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Comment Re:user error (Score 1) 710

I thought I'd add to the choir of voices in the same position.

In short, political beliefs on this are:

- Carbon tax shift is a great idea, so long as it's a *shift* and not "we end up with both".
- Anything else is mindless posturing that will do little if anything but most likely make the problem worse -- there are major Jevons effects from e.g. efficiency standards.

Lifestyle is:

- Live in small downtown apartment, using mostly public transit and the occasional cab or rental.
- No energy usage for cooling (weather is such that "opening the window" does the trick), virtually none for heating (steam radiator).
- No lawn (obviously).

Comment Inefficient emission regulation (Score 1, Interesting) 462

And that, my friends, is why CAFE[1] standards are a stupid way of reducing emissions.

Just figure out what the social cost of the emissions is, charge that much through a tax, and let everyone decide on their own whether that trip, or that vehicle, is still worth it.

Not equitable enough? Rebate everyone an equal share of the money raised this way, which protects from consumption losses at low income levels while preserving the incentive to cut back.

Going to complain about "lol wuts the point of collecting it all to refund it"? I guess you missed the fact that emissions are harmful.

[1] Corporate Average Fuel Economy i.e. cars you sell must on average be this fuel efficient.

Comment Re:This is more than a little bit naive. (Score 1) 712

For one, more plants would just spring up. Even if part of the buyout was "you may never go into coal again," someone else may. The economic structure of energy is why coal is still king, and buying out the current players won't change that.

I think the point is that, if you were to buy out the existing coal industry, there would be no more *financially invested* stakeholders in (US) coal, and thus no one who'd strongly want to fight a coincident ban.

Comment Re:What we've learned from Bitcoin (Score 1) 221

No, it's stupid. If I want to buy a hot dog in New York, why should that matter to a guy who wants to buy a newspaper in Los Angeles? Why does my financial transaction have to be intertwined with his while we both queue up on the same blockchain?

That's not unique to cryptocurrencies with blockchains. Any private digital currency (including and especially those used in MMORPGs) has to deal with the same problem, of making sure that transactions are ordered correctly, that money is still available in an account, etc. In that sense, they all have the problem of the network having to know about both transactions.

It even affects the real-world clearing of bank transactions, which is why people always complain about the lag between when they get their money and when they can spend it, which exists (in part) because of the interdependence of all the accounts.

One solution, of course, is to perform the accounting via bearer notes, aka physical paper/coin money. The holding of the note validates the availability that unit of money, and that there is no "lock" on it.

But even then, you have to worry about someone spending money while they still have a lien from a third party.

Comment Misunderstanding of risk (Score 5, Insightful) 461

Tell that the the families of passengers on Flight MH370."

Oy gevalt! This again? When minimizing risk, you have to invest where you get the best returns in lives saved. Obviously, in retrospect, after an accident, you'll wish you had spent infinity on having more safety, but that's the wrong way to think about it.

You should instead:

1) figure out how much you're willing to spend per statistical life saved

2) deploy safety measures up to that point

It's not always going to make sense to keep throwing on all kinds of safety equipment simply to handle every black swan event you can think of -- remember, they do log airplane location remotely and continuously; it's just that that still wasn't enough in this case.

You might as well advocate that planes start giving everyone a parachute, without realizing it makes flight so unaffordable as to push people to less safe modes of transportation.

Comments like these promote a worse understanding of the issues.

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