Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Comment Re:Sentiment is worthless. Action matters. (Score 4, Insightful) 350

Few companies are as well resourced to help change the world as Apple but sadly Apple and Cook are doing little with that opportunity.

Sadly, our capitalist system is ill-suited to the kind of altruistic effort you describe. Fiduciary responsibility prevents most corporations from taking risks for the common good.

I have what I call the Elon Musk Rule for Billionaires: If you're doing even 1/10th of the public good as Elon does, then you deserve your billions. But if you're just another hedge-funder, sitting on your Smaug hoard, then you -- or rather the fact that you are a billionaire -- is not doing any good for the rest of us. Furthermore, the fact that you are keeping all that coin in your hoard, and out of circulation, is in fact a detriment to the rest of us. You are nothing more than a blood-sucking parasite with a fancy suit and a Ferrari.

It's worth noting that both SpaceX and Tesla were started as private companies (and SpaceX is still private) precisely because Elon knew he could never get away with such risky behavior as a public corporation.

Comment Re:This is just the beginning (Score 4, Interesting) 98

After nearly a decade of QE, and with prime interest rate next to zero, there's a lot of "hot money" floating around in search of "investment" opportunities. International corporations have a couple trillion (collectively) parked in off-shore tax havens -- against which they can borrow at borrow at rock-bottom rates, and then use that money to buy-back their own stock and pad the already obscene bonuses of their fat-cat CEOs.

This is just another bubble, pumped up by the shameless, libertine excess of the FED's printing press. Look for more "volatility" like this in the future as the bubble nears its bursting point.

Comment Re:THIS is why politics sucks ... (Score 1) 524

I call BS. I remember 1972, and it was very different from 2016. It was the height of the Cold War; anti-communist sentiment was at its peak. Income inequality was trivial by today's standards. It was before Buckley v. Valeo, so money in politics was also trivial by today's standards. The biggest issues of 1972 were the Vietnam war (and the draft) and civil rights. And let's not forget the whole Eagleton affair...

Look at some polling data. People under 45 don't give a shit about socialism these days. People under 35 have a higher opinion of socialism than capitalism. All of Bernie's core issues -- $15/hr minimum wage, universal healthcare, free college tuition, etc -- are all wildly popular. To this day, Bernie remains the single most well-liked politician in the country.

Instead of "protecting" the party from "extreme" candidates, the super-delegate system gave Dems the well-deserved appearance of corruption and insider fixing. As for closed primaries... I've got news for you, the general elections are always "open" not closed. Doesn't make much sense to be actively courting moderate GOP voters in the general when you won't let them vote in the primary.

Comment Re:THIS is why politics sucks ... (Score 1) 524

While I understand (and agree with) your overall point, I blame that on the media rather than the voters. Case in point: the Bernie Sanders campaign. He had a clear message (economic inequality) and relentlessly hammered a handful of issues above all... and he was hugely successful. He started from nowhere, with zero name recognition, and closed a 60-point gap against Clinton in less than a year. And if not for the "super-delegates" and other hurdles (such as closed primaries) he might very well have beaten her for the nomination.

Bottom line: 2016 was an anti-establishment, populist "wave" election. Trump and Sanders both ran as anti-establishment populists; Hillary ran as the status-quo, establishment candidate. More than any other reason, that's why she lost.

The establishment all wanted Hillary to win, and indeed expected her to win... if not they would never have given Trump so much free air time -- while simultaneously ignoring Bernie's rock-star public appearances.

And don't forget, Trump also had a clear set of core issues that he hammered relentlessly: immigration; 'the wall'; Muslim ban; trade agreements; etc.. Voters do respond to issues, even if they're stupid ones.

Comment Re: Begging the question (Score 2) 465

Did you get that nugget knowledge from another Trump supporter on the Internet?

Actually that "nugget" is a frequent feature of Elon Musk's rhetoric. Apparently he's off a bit... but the the overall point still holds. Anything less than about 273-deg Kelvin would be inhospitable to life as we know it. (Not to mention that plants could not live without CO2...)

Did you get that nugget knowledge from another Trump supporter on the Internet?

Hmm... you seem to have me confused with someone else. I'm a Bernie-crat who held his nose and voted for HRC last November.

The point here is not the CO2 is either "good" or "bad"... the point is that the precise amount of CO2 turns out to be hugely important. Even a miniscule change can have drastic repercussions.

Comment Re:Delusional (Score 3, Informative) 524

but no doesn't matter. it's all Hillary's fault.

Yeah, exactly. This election should not have been close. Any decent candidate should have whupped Trump's ass by a comfortable margin. Hell, polls showed Bernie Sanders beating him by double digits in the week before the election -- at a time when HRC was only a couple of points ahead.

And in fact she did beat him by a couple of points, just not in the states where it mattered! So yeah... it WAS her fault.

By the way, don't blame me. I voted for her. (Much fucking good it did me...)

Comment Re:Delusional (Score 5, Insightful) 524

Here's my quick, off-the-cuff list of things she could have done to win:
1. Show up in Wisconsin during the campaign at least once.
2. Show up in a union hall in Michigan at least once.
3. Make yard signs available to her supporters. (Apparently Robby Mook thought them "old fashioned".)
4. Select an even mildly inspiring running mate, instead of Mr. Boring, Tim Kaine.
5. Tell Obama to stop lobbying for TPP while she's ostensibly running against it.
6. Have a clear message about why she wants to be president, not just that she's "the most qualified candidate in history".
7. Run on a core set of important issues, instead of being for a laundry list of vague "good things".
8. Don't spend 75% of your ad money on anti-Trump "he's a bad man" spots (spend it on #7, above).
9. Tell Debbie Wasserman-Schultz to stop rigging the primaries, so that when Podesta's emails get leaked, there's no "shenanigans" to get exposed.
10. Don't have a private email server in your closet, so there's nothing for James Comey to investigate in the first place.
11. Don't give speeches to Goldman Sachs for $225k a pop just a few years after the financial crisis, and just a couple of years before the election.

I could go on, but my fingers are getting tired...

Comment Re:Who will pay for it? (Score 1) 747

And when that CEO stands up at the annual X-mas party and toasts the employees "without whom none of this would have been possible"... he'd better head for the door before his 9 employees open those 'bonus' envelopes and realize how unfairly they've been treated. If I had a 10% share in the production of $50M in profits, and the CEO took $40M for himself, and I only get a couple-hundred grand, I would be pretty pissed.

It's one thing to have a 100-to-1 pay ratio for the boss of a company with 90,000 employees, but 9???

I would take that bonus and immediately start looking for a different job.

Comment Re:Who will pay for it? (Score 1) 747

If you are prepared to end 100% of all other welfare system elements: ... then there's a fair starting point for discussion.

The discussion is already underway, a main topic being how much of the traditional welfare state can be eliminated with a UBI. Murray, for example, thinks the UBI should go to all adults, 18 to 64, while existing social security and medicare should remain in place for those 65 and above.

Personally, I would also keep disability support. If you get paralysed in a car wreck, UBI is not likely to be sufficient for your expenses.

There are lots of ways to skin this cat. Some think the UBI should go to all people, regardless of age; some think minors should get a smaller amount (going to their parents as a form a child support). Some think it should be funded by income tax; others favor a corporate tax or whatever.

The bottom line is, we're going to have to figure this out eventually, and probably sooner than we expect. We already know that self-driving vehicles are going to eliminate 3 million jobs in the next 5~10 years... automation and AI will only continue to chip away at opportunities for human labor. What are we going to do when there simply are not enough jobs to go around? If not a UBI, what would you suggest?

Comment Re:Who will pay for it? (Score 1) 747

I know the leftists love this idea,

It's not just a leftist idea. Milton Friedman was in favor of it. Indeed, our earned income tax credit (in the USA) was based on Friedman's ideas. Hayek also supported a variation of it. More recently, on the right, Charles Murray (author of The Bell Curve) is a strong proponent of the UBI.

it takes away incentive to do business in countries with UBI

On the contrary, it frees up the creativity of the masses by allowing people to take entrepreneurial chances. If you're dependent on a shitty job, you're stuck. But if you have a minimal income as a backup, you can say "no" to a shitty job and try to start your own business... or at least feel more confident about saying "no" and looking for a better job.

Many countries already have high tax rates, high minimum wages, etc., and yet companies still do business there, and their economies are doing just fine. Plus, you can save a bundle on things like unemployment insurance, because they're no longer needed.

How do you pay for it? There are lots of ways, but just for the sake of argument, let's limit the scope to income tax. If you want everybody to have a UBI of $10k/yr (for example) you could put a flat 15% surtax on income above that threshold, then by the time to start earning about $80k you hit the break-even point between what you put in and what you take out. So the people earning more than $80k will be supporting those who earn less, and the more you earn, the more you contribute... on an absolute basis. But as a ratio of your income, you're still contributing the exact same amount as everybody else.

It gets the job done, and it's totally fair, since everyone receives the UBI (even rich people) and everyone contributes the same portion of their above-UBI income to the pot.

Comment Re:Regulatory capture (Score 1) 384

A much simpler and quicker fix is to just shift the subsidies to cleaner energy.

That would be nice, but at this point it's not necessary. Renewables are already undercutting the cost of fossil energy in most areas, even without subsidies (and even though most fossil fuels are heavily subsidized). And all indications are that renewables will only continue to get cheaper while fossil fuels will only continue to get more expensive. If we're not already past the tipping point, we will be soon.

Another tipping point in the near future is energy storage. Tesla claims to have already broken the $200/kwh threshold, and rumor has it they may in fact be closer to $130/kwh. Again, with all the VC cash that's been invested in battery tech in the last decade, this cost will keep going down for a while yet.

The future looks bright for renewables, not so much for fossils.

Slashdot Top Deals

We don't really understand it, so we'll give it to the programmers.

Working...