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Comment: Re:Economists shconomists (Score 1) 653

by dgatwood (#48622525) Attached to: Economists Say Newest AI Technology Destroys More Jobs Than It Creates

Why multiple jobs? Because they're only getting so many hours each job, because if they'd work more they'd be elegible for benefits.

This is why we need to just have a government-provided baseline health insurance system, with the ability for folks to buy insurance to supplement it, if desired.

With that said, you could go a long way towards fixing the problem by making proportional health insurance coverage mandatory for all employees regardless of hours. Working 10 hours per week? The employer has to pay 25% of your health insurance costs, as a separate line item, above and beyond your wages. The entire notion of benefits being available only if you fall above some arbitrary threshold is just plain silly, and is practically designed for abuse.

Comment: Re:Good, we're not trying to create more work (Score 1) 653

by dgatwood (#48622417) Attached to: Economists Say Newest AI Technology Destroys More Jobs Than It Creates

Lawrence: Well, you don't need a million dollars to do nothing, man. Take a look at my cousin: he's broke, don't do shit.

This describes completely what most people would do if they had the option.

The problem is, there are two magic lines. The first magic line is the point where you no longer need money to survive. Above that point, you can goof off and not do anything, and because most people are only self-motivating in groups, unless you happen to know a bunch of other people, you're unlikely to do much. Yes, you'll work on projects, and you'll make some progress on some of them, but you'll also end up goofing off a lot. The second magic line is the point where you have enough money to ensure that a dozen other people also don't have to work to survive. When you pass that point, suddenly you're able to form groups of people to work on interesting projects. Those groups tend to be self-motivating, so you start to accomplish things.

As a result, you're right that most people would do nothing, but that's mainly because so very few people have the option of not working. Once you get a critical mass—once you have enough unemployed people in a single area who aren't panicking trying to find jobs so they can eat and have a roof over their heads, things just start happening in ways that are wildly unpredictable, and often quite useful and interesting.

If you need proof of that, just look at all the cool things people create at a typical college. That's a perfect microcosm showing what a world would be like if everyone could survive without working. In college, the majority of people either don't work or do minimal work-study jobs related to their field of study to get extra spending money. Sure, some people spend their free time partying, but others create really cool things like independent films, small businesses, Facebook....

Comment: Re:Good, we're not trying to create more work (Score 1) 653

by dgatwood (#48622115) Attached to: Economists Say Newest AI Technology Destroys More Jobs Than It Creates

Second people who don't actually own any property -- Renters of all kinds, the cost of property taxes on the occupied property are passed on.

Yes, and that's why taxes on businesses don't work, either. They end up getting passed on as a glorified sales tax, and the people at the bottom pay all of it, while the people who own the business don't pay any of it.

The retired -- never mind retired folks that still live at home probably consume the least in terms of local public resources they stuck paying the taxes even without the income to support it.

Most sane property tax laws have limitations on valuation that kick in when you hit 65, precisely to ensure that seniors don't lose their homes.

No property taxes are pretty much bullshit. The only fair taxes are consumption based taxes.

See, that's where you lost me. Most participation in our economy is not in the form of sales, but rather the exchange of services for work, stock and bond exchanges, etc. And yes, I see that you plan to treat stocks as sales. The problem is, taxing sales regardless of whether you make or lose money causes people to hold securities longer and decreases speculation, which results in stocks having less liquidity, and basically breaks the market.

IMO, we should instead treat capital gains as ordinary income, with a small exemption sufficient to cover saving money for retirement. Because you only take the hit when you actually gain money, such a scheme is much less likely to significantly depress the stock market. Also, by making the taxation be proportional to your gains, you have the advantage of making the people who have the most money pay the most in taxes. By contrast, your scheme will lead to exactly the same sorts of abuse that we've seen with California's prop 13—businesses buy property and hold it forever, leasing it rather than selling it, to ensure that they never pay any taxes. The people with the most money end up paying the least in taxes, and the people at the bottom end up paying the most.

Comment: Re:Does the job still get done? (Score 1) 653

by dgatwood (#48621797) Attached to: Economists Say Newest AI Technology Destroys More Jobs Than It Creates

If you only need some small percentage of the actual human labor, you could simply reduce any one individuals work in order to allow for more people to share the burden. For example, if we drop the work week to 30 hours, suddenly you can employ 33% more people in order to accomplish the same amount of work. This of course assumes that there are others capable of doing that work and that's questionable to some degree.

For jobs where humans are cogs in a machine, that works. For jobs that require interaction and higher-order brain skills, the communication burden is likely to increase with the square of the number of people involved, so you rapidly hit a point of diminishing returns, where your choices are either A. come up with unnecessary work to keep everyone occupied, or B. pay people to not work. Certainly choice A is simpler, but choice B has the potential to create a new renaissance of artistic work that is currently stymied by lack of free time, so there's something to be said about that approach—making work something you do to be able to afford nice things without scrimping and saving, rather than something you do to stay alive.

We might also greatly increase the number of educators.

If we assume that everyone is good at teaching, that would be a great idea. Classes work a lot better with smaller class sizes. IMO, you really can't usefully learn anything in a class of 200 people. You might as well tell the students, "Read the book and we'll take a quiz on it" or hand them a DVD to watch for all the good those classes do. They're basically a complete waste of educators' time that could better be spent actually working with the students. Unfortunately, the state isn't willing to pay the cost of hiring enough teachers to actually teach them correctly, with sane class sizes, and to fix that, we'd actually have to fund our public universities, which is something that the general public seems to like doing even less than funding social programs, for some bizarre reason.

In short, it's a great idea, but I'm going to grow two more arms and become the king of soldering before that happens.

Comment: Re: But but but (Score 3, Insightful) 321

by dgatwood (#48617255) Attached to: 11 Trillion Gallons of Water Needed To End California Drought

Truth is no one wants to solve the water problem.

This. If there weren't a drought, they'd have to come up with some other means of artificially forcing ascetic behavior on everyone. That's what environmentalists do these days—keep the public's attention on them by taking things away from everyone. See also light bulbs, plastic bags, electricity conservation, etc., most of which don't actually have the results they're hoping for.

For example, any power conservation (including bulb bans) results first and foremost in a reduction of the most expensive power—baseline nuclear and/or spending towards future renewable power—not the cheapest, dirtiest power. If anything, the best way to get cleaner power is to use a lot more power to force them to build more clean power plants, then cut back usage to earlier levels and demand that they shut down coal plants through legislation. Cutting consumption first provides little to no benefit.

Comment: Re:Depends... (Score 1) 166

by dgatwood (#48617153) Attached to: Verizon "End-to-End" Encrypted Calling Includes Law Enforcement Backdoor

The term "end-to-end crypto" says nothing about who else might have the crypto key. Just blindly assuming that no one in the middle has it, it is a real shortcoming.

If anyone else has the key, then the system is pretty much useless. Cell networks already use encryption between your handset and the towers (which gets stronger periodically as folks crack the existing protocols), and the wires are only tappable by the government, realistically, which means Verizon's end-to-end encryption offers you exactly zero advantage over the encryption that you would otherwise be using without paying for it.

Comment: Re:Joke? They're real! (Score 1) 100

by dgatwood (#48609393) Attached to: The Joker Behind the Signetics 25120 Write-Only Memory Chip Hoax

I think the problem is just misconceptualized. Think of read-only memory, like say DVDs. They're not *100* read-only. Data is written to them once in an irreversible manner before their operational life begins using an alternative write mechanism, and then during their design life they're read-only. If you apply the same paradigm to write-only memory, it's perfectly reasonable for, say, a datalogger: data is written during the operation of the device, then when the device has completed its task, the memory is retrieved and read in an irreversible manner.

We call that core memory.

Comment: Re:Don't worry guys... (Score 1) 873

by dgatwood (#48606981) Attached to: Apparent Islamic Terrorism Strikes Sydney

The First Ecumenical Council was not about uniting the RCC. It was about reducing divisions between the Apostolic Sees—Rome (the RCC), Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem. Except for the Roman Catholic Church, the others on that list are Orthodox churches, which are autocephalous, and thus have their own popes that are separate and distinct from the Catholic pope. More to the point, although they were part of the Roman Empire at the time, they were not part of the Roman Catholic Church, and to the best of my knowledge, with the exception of one branch of the Church of Alexandria that joined the RCC in 1442 (a thousand years after Constantine), none of those other churches have joined with the RCC in the nearly two thousand years since.

More to the point, out of the two or three hundred bishops at that council, as I understand it, only about five were from the Latin rite (Roman Catholic) Church. That council had a far more significant impact on the Orthodox churches than the RCC. Its main achievement was disavowing the teachings of Arius (from the Alexandria Church, not the RCC).

Further, even if you were correct, the first Roman Catholic Pope was still the pope of the Roman Catholic Church hundreds of years before Constantine was even born, which means it clearly was, in fact, founded long before Constantine. Certainly, Constantine strengthened the Roman Catholic Church—particularly by recognizing it as a legal religion—but he most certainly did not found it, and any suggestion to the contrary is utterly absurd.

To put it another way, saying that Constantine founded the RCC is roughly like saying that FDR, by uniting the country with other nations against a common enemy, founded the United States of America.

Comment: Re:Don't worry guys... (Score 3, Informative) 873

by dgatwood (#48598755) Attached to: Apparent Islamic Terrorism Strikes Sydney

Are you referring to Catholicism, which was founded by Constantine?

Constantine did not found the RCC. He just changed Roman law so that it would be legal. The RCC predates Constantine, and was solidly entrenched in Roman society by the time Constantine made it a legal religion. Constantine's change in Roman law wasn't proactive; it was reactive.

Comment: Re:I suppose this is a good thing... (Score 1) 87

by dgatwood (#48597193) Attached to: California's Hydrogen Highway Adds Another Station

im surprised theres so much hate for H2. its true that most hydrogen today is from NG. but you realize that if you run your EV in many parts of the east coast you're basically running on coal? that's much worse.

Of course, I think most EVs are sold on the west coast, so that's probably a moot point. Besides, with EVs, you at least have the option of using clean energy (and even the ability to provide that energy yourself). With hydrogen, a truly green option doesn't even exist unless you use a grossly inefficient means of producing hydrogen, such as electrolysis of water, which is just horribly impractical.

also, aside from the $90k tesla, all EVs have horrible performance and range.

That's the fault of the shortsighted engineers who chose to put hitting a price point ahead of usability. It isn't inherent to EVs, just EVs made by people who either don't understand the market or are deliberately trying to kill that market out of fears over high reliability of EVs leading to fewer car sales in the long term—it's hard to say which.

All H2 vehicles are full purpose cars, like gasoline cars.

As long as you're within driving range of one of ten stations. By contrast, there are somewhere in the neighborhood of four thousand EV charging stations in California, and in a pinch, any electrical outlet can do the job, albeit more slowly. For that matter, a U-Haul trailer with a generator on it can probably keep you going indefinitely. :-D

Comment: Re:I suppose this is a good thing... (Score 1) 87

by dgatwood (#48592481) Attached to: California's Hydrogen Highway Adds Another Station

"Whee! We're releasing the CO2 somewhere else instead of from your tailpipe, so now our car is green!"

What a load of crap.

IMO, the only subsidies and tax breaks should be for true electric vehicles, because they are the only ones that can realistically be powered from non-CO2-emitting power sources. Everything else is just a workaround—a step in the wrong direction, purely in the name of expediency, solely because doing it right is expensive and challenging, and fuel cells are (relatively) cheap and easy.

Comment: Re:Magic Pill - Self Discipline (Score 1) 153

by dgatwood (#48585817) Attached to: "Fat-Burning Pill" Inches Closer To Reality

What are your feelings on birth control? Similar?

The difference is that there are people who can eat what they want and stay thin. Leavings things to evolution is often the safer bet.

There are people who can have sex all they want and never get pregant, too, but evolution doesn't select for them, at least in subsequent generations. :-)

Comment: Re:Over to you, SCOTUS (Score 1) 379

Too bad there isn't a rule that says you lose your citizenship if you sponsor a bill that is declared unconstitutional. Wiping your @$$ with the highest law in the nation should come with a very high price. If it does not, then there's no real incentive to not keep whittling away at it until it becomes a worthless piece of paper... just as our Congress is doing.

Those who can, do; those who can't, write. Those who can't write work for the Bell Labs Record.