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Comment: Re:Outside help (Score 1) 309 309

The MESS is caused by the baby boom and Greece's liberal government funded pensions

I'd argue that this MESS is caused by the high level of labor and business regulation in Greece.

Ireland got into a big debt crisis as well, but because it has a high level of economic freedom, it was able to exit its rescue program due to economic growth (despite "austerity").

Spain has just begun to reform its labor and business regulations, and it is finally showing some return to economic growth

Germany had the Hartz labor Reforms before the economic crisis, so it never needed a rescue.

Greece remains last in the Eurozone in economic freedom rankings and highest in the Eurozone for corruption rankings.

Comment: Gaps between Public and Economists (Score 1) 278 278

Indeed, there also is a large gap between the viewpoint of the public and economists.

For example, few economists (11%) agree with the statement "'Buy American' has a positive impact on manufacturing employment", whereas 75% of the public feel that way.

94% of economists feel that NAFTA was a good idea, only 46% of the public agree.

Comment: Re:Demographics (Score 1) 256 256

Parents are the biggest shortcoming in the education of children today.

Have you seen the tripe that passes for curriculum these days? Believe me a certain percentage of the parents are tuning them out because they've become politically indoctrinating baby-sitters.

Sylvan is damned expensive too...

Comment: Re:San Francisco != Silicon Valley (Score 1) 410 410

If you're trying to live the American Dream of having it all, Silicon Valley is very expensive.

Exactly... But the other tech hubs offer choices. A lot of geeks disparage the other hubs as backwaters and diss the "bubba" factor. But... You can pick your poison. That's really all I'm saying. Greater San Jose offers two choices, the frugal but wise for the locale lifestyle you have chosen, or the tortured attempt at balancing a traditional 3bd/2ba w/kids + dog family lifestyle your brother is likely attempting in an economy built to blow bubbles and then pop. Where I call you out for your choice is that I ask if you have made an honest choice, or just been smart enough to not fight the local fight. Only you can answer that, and the answer is only correct for you. That said, you can make money off the bubbles, but you have to be "in the know", and take advantage when the time is right. Therein lies the problem...

But at the end of the day, we're still slaves to biology in that we are finite. If we fail to thrive and produce offspring, anything we gain is lost. You can be pro-feminist, pro-diversity, pro-whatever the topic of the day is, etc... but if you fail to do these two things, you will fail and collapse society in couple generations: 1. Achieve a > 2.2 child per breeding couple reproduction rate, and: 2. Instil in those offspring at least the same work ethic that led to your own success. I loved my Mills college girlfriend, but... Fail at those and the numbers collapse pretty quickly, the barbarians are at your doorstep and they will sell her in to slavery after feeding you to the delta smelt. It sucks, and its the biology trap we haven't figured out how to escape yet. I choose to have kids and am working to (hopefully) make them productive members of an advancing society, My attempts at doing that in the SF Bay Area indicated impending failure, so I gave up.

I come back for ageing family, and the periodic contract tech refresh. Then I get run out again. My son is starting to learn about Mindcraft mod'ing... I worry that Java will die before he finishes school...

Oh... and I drive old cars, and buy $20 jeans at Costco and wear cheap tee-shirts. The free tradeshow ones are even better...

Comment: Re:San Francisco != Silicon Valley (Score 1) 410 410

Move to the smaller tech hubs outside California and you can save 15% right up front, and then get a damage multiplier via cheaper living.

The frightening thing is that this is true even if your "smaller tech hub" is New York City.

The nice thing about NYC is you can live without a car. That's a huge chunk of money right there.

Comment: Re:San Francisco != Silicon Valley (Score 1) 410 410

Please move to Texas. When a fertilizer plant explodes in your neighborhood, wipes out the volunteer fire department and burns down half the town, you will appreciate why California has taxes and regulations.

From the article: "But Texas has also had the nation's highest number of workplace fatalities - more than 400 annually - for much of the past decade. Fires and explosions at Texas' more than 1,300 chemical and industrial plants have cost as much in property damage as those in all the other states combined for the five years ending in May 2012."

I was actually in Texas when that happened. I float back and forth between Austin and San Jose... But you're missing my point: There are multiple tech hubs, and some have significantly different lifestyles and costs of living. You can "do a startup" in Austin, or Portland, or Seattle, or even Eden Prairie, Minnesota. Austin and San Jose are kind of the opposite ends of the shelf. Austin housing is starting to catch up after 10+ years of stagnation... The Bay Area has finally recovered from the '08 crash.

You've identified one of the problems in Texas, and assumed it's entirely regulatory in nature (hint: cows are dangerous). But you can't just ignore the glaring problem that there are no politicians in the California legislature that have more than a few years of skin in the game due to term limits. They don't care about long term solutions, because they won't be around to take credit for them, or even be around to take the blame. Hence the horrible commutes, and the CalPers mess... They just raise taxes to kick the can down the road, and you get things like $600/yr car registrations, and 13.9% income tax rates, and find yourself blowing $40 at McDonald’s for a couple Happy Meals, etc... Those things add up, but they're just money... What keeps driving me out is the traffic. Spending three to five hours a day in a car commuting keeps me from raising my kids, damages my health, and prevents me from participating in the community I live in.

Comment: Re:San Francisco != Silicon Valley (Score 1) 410 410

I'm getting sick and tired of explaining to people that San Francisco and Silicon Valley are not the same place. Every time the news media does a story on Silicon Valley, they show a tech company campus (typically Google) and the Golden Gate Bridge. The two places are 50 miles apart.That's like claiming Florida as a New York City suburb.

Given the recent California housing trends, it hardly matters. You can't find a decent house under $500k as far away as Stockton... And the whole state is functionally bankrupt / crippled by the public employee pension system and shallow bench politics. Move to the smaller tech hubs outside California and you can save 15% right up front, and then get a damage multiplier via cheaper living.

Some examples:
$3.50 vs $6 for a gallon of milk
$2.40 vs $3.68 for a gallon of gas
Nice new houses for under $200k...
Some tech hubs have no sales tax...
Some tech hubs have no state income taxes...

Silicon Valley has every kind of tax possible, and you can't fix it by voting for an election cycle or two...

Comment: Re:Extended battery (Score 3, Interesting) 313 313

In my experience, Mugen makes the best extended batteries (both in size and performance).

Of course this is not useful if your phone does not have a replaceable battery (e.g. iPhones). But in general any popular phone with a replaceable battery will have extended batteries made for it. You just put the extended fat battery in then use the provided replacement back panel that includes an enlarged area to hold the new fat battery.

I *always* get this for my phones because I get sick of having to remember to charge them.


Comment: Re:More than $100 (Score 4, Interesting) 515 515

I marvel at the idiocy of our citizens, it's not the government's fault, in not having insisted on keeping and improving rail since the 40's.

Actually the US has the world's best rail system. But that system is for freight, not for passengers. You can't have HSR and freight on the same tracks, so the US railways chose freight.

Comment: Data point (Score 1) 515 515

LAX to SJC via air: $330 roundtrip, $165 one way
~90 minutes in the air each way, ~30 minutes boarding, ~30 minutes TSA (but you generally give ~60 minutes in case of emergency).

So 3 hours each way by air (the Uber/Taxi at the end would be about the same for the train).

Comment: NRAO shields its microwave oven (Score 1) 227 227

This article claims that the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Green Bank, WV, has the "cafeteria's microwave oven is kept in a shielded cage" and "Large chambers designed to absorb radio waves - including a 5,000-square-foot conference room - have been built to make sure that, as Sizemore tells it, "radiation generated in the building stays in the building."

I visited NRAO once and got to drive a diesel '69 Checker cab (no spark plugs).

Comment: Re:Lack of understanding of capitalism (Score 1) 634 634

. Working to provide access to clean water leads to healthier people with a little more free time to think about starting a business or overthrowing a dictator.

I don't see any evidence that aid-based efforts have ever been effective at enhancing levels of economic freedom in developing countries.

The great successes of Asian Tigers, China, and Chile do not seem to line up with aid-based efforts. In fact these all depended on new dictators coming to power, with perfection only after a peaceful transition to democracy (China is still working on it).

We all live in a state of ambitious poverty. -- Decimus Junius Juvenalis