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Comment Re:My Dell (Score 1) 365

Did you pay as much for them as you did your Apple laptops?

My experience is that sub-1k laptops are crap no matter who assembles them. I've got a similar story to GP - bought an Inspiron 1520 back in 2007 and it's still going strong. I replaced the harddrive with an SSD and it's now my primary work machine that I carry to the office and on travel.

Comment Re:Warranty Shouldn't Matter (Score 1) 359

I bought a Dell Inspiron in 2006 and it still runs great - I use it every day. The only things I've done are upgrade the harddrive to an SSD and upgrade the RAM from 2 to 4GB. Never done anything else, even cleaning.

I am pretty sure the reason most people have problems is how they use it - taking it with them into the bath, running it on the bed, etc. Or they bought a really cheap one.

  I'm no fan of Apple by any stretch of the imagination, and I'm inclined to blame them for this one, but hardware issues happen sometimes to everyone. I believe I've seen reports that put Apple about the middle of the pack. But pay > 1k for your laptop and treat it well and it'll last you. In my experience, most people treat their electronics like crap because they don't really understand them - they abstract away all the internals.

Comment Re:Oh noooos! (Score 1) 509

No, because if it really turns out that what set of genitals you have play a major role in such a huge financial decision as what career you choose, even in the absence of outside coercion, then that instantly invalidates any economic theory that assumes people generally make rational (from purely economic perspective) choices - which would be all of them

No, it isn't. Well-known Keynesian Krugman addressed this on his blog last week, so might as well repeat what he said:

So, for example, what do I say when I read something like this from someone who apparently considers himself a bold rebel against orthodoxy?

        "Rational thinking is an important aspect of human nature, but we have imagination, we have ambition, we have irrational fear, we are swayed by other people, we get indoctrinated and we get influenced by advertising," he says. "Even if we are actually rational, leaving it to the market may produce collectively irrational outcomes. So when a bubble develops it is rational for individuals to keep inflating the bubble, thinking that they can pull out at the last minute and make a lot of money. But collectively speakingâ.â.â.â"

My answer, to put it in technical terms, is "Well, duh." Maybe grad students at some departments, who are several generations into the law of diminishing disciples, really donâ(TM)t know that rational behavior is at best a useful fiction, that markets arenâ(TM)t perfect, etc, etc. But does this come as news to Robert Shiller? To Ben Bernanke? To Janet Yellen? To Larry Summers? Would it have come as news to Irving Fisher or Walter Bagehot?

The question is what you do with this insight.

There is definitely a faction within economics that considers it taboo to introduce anything into its analysis that isnâ(TM)t grounded in rational behavior and market equilibrium. But what I do, and what everyone Iâ(TM)ve just named plus many others does, is a more modest, more eclectic form of analysis. You use maximization and equilibrium where it seems reasonably consistent with reality, because of its clarifying power, but you introduce ad hoc deviations where experience seems to demand them â" downward rigidity of wages, balance-sheet constraints, bubbles (which are hard to predict, but you can say a lot about their consequences).

You may say that what we need is reconstruction from the ground up â" an economics with no vestige of equilibrium analysis. Well, show me some results. As it happens, the hybrid, eclectic approach Iâ(TM)ve just described has done pretty well in this crisis, so you had better show me some really superior results before it gets thrown out the window.


Real-world economists are fully aware that humans are highly irrational creatures and they've adjusted economic models to compensate as well they can. Maybe you've been reading too much Austrian lunacy?

Comment Re: Holy crap! (Score 1) 1109

People have been stocking up. That's what it boils down to. If you want to find a paranoid personality, look no further than someone who owns an assault rifle. Now get a bunch of these people together and convince them that people are out to not only kill them, but take their guns and ammo as well. Tada. You've just created demand. And supply apparently can't keep up.

Comment Re: Holy crap! (Score 1) 1109

Seriously? Pulling a trigger is immensely easier than actually going through the horror of stabbing yourself. Yes, the latter can be fatal, but it takes a lot more work, especially if you don't know what you're doing. Also, the psychological terror of having to cut yourself open might actually dissuade some people from going through with it, unlike a gun, which is simply...well, point-and-click.

Comment Oh? These? (Score 1) 53

We have this all around the coast here in South Carolina -- they even advertise on billboards. SC banned private gambling operations (such as poker machines) in 2000 while simultaneously starting the "South Carolina Education Lottery" to fill the void; many businesses went kapoot then, but recently this private surge of Internet Cafe gambling has come out, as technically gambling from a server located in another state is still a grey area. Charleston hasn't really done anything to impede the progress of places like this, but Myrtle Beach has actually had raids on these locations and arrested people for illegally gambling. As it stands, I am five miles from seven different "Internet Sweepstake" cafes.

Comment Re:Bully tactics (Score 1) 225

I don't want to give them no credit, but it was certainly near-miraculous the US survived and ended up as well-off as we did in many ways in spite of them.

Things like the Alien and Sedition Acts, imprisoning your media critics, pretty much everything involving Native Americans, and so on and so forth, had very little to do with integrity.

Comment Re:Bully tactics (Score 1) 225

I, for one, expect more integrity from a government formed by the likes of John Adams, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson. It appears I'm in the minority, and realpolitik is the order of the day.


I don't think you know much about Adams, Washington, or Jefferson. Just like the politicians of today, they had lots of pretty speeches promoting freedom, democracy, freedom from foreign entanglements, and everything else good and great, but what they actually did was far, far from that. And man, you think bipartisanship is bad today, you should have seen it back then. Today's political campaigns look like a bunch of hippies singing Kumbaya in comparison.

Comment Half-Truth: It's The Perspective, Dummy! (Score 2) 313

I think the author may have stumbled over his analogy a bit; rather than suggesting "Learn to sing, or else you'll be at the mercy of an asshole", it's more along the lines of "Learn to sing, so you know what to look for in a good singer". Big Idea People (henceforth referred to as BIPs) are not necessarily a bad thing -- sometimes they do genuinely come up with something good that would benefit the market -- but BIPs have an issue: they tend to have absolutely no concept of what is required to execute their idea.

People on here are imagining CEOs trying to do their jobs and having a good chuckle, but they're missing the point. Your boss, unless he himself used to be a lowly programmer, isn't going to be executing his ideas in any form that could be marketable. I don't believe the author was intentionally arguing this; rather, I think the more important point deals with being able to bring their vision down to a realistic level -- less "My boss is coding our new Android app" and more "My boss now understands why we can't duplicate the functionality of Google in two weeks time". The more he or she codes, the more they begin to understand the work involved.

I've never really considered myself much of a programmer, but having learned to code, I can respect the word involved and that a simple line count doesn't tell the whole story. The same basic principle applies here, too. Not only can it shoot down unrealistic ideas but it can keep them from getting proposed in the first place; they die at his desk, never having left the room, because he figured out long before opening his mouth that, under the current circumstances, it was unreasonable. At the same time, knowing what is possible can potentially give him new ideas about the direction of a project that not only work, but actually might make sense. This is not a bad thing.

Ultimately, there's only so much you can do and there will be limits to what the person in charge of your project knows. Be happy; you're not redundant.

Comment Re:Can't America get its acts together ? (Score 4, Informative) 1059

Ummm, you know that the top 1% contributes more than 35% of taxes already, right?

And how much of the income do they earn?

If you have one CEO making 200x what his workers make - say, $40,000, so $8 million - that CEO is paying 50% of all taxes. And yet that's hardly unfair.

Comment Re:Can't America get its acts together ? (Score 1) 1059

The right thing is to stop monetising debt, slash gov't spending by minimum 50%, which is what the US gov't borrows every year to "pay" for its expenses ("pay" in quotes, because the gov't always borrows, it moves its debts from credit card to credit card, it can't pay, it won't pay, it's a deadbeat debtor who is not good for its debts).

You want to get rid of the deficit and start paying down the debt?

End the recession. Then roll back then Bush tax cuts. End the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Boom. No more deficits.


There is no need to cut government services - a great many of which are invaluable for keeping the economy going - when we have a long-term debt problem that will take care of itself if we act wisely.

Do you know what the interest rates on US bonds are right now?


-1%. That's right. People are literally paying the US government to hold their money.

There is no short-term debt problem.

Comment Re:Cuts (Score 4, Informative) 473

The "crisis" is entirely manufactured by Congress. Yes, Congress. They (and by "they," I mean mostly Republicans who seem to want to drive the post office into bankruptcy) required that the Post Office prepay pensions to the extent that no other business is required to do.

This is exactly their modus operandi for pretty much every government agency these days. Cut funding where possible, demand crazy requirements on spending, saving, oversight, personnel, etc., and then when a cash-strapped agency burdened with the bureaucracy necessary to follow those requirements and things like pre-paying pensions 75 years in advance fails to perform, decry the inefficiency and waste of the government and demand that the function the agency performs be privatized.

It's called "starve the beast."

Comment Re:Mass Mail (Score 5, Insightful) 473

The USPS doesn't run on taxes, they are self-sufficient. That's why they're not asking for a bailout, but for an end to Saturday mail delivery and other USPS cost saving measures. At the same time, the USPS is generally hobbled by Congressional requirements that they do this or that and overfund their retirement obligations and all sorts of other things.

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