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Comment Re:Casino Noise (Score 1) 125 125

Property tax is still an indirect tax on economic activity, as I pointed out above, since the value of property is defined by economic activity (whether the property is actually used or not), and since property tax directly affects the cost of all economic activity involving property which, ultimately, is all economic activity or so close to all as makes no difference. There may be some business, somewhere, which requires no capital expenditures and takes place entirely on public land, but it certainly isn't the norm. It's true that some economic activity is more capital intensive than other economic activity, but I don't see how that implies that economic activity which is less capital-intensive necessarily makes fewer claims on government or should be taxed less.

And I still don't see that the Broken Window Fallacy is a counterexample. Perhaps I'm dense. Or perhaps we disagree on the meaning of "counterexamples". At best it seems to highlight that economic activity and property value aren't the same thing, but I don't think that was ever in dispute.

Comment The name thing, too... (Score 2) 110 110

The name thing was a huge deal-breaker for a fair number of people, and the pathologically horrible way they handled it made it a lot worse. I know dozens of people who would have used G+ but walked away from it because at least one person they knew had bad experiences with it. I spent months with my G+ account in various kinds of limbo because the "appeals" process for name decisions was completely dysfunctional. I eventually ran into someone on slashdot who knew a person who knew a person who could unstick my account and get my name approved, but by that time everyone had lost interest.

And one of my friends used to have a Picassa account, and then somehow it got marked as a G+ profile thing (even though she never intentionally activated G+), and then suspended because their algorithm thought the name was unrealistic, and then she lost access to the Picassa stuff. I don't know whether that actually got resolved.

Very badly run at every level. The most frustrating thing is, they had a guy writing about this who was apparently in some kind of leadership role, and he talked about how the appeals process should work and how the name stuff should work... And nothing he said actually had any influence on the behavior of the product. The actual appeals process consisted of a thing that did not include any mechanism at all for stating your case or explaining why you felt a given name was the right name to use for you, which was then ignored by a machine or possibly a person, who knows. That's it. No mechanism for response or interaction.

Google's hatred of actually dealing with things personally interacted very badly with a policy which was inherently personal.

Comment Re:Smart (Score 1) 204 204

So for those several times per year, rent a car.

I lived in Colorado for three years, and regularly (almost monthly) made the 8-hour drive to my parents' home. Most of that time I had two vehicles, a Dodge Durango (needed to tow the camp trailer or boat, and to haul the whole family), and a Nissan LEAF, which was my commuter and the around-the-town vehicle when the whole family wasn't going. Given the amount of gas the Durango consumes I found it more economical (when all the kids weren't going) to rent a Prius or similar for the trips home. It worked great. Some unanticipated benefits were that the car tends to get pretty dirty when you drive it a thousand-plus miles in a short stretch, cluttered up with fast food containers and whatnot -- and there's an increased risk of spills and stains. So it's nice to just let Hertz deal with all of that.

Anyway, the point is that it's perfectly reasonable to choose a vehicle that is optimized for 95% of your driving, and rent one that is optimized for the other 5%. It can actually be very cost-effective. I've been looking into getting rid of the Durango and renting when I need a toy hauler, but so far it looks like the premiums charged for those sorts of vehicles make it a non-starter vs my paid-off SUV. Also, I haul the boat or trailer almost weekly during the summer, so the frequency of rentals would get annoying.

Comment Re:Smart (Score 3, Insightful) 204 204

Any system which allows for refuelability/battery swapping has a much better chance of competing with current transportation fuel methods.

Nice assertion. I'll counter with one of my own: Battery swapping has negligible effect on the ability of EVs to compete with ICEVs for consumer travel. The only case where it's of use is in long-distance, non-stop travel, which is a miniscule percentage of road miles and which can in most cases be done with a rental vehicle. As long as the people in the car need to refuel every few hours, all you need is enough range to go as far as the people can, and a sufficiently-fast recharge time that by the time the people eat the car is ready to go again.

What's needed for EVs to compete isn't battery swapping, it's lower prices for vehicles with adequate range. The Model S has the range required, now. The Nissan LEAF and similar cars are in the ballpark on price. When we get a $25K (new) EV sedan with a 250-mile range, they'll sell like hotcakes in suburban middle-class America, and pollution levels in places like LA will decline dramatically in just a few years.

This isn't to say that battery swapping never makes sense, or that better highway and home charging infrastructure (particularly for apartment dwellers) doesn't matter, but solving the price/range problem will put EVs over the hump and the rest will follow naturally.

Comment Re:Smart Battery Swaps (Score 1) 204 204

Is there a possible benefit to getting a battery with fewer charge cycles in a swap ? I sort of saw this concept as a way to get a refurbished battery when yours is reaching end of life, or has a few dead cells.

That's a completely different issue. Even without quick-recharge swaps, it's certainly possible to replace an old battery. But you're going to have to pay for that new battery (less a rebate for the value of the old one, I'm sure).

Comment Re:Nice. (Score 2) 198 198

But if you are a dumb enough to act out alone against any of them then you either need to hope to be very lucky or should they so choose to make a point they will swat you like a fly without a second thought, the likelihood of the swatting only increases with how much publicity they will get from using you as an example.

And the reason they bother making an example out of you is because they have no power aside from fear. As you demonstrate, it's quite effective, especially once the victim starts rationalizing their perfectly natural fear of death out of misplaced shame, because at that point they'll start attacking anyone who overcomes theirs.

Comment Re:Insecurity culture.... (Score 1) 468 468

they transform his life-time into working-time

I would love to be a fly on the wall when the ghost of proletariats-future explains to Karl how "now trending in the proletariat zeitgeist of the year 2015" is incessant chatter about why there's still so little content available in 4k.

Karl: What's 4k?

Ghost [glancing furtively at iWatch appointment calendar]: Ahhhh, we have a little bit of catching up to do, don't we? How about we just leave that unanswered for now and call it a night?

"Mach was the greatest intellectual fraud in the last ten years." "What about X?" "I said `intellectual'." ;login, 9/1990