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Comment Before anybody tries UBI I'd like to solve traps (Score 2) 244

Before anybody tries UBI, I'd like to see trapless welfare. I don't know how bad this is in Canada, but the USA has a lot of "welfare traps". That's a situation where people remain on public assistance rather than work because their real income falls when they start working. We do so many stupid things such as labeling people "low income" and making them wait a long time for "low income housing". Then their "low income status" actually becomes an asset!

Fix that first, then get back to us.


Ontario Launches Universal Basic Income Pilot ( 244

Reader epiphani writes: The Ontario Government will pilot universal basic income in a $50M program supporting 4,000 households over a 3 year period. While Slashdot has vigorously debated universal basic income in the past, and even Elon Musk has predicted it's necessity, experts continue to debate and gather data on the approach in the face of increasing automation. Ontario's plan will study three communities over three years, with participants receiving up to $17,000 annually if single, and $24,000 for families.

Comment Turing (Score 1) 612

My first 'formal' computer programming training was in High School, using a language developed at the University of Toronto called Turing.

It was a cute little language, and I remember doing some fun stuff in it, including some basic 3d wireframe engine work. Which was pretty exciting stuff in high school computer programming in the early 90s on a 386.

Comment Re:19th and 20th century powerhouse (Score 1) 205

It's funny you dismiss hydro so quickly. There are many potential large hydro sites with very low levelized cost of energy in Sub-Saharan Africa. Many of the governments in Africa think hydro is a great option, and that's where a lot of development is currently going. To quote from an International Energy Agency report in 2016 (Boosting the Power Sector in Sub-Saharan Africa: China's Involvement):

"Renewable sources account for 56% of total capacity added by Chinese projects between 2010 and 2020, including 49% from hydropower."

If you take a look at Map 2 in that report, hydropower projects dominate in central and east Africa. Figure 1 shows that Chinese contractors account for 30% of all new capacity additions in sub-Saharan Africa, although elsewhere in the report you read that Chinese contractors are essentially the only ones building large hydro and coal.

So regardless if it's a great option (and I agree, environmental and social risks of large hydro can be very high and need to be addressed), it's happening, and it's happening because it's cheap (enough to be profitable for a developer with a 30 year Built-Operate-Transfer agreement).

Comment Re:Landlords are not middle class (Score 1) 106

The median personal income for the united states is approximately $25k. The mean personal income is closer to $50k but that's not the kind of average people usually use in statistics like this because it is skewed way upward by the concentration of income at the top. The median american household income is also around $50k but the median household also has about two people in it so of course that is twice the personal income, there are twice the persons. And I'm not saying making $50k makes you upper class, just that that is far from a low income statistically. Owning multiple homes (somehow, despite the income you deride as low) is what makes you upper class. Raw income is irrelevant to class; borrower/lender or renter/rentier status is what matters. Do you have so much wealth that you can make money letting others use it, or do you have so little that you have to pay to use others'? That is what matters.

Comment Re:Landlords are not middle class (Score 1) 106

If you are mortgaging then you have lower class borrower status partly cancelling out your upper class rentier status. Your renter status pulls your overall class down too. But if on the whole you are making more from people paying to borrow your capital than you are paying to borrow others', that puts you on the upper side of the class line. Raw income does not define class because it may be coming at the expense of great sacrifice (of time and energy and opportunity, or of goods already owned) and it may largely go to providing other people free income that spares them such sacrifice, that is, in paying rents or interest. Class is determined more by wealth than income, by the capital that you own or not, and consequently what you have to borrow or rent or can afford to lend or rent out. You personally have a complex mix or borrowing, renting, and renting out going on, but if on the whole you are making more from renting out than you pay in interest and rent then you are upper class. And it sound like you at least are aiming for that status if you don't have it already.

Comment Re:Huh? What? (Score 2) 223

What if the common factor is that all of these artificial sweeteners stimulate the "sweet taste" centers of the brain but don't supply any energy? So then one part of your system says, "hey sugar coming" but the pancreas says "no dummy, this ain't sugar". They then proceed to duke it out, smashing bottles and breaking chairs all over the circulatory system.

It could be like virtual reality. Driving a car doesn't make you sick because your eyes and your balance system provide congruent information. Now put on a VR system and driving games can give you a headache because they only feed information to your eyes.

It's virtual sugar, only feeding information to your taste buds. It doesn't matter who makes the VR, they're all deficient.

Comment Re:Not exactly a neural lace (Score 1) 63

We may not have a good interface directly into the brain for memory, math, and facial recog; but that seems like a problem would could solve. After all, what are our eyes and a phone but a kind of klunky prosthetic for a deficient brain?

What we really don't understand is how this impacts our state of being. If I have a cybernetic implant that allows me to preserve the memory of my family, I'm still alive, right? Simply having access to knowledge of my life doesn't steal my consciousness. Otherwise, family photo albums would make me legally dead.

What we really don't understand is how all the stuff in our brain and body make us conscious human beings. We'll still die; but what does death look like? Is a machine with all my data still me? Will death just be a slight twinge of existential angst, followed by me no longer being a real human being? Or, is a full upload still conscious? What's going to happen? Real immortality, or just a slow transformation into a fancy animated corpse/memorial?

Comment Re:Landlords are not middle class (Score 2) 106

$50k is twice the average American's income. I make around that much, and it's going to be a lifelong struggle to ever own a FIRST home before I die. That you've apparently bought at least four homes (your own, the rental, the one you flipped, and the one that burned down) makes you spectacularly rich beyond my wildest dreams, and I'M already spectacularly rich by most Americans' standards. Like someone else in this thread already said, I can easily afford anything I want -- except a house. If you've got several, you are rich, period.

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