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Comment It depends on the definition of wealthy (Score 1) 458

..and how good you are investment and taxes.

I think unless you have an after-tax one-time amount in excess of $10 million dollars or more, you're unlikely to live better than a basic upper-middle class lifestyle.

I did a spreadsheet based on investing all of it into tax-free munis (because they're safe, and I can eliminate tax questions) and only have to make rough guestimates on investment yields and inflation.

It isn't hard to outspend your capital and dividends over time, especially if you dump a bunch of money on property.

I put in $200 million in principal, less $25 million invested in real estate and I run out of money in about 30 years, but it does require spending about $5 million a year in cash, which wouldn't be hard to do if a person liked to travel -- a private jet to Europe from NYC could be close to $100k to charter. You could throw out a million per year easily flying private aviation.

Want to own a yacht? Very easy to blow $3 million on a pretty basic motor yacht (Hinckley T55, you can drive it yourself, no crew or certification required) and not hard to see spending $50-70k per year on fuel and maybe another $100k on services for it.

And $25 million doesn't buy you fantasy real estate, either. NYC condos go way past that all the time, and if you factor $25 million buying you more than one property you're getting into pretty ordinary luxury if you divide that by 2-3 unique properties and they would all need maintenance and caretaking.

Comment Re:A free search engine (Score 1) 116

In many countries, it is illegal for a company to unfairly exploit its dominance in one market to gain advantage in another market.

But Google aren't doing that.

The argument of these complaining companies boils down to "our business is so crappy and generic that we have no customer loyalty at all, and as such our customers simply click on whatever result comes first when they search". Therefore they argue "we should be first because otherwise it's not faaaaaaaair".

If the only justification for your existence is that hapless customers end up at your website due to an accident of ranking, why should anyone care about your business? Facebook, for most of its history, wasn't crawlable at all - the entire site was behind the login screen. Literally the only search term they showed up for was Facebook. Guess what - it didn't hurt them at all, because their customers wanted to go there.

Comment Everything in your life will be a governance gizmo (Score 2) 82

I've been trying to keep my job skills fresh so I can keep up with the "next big thing". But I'll be damned if I can figure out what the hell IoT really is and why it's taking off. Yes, I know it's connecting things to the internet. But to what end?

It will allow Apple, Microsoft, Google, the US Government, and others to turn every device in your home into a governance/surveillance device. It won't just be your TV watching you a la 1984, it will be your thermostat, your keyboard, your couch, your bedside lamp, hell, not just your bed but your baby's crib and the baby's rattle.

That is why they are so keen on the "Internet of Things." What? You thought it was to benefit you? Really? Then I've got a bridge in Brooklyn I'd like to sell you.

Comment Re:Spontaneous combustion (Score 1) 86

I just read this, which could be total horseshit, but it looks reasonable:


Lithium only accounts for 3% of the cost of a battery. Recycled lithium is 5 times more expensive than 'new' lithium.

I think they said that recycling's biggest economic benefit is stabilizing the price fluctuation in lithium if demand for 'new' lithium exceeds resource output. I don't know if there's a point at which you don't need much new lithium for batteries because basically you will have built all the lithium batteries you will ever need and as you need new batteries you will just be using recycled lithium already mined.

I could see where battery storage gets good and cheap enough that, when coupled with solar, reaches the point where you get close enough to practical off-grid that the promise of free solar (minus capital investment) causes people to get more energy efficient.

If I could have 500kWh of lithium in my house and my daily solar production average was 5kw over my all day consumption, then having deep battery reserves would more than cover a run of bad weather. You could drop 10kWh negative for a couple of months and just draw down your battery to make up the difference and then slowly recharge back up in better weather.

Even with best case solar, I'd be under water by 10kWh now. My summer power bill tells me I'd need nearly 60kWh per day and I would bet that's a lot of periods of over 5kW when the central AC runs.

Comment What's the leading reason for jailbreaking at all? (Score 1) 156

There's lots of possible reasons, like sideloading or pirating apps, exposing features or customization hidden in the stock settings or apps, curiosity/technical/tinkering, or ideological reaons/free software advocacy.

Which is most common? I figure pirating might be kind of popular, but a lot of useful software is pretty inexpensive to begin with and how many people want a hacked candy crush that has free powerups?

I could see where customization/hidden features could be a big reason. Apple are kind of design fascists (I say that having owned all iPhones since 3G and 3 iPads) and there are some irritating hardware and software limitations imposed that rankle.

Like why can't you even pair a bluetooth mouse? Apple wouldn't even have to support it in the home screen or any of their applications or even UI as a touch source, just allow third party apps to utilize it. I could seriously see being able to do meaningful work via RDP with a HDMI display, BT keyboard and moue using just my iPhone as a computer and it would nearly replace a lot of my laptop use with my iPad.

It's hard to see "because it was there" tinkerers being that huge of a group and I'd bet a significant number just kind of go oh well and go back to stock out of sheer convenience.

I bet the philosophical/ideologicals don't add to too many, why would they buy an iPhone to begin with when they can get much further down the free road with Andoid.

Comment Re:A silly test (Score 1) 395

Was the primary mission of the A-10 general close air support of ground troops or more specifically anti-armor close air support against the waves of T-72s supposed to be flooding the Fulda Gap?

It's 30mm gun is impressive, but is that the end-all-be-all of close air support? It would seem like similar results could be had from attack helicopters or AC-135 gunships. A lot of Viet Nam close air support came from F4s.

Comment I want a font that looks like a VT102 looked (Score 1) 198

...on a real DEC VT102 display. A friend's dad had one and there were a few in some of the CompSci labs and I remember them being very readable, even in 132 column mode.

I don't think it would be a question of just making a font with the same dots in the same places in a matrix. It was like the character set was designed for the way the video display would render it, providing just the right amount of phosphor blur to create good looking text. Which is probably exactly how it worked.

Reproducing it for a modern computer would probably take having a real VT102 with a nearly new stock display and doing a lot of side by side comparisons to get it to look the same.

I've largely given up on a custom "programmer" font and just learned to be satisfied with Lucida Console, since it works more or less on every Windows system as well as in putty sessions to non-Windows systems.

Comment Re:Christie is ideal (Score 1) 511

Immigration right now is a classic example of the bootlegger and the baptist.

The bootlegger wants booze illegal because he makes a bigger profit. The baptist wants booze illegal becaue it keeps the pews full on Sunday morning. It's a reciprocal relationship that makes everyone worse off.

Immigration works the same way. The Republicans like porous borders and weak enforcement because it provides a cheap and compliant labor force as well as suppresing wages generally. The Democrats like porous borders and weak enforcement because they believe a larger non-white population will give them a demographic advantage in elections.

The irony for the Republicans is that bulk importing poor people from the third world only drives up government expenditures and ultimately taxes. Democrats assume that the generally devout Catholics of Latin America will somehow embrace a political agenda of secular liberalism, as if the history of Latin America wasn't littered with wreckage of right wing authoritarianism.

Comment Re:Christie is ideal (Score 4, Insightful) 511

Trump's immigration "policies" get a lot of support because they basically mirror the same kind of simplistic truth people believe: Illegal immigrants have broken the law and should be deported, walling off the border between the US and Mexico will keep them out, lack of rigorous immigration enforcement enables illegal immigrant criminals to commit crime.

It seems easy to me to understand why people so easily believe in these ideas, they have a kind of uncomplicated truth to them. If you are not residing or working in the US legally, why shouldn't you be deported? Certainly a large wall on the border would greatly hinder illegal imimgrants from infilitrating the border. We certainly don't want people with violent criminal histories entering the US, bypassing immigration allows these people to enter the US and potentially commit crime and deporting illegal immigrants before they commit crimes seems to have a certain preventative logic to it.

Of course, none of these "positions" or "ideas" is more than surface deep. The basic logisticts of deporting all illegal immigrants is pretty crazy and lacks a certain humanity in many cases. It's debatable how effective some giant wall would be and who the hell would pay for it?

None of it seems to address deeper questions of the problems of the current immigration system or why both political parties seem willfully unable to address it, or the value their constituences see in the current system, from cheap, wage-suppressed labor or for political pandering to immigrant groups to expansion of presumably political friendly constituencies.

And all of them avoid the kind of hard debates on well, who should be allowed to assume residency and work in the US? Is someone going to actually step up to the plate and argue for an open borders policy in an honest an direct manner (it would appear that Trump is the advocate for the opposite policy)? If it's not open borders, then how, exactly will we regulate and enforce an immigration policy in a way that's consistent and achieves desirable goals?

What's always surprised me is the lack of African American voices in the immigration debate. They have the highest unemployment rates and illegals take the kind of low-skill, entry-level jobs one would assume that would be the easiest for the many African Americans with poor educations to take. This leads to the questions of racial discrimination, although that seems complicated by the idea that Latinos can get these jobs. Then there's arguments about jobs "we won't do" but this begs the quesiton as to why those jobs don't pay more (I guess they don't have to with a supply of illegals) or whether people have some moral right to not work for jobs they don't want, yet be able to demand subsidies for not working.

Comment Re:Just look at the stats of prison inmates? (Score 4, Interesting) 72

You might make an argument that a significant difference exists between inmates in a prison and highly tested, analyzed and trained astronauts with regard to their psychological makeup not to mention willingness and motivation to be confined.

I do think that long term encapsulation is probably psychologically burdensome at best and perhaps damaging to even the best possible astronauts.

Which makes me wonder how much NASA has thought about the psychopharmacology of space travel. There might be some benefit to some kind of sedating anti-depressant for stages of a long voyage that required just routine status checks and basic routine maintenance duties.

Comment Even if practical technology was 10-20 years out (Score 2) 378

Even if you could say with certainty that in 10-20 years the practical technology could be established, wouldn't you be looking at another 30+ years before it was actually a meaningful force in power generation, making fusion more like 50+ years out?

Say they solve the technology hurdles in 10 years. They will then need to build a test plant that operates at a scale large enough to generate meaningful power (a few megawatts). That would probably take 10 years. That plant would need to run for, what, 5 years, to demonstrate that everything works like its supposed to and you can actually make the thing work.

At that point you're out another 10-15 years to plan and build a large, utility scale plant comparable to the ones that exist now -- 1.5GW. This plant would then have to run for 5 years to demonstrate (at least to investors, regulators, politicians, etc) that it works.

So worst case, 45 years later you have a single fusion plant producing electricity at utility scale.

Assuming it all works perfectly and everyone loves it in the next 20 years you might add another 3 plants. 65 years out, you now have 4 plants producing 6 TW, a drop in the bucket.

And all of this is assuming the economics make sense relative to other trends, like residential solar, improved battery storage and so on. After all this, fusion as a source of power seems closer to a 100 years out.

Comment Re:Traditional internal facing IT shop .. (Score 1) 196

Managing 800 GB of storage back then was like managing 8 TB today. LTO tapes that only held 100 gigs, only 100 meg ethernet.

IIRC, only about 100 GB was really active, maybe another 50 was warm-ish and the rest was just cold data from old projects and forgotten crap, like today.

The problem was compounded by the client, a cellular company, who would come up with a promotion and then tweak it for the 20-odd markets the ad was supposed to run in. If it was a truly simple ad (which they seldom were), you would have the same base layout (Quark file, graphics, fonts, misc other stuff) times the number of markets.

Where it got fun is when the client wanted to see variations of the ad AND the way it had to change for various markets. If an ad had 5 variations, now you had 100 versions of the same ad and the graphics department never really made use of some of the storage efficiencies offered even back then (ie, graphic elements that never changed only existing once in the filesystem), so you literally would end up with 100 directories with graphics duplicated many times over.

I've noticed that graphics dedupes really well -- one client with 4 TB of raw graphics files gets 80% dedupe on that volume. Wish I would have had that back then. Between thin provisioning and dedupe, it would have made for a lot less equipment at least.

Comment Re:Fixed it for you. (Score 1) 443

I'm not "Jeff's" marriage counselor, nor exposed to all the private details of his or any of my other friend's lives. It could just be that birds of a feather flock together, and we're all generally friends because we share similar personalities and weaknesses and that just leads to a high correlation of similar relationship strengths and weaknesses.

If you can't ask your partner for intimacy, then it's not biology, it's communication.

You can ask for sex, but I don't think you can ask for intimacy -- intimacy requires an organic desire that originates within the partners. Sex can kindle intimacy, but it can't create it.

I think one of the challenges, though, of the asking is that if you ask and you get it, what are you actually getting? Are you getting a partner who is motivated out of an organic, genuine interest, or are you getting a partner who's going along to get along?

At best you might get a partner who provides a theatrically convincing orifice for you to orgasm in. At worst, you get an emotionally dead, passive participant, the stereotypical cold fish who just lies there and might as well have a visible thought bubble that says "Are you finished yet?"

When people complain about "not enough sex" I suspect that it's not exclusively frequency that's the complaint, it's at least as much a complaint about a lack of organic, internally originated enthusiasm for sex.

I think some men just don't care (the old joke: "Why do women fake their orgasms? Because they think men care."), and view sex as the same whether she just holds still long enough for him to finish or whether she puts on a garter and fishnet stockings and talks dirty. It wouldn't surprise me that lack of sexual satisfaction among married men today is a function of women who don't feel obligated to go along with "the marital duty" and men being more aware of what their wives actually want, creating a kind of negative feedback loop.

Comment Re:Fixed it for you. (Score 1) 443

It doesn't seem to pan out that way, at least in my exposure to couples in their 40s. Every man I know in his 40s complains about the lack of sex in his marriage, and conventional explanations of imbalanced parenting, housekeeping, substantial physical appearance changes, etc always seem to be contradicted, often in multiple categories, in any given example.

"Jeff" complains about sex being a 1-2 times a month activity, but Jeff does about 60% of the parenting in my experience, is 6 years younger than his wife and is outstanding physical shape and very attractive (when we go out, he's almost embarrassed at how often women hit on him in bars). His wife runs a freelance marketing business and he's a solo practice attorney, so both have jobs of about equivalent levels of responsibility and income as I understand it.

My sense is that any theory of lessened sex drive in women over 40 may be contingent on marital status (ie, married) and childbearing status (have given birth) as strong influencers. Women who never married or never have given birth may have stronger social or biological influences that increase their interest in sex.

With the recent FDA approval of flibanserin (the "female Viagra"), there has been a lot of debate over it with a not insignificant chorus of women supporting it because "they want to have sex but just don't have the desire". I'd also doubt that such a drug would get developed and put through FDA scrutiny if the company and investors lacked decent data that said a good sized market didn't exist for it.

Like anything else, I don't think you can arbitrarily say "all older women don't want sex" or "women over 40 want more sex". It's probably most likely that both things can be true at the same time but with clusters of characteristics around both groupings.

Comment Re:39% without secondary false-positives. (Score 1) 252

I think the inherent scarcity in research resources means that you will pretty much always have a kind of gatekeeper who decides what projects and who's projects gets funded and what doesn't.

It'd be great if that gatekeeper was a neutral party without a vested interest, but I'd wager it likely takes someone inherently knowledgeable in the field to be able to intelligently understand the research requests.

You could have a committee to hopefully limit individual vested interests, but ultimately there are influencers who can stack committees.

I think if you could get researchers to acknowledge these kinds of existential confirmation biases in research selection you probably would be able to build committees with the scientific chops to evaluate research proposals but with enough outsiders that career/standing/theoretical biases wouldn't crowd out proposals with the potential to contradict prevailing theories.

If I'd known computer science was going to be like this, I'd never have given up being a rock 'n' roll star. -- G. Hirst