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Comment: Re:track record (Score 3, Insightful) 287

by iluvcapra (#48936205) Attached to: US Air Force Selects Boeing 747-8 To Replace Air Force One

Yeah, but what political system made it possible for such a person to do that better than the richest nation of the planet?!

The AC is sarcastic, but I'd point out that Elon Musk is a South African who got most of his education in Canada. As a matter of fact, of the five founders of PayPal listed on the Wiki page, only one of them is from the US...

Comment: Re:track record (Score 4, Insightful) 287

by iluvcapra (#48934711) Attached to: US Air Force Selects Boeing 747-8 To Replace Air Force One

This is approximately the same arrangement "our" astronauts use at the moment.

Boeing makes a lot of passenger planes, and the US has really expensive new fighter jets, but apart from that the US aerospace establishment is kinda earning a C+ at the moment. The US doesn't make any of the current highest/fastest/heaviest aircraft, our military procurement system is completely sclerotic and over-managed, the best thing we have going for us is a PayPal billionaire who's building rockets effectively as a hobby...

Comment: Re:15K per job in App economy (Score 1) 135

by iluvcapra (#48928385) Attached to: The American App Economy Is Now "Bigger Than Hollywood"

Hollywood job pays on average 27K. (Using the numbers in the summary).

I'm not sure about the methodology in the summary, but if you look at the scale rates for most Hollywood entertainment unions you'll see the weekly rates even for entry-level job classifications will be around $2000/week. Actors are only a small part of the puzzle and they aren't really representative of the entire employment picture of the film industry. For every professional actor in the film industry there's gotta be a dozen people in behind-the-scenes crew positions.

Even then I'm not really sure how much more "broad" the App economy is, since it seems to be dominated by "star" apps, particularly in gaming, productivity and social networks. Also consider that Apple takes a 30% agency fee for all apps while CAA and William Morris Endeavor only take 10% of their client's salary, and even then Hollywood talent agents are seen as the acme of largess and venality.

Comment: Re:Wait... (Score 1) 135

by iluvcapra (#48928351) Attached to: The American App Economy Is Now "Bigger Than Hollywood"

I honestly don't think "wannabee" counts towards these things. :-P

There are a lot of professional actors that still wait tables. You can be SAG, book semi-regular walk-ons on TV and the occasional film and still need a second gig-- people wait tables, but they also code, sell stuff on Etsy, write, work as realtors...

Even really successful actors end up having a lot of free time, Josh Brolin is known for, apart from acting, being a really successful high-frequency trader in the mid-aughts.

Comment: Re: That's a nice democracy you have there... (Score 5, Interesting) 392

The problem with the electoral college is not that it exists, it's that it's being used improperly as a flawed proxy for the popular vote instead of as it was originally intended, which was to reflect the will of the individual states, not the people.

Are you sure that's how it was intended? The EC has state-apportioned representatives because the constituents of the Continental Congress and later the Convention were colonies, later called states. Neither the US constitution, nor does any commentary I'm aware of, state that electors are pledged to represent the interests of their state.

Of course, at every crucial point in history prior to the 1860s, somebody suggests reducing the power of states in favor of either democratic populism (Jackson) of federal power (Hamilton, Washington...), and the argument against goes something like, "You're just trying to abolish slavery!" American federalism was invented as a pretext to sustain slavery in the colonies where it was economically entrenched.

Comment: Re: That's a nice democracy you have there... (Score 1) 392

"Whatever the boss says, goes" is still a constitution. The Fürerprinzip is a constitution.

Even if what the boss said went in Saudi Arabia, they still needed a way of picking the new boss, and their method has remained codified for over 70 years. If there's a government, there's a constitution.

Comment: Re: That's a nice democracy you have there... (Score 3, Interesting) 392

Academically, governments are categorized by their instiutions, not by whether or not they are living up to some abstract ideal of how they "should" operate.

Maybe Democratic Republics are the exception, not the rule, and maybe the US is a sham republic and Baathist Iraq is the real one. This is the problem with your approach. If you just go by the numbers, almost all presidential republics are undemocratic, and fall to coups.

Comment: Re: That's a nice democracy you have there... (Score 4, Informative) 392

The United States is definitely a democracy in that we constantly have elections and the franchise is open to most people.

If you wanna get technical and definitional, this thread is about the UK, and the UK is a Westminster-style parliamentary monarchy, which is an explicitly democratic order. But this definition extends to states that I think would be problematic, like Israel, which is a republic with a parliamentary democracy, except they don't let big swathes of the population vote. Also most Communist states are, constitutionally, democratic Council republics but in practice they are so corrupt that the franchise is meaningless.

If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.