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Comment Re:End of Great Britain? (Score 1) 1592

I don't think you understand what's been going on for the groups described. These are the populations that have born the brunt of the losses from globalization. They heard for decades politicians and elites promise that integration and globalization would benefit them while at the same time seeing their heavy industry shut down and outsourced, watched "foreigners" enter into the country increasing competition for unskilled work and depressing wages. They're bitter and cynical and no longer believe what the elites in London are telling them - yes, maybe their lot can get worse, but since status quo means continuing to stagnate or lose ground, from their perspective what do they have to lose in rolling the dice?

Comment Congress Created this Mess (Score 1) 266

In many ways, Congress created this mess, and it's frustrating that it's not getting more reporting. Back in 2013, TSA had 47,000 screening agents. Today, it has 42,000, a reduction in about 5,000 screeners. This reduction is a very large part of why TSA lines have gotten worse this year - fewer agents despite a trend of steadily increasing passenger traffic year-over-year. Why did they cut the number of screeners? Because since 2013, Congress diverted $13B of the 9/11 fee on airline tickets to spend on unrelated budget items. So it's no surprise that TSA screening times and quality have dropped: if you cut funding, which leads to 10% headcount reductions, it's not a big surprise that screening times increase.

Comment People Buy Apple for the Ecosystem (Score 1) 214

I think your comment misses the point of why Apple is so attractive. It's not simply the form factor of the macbook, but its the entire ecosystem. That's why a lot of people are so loyal to it; one of Apple's great strengths is their ability to seamlessly integrate the different pieces of their hardware universe into a clean, unified experience. There are plenty of products with better form factors or raw technical stats for more affordable prices, but Apple commands their premium because if you're inside their ecosystem, you can move between devices with little trouble, especially compared to other alternatives, particularly Windows and Linux.

Comment Re:Opportunity? (Score 1) 133

Yet it's not just money, it's also freedom from a very large and highly restrictive bureaucracy. Believe it or not, a lot of people don't mind the money persay, but they may get frustrated with the slow moving and extremely cumbersome government machinery which may not even recognize them well for what they do. If a consulting company like BRG offers them a chance to serve the country but with the greater freedom offered by a private company, I could see them jumping ship.

Comment It is a real concern... proven by Tesla drivers (Score 4, Insightful) 219

The debate about "autopilot" versus "fully autonomous" is a very real concern, validated by Tesla drivers themselves. You have drivers that stop paying attention to the speed limit, abuse autodrive to violate traffic laws, take their hands off the steering wheel, or just climb into the back seat and let the car drive itself creates not just a danger for the Tesla driver but for every car on the road. This despite Tesla's insistence that people must still stay at the wheel and drive; the technology has advanced enough that people get a false sense of confidence to push the limits even if the technology is not truly ready for it. That's the point that the Volvo engineer is making.

Submission + - The Global Decline in Manufacturing Jobs (nytimes.com)

Koreantoast writes: The New York Times posted an interesting thought piece on the changing nature of manufacturing globally and the impact it has on modern politics and economic development. Although manufacturing productivity has jumped tremendously over the last several decades, the overall global pool of manufacturing jobs is shrinking as automation and new industrial technologies has increased the production and supply of manufactured goods with fewer people at a rate faster than global demand can absorb. The analogy is the agricultural revolution of the last several centuries where greater amounts of food are being produced by fewer and fewer farmers, displacing many of them. How will industrialized nations manage the growing number of displaced, blue collar labor? Bigger impact globally is that the shrinking pool of manufacturing jobs globally is closing the traditional route of export-oriented manufacturing economy that many nations, particularly in East Asia, were able to use to lift their nations out of poverty. What happens to those nations that missed the boat?

Comment South Korea Example - Small Notes until 2008 (Score 1) 558

An interesting case study is the one of South Korea, which until 2009, the largest bill was the 10K Won note (~$8 USD). Banks would actually issue banker checks in denominations of 100K Won in order to fill the need. That said, in 2009, South Korea began to issue a 50K Won note (~$40 USD). What's interesting is that the collection rates of the notes has dropped down to about 27%, much lower than the 80-90% collection rate on other denominations. However, most Koreans believe that the large bills are being "pulled" out of circulation by the "underground economy" - basically under-the-table cash transactions which can be innocent (people hoarding cash) to gray (small businesses underreporting cash earnings for tax evasion), and black (corruption and criminal slush funds). It's a huge issue in Korea, where the underground economy is estimated between 17-25% of GDP... basically, a large chunk of the economy untaxed and regulated. The collection rate had peaked around 61.7% but dropped when the government began to more aggressively pursue tax dodgers. Short news article here andhere. Information on the underground economy here.

Comment It's Because of Prosperity They're Worried (Score 3, Insightful) 110

You have it backwards. When China was poor but growing, the government only had to grow the economy, and people are forgiving on other things for the sake of making a better economic life. Now however, with China prosperous, people want to improve the quality of life - "public goods" as political scientists call it. They want cleaner governance and a reduction in graft, fair and impartial justice, regulations of things like food safety, social safety nets, government that better responds to local needs, social liberalization, etc. These are interlocking demands that require greater transparency and accountability of the government... things that while possible even under the Chinese one party system, would still require senior CCP members to give up their lucrative side businesses and constrain their activities which is very, very hard to do.

Comment Underestimate Value of Skill Concentration (Score 5, Insightful) 226

I think you greatly underestimate the value of creating large pools of talent in a single location. It is true that an individual can succeed on his own, working virtually in support of a company or himself. However, when you live in a community of similar talent, there's a sharpening effect - people coming together, sharing ideas, supporting one another, and ultimately, creating new businesses together. It's not impossible for this to happen virtually, but it is much easier when people are close to one another, able to do this informally whether over coffee, dinner, drink or just hanging out - essentially living life together. Proximity allows for much more rapid and deeper networking so that when those new ideas emerge, it's much easier to find and recruit the talent you need. Finally, when you have concentrated pools like this, you begin to develop secondary infrastructure that makes doing business in that area all that much more attractive - venture capital all the way down to better coffee.

I get you on the whole driverless car and hyperloop thing, but people really are very localized, and unless you can make both so fast that the thought of going to another city for drinks is no different a time and energy commitment than going to the bar a couple blocks away, it's not going to really work.

Comment Lasers for Blinding People Banned by Treaty (Score 3, Informative) 275

Using lasers to blind individuals is a violation of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons signed by 105 countries including the United States and the United Kingdom. So I suppose from a legal philosophy perspective, calling the use of lasers to interfere with a person's vision an offensive weapon isn't that big of a stretch.

Comment Re:title (Score 1) 339

Spending $20,000,000,000,000 (and counting...) on pointless war in the Middle East instead of energy research is really working out well for the USA.

The fallacy of these kind of comments is the assumption that all, or even a part, of that money would have ever gone to energy R&D. It would have been given back as a tax break, used to build another bridge to nowhere, or maybe just not borrowed to begin with.

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