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Comment Re:No, the little people don't have all the money (Score 1) 387

I actually read those other articles. There's no "Reliable source problem here".

The "healing" story looks to be perfectly valid research on a previously undiscovered mechanism that takes place in sterile fetal tissue. The tissue around the wound contracts, effectively contracting the size of the wound. Then other healing mechanisms kick in to fully close the wound. This isn't going to provide scar-free plastic surgery, at least not in the foreseeable future.

The Cosmology story, I'll start out by saying that when a headline says scientist says "x MAY y", I take that as a blatant tag that we're talking about a speculative new idea. I don't see a problem with a story on speculative science ideas when reported as speculative. It looks like some scientists wrote up an interesting new idea to explain the apparent acceleration of the expansion of the universe, and which appears to fit well with certain other observations. However as the article notes, there's a serious problem/hole in the theory. It was an interesting read, if you're into that sort of thing, but the hole in the theory is almost certainly going to turn out to be fatal.

Anyway, their claim is that, based on Zipf's law, there must be some "long tail" of unknown small financial institutions which have vast but uncounted assets. No way.

"No way" is right. That's not what it says at all.
They said that the collection of all companies follows Zipf's law, and they get the "shadow banking value" from the abnormally deflated HEAD of the curve, NOT the long tail.

They're not saying there's some "unknown small financial institutions which have vast but uncounted assets", they're saying the biggest corporations are underreporting. And it's a known fact that they are underreporting. They merely came up with a way to calculate the size of the known underreporting.

"It is in the nature of markets to move money from the many to the few."

That point is mentioned in the story, and it it is in fact a crucial part of how they obtained their result. The biggest corporations, the ones most closely engaged in working the money market itself, are vastly underreporting just how much they have worked the market to move ~100 Trillion dollars from the many to the few.

Examining the graph it looks like this figure is attributable, almost entirely, to the 16 largest corporations in the world. And if they are right about the size of these unreported assets, the underreported value is greater than the entire global GDP.

And another point jumps to my mind. Large corporations have been gaming the system to avoid taxes. Capturing even just ONE PERCENT of this figure would completely solve the entire US budget deficit. I realize that these are not exclusively US companies, but certainly much of this value is U.S. based. Capturing about 2.5% of this figure, spread across the relevant countries, would pretty much solve everyone's deficits.


Comment Re:Alternative ways to deal with bullying (Score 1) 706

To answer your curiosity of whay I encourage people looking at this approach, I'd be curious what your reactions to these three examples of the difference between two approaches to handling negative comments:
"Victim Proof School for Kids (part 2)"
"Victim Proof Your School for Teachers"
"Golden Rule in the Workplace"

That said, nothing works everywhere. Still, Izzy Kalman says it is rare that physical violence among humans (at least related to schoolyard bullying) is not preceded by some kind of verbal escalation beforehand. If you can prevent the escalation, you probably can prevent the violence.

Anyway, it can be fun to try what Izzy demonstrates at home, He goes into more details on his CD and book, but basically, you get a friend, spouse, child whoever, and say you are going to play a game. The game is they are going to insult you and you are going to make them stop. If they stop, you win, If you give up, they win. The first time, try to disagree with them like he shows, getting upset, and so on. The second time, say it is OK if they think that, and so on, also like he illustrates. See which one they win and which one you win.

Note that as Izzy explains, you need to do these techniques 100% of the time, and you will still experience some teasing, showing, and so on. If you do them 95% of the time and get upset the other 5%, the cycle will continue because the bullying is being randomly reinforced (see operant conditioning).

Anyway, different things work in different environments. Sounds like you grew up in some tough situations. I could believe that what might work in most typical schools with typical bullying won't work in some with a certain kind of entrenched macho culture (without a lot of other changes).

Another relate video:
"Victim-proof your School demo"

Maybe these techniques would not have worked for you. As Izzy says, when serious physical injuries are involved, you may need to do something else. But they may still work for most bully-victim relationships. One pilot study of that, but it still needs more validating research:

Comment Re:Alternative ways to deal with bullying (Score 1) 706

See my other comment here:

It includes one testimonial about groups:
""A child was sent to me who had been teased by a whole group of children as a result of an incident at recess. I took him through the steps that I learned from Bullies to Buddies and within 15 minutes this child was able to go back to class and continue learning. The teacher was amazed at the transformation. I was able to teach the whole class the technique, which resulted in more time on task and more learning. The students got along better and the learning environment became more pleasant and enjoyable for everyone. Izzy is a master of making this learning fun and easy to teach.â -- Malda Burns, Rockdale Elementary School Counselor, Rockdale, Texas"

I don't know how long ago you deal with a bully that way, but these days you might be arrested and jailed for assault for intentionally giving someone a concussion in school. Times have changed. Also, maybe nobody messed with you, but did you lose out on other relationships that you will never know about based on people's perceptions of you? (Maybe not in many schools, but consider what the implications would be in the workplace...)

Also, as Izzy Kalman points out, fighting back can work, but only when you are absolutely sure you can defeat the bully. Also, what if that bully had a gun or knife, or a friend who did? Once you take a swing in response to bullying (whether verbal or physical), it could be seen as "self-defense" by the bully to seriously hurt you. These things are tough calls sometimes.

Yes, you stopped the bullying that time. But words leading to endless rounds of violence also are how gang wars and endless vendettas can get started. Other aspects:
"This type of "superior force" advice shows a lack of appreciation for the complexities of the bully-victim dynamics of today's world, where bullying often takes place in new arenas, such as on the Internet. Sure, if a victim fights back and flattens his bully, the bully tends to back off. But what if the bullies are hiding behind computer screens? What if the target is physically incapable of taking down the bully, which is more often the case?
    The truth is that there are many bullying situations in which the victim cannot simply beat up the bully and end the problem. The very nature of bullying renders victims fearful, frozen and incapable of defending themselves. According to bullying researcher Dan Olweus, bullying is characterized by three factors: 1) It is repetitive (not a one-time event in the hall, but a regular ongoing problem). 2) It is unwanted (not two-way teasing where both parties are having fun, but instead a situation where someone is on the receiving end of taunts and aggression). 3) It takes place in the context of a power imbalance (a bigger kid against a smaller kid, or multiple kids against a single kid, or a kid with more social capital against a kid with less social capital).
    When multiple kids are targeting one child, the situation can feel completely overwhelming. ..."

Nothing works for every situation. For example, Izzy Kalman says his approach requires the "bully" to be reasonable emotionally stable -- which is almost always the case, but not 100% of the time.

BTW, Izzy Kalman's approach does not work by reporting bullying. In fact, he generally discourages reporting as just something that will escalate the problem (except if the bully is extremely unstable or causing significant physical harm).

Here is the core of his approach:
Johnny is visiting a new town. In front of a big, magnificent old house, he sees another boy, surrounded by hundreds of pigeons, throwing bread crumbs on the sidewalk.

Wanting to start up a conversation, he asks the boy, "What's your name?"

"Billy," says the boy.

"And what are you doing?" Johnny asks Billy.

"I'm making the pigeons go away," Billy answers.

"What do you mean, you're making them go away?" the astounded Johnny asks.

"Yes. I'm making them go away. Every day, day after day, for many generations, these birds have been coming to our house at the same time every morning. They are a terrible nuisance. The noise they make is unbearable and it's almost impossible to walk on the sidewalk. And the slippery, yucky mess they leave all over the place is the worst thing of all."

"So why are you throwing them bread," the impatient Johnny asks.

"My ancestors tried everything, and discovered that the only thing that makes them go away is bread crumbs. As soon as the last crumb is finished, they suddenly can't stand being here. Then they all fly away and we don't see them again for a whole day!"

I hope this story made you laugh, or at least chuckle. That Billy sure was stupid. He thought he was chasing the birds away, but he was really making them come. "So, what," you may be wondering, "does this story have to do with teasing victims?" Lots! Just keep on reading and you'll soon understand.

. . .

So why do the kids keep bothering you? They know very well that you don't like it, and that the teachers and parents don't like it, so why do they keep on doing it?!! Why don't they just leave you alone and let everyone be happy?

Get ready for this! The real reason you are being teased is because you are getting upset!

. . .

The anger that you feel when you are teased is like the bread crumbs that Billy feeds to the pigeons. You are throwing your bullies gifts of anger, and you think your anger is going to make them leave you alone. But your anger is exactly what the bullies are looking for! That's why they keep coming back to you! You make them so happy when you get angry!

Yes, believe it or not, you have been rewarding the bullies for making fun of you! Think of it this way: If your parents are going to pay you to watch television, aren't you going to watch a lot of television? Of course you would! And bullies are just the same. You are giving them so much fun in return for tormenting you. Of course they are going to do it as much as possible!

Comment Breaking a postive feedback loop between V & B (Score 1) 706

Izzy Kalman's approach is more complex than "blame the victim". In most cases, "bullying" emerges from an interaction of "bully" and "victim" (generally in the context of some community). In practice, "victims" have the most at stake in changing the situation and also are most able to intervene for themselves. While it is great to create caring communities where people respect each other in all ways, in practice humans have a certain back and forth of joking with and about each other and so on. Conventional anti-bullying campaigns run the risk of destroying communities and relationships out of some theory of how to fix them. They can actually make the problem worse (like encouraging tattling, where accusing someone of bullying can become a new form of bullying, etc.). According to the testimonials on his site, Izzy Kalman's approach works in practice, when most zero-tolerance and also tattle-promoting strategies don't work well. His approach works by breaking the feedback loop between bully and victim by the victim not responding in ways that gives the bully encouragement to continue. There are exceptions to this; Izzy Kalman suggests a few where his strategy does not work like where the bully is very emotionally unstable and violent, and then yes, you would need to bring in higher authorities including potentially law enforcement. But in general, Izzy points out that getting picked on now and then is part of community life; the issue is whether that escalates into bullying, and that mostly is under the "victim's" control -- as much as that might not sound "fair" in some ways.

Where I might fault Izzy Kalman is not talking about how poor nutrition from junk food (lack of omega 3s, artificial colors and flavors, lack of phytonutrients, lack of vitamin D, etc.) may be leading to more violence and other anti-social behavior in our society. Also, the spread of computers, while not necessarily causing violence directly itself, takes away from time spent learning to interact with other human beings. And there are probably other similar factors as well (economic stress, failing communities, two-wage-earner families or single parents, etc.). I'm also all for teaching emotion coaching and conflict resolution and all sorts of other things that some anti-bullying efforts due. Also, I'm all for alternatives to compulsory schooling, where conventional schooling forces random children to spend all day with each other whether they want to or not (so children can't avoid conflicts that are escalating). But, as much as one can make people saying intentionally hurtful things less frequent, I feel Izzy is on to something in breaking the positive feedback cycle where negative comments spin out of control as the victim responds in ways that encourage the bully to keep going.

Here is one example testimonial:
""Bullies to Buddies is the most effective anti-bullying program I have encountered in my 14 years as a school counselor. It gives victims the tools and strategies necessary to handle difficult situations, thus increasing their self esteem. Parents are thrilled and some of them are practicing the skills with their children. The teachers and aides feel relieved that they no long need to handle every tiny little tattle or situation. This saves an enormous amount of time in the classroom and children find that they have more time to play. The teachers not only used the strategies of Bullies to Buddiesâ in their classroom but also with their husbands, children and exes." -- Vickie Kolb, School Counselor, Brandon Valley School District, Brandon, South Dakota"

In the case for the original article, maybe if the "victim" had learned these skills of managing these situations, then things would not have escalated to the point where the "victim" was pretending to kill people using a phone? Maybe the bullying would have never got that bad if the victim did not take part in the escalation? This sort of thing rarely comes out of the blue -- usually it is part of a long standing pattern of many, many interactions as an escalating cycle. Sometimes, when those cycles escalate enough, then serious physical violence happens initiated by bully or victim. But extreme physical violence rarely just comes out of the blue.

So the question is, how best to break that cycle? The victim is generally most motivated to change. Also, it is in the nature of human banter than whether a comment (such as "You're a pig") is funny to all and a means of bonding, or a chance for self-reflection and personal growth, or taken as a deadly hurtful insult leading to all-out to-the-death violence is a matter of context and history. As Izzy points out, "teasing" can be fun for many people. And people who know each other well and have good relationships may tease each other all the time. It is hard for anyone to judge from outside the situation what went on if they were not there (and even then it can be hard without the full history). By taking teachers out of the role of judges, and more as the role of educators and coaches, Izzy Kalman's approach also aligns with the fundamental idea of "education".

Again, Izzy Kalman's approach does not work for everything, as he says. He also says that people have to be willing to tolerate some low level of hurtful comments -- including in the interests of "freedom of speech". But for 95%+ of bullying situations not involving damaging physical violence, his approach seems to work very well according to testimonials. Still, it would be good to see more scientific studies done on this to come to more definitive conclusions.

One more testimonial about the power and simplicity of this technique:
""A child was sent to me who had been teased by a whole group of children as a result of an incident at recess. I took him through the steps that I learned from Bullies to Buddies and within 15 minutes this child was able to go back to class and continue learning. The teacher was amazed at the transformation. I was able to teach the whole class the technique, which resulted in more time on task and more learning. The students got along better and the learning environment became more pleasant and enjoyable for everyone. Izzy is a master of making this learning fun and easy to teach." -- Malda Burns, Rockdale Elementary School Counselor, Rockdale, Texas"

Comment The 1% is maybe pretty diverse? (Score 1) 625

Good points, along the lines of books like "Brave New World" and "Amusing Ourselves to Death". Although it seems lots of systems link together to support power, so there is probably not just one, even if one may be stronger at one time.

The movie "Elysium" features security robots, for example. I envisioned something related here with robots enforcing the "rules":
"The Richest Man in the World: A parable about structural unemployment and a basic income"

Marshall Brain talks about robots enforcing things in "Manna":

But right now, the laws the human police (and legal bureaucracies) enforce are created through political means:
"Q: So, who does rule America?
A: The owners and managers of large income-producing properties; i.e., the owners of corporations, banks, other financial institutions, and agri-businesses. But they have plenty of help from the managers and experts they hire. ...
Q: Then how do they rule?
A: That's a complicated story, but the short answer is through lobbying, open and direct involvement in general policy planning on the big issues, participation (in large part through campaign donations) in political campaigns and elections, and through appointments to key decision-making positions in government."

That said, perhaps the world will always be run by the "1%" who are paying attention in any community? Even those who showed up at "Occupy Wall Street" were, in a sense, part of a "1%"?

OWS's "We are the 99%" was actually a divisive slogan. A focus on increasing egalitarianism might have been better:

Maybe the main issue is whether those who are paying attention have an egalitarian mindset to some degree, at least as far as distributing most of what nature and industry produces? If you look at Western Europe, there is a somewhat different sense of political and moral accountability among leadership. Granted, that is driven by a more active and aware populace building upon ideas from the USA's past:
" How did Germany become such a great place to work in the first place? ... The Allies did it. This whole European model came, to some extent, from the New Deal. Our real history and tradition is what we created in Europe. Occupying Germany after WWII, the 1945 European constitutions, the UN Charter of Human Rights all came from Eleanor Roosevelt and the New Dealers. All of it got worked into the constitutions of Europe and helped shape their social democracies. It came from us. The papal encyclicals on labor, it came from the Americans."

"How Germany Builds Twice as Many Cars as the U.S. While Paying Its Workers Twice as Much"
"In 2010, Germany produced more than 5.5 million automobiles; the U.S produced 2.7 million. At the same time, the average auto worker in Germany made $67.14 per hour in salary in benefits; the average one in the U.S. made $33.77 per hour. Yet Germanyâ(TM)s big three car companies --- BMW, Daimler (Mercedes-Benz), and Volkswagen -- are very profitable."

That comes down somewhat to culture and mythology and the stories we (including the "1%") tell ourselves about who we are and who we want to be (and why).

Comment Re:Good points (Score 1) 625

Well, by your logic, would you suggest private property rights to land are only OK as long as we make respecting them non-mandatory? Or are you starting with the assumption that government will enforce such a system?

If we allow government to enforce any such rights like to private land, then we've structured a system of economics. Then we can ask all sorts of questions about "fairness" and distributing the gains of the system. In practice, all modern economies are run by certain rules. We can always discuss the rules, even though people currently doing well (by their own standards) in the current system may wish that the rules be left alone or not even discussed.

In any case, since robots, AI, and other automation are going to take most of the jobs pretty soon, or at least allow a few people to do so much that most workers are not needed, it's a moot point about whether wealth needs to be redistributed -- unless you'd prefer to see most of the world's population starve while grain silos overflow with grain?

Comment Good points (Score 1) 625

I write on my personal website about similar themes related to automation and distribution. A "basic income" is one way forward, as is expanding the gift economy, improving local subsistence (maybe via your 3D printers and energy devices and also gardening robots), and/or better democratically planned economics. While you say "the only way to solve this is individual action", and that is true to some point because individuals (or small groups as Margaret Mead said) can make a big difference, ultimately politics like for a "basic income" is about collective action by millions as far as voting and such.

Note also that "natural selection" can select towards cooperation in various situations.

See also James P. Hogan's "Voyage from Yesterear" for one alternative vision, where human competitive inclinations are redirected towards excellence and gift-giving. See also the "Potlatch" for a historical example of a gift economy in North America (which according to the Wikipedia article politicians tried to stamp out as "uncivilized").

Comment Basic Income as one option (Score 2) 625

Montly "Social Security" payments from birth:

Also, to echo your point on "family", raising children well can easily take as much effort as most adults can put into it... And the solar system could support quadrillions of humans in high-tech style in space habitats.

Comment Yes, dividing benefits of automation is politics (Score 1) 625

Although automation also inherently shifts political power in a few ways (making it easier to concentrate wealth at first like Marshall Brain talks about). If we keep capitalism, we'll probably need a "basic income" for it to keep working (other than pointless mandated make-work), We can also strengthen the gift economy, the subsistence economy, and the democratically planned economy. See my website for related ideas, especially this:

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