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Comment: Contralual capture? (Score 3, Interesting) 186

by plopez (#48608277) Attached to: NASA's $349 Million Empty Tower

I wonder if "contractual capture" had something to do with it. What I mean is, much like the F-35, there was some sort of "poison pill" in the contract that made it impossible to cancel the contract without paying a hefty penalty. Much like firing a CEO these days, where they make more money by getting fired.

Comment: Re:Supply and demand (Score 1) 190

by plopez (#48607079) Attached to: Why Didn't Sidecar's Flex Pricing Work?

"it gets very complex very quickly."
Which is part of the point. There is no quick easy or straight forward explanation. You can look at it from a modeling perspective as just an optimization problem but the number of factors and the fact that many of the factors may have feedback loops that practically speaking appealing to simple curves does not do a good job of explaining the observed phenomenon. The is more going on that simply some n-dimensional saddle point.

"The only assumption is, that information is known eventually."
But the information is not required "eventually" (eventually we are all dead, to mangle a famous quote). It is needed immediately by both buyers and sellers all up and down the supply or service chain.

In terms of the rules of the game, disruptive technology is an important factor. The fundamentally attack pricing structure and I sincerely doubt that any human actor or organization can know what the fall out will be. Which muddies the decision making process. Should we continue to make carriage bodies or should we adapt our business to supply the guy down the road working on that new fangled auto-mobile thing? We can sell a good 10K carriage bodies a year while that geek only sold 200 of his auto-mobiles. The smart money goes with the sure thing, doesn't it?

Should we continue making clips the old way or retool and spend huge sums on replacing all our injection and blow molding equipment? How do we know it is not a fad? How do we get the information we need to make a good market decision. Short answer, you can't. Ever.

Comment: Re:Supply and demand (Score 1) 190

by plopez (#48602117) Attached to: Why Didn't Sidecar's Flex Pricing Work?

There are quite a few assumptions there including the fact that a free market will spring up without government intervention. Actually the post did make a good point in that economics is never that simple. We do not live in an economics 101 universe. Supply and demand curves are unrealistic in that they do not take into account competition, captured markets, shortages of raw material, labor shortages, lack of capital, disruptive technologies, and they assume instant information exchange. Econ 101 is about as realistic as Physics 101 where they reference the 'frictionless plane'.

And don't forget Psychology. Despite all the fancy equations and obscure terminology Econ. is essentially a Social Science. A sloppy and unethical one at that.

It all comes down to this from the article "But I think the simpler answer is that the free market is just not the meritocracy that people think it is".

Comment: Footnote (Score 1) 304

by plopez (#48594671) Attached to: Google Suggests Separating Students With 'Some CS Knowledge' From Novices

[1] I actually have the same question about student athletes and folks in a specific discipline on a near by campus where they live in the same dorm; really condos; have their own library or study area, their own dining areas (no longer cafeterias, now called food courts), rec centers etc. I do not think that is condusive to getting a good education.

Comment: Segregation (Score 1) 304

by plopez (#48594627) Attached to: Google Suggests Separating Students With 'Some CS Knowledge' From Novices

You can look at it in two ways, either against those with prior experience or a rapid learning rate or against those with little experience or a slower learning rate. Why are we speaking about putting people into ghettos[1]?

In any event there are two important questions that come to mind:
1) What happens when the AP twits have to work in a heterogeneous environment? Will they have the "soft skills" they need to function in such a work place?

2) There is the question of whether online courses are even effective. We could be holding people back. See

Comment: Re:I suppose this is a good thing... (Score 2) 87

by plopez (#48591071) Attached to: California's Hydrogen Highway Adds Another Station

I don't think t make sense in any way. The large carbon foot print and the fact it does nothing to wean us off of hydrocarbons makes t a bad idea. It makes more sense to burn natural gas. I cuts out middle man for lower costs and pollution. And a better developed infrastructure.

Comment: Re: Go California! (Score 1) 136

by plopez (#48575775) Attached to: California Sues Uber Over Practices

I've known people who took someone to small claims. First off the defendant is often given several chances to show. Meaning that the plaintiff, who was harmed, has to take time off of work to pursue the case. First problem.

Problem 2, small claims courts often have limited jurisdiction. You have to go to where the event happened. So if you were traveling in another city, on vacation perhaps, you will have to return to that city. Or hire a lawyer which is expensive, in my area about $400/hr.

Problem 3 if the defendant skips the amount is usually so low the police probably do not care.

Problem 4. If you get a judgement it is up to YOU to collect. The amounts are usually so low that collection agencies are usually not interested in pursuing it. YOU have to find the defendant,s accounts and then get the banks to let you take your money out. Or find their employer. Assuming they are employed. In the case of Lyft and Uber they are contractors so good luck garnishing wages.

Enjoy your libertarian paradise!

1 Billion dollars of budget deficit = 1 Gramm-Rudman