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Comment: Re:Government picking favorites (Score 1) 41

by lgw (#46777065) Attached to: Bidding At FCC TV Spectrum Auction May Be Restricted For Large Carriers

Broadcast TV is a howling wasteland and its arguments that it offers some sort of valuable public service aren't exactly getting more convincing as time goes on.

Sadly true, and truly sad. But it would be a shame if we auctioned off all the cool frequencies this year, then invented some amazing new wireless tech 5-10 years from now, and had no place to put it.

Comment: Re:perception (Score 1) 189

by lgw (#46776557) Attached to: GoPro Project Claims Technology Is Making People Lose Empathy For Homeless

ill. Ron reagon shut them down to give tax breaks to wall street assholes, and tossed them onto the streets.

Ronald Reagan's tax breaks resulted in increased government revenue, is the thing. Voodoo economics actually worked. Was can argue about where we are now on the Laffer curve, but we know the Carter-era tax brackets were past the point of negative returns.

Why the asylums were closed is anyone's guess. It seems a huge mistake to me, and it cost very little in the scope of government social programs. I could never make sense of that - not even a tinfoil hat theory.

Comment: Re:perception (Score 1) 189

by lgw (#46776549) Attached to: GoPro Project Claims Technology Is Making People Lose Empathy For Homeless

Shantytowns are also a disaster waiting to happen. While there are certainly cynical reasons for outlawing them, a fire that sweeps a shantytown and kills several people, or a flood where a shantytown was built on a floodplain, is a non-cynical reason (and these things have happened). So now we have trailer parks instead, which are harder to afford to be sure, but not by much. You can be pretty far down on your luck and still manage a trailer - I should know.

Comment: Re:perception (Score 1) 189

by lgw (#46776535) Attached to: GoPro Project Claims Technology Is Making People Lose Empathy For Homeless

Interesting assertion. I think the government (or parts of it) benefits greatly by creating a permanent underclass dependent on government assistance (giving a man a fish while trying to prevent him from learning to fish). We've seen plenty of clear historical and current evidence of people in power using aid to the poor to create a supply of loyal followers. There's little that's more creepy than a "free" school with the patron's picture everywhere and lessons everyday on what a good person the patron is and so on - this is still common today in parts of the world, as is becoming a powerful government/religious leader because of it. And to me, a poorly structured government charity (one that actually penalizes moving to a minimum wage job) has the same creepy vibe, if to a lesser degree.

I give to charities that focus on improving communities become self-sufficient and breaking these kinds of traps (though I do have one religious charity I'm slightly skeptical of, they have a solid reputation). Precisely providing that kind of aid without the "and you only have to me my loyal follower" strings attached.

Do we have much evidence of government assistance that actually fixes underlying problems, rather than help keep people satisfies with things as they are? I like to see some rays of hope in that area, somewhere!

Comment: Re:perception (Score 5, Insightful) 189

by lgw (#46775387) Attached to: GoPro Project Claims Technology Is Making People Lose Empathy For Homeless

The biggest problem as I see it is that so many people think it's the government's job now. After all, we pay a lot of taxes and the government has a lot of social programs. Why do more? I used to think that way myself.

But these days, I just accept my taxes as a total loss, and only count as charity what I give to good charities that I trust. I also prefer charities focused on fixing the underlying issues, over the merely palliative.

Comment: Re:Holy shit (Score 1) 377

by ranton (#46775331) Attached to: Survey: 56 Percent of US Developers Expect To Become Millionaires

The IRS max annual contribution to a 401(k) is $17,500. So unless you are getting a really tremendous return on your investments it may take a little longer than you think. Of course you can save in other retirement vehicles...

With a 10% annual growth, you hit a million in 20 years. That grows to $5 million in about 35 years. That becomes $2.5 million after 35 years when you count inflation, but that still shows it is pretty easy to hit a million in any professional level job.

Comment: Re:perception (Score 2) 189

by lgw (#46775239) Attached to: GoPro Project Claims Technology Is Making People Lose Empathy For Homeless

In the 18th Century, cities were so small and mixed that the rich **had to see the poor** daily. They had to see how they lived, open on the streets.

And so a common solution at the time was to occasionally have the cops beat all the beggars out of town with cudgels. No more problem with seeing the homeless.

The issue isn't seeing, the issue is caring. (And personally, my charity goes to people around the world with much worse problems than America's "poor", people whom I will never see, but that's just me.)

Comment: Re:Yay for government!!! (Score 1, Informative) 104

by lgw (#46775205) Attached to: Industry-Wide Smartphone "Kill Switch" Closer To Reality

People sent texts from protest marches in Iran and some of the Arab spring stuff, and the governments weren't successful in stopping that. Also, you need a bigger hammer to keep people from using their phones to record police shooting at the crowd or other abuses. Remotely wiping the phones is a great win for dictators everywhere.

Comment: Re:Partial statistics (Score 1) 95

by lgw (#46775027) Attached to: Steam's Most Popular Games

Wow, I quite the HL franchise halfway through Ep 2 it stank so badly. All subjective I guess.

I still go back and play HL1 every couple of years, followed by OpFor and BlueShift. I think that was the peak of single player FPS gaming, and it's been gradually downhill ever since as focus shifted to multiplayer, or incorporated RPG elements. (Quake 4 was also pretty good, but it was a deliberate throwback to those days).

Not that I hate FPS RPGs, but it's a different genre.

Comment: Re:Holy shit (Score 1) 377

by lgw (#46774317) Attached to: Survey: 56 Percent of US Developers Expect To Become Millionaires

Most employers match that at least a little. Long term tax-free growth of "double every 10 years" is reasonable to expect from stocks. After 30 years, having 70 years of savings is a reasonable goal. Of course, your pay's going up and inflation is too and so on, but still, becoming a millionaire from 30 years of 401K savings is quite practical. Doing the same for "millionaire in today's dollars", a far more interesting goal, is quite practical given 40 years of 401K savings.

Of course, best to save more elsewhere, and try to retire earlier than 40 years.

Comment: Re:Holy shit (Score 2) 377

by lgw (#46774263) Attached to: Survey: 56 Percent of US Developers Expect To Become Millionaires

Gold is a good measure of inflation if you take the 10-year-average, or maybe the 20-year, of gold prices. While gold is hopelessly volatile in the short term, it seems to keep reasonably equivalent purchasing power century-by-century.

Home prices work out about the same, BTW. While real estate markets can be just as volatile, long term house prices are flat with inflation, which makes a lot of sense (the % of income people are willing/able to spend on housing won't change unless human nature changes, so you expect the average house to represent a given amount of purchasing power).

"There is hopeful symbolism in the fact that flags do not wave in a vacuum." --Arthur C. Clarke

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