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Comment Airdropped wireless communicators (Score 1) 141

I suggested something like that too in 2000 about mesh-networked communicators:
"Consider millions of these devices airdropped into Iraq and Yugoslavia -- instead of more expensive cruise missiles! Anybody got $1 billion to spend on ensuring democracy with a true defense against tyranny in those places? (This is probably what the U.S. military's spends on gas/oil for a month cruising the area...) "

Although, as with Germans occupiers during WWII making it illegal to own radios in occupied lands, possibly local security forces could criminalize these devices (e.g. China now scanning people's mobile phones for forbidden software) -- so I'm not sure what the ultimate result would be. Probably the outcome would depend on a lot of factors.

Comment "a spiritual market shift " (Score 1) 138

AC wrote: "overall, a spiritual market shift is needed first if we want to create the properly secured infrastructure and products to let millions of people depend on."

Sad, but true -- and in more areas of life than that. Thus my sig - - and the Albert Einstein quote that helped inspire it: "The release of atom power has changed everything except our way of thinking... the solution to this problem lies in the heart of mankind. If only I had known, I should have become a watchmaker."

Although, 70 years later, now that every smart watch has more computing power than was needed to design the first nuclear weapons, the choice of career is not so easy...

Comment Re:If you aren't willing to pay the going rate... (Score 1) 138

"It's simple: what is preventing companies from hiring security professionals is that the expected cost of a security compromise (or equivalently, the rate of security breach insurance) is less than the going rate of a security engineer."

Yet another fine example of a company privatizing gains but socializing risk and costs...

For another example: Equifax. What was the cost to the company of creating a huge negative externality regarding the privacy and secure identity of over 100 million people? And how much profits did they rake in while creating the risk that lead to the externality?

Comment Re:yep (Score 1) 99

Yep yep. A book a day (or very close to that) from roughly when I was seven or eight years old until I was 32 and my first son was born (which very much put a damper on that). I was probably the only kid "ever" to go to Duke with a footlocker full of paperbacks that I stacked up on the one meager shelf on the wall of my dorm room so it reached to the ceiling. At the time I had to cut back due to offspring (a period that lasted almost 25 years, and to some extent continues today) I had at least 3000 to 4000 books that I owned personally, mostly paperbacks. I still own maybe half of these. With kids, I was lucky to read 1-2 a week -- a rate equal to that of a "super" reader, especially when they were young, although at various points that rate would go up due to reading them kid's books (the books I'm talking about were almost entirely "adult full length novels" although I shamelessly include Baum and ERB and books that now would be counted as "teen" novels as books of that grade dominated my pre-teen reading.

At this point -- approaching 63 -- I probably read 3 to 5 novels a week, entirely on my kindle book reader on my tablet (or sometimes my phone). Kindle books, especially new writings in SF&F, are often as inexpensive in modern currency as used paperbacks or paperback in general were back in the 60's and early 70's -- I remember well buying new paperbacks for prices ranging from $0.50 to $0.95, and my bitterness as they rose first to $1.95, then $2.95, and then as high as $4.95 over the 70's and 80', much faster than the value of money so they were actually more expensive. I try to spend under $4 for kindle books, and have entire series that I've binge-read that cost $1.99 to $2.99 each (and a few that have cost $0.99 each for full length books, under a dollar again!).

There are, however, two DIFFERENT totals that can describe my lifetime reading. One is the actual total number of books I've read AT LEAST once, without counting rereads. The other is the total number of times I've read any book, including one I've read before, cover to cover. Because I am space and money limited, much of the reading above has been rereads. For example, I've read things like LOTR or the Chronicles of Amber series (books 1 through 9, the original) at least dozens of times, each. Hell, I've read both of them in English dozens of times and in Spanish a time or two. Then there are books that I've read that sucked or that were OK, but I just didn't enjoy them so once was enough (All Quiet on the Western Front, a small mountain of so-called "literature" I was actually forced to read in school, much of it so unremarkable that I can't recall titles or plot). Long ago I decided I like things with "plot", rather than the anecdotal ramblings of period pieces or books that are the moral equivalent of today's reality TV.

I'm guessing that in roughly 55 years of power reading, 30 of that unencumbered, I've read at least ten thousand unique books, and have read "a novel" at least twice that including rereads, making it my average to reread a book twice, although it is a pretty biased average with a smaller set being a lot more than twice, a larger set being twice, and a fairly large set being just once and done.

Why do people -- including my own kids -- not read so much now? Ever so many reasons. TV is a huge one -- I grew up in India in the 60's without TV and it was reading or wandering through the alleys and scrub desert around my house, and I did a fair bit of both. Video games -- I go through phases even now when I will burn a day or ten on the e-cocaine of computer gaming (working on Divinity on Steam as soon as I quit this, but have burned weeks to months of wake-time on WoW, D1 and D2, nethack etc, Baldur's Gate, electronic sudoku, electronic jigsaw puzzles -- and yes, these seriously displace reading). A school system that places no value on reading per se and that forces one to read books that suck (however "intellectual" they may be) instead of stuff that is fun enough to compete with TV, sports, and gaming). The sad fact that reading is BOTH a cause and effect of general intelligence, so for maybe half the population reading for pleasure is simply not much of an option and for much of the other half not reading at critical times when habits are established becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, a feedback loop of literacy-doom during cortical development. Is one smart because one reads or does one read because one is smart? Both is the only fair answer.

To conclude, 4000-ish is a serious underestimate of the power reader. In my generation, I'm not even particularly rare. My brother owns a bookstore chain that he founded in CA. My sister reads constantly. My wife (a physician) doesn't read so much now, because physicians ALWAYS have work and she has a hard time relaxing, but when she relaxes she reads books and EVEN as a physician she probably still qualifies at the 80/year level lifetime (she read close to a book a day for a long time, although her preferences are more for "literature" as her mother taught English. Her mother -- the only person I've ever met whose in-house book collection equaled and possibly even exceeded my own -- I built her bookshelves to cover an entire office wall for her paperbacks when I first married her daughter, and every bedroom had full bookshelves and often boxes of books unshelved on the floor. MY mother read and collected detective stories (which I read myself when I ran out of SF&F or adventure) at the level of a super reader. I can't recall my father reading at that level and I'm pretty sure my wife's father and brother and sister never did, but it just wasn't that uncommon for generally smart people to read a lot more than 80/year in my generation. It's a shame that Netflix and Amazon and movies and TV series in general have filled the niche in cognitive development that used to be filled by reading and books, but then, maybe it isn't a shame, it is just different. From observation, I think it is a bit of a shame because there are STILL are far, far more books than movies, and movies are usually like a very poor and limited window into the books they are often written from. Too bad.

Comment You probably live in Silicon Valley? (Score 1) 357

See also how two-income families have bid up the price of houses in "good" school districts:
"Middle-class parents are stretched thin these days. Between health care costs, child care hassles, looking for a home in a good district, and paying for college, raising a child is becoming increasingly expensive. Little wonder, then, that married couples with children are more than twice as likely to file for bankruptcy as their childless counterparts, and 75 percent more likely to have their homes foreclosed. And the danger is growing worse by the year: In 2002 1.6 million people filed for bankruptcy, many of those middle-class parents. a record . As Elizabeth Warren and Amelia Tyagi note in their book, The Two-Income Trap: Why Middle-Class Mothers & Fathers Are Going Broke, having a child is now "the single best predictor" of bankruptcy. ""

Also, the increasing rich-poor divide makes life more difficult for almost everyone in the USA, since daily life gets more expensive as social trust breaks down because more and more income goes into security-related costs -- including sometimes things like private school or homeschooling. For example, a decade ago I talked with someone from CA who said, while California Proposition 13 had saved him some money in real estate taxes probably, he lost much more than he gained in paying for private school for his kids because he felt local schools were underfunded. (Of course, there are other reasons to avoid compulsory schooling kids in general, see John Taylor Gatto...)

And clearly much government spending (and related taxes) is questionable like for counter-productive military adventures abroad like Iraq and on bond interest from a refusal to just issue new money as needed by the economy instead of borrowing it.

All that said, there is lots of web content out there on "frugality" and wealth building; for example:

Comment More unconventional ideas on livelihood (Score 1) 357
"More than a few people agree the best career would be one which provides challenge, intellectual stimulation, and rewards for quality work. Many however, would be surprised to discover they can have all of those benefits and more in some of the unlikeliest of careers.
                Case in point: I'm a professional carpet cleaner. Some people think this is a second-rate career. I don't agree with them. Carpet cleaning gives me challenges, intellectual stimulation, and many other rewards. To prove this, permit me to walk you through one of my work days. ..."

Good luck and have fun with your physics and other explorations!

Comment It takes a village to overcome irony (Score 1) 132

That approach doesn't work as an individual because the people you email with will use gmail, you will be on endless surveillance cameras as you move walk around or drive, and your family and friends will post pictures including you to anti-social media. We essentially either move forward as a community or we all sink together.

Alternatively, you can live as a self-sufficient hermit or in a small group like in "Captain Fantastic" but even that can break down as social reality intrudes through family relationships and medical needs, as in the film.

Also, more (by me) on why encryption is mostly useless for social change agents:

Again, as with my sig, the central irony here is we are using the technologies of abundance and joy that could free us to enslave ourselves out of fear.

Comment Yes. (Score 1) 357

I mean, stupid questions. 50 years ago we had Viet Nam, the cold war, racism that makes the tiny flares of it that we have no seem like a joke by comparison. Women were pretty much chattel. The world teetered on the perpetual brink of nuclear war. Poverty (as a percentage of the population) was rampant worldwide and what COUNTED as poverty was a lot poorer than what is counted as poverty now. A huge fraction of the world's population lived under outright tyrannies and oligarchies without even the fig leaf of democracy. Information was tightly controlled, and communication at long distances was enormously expensive. Medicine was comparatively primitive even in the first world; in the third world it was still the purview of tribal shamans. Life expectancy was much lower. Finally, a major fraction of the technology that makes our lives enormously richer even if one is comparatively "poor" simply didn't exist.

Of course if you were male, white, middle to upper class, living in the first world, or male and upper class in the second and third world, you might have thought it was just peachy.

Comment The Transparent Society (1998) (Score 1) 132
"The Transparent Society (1998) is a non-fiction book by the science-fiction author David Brin in which he forecasts social transparency and some degree of erosion of privacy, as it is overtaken by low-cost surveillance, communication and database technology, and proposes new institutions and practices that he believes would provide benefits that would more than compensate for lost privacy. The work first appeared as a magazine article by Brin in Wired in late 1996.[1] In 2008, security expert Bruce Schneier called the transparent society concept a "myth"[2] (a characterization Brin later rejected),[3] claiming it ignores wide differences in the relative power of those who access information.[2] ...
      Brin argues that a core level of privacy--protecting our most intimate interactions--may be preserved, despite the rapid proliferation of cameras that become ever-smaller, cheaper and more numerous faster than Moore's law. He feels that this core privacy can be saved simply because that is what humans deeply need and want. Hence, Brin explains that "...the key question is whether citizens will be potent, sovereign and knowing enough to enforce this deeply human want."
    This means they must not only have rights, but also the power to use them and the ability to detect when they are being abused. Ironically, that will only happen in a world that is mostly open, in which most citizens know most of what is going on, most of the time. It is the only condition under which citizens may have some chance of catching the violators of their freedom and privacy. Privacy is only possible if freedom (including the freedom to know) is protected first.
    Brin thus maintains that privacy is a "contingent right," one that grows out of the more primary rights, e.g. to know and to speak. He admits that such a mostly-open world will seem more irksome and demanding; people will be expected to keep negotiating the tradeoffs between knowing and privacy. It will be tempting to pass laws that restrict the power of surveillance to authorities, entrusting them to protect our privacy -- or a comforting illusion of privacy. By contrast, a transparent society destroys that illusion by offering everyone access to the vast majority of information out there.
    Brin argues that it will be good for society if the powers of surveillance are shared with the citizenry, allowing "sousveillance" or "viewing from below," enabling the public to watch the watchers. According to Brin, this only continues the same trend promoted by Adam Smith, John Locke, the US Constitutionalists and the western enlightenment, who held that any elite (whether commercial, governmental, or aristocratic) should experience constraints upon its power. And there is no power-equalizer greater than knowledge.[4]""

Comment Trading Places (1983) (Score 1) 311

Not that this movie proves anything:
"Trading Places is a 1983 American comedy film directed by John Landis, starring Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy. It tells the story of an upper-class commodities broker and a homeless street hustler whose lives cross paths when they are unknowingly made part of an elaborate bet."

But it is suggestive that when financial stress is added or removed from a life, some stress-related behavior may change.

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