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Comment Re:What do you gain from this? (Score 1) 102

Here's the thing about your laptops. They are large, heavy, loud, and hot. While they do have more performance than a Samsung Galaxy S7, it's really not by much, and it won't be noticeable to this products target.

This product will let people perform productivity tasks using a device they're probably carrying around with them anyways, and a keyboard/display/battery combo that will be light, thin, quiet, and cool. Not only that, they won't have to throw it away when they get a new phone, and the performance/features will just keep upgrading as the phones evolve.

I think this is a damn good idea. Why buy a smartphone AND a laptop that you will have to end up upgrading both?

Submission + - Wasserman Schultz won't Speak at Dem Convention After Wikileaks Revelations (cnn.com)

HughPickens.com writes: CNN reports that the head of the Democratic National Committee will not speak at the party's convention next week, a decision reached by party officials Saturday after emails surfaced that raised questions about the committee's impartiality during the Democratic primary. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, whose stewardship of the DNC has been under fire through most of the presidential primary process, will not have a major speaking role in an effort "to keep the peace" in the party, a Democrat familiar with the decision said. The revelation comes following the release of nearly 20,000 emails. One email appears to show DNC staffers asking how they can reference Bernie Sanders' faith to weaken him in the eyes of Southern voters. Another seems to depict an attorney advising the committee on how to defend Hillary Clinton against an accusation by the Sanders campaign of not living up to a joint fundraising agreement.

Comment Re:Question (Score 1) 416

Unfortunately, there are still jobs that nobody likes to do that need doing. The problem is that there aren't enough of them to absorb the unemployed, and they tend to be paid at subsistence wages or less. (Perhaps it wouldn't be subsistence in a different area, but the cost of living varies depending on where you live.)

One example of this is WallMart workers getting food stamps and public health care and STILL not having enough to live on. WallMart, however, is just the most notorious example. There are many others.

I don't know a perfect answer, but a Basic Income would be a start. Start it off low, and raise it over time to something reasonable. Eliminate the minimum wage. And add in Basic Health care. Basic Health care should be seen as a necessary Public Health measure.

Comment Re:Question (Score 1) 416

He's not really wrong, but neither are you. You're measuring different things.

FWIW, I would much rather have lived in the US during the 1950's-1960's. Of course I did, which may bias me, but I've talked to a few ex-patriate Russians (though I don't know whether they were actually "Russians" rather than just from the Cacausian area of the USSR) and they agreed with me about preferences.

Comment Re: Question (Score 1) 416

The problem is expecting an egalitarian society with people doing the optimizing. If there's a centralized position of power, it will be grabbed by those who figure they can use it to benefit themselves. Some of them will also intend to benefit some additional group of people.

This kind of thing has happened over and over. The avoidance of it may be a part of what caused the Catholic Church to ban the marriage of priests. (The major reason was so that their descendants couldn't inherit.) The Mandrinate was a good idea (well, compared to the alternatives) when it was actually based around competitive examinations. After those in power made it hereditary it became just another corrupt aristocracy. IIUC, in Constantinople the bureaucrats were required to be castrated. This kept the corruption of a hereditary aristocracy from appearing...but exposed a whole new variety of corruption.

I think centralized controls are incompatible with an egalitarian society...as long as humans are running things. And a distributed system of controls (e.g. the ideal free market) seems to be incompatible with efficiency.

FWIW, distributed systems may be inherently inefficient. Consider the scaling problems of mesh networks, or the rapid way that internet connections were reduced in number via backbones trunks. The original rule was you should have at least two totally independent routes to each of your major links. These days you can't do that even by using separate ISP companies.

Comment Re: Question (Score 1) 416

I would go further than "doesn't matter". As jobs are increasingly automated, people who are capable of enjoying not being employed become increasingly socially beneficial.

In past eras many of the "idle rich" became authors, philosophers, artists, etc. Some became quite good at it. James Branch Cabell, e.g., is still in print about a century later. It's not clear how many such people society has room for, but they only arise from those who don't need to work for a living. (This is in opposition to those like Charles Dickens who did need to work for a living. The style is quite different.)

Comment Re: Read some Engels (Score 1) 416

I'll go further and say that nobody on Earth has ever seen a Communist government. There are, and have been, communist governments, but they were always at the village level or smaller. Communism is difficult to implement, requires a charismatic leader to maintain, and even then doesn't scale well. Most successful communist groups were religious in nature. The exceptions were, I believe without exception, Utopian. (Any counter examples?)

Comment Re:Read some Engels (Score 1) 416

Actually, it can be done neither with Capitalism nor Communism. Sorry, but Communism has single points of failure which those seeking power can acquire to increase their power at the expense of everyone else. Capitalism has the same problem, but with more distributed "single points of failure".

Either could plausibly work if control were implemented via an appropriately optimizing AI, but in the first place our current AIs aren't up to the job, and in the second place, those currently holding positions of power would be reluctant to give them up...and any AI that would coerce them to do so would be unlikely to perform optimally at control (from our point of view).

A likely plausible scenario is increasingly capable AI hollowing out middle management until there are only a few humans running everything, who will eventually retire in favor of an AI rather than in favor of some other human. Calling the resulting system either Capitalism or Communism seems a bit abusive of the term, though it would likely share some characteristics of each. I call this likely as it seems already well in process, though the end-point is, at this stage, a guess.

It's worth noting that when human life is being sustained by such a system there will need to be some mechanism to limit the human population. War will be right out, but plague is a possibility, as is birth control, but birth control will tend to either be compulsory or be evolved away from. Larry Niven's "birth right lotteries" is possible, if improbable. (He even includes what happens when the system gets corrupted. I find his answer possible, but implausible.) But perhaps the population will automatically limit itself. Certainly that's the current experience in technically advanced urban countries, but I have my suspicion that this may be due to widespread sub-critical levels of poisoning with weird chemicals (weed killers, petroleum distillates, etc.).

Comment Re:Oh boy (Score 1) 349

It's not news, if you didn't know that months ago you weren't paying attention. This, of course, doesn't mean it's not important.

FWIW, my evaluation is that Sanders was picked to run as the designated loser, and accepted that role in order to promote his ideas. I believe that he knew from the start that he didn't have much of a chance, and that the deck had already been stacked against him. Certainly that was my evaluation at the time of the televised Democratic Candidates Debate, and I've seen no reason to change my mind.

Comment Re: Oh boy (Score 1) 349

That's only a part of the answer. Urbanites don't like, and actually can't usually do, a reasonable job of replacing field workers. To do so they'd need a pre-training similar to boot-camp. My mother tries to work in a cotton field once. She gave up after a day, not because the work didn't pay enough (that wasn't why she was doing it), but because it was too physically demanding. Her life as a school teacher, "single" mother*, etc. hadn't prepared her. She was in her early 30's at the time.

*"single" mother: My father was in the navy, stationed where dependents were not welcome. Sometimes on a ship, sometimes in the Aleutians.

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