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Comment The Irony of Esperanto (Score 5, Informative) 223

Esperanto was invented by an opthamologist, L. L. Zamenhof, to be a universal second (and maybe eventually first) language that would overcome the "curse of Babel", so many different tongues in use that people cannot communicate. Being an artificial language there would be one codified grammar that everyone would use instead of the many dialectical variations seen in natural languages.

Only Zamenhof, while multi-lingual, was no linguist and did a mediocre job of designing the language. In his (partial) defense he was one of the first to try this (there were a few earlier projects), artificial language design was not trendy the way it seems today.

And so for a universal, common language Esperanto has had a tendency to generate new dialects (Ido, Romániço, etc.) often due the inadequacies of Zamenhof's original specification.

There are a number of significant design flaws that make this "easy to learn" language unnecessarily hard. The transitivity of verbs for example requires memorizing the semi-arbitrary rule assignments for hundreds of verbs, and most Esperanto users make frequent errors. Also the actual interpretation of verbs was not properly defined by Zamenhof, whether they express tenses (past, present, future) or aspects (whether it is completed or on-going). Zamenhof apparently did not understand the distinction himself and wrote contradictory things. In fact his grammar is often vague and numerous controversies have developed over the years.

Then there was the wholly unnecessary inclusion of gender for nouns. Zamenhof apparently did this because the languages he was familiar with did this, but the gender assignments are arbitrary, add nothing of a value to the language, require memorization, and are a problem that must be decided with each newly coined word. As a result the language in use has diverged from the official grammar and dictionary, with the conversion of most "male" gendered words to neutral. And this has led to a dialectical split in the language with people who want to simply eliminate gender (or at least the male gender) and those that want to preserve the original specification (such as it is).

Comment Re:Of course (Score 4, Insightful) 1008

Or to simplify the point further: it is impossible for workers to under-price robots and self-service in the long-run, or the medium-run, or increasingly now even the short-run.

There is no "dirt-cheap labor" solution to dealing with the increasing automation of work.

CEOs want dirt cheap labor and they want robots to eliminate it at the same time. They aren't offering a deal - keep wages low and we will leave the jobs intact. They have no intention of doing that, and there is no actual promise being made by "Jack in the Box CEO Leonard Comma" to not automate if wages are not raised. Like those Carrier jobs that went to Mexico six months after they announced they were being "saved" a press release is not a deal, it is not a contract, it is not even a promise. It means nothing.

Comment Re:Red-State Favoritism? (Score 4, Informative) 316

Obama didn't do this, Bush didn't do it, Clinton didn't do it.

Clinton -- repeal of Glass-Steagall act (a gold mine for wall street)

Get real dude

Indeed, get real.

The repeal of Glass-Steagall was accomplished by the Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act (GLBA) authored by three hard right Republicans. it passed both Houses of Congress with veto proof majorities (Senate 90–8, House 362–57). Although it got majority support among Democrats, support was nearly unanimous from Republicans.

Clinton could have vetoed it, but it would have done no good, the veto would have been over-ridden.

Assigning blame to Clinton for repealing Glass-Steagall is torturing the facts beyond all recognition.

Comment What No Mention of the Coffee Cup? (Score 1) 277

All this commentary about Ajit Pai and not one mention of the giant Reese's candy coffee mug that Pai so ossentatiously flourishes?

Gosh, you'd think that that prop does not establish him as a bona fide "regular guy"! What's a predatory CEO, now fox-in-the-regulatory-henhouse handing out favors to his former (and again future) employer, to do?

Comment Re:I know this isn't politically correct (Score 5, Informative) 308

The first solution is to tax plastic packaging to make it significantly less attractive to use it for single-use applications. Once you artificially inflate that cost to reduce volume, you can likely burn a good part of it for energy, or subsidize recycling costs.

Right now we are artificially reducing costs by not including the externality of waste disposal (often just of the packaging itself) in the cost of the product. In some areas waste disposal costs are being added to products (engine oil, tires, auto batteries, electronics) already. If these costs are imposed based on the packaging used, more intelligent packaging choices are likely to be made.

Comment Re:I know this isn't politically correct (Score 1) 308

Huh? Yes there is. It is economically cheaper to recycle aluminum than it is to process from ore.

No, if it weren't for the CRV then few people would recycle cans. It wouldn't be worth the effort to pick them up off the ground.

So, having aluminum cans (which never deteriorate) littering the ground is not a problem for you? Do you live in one of those third world garbage "cities"?

Given that we are not all disposing of our aluminum by throwing it on the ground, then melting it down is indeed a profitable activity.

Comment Re:But is it right to do this? (Score 1) 244

3.5 million Americans are employed as professional truck drivers and will be out of work when self-driving freight trucks hit the roads.

And then there are all those businesses that provide services to all those truck drivers. When the trucks stop only for (automated) refueling an entire business sector will die.

Comment Re:easy solution, run it to the airport (Score 4, Insightful) 294

It did have much higher ridership a decade ago, 7.9 million in 2007, sure the Great Recession made a huge impact in 2008, but why did ridership not come back? What happened in the intervening years?

Too late to reroute it now, but bringing it in close to the strip so that it was easy to board as a taxi would have been a really, really good idea. Have a people-mover in the casino take you right to the boarding platform. It should have been integrated into the entertainment spectacle environment, becoming part of the attractions.

And go to the dam airport! Geeze, how stupid can you get? Same with the LA Metro Green Line, that reaches the perimeter fence of LAX then veers away. Being able to use an urban rail system from the airport where you arrive and depart, to your hotel and destination sites, is an enormous advantage. The Washington Metro does this, and it greatly magnified its value and ridership. Adding an extension to McCarran is at least a possibility for the Las Vegas system.

Comment Counting Domestic Tickets Sold Is Obsolete (Score 2) 162

In 1930 there were 4 billion movie tickets sold in the U.S., with a population of 123 million, or about 32 tickets per person. In 2017 only 1.26 billion tickets were sold, or about 4 tickets per person.

Wow! The movie industry is in dire straits, 87 years of steep decline!

This is ridiculous of course. The movie-related entertainment industry is radically different from 1930, with different pricing models for tickets, many revenue streams from each property (overseas revenue often topic domestic, DVD/Blu-Ray sales, merchandising, cable, streaming, etc). Today a movie may get "green lighted" without any expectation that it will make its costs in domestic theater runs, based on the other sources of revenue that will be generated.

More than a decade ago studios stopped regarding DVDs as the enemy of theater revenue and began treating the theater release as a promo for DVD sales. Instead of leaving a long gap between theater run and the DVD release they brought them close together.

Notice that despite this drop in ticket sales, revenues are up due to higher prices. They aren't just jacking up prices - there is a (continuing) transformation of the movie-going experience.

I live in the Los Angeles area, so I am likely seeing the leading edge of this transformation -- but the major cinemaplexes here are providing much cushier and roomy seating with recliners and swinging tables, and assigned seating which you can buy on-line. You don't have to get to the theater early to get a good seat, or seats together, you have those seats guaranteed any time you show up. Theaters have also upgraded their food, offering a bar and a menu you can order from, having the food brought straight to your seat. More expensive, but a much nicer experience.

With everyone having a large 2K or 4K TV, and fancy audio if they want, and upsampling DVD players and Bluray, and now streaming options, unless a movie is some sort of "must see" cultural event, there is little motivation to spend extra bucks to go to the theater -- unless you want that luxurious premium entertainment experience.

Comment Re:Customer Service (Score 1) 101

Satellite Insurance is commonly used. Having a launch failure pay for the payload is very unusual. Maybe the launch contract should have a "really stupid mistake" clause wherein they pay for the satellite (or else the insurance premium) if it the accident is not due to an unavoidable hardware failure.

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