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Comment: Re:Things happen - multiple things (Score 1) 36

by hey! (#48642965) Attached to: Massive Volcanic Eruptions Accompanied Dinosaur Extinction

Back in the early 90s I had the opportunity of participating on a paleontological expedition to the badlands of Montana. The soil was built up over hundreds of millions of years and flooding cut through the soft soil leaving a stratigraphy that is dramatic and easy to read. You can even see the Chicxulub ejecta, a chocolate brown horizontal line about the width of your hand.

Now whole dinosaur skeletons are a rare find. You can spend a whole season tramping through the badlands and never find two bones that go together. But individual bones are more common, and bone fragments are more common still, and experts can often identify the group of dinosaurs or even the species of dinosaur a bone fragment came from, often a surprisingly small fragment of bone.

What we were doing was assembling a database of species found by layer, which in turn maps to era. What the PI was finding was a shift towards species with anatomical adaptations to deal with heat. His opinion was that there was already a climate driven adaptive stress on the dinosaur population, which turned the aftermath of the Chicxulub impact into a knock-out blow.

So the idea that there was more going on than an asteroid impact is hardly new. People were thinking that way twenty years ago.

Comment: Re:Yet another clueless story on automation (Score 1) 162

by khallow (#48642947) Attached to: What Happens To Society When Robots Replace Workers?

The fundamental flaw is that you imagine "high" minimum wages (I hope you aren't talking about the US national minimum), and "plush" benefits are the cause of underemployment/stagnation in employment.

I have two obvious rebuttals. First, I cited a large list of obstructions. These were one of many and weren't intended to explain it all in isolation. Second, you exhibit a provincial first world outlook. For example, people still build cars, they just don't build as many of them in the developed world as they used to. And employment in Asia continues to grow despite automation.

people would still not work for you for less than $5/hr for very well or long in any part of the country. They couldn't afford their basic needs.

Actually, yes they would. They'd find ways to have less costly "basic needs" or move to regions with lower cost of living. And need I remind you that the minimum wage remains $0 per hour no matter how high you raise it?

A robot needs only electricity and perhaps occasional repairs (but not enough to even come close to make up for the net loss in jobs).

And a vast expenditure in capital and resources.

What I find most bizarre about your arguments is this:

Over time this is very likely to cause societal tension at bare minimum, bloody revolution and quality of life going backwards at worst.

What are you proposing that does even a little bit to stop this? How is not employing people at all better than employing them at low wages?

Comment: Re:Yet another clueless story on automation (Score 1) 162

by khallow (#48642899) Attached to: What Happens To Society When Robots Replace Workers?

If the demand for productive labor can be filled by more robots, the value of human labor can still stay at zero.

That is a non sequitur. Even in a situation where robots can do any job better than humans, doesn't mean that human labor has no value. You first have to get that robot labor down to "too cheap to meter".

Comment: Re:Yet another clueless story on automation (Score 1) 162

by khallow (#48642881) Attached to: What Happens To Society When Robots Replace Workers?


Less sighing. More using that lump on the top of your neck for something other than breath control.

So when the USofA becomes "no longer developed" then the rich will move to the countries that have been polluted by their factories.

What makes you think those places will still be more polluted than the US by that time? There's this magic assumption on your part that the current state remains unchanged. Given that the developing world is getting better economically at a rapid rate while much of the developed world is not, I believe this idea to be very foolish.

The Greeks looking for work are moving to other 1st world countries where the job opportunities in their fields are better. So they chase those opportunities ... in the 1st world.

Greece is first world too. Those Greek workers aren't pursuing opportunities in Greece. They are actually chasing opportunities in the developed world. If the EU ceases to be developed world, which I think is a valid possibility, then those opportunities may well be in future developed world countries that currently aren't developed world countries.

Also Greece isn't an unusual case of a first world country with net emigration. The article mentions Ireland, Spain, and Portugal as well.

Comment: Re:False Falg? (Score 2) 61

by hey! (#48642825) Attached to: North Korea Denies Responsibility for Sony Attack, Warns Against Retaliation

One thing every thoughtful fan of the mystery story knows is that in real life, motivation tells you very little about who done what. That's because *most* people, when faced with a problem, don't even consider murder. Murderers are not typical people.

The same goes for hackers. When companies first started putting Internet connections back in the 90s in I would explain that they need to start taking steps to secure their networks, and almost without exception the response was "Why? Why would anyone be interested in hacking *us*?" And I had to explain that the Internet was accessible to *everyone*, including people whose motivations and ways of thinking would make no sense to them.

Motivation may have limited use in perhaps identifying some possible suspects, but it's not probative of anything. You can't rule anyone out or in based on what you think their motivations are or should be. The only way to know that somebody has done something is by following the chain of evidence that leads to some concrete action they've taken.

Comment: Re:Make it easier to hire people? (Score 1) 162

by Kohath (#48642741) Attached to: What Happens To Society When Robots Replace Workers?

I'm not sure how that is an argument for artificially keeping people unemployed between now and whatever distant future you imagine. Wages could be higher if non-wage costs associated with employing someone or doing business were lower -- of course this depends on the supply of people to do the job.

Is there really an argument against considering changes to laws to help employers employ people?

Comment: Re:Wrong way of thinking. (Score 1) 162

by khallow (#48642713) Attached to: What Happens To Society When Robots Replace Workers?
A number of things: elimination of any sort of forced labor obligation, including slavery, indentured servitude, debtor's prison, and conscription; minimal obstruction of immigration; no restrictions on hiring or firing people; no minimum wage or mandatory benefits; no restrictions on the trade or creation of capital; and no health or safety regulation of businesses that are below a certain threshold of deaths per hour worked. I'm sure, if I looked, I could find more such things.

Comment: Re:Wrong way of thinking. (Score 1) 162

by khallow (#48642667) Attached to: What Happens To Society When Robots Replace Workers?

Truly minimal means zero regulation, thus allowing armed gangs to roam the streets and steal your stuff.

And it means no market. Constrained optimization is not a new thing.

And as soon as you add more regulation, you need laws. And laws means you have to have representatives to write the laws, and others to enforce them. And before you know it, people want more laws, and you end up where we are now.

That's an example of the slippery slope fallacy. No, it doesn't mean that.

Comment: Re:Math author dies rich... (Score 1) 154

by DNS-and-BIND (#48642635) Attached to: Calculus Textbook Author James Stewart Has Died

"It's too bad the Soviet Union didn't survive" is an odd phrase indeed. Is this the first time it has ever been used?

The Soviet Union couldn't have gotten on the internet, there would have been too much free information floating around. To heck with the internet - the Soviets couldn't even sell Xerox machines to the general public, they would have been used by the people for anti-Communist activities. But don't trust me, listen to one of the Soviet leaders (and, by extension, one of the smartest people in their entire empire).

In a remarkable tete-a-tete with a US journalist and former arms control official, Marshal Nikolai Ogarkov, First Deputy Defense Minister and Chief of the General Staff, interpreted the real meaning of SDI:
"We cannot equal the quality of U.S. arms for a generation or two. Modern military power is based on technology, and technology is based on computers. In the US, small children play with computers... Here, we don't even have computers in every office of the Defense Ministry. And for reasons you know well, we cannot make computers widely available in our society. We will never be able to catch up with you in modern arms until we have an economic revolution. And the question is whether we can have an economic revolution without a political revolution."

What were those reasons that everyone knew well? Ever heard of samizdat? No, eh?

Comment: Re:Yet another clueless story on automation (Score 1) 162

by khallow (#48642571) Attached to: What Happens To Society When Robots Replace Workers?

It has not been "chased out" of any where. What you see is the people who own the companies looking for the cheapest means to produce their products.

I already noted the developed world as a counterexample.

If it really was "chased out" then they'd also be moving their families to those less-regulated, less-restricted countries.

This is a non sequitur. Of course, when portions of the developed world are no longer developed, then the people who own companies and many other people as well, will move to places where basic services are still supported.

There is a window of opportunity here to correct damaging behavior before it becomes a long term setback. Currently, developed world economies are more pleasant places to live. That need not remain the case, as Greece has demonstrated (they already are emigrating at a substantial rate to other parts of the EU).

An inclined plane is a slope up. -- Willard Espy, "An Almanac of Words at Play"