This has ALWAYS been true. It's just never been quite as important, since most of what 90% of people do today requires little more than communicating.
The world is full of people that are gifted in some way but don't work hard (it came too easily or they burn out). They ultimately don't make near the impact that good but not necessarily gifted people that work their butts off.
It's a truly rare bird when someone is truly gifted, they personally recognize it early, chase it, and has the drive to perfect their skill until it shines above the rest. These are the oddballs in society, secretly feared/hated and sometimes taken advantage of by their more socially adjusted but lesser peers, that move their world of influence forward. Socrates. Archimedes. (William) Tyndale. Galileo. Newton. Mozart. Tesla. Einstein. (George) Patton. Bobby Fischer. Michael Jordan. Imagine if any of these people decided to sluff off... How different would our world be?
It is very expensive, difficult, and sometimes even dangerous to load up all that hardware. Somebody decided it was easier to just sell to a new government that needed a real army to remain in control (which should've been a warning sign in the first place).
I immediately thought of the 1st episode of the reboot of Battlestar Galactica, where 99.9% of their modern military force was rendered inoperable. No. Thank. You.
The best "kill switch" is to kill the idea of leaving a ton of advanced military hardware in the hands of less-than-solid governments in the first place (no matter how much defense contractors want to sell their wares). You'd think we would have learned from Iran and the F-14s we left in Iran in the late 1970s as the Islamic Revolution took place.
There's nothing wrong with optimism based in facts, and I'd love to believe what he's saying.
At this point, however, Obama's optimism just strikes me as amateurish and naive. After watching for six years, I honestly don't think he and those in positions of power around him have an objective or accurate view of how the world really works. It's almost feels like he doesn't believe the USA is exceptional or that it should at the very least stand as an example for the rest of the world. Or that we should give up all that we as a country fought for and earned/stole/created (or whatever verb your views want to insert here).
I even heard a crackpot story on the radio that he was considering executive action that would give Hawaii back to the Hawaiians by making it more of an "Indian reservation" than a state and treat it as a "separate nation". If the president actually considered that... You just have to shake your head in wonder.
It's this kind of red herring, fearmongering that is why Obama was re-elected - despite his piss-poor record on deficit spending, inability to compromise, increasing the spy programs (vs. curtailing them), naivete about international issues from Benghazi to Syria to the Crimea.
Yes, the GOP sucks, too. Why are the extremists even debating abortion and birth control when we're running huge deficits, polluting the planet, and the world is coming unhinged? And companies like every huge bank and Monsanto are inherently toxic to society as a whole because they don't even pretend to serve a purpose for the market or the people. They only serve themselves, and any politician that is owned by one of those corporations via dirty money is irreparably tainted.
It all just makes an average Joe that actually cares and wants to get something positive accomplished about those big issues scream and puke all at once.
The 1980's just called, and they still want their foreign policy back...
The sad part is that the president actually believed what he said that night during the debate. It was all cold war paranoia. Romney was clearly out of touch. Vladimir Putin would NEVER do anything like invade another country in "today's civilized age", let alone do the unthinkable and use nuclear weapons simply to gain some Russian soil. I guess the president can just say: "Well - Chernobyl's already radiated parts of the country, so it's not that big of a deal if the rest glows in the dark, too."
I'm even more sad that so many Americans would STILL vote for this guy today simply because they're Democrats and that's that.
We've already mostly lost V-8s to tech advances, but no "turbo"-powered four banger is in the same league in smoothness and power that a solid V-6 gives you without having to floor it. Why is the V-6 becoming a luxury item not available to the middle class guy??
Others people have listed good ones further down my list:
Flip phone (privacy and cost issues with smart phones).
Corded telephone at home (for power outages)
CDs (damn carmakers have ditched CD changers)
pico in the CLI (so much quicker for some tasks)
Windows 7 (though working on a Mac at work almost has me out the door)
A handgun firearm (sorry DC and Chicago - I'll never live there because of this).
If they hire new people back from the same general neighborhoods and they make the same money, then the CEO will have done the right thing. Besides - the bottom 8% of any workforce usually has some serious dead wood in it.
If they don't fill those slots back up to increase quarterly earnings, go overseas to essentially hire the same people back at a fraction of the cost, or say a WORD to Congress about how there's a "major talent shortage" in the USA and call for more H1-Bs, someone needs to go punch that guy in the face.
Yes, the rich should be paying more back into the economy (through taxes or spending) instead of hoarding wealth, and the H-1Bs and other outsourcing of costs has to be curtailed.
However, when the poor stop getting earned income credits totaling in the several thousands every year (which goes up with the number of children claimed as dependents), while they don't pay a penny in income tax because they're unemployed for whatever reason, then you'll have a solid argument. Until then, too many of the "poor" are getting a free ride on the backs of bad government policy - and they have no skin in the game. Maybe they need to get rid of their iPhones, stop buying $250 Nikes, and cut their cable to pay some taxes back into the system that's paying for those luxuries.
The kicker is that if you have a cheap, corded phone that ALSO plays a role. I bought the Radio Shack device, plugged it into a cheapo speakerphone I had purchased at Target, and it didn't work. If you turned your speakers all the way up, you could barely hear a mumble in the recording.
I bought the JK Audio device online, and THAT didn't work well, either. Surprised, I threw out the speakerphone and got a better one - and the JK Audio device suddenly worked like a champ.
I wish I would've kept the Radio Shack device to try it out on that new speakerphone, but I guess the rule was that you generally get what you pay for when you buy the cheapest thing at Wal-Mart, Target, etc.
I was also thinking of another control variable that's missing: religion. Communist countries attempt to instill an atheist dogma because the people are supposed to "worship" the state (in a nationalist sort of way), where capitalist countries (whether they had socialist leanings or not) generally have religious freedom in varying degrees.
I'm simplifying, but if you fear a God that commands you to be honest, then you try and be honest because you don't want to burn in hell. If you're brought up in an atheist communist society, however, and the government is your "god", you can more easily cheat or lie to it because people invariably figure out how to beat non-omnipotent/omniscient systems of governance and their punishments (which aren't eternal, either).
At the same time, I have found that comments on news sites were actually some of the best information out there - just like here on Slashdot. Yes, there are ahole trolls and idiots, but there aren't as many as some make it out to be - and there are usually sides to a story that aren't being told by the story itself where commenters fill in the blanks.
To be fair, though, the quality of comments overall - including here at Slashdot - has declined, simply because people don't spend the time typing up large treatises anymore. More people want a Twitter-like soundbyte more than information, and won't read comments more than a few lines long. They have better thing to... squirrel!
I know you're half-joking, but there are likely millions of other men out there in the US (including myself) alone that could say the same thing. Porn use (and in some cases addiction) is pervasive but hardly universal.
If I pay with cash, it's mine and nobody has that data to sell to someone about me. Also, nobody ever knows if I ever watched it at all, or if I went back and watched a hot sex scene or some dude's head exploding over and over again.
Streaming services track this kind of info. Many just blow that off, but it matters to some.