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Comment Re:Why not overseas .... (Score 1) 146

Depends on what you mean by "typical salaries in ... China". In some parts of China, minimum wage is only $1.23 per hour, which translates to $49.20 per week, or $2558.40 per year. There is nowhere in the U.S where you can live on $49.20 per week without being homeless. Even if you own your own house, if isn't possible. After all, it would take most of that $49 per week to pay for food alone. Add in insurance for your home (required by law, generally), and you're way, way over. And you'd still be doing without modern conveniences like water and electricity, which would result in the social services folks evicting you from your house pretty quickly.

Comment Re:Hammerheads in Vermont (Score 1) 545

The Bay area is one of the most expensive places in the world though. There are plenty of areas in this country where $15/hour suddenly gives you close to a median income.

Ah, but the reason that the Bay Area is so expensive is that there's such a shortage of land to build housing. In places where the median income is much lower, yes you'll increase demand for housing, but the market will absorb it easily, because there's no shortage of land.

For example, Nashville has a median per-capita income of about $29k. That's just slightly under $15/hour, in theory, ignoring the impact of children on the per-capita numbers. Housing in Nashville is relatively cheap (compared to the Bay Area) at $1053/month.

What would happen if Nashville raised its minimum wage to $15/hr.? Well, a lot of people would have more money to spend. Some percentage of them would spend some percentage of that money on better housing.

Now most people in Nashville aren't having to do apartment sharing eight ways just to make ends meet. The exceptions are mostly college students and new renters, who are just a tiny percentage of the market (unlike in the Bay Area with its staggering rents). So the number of new housing units required would be a fairly small percentage of the market.

The bigger impact would be from people moving up to higher grades of housing or larger apartments with more rooms. In theory, this would drive the price of higher-end housing up. But what happens to all the low-rent housing? Suddenly, you have landlords who can't rent their rooms. So they will spend money to bring their apartments up to higher standards so that they can charge higher fees and bring in people who have more money. They break even, the price of the absolute cheapest housing goes up, and the quality of the housing goes up to match. More importantly, the number of housing units at that higher class goes up, balancing out the increase in demand, so the price for that class of housing actually remains about the same.

So it would have an impact, just not a very big one, and mostly at or near the very bottom of the housing market cost-wise.

Yeah but I don't think you can assume that if you're artificially raising salaries. With respect to education, this raise will affect many people who are already done with education, as well as people who simply aren't capable of finishing high school or going to college.

Yes, which means that there could be some short-term impact, but over the longer term, the trend should reverse, at least in theory.

But even if we assume artificially raising salaries will lead to the same results, it becomes question of whether more people will be bumped from the very poorest into a lower birthrate bucket, or from the $20k range into the $30k range which would result in an increase.

That's a very good question, and I suspect that the answer is "Nobody knows for sure." :-)

Comment Re:Hammerheads in Vermont (Score 1) 545

If some segment of the population suddenly has twice as much income, and maybe 5x as much disposable income, that's going to put upward price pressure on lots of goods and services.

Not when you're talking about the bottom tier of wage earners. Their salary would have to increase by way more than a factor of 2 before they would even start to compete for non-low-end housing. Here are some examples of Bay Area jobs and what they pay:

  • CA Minimum wage: $10/hr
  • Legal secretary: $21.03/hr
  • Assistant Manager: $22.46/hr
  • Kindergarten teacher: $30.74/hr
  • Entry-level software engineer: $38.46/hr
  • General Manager: $38.89/hr
  • Santa Clara County median salary: $44.95/hr
  • Median software engineer salary: $52.10/hr

For instance, the people who are living with 3 roommates each making minimum wage now decide to get a bigger place, or just have 1 other roommate (maybe a GF/BF). Suddenly demand for housing goes up. The people who used to compete for low rent places in crappy neighborhoods are now competing for medium rent places in decent neighborhoods. Now the manager, who lives in a decent neighborhood, faces a rent increase and wants a higher salary. Did your 4.3% include that?

IMO, the 4.3% number cannot possibly be based in reality. About a quarter of the cost of even a fast food joint's income goes towards labor costs (and even more for other restaurants). If labor costs doubled, you'd expect a minimum of a 25% increase in the cost of the burgers, and that's before you factor in the cost of the labor throughout the rest of the supply chain (raising the cattle, etc.). Now I realize that not all of your labor costs will double, so that's an overestimate, but 4.3% is an absolutely laughable underestimate. I'd guess that 15% is probably closer to the mark, but it could be slightly higher.

I think people who think the minimum wage doesn't have a big impact are missing this key idea. It's all relative, and it's not just about direct costs. It's about, if I make 4x minimum wage right now, and suddenly I'm only making 2x minimum wage, that hurts me in many small ways that add up. Maybe these poor people start having more kids, and my kids' school gets crowded, and there's a bond referendum to build a bunch of new schools and hire teachers, and my property taxes go up. Maybe poor people stop taking the bus or walking to work and buy cars, and now there's more traffic, and the city/county/state need to add lanes to a bunch of roads, and there's a tax increase to pay for it. Now I'm being affected even if I don't eat fast food.

Statistically speaking, people who make more money tend to get better education, and this results in having fewer kids, not more. So at least over the long haul, that first "maybe" is pretty unlikely. The second issue (traffic) is a concern, but:

  • Jobs in poor neighborhoods will pay more, and there will be more of them, because the poor will have more money to spend.
  • Minimum wage workers who choose to keep working in the nicer neighborhoods will be able to afford to live closer to where they work.

So those folks will be traveling shorter distances to work, which should largely balance out the higher number of cars.

Comment Re:The bill is 2 or 3 sentences, you can READ it (Score 1) 136

Your concern is duly noted, citizen. But fear not. By the time it gets out of committee and actually makes it to the floor of either house, it will have at least 1,000 pages of amendments tacked onto it. Thank you for bringing this to our attention.

Sincerely,
Your Congresscritter

Comment Re:Amazon really screwed the pooch on fonts (Score 1) 156

No, the seller would just reject such books, as most of them already do. Such a standard, if followed universally, would just ensure that publishers can have some confidence that the reader won't override things that truly must not be overridden (which is *never* the main body font).

Comment Re:Font Geeks (Score 1) 156

And when a reader vendor messes with their design, they get cranky. Still, I suspect that there's a good reason for this change.

If memory serves, Kindle historically had significant bugs in its rendering, caused by bugs in WebKitGTK. One of the bugs I've seen involved fonts with miscalculated baselines showing up with text that was squished in bizarre ways. Another bug resulted in fonts being rendered either too heavy or too light with the default antialiasing mode—I don't remember which. If they fixed these bugs, it probably resulted in significant rendering changes to ancient fonts like Helvetica.

In other words, assuming the device actually got closer to correct rendering, this is a good thing.

Comment Re:Amazon really screwed the pooch on fonts (Score 2) 156

At least they finally started allowing you to ignore the publisher-preferred font in recent years. Some books published that way were illegible and it's obvious that Amazon employees do not use their own products.

It's a fine line. If a reader goes too far in overriding default fonts, you can have readability problems with things like drop caps. Same goes for overriding the font color (e.g. forcing the color to black could result in black-on-black text if you have an inverted-text decoration at the top of a chapter). And some manufacturers' devices annoyingly override fonts by default, which results in a diminished experience in books that use different fonts to convey meaning (e.g. computer books that use code font for symbol names).

IMO, what we really need are standards that all the reader vendors agree upon, including:

  • A set of rules for when styles do and don't get overridden by these vendor overrides
  • A ban on use of the universal selector in vendor overrides
  • A requirement that publisher fonts be enabled by default until the user explicitly overrides the font

And so on. Then again, half the readers ignore large swaths of the CSS specification already (and probably the HTML and EPUB specs, where applicable), so I cynically wonder if they would just ignore these sorts of standards, too....

Comment Re:Reposting my comment from the original article. (Score 1) 1833

This would have to be done carefully, i.e. you can't post an edit after someone has clicked the reply button (not actually posted the reply). And the person replying would need to be notified if the post had been changed since the page was loaded.

I would suggest instead:

  • Modify the non-JavaScript post page to show the post to which you're replying in addition to your own post, as I think it used to do years ago.
  • Can't post an edit after someone has posted the reply.
  • When anybody else clicks any of Reply, Preview, or Post, if someone has edited the original post at that point, show a "the comment you are replying to has been edited", and update the original post above your comment immediately. If they clicked "Post", treat it as "Preview" instead when this happens.

This simplifies the logic by not needing to globally track whether anybody is currently replying to a post, whether they've cancelled that reply, etc. It also maximizes the window for edits.

Comment Re:Some of this has already been said, but my top (Score 1) 1833

When I hear someone say "Get rid of AC," I interpret that as "Children should be seen and not heard,' where adults == people who have taken the time to register, and who have some form of local reputation on the line. You're not wrong, but you're missing out on some priceless truth from time to time if you do that.

Agreed. Eliminating AC would be bad, m'kay.

Sometimes there are valid reasons to post as an AC, like when you work for a company that's being talked about or whose product/technology area/business model is being talked about, and you want to correct other people's mistakes without taking the risk that something you say might get quoted by the news media as "a(n) [insert company here] employee said". Yes, some people abuse that privilege for shilling, but lots of people take advantage of that privilege to avoid risking their jobs when they're saying something critical of those companies, too, or saying something neutral that still might be taken the wrong way.

The same goes for sensitive topic areas (though these tend to be kind of outside Slashdot's normal focus area). Sometimes, an AC post might take a contrarian devil's advocate position to encourage people to dig deeper and form a more nuanced opinion, without taking a huge risk of personal embarrassment if someone thought that the poster actually believed that position. The poster might even be willing to share certain personal insights anonymously that he/she would be embarrassed to post in an attributed fashion because of the stigma associated with it, such as talking openly and honestly about having been sexually abused or something.

And heck, sometimes an AC post might even be a whistleblower. Obviously, without any way to verify the authenticity of that person, there's the risk of abuse and even libel, but on the flip side, there's also a very real possibility that an AC might say something that gets people looking in the right places to find out about something really bad that a company is doing.

So I think that eliminating ACs would be a really bad idea. With that said, I wouldn't mind limits on how many times you can post as an AC from a single IP without logging in, nor would I mind stronger spam filters/redundant content filters on AC posts. There are probably a fair number of things that you could do to reduce the most egregious AC abuse without affecting its legitimate use much at all, and I'd be in favor of those approaches.

Comment Re:There's no doubt that... (Score 1) 1833

I was thinking the same. IMO, the rule should be no moderation of descendants or ancestors, i.e.

  • No moderation of a post that you replied to, even indirectly, even if it is eight levels up from your post.
  • It's okay to moderate siblings of posts that you replied to directly or indirectly, including their descendants, because they're at least somewhat different subjects.
  • No moderation of any posts that replied to you, even indirectly.

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