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Comment Re:Globalization vs. Protectionism (Score 1) 202

All salaries stagnated.

False. The standard of living in the developing world has vastly improved and billions of people have been lifted out of poverty. This in turn has benefited rich world countries by making our goods more affordable. It has also reduced migration to some rich world countries. Case in point is the USA in which net migration from Mexico is in negative numbers.

At the same time a whole bunch of folks are out of jobs and can't afford to buy food. ?

Where? In the US unemployment is only at about 2 and a half percent.

So could someone explain to me why we hate protectionism?

Because the last time it was tried on a large scale in western countries it set up the economic conditions that led to two world wars.

Comment People like Musk need to do more homework (Score 3, Insightful) 225

Solutions like this are classic examples of tech-rich people thinking they have all the answers when there's a whole bank of qualified specialist people already working in that field who know what's really needed to fix the problem but have only been stymied by politics.

If traffic is driving Musk nuts then the solution is not to find innovative new ways to handle more traffic. The solution is to ask why is traffic so bad in the first place.

Recommended reading: The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jacobs

Or if that's too heavy, try Suburban Nation: The rise of sprawl and the decline of the American dream.

Only then will you come to see the culprit: Single Use Zoning, aka the BANANA (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything) rules. Single-use zoning forces everybody to make several car journeys just to get through a typical day. Going to work? Car. Going out for lunch? Car. Going home form work? Car. Need to go out for a bottle of milk and postage stamp? Car. Going to a movie? Car.

No bloody wonder the place is flooded with traffic. You try to build a city around the automobile and it becomes a hostile environment for pedestrians and cyclists. You try to widen roads to accommodate more cars and the laws of induced demand kick in, resulting in even more traffic and roads as choked as they were before.

Learn a few things about urban planning, Elon. Don't arrogantly assume that you're the first person to want to address this problem. Smart growth and sustainable, walkable, transit-oriented development is a far better solution than drilling holes in the ground and cracking puns about the word "boring." It requires years of tedious work and politicking to build support for smart growth. A city is not a private company with which you can do what you like. There are elected councils, public advisory committees, public hearings, tax implications, and all manner of complex bureaucratic hoops that you have to jump through to fix these things.

Comment Both (Score 1) 457

It's a reservoir to hold water long-term and supply it as-needed. During heavy rains, it fills to avoid flooding downstream since the rain will supply the water necessary. During the dry season, water is released downstream for supply.

There is a separate mechanism that releases water when the reservoir gets full. There's only so much flood protection you can provide with a fixed-size reservoir and massive rainfall.

Comment Needs better mobile (Score 2) 216

The problem is that most of the public still uses web-based email (GMail, Yahoo, etc) and mobile. Gmail won't support even the most basic of encryption because their entire business model depends on reading other people's emails.

What GMail COULD do is put some sort of header on GPG-signed emails saying that this is certified as from an account.

Comment Re:The republicans will... (Score 1) 399

Interesting. Personally I think that the "obsolete human" has been predicted since the dawn of the industrial revolution but has yet to come to pass. For every innovation, several other new industries seem to pop up. Switchboard operators are (mostly) gone but now there's an army of people taking calls from irate telecom customers. Bank tellers are just about obsolete but now there's a bank of people manning customer service help lines, and on top of this is all the people providing the online services that made said operators redundant. This is the most automated time in history and yet unemployment doesn't seem to be all that high.

That said, if we ever do reach widespread human redundancy then I'd like to see the size of universal income tied to certain conditions, such as ability to work (or otherwise) and community work carried out, or maybe some sort of educational or artistic endeavor. I've seen the idle dependency culture first hand when I lived in an English slum surrounded by career unemployed dole junkies. It was not a pretty sight.

Comment The relevant quote for today (Score 1) 309

Stephen Fry once nailed it on the QI show (which I highly recommend watching, BTW). He was talking about some obscure but interesting topic when one of the contestants asked "Stephen, are we ever going to use this information?"

He lit up and went off on her, saying:

"It’s extraordinary, it’s always the children who say ‘Sir, sir, what’s the point of geometry’, or ‘What’s the point of Latin,’ that end up having no job, being alcoholic, and they don’t notice that the ones who actually find knowledge for its own sake, and pleasure in information, in history, in the world and nature around us, actually getting on and DOING things with their fucking lives it’s an odd thing"

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