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Comment Re:Finland is not foreign? (Score 2) 98

The Finns later took advantage of chaos in Russia as an opportunity to tell the Russians to GTFO.

The independence of Finland from Russia wasn't due to the "Finns telling the Russians to GTFO", it was a decision made by Lenin, partly for pragmatic reasons, partly due to his warm feelings for Finland after he found shelter there when he was still a political outlaw.

Comment Re:A pity, but not a surprise (Score 1) 95

So, why do you feel that it's your responsibility to tell other random people about random stuff you buy? Are you getting paid to do so?

I'm an Amazon Top Reviewer, and I started reviewing in the late 1990s. I can't remember what drove me to start reviewing, but I've certainly found it worthwhile over time. I tend to review some niche categories of music and books, and while they audiences for these products aren't all known to me personally, it's not quite "random" and one feels that by reviewing one is helping out a community of peers. Also, with a written record of my tastes and impressions from a given time, it's also interesting to see how my views about literature or recordings have changed over the years.

Many top reviewers had the opportunity to make some money from their status by eBaying the freebies they get, but not me. At some point I started getting offers for free products, but all but a handful of those offers disappeared when I mentioned that I now live outside the US -- no one would want to pay such high postage to get promotional materials to me.

Comment Re:Automation hits the white collar sector (Score 1) 69

Does it really take less time to "proofread" a machine-generated translation than to write one from scratch?

No, but there's a much larger labour pool for proofreading and correction and it is considered relatively unskilled work, so it cannot command a high wage. Translation, on the other hand, is considered skilled work to some degree and not everyone has those skills. So, if a company hires someone to fix machine-translation output, they will save money by paying the employee less even if the amount of time for the employee remains the same.

Comment Re:So... (Score 1) 1321

Primaries were fixed by means that were technically perfectly legal.

Stuff like: block out convention center area in several blocks radius for all traffic, "for security reasons", haul Clinton supporters by bus, make Sanders supporters spend hours trying to find parking place and not reach the voting on time. Or find some serious violation of the voting protocol, and completely lawfully call in repeat of the voting the next day. Clinton's supporters were invited to some kind of party, so they stayed on site, while Sanders' people had left and were impossible to gather and bring back on time. What a coincidence. Quite a few such actions, perfectly legal and absolutely dirty. Not a single thing they could be dragged to court for - but simultaneously quite enough to make Sanders' voters choose Trump.

Comment Re:And to think the DNC wanted to face Trump... (Score 1) 2837

If we'd be to disregard the fact security would make your life really painful, and the whole event would cause a lot of hysteria... but let's imagine we're not talking about President Trump, but about mr. Trump, the millionaire, at one of the high-society parties, sipping champagne from a glass. You walk up to him, say "Hello, Mr. Trump. I always wanted to do this." Then you grab him by the crotch and laugh.

Now compare it to this: You're a male employee pouring out your heart and using mastery of expertise in managing one of major branches of a major government organization. You work much over time, you know it through and through. You're not politically active, though your personal opinions are more conservative. You also have an assistant, a young woman out of college. You're teaching her the ropes, hoping she would become your replacement once you retire. Unfortunately, her work ethics suffer. She's often late to work, sometimes calling in sick when you see her partying the night before; she lacks important skills for the position, skills she would obtain over time. Then you come in, in the morning, and see a termination notice on your desk, no explanation. Your assistant gets your job. You're unemployed.

Consider long-term psychological impact of these two situations. Compare them. Do you think Donald Trump would be traumatized more?

Comment Re:Correct, those jobs are not coming back ever (Score 1) 600

The objective truth of current facts is on your side, but the conclusions and the moral side are not nearly as clear-cut.

Does the mill produce less? Does it generate less profit? Unlikely; probably its production has even grown, and even if unit price of the product dropped, the sheer bulk of production makes up for that.

But that profit is no longer going to the pockets of 900 employees. Most of it is pocketed by a small circle of owners/investors. Automation removes jobs, but it also redirects funds from pockets of employees to pockets of owners of the machines.

And as much as you'd like to cry wolf about liberty of economy, and as much as you'd want to blame the employees for being low-skilled, and making poor life choices, there simply is no market in the area for the 800 redundant employees, no matter what their skillset or talent or dedication or education. Automation reduces need for work globally, and your town is representative of the world - people lose jobs, starting from lowest-skill, but if every single of them had a great college degree and a wonderful skillset, they still wouldn't find enough workplaces - and likely, these who would, would introduce more automation, and make even more people redundant. And make investors, who purchase the automation solutions even richer.

It's also a trap, because while production volume increases, cost drops, profits soar, the money must come *from somewhere* - precisely, from pockets of customers, common people buying the product. And if the people lose sources of income, they cease buying things that aren't absolute necessities. It's a bubble that must burst - wonderful modern unmanned factories producing goods nobody can afford.

In other words, that model is not sustainable. More automation means less workplaces globally, not *just* in these sectors. Less employed mean shrinking market. Shrinking market means less income for the owners - and as result, further cuts - further automation, less jobs, less income for common people and more market shrinkage.

This may still be considered "fair" according to the natural capitalist narrative - but it IS a problem heading straight for a disaster. It absolutely requires system-wide solution, because no matter what these people do, no matter what skills they obtain, job market will only continue to shrink in the long run, and the number of unemployed will only grow. Maybe universal income. Maybe something else. I don't know. But blaming the situation on people's life choices is entirely misguided. There's only so much work for skilled, expert labor, and that amount - despite persistent shortages - is lower than the number of people who will lose jobs. Education is a solution for some, but not for all - and the number of those will only grow.

Comment Re: Great for China! (Score 1) 600

He managed to stop the downward slide. The growth is nearly nil, while before that it was in huge negatives.

Yeah, that's not much, and he should have done much better, but hey, throw him a bone and give him a credit for what he managed - he wasn't an abysmally bad president, just a sub-mediocre one.

Comment Re: Great for China! (Score 1) 600

Disastrous to travel sector. Two buildings hosting management and business center of many major firms, taking the management with them. Infrastructure funds redirected to military and security. Import/export regulations tightened, blocking many markets.

Look. If they blew up four walmarts, killing 3000 soccer moms, that would be nothing to economy. The problem is the meaning behind the acronym WTC.

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