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Comment Re:Tax Exempt? (Score 1) 490

So I should come over to, say, Ireland with my Romanian passport and expect to be able to land a job without a special work permit? The BBC had a story earlier this year on labor mobility restrictions that exist even inside the EU (

Comment Re:Tax Exempt? (Score 1) 490

Welfare limits are being eroded by legislatures across the country. It no longer makes sense to talk about monolithic limits. They vary widely by state.

The government crowds out private solutions. It always has. Once it has crowded those private solutions out, statists announce that only government can do that function. In fact, human ingenuity has found private solutions to problems that in the past were deemed only solvable by the government. The area where government is the only solution should shrink over time as we don't forget past solutions and each generation has its own geniuses who find new private solutions for problem. But it seems like government tends to grow over time. I wonder why that is?

Comment Re:Instructor Materials and Supplements? (Score 1) 216

K-12 education is generally not subject to a lot of updates and thus would be a better field, I think than college texts. But we don't pay for those textbooks directly, the costs are buried in our property tax bill in the US (where 1/3 of the whole bill often goes to primary/secondary education, the largest single chunk). That doesn't mean that we aren't paying, every year, for the textbook mafia's current stranglehold.

Comment Re:Computers to read the textbooks (Score 1) 216

Open source can have meaning in the matter of textbooks though it's not clear from what I've read so far that actual open source is what they're doing. If you have a chart, for instance, an open source textbook will make available the underlying table of figures used to create that chart. A public domain textbook probably won't. A public domain textbook might be scanned from the original paper or might just be paper but an open source textbook will include the source files needed to build the author intended rendering of the book and will allow for superior use by the disabled for instance. I'm not entirely sure how you'd have an open source printed textbook. It would seem to be somewhat useless.

Comment Re:Vice Provost of Caltech from 1994 said it best (Score 1) 253

Stop trying to rehabilitate a bloody, failed ideology. The economics of abundance (sharing on the net where copying costs are virtually zero) are not the same as socialism because, like capitalism, socialism is an attempt to manage the economics of scarcity, a task at which it fails miserably. Capitalism does much better at managing the economics of scarcity and has a few interesting things to say about the economics of abundance but we really are in poorly charted waters. Abundance is simply not that common a condition so there's a lot of work that needs to be done to extend what we know about economics to this heretofore uncommon state (take a look at ESR's discussion of potlatch societies in the Pacific NW for an old style abundance society).

It's much more productive to take Adam Smith's concepts of benevolence, generosity, and charity (see his Theory of Moral Sentiments) as a starting point for abundance economics, not least because it lets you create a wider view of functional economics both on the scarcity and abundance sides.

Comment Re:I'd guess very very common (Score 1) 253

Here's something, the Lancet offers two levels of peer review, normal and expedited. There is no warning about expedited peer review papers (I've got a marketing email from the Lancet on how much faster they are willing to push through papers through review than any other journal out there) so far as I can tell. So when you read the Lancet, you don't know if you're reading something that went through traditional peer review or this expedited peer review light.

I would think that this should be a terrible reputational hit for the Lancet. So far as I can tell, it's not.

Comment Re:checks and balances (Score 1) 253

"Science" does not have one system. The UK requires publicly funded science to give up all data on request. The US does not have this rule. Australia (from a comment above) seems to be in the process of following the UK's lead. The US should too.

Another issue is when somebody starts talking about juicing stuff in order to move the politicians along (see Stephen Schneider) that guy needs to get seriously smacked professionally. Scientists need to stay away from being propagandists. It shouldn't be tolerated.

Comment Re:Of course they're not all honest (Score 3, Interesting) 253

Here's a sensible requirement. If you submit a paper, you submit your data and sufficient information that anybody can rerun your stuff. The whole MBH 98 idiocy was largely about how climate scientists would dance around releasing their data and methods. In the UK, if you take the public's money, you can't do that. In the US you can. The US should follow the UK on this one.

Comment Re:Of course they're not all honest (Score 1) 253

You may want to look at the attempts to reign in Fannie and Freddie after the profits scandals early in the Bush years. It was Republicans, with both Bush and McCain in the lead trying to reform the housing loan market in sensible ways and Barney Frank and Chris Dodd and mostly other Democrats (with a few bought and paid for Republicans) voting against it.

If you have a bit of strategic vision, you'd see how valuable a free Iraq is and will be. Israeli pretensions to automatic US support because they are the only democracy are on their last legs (if the Iraqis can keep their republic), iran is discomfited because a free Shiite nation with equal religious standing is right next door. The Saudis have already made greater progress towards sensible regime reform since we invaded Iraq than they had in the 7 decades prior. The dividends (if we don't screw it up now) are good and are going to keep on giving in the form of a detoxified muslim and arab world which dries up the crazy jihadi recruiting pool.

That's actually more valuable than Bin Laden's head on a stick.

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Karl's version of Parkinson's Law: Work expands to exceed the time alloted it.