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Comment: Re:Money: Two Kinds (Score 1) 91

by meburke (#46625977) Attached to: Book Review: Money: The Unauthorized Biography

Actually, there are many kinds of money if you consider money as a "thing." However, money is a "measurement" used to help determine if trading is equitable for all parties.

Although this book is interesting, I would recommend Ludwig Von Mises, "The theory of Money and Credit"
for a more well-rounded look at what money actually "is".

Question Suppose you needed a board 3' long for a bookshelf, and the government made the "inch" smaller between the time you measured and the time you decided to purchase the lumber; Would you settle for a shorter board or would you expend more resources for a board that would fit? (This is the problem with fiat money.)

Comment: Physical/Mental Harmony (Score 2) 384

by meburke (#45955253) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Can I Improve My Memory For Study?

There have been many memory courses and systems taught over the last couple of centuries. I personally liked, "How to Develop a Super Power Memory," by Harry Lorayne. It's old but good, and you only have to read it once. (!!!)

There are many others: One of my favorites for studying is, "Brainbooster" by Robert Finkle. It helps organize your memory system specifically for studying.

I have over thirty how-to books on memory and learning that revolve around mnemonics. They all teach pretty much the same thing,, and some of them may appeal to you more than others, so check around. The books by Tony Buzan are pretty good, and some of them teach skills besides memory that apply to study.

The book, "Find Your Focus Zone," by Lucy Palladino is terrific, and includes insights into how the brain works and how to make it work better.

A lot of people don't study well because they don't take care of their body. I highly recommend, "The Four Hour Body," by Timothy Ferriss. As for learning, His book, "The Four-Hour Chef" is more about learning than cooking. (Tim did a show for Discovery called, "Trial by Fire" which followed him while he learned martial arts skills (Yabasume) equivalent to 20 years' ordinary practice in only about 4 months. He has a background in neuro science, so he seems to have access to a lot of cool resources.)

Again, the connection between brain and body; "Change your Brain-Change your Body" by Daniel Amen. This is very much about Brain Fitness, but also syncs the health and fitness connection.

For fun read, "Moonwalking with Einstein," by Joshua Foer. It is an overview of the culture of people who train their memory for serious competition.

Good luck.

Comment: Minor observations- (Score 2) 440

by meburke (#45409783) Attached to: Soylent: No Food For 30 Days

The need for carbohydrates has never been established. True, the body needs fuel, but the body can burn fats and protein. The brain is actually designed to run more efficiently on ketones than sugars. People have lived healthily for years on meat-only and mostly meat diets. However, if you don't take in carbs you pretty much need fats and oils for fuel.

I'm more worried about the soy content than anything else; There seems to be strong evidence that lots of soy is antagonistic to testosterone balances.

As for vegetarianism: . This is a great basis for lively discussion from a former vegan.

Comment: Re:As an outsider. (Score 1) 559

by meburke (#45364285) Attached to: Official Resigns, Website Still a Disaster

I have another reason for opposing Obamacare: It is immoral. "Thou shalt not steal'"

Suppose you woke up tomorrow and the Constable was towing away your car.

The reason is that the widow woman down the street can't afford to buy one, she needs one to go to work, and yours is handy. Besides, you have job, you have money, you can obviously buy another if you want. Are you happy now? Are you better off now? Is Society better off?

And since the Constable and title people don't work for nothing, about every 5th car they seize must be sold to pay their expenses.

And here's the kicker: If YOU seized someone else's car to give to another less-privileged person, you would be arrested for theft.

IMO, since you cannot authorize another person to do something that would be illegal for you to do, you cannot authorize government to do it either.

So, one of my favorite stories is about Davy Crockett's "Not yours to give" speech to Congress:

Unfortunately, it is not true:

However, the proposition and conclusions seem to be correct, and I agree with the sentiment.

Comment: Re:As an outsider. (Score 1) 559

by meburke (#45363995) Attached to: Official Resigns, Website Still a Disaster

The 9% number comes from multiple sources that say that the additional cost of providing insurance to qualified employees is around 8.9% (CBO) to 9.5% (Aetna and others). On the other hand, FactCheck has arguments that indicate the portion of the increase due to ACA is only about 2-3% . IMO, even 2-3% can be a burden if added to other increasing expenses, but 1.) I don't know where the margin is, and 2.) We are talking about estimates (which, by definition, lack precision).

Comment: Re:As an outsider. (Score 1) 559

by meburke (#45363899) Attached to: Official Resigns, Website Still a Disaster

I've only been keeping track since the 2014 figures came out, and my informal scoring should not be a benchmark. I neglected to mention that the increase averages about 2.3 times the current coverage. (230% for non-mathematicians.)

However, you make a good point, and I 'm looking up statistics as we speak: Multiple sources say that the average health care costs increased annually from a little over 9%/year in the early 2000's to around 4%/year in the years preceding 2010. The statistics on health insurance costs kept pace increasing about 1-2% higher than healthcare costs.

There are some questions to be answered before just accepting those statistics; Is the cost increase due to economic conditions like inflation? is it due to demographics like people my age incurring more severe illnesses? There are expenditures that may be being currently amortized but intended for future consumption. (For instance, MD Anderson has at least 2 totally empty buildings, empty for multiple years, that are intended to provide services for future patients.) So there are a LOT of possible contributions to the previous increase in healthcare and insurance costs.

However, it seems apparent that the ACA rollout has caused a disproportionate lift in healthcare insurance costs.

Comment: Re:As an outsider. (Score 2, Interesting) 559

by meburke (#45356821) Attached to: Official Resigns, Website Still a Disaster

I totally object to your language and argument. It is inflammatory without being relevant.

I agree that Obamacare is bad economics, and I have the opinion that it was rammed down our throats by a Socialist mob, but faulty argumentation is not going to get people focusing on WHAT's right; it just keeps the focus on WHO's right. (or who thinks they are right.)

At this point I'm so fed up with politicians I think they should all be fired for not focusing on solutions that work for everybody, or at least almost everybody.

Comment: Re:As an outsider. (Score 4, Informative) 559

by meburke (#45356671) Attached to: Official Resigns, Website Still a Disaster

Actually, I kind of agree with you; The law may be faulty, but sniping at the website problems won't fix the underlying flaws.

Economists know that every attempt at price controls over the last 4500 years (approximately) have resulted in shortages of the goods/services under control, and higher prices for those goods/services. All I needed to know about Obamacare was that it is a form of price control.

I'm 65 years old, and I've been tracking the results of Obamacare among the people I know. (NOT a scientific study.) So far, I'm seeing 8 instances of increased insurance costs (including two people who just qualified for Medicare/Medicaid) for every 1 instance of cost savings. It seems that some States, like NY, are benefitting from the increased competition created by allowing offers across State lines.

It is an Economic Principle that whatever you tax, you will get less of. Obamacare imposes about a 9% additional tax on each employee, and so it is probably going to lead to fewer qualifying jobs in the private sector. The number of part-time and temp jobs seems to be increasing here in Texas, but full-time work is hard to get outside industries such as Medicine and Energy.

Comment: Re:Er what...Pre-conviction (Score -1) 510

by meburke (#44432273) Attached to: SF Airport Officials Make Citizen Arrests of Internet Rideshare Drivers

There is a strong argument that licensing is a form of pre-conviction and should be declared unconstitutional. Licenses should be reserved for those who have been shown to be a threat to safety. Enforcement would be easier, monitoring would be easier (since the number of unsafe providers would surely be smaller than total number of providers.

In actuality, licensing is a form of revenue for the State, and is unlikely to be discontinued. Welcome to creeping government interference in your life.

The Economic argument against licensing is that it restricts the number of providers and therefore drives the price up for consumers. It is a form of unionization, designed to keep the number of providers limited and the prices and rewards higher for the providers who are willing to go through the expense and inconvenience of complying. Yup, hairdressers, massage, barbers, taxi drivers, restaurants, doctors, nurses, etc.,etc... All rip-offs.

Then there is the price control argument: Economists know that for 4500 years EVERY attempt at price control has resulted in higher costs and shortages of the good or service being controlled. San Francisco? Famous for hard-to-find price-controlled, expensive apartments. (Obamacare is just another instance of price control. It is not even close to fully implemented, yet we are already seeing shortages and higher costs.)

Comment: Re:Suspicious (Score -1, Flamebait) 266

by meburke (#44259057) Attached to: The Pope Criminalizes Leaks

This ranks with one of the stupidest remarks ever posted to /.

What kind of mutt thinks that a statement of pure innuendo is legitimate discussion? Remember, innuendo is also a way of "bearing false witness" and against the Commandments.

One the other hand, the Vatican leaks that got published already showed a huge disparity between the calm, exterior image of the Papacy vs the actual political, tumultuous reality. That is probably something Benedict didn't want leaked.

Comment: Re:Too complex? (Score 1) 614

by meburke (#43661917) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Why Won't Companies Upgrade Old Software?

I may have more to say on this:

I kinda miss the days when, if my terminal went down, I simply replaced it with another. No one tried to hack my WYSE 50. Yes, communications between stations could get complex, but the administration point was at the server. I'm convinced that the advent of the desktop windows system created a lot of useless entertainment-oriented requirements into our software design. Although I've worked on a very large number of Operating Systems in the last 48 years, my favorite remains the ATT UNIX System V R3.2 simply because it worked predictably.

I have no proof that 75% of the productivity resides in 25% of the applications, but it holds true in Economics and Business, so I'm willing to accept the assumption until further evidence proves otherwise. "Cloud Computing" is really nothing more than server-based computing architecture on an international scale. IF(?) the architecture remains stable, then there should be some terrific advantages to computing in the cloud with dumber desktop systems. One of the main advantages could be that bugs and exploits are fixed and installed almost immediately, without legions of techs crawling under millions of desks and temporarily occupying millions of other peoples' chairs trying to get the system upgraded so business can resume.

Comment: Too complex? (Score 3, Interesting) 614

by meburke (#43661737) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Why Won't Companies Upgrade Old Software?

First, there is the incremental cost of the software AND upgrading hardware to be compatible.

Then there is the cost of being down; idled employees, non-income-producing tech work, training, and administration costs.

Then there is the cost of not being able toservice your customers; missed orders, bad feelings, image problems, botched sales, etc.

Then there is the inconvenience and complexity associated with the upheaval and new ways of doing things. The potential interactions accellerate according to I= E(E-1)/2, so, 3 elements have 3 potential transactional interactions, 5 elements have 10, 10 have 45 and so on. Mistakes and annoyances are inevitable.

The complexity makes the process a lot more than trivial. Just in the last three months, I've seen three large companies (200+ employees) almost come to a standstill over upgrade problems.

Comment: legalize drugs... (Score 1) 694

...or decriminalize them, giving amnesty to all whose only offense was using, having, selling drugs.This should have the added effect of reducing the crime rates, and greatly reduce the costs of law enforcement wasted on the failed "War on Drugs".

Lower the age of emancipation to 13. We already prosecute 13-year-olds as adults for heinous crimes, but we don't give them the opportunity to acquire other adult skills such as working for themselves and maintaining a credit rating. If we insist on keeping publicly funded education, then we can have "recovery" educational opportunities for those emancipated people who fail on their first tries. (And, we would have more workers to pay for the social programs foisted on us by the socialists in the past.) There is no justice in imprisoning children in daytime prisons, or discriminating on the basis of age.

Revoke all federal programs having to do with welfare, education, public health. These should be considered un-Constitutional anyway. Face it, the public education system is a massive failure and the parents aren't even allowed to sue the school districts for fraud.

Abolish all laws penalizing adults for consentual acts, such as gambling and sex.

Repeal the 16th Amendment to the Constitution.Taxes are theft. You cannot steal from another person to give the proceeds to someone less fortunate, nor can you authorize someone else to commit the theft in your stead. Yet that is exactly what income taxes do.

Limit Federal spending to only those projects directly necessary to ensure National Defense, or the fair administration of Justice under the Constitution. Limit Federal spending to 10% of GDP except in case of war.

Abolish the Federal Reserve System, Central Banking, and legal tender laws. Create ONLY 100% asset-based currency or monetary instruments.

Outlaw US interference in the internal affairs of other countries, except where there is a clear threat to our national security. Respect the sovereign rights of all other countries. Create only alliances and treaties that all parties are capable of adhering to.

Re-affirm the Constituion as the highest authority for US law, and reject any entaglements that diminish our sovereignty. Interpret the Constitution strictly as it was written.

Streamline the immigration process. Don't elevate any immigrant to citizen status unless they know the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Welcome guest workers up to the limit that they can fill necessary jobs.

  Aren't you glad you asked?(I have more ideas if you want to ask again.)

"Love is an ideal thing, marriage a real thing; a confusion of the real with the ideal never goes unpunished." -- Goethe