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Comment: Re:Citation Needed (Score 5, Insightful) 373

by pdbogen (#45919279) Attached to: Google Co-Opts Whale-Watching Boat To Ferry Employees

Interestingly, the residents are a micro version of those same poor displaced whale-watchers. What's happening to them is a free market economy. They rent an asset owned by someone else. That owner has an unarguable right to seek the best return on their investment: It is greatly in their interest to rent their property for as much money as they can.

Why aren't you angry at the landlords for raising rents and using the Ellis act to evict people? That's not Google's fault. Google isn't driving people out; they're just paying their employees well and adapting to their needs (in this case, providing a shuttle from SF to Redwood, since a number of employees live in SF).

Why aren't you angry at the city for not issuing housing permits for more economic high-density housing? (http://www.theatlanticcities.com/housing/2013/10/san-francisco-exodus/7205/) Google isn't the one that lobbied and protested to keep the 120-year-old Victorian your 60-year-old woman lives in intact, instead of replacing it with a highrise.

Sure, it sucks that the place you lived forever is changing in ways you don't like. It sucks that residents' NIMBY-esque actions to stop that change turned out worse for them in the long run, because someone came along that's willing and able to pay more for your space than they are, and they resisted the kind of development that would've helped to make enough space for everyone.

If you don't want to be driven from "your" rented home, you have to own the place you live. If you can't afford to own it but you can afford to rent it, that means you're living in a kind of bubble: Your landlord thinks the land is worth more than what you're paying, meaning they think they can get more rent for it later, meaning at some point or another the occupant will be paying what the owner wants, whether the occupant is you or someone working for a startup that's getting paid five times what you get paid. It's a free market, and shit like this happens.

Comment: Re: Citation Needed (Score 5, Insightful) 373

by pdbogen (#45919193) Attached to: Google Co-Opts Whale-Watching Boat To Ferry Employees

Yes, clearly my slashdot account with excellent karma in good standing for ten years is a Google PR sock puppet.

I have a bias, just like others do. But, as it happens, I live in the city, work for a tech company in the city, and walk to work. I don't use the Google shuttle, I don't personally care what happens to it, but it's simple fact that the Google shuttle isn't the problem, isn't the cause of the problem, and isn't even a symptom of the problem; the protesters have simply selected it as a symbol.

Comment: Re:Not Cool (Score 2) 373

by pdbogen (#45919093) Attached to: Google Co-Opts Whale-Watching Boat To Ferry Employees

If nothing else, the Google shuttle could be considered simply a form of non-monetary compensation to Google's employees. (In the same way that all their free food is actually taxed as income.)

That's the way an economy works. They might not be paying cash for it, but at the end of the day they're making less money because some of their compensation is in the form of a free bus ride down the Peninsula.

Comment: Re:A Car? (Score 1) 373

by pdbogen (#45919071) Attached to: Google Co-Opts Whale-Watching Boat To Ferry Employees

Individual employees driving cars (or even carpooling) would be worse for the environment and worse for traffic. A lot of the folks probably don't own cars (it's hard to own a car in San Francisco); they'd be paying for parking, which would actually drive rents up further. Space is space, whether you're putting yourself in an apartment or a car in a parking space.

Public transportation doesn't go directly to where they need to be to work, and it doesn't go there as quickly as the Google shuttle would (what with making a lot of intermediate steps.) That said, the tech companies in the area generally *will* provide a stipend of some sort for employees that can efficiently commute via mass transit. (For Google, that usually means BART or CalTrain, not busses.)

One more reasoned argument seems to be that Google should have encouraged public transportation to provide the routes they need instead of doing it themselves. That, however, isn't how the free market works. I can easily imagine the outrage at "Google's manipulation of the city government to bend the mass transit system to their will," so I rather doubt it would actually mollify the protesters any.

Comment: Re:i dont get it (Score 5, Insightful) 373

by pdbogen (#45919011) Attached to: Google Co-Opts Whale-Watching Boat To Ferry Employees

Sort of. The protesters latched on to that as a visible and easily protestable symbol of the real problem.

It's easy to get really, really angry at a super nice charter bus that's picking up the young and well-paid tech workers from your neighborhood (perhaps that you've lived in for a decade or more) that you're about to get kicked out of because you can no longer afford the rising rents.

Comment: Re:Transportation is evil (Score 4, Interesting) 373

by pdbogen (#45918987) Attached to: Google Co-Opts Whale-Watching Boat To Ferry Employees

The protesters basically want Google employees to leave San Francisco and stop causing rents to go up. They are angry at Google for making it easier for the employees to live here. The better pay means landlords can charge higher rents, and the landlords are using a loophole (the Ellis act) to evict residents that have been there longer, which usually means (due to rent control) they're paying less.

It's not even an economic niche. It's an island that's being overtaken by rising tides, and the field mouse on the island are protesting the schools of fish that are taking up residence.

Comment: Misleading Headline (Score 5, Informative) 221

by pdbogen (#43007957) Attached to: Helena Airport Manager Blocks TSA From Taking Full-Body Scanner

Wow. Misleading headline is horribly misleading. Quote from one of TFAs:

“We’re really disappointed that the TSA is removing them from our airport,” Martin said. “It is a great disservice to the flying public.
“People had become comfortable with the scanner. It certainly did speed the process and removed the need for the enhanced pat-down.”

i.e., it's not the "removal of the scanner" that "removed the nead for the enhanced pat-down," as the headline deceptively implies. Rather, the scanner itself removed the need. However, as a seasoned frequent flier, I'm quite acquainted with the fact that security checkpoints that do not have body scanners are not subject to an "enhanced pat-down," as Martin implies in the article.

Comment: Re:Translation (Score 1) 866

by pdbogen (#41682303) Attached to: Parent Questions Mandatory High School Chemistry

"...conversion by various enzymes."

Though I'll grant that biology does just boil down eventually to chemistry and physics, at the high school level, anything enzymatic is squarely on the side of biology.

Though, of course, for brewing, the enzymes are /largely/ a black box, and you're correct that the other aspects of brewing/fermenting are more about simple chemistry.

Comment: Re:Why does this matter? (Score 1) 574

by pdbogen (#34376260) Attached to: Apple Bans Android Magazine App From App Store

Your analogy is flawed- Wal Mart and Best Buy are two competing companies. In the article presented, Mediaprovider (a company that makes eMagazines, including one about the iPhone- i.e., not a direct competitor to Apple) wanted to sell one of their products through apple's app store.

So, it's more like Amazon or Borders selling a book about public libraries. The money wasn't going "to Android" and away from Apple in the way that an "Amazon order kiosok" would funnel money to Amazon, and take it away from Borders.

And also- yeah. Fair competition is generally accepted to be good for the market and good for consumers. In this instance, "fair" meaning that products compete on their own merits (and flaws), and not on how well one company can suppress information about a competitor.

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