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Comment Preying on the unsophisticated (Score 1) 476

While it is convenient to call things like Uber vultures on the gig-economy, eating the guts of the still-living victims of the modern economy as they lie bleeding their lives out into the street, in fact, we were warned of this back in the day, when Unions told us that the employees were too stupid or too naive to manage their own negotiations with the capitalists. The paternalistic state need not be the political state.

That said, as is usually the case, there is some truth in the hyperbole. In particular, the gig-economy presumes that people are actually fiscally self-aware enough to understand that making a living means selling your time, and if you don't want to have to sell your time till the day you have no time left to sell (as in, you are dead), you'd better be banking some income today so you can become a capitalist tomorrow (where a capitalist sells the time and values of assets they own, their capital, aka, "retired" from the simple business of selling time).

So, the gig-economy assumes people are fiscally self-aware, but experience suggests that many people grossly underestimate the costs of maintenance, operating costs, etc as they drive their assets around town trying to make money for today, but not necessarily making money for the future.

Comment Re:Misunderstood: socialism IS everywhere (Score 1) 723

Once you use labels like "socialism" you immediately give up your ability to be heard by the very people you whose minds you might want to change. As a Republican working with the Citizens Climate Lobby I am constantly being reminded how to open minds and doors with civil, non-threatening discourse. Compare with approach against the usual rant-and-chant mobs blocking doors.

Comment Stratified sampling (Score 1) 1430

If we used the 2016 House District results as a surrogate for a stratified sample we would conclude that were everyone required to vote (as is the case in several countries), Trump would have won both the Electoral College and the popular vote. So the fact that Clinton won popular vote and Trump the electoral college is more of an artifact of the fact that we do not make voting mandatory than it is an indictment of the Electoral College.

Comment A unique chance - or another brain drain? (Score 1) 242

Here's a bit of a gedankenexperiment. How about if we open the borders to emigration? But with a twist.

For every Cuban who applies to escape the island, Cuba has to find an American who wants to live in the workers paradise. Cuba would get dedicated socialists who would (at least for a while) not complain about the conditions. Free medical, etc. for the taking. And they probably would owe lots of student loans, forgiving those might be the price the US pays (re-instate the loan if the immigrant returns to US).

Cuba would have to forgive the Cuban outbound emigrants their debts to the Cuban society that raised them (a common argument socialist governments give when asked why their borders are closed to emigration).

Allow free tourism between the two countries, anyone who overstays their visa would trigger an opening for someone going the other way.

The US would want to screen potential Cuban immigrants, no repeat of the Mariel boat lift.

Run this as a friendly cooperative experiment - we both might learn something.

Comment Two important question must be answered first (Score 1) 786

Two important questions must be answered first.

First, we must ask if there is true correlation between the autism spectrum placement and coding skills. If there is, then it may be reasonable to use autism spectrum location as a screening variable when hiring coders (note, correlation is not causation, so be careful here).

Second, is it harder for women to grow into or be born into that pocket of coding creativity? If it is, then we should expect the ratio of successful programmers to be imbalanced, just as there is clear imbalance in the NBA based on height.

It is the worst sort of unicorn-buying for our institutions to try to "correct" such an imbalance without understanding these aspects of the problem.

Comment How to make this happen (Score 1) 474

You have to use a concept from judo, in which you use your opponent's strengths against them. To make this work you have to frame it as a Republican/Libertarian project that uses a universal dividend (not income) to every citizen to eliminate the voter bloc-creating effects of identity and victimhood politics, then appeal to Democrats/Lefts as the party of care-givers and soft hearts to let go of their special interest groups in favor of a fair and equitable basic income. Do NOT apply a means test, let your progressive tax rates take care of that issue. Take away the tax on corporations in exchange for overturning Citizens United, and again, let your progressive tax rates take care of the distributed income (no special category for capital gains).

At this point you have gored enough sacred cows to bring out a tsunami of lawyers and lobbyists to defeat you, but maybe that tsunami itself will be enough of a signal to the taxpayers that they will finally grow up and pay attention.

Submission + - Merchants of Doubt - why we are sooo stoopid

FreedomFirstThenPeac writes: The movie, Merchants of Doubt reveals the concerted efforts that were used to push the Republicans away from the science of (first) tobacco risks, the later climate change. The highlights are three, they are. (1) The film does not blame just Fox — CNN and MSNBC take hits too. (2) The deep issue is exposed to be one of freedom vs centrally controlled command-and-control methods. Conservatives and Libertarians HATE the nanny-state, Big Tobacco (and later, Big Oil) leveraged that hate to create a tribal barrier to believing in the science. (3) Micheal Shermer makes an extended cameo, as he describes his transition from his natural state (a skeptic) to one of agreeing with the science.

The first point is mostly useful to go against the myth that Fox is the only evil (or stupid) media in the room. The second point is why we should be looking into the free-market solutions such as the one that the Citizens Climate Lobby espouses. The third point provides a useful story arc (skeptic-to-believer is a natural conservative path) when trying to show Republicans a path out of the corner they have been painted into.

Comment Alternatively - they are too creative ... (Score 1) 411

Alternatively - they are too creative for their own good, and parse BS through their creative filters to turn crap into poetry. As in.

Wholeness -- ooh, ooh. that triggers my whole holistic reaction set (the whole meme)

quiets -- ahhh. Quieting my mental monkees (Buddhism)

infinite -- wowser! There go my favorite metaphysical thoughts, quantum consciousness anyone?

phenomena -- FUBAR! My favorite orgasm trigger other than my SO's lips on mine.

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