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Comment: Re:Time for a change? (Score 1) 224

by ranton (#49779637) Attached to: Elon Musk Establishes a Grade School

It's right there behind health care and pensions, both of which we've seen being raided by the politicians in the past few administrations.

Why do people still regurgitate this nonsense that politicians have raided social security and medicare? Social security had a surplus for decades, so the government spent it on U.S. bonds owned by the social security fund. When there is no longer a surplus, projected to be in about 2020, the fund will start to cash out these bonds. This really isn't rocket science.

Yes the fund will likely run out of bonds to sell in 2033, but slight changes in social security taxes and/or retiree payouts can make it last far longer. The 1983 Social Security Amendments that put all of this in motion was always meant to be a short term fix to a very immediate problem at the time (social security was set to run out of money that same year). Considering the plan is still on track to last 50 years I think it has been a success. A new generation of politicians will have to solve the problem again sometime in the next 20 years, just like they did in 1983.

Comment: Re:Who cares if it kills companies? (Score 1) 104

by ranton (#49771697) Attached to: Tech Bubble? What Tech Bubble?

I agree with almost everthing you wrote

Then why did you write, "There is no level of diversification or foresight that can protect the masses from major bubble collapses"?

I outlined a level of diversification and foresight that *would* protect the masses from major bubble collapses, and demonstrably *has* protected many people from major bubble collapses. You claim it's impossible. Only one of us can be right - either there *is* or there *is not* a way to insulate yourself.

I agree with your strategies for mitigating the risk of bubbles. I disagree that following these strategies has no negative effect on regular investor portfolios. As I said in my post, "while it is possible to mitigate some of the damage, standard investors lose out on a lot of income because of these strategies." If drastic bubbles were not part of a more moderate boom / bust cycle, regular investors with lower risk tolerance could make much more money investing.

That there is some "theoretically possible way to have invested and gotten more money out of the market" ignores the fact that human beings are irrational, jerky, panicked things who do stupid, reckless shit all the time - including investing in ways that create bubbles. Trying to pretend that's not the case, or trying to blame that all on "the investment industry" is stupid.

No one is claiming it is possible to have markets without bubbles. Just like it is not possible to live in a world with no theft or murder. But we can still be upset at the irrational, jerky, panicky investors who create these bubbles, just like we are upset at thieves and murderers. The OP simply said these people tick him off, and my post was backing up that he had something legitimate to be pissed about. Neither of us mentioned any fixes because I doubt either of us think there are any realistic ones.

Eliminating risks come at a cost.

If this is true (which I agree it is) then anyone introducing extra risks into the system (without an equal amount of upside) is creating a negative effect for everyone else. This is basically my entire point.

Comment: Re:Who cares if it kills companies? (Score 1) 104

by ranton (#49770683) Attached to: Tech Bubble? What Tech Bubble?

There is no level of diversification or foresight that can protect the masses from major bubble collapses.

Sure there is. It's so easy, you probably can't see it.

The closer you get to retirement, to more you'll need some share of your investments in quality bonds, so that if you need money to live on through a crash bottom you won't need to sell stock.

While these techniques help mitigate the damage from bubble collapses, they also limit your returns. This is why there is no way the masses can protect themselves from these collapses. The best thing they can do is forgo significant earnings because they have to be more timid in the 10-15 years leading up to retirement. If they didn't have to fear massive bubble collapses, your average investor could likely earn an extra 30% on their retirement accounts.

Comment: Re:Who cares if it kills companies? (Score 1) 104

by ranton (#49770535) Attached to: Tech Bubble? What Tech Bubble?

You discuss many of the tactics people have to use to safeguard their money because investors cannot be trusted to not create ridiculous bubbles. I agree with almost everthing you wrote, but this entire thread was started by someone complaining that these tactics are even necessary. If it were not for these extreme bubble/bust cycles then people could probably keep much more of their money in higher return index funds instead of balancing them with bond funds.

Because of these extreme cycles, retirees have to put around 50% of their retirement savings in bonds for the last 15 years of their working lives. If they could trust the investment industry more, they could be making an extra 3-4% on their money with index funds instead. This would likely yield an extra 30% on top of their final retirement nest egg. Sure you would still have ups and downs, but what really hurts retirees is those 30-40% nosedives near the beginning of their retirement.

The point of my post is to agree with the OP when he was complaining that these bubbles significantly hurt your average guy just saving for retirement. While it is possible to mitigate some of the damage, standard investors lose out on a lot of income because of these strategies.

Comment: Re:Who cares if it kills companies? (Score 3, Insightful) 104

by ranton (#49768683) Attached to: Tech Bubble? What Tech Bubble?

Too bad that doesn't stop a common mistake, though - someone betting everything on the company they work for, salary, stock/options, and 401(k) investments.

There is no level of diversification or foresight that can protect the masses from major bubble collapses. Sure some people will get lucky, and they will spend the next 20 years pretending it was their expert planning that explains this luck, but the vast majority will have their investments take a significant hit. You can put your money in index funds to avoid excessive fees, but have the stock market tank. You can put your money into buying rental properties, only to have your local real estate market tank. You can put your money into bonds, only to have their value erode as interest rates and inflation rise. You can put your money into precious metals only to have that bubble burst too.

Most people don't have enough money to diversify any better than just putting their money in diversified mutual funds. But then they lose almost all of the control you seem to expect them to have over their investments.

Comment: Re:Not if open source, but how (Score 1) 48

If you lock down submissions so you can have a paid tier, then welcome to fork town.

Seems that MySQL did quite well even while obtaining ownership of most submissions so they could have their paid tier help fund further development. The forking didn't really start until Oracle purchased the software, and that was over a decade after open source developers had been contributing the a project with the type of license you seem to think can't work in the open source community.

Comment: Re:Quite the Opposite (Score 4, Informative) 267

by ranton (#49746433) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Career Advice For an Aging Perl Developer?

What a jumbled mush of disgruntled ramblings. I can understand why you are so disgruntled because you are probably upset that none of your coworkers or likely even friends and family listen to your incoherent arguments.

Making business more reliable and reducing risks is not communism. It isn't even capitalism, it is just good business.

Part of managing a company is ensuring you do not take unnecessary risks. One very unnecessary risk is relying too much on individual employees. Any employee can be hit by a bus tomorrow, and a well run company can weather the loss of any one employee no matter how skilled. One part of proper knowledge management is codifying and disseminating the intrinsic knowledge of key employees so the company is not too reliant on them.

Comment: Re:Vehicle Weight (Score 1) 826

by ranton (#49736961) Attached to: Oregon Testing Pay-Per-Mile Driving Fee To Replace Gas Tax

Yes but the benefit caused by a single tractor-trailer is also much greater than the benefit caused by a passenger car. A large number of people benefit from the truck, but only the passengers benefit from the car.

But the cost incurred by the single tractor-trailer is also spread out among everyone who benefits from the truck (in the form of increased shipping costs). So I don't really see how the difference in utility really matters here.

Comment: Re:ENOUGH with the politics! (Score 1) 1090

by ranton (#49735107) Attached to: Los Angeles Raises Minimum Wage To $15 an Hour

Is Slashdot TRYING to lose readers? I thought this was a TECH forum.

Is this a serious question? Just look at the number of comments a story like this gets compared to others. In my feed this story has more comments than the four stories surrounding it. These stories even get more posts than flame war bait about IDE, OS, or language choice.

Comment: Re:Luck plays a more important role than people kn (Score 1) 126

by ranton (#49700571) Attached to: How SpaceX and the Quest For Mars Almost Sunk Tesla Motors

So if luck is one of the key factors that make people successful, Elon Musk has proven statistics and probability are a completely broken field.

Elon Musk is currently worth about $12 billion. There are about 100 people in the world with a net worth that high. Elon Musk may be more diversified in his businesses than most billionaires, but he is not unique.

And no one is saying it only takes luck to be successful, just that luck is a key factor. Perhaps even the most important factor in becoming a billionaire. That can't be said for becoming a millionaire, which almost anyone can do with just hard work and almost no luck (other than perhaps being born in the developed world).

Comment: Re:Luck plays a more important role than people kn (Score 1) 126

by ranton (#49700301) Attached to: How SpaceX and the Quest For Mars Almost Sunk Tesla Motors

They found that the random 'lucky' events weren't really so random. Usually the 'lucky' people worked hard to put themselves in the position for that lucky break to happen. While something like winning the lottery does take luck, you still have to put yourself in the position to have that chance at luck.

That is a bit of a red herring when trying to limit the role of luck in monumental success stories. No one really thinks they can win the lottery without buying a lottery ticket. And they don't think they can become a billionaire without having ownership stock in a company.

Some people simply understand that a large percentage of people who do take smart risks still end up failing regardless of their level of ability or persistence. Its likely even the majority of persistent and highly skilled entrepreneurs end up never succeeding. This is important for people to understand when they are deciding what risks to take in life.

Comment: Re:23 down, 77 to go (Score 1) 861

by ranton (#49692955) Attached to: Religious Affiliation Shrinking In the US

I will certainly concede a lack of knowledge on Greek religious culture, and as long as your characterization is accurate (and I have no reason to doubt it) I would guess Greek religious tendencies have more to do with a strong religious culture than their economic woes. They are certainly not unique in the world, although they are fairly unique in the developed world.

TOTALY anecdotical, but from personal knowledge (for Russia and other Slavic countries): It is the young people that return! Old people are influenced by communism - either as fanatic communists (so fanatic Atheists) OR still afraid that "the monster may return, lets keep our heads down, stupid young people should not expose their belief". Keep in mind that those Slavic states are Orthodox also.

Here is the first study I came across detailing the demographics or religious belief in Russia. It appears that in 2008, 53% of 16-29 year old Russians believe in God, compared to 69% of ages 70+. It also showed that the religious beliefs of ages 16-69 are pretty constant, it is only those ages 70+ which are more religious. So I guess we can both see what we want to see from those stats, since even though there is a sharp drop-off for those under 70, there is no additional drop-off for the millennial generation.

It is odd that belief in God was inversely related to belief in the afterlife. I have no idea what to make of that.

hey most certainly do not "DIS-believe" in GOD(s) since they aren't sure GOD(s) DOESN'T exist. EACH Agnostic fill the full spectrum from assuming GOD(s) probably exist and assuming GOD(s) probably don't exist. But what ALL OF THEM lack is KNOWLEDGE BASED faith in a deity, or else they would not self-identify as agnostic. They would instead identify themselves as religious but still harbor some doubts, which probably describes most religious people.

When discussing religion, I guess I use the word "belief" as meaning religious belief. So lack of devotion to a deity is the same as lack of belief. So in this context the opposite of belief is not dis-belief, just lack of belief. I hope that adds clarity to my original statement, since I don't disagree with most of your more precise statements in the above quote.

I do disagree with the "EACH" qualifier you added in the second sentence though. Many agnostics believe there probably are god(s), they just have no idea what qualities they may have. Many agnostics also believe there is the same probability of god(s) existing as there are of unicorns being real. For instance I self-identify as both an atheist and agnostic (as most atheists educated in the subject do), so obviously I am on the latter end of the spectrum. And while this is purely anecdotal, every agnostic I have met who doesn't also claim to be atheist has been someone who has admitted to not putting much though into religion.

The problem is most Agnostics/"Atheists" can't even define themselves, i.e., what the terms mean TO THEM.

This is simply a product of trying to label complex beliefs with simple terms. Labeling all atheists or agnostics the same would be just as inaccurate as labeling all Christians the same. Or perhaps even labeling all religious beliefs as the same. To give just one example my mother and father are both Methodist, but they have very different opinions on the Bible's literalness.

Comment: Re:23 down, 77 to go (Score 1) 861

by ranton (#49688825) Attached to: Religious Affiliation Shrinking In the US

As a religious person my hopes are the opposite of yours as you understand.

Obviously, and I bear no ill will or judgement because of this.

I must mention to you that other research in Greece (very "free will" culture, so comparison to USA can be made) has found an opposite trend (and younger people returning in churches).

One thing I found interesting when reading a publication by the Child Trends organization was the relationship between economic advancement and religiosity. From a summary section: As countries develop economically, there is less emphasis on dominant religious traditions and
values and more emphasis placed on secular institutions.
This study was from 2000, but it does help illustrate why a country like Greece would be seeing an uptick in religious belief even though Europe as a whole does not show this trend (to the best of my knowledge).

Plus you must always take in consideration former "Atheist" by force (ex-Communist) states, e.g., Russia, where after decades of oppression/persecution religion is returning as a way of life. Also... China, the most "Atheist" country (90% i think - don't have the data now), where prediction about Christianity (!) gives hope to people like me.

I would assume that any country where religious belief was suppressed by force would see that religion return once the oppression is lifted. It would be interesting to see how that religion returns based on generational demographics though. If the youth are returning to religion at a lesser rate than older adults, it would show this religious resurgence is short lived. I couldn't find any statistics quickly on this though.

All people who have no affiliation believe in God (but don't belong to a church)

That is true, but they are on average more accepting of those with no religious beliefs. The lack of adherence to a particular set of dogma make them more open minded in general. That was what I meant by them creating an environment where lack of religious belief is not looked down upon.

"agnostics" are surely not what you are, even if often mistakenly categorized as people that don't believe in God.

They most certainly do not "believe" in God since they aren't sure gods even exist. Agnostics fill the full spectrum from assuming god(s) probably exist and assuming god(s) probably don't exist. But what they almost universally lack is faith in a deity, or else they would not self-identify as agnostic. They would instead identify themselves as religious but still harbor some doubts, which probably describes most religious people.

and most if not all Christians are agnostics to an extend (based on their "pathos", as in "experience" - of God) because God does not reveal to us fully, and does it in different ways and degree to each one.

I have never run into a study on religious belief where people who believe in God but are not 100% devout are identified as agnostic. Agnostic and atheist both have very loose definitions, but a lack of faith in a deity is one sure piece of common ground.

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