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Comment: Re:We don't all live in the USA. (Score 1) 143

by swb (#48912883) Attached to: Davos 2015: Less Innovation, More Regulation, More Unrest. Run Away!

I think the problem is you can't pack up a whole economy and move it.

If your wealth is dependent on the US domestic economy and it tanks because of civil unrest, a lot of wealthy people will be unwealthy before they can even reconsider relocating.

There's also the question of "what is money?" and are you really rich still if you have to convert your money to another currency with a different local buying power, especially if your native currency dives or is sinking when you try to convert it.

There's also the question of competition for safe overseas havens; if the availability is limited, you're now competing with just the rich, so unless you're elite rich, you may lose out altogether.

And what kind of haven are you expecting? A self-sustaining kind of pre-20th century British estate of farms and light industry? At the end of the day it sounds like a mash-up of a Ralph Lauren ad with survivalism.

Comment: Re:There's a whole industry based around Elite Pan (Score 1) 143

by swb (#48912841) Attached to: Davos 2015: Less Innovation, More Regulation, More Unrest. Run Away!

I seem to remember reading something about the risks of the low profile merely wealthy, people who aren't famous or especially politically connected and whose wealth is never-work-again kinds of money but not Glided Age, family dynasty wealth and isn't tied to control of a specific corporation or revenue-generating entity.

Apparently they are targeted at many levels because they have limited options for their liquid assets. They're at risk from being ripped off by their investments, at risk from embezzlement, targeting by the IRS for tax problems, even possibly targeted by crooked cops and politicians.

When I'm fantasizing about winning the hundreds of millions lottery, I sometimes wonder how someone like me with little understanding of "real" money would structure the money so that it would be harder to get ripped off. Like hiring multiple investment advisors for chunks of money, hiring auditors to check up on the investment advisors and various lawyers kept independent from each other, all of it designed to be a series of checks and balances.

After a while, I can see where the paranoia comes from. It's kind of like being a dictator who has several security services he uses to spy on the others, hoping that it breeds enough insecurity to keep them all more or less honest.

Comment: Re:We Really Don't (Score 1) 146

by Black Parrot (#48910827) Attached to: How Do We Know the Timeline of the Universe?

Sorry... I was going for the joke and didn't pitch it very well. My actual views are more like yours.

As for the reality of the subject matter, I would borrow the concept of "probably approximately correct" from machine learning, and give it a 90-95% chance of being ~80% correct. (The 80% is lower to allow room for some more big discoveries like inflation.)

Unfortunately, people will be (hopefully) studying this for thousands of years on top of the <100 we have so far, and none of us will live to see how it turns out in the long term.

Comment: Re:I have an idea.. (Score 1) 283

It's like the old Texan saying: "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, can't get fooled again."

I always heard it as: "Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me."

And of course, the word of choice usually wasn't "fool".

(Is this really a regional saying?)

Comment: I wonder if they're still updated (Score 1) 245

by swb (#48908635) Attached to: Plan C: The Cold War Plan Which Would Have Brought the US Under Martial Law

I wonder if any of these plans are still being updated, even if it's only by some guy in a basement office someplace.

Obviously China is still of interest, but most of them are extremely unlikely, although you wonder if there are times where it gets thought about. France after the attempt on De Gaulle or the possibility of a left-wing revolution in 1968, maybe even about Marine LePen. Mexico might warrant some kind of what-ifs around a failed state status. Germany and Japan are occupied by US forces now, but maybe there's some political theorizing about a populist/nativist Japanese party gaining power. Germany seems like the worst candidate, with the only situations I can imagine revolving around a collapse of the Euro and some kind of German administration of European economies, which seems unlikely.

Comment: Re:That's a lot of lifetimes (Score 1) 54

by swb (#48908195) Attached to: "Once In a Lifetime" Asteroid Sighting Monday Night

Yes you can see shooting stars nearly every night but this flyby is maybe worth missing a little sleep if you have the gear and diligence to be able to see it.

Call me a cynic, but if you can't see it with the naked eye, is it really that interesting?

I'm sure it's maybe a big deal for people with telescopes and greater than average interest in astronomy, but for people not in that category it seems like it would just be one more flash of light through a telescope.

Comment: Re:Nope (Score 1) 325

by swb (#48897649) Attached to: UHD Spec Stomps on Current Blu-ray Spec, But Will Consumers Notice?

Maybe if the rights weren't such a cluster fuck, we would have offline Netflix where the movie could be stored locally for offline viewing.

Unfortunately the rights holders and the wireless internet providers seem to be in some kind of Mexican standoff over who is the greediest asshole.

If LTE data was 10x cheaper (ie, my 10G plan was 100G), it would solve most of the stream only issues. There would still be some corner cases like long aircraft trips or weird rural areas.

Comment: Love collision avoidance in my Volvo (Score 3, Interesting) 300

by swb (#48892907) Attached to: Government Recommends Cars With Smarter Brakes

If I had bought my car new and was looking at features to add or avoid, I would have put the collision avoidance system on my "meh" list and would not have paid extra for it.

As it turns out, I really like it. I have the control setup for maximum distance, which means more false alerts. But although most alerts seem "false" they're only false because I'm really paying attention and have anticipated the traffic in front of me. About 25% of the time I think it's actually valuable and there was some risk of either a really quick stop or maybe even a fender bender.

The feature that goes along with it (they share the same radar system), distance sensing cruise control, I REALLY like. I wish it would beep or something when you get behind a vehicle driving 3+ MPH slower than your set point. On the Interstate its kind of easy to get in traffic going slower than I want to by small amounts and not noticing it because the car just matches pace with the vehicle in front.

I am not now, nor have I ever been, a member of the demigodic party. -- Dennis Ritchie

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