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Comment Re:Wow (Score 1) 312

Ok, here's a story from Forbes in 2012 about VC success. It says: "Over both 10- and 30-year periods, share of dollars invested that go to losing deals has been roughly 55%.".

So do you think that failure rate is a proper measure of the success of a government program?

When the VCs are willing to make risky bets, such that around 55% of their attempted deals fail ... what is government investment in less risky deals (7% failure) accomplishing?

I didn't say "the government gives itself an A+". In any large organization waste is inevitable. I see it where I work which is a subsidiary of a large company. All you can do is try to minimize it.

Of course you didn't. I interpreted your use of Congress's metric of 12% as a measure of success of government activity.

If they said 100% failure was acceptable, would that still be any good? The 12% is unjustified. The 7% is meaningless without justifying the first number.

Comment Re:Wow (Score 1) 312

Although you didn't mention Solyndra explicitly others in this thread have. The DOE program that Solyndra was part of had a budgeted failure rate of 12% (IIRC) as set by Congress when they passed the act that created the program. Last I heard the failure rate of the program was about 7% including Solyndra. I'd say that's a pretty positive outcome, probably better than most private VC funds.

You're telling me that the government gives itself an A+, and therefore there is no government waste. That's assuming something about government metrics.

If the government is doing better than VC funds, back it up with numbers instead of your imagination. Show me.

Why do you assume that something the government is involved in will automatically have more mistakes?

If you understood my point about skin in the game, you would not ask me that question.

Understand my point and come up with a better question. (Hint: I am not assuming what you just said)

Comment Re:Wow (Score 0) 312

Yeah, the government never should have sunk all that money into ARPANET, it would have just happened by Immaculate Conception when the economics made sense. Come to think of it, all that money the government sunk into quantum mechanics made no sense until there was use for it, then it would have miraculously evolved from its primordial ooze by bootstrapping itself into usefulness.

Waving a winning lottery ticket around doesn't prove that lotteries have EV > 1.

Comment Re:Wow (Score 1) 312

Because you can't just randomly call *anyone* specific, like you can with a phone.

Unlike those cellphones everyone carries that allow people to call *anyone* specific using radio waves?

A two way radio is still using specific frequencies and protocols to communicate. There is the matter of people listening in, but then again, that's not stopped people from using cellphones, either.

Comment Re:Wow (Score 1) 312

You missed the headline, or the article or the summary or all of it. Solar energy is now the cheapest energy on the planet.

The headline, article, and summary say nothing of the sort. You fail basic reading comprehension.

What it actually says is that Texas is building a lot of solar power without state subsidies.

Oil will not run out in 20 years.

With current usage, it will. That is a no brainer. With replacement of current cars by electric cars it, won't. That is a no brainer, too. So try to comprehend what I write instead of jumping to knee jerk reactions and making a fool of yourself.

We are 10 years beyond "peak oil" ...

See this graph?

10 years ago is 2005. Now which year in the graph has the highest oil production?

If you are unable to comprehend basic English, and do not know relevant facts, why should anyone care what you say on this topic?

Did it? Any proof of that? Over what course of years?

Too lazy to do your own basic research?

I'm sorry you find it mentally difficult to look up Wikipedia. I'm afraid you're not going to find a safe space here on Slashdot, however.

Comment Re:Wow (Score 1) 312

It sounds like you want a level of perfection out of government that is not humanly possible to attain.

That's not perfection, it's basic accountability.

The people who are wisest about taking risks are the ones who will personally pay when it doesn't work out. It's a fundamentally more stable system because the negative feedback loop against mistakes is tighter.

So rather than accuse me of wanting "perfection", you should ask yourself, "why do I want more mistakes?"

Comment Re:Wow (Score 1) 312

I get so fucking tired of this "picking winners and losers" bullshit. Venture capitalists do this all the time. Do you think the people who do analysis for the Department of Energy are bunch of drooling morons? Backing technology development that is in the public interest is exactly what governments are for. Just like venture capital, some of it is going to pan out and some of it isn't.

The difference is in who foots the bill. The VCs pick winners and losers with their own money. When they lose, they lose their own money. (minus government corruption stealing from the public to make them whole)

When the government picks losers, the public is paying the bill. The government employees who made the wrong pick, however, don't have any personal skin the game.

It doesn't take a drooling moron to make a bad decision and lose money. Nor is it stupid for the people footing the bill to object to its usage.

Comment Re:Wow (Score 1, Interesting) 312

First: which technology besides solar is "better"? Or makes economically more sense? When we clearly right now are at the point where solar makes economical sense?

Those would be the energy technologies that deliver the vast majority of the world's energy needs - that is, fossil fuels. Oil, gas, coal.

If solar made economical sense, it would not need subsidies. Maybe it will not in the future ... but we're not in the future.

Second: the billions spend where likely not the US american billions but the European, notable German, so why do you care?

America's government has subsidized green technologies with billions of dollars, and it goes without saying that Americans have the right to criticize the choices of their government.

I guess you had preferred to wait till the oil runs out, that might be in 20 years?

Oil will not run out in 20 years.

With current usage patterns the oil price in 20 years might be something like $5000 per barrel. Obviously that won't be the case as demand will drop rapidly the closer we come to the "empty wells".

At $5000 per barrel of oil, we'd have all the oil we'd ever want. You realize we can *make* oil, right? We could probably make oil using solar power very profitably at that price point.

Comment Re:But the false dichotomy is still there (Score 1) 332

Think about it for five seconds and see if you can come up with an alternative that doesn't vaporize 40,000 civilians. Here's one: let's say we drop the second bomb on top of Mount Fuji. Just to bluff and say "hey look, we've got so many of these damn things we can waste 'em, just to give you a show." I do believe that would have made our point pretty clear. Nuking another major civilian population 3 days later is simply not necessary by any stretch of the imagination, even if we concede all kinds of stuff up front.

Your 5 seconds of imagination doesn't even require 5 seconds to rebuff.

Comment Re:Missing ingredient: consumers (Score 1) 391

So there's no in-between stage; it just pops into place? I don't know what you are getting at.

There's the difference between our positions - I don't believe we'll hit a post-scarcity world; I think that that every single system humans live in will be subject to the constraints of scarcity.

You, on the other hand, treat it as inevitable. That's why you offered your hypothetical of robots that are able to obsolete human beings - a belief that that endstate will show up.

We're not going to agree on that assumption, but you could offer an argument why that assumption is relevant and reasonable.

Note that Rome faced a similar problem as slaves did and could do most of the "grunt work". There were more citizens than jobs.

Alternatively, rather than Rome running out of jobs, Rome had become spiritually decadent and created a privileged "citizen" class who survived solely on the enslavement of others. It had a system that relied on the growth and maintenance of the slave class keeping up with the population of the "citizen" class. When such did not happen (too many citizens consuming entertainment instead of keeping the slaves in line and productive), the system crashed.

Comment Re:Missing ingredient: consumers (Score 1) 391

Fine, but you are NOT addressing levels in between.

Do tell what fine gradations you can find between a post-scarcity world and a scarcity one. I don't think they exist; you do. Please elaborate.

Consider that we could be considered 1,000 times better off materially than people 1,000 years ago. Variety in food, options in travel and entertainment, and so on.

That's not a linear increase towards post-scarcity; we still have plenty of people who do without, on earth, even in our rich societies. We're still very much operating in "scarcity".

Comment Re:Missing ingredient: consumers (Score 1) 391

Yes it would, we are gradually moving into such a world. It's not an all or nothing thing.

A post scarcity world doesn't need a scarcity world to tell it how to manage things. "Be fair how you give people stuff!" "But everyone already has what they want."

A post scarcity world has nothing useful to tell a scarcity world. "Give everyone more stuff!" "Uh... we don't have stuff to give everyone ... Are you offering?"

Comment Re:Missing ingredient: consumers (Score 1) 391

You didn't appear to address the question.

In a world without scarcity, money is no longer relevant, and worrying about lower/middle class having enough "money to buy stuff" is pointless.

Without scarcity, there is no more buying or selling. Whatever anyone can want, they will have.

And yes, the situation was hypothetical. That's why it was called "hypothetical".

I wasn't complaining about it being hypothetical. I was pointing out this particualr hypothetical won't teach us anything useful about the world we live in.

Comment Re:Two factories (Score 1) 391

It is impossible to have no evidence of negative impact when the low and middle skilled workers are losing hours/pay, but there is no effect on high skilled workers. The math doesn't add up.

Appearances can be deceiving. How many variables are at work in a study of 17 countries over 14 years?

The nicest thing about the Alto is that it doesn't run faster at night.