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Comment Re:They'll be trankful for that later (Score 1) 452

This needs moderating up. Anyone who thinks that renting is such a great financial choice needs to think about why rental property is available. Could it be because the rent plus appreciation on the property is worth more than the sum of the maintenance, rental management overhead, and either loan interest or opportunity cost from sinking the money into the building? If this isn't the case, expect either the rental prices to increase until it is or the availability of rented accommodation to plummet. If it is, then you might want to rethink you notion that you're so smart to be making money for someone else.

Comment Re:Most politicans say they want affordable housin (Score 1) 452

The problem is the rate of change. If house prices drop significantly, then you have people with negative equity and so they can't easily relocate for a job, can't remortgage (so may be stuck with very bad terms on a variable rate mortgage), and so on. If property prices go up too much, then the income needed to save for a deposit goes up a lot as well. Ideally, house price inflation, retail price index inflation, and wage inflation would all be the same. Unfortunately, each one of these is smaller than the previous one currently and that leaves you with a situation where owning property is more lucrative than working.

Comment Re:Priorities (Score 1) 452

There are two issues: Are you saving a sensible amount, will that amount ever amount to the ability to purchase a house. They're related, but they're not the same: there are lots of reasons to have a good safety net other than saving for a house. I'd be very nervous if I only had $1,000 in liquid assets.

I did the calculations a few months ago for a postdoc trying to buy a house here in Cambridge. Assuming that property prices and salaries keep increasing at the rates that they have been for the last few years (not necessarily a given - I actually picked a slightly lower number for house price growth given Brexit) and assuming that you need a 20% deposit for a house, the amount of the deposit will go up by 10-25% (over 10 years) of the gross (pre-tax) salary of a postdoc per year. Even if you save 10% of your gross income (basically impossible with rental prices here) now, you're not actually getting any closer to a house deposit, and next year that 10% will be higher. That's basically unsustainable, but if you don't have savings then you won't be able to buy when the bubble bursts.

Comment Re:Priorities (Score 1) 452

easing an expensive car you can show off instead of buying one more practical

buying a new car instead of a used car

replacing a car after using it just 3 years

Or, in many cases, buying a car at all. Before I bought my first house, I looked at the difference in price for somewhere cheaper a bit out of town and then added in the running costs of a car (which I didn't need living in the city) and, counting appreciation and depreciation, came to the conclusion that not buying a car was a better financial bet. I'd done something similar earlier when I was renting: the monthly operating costs of a car were more than the difference in rent between somewhere near the middle of town and somewhere far enough out that I'd need to drive. The last time this came up, someone posted a detailed analysis that someone had done for the US.

Cars cost a lot to maintain, insure, and fuel, and depreciate over their lifetime. The benefits only outweigh the costs if you have a well-paid job out in the countryside.

Comment Re:Keep XUL extensions silly. (Score 1) 236

The existing Firefox extensions API gives direct access to things that, in any other modern browser, are in different security domains and completely isolated aside from a set of regularly audited communication channels. You can't retain it with compartmentalisation unless you want all of the extensions to be exploit vectors.

Comment Re:Priorities (Score 1) 452

A smartphone is now pretty close to being essential. An expensive one is not. My phone is now over 3 years old (and cost about £100 then) and still does everything I need it to. I'm on a pre-pay contract and typically spend about £1/month on it. I'll probably replace it soon, because it hasn't had security updates for a little while (I don't trust it with any important data, passwords, and so on, but people are increasingly using SMS for two-factor auth so that's starting to be an issue).

I quite often see students with far less disposable income than me spending £600 on a brand-new iPhone and then £10-20/month on a contract for it. This isn't a new phenomenon by any means, but a lot of people seem really bad at doing cost-benefit analyses.

Comment Re:Thank your parrents (Score 1) 452

This is how people you fight poverty. Maintain the family unit, help your children to become more successful than yourself.

I'd argue exactly the opposite. Parents are now one of the biggest mortgage lenders in the UK and this has increased wealth inequality: your parents' wealth is now a bigger indicator of whether you'll be able to afford a house than your personal income. If this continues, you'll see a greater divide between those born to well-off parents and those who weren't.

Comment Re:Keep XUL extensions silly. (Score 1) 236

Want to keep Firefox competitive, allow XUL extensions

Compartmentalised rendering or XUL, pick one. If you pick compartmentalisation, people complain that you've broken their plugins. If you pick XUL, people complain that a bug exploited in a one tab allowed an attacker to compromise your entire browser and get at all of the credentials that the browser can access.

and Windows XP,

So, you want an insecure browser running on an insecure (i.e. known vulnerabilities, being exploited in the wild, no patches available) OS?

Comment Re:Great! (Score 3, Informative) 657

There are a lot of proposals, but the fully costed ones I've seen for the UK set the UBI rate at about the same as the current tax-free earning allowance. They then raise each of the tax brackets' rates by a few percent, and introduce one extra one for people earning more than £100K/year. The last one I looked at would leave me about £1000/year worse off, but people on minimum wage jobs better off. It would also be likely to bring a lot of people back into part-time work, as they wouldn't face losing unemployment benefits if they worked a little bit (and would be paying tax on that income for every pound that they actually earned, though at a low rate). It seemed like a pretty good deal for me.

Comment Re:Science is Still Communicated by World of Mouth (Score 1) 72

There's some truth to the grandparent. There are enough papers published now that the ones that I'm most likely to read are ones where someone says 'this was an interesting paper, you should read it', rather than simply reading all of the ones published in relevant journals (on top of the pile of ones that I have to review).

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