subscription.

More directly to the web in general, I expect many competitors to pop up in "website funding". They could work like Patreon does, where you subscribe to a site for a small amount (likely $1 or less a month.) It could bring about the oft-spoken "micropayments", where a site using the service would charge the viewer a pittance per page or per day, depending on costs. (Users would ideally have full control on whitelisting/blacklisting.)

What will be killed off are the tons of blogs/sites that exist only to re-serve someone else's content (usually without attribution). It will be extremely refreshing, I think. There will be some unfortunate causalities during the transition, but in the end the web will be far better for it.

During all of this, giant publishers will just continue to stick their head in the sand and sue people, clutching to the "old ways" that they understood.

Comment Re:Those making more than new minimum salary (Score 2) 480

Hmm. I'm not sold, as that's an opinion piece that links to an opinion piece as the source, and it smells like someone trying to fight the $15/hr idea by linking it to racism.

Buuuut a lot of things around that time had links to racism (and not just black people), so it wouldn't surprise me if it's true. Even if it were, it's irrelevant to the push for a higher min wage being good or bad.

Comment Re:Those making more than new minimum salary (Score 4, Informative) 480

In my Inaugural I laid down the simple proposition that nobody is going to starve in this country. It seems to me to be equally plain that no business which depends for existence on paying less than living wages to its workers has any right to continue in this country. By "business" I mean the whole of commerce as well as the whole of industry; by workers I mean all workers, the white collar class as well as the men in overalls; and by living wages I mean more than a bare subsistence level-I mean the wages of decent living.

- Franklin Roosevelt's Statement on the National Industrial Recovery Act (16 June 1933)

Emphasis mine. The NIR Act established the first minimum wage in America (this was struck down in 1935, ruled unconstitutional by the SC, but a subsequent Act establishing a minimum wage was upheld by the SC in 1941, under that magical Commerce Clause.)

Granted, he doesn't say the family size that decent living would support, but lacking statements to the contrary I assume at least a three-person household. But a temp wage? No, that does not appear to be the intention of it. Big business and our government has twisted and contorted it over the decades to be just a minimum wage paid to people... but if it can't cover life's basics, then what is the point of it at all?

Comment Re:I'm sure this will be controversial (Score 1) 418

This is a good move that will definitely be controversial to the young, single techie set. If the demographics are to be believed, Millenials are having even fewer children...

As part of said set, and someone who hopes to never pass on his genes, I fully support [ma|pa]ternity leave. I know that my co-worker won't be even close to his or her normal when they're dealing with those nights of almost no sleep for the first few months, and I will feel more confident in my company if they have plans in place that make sure the work is spread equally or a temp replacement is hired while still caring for the new parent.

The only thing I ask is that us single/childless folks don't bear the load of the missing coworker. It's not a vacation, because you're having to take care of a brand new human, but it's still time off (at the very least, you get to avoid the commute). If the workload has to be split between remaining employees, let those employees earn an extra day or three of vacation--or some other compensation--to ease their own extra burden.

Comment Re:4-bangers less anemic than they used to be (Score 1) 291

Frankly, I don't think Tesla needs to play the bootlegger-and-baptist game with fuel economy regulations to be competitive with ICE carmakers, they just need to be price and performance competitive within their model segments.

They can hit price in one of two basic ways:
1) Lower their own costs
2) Their competition has to increase their own price across the board

It seems they're playing both sides on this one. They are trying to reduce their own costs, but by lobbying to at least maintain the current standards (if not tighten them), they force the competition to increase the cost of their R&D/vehicles to bring them more in line with Tesla's offerings.

Comment Adapt into "auto clubs" (Score 1) 231

If companies that provide auto insurance are smart and see the writing on the wall (I have to assume so, since they are entirely about risk/benefit analysis), they will gradually transform into a different kind of entity. While they'll still provide insurance, they'll turn into a "subscription" version of a car rental company: Customers with the proper plan can request a self-driving car for certain periods, and may even receive a discount for doing so over using their traditional vehicle.

As autonomous car adoption rates increase, these hybrid companies will move more towards being an "auto club", where people pay a monthly fee (likely comparable to the combined cost of a loan payment+insurance) and will be able to order up self-driving cars. Depending on their plan, it may only be with advance planning and an extra charge for on-demand, or it is unlimited on-demand. They use the vehicle as necessary, then send it back.

They might only get so much time to allow it to sit idle, so if they're going to spend a day at Disneyland they have a car that will bring them, send it away, and order another when they go home. In fact, such "clubs" will likely have garages right outside of amusement parks. After all, if your car can drive itself, and you don't need to leave anything in the vehicle, why bother with parking? You could send it home, or to a far-off lot. And if you're going to do that, why bother with owning a vehicle at all? You can avoid all the maintenance of ownership, the cost of having a garage, and registration fees by just using one of these clubs.

The companies will still offer insurance: there will always be people who want to own their own car, self-driving or not. But that will become a "side" business, and the remaining portions of existing businesses may be sold off until you have only a handful of national auto insurers. I doubt the companies that focus on consumers would sell insurance to car companies, as the car companies have their existing liability insurance that will just increase if/when there's added risk from autonomous cars.

Comment Re:How is this legal? (Score 1) 256

In the US, bullying isn't a problem so much as it is a national past time. Americans love power, and people with power; one way to increase your own (apparent) power is to decrease the (apparent) power of your rival. And then people will vote for whoever they think has the most apparent power (so long as that person has the right capital letter next to their name on the ballot.)

We do a lot of things weird here. Blow a guy's head off during prime time television? What, you're telling me you only did it once? Do it five times, think of the advertising revenue! Oh, you want to include a scene that shows a woman's nipple for half a second during that same time frame? No, sorry, you have to go to jail now.

I think that America (and Americans) has an incredibly amount of potential, but it's significantly hampered by our weird mix of "morals" and in-fighting over issues which, relative to the country as a whole, are fairly irrelevant but get all the focus.

The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable. -- John Kenneth Galbraith

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