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Comment Re:like the lightbulbs that last virtually forever (Score 1) 175 175

I was not aware that LED light bulbs have been having significant problems (those are the only types of bulbs I can think of that are supposed to "last for decades," correct me if I'm misunderstanding). My impression is that LED bulbs are improving in longevity and dropping in price very rapidly. If we're just trading anecdotes, I have not had to replace a single LED bulb at my house since I started phasing them in 6 years ago.

Comment Re:like the lightbulbs that last virtually forever (Score 1) 175 175

It is? I'm genuinely curious why you say that. My impression is that in the developed world the power supply is quite reliable and carefully regulated, and that even in the less-developed parts of the world, you can find relatively inexpensive solutions for normalizing your home power, if it's that important.

Comment Re:quickly to be followed by self-driving cars (Score 1) 871 871

As a member of the insurance industry, I can assure you that lower premiums in return for fewer claims (and especially, fewer very large claims) is a trade-off we'd be very very happy to make. Lowering claim severity has huge benefits for an insurer - greater flexibility in reserve investments, more competitive rates, reduced risk of adverse selection, etc. Ask the earthquake and flood insurers how much they like writing high premium lines of coverage - if you can find any still in business.

Comment Re:Not seeing the problem (Score 1) 432 432

The United States consists of more than New York City and Chicago, you know. There is no taxi medallion system in my city, nor in Washington DC, Minneapolis, or Denver, just to pick a few names at random. All of Uber's services are perfectly legal where I live. I don't see how you have disproven his point.

Comment Re:Data can lie too ! (Score 5, Interesting) 339 339

This is not quite correct about Columbus. Pretty much everyone except Columbus knew that Columbus was wrong about the travel distance to Asia. In fact, Columbus proposed his voyage to King John II of Portugal as early as 1485, and was laughed out of court. His brother was rejected by Henry VII of England in 1486 for the same reason.

The Spanish Crown financed Columbus, over the objections of their scientific advisers , for two reasons: the conquest of Grenada was wrapped up in 1492, and the Crown needed to find something for their surplus soldiers and sailors to do, and more importantly, the Crown was absolutely desperate to do something, anything, to break Portugal's trading monopoly with the East around the Cape of Good Hope.

Comment Re:Good. (Score 1) 133 133

Traditional schools have the problem that they still think employers want workers who are well grounded in theory.

In my experience, universities (at least, the better universities) do not think this. Rather, they are pretty well aware what employers want, but they don't cater to it because they are not vocational training schools. I think they have a reasonable point; it is the employers' fault for demanding unnecessary liberal arts degrees, not Harvard's fault for refusing to turn into a vo-tech.

Comment Re:In contrast, Scott Adams says np... (Score 1) 637 637

Social Security is not always "supposed to run out in 50 years," it's supposed to run out in 2033. Those predictions have been moved up in recent years, because the Great Recession depressed payrolls (and thus payroll taxes) so much. Does anyone who ever talks about Social Security bother to look up what Social Security's own actuaries are saying? The OASDI Trustee's report is not obscure or hard to find. Here's the report from 10 years ago, predicting trust fund exhaustion in 2042, before the Great Recession happened. Here's the most recent projection from a few months ago, predicting the date as 2033. Once the trust fund is exhausted, current payroll taxes will only cover approximately 74% of program costs; the difference will have to be made up by either benefit cuts or increases in the payroll tax.

This isn't some Republican conspiracy theory. You will note that the second letter is signed by a number of Democratic Party appointees, including three of Obama's cabinet members. These projections are not controversial among people who study Social Security for a living, in the same way that the atmospheric effects of CO2 are not controversial among climate scientists. The controversy only arises about how to fix the problem - nobody wants to be the first to propose 25% benefit cuts or 25% payroll tax increases.

Comment Re:Education (Score 1) 528 528

It's hard to make a perfect analogy, but imagine how much different Germany's social vision might if they had 15 million Turkish immigrants and 12 million Jews living there. In other words, if 18% of their population were poorly-integrated immigrants from a vastly different culture, and another 15% were part of an easily identified minority with a long and shameful history of oppression and ghettoizing. That's proportionally what the U.S. is facing with its Hispanic and black populations respectively. The actual numbers of Turks and Jews in Germany is about 2 million and .1 million respectively, by the way. Sometimes, I think northern Europeans don't seem to realize how culturally and ethnically homogeneous their countries are.

Comment Re:Seems to Be a Pattern of Behavior (Score 1) 384 384

Honestly, I think you're being unfair to Reddit - Slashdot has a much worse tone and look. I've taken a look at Slashdot's homepage with no adblock or anything - completely filled with flashing banner ads, video ads for cosmetics, clickbait links from Taboola, etc. At least on Reddit the advertisements aren't so visually assaulting. Also, it tends to be easier to avoid Reddit's overall "message" in most cases, at least for me, because it is more convenient to go directly into the specialized subreddit I'm interested in - I can't remember the last time I looked at the actual homepage.

Comment Re:Damn... (Score 1) 494 494

While Pakistan is certainly an unpleasant place today, you are misinformed about its founding. Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the architect of the Lahore resolution that resulted in the split, was a westernized, pro-democracy liberal. Indeed, Pakistan's rocky political history is often blamed on the fact that Jinnah died so soon after Pakistani independence, before he had time to impose a lasting liberal framework on the country. Jinnah advocated for the creation of Pakistan because he knew that the Hindus would slaughter the Muslims the moment the British left (and indeed, to the surprise of no one except Lord Mountbatten, that's exactly what the Hindus tried to do).

The most difficult thing in the world is to know how to do a thing and to watch someone else doing it wrong, without commenting. -- T.H. White