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Comment Re:Meh.... (Score 1) 208

That's usually because people in their 50s and 60s have been listening almost exclusively to the same music for 30-40 years.

Speaking as a 50-something grandfather. There's about 10-15 years where you are forced to listen to your kids music, it's only after they leave home that you can go back to exclusively listening to the good stuff.

Comment Re:An easy answer... (Score 1) 84

If anything your post shows your own bias. Nothing has changed since I was a kid in HS when government spooks were following John Lennon and Jane Fonda around all day. Your list does not show that Obama is behind those "scandals" what it shows is that governments of both colors continue to support an environment in which individuals are likely to engage in such behavior. Worst still the judiciary and the military are also in lockstep agreement. It's not a conspiracy it's a state of mind, a patronizing world view that seems to be shared by virtually all those who wield serious political power.

Comment Re:An easy answer... (Score 1) 84

Yes but also remember that a lot of the "conquered" could be more accurately described as "converted". To be a Roman citizen in Rome's heyday meant the emperor would literally provide you with bread (in the form of ~1kg of free grain per day), and there were technological benefits such as plumbing, roads, and circuses that made the roman way of life appealing to many Europeans and N. Africans. People flocked to Rome and Rome responded by expanding and sucking in more resources from new territory. When the Roman culture expanded to it's geographical and political limits the benefits could no longer be supported and people drifted back to the old way of doing things for a few centuries.

Having said that there is no doubt Romans were expert propagandists, just ask the Vandals.

Comment Re:Obviously they need brighter people (Score 1) 113

It's a personality test not a technical test, the technically correct answer tells the interviewer nothing about the person's character. The SQL question is just an example of a point where a bullshitter would likely start trying to fake their level of knowledge. It's not hard to do if the interviewer knows the subject, simply keep thinking up questions based on trivial information you have had to look up in the recent past. I've used the same technique in the past when hiring C programmers. Most times it takes less than five minutes to find some esoteric trivia that the prospect does not know off the top off their head, how they handle not knowing will clearly separate the confident (and knowledgeable) professional from the cowboys.

Also get it done early in the interview, no good wasting everyone's time if they fail the "arrogance test".

Comment Re:anti-sex ad policy? (Score 5, Insightful) 192

Ex taxi driver from Australia - happy hookers were the norm here 25yrs ago, AFAICT they still are. I must have had at least a couple of hundred strippers/hookers in my cab during the 3yrs I was driving and I concur "I don't think I ever even heard a hard luck story more than this or that girl had a BF that was an asshole.". Probably helps that brothels, strip clubs, and private escorts are all legal businesses over here, they pay their rates and taxes just like everyone else, they must be licensed and are subjected to regular health checks. From a purely logical POV the fact they may be asked to do something they find unpleasant is no different to asking a plumber to clean out a septic tank. While on the subject of pleasure most taxi drivers would rather transport a hooker, stripper, athlete, cat in a cage, in preference to a social snob in a suit. In my experience young drunken women in groups of 3 or more are amongst the worst behaved passengers and seeing-eye dogs are amongst the best.

Making sexual entertainment a crime simply gives real criminals the chains to enslave sex workers. Accepting the fact that sexual entertainment is a universal human behavior and regulating it ensures the public health problem is controlled, that society benefits in the form of taxes, and (most importantly) it ensures workers can demand the legal protections afforded to other workers in their society without fear of being prosecuted themselves. Organized criminals and corrupt cops long ago lost the keys to a sex workers jail cell in Melbourne and that's a GoodThing(TM). You'd think the same reasoning would have enough force to pull their heads out of their arses and do the same for *recreational drugs, but alas they are too busy banning water pipes and playing legislative "wack-a-mole" with "legal highs".

*Hard drugs: such as heroine and crack may "enslave" some sex workers but from what I've seen junkies are uncommon in Melbourne's regulated sex industry. Although there are some well known spots where they do try and (illegally) pimp themselves on the street without the requisite license, these are mainly frequented by a tiny minority of people who actually enjoy a $50 blow job in a public toilet, like beggars they are considered a public nuisance but in reality most are simply drug/alcohol fucked or handicapped by a mental illness/deficiency.

A basic freedom is missing from western society, consenting adults should be the masters of their own bodies to the point where the effect on others goes beyond a purely emotional offense to the mind of the observer (eg: non-custodial punishment to enforce mass vaccinations, jail for using your body to murder/rape/etc).

Comment Re:The current government is doomed. (Score 3, Insightful) 153

Yes, this is a non-story in Australia.

The current government's incompetence is going to allow something much worse to take over

No, the incompetence of the Australian voter will be responsible for that. However numerous polls also show that the majority of voters would have preferred to be choosing from Rudd vs Turner. Turner leads the traditional side of conservative politics, the side that still has some principles and common respect for their ideological opponents.

The fundamental problem in Oz is that the mining unions are pulling the strings in the Labor party and the mine owners are pulling the strings in the Liberal party, and Murdoch controls 70% of the press. On many subjects the union and the bosses are in lockstep agreement, eg: the unionists ousted Rudd because of his mining tax plans, their bosses ousted Turner because of his plans to regulate carbon emissions. Neither the union leaders or mine owners want anything to get in the way of digging holes in the ground, everybody seems to have forgotten about Tony's prediction of economic Armageddon, the carbon tax was instituted a year ago and we are still one of the healthiest economies on the planet.

Disclaimer: I believe we should exploit our resources but not at the cost of our natural life support systems, for instance coal mines on cape york are potentially a threat to the great barrier reef. The reef is not only a valuable tourist attraction it is also a massive fish nursery, The shelf waters around Australia's coast are the breeding ground for much of the southern hemisphere's fisheries, the planetary food web is not something you can put a price on, it's essential natural infrastructure that (if given a chance) is so productive it allows some of us enough time to do things like dig massive holes and sell magic rocks to China.

Comment Re:So Bitcoin is money? (Score 1) 396

Banks pay "insurance" to the federal reserve, it's a chunk of money they must deposit at reserve interest rates. The amount of imaginary money they can loan to people is determined by the size of that chunk of money. Should the whole thing go tits up the fed uses that money (and more) to prop the system up (bailouts). Certainly not an ideal state of affairs but the alternative of "let them fail" doesn't explain how the economy is rebuilt after the banking system collapses and the rioting has subsided.

However bitcoin claims to be a currency, not a bank. The problem there is that in the not so distant past certain business owners paid their workers in a currency that could only be spent at the "company store". Bitcoin also gives a much better return for money laundering than paying a bunch petty criminals to wash it by hand at the slot machines.

Personally I think if they don't want to be part of the public banking system then they should stop promoting it as a currency and start pretending it's virtual bling, start by posting the exchange rate in grams of gold or number of IPV4 addresses it can rent, rather than $US.

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If all the world's economists were laid end to end, we wouldn't reach a conclusion. -- William Baumol