If you read the article (I know, I know) you'll learn that he uses industrial grit, also known as glass beads, which are tiny bits of glass that are reasonably spherical and ridiculously cheap. The quoted lens cost in the article is $0.17, but unless I'm misunderstanding something, like how special the grit is that he's using, or what kind of secondary selection process is required to pick out beads that will make good lenses, that should be closer to 0.17 cents, not 0.17 dollars.
It's not that it can't do useful things for everyone; it's that you have to balance that against things like time wasted. For the head of a major agency with private secretaries and aids at her call, checking and sending emails might not be the best use of her time.
Your trade deficit is around 500 Billion / year and has been there for decades now, you are not paying for things you are getting in the US of A, your suggestion will only worsen the trade imbalance, pot-hole repairs cannot be exported in exchange for all those manufactured goods you are importing for FREE (free, because it's all vendor financed, thus the giant debt).
So, how is getting free stuff bad?
Trade imbalance just means that the US is getting tangible goods and services in exchange for little pieces of paper. Down the road maybe people stop accepting those pieces of paper. If that happens the US will just declare them worthless, and people will just have to buy their toys locally.
The solution to the trade deficit is tariffs so that people buy things locally in the first place.
So, all the trade deficit does is lets the US citizen get lots of free stuff for a decade before the party ends and we have to start paying for our toys.
I think socialism is basically inevitable. Sooner or later if you don't feed poor people they tend to start revolting. The nature of specialization is eliminating the need for as many jobs - it used to take 50% of the population just to grow food. Now one combine can do the job of 1000 people. That isn't a bad thing - it is just progress. That doesn't mean that we stop feeding everybody.
Of course desalination is going to require more energy, which is why the 'activists' oppose every energy project that comes along, even these: [link to solar farm v. brown tortoise].
If there's an opportunity to stick it to the human species, they will take it.
First of all, like any group, there are factions within that place different priorities on different things. Take for example, the split in the Republican party between the social conservatives and the libertarians on issues like medical marijuana. Or between the business community and the law & order faction on illegal immigration. What's going on here is a battle between conservationists and green energy people, but you can't just selectively pick one faction's views and attribute it to everyone under the same tent. That's just as unfair as when liberals were screaming "Blood for oil!" about Iraq when there were a wide variety of reasons that Republicans thought the war was a good idea.
So the second thing is that neither group is motivated by wanting to "stick it to the human species." That's ridiculous on its face, and I think you have to know that. The first things you should think when looking at a political cause is, "Why would idealists support it?" and "Why would selfish people support it?" Then, evaluate any claims the opposition makes in that light and see if they pass a sniff test or if they just sound like self-serving demonization.
People who want to preserve other species aren't doing out of hatred for humanity. They have a variety of idealistic reasons: some have a desire to preserve the turtles for the future generations for aesthetic and utilitarian reasons, some think it's a matter of the other species' right to exist alongside us, some worry more about the way that removing a species can have massive network effects on the environment in unexpected ways. Then of course, there's selfish reasons like NIMBYism, e.g. Cape Cod windmills. No one is going, "Ha ha! Another blow against the human race!" (Well, okay no one but a few nuts, but every political group has got a few.)
So, no, that's not the reason. You may have different priorities from conservationists, but you do yourself and the country a major disservice by claiming your foes are all baby-eating monsters. Nothing of value will get done in this country again if we don't all learn to talk like adults to each other.
Robin Hood. Dick Turpin. Butch Cassidy. Bonnie and Clyde. Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán.
People who break the law have always been the subject of fascination, and for a certain subset of the fascinated, glorification. We still enjoy caper movies about criminals pulling off complicated heists, movies which gloss over the innocent victims of crime or even depict the criminal as an instrument of poetic justice. For the vast majority of people fascination with criminals is harmless. Living in a civilized society requires restraint that makes fantasies of anarchic behavior attractive. In moderation, some measure of admiration of rule breakers probably helps keep the people who run things in check (e.g. the Edward Snowden case).
The problem is that some people have difficulty separating fantasy from reality, keeping to moderation, or understanding how complex or ambiguous people can be. Julian Assange is neither an angel nor a devil, but a flawed, complicated person who did something that needed doing. George Washington wasn't the childhood paragon of the cherry tree legend, but an ambitious, rash, somewhat dishonest social climber who achieved greatness under the pressure of circumstance.
As for the unskilled, I would say they have it better in this economy than someone who has skills but is looking for a job that doesn't need them.
I'm not sure that either are better off. Unskilled jobs do not pay a living wage for the most part, so people with them are hardly better-off. Sure, they're better off than the homeless, but that's about it.
My point is that we shouldn't be focused on creating jobs so much as maximizing the economy. Feeding people and running the economy are two different things.
Tech startups don't create the kinds of jobs that the 99% actually need. Oh, sure, many of them will eventually hire one secretary, and will pay into their building's contract for one part-time janitor.
I have to admit that saying they're jobs we don't need sounds a bit misguided. Who says? Why wouldn't they be? Are you suggesting we shouldn't have a technical work force? That's what it sounds like... but if I were to guess how you'd respond if asked that, you'd say that's not what you're trying to say at all.
I'm not saying the jobs aren't needed. They just aren't the kind of jobs the "99%" need.
When you talk about the "need" for a job there are two perspectives people tend to have:
1. The job needs doing, which is why a company wants to hire somebody. Obviously the company wouldn't be hiring somebody they didn't need, and if the economy didn't need the service being performed they wouldn't be willing to pay for it. I think this is the sense you were talking about.
2. Somebody needs a job to put food on the table. This is the sense I was talking about. We have an economic model where people are expected to work, and thus there is interest in doing things that stimulate the creation of jobs so that they have jobs to do.
I'm all for stimulating the economy when #1 is the driver. However, I don't know that private industry is the right solution for #2. Sure, take action when it actually works, but investing a billion dollars in a company so that it can hire 14 people (of which only 1 wouldn't otherwise find a job elsewhere) just isn't an effective way to do #2.
If the economy otherwise benefits from stimulating that company, then by all means do it. I think it is in the national interest to create self-driving cars - it would have huge benefits to everybody. However, on the whole it would probably destroy many more jobs than it creates. So, funding self-driving cars to accomplish #2 is dumb. On the other hand, not funding self-driving cars because it doesn't accomplish #2 is also dumb.
Bottom line is that we should fund development of capabilities because it makes sense for society to have those capabilities. The creation of jobs per-se shouldn't be the driver for stimulating the economy. If we run out of work to give to people then just pay them to stay home until a need for them to do something comes up.
I'm suggesting taxing a bit more. Government is 41% of the GDP right now. If private industry is only going to employ 10% of the population, then it stands to reason that government will ultimately be the other 90%. That sounds crazy, but it might work perfectly fine.
Nope, but the link is appreciated all the same.
I'm on a T-mo family plan. Still, my costs for 4 lines are about $50/month lower than they were several years ago, except now all my lines have unlimited voice, SMS, and 2G data. I also get 500MB of 4G data on each line, and an extra 2G of 4G on one of them. I wouldn't say I'm paying less than half of what I used to pay, but it is in the ballpark.
I might be able to do a bit better with other options, but unlimited everything has a certain appeal to it.
you want to trust the government, you have about the same luck. They can take your money just as easily...only it'll be legal.
Well, think about it.
Imagine we live out in the middle of nowhere. We all get along, but one guy in the village takes payment to do a job, and then doesn't do the job. He does that to a bunch of us who live in the village. So, we all show up one day and tell him to give us our money back, or else.
That's the government.
Sure, it isn't as responsive as it should be and has grown out of control in many ways. However, ultimately when you want some kind of accountability when somebody screws you, that's what the government is for.
Now, in the case of a bitcoin exchange you could also get around this problem by both reputation and avoiding trusting them with large sums. If you only gave them bitcoins when you wanted to make an exchange and expected payment in a day or two then your opportunity for loss is very limited. That's what happens anytime I buy furniture - furniture stores are notorious for going bankrupt and taking your money. However, if you only give money to a furniture store for a two-day period once every 5 years, it is unlikely this will impact you. If you prepay next year's sofa lineup with plans to take delivery in 18 months, then you are much more likely to have problems.
If it takes a major effort to bring water to the region for irrigation and governmental subsidies to make it financially feasible it doesn't sound like an ideal place to grow crops.
I agree with Jnaujok on this one. The problem isn't that the land was never used for farming. The problem is that the farming has grown well past the size that the area could support without involving the US Corps. of Engineers and having farm subsidies.
Efficiencies in food production are irrelevant. People talk about an "efficient" food chain to avoid discussing the real problem which is population control.
If our population growth continues unabated, we will be deforesting to grow crops to grow food instead of feed.
To eliminate meat production because of some idealized fantasy that a vegetarian life will save us all is equivalent to rearranging the deck chair on the Titanic. It may make people feel good to pursue the goal because they feel like they are solving a problem but in reality the inevitable will happen regardless.
We just need to get serious about desalination.
Oh, come off it. You won't hear many environmentalists arguing for desalination because (a) it has enormous energy costs which themselves have environmental impacts, and (b) it's just a band-aid over overconsumption, and it won't discourage people from continuing on an unsustainable trend until we get to a point that technology can't solve.
Plus, you shouldn't mentally lump an entire group in with its extremists. Do you really feel it's fair when people paint all conservatives as white supremacists just because that elements exists at the fringes of the conservative movement? Then it's no more fair to paint all environmentalists as neo-primitive genocidal maniacs. Yeah, they're there, but they aren't the majority by a long shot.
By far, most of us are motivated by concerns over human survival. We're concerned that humanity is steering itself off a cliff and are a willing to make a few economic sacrifices right now to avoid catastrophic ones later. (You know, just like most conservatives want us to do with our national spending.) It's just all about long-term planning and responsible use of resources. It does not involve killing people -- that's what we want to stop from happening.