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User Journal

Journal Journal: WikiLeaks has Trump's tax returns! 25

Just joking. This is only a thought experiment. Had this been an actual emergency, you would have seen it on Twitter already. Notwithstanding...

What if WikiLeaks released the plausible, highly embarrassing, but possibly fake tax returns of Donald J Trump?

(1) Trump would still refuse to release his tax returns?

(2) Trump would release his tax returns and he would be helped by the resulting cloud of confusion.

(3) Trump would be hurt by the spotlight.

(4) Cowboy Neal already has the results of the audit!

Just a thought experiment, but remembering how they handled Dan Rather and how WikiLeaks works, I suspect Assange is already sitting on the Donald's tax returns...

User Journal

Journal Journal: Ask Slashdot: What "rights" did Microsoft claim today? 1

What does the new MS Services Agreement and Privacy Statement REALLY mean?

Feels like ancient history, but do you remember "Where do you want to go today?" According to Wikipedia that was their second global campaign, so on the one hand, the beast knows we want freedom, but on the other hand is the EULA and "Services Agreement and Privacy Statement" and fiendish friends.

I am not a lawyer, so I have no idea what it means. I'm sure the old one wasn't perfect, but nothing is. I'm strongly suspicious the new one is more strongly in Microsoft's favor, but that's just speculation.

Googling for analysis comes up dry, but this is an obvious case of professional courtesy. There probably are some insightful websites out there, but if the google helps us find the Microsoft ones, then Microsoft will put more effort into making sure Bing returns the corresponding results about the google, eh?

Insights? Suggestions? Where are the (significant) changes and what do they really mean? How doth Microsoft profit? And of course...

Where do I want to get screwed today?

User Journal

Journal Journal: Powell did not say who he was voting for 5

In reply to https://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=9654353&cid=52889219 the following comment took enough compositional effort that I want to keep a copy in so-called my journal.

Your comment has a false subject. ["Powell can't bring himself to vote for Hillary"] Powell has said he will not yet say who he is voting for.

Your body is also highly questionable. I remember watching at least one speech in which Powell endorsed then-Senator Obama, but I don't remember anything that approximated "enthusiastic supporter". Nor do I recall any of the marks of enthusiasm such as actively campaigning for Obama or speaking at the Democratic convention. According to my research just now, Powell only made his endorsement two weeks before the election in 2008.

One obvious lie and a highly questionable comment in such a short comment? Let me predict you are a Trump supporter, and in that case the only relevant question is "Who do you hate most?" Every Trump supporter I've met so far has been a deplorable hater, and I can only pity them. Maybe some of them can grow into less hate-filled people?

Powell is a realist. His assessment of Hillary was not particularly favorable, though I'm not sure how they compare with his personal assessment of Obama. However, it is clear that his personal assessment of Trump is extremely negative. He personally might well prefer the positions of Johnson on many issues, but he knows America has a winner-take-all system, so I predict that he will ultimately endorse Hillary or say nothing.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Yet more false equivalencies: Hillary Clinton is NOT Mitt Romney 46

False equivalencies: Hillary Clinton is NOT Mitt Romney

There are certainly some things to dislike about Hillary, but I actually think she was being refreshingly honest with the "basket of deplorables" comment. You sure can't tell from the worthless commentary of the worthless media, but it is important to understand the REAL differences.

Hillary was clear in stating that "deplorable" referred to racists and various other categories of bigots. That is, she was referring to people who hate other people, either for accidents of birth or for various acquired characteristics such as religious preference. She regarded it as deplorable that such people are eagerly supporting Trump, though I regard it as MORE deplorable that Trump welcomes their support. At this point, I am convinced the Donald is NOT faking it, and he really will do ANYTHING to become president, which includes accepting and even soliciting support from people who are deplorable or worse.

In contrast, Mitt's infamous 47% comment was really about HIS personal hatred towards roughly half of the entire population. He regarded those people as lazy bums who were never going to vote for a hard-working vulture capitalist. He was deploring their lack of HIS brand of greed, which is completely different from deploring their hatreds of other people.

I'm not sure where Romney got the exact value of 47%, but I can guess where Hillary got the "half", and even why she had to be fuzzy about it. The value depends on the exact question you ask. The question determines what kind of hatred you are measuring, and when such questions are put to Trump supporters the results range up to 70% picking the hate-filled response. Other questions elicit smaller percentages of "deplorable" responses, but "half" seems downright generous.

The latest poll shows about 40% of the voters supporting Trump, so the estimate of 20% of the voters as "deplorable" haters certainly is a lot of people. However, I think the standard of comparison here should be the percentages of voters who supported bad leaders in the past. Your political views probably don't matter as much as you think. If you deplore President Obama, then you think more than 50% of the voters made a terrible choice TWICE. If you adore Dubya, then you have to admit that more than 50% of the voters preferred Al Gore. (I'd even be curious if you have any rational and nonpartisan basis for attacking Obama, but I think I've seen all the criticisms and attacks by now, and many, perhaps most, of them qualify as deplorable.)

The original Republican Party led by Honest Abe was about constructive change (even though that led to an incredibly destructive war), and the GOP of Teddy and Ike was a party of gentlemen and their ladies. None of this applies to today's so-called Republicans led by Con Man Donald, the man of 3,500 suits, at least four major bankruptcies, and uncountable political bribes (but his tax returns would help count some of them).

User Journal

Journal Journal: Don't try to borrow money from rms 28

In response to https://yro.slashdot.org/story/16/09/04/0455250/richard-stallman-online-publishers-should-let-readers-pay-anonymously

I actually admire rms and regard him as a great man, but probably for smaller values of "great". In particular, he has little conception of money and his financial models have never demonstrated anything approaching viability or critical mass.

In years past I actually ran a few alternative financial models past him. He did ask an extremely perceptive question in one exchange. The question led me to a significant improvement in a financial model, but mostly he convinced me that he never has understood money, and probably never will. He wouldn't even be interested in whether or not he helped out, but he lives in a kind of money-free fantasy land, and I think his latest suggestion is just more evidence. Yes, he sees part of the problem, but his idea of anonymity as the solution is completely half-baked. If someone is motivated to donate, why would that motivation be affected by anonymity?

What the online media needs is a focus on SOLUTIONS. How many of us are sick and tired of reading about problems without solutions, and the media should earn a kind of tithe for helping to SOLVE the problems. The articles should be followed by links to some solution projects, and if enough readers (or viewers of a video) agree to support a project, then it would get funded, and the website would get a percentage for (1) publicizing the problem, (2) bringing donors to the solution project, and (3) evaluating the results and reporting them.

The details don't really matter to me, so in that sense I might be as bad as rms. You can call it an agent's fee if you prefer, though before that discussion with rms I mostly called it RACS (for Reverse Auction Charity Shares) and at some point afterwards I favored the idea of a charity share brokerage. DAUPR.

User Journal

Journal Journal: The ongoing death of OSS 7

My response to https://apache.slashdot.org/story/16/09/02/183249/is-apache-openoffice-finally-on-the-way-out (from the comments) follows:

Oh, wait. Oracle apparently and unfortunately seems to have a highly viable financial model. The current problem is merely that OpenOffice was NOT a part of those profits and Apache also lacks a good financial model.

So how about considering SOLUTIONS. At least LibreOffice got mentioned in a couple of posts, but the underlying problem remains unaddressed: Is the financial model viable? I don't know enough about LibreOffice to say, but if the economic model is as fundamentally broken, then it doesn't really matter, does it? Just a question of when.

What about a BETTER financial model? Beating the same dead horse, but how about creating a simple mechanism for the lusers... Er, I mean the honorable users, to fund OpenOffice (or LibreOffice) with special focus on the features they actually WANT?

I just love flogging that dead horse, don't I? Even worse that the same dead horse could be used to make slashdot viable (pending its next change of ownership and debt assumption).

Yeah, of course I'm talking about the idea of the charity share brokerage where the users would buy shares in ongoing-cost projects for features they want to keep using and feature development projects for new features. At this point I can only believe that it's the breakeven idea that is anathema. Unless there are profits, no one is interested, eh?

I'd start another poll on the topic, but it seems pointless. If anyone is interested (and I'm not holding my breath), feel free to make the polite request for additional details. Meanwhile, I'll continue switching over to LibreOffice pending its demise. OpenOffice, it was nice knowing ya, and I'll try to attend the funeral if it's sufficiently convenient.

Oh yeah. One more thing. I have to express the usual disappointment with the state of today's slashdot and the lack of high-quality comments. If the charity share brokerage system were in effect, features that would improve the quality of the discussions would be my favored donations. Not sure if that means addressing the trollage or fixing the moderation, but right now there is no decision to be made because there is no such system.

User Journal

Journal Journal: You (and I) are at least as guilty as Hillary 10

In reaction to this article
https://news.slashdot.org/story/16/08/22/2034212/fbi-finds-14900-more-documents-from-hillary-clintons-email-server I added this comment:

There were only two comments moderated as "insightful", and neither of them deserved to be. Accepting the brokenness of the slashdot moderation system, I did some textual searches of the comments and also came up dry.

There are some deep issues here, and I think that there was a time when slashdot (in a collective sense) would have been capable of addressing some of them. "Trump is a con man" and "Hillary is a witch" are NOT deep issues.

I think there are two most important issues here. One is the partisan abuse of power. Using the FBI for partisan witch hunts is bad enough, but I think the focus of Congress on partisan scheming and advertising is much more serious. There are actual national problems that the Congress could be working on.

However, for now I'm primarily going to focus on the second issue, which I can summarize as "Nobody's perfect." If you (or I) were subjected to the kind of intense scrutiny that Hillary Clinton has received, that scrutiny would turn up plenty of "evidence" of all sorts of crimes. Especially when there is no real interest in truth or justice, but only a focus on partisan advantage. I think that Hillary has a lot of enemies, and some of them are vicious to the point of insanity. Now imagine that you had an insanely vicious enemy and that enemy had complete access to all of your email. "Guilty, guilty, guilty! Off with her head!"

However, in bowing to the tone of today's slashdot, let me close on the lightheaded level. It might become a national problem if a con man occupies the oval office and there's no such thing as witches.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Yet more partisan abuse of the House of so-called Representaives 33

In response to https://verdict.justia.com/2016/08/19/outrageously-false-charges-perjury-hillary-clinton

It's a deep analysis, but from a lawyer's legalistic perspective, and it misses the point. It is not insightful. However, the data point that should be the key to the analysis is the approval rating of Congress. As of this writing, it's around 13%. http://www.gallup.com/poll/1600/congress-public.aspx

Not that I'm sure where the true insight lies, but there are several possibilities. None of them are legal. Some of them are political, but the more interesting are psychological, so that's where I'm going to start. (Though I'm going to write "firmly", that doesn't mean I have any proof that would stand up in court, or even that I am as convinced as my words might sound.)

This so-called lawsuit is a desperate maneuver by terrified men. They are perpetual cowards who right now are most terrified that they will lose their death grip on the House of so-called Representatives.

They have good reason to anticipate that outcome because they are clinging to power by tiny legalistic threads. They also know that they are violating their own oaths to "support and defend" the Constitution. The Founders' clear intention, clearly expressed in the Constitution, was for the House of Representatives to be the MOST representative and responsive and directly responsible part of the federal government, but today's so-called Republicans are merely using it as a kangaroo court for partisan politics.

If the House actually represented the voters, a 13% approval rating should mean that almost all of them would be thrown out at the next election--which is precisely why the entire House faces election every two years. They are terrified that the contagion of Trump's disastrous campaign could have that disastrous outcome this November, even though the so-called Republicans have become experts at winning while losing.

With approval ratings around 20% in the last few elections, how have the incumbents survived? By rigging the voting process so that the House of so-called Representatives is dominated by an actual minority of the actual voters.

That minority-wins effect is mostly the effect of gerrymandering. They concentrate and effectively waste many of the Democratic Party votes, while distributing their own votes in safe majorities with little waste. In other words, by partisan redistricting, they select their own voters before the voters have a chance to select them. Though the GOP gets fewer votes, they still wind up controlling much more than 50% of the resulting anti-representative House.

On top of that, insofar as their selective disenfranchisement is accurately targeted at "hostile" wannabe voters, the reality is even worse. The GOP is now dangling over the abyss. If they lose their grip on the reins of political power for a moment, they would be totally crushed. They are terrified of a flood of new and hostile voters, they are more terrified of honest redistricting, but they are MOST terrified that the Democratic Party will abuse political power in exactly the ways that they have.

From watching the Democrats in action (and mostly in inaction), I think the GOP's ultimate fears are projections and even delusional. Even when they have power, the Democrats can't figure out what to do with it and they've never sustained any focus. The Democrats just squabble among themselves (which is the main weakness of Hillary's campaign, by the way). The so-called Republicans can't afford to squabble. Like Lenin's Bolsheviks, strong party discipline is crucial when you actually represent a minor lunatic fringe.

Which brings us back to the Donald of Trump and the real terror underlying this feeble lawsuit. If Trump loses and drags many of the down-ballot Republicans down with him, it would be a total disaster for them. Think of the children and the Republican Congressman dragged away from the government teat and forced to actually work for their daily bread.

Oh wait. For a moment I forgot that they are just a bunch of rich lawyers. No real danger of actual work.

Moot to me. My own vote was neutered and negated four times over. Congratulations to the dictators of Texas. Though I was born there, I now regard myself as a stateless American of the "No Vote for You" Party.

User Journal

Journal Journal: What defines a troll? 36

I think this was a relevant comment for a discussion of censorship on Twitter, but slashdot's so-called lameness filter disagreed, so I'm putting it here. I think increasingly lame slashdot doth projectith too much.

If there were a "polite" dimension of moderation, then I think one of the most prominent features of trolls would be negative politeness. Large amounts of rudeness. Not the only defining characteristic of trolls, but I think it's an important one, and one of the MANY problems with trolls is how the use of a label as a dimension makes it hard to understand the problem. "Thought-provoking" is NOT the same as troll, though it may be accidentally true from time to time. "Disagrees with me" is also different from troll.

Having said that, I still think trolls should be free to speak, notwithstanding the different form of confusion mentioned in my sig. That right should NOT include the right to waste my time, however, and I should be free to ignore trolls, preferably before I have to read any of their tripe.

As noted before, I'd favor a three-part strategy to ignore them: (1) A kill filter for long-lived trolls, perhaps as an option on the Foe status of slashdot. (2) A maturity filter for fresh sock puppets. (3) A self-deterrence for insincerity. Negative sincerity is another characteristic of trolls, and it would be simple to implement by inverting (1) and (2). If a reply would be ignored, then the author of that reply should be encouraged to post elsewhere (perhaps at the top), but if the troll insists, then the reply should be given an insincerity warning: "Not a sincere dialog, and ostensible recipient will never see this reply."

User Journal

Journal Journal: Abusive relationship with Microsoft's so-called "support" 19

How do you get locked out of Microsoft "support"? Is there any way to get back in?

My little meta-problem of the day is being locked out of Microsoft's so-called support. The email part (on outlook.live.com) works as usual, but every attempt to access the support part returns "Something went wrong and we can't sign you in right now. Please try again later." It's a black hole page with no links or options or suggestions. Once you get there, you are dead to Microsoft. Whenever I try to go to Microsoft support, that's all I've seen for several weeks now. (It may have begun months before that, but I'm glad when I forget ugly details. Dealing with Microsoft support has always been ugly.)

Returning to the original problem (of the month), the Start button is broken on one of my Windows 10 machines. Left click is dead. Fairly well known problem, but none of the solutions from non-Microsoft webpages has fixed it. If I ever had mod points, I'd mod you up for the solution, but all I can do is ask nicely.

In general, Windows 10 seems to be a good thing--but I don't really know how much it is abusing my personal information and privacy. The abusive relationship with Microsoft support is clearly the same, bad as it ever was. I really wish we actually had some good choices rather than having to search for the least bad or least evil options. There is a slightly adversarial relationship between buyers and sellers, but these years it is downright hostile. (Adversarial negotiations can still be win-win, but hostile negotiations are always lose-lose.)

User Journal

Journal Journal: Respect for the individual 21

"Respect for the individual." First heard about this one about 40 years ago. One of the three guiding principles of a great company. Still around, but they dumped that idea a while back, though I'm still working on it.

Back when the company had that principle, there was a strong consensus that it was the best company in the world, at least some of the time. By the time I started working there, they were already on the down side, and one of the biggest problems was that they had forgotten what the principles were about. The other two principles were easier to understand and follow but "respect for the individual" was already on the ropes, though it somehow became something of a fetish object for me.

Seems like a simple idea, but it isn't. To really understand the meaning, you have to apply it to everyone. It's really easy to respect some folks. Many of my coworkers and customers were elite engineers and programmers with PhDs from hoity toity universities. One of them even rose above normal rankings and did me the peculiar honor of asking for a bit of minor help on a TED talk. Went well, too. Easy to respect such individuals, but you can't draw the line there, or you're disrespecting other folks and it has to be universal.

I've often suspected that my difficulty with the concept was related to my time in the service, where the rules of respect were completely codified and ritualized. Up? Respect. Down? Phuck 'em. Convenient, but mindless, and ultimately fake. Real respect for the individual has to go every which way.

Maybe my problem with the concept had more to do with self-respect? It has to go inwards, too, or maybe it's better to say that respect for other individuals has to be based on a foundation of self-respect, too. If you have perfectionist or idealistic tendencies, then it's kind of hard to practice that respect in reverse for exactly the same reason that the high-level respect doesn't easily go to lower levels.

For a while I tried specialization. I thought the trick of "respect for the individual" might involve finding the unique strength, even if it was a negative one, and then you can respect that. Can you respect someone for being the biggest liar in the room? How about respecting the greatest rudeness or stupidity, even if you have to limit the scope of the "greatness" to a slashdot journal? Actually takes me back to the military days again... Perverted version of the 23rd psalm "because I'm the baddest motherphucker in the valley [of the shadow of death]."

So how can you respect a subhuman and mindless troll? I failed again.

Oh well. Guess I need to keep studying it.

By the way I'm leaving this one open for comments just in case some trolls are stupid enough to want to prove my point. Unlikely that any of them will say anything interesting enough to merit a reply, but it might be amusing to watch them try. Of course the sad part is that they really don't have any better use of their precious time on earth.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Is Michael Moore right about Trump's victory? 43

This is my own dismayed reaction to Michael Moore's lists (one in email and a somewhat different list on Alternet) of reasons why Trump will win:

The email version was stronger, though he used some different points there. Not sure it should be in a top five list, but Mike didn't mention the plausibility threshold: The Donald has finally convinced everyone that it is actually possible for such a person to become president. Not sure when I was dragged across that Rubicon, but even I have to admit that the official nominee of the so-called Republican Party could become president. No matter what.

My worst-feeling agreement is on the enthusiasm factor, though my analysis is based on a breakdown of Trump's supporters into government haters, Hillary haters, bigots, racists, and authoritarians (fascists). Doesn't matter how wrong they are, they are all enthusiastic about their wrongness. There might be some people who have corresponding positive enthusiasm for Hillary, but I haven't met one.

Even if you do feel total enthusiasm for one (or more) of Hillary's policies, can you really be sure she'll do it? Sorry, but you know she's a realist and it all depends on the political realities. Also, even if Trump is saying that he's totally opposed to that policy, he's also said he's in favor of it, and no one knows which side he'll be on tomorrow. Do you hear that giant sucking sound? It's your enthusiasm.

Ultimately it comes down to bad economic models, but there are so many to choose from and all of them stink. For example, the mass media model of eyeballs for ads has driven the free publicity that Trump rides like a lawn tractor, mowing down everyone who has gotten in his way. Alternet is nicer, but it's running on fumes. (I've suggested better alternative economics, but I'm not a salesman and I can't push good ideas the way the Donald can push bad ones.) [Also suggested better economic models for slashdot, but they aren't interested here, either. Perhaps my ideas are so good (or bad) that they just have to be rammed down people's throats? But I'm not such a ram.]

At this point I think that America's best hope is that Trump is a big liar, and since he is, maybe we can have hope after all? No, because the secret truth would have to be that he is really a secret super-patriot and he realized that the so-called Republican Party is just a brand hijack. The secret super patriot would have decided to restore democracy in America by helping the so-called GOP finish its suicide so a rational and principled second party could emerge. I'm not saying that something along those lines won't happen after the Trump fiasco, but it ain't his secret plan. Now I'm just desperately hoping he's conned me, too.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Suggested poll for politics: How to stop Trump? 244

No, the Subject: line isn't actually my suggested poll, though someone else might want to work on that one. Actually I'm approaching a different poll from the back, but that may be because it's increasingly obvious that America's real choice this November is "backwards with Trump" or "forward with Hillary". Perhaps just a failure of my imagination, but I am unable to imagine how the country can go forward with its head screwed on backwards as it fantasizes about a glorious past that was never so glorious. (The Donald's supporters must insist that old people with accurate memories and non-conservative historians (and I'm both) are just tools of the vast liberal conspiracy.)

At this stage of the game (of sick politics), the question of stopping Trump has become equal to asking how Hillary can win. It should be a case of "How can she possibly lose?", but after 30 years of sustained, mostly non-credible, and often incredible and even insane demonization, I'm beginning the believe that it really could happen. How much of Christie's lynch mob speech were you able to stomach?

No, that isn't my suggested poll either, though I think the answers to such a poll should be measured in seconds for decent people. Lynch mobs are bad.

Here's my suggested poll:

What campaign slogan should Hillary use?

(1) Forward Hillary
(2) Stronger Together
(3) Iâ(TM)m with Her
(4) Make America Whole
(5) Love and Kindness
(6) Break Down Barriers
(7) Build Ladders of Opportunity
(8) Love Trumps Hate
(9) Donald Trump
(10) Save Us, Cowboy Neal!

As usual with my poll suggestions, I've loaded the dice by putting my favorite answer first, but most of these have actually been tested by Hillary's campaign and I haven't noticed any of them catching fire the way "Crooked Hillary" has...

In my research for this poll, I visited her official website looking for her campaign slogans, and that was massively depressing. No clear slogans to be found, though some links for some issues, for sending money, and most annoying of all, for harvesting my email address. However, that wasn't the really depressing part. That was when I decided to try to contact the campaign and was shown a webform that actively REJECTS my email addresses. WTF? Tried three, all valid, and each returned "This does not appear to be a valid email address." Has her website been hacked? WTF?

More importantly as regards this suggested poll, no mention of "forward" (or "backward") on any of the webpages I visited. Maybe the website just isn't for people like me? With a bit of imaginative effort, I can imagine that I'm not included in any of her target demographics, but it's easier to believe the website needs work...

Seems like I need to close with the usual disclaimer. Quite possible that it's contamination due to the decades of vilification, but I don't feel any real enthusiasm about voting for Hillary. Rather than the tainting, I just think it's part of my increasingly negative view of American politics. If the dictators of Texas hadn't removed my vote (different long story), I certainly would have voted for her, but mostly it would have been another negative vote against another terrible candidate from the so-called Republican Party. Honest Abe's ghost is haunted and horrified by Con Man Donald. (I think my more substantive (and less negative) reasons actually involve Hillary's personal identities, but that's another long topic.)

User Journal

Journal Journal: Ekronomics 101

The essential notion of ekronomics is that time is much more important than money and needs to be analyzed carefully. Focusing on working time, there are three basic kinds: (1) essential time to produce (and sustain) the goods and services we need to survive, (2) investment time that improves the productivity (equals reducing the required amount of essential time), and (3) recreational time, which actually includes both the production and consumption of recreational goods and services such as music, novels, and movies. That's not to say the division is always easy, but I think that's where we need to start. An obvious example of a complexity is education. A certain amount of education is essential to sustain any society, but the rest of it has to divided between investment and recreation time, and that's going to take some thought.

One application involves comparing national development. In a developed country (where almost all of the members of slashdot live) the productivity is high and the amount of time is low. Based on productivity figures that I've read and the demographic categories of the working population, I estimate that the value is on the order of 2 hours per week, averaged over the entire population. Remember that some people spend all of their working time in the essential work while other people are not doing any of it, but just buying what they need based on other work they are doing. In contrast, in a less developed society, almost everyone may be working 40 hours per work just to grow the food, while in the least developed societies (such as hunter-gatherer tribes or failed states) people may spend all of their time just struggling to survive. Looking at the future trend of national development from an ekronomic perspective, it is the balance between the other two categories that is crucial. If two countries start at the same level, but one country guides more time into investment while the other allows more time to be spent on recreation, then the first country is pretty sure to wind up more productive. Perhaps Singapore is an interesting example of this approach?

Another application involves determining proper and appropriate salary levels. From an ekronomic perspective, it is reasonable to try to evaluate jobs in terms of the amount of time people want to spend on them. I haven't yet been able to find much hard data in this area, but the research approach is obvious. You would ask a large number of people who have worked in different areas how they feel about the two kinds of jobs. A simple example question would be "How many hours of typing would you prefer instead of 1 hour of collecting garbage?" Of course the results will vary widely from person to person, but the averages will give a reasonable indicator of the desirability of different types of work and what the proper salary differentials ought to be, though you have to adjust for other factors, such as the educational time (investment time) required to qualify for the work and the prioritization of essential work. However, if you come to the conclusion that garbage collectors deserve relatively high pay and you happen to be a person who actually enjoys collecting garbage, then more power (and pay) to you and other people are unlikely to complain that they can use more of their time in other ways.

Recreational time is interesting in several ways. As a quasi-joke, I wrote a piece called "Couch potatoes of the world, unite." The URL is http://eco-epistemology.blogspot.jp/2013/04/couch-potatoes-of-world-unite.html and that was back in 2013, so I've been thinking about these ideas for a while... The interesting thing about consuming recreational time is that it is a bottomless pit and it usually does not actually consume the goods or services that were produced for recreation. There are exceptions like live theater and fancy foods, but books and movies can be reread and rewatched ad infinitum without destroying their recreational value.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Good reading and writing 1

Kind of a meta-comment from a typical slashdot "discussion". It was originally drafted there, so you have to excuse any glitches in the editing for the journal environment. (Basically I'm using the slashdot journal as a scribbling pad for ideas that will be lost in the contexts of their transient topical discussions.)

How do you assess good reading skills? Actually I think you have to start by considering good writing and why I don't do more of it. A good writer understands the reader's mind, but I rarely care. Unless someone is actually paying me for the extra effort, I'm basically quite content with gentle readers who believe whatever they want to believe. In contrast, a great writer understands the collective minds of many readers and smoothly and effectively transmits even quite complicated ideas into their minds.

However, on the reader side, I think the good reader assumes the author's mindset, and I have always found that to be the most efficient way to learn new things. There's even a simple metric of how well I'm doing it as my reading speed increases. For most books, I'm really blazing by the time I get to the last 100 pages or so. However, once again I fall short of greatness. Some of the metrics of greatness are how quickly the great reader can get into the author's head and the range of authors the great reader can handle. For example, mystery novels from a hundred years ago are quite different, and translations can be quite challenging, whether the translation is close or free.

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