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Comment: Re:it's not "slow and calculated torture" (Score 2) 740

by argStyopa (#49767725) Attached to: Greece Is Running Out of Money, Cannot Make June IMF Repayment

The ROOT cause, as you imply, was Europtimism.
The PanEurope folks were willing to accept any tissue-paper rationalization or flimsy camouflage to encourage more countries to join in their giant Kum-Bay-Yah fest of the EU.

You CANNOT simply 'bolt' the Drachma and the Lira (sometimes exchanging at 000s to the dollar) to the D-Mark (@2 to the dollar) and assume they're all going to behave like the Dmark. That's ridiculous, if you understand WHY the drachma and the lira were valued so low: a history of unstable government, fiscal irresponsibility, and dangerous levels of debt (considering the former two). As long as states maintained their own spending policies, none of these things were going to 'magically change' once Greeks and Italians now had to sit in meetings with Germans and British. Fiscal prudence doesn't 'rub off'.

Comment: Death is immanent, if not imminent (Score 5, Interesting) 96

by argStyopa (#49759459) Attached to: Death In the Browser Tab

On the other hand, in pre-modern eras (as well, sadly, for much of the 3rd-4th-world today) death was everywhere.
Most people lived/worked on farms, where animals were killed more or less in front of you, for you to eat that night, or later. Every family lost children, with medieval death rates for 2 yr olds reaching 50%, mostly to drowning. The slightest injury could easily (and more or less quickly) be lethal through infection, while waves of typhus and other communicable diseases were almost a constant fear.

I think what the author meant to say is that our little niche of modernity when we were safe from most random environmental deaths, yet insulated and never actually confronted by death, may have ended.

Comment: Yes, and? (Score 1) 396

Of COURSE they're studying the consequences of a potential Brexit; believe me, the fact that there will likely be a referendum on it means the chance is greater than zero and thus EVERY responsible financial entity is doing the same.
And chattering that they are who they are, it would be almost criminally negligent if they weren't studying it closely.

In the same sense the U.S. army had, because unless they're busy with an active war (and even then), their job as a government agency is very specifically to consider and plan for any conceivable future.

Of course the troubling bit is the incompetence of mailing this to the news agencies, unless that was deliberate, which itself doesn't seem that unreasonable/incomprehensible, now that I think of it (except if it actually costs the minister a job he'd have preferred to keep).

Comment: Not so sure (Score 1) 233

by argStyopa (#49752613) Attached to: Asteroid Risk Greatly Overestimated By Almost Everyone

It's very trendy to say "When it comes to risk assessment, there's one type that humans are notoriously bad at: the very low-frequency but high-consequence risks and rewards" but I'm not so sure that's true?

These kind of talks seemingly always look at risk/reward calculations as symmetric, which they very abundantly aren't.

The fact is that people are extraordinarily conservative when it comes to the rare-risk, high-cost cases, but rather daring when it comes to rare-but-high-reward cases because, well, we're alive and we'd rather stay that way. A 0.000001% chance that you and everyone dies *should* be regarded far more seriously than a similar chance you win a big pile of cash because one of those situations you survive either way.

Nota Bene: I don't play the lottery; well, I did play it ONCE, recognizing that my odds of winning were the highest possible with that one play, and only decrease from there.

Comment: Re:Ha ha ha ha..... (Score 1) 826

by argStyopa (#49748183) Attached to: Oregon Testing Pay-Per-Mile Driving Fee To Replace Gas Tax

And to believe that "The purpose of a cigarette tax is to either impose a penalty or to pay for public treatment for the resulting negative externalities " speaks of a naivete of government in general.

The more people want/need something, the more the government recognizes that is a revenue proposition; and in the US if you can make it a "sin" tax with just a whiff of punitivity, all the better.

Comment: Ah, good play (Score 2) 100

by argStyopa (#49739501) Attached to: Do Russian Uranium Deals Threaten World Supply Security?

Make sure the discussion is about whether this is dangerous to the world uranium supply (it isn't), and not about the president/presidential candidate team that took $millions$ from one of the USs main geopolitical opponents to secure said deal.

90% of magic is making sure the audience is looking where you want them to be looking.

Comment: Ha ha ha ha..... (Score 2, Insightful) 826

by argStyopa (#49736037) Attached to: Oregon Testing Pay-Per-Mile Driving Fee To Replace Gas Tax didn't REALLY think that by driving your electric or hybrid car that you were going to permanently somehow avoid the government's rapacious tax-addiction, did you?

It's just like the cigarette taxes or any of the 'sin' taxes: they've worked so hard to get people to stop smoking, they are suddenly realizing they're losing revenue.

There's no question that we need to pay taxes for the roads we drive on.
Formerly, the connection between general road use and gasoline was irrefutable; now they need another mechanism.

Comment: Re:Gerrymandering (Score 2, Insightful) 609

by argStyopa (#49725331) Attached to: The Demographic Future of America's Political Parties

Nice try, but Republicans have been the minority since they were a party. Your "they just gerrymandered" their way to success can't logically explain their regular ~50% success at the polls.

Their success electorally has to do with the fact that they're generally (until the relatively-recent evangelical swarm) the party of grownups who have jobs & families, understand cause/effect, understand TAANSTAFL, and participate much more deliberately in the political process.

This is not to assert - as you have - that "only one party" does it. Hardly; both parties routinely and aggressively gerrymander whenever they have the chance. In fact, you might want to check your etymology: the very WORD "gerrymander" came from Gov Elbridge Gerry - - a Democratic-Republican (whose party's spiritual descendant are today's Democrats).

And in terms of future opportunities, I have to say that it's obvious the current GOP leadership are deeply incompetent, as you're right, they have missed the ability to connect with potential hispanic voters who "should be" natural Republicans with their religiosity, hard-work ethic, and general conservatism. If the GOP leadership does at some point wake up to this, I wouldn't be terrified for the future of the GOP.

Comment: mistaken parallels (Score 3, Interesting) 285

by argStyopa (#49717559) Attached to: The Auto Industry May Mimic the 1980s PC Industry

The article dismisses the significant difference between the auto industry and the computer industry: if your computer is a piece of crap, it's just some lost $. (ie the only thing lost is some money and perhaps time). If your car is badly made, it can quite easily kill you and your family in a host of interesting ways.

This means that buyer conservatism is high, and willingness to 'experiment' is extremely low.

You'll notice in similar industries where computer equipment is of comparable mission-critical role, they are likewise extremely slow to adopt "the next big thing" and nothing like the 'retail' electronics marketplace.

So no, the automotive industry won't behave anything like the retail electronics market. Not at all.

Comment: Re:Oh shut up (Score 5, Insightful) 776

Oh stop.
To suggest that being dismissive of some wuss whinging about a MAD MAX movie contributing to the gynocracy somehow means that I would therefore not care about a son (or anyone) being falsely accused of rape is the sort of histrionics that one might have, 60 years ago, attributed to an overreacting woman.

I'm not saying that the militant feminism hasn't gone too far (it has, but I submit that's symptomatic of the overwhelming force of political correctness generally, actually). What I'm saying is:

I directly dispute our culture's determination that "anything the feminine way" is the "right" way and anything "the male way" is some sort of pathology that needs to be corrected ASAP.

Part of classical masculinity is, to me:
- if shit bothers you, you go fix it, you don't piss and moan over the fence to other people trying to gin up sympathy.
- lead by doing, not by "calling" for leadership
- there's nothing wrong with feeling emotions; there are places where displaying them is ridiculous or inappropriate
- be strong; understand some shit is trivial and not worth regarding. You give it power by whinging about it.
- understand that you are not a special snowflake
- you deserve only the respect you earn ...none of these are exemplified by men crying about the latest Mad Max film.

Comment: Tell you what (Score 1) 618

by argStyopa (#49711961) Attached to: Editor-in-Chief of the Next Web: Adblockers Are Immoral

Let's let all that "content" that is solely ad-fueled die, and we'll see what's left?

See, because I think that's pure bullshit. No, let me amend that: it's bullshit for all the content that's worth seeing.

Because, see, anyone that SELLS anything is going to see the value in connecting to customers more easily and conveniently - ergo, those sites will pay for themselves.
All the hobby sites, where Billy & friends post their dungeons and dragons house rules, well, they'll still do it because they love it.

Media sites, like say, etc have the implicit 'trade' that is the same as their physical publication: enjoy our content, and we'll trade your viewership eyeballs for ad revenue. No problem there.

The bulk of the rest of sites "fueled by ads" are none of these. ehow? Fucking worthless. Ads shoveled to me on amazon? Ebay? I'll block those, because I'm already paying them for a service in the price of the goods; if they can't support their mechanisms on that, then too bad, they die. (I suspect that they can, and ad-revenue is just another profit-mechanism.) Huffpost? Fuck off, I'd rather read my news from actual news organizations than some shitty aggregator reposting crap.

So no, I think the things that I "need" from the web already have payment mechanisms built into their models. The rest either are labors of love or can die, and I rather suspect we'll be better off.

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