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Comment Chromium (Score 1) 278

Web browser - Chromium. Not Chrome; I've been using open-source Chromium, and it logs into Google and acts like Chrome just fine.

Real GNOME, not that Mate/Cinnamon bullshit.

Evolution is no longer the horrible horse shit it used to be. E-mail, calendar, and the lot go fine in Evo. Just make sure you get the latest versions of the plug-ins for things like Google Calendar and any Office 365 integration (Outlook365) available; Google Calendar broke for multiple releases in Ubuntu! Likewise, Evo kept breaking with the Gnome Online Accounts agent, requiring restarts of the goa-daemon and Evolution; there was a patch for that (Fedora got it, Ubuntu didn't until the next release).

If we're going Gnome, do Gnome-terminal, gedit, and the lot. Honestly, though, I'd like to split the desktop installs. Gnome-shell, MATE, XFCE, whatever, bring along their own application suites; this is dumb. Maybe I don't want Gedit, Gnome-terminal, and the lot; maybe I want the minimal functional Gnome-Shell, and then the XFCE suite. I quite like Mousepad over Gedit. There should be a gnome-desktop-environment and a gnome-desktop-suite, and maybe I install gnome-desktop-environment with xfce-desktop-suite.

Don't know what to say about office. LibreOffice is a horrible piece of shit and there's no real alternative.

Comment Re:So much for states' rights (Score 1) 190

That's a short and undetailed version, yes. My point was that rapid roll-out of new technology eliminates jobs faster than people can transition, which causes an economic crash. Mature tech doesn't show up overnight (usually), so you want to encourage industry to look at up-and-coming tech so that it gets deployed in pieces. That gets into complex business concepts about risk, competition, ROIs, speculation, and so forth; the short of it is businesses don't agree on when the most-advantageous time is to make a move (even when they all agree on what the state-of-the-art is), or on the rate at which to move (all at once, staged roll-out, pilots, early growth and late replacement, etc.).

One thing, though.

People who drive taxis now can learn to do other jobs later

People who get excessed generally apply the same skills elsewhere. Coal miners become salt miners, various types of engineers, or construction workers and foremen, etc., mostly with the skills they have or with minimal retraining. There's a fantasy of turning coal miners into programmers that exists largely so people can point out that you don't turn coal miners into programmers. Essentially, "retraining" is a myth; the displaced only expand their skill set, like a Java programmer becoming a C# programmer (no, programming isn't about knowing a programming language; I know tons of programming languages on a deep and technical level, and I'm missing foundational skills required to be an effective programmer).

If you transition too many people too fast, you just get unemployment. You drop people out in mid-career with no equivalent career into which to move.

Otherwise, you get things like the older bunch just retiring (many people take a few years of late retirement, but they don't generally seek jobs if they get lain off after retirement age), the younger bunch either staying in college longer or adjusting their career path (fewer entrants into the industry), and less new immigrant labor.

It can be awfully hard on people in transition, or people who didn't want to transition, but we can do things to make it easier for them.

Those "things" that we can do now (but haven't yet implemented) would do hilarious things to our economy, like reduce the severity and duration of recessions, eliminate all homelessness and hunger, slow down technological replacement of jobs by reducing the cost of labor, speed the uptake of replacement jobs by increasing consumer stability, and so forth. That doesn't even get into the other niceties like stabilizing our welfare system and eliminating all current problems in the OASDI system in particular.

It's far from a perfect world, but it's one that we'd be embarrassed to admit we didn't build sooner if we ever saw it.

The problem is we've got the modern class warfare politics. Trump built his support base on the radicalized middle-class, a phenomena that has occurred every 30-50 years throughout history. Basically, convince 80% of the population that either the rich are taking all the fucking money ("Hillary is pro-establishment, Trump is anti-establishment" is about this), the poor are taking all the fucking money (focus on welfare systems as broken and costly instead of on social problems as requiring improvements to our welfare system are this), or both, and you get 80% of the votes.

So why is this important?

Well, let's say we implemented a universal social security (I designed one; it's a favorite topic of mine; you've seen it before). Two-adult, married-filing-jointly households with no income source get $17,502 of untaxed income every year under this system. The entire impact on those looks like this.

See the problem?

Hint: it's all the way to the right.

That red line is current take-home income after taxes; the blue bar represents the take-home after taxes under a universal social security. The rough, unadjusted system actually cuts the top tax bracket from 39.6% to 34.8%; and an adjusted system is unlikely to raise that above 38%--including childcare welfare and even HUD housing assistance on extended life-support. Taxes on business profits fall from 35% to 32.5%; business payroll taxes fall by 0.9%.

Do you know how much that pisses people off? I've pointed out to people that they, personally, would have over $10,000 more spendable income--$10k less going off to taxes--and they've either said that that's not good if the poor don't get shit for not working, or if we don't tax the rich their fair share. (What's fair?) Nobody cares about the poor; nor do they care about stabilizing the middle-class, even the ones who face the consequences of recession (i.e. sudden unemployment because fuck, the economy shat itself).

People have long stopped arguing that it doesn't work, because I got too good at arguing that it does work. Long, drawn-out technical arguments squash every attempt to reason why the system is broken; instead, I have to deal with people asserting that the system is broken because it doesn't hurt people they don't like.

I kept hearing about this "class warfare" thing--it was a favorite line of Republican pundits for a while--but it never really sunk in. Now I see it.

Comment Re:Amazon Prime (Score 1) 100

You pay the inflated prices even if you're not a Prime member. It's fair game by FTC rules. I've noticed various retailers also will sell the same heavy thing for $20 + $23 shipping, or for $43 + $2.99 shipping. Needless to say, I am not happy about all the shipping I paid on my 50 pound bag of sodium percarbonate.

So yeah, we're aware Amazon charges higher prices to offset shipping costs. They just do it for everyone, regardless of shipping method or membership.

Comment Re:Normal (Score 3, Informative) 100

I keep hearing this from crazy people, and it keeps not being true. I've worked in retail, but that doesn't matter; what matters is I've actually looked at prices for things, piled up loads and loads of shit I wanted to buy but didn't want to go $4,000 into credit card debt for, and so have frequently been watching when the prices drop for holiday sales and other bullshit.

The truth is they think a $5 flash drive that actually costs $15 and usually retails for $20 will get you in the store to buy a $500 TV that actually costs $400 and is marked down from its typical price of $529.99. They're still operating on the same NOP margin (in retail, that's often like 5%-8%); they're using seasonal hype and a loss-leader model to induce you to buy more so they can profit by volume.

Comment Re:Here's one way around this (Score 3, Interesting) 119

The right to anonymity of these people must be guaranteed by the state. Same as if they were mafia stoolies. With an added penalty to redress the loss of revenue to Glassdoor by having people turned off engaging in its process in case they are outed, in the case that the anonymity of the witnesses is broken.

This may mean that anything directly from these people is inadmissable, but that can still be used to investigate something that IS admissable evience.

To corporations and the government, the trial at the center of all this is simply a means to an end, a convenient opportunity to accomplish the underlying goal: Destroying Glassdoor and setting in place a heavy disincentive for anyone else thinking of attempt to start a similar kind of service that reveals what many powerful people and businesses would wish to be ignored by everyone. It also serves government power-creep in eroding citizen's personal privacy rights & expectations.

Seeing as there is a rotating door between many mid- to high-level government positions and private-sector industries and corporations, it makes perfect sense that that they would team-up to destroy Glassdoor and make an example of them.


Comment Re:This is a tough one (Score 1) 119

Bad idea.

So is a government becoming too corrupt and authoritarian.

At some point, even a screwed-up, dumbed-down, self-absorbed, materialistic population like exists currently in the US will only tolerate so much before the Bubba Effect kicks in and people start shooting and burning anyone and anything to do with the federal government and anyone acting on their behalf. You got a small taste with Trump's election of the population's frustration with those in government. I believe that for many that voted for Trump, this is their last attempt to try to fix things in the federal government using legal & peaceful methods.

If things remain pretty much business as usual in D.C. & the Beltway things could get very, very ugly in the US by 2020.

'Interesting times' indeed.


Comment Re:Who gave them the money? (Score 1) 190

That's not the point. Google's car can see dogs ffs, and it seems like every dog is a different kind of dog!

The point is companies can say, "Yay! No rules!" and go fuck off somewhere, or they can make a determined effort to make sure their shit works. These cars don't rely on just the magical Cone of Certified Construction Zone Presence; they identify pedestrians, high-visibility jacket construction workers, sink holes, curbs, parked cars with no V2V, passengers inside parked cars, backhoes, trees, debris, and other shit by looking with cameras, LiDAR, and other such stuff. They basically try to do what the human eyes and brain do when it encounters an object: identify first ts physical details, then if it matches a known object. If it doesn't match a known object, it's still shit in the way, and it's still moving or stationary.

It's likely they'll handle those situations because it's reasonably doable, and because negligence will cause large amounts of harm to the business image. Congress is waving a carrot in front of these people, but they've seen the stick before and they know it's there somewhere.

Comment Re:It's just money (Score 2) 255

where money, which is a made-up human construct meant to facilitate the trade in real goods and services, has become more important than said real goods and services.

Not even. It just demonstrates that sensationalist news can reach out to people who don't understand monetary systems.

Economies are demand driven. You know where jobs come from? We have people buying 20,000 tables a week, and each 1 person can make 1 tables per week. We have 19,500 people making tables. ... we can't do it. Welp, we better hire 500 more people.

To supply those jobs, you pay wages. $10/hr and 40 hours of total human time to make a table? Table costs $400. If you don't charge at least $400 for that table, there's no way you can pay your workers. If the consumers can't pay at least $400 for a table, there's no way we're producing that many tables and providing the jobs unless we find a way to make tables with less total human time (or, really, wage-labor cost, which means just reduce wage x time--hence why replacing 100 hours at $10/hr with 30 hours at $20/hr makes sense, thus computers and machines and such).

So what's money backed by? Well, not gold. Money is backed by production, eventually. All the money spent represents all the stuff produced. If you produce 100 pounds of grain, sell 80, and 20 go to rot, you expended all the labor to make 100 pounds of rice; you just have to charge 25% more per pound to cover the wages, and now all that money represents 80 pounds of rice. Your production methods are wasteful; learn to avoid an undersupply of rice by better-predicting the market or storing rice in ways which allow a longer shelf life.

What's that got to do with hoards of money?

Our central bank--here in the US--tries to achieve a 2% inflation benchmark. We measure a certain basket of goods to benchmark inflation, because "inflation" is a concept and not a real thing: technology, profit margins, and prices vary between not just different goods, but different producers, stores, regions. 10% inflation does not mean that every single price tag on every good everywhere went up by 10% simultaneously because that never happens.

We have a fractional reserve system. The Fed issues $1, the banks can loan $10. That means every $11 out there roughly correlates to $1 of issued currency and $10 of loaned money. With credit cards and business accounts, most of the money is in banks, and buying things moves it from account to account.

So what happens when you stockpile money?

Money stockpiled here sits in banks, where it ceases to participate in the economy. The banks still loan out $10, but that $1 doesn't move from account to account as it's used for purchases. Hoarding $1 billion removes $1 billion from the money supply; the Fed has to issue an additional $0.1 billion when it pushes for that 2% inflation, or else it will fall short of inflation goals.

What if you stockpile it in Ireland?

Money stockpiled in Ireland is theoretically out of the U.S. banking system. All $11 of it--the cash and the fractional loans--are gone. Hide $1Bn in Ireland and the Fed has to issue $1Bn here.

But wait, there's more!

Ireland also has a Fractional Reserve Banking system. Money stockpiled in Ireland participates in the global economy, and so may in part make its way back to the United States via our export market. This is true even if Ireland buys something from Germany and Germany buys from the U.S., because the German economy is spending a portion of its income--of which a part is derived from Irish loans.

The model eventually flattens out to say that money moves all over the world just like it moves all over town, and money stored in any fractional-reserve state in the global economy still boosts the global money supply in roughly the same way. It just starts somewhere else (physically) and spreads out from there as trade occurs. The ability to buy and sell in the long term is a matter of production, not money stockpiles; we use exchange rates to adjust the stockpiles out (it's way more complex than that).

Okay, so now what?

Well, $32 trillion sitting in a bank account in Ireland isn't a big deal. It's stockpiled over decades; it doesn't really represent much revenue loss; much of it is arguably revenue generated from productive activity all over the world which we want to believe we're entitled to tax due to someone having what we argue is their primary residence here; and, overall, our economy adjusts away the difference in money supply by having more money issued.

$32 trillion suddenly coming out to play is a big deal.

When the big businesses tap that money supply, they're essentially issuing new money, causing inflation independent of the central bank. The large number you often hear attached to the total rich-people stockpiles--$32-$36 trillion--is more than our total economic activity here, meaning they can essentially take over our entire economy and cause crippling inflation by collectively spending all their money really, really fast.

Likewise, the Government stepping up to try and tax away, say, 35% of that ($11 trillion) is nearly as big as our entire economy. Doing so would be identical to the government printing up $11 trillion out of thin air, minus the fractional reserve effect. I describe it that way because the government suddenly gets to spend $11 trillion and, as above, we don't have the labor force to suddenly produce that much more shit.

So yeah, focus on continuing operations please; don't try to resurrect the dead past. Those bazillions of dollars can stay right where they are.

It is really sad, and it is all going to come to a head at some point.

Not really.

The current situation is essentially stable; as you observe, it shows threats of instability. Very big threats. There is, however, no reason we can't stabilize and continue forward without a problem. As-is, we're not steadily decaying into a catastrophic crash; we're ticking along as usual. (Yes, the recession machine is part of "as-usual", and another one's coming up soon.)

In part, inflation sort of relieves the pressure continuously, so we're not building up this critical, uncontainable collapse. People aren't scraping for the fewer and fewer available gold marks as someone stockpiles it all; we're creating new gold marks out of the ether. Back in the early 00s, the U.S. had $5T of total personal income; today it's around $15T, which means $32T doesn't equate to 6x the size of our economy at least. The longer the money sits, the faster it rots.

The best we can do is push for social progress. Unfortunately, current ideals of social progress mainly involve taking money from the rich, taxing corporations, nebulous ideals about "closing loopholes", and the like; nobody's talking economics, just anger. Class warfare is a real thing, and I had discounted it until I stepped right in the middle of it and got crushed; despite that it was a huge shock and more of a surprise than I should have allowed it, it will take more than that to stop me.

That's why we need to push: we can design newer social support systems which replace, expand, and remediate the shortcomings of our current safety nets while lowering all tax burdens, which is a radically-different manner of thinking than anything that's out there. Such stronger support systems stabilize the economy by stabilizing the working class; and the reduction of taxes at least gives us breathing room to levy new taxes later without perpetually jacking up the sheer weight of the tax burden on America's people and its businesses.

These yammerings about how much money corporations with billions of customers have are only a distraction. They're such a distraction that bleeding-heart liberals who profess they care only for the poor and the needy can only seem to talk about how we should take from the rich, with no plan on what to do with it once we have it. Nobody is talking about the middle-class except to complain that they're not rich. Why is our attention on 1% of the population and not 90%?

Comment Re: Wheres the source of the cash? (Score 1) 255

You do know that if you are a US citizen working abroad you still have to pay taxes in US, right? Why should it be different for Corps?

Someone named John Galt just called.

He's complaining about the flood of new residents the US government is causing to relocate to someplace called "Galt's Gulch".


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