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Comment Re:Two questions before I call BS. (Score 1) 502

We have many trillions of dollars sunk into infrastructure that depends on the local environment being what it was when the infrastructure was designed and built. If the environment changes significantly in its average or peak temperature levels, or its humidity, or its solar radiation, or any of a range of other environmental factors, then the infrastructure may see reduced functionality, increased wear, or outright failure. As climate changes start to make themselves known in earnest we will have to start chasing them to patch up all of this infrastructure which imposes a tremendous cost on us. Instead of maintaining our existing bridges, road systems and hospitals we will need to come up with a hasty plan to relocate the Netherlands, build sea walls around Manhattan, allocate new areas and develop them to house everyone who needs to leave their old homes on the Equator, etc.

While the Antarctic may eventually become habitable, relocating e.g. a hundred million displaced Chinese there is going to be tremendously expensive and a huge drag on the global economy that we might have avoided with relative ease by simply stopping coal subsidies and letting market forces phase in solar for us.

Comment Re:Hmm (Score 1) 1028

why is [Putin's] regime trying to make enemies of the most powerful nations in the world?

Because your greatness is measured by the enemies that you keep.

A Russia whose enemies are Georgia and Ukraine is a puny Russia. A Russia whose enemies are the US and NATO is a great Russia. Putin wants Russia to be great.

Comment Re:Republican fails econ 101, shock! (Score 2) 445

That provision is in there to prevent the ride sharing companies from putting the line "Charlie Baker Tax $0.20" on the receipts. It is obvious to everyone that these $0.20 will be coming from the customer, because Lyft doesn't actually print money, but the moment they expllicitly admit in writing that this is the case they are in vioation of the law.

Charlie Baker protecting his own ass in other words, making sure it's illegal to tell the voter why Lyft prices have gone up ever so slightly.

Comment Re:It's inevitable (Score 1) 167

"Substantially different" isn't building on, it's being inspired by. The beauty of Cinderella is that everyone could tell their own Cinderella and explore different variations of the story without having to independently invent an entire backstory and setting for it. That lowers the barrier of entry so much anyone can do it, and you get a huge forest of different expressions from which you can pick the few gems and discard the rest. But we can't do this anymore. Instead we are force fed Peter Jackson fanfic, and pretty bad fanfic at that, and no one else gets to have a go.

Comment Re:It's inevitable (Score 1) 167

Today's new cultural content should be based on works from the 50s, or from the 80s, or from the 2000s - but it isn't because nobody wants to go to prison for 10 years.

Instead we are doomed to just keep mindlessly gulping up new variations of what they had back in the 1800s. You can't build on top of Disney's stories because is verboten. You can't build on Rowling. You can't even build on Tolkien. Your only legal choice is eternal stagnation.

Comment Re:How do you define robot or how many displacemen (Score 1) 262

If you are trying to tax robotic labour by counting robots then you run into some fairly difficult problems. What is a robotic unit? A human unit is easy to identify and measure, but a robot as you point out can be anything.

If you tax per physical unit then instead of building a factory with a hundred independent robots in it, the company will build a fully integrated factory and call it one single robot.

So what else can you do? Tax per kg of robot perhaps, although this would seem to heavily skew the tax burden over into heavy lift tasks and again you'd get out of it by removing the brain part of your 10 ton excavator and putting it into a separate 5kg "pilot bot".

You could tax by algorithmic complexity maybe, however you might measure that. 1 robotic tax unit per human-brain-equivalent. Or tax per robotic manipulator, but do all useful robots have easily countable manipulators?

It would seem very much simpler to me to increase existing taxes on production and compensate employers of humans by reducing the employer tax burden, and leave robot inventors with the freedom to make their robots as production efficient as possible instead of having to tax tailor them for no good reason.

Comment Re: Jeremy Clarkson lampooned the vehicle (Score 1) 596

They pushed a car claiming it had run out of power into the garage when it still had considerable charge left.

As I remember it they had written into the script for the show that they would run the Tesla Roadster around the track until it was out of juice, and then push it into the garage with some suitably disparaging comments. What they found when they got on the track however was that the car had far too big a battery and they far too little time to actually drain it all. This is of course no technical obstacle to filming by the script since you cannot tell by looking at the car that it's still got lots of energy left and so they proceeded as planned. They only got caught because Tesla could tell from the logs it was far from out of battery.

If Top Gear is a consumer information show then this is fantastically dishonest and a big screw you to its viewers. It is not however, it is a sitcom with cars and making jokes is more important than informing the viewer.

The take home of all this is: whatever you see them doing on Top Gear, know that it was scripted and not much influenced by what they actually discovered in the field. If a car wins a "race" it's because the script said it should win. If a car breaks down it's because the script said it should break down. If a car looks like it's somehow better than another car, it's because the script said it should.

Comment Re: Of course the guy selling the cars... (Score 1) 249

This is why Norway has cut all taxes on EVs, bringing them down to the same price region as ICEs. Up until recently there have been few EV models available though and the most interesting ones (Teslas) have been in the luxury segment. While they compete favourably there this segment is out of reach for many, and your main alternative has been the Nissan Leaf which may or may not have the necessary range.

There is also a lack of a decent sized second hand car market for EVs, simply because the good models are so new their owners aren't looking to sell them yet. This makes it difficult to get a cheap used car which is important to many.

By 2025 these problems will be long gone, there will be myriad models available in all price segments, and there will be no rational reason to buy ICE vehicles anymore. Which is essentially what the Norwegian government is saying.

Comment Re: Of course the guy selling the cars... (Score 1) 249

If they're good enough to stand on their own, then why do they need legislation? Your post makes no sense.

EVs are still very expensive, and additionally people are a little afraid of this new technology. These two conspire to drastically limit the number of car buyers willing to switch from ICE to EV. Normally this wouldn't be a problem, we'd just give it 20-30 years and the problem would sort itself organically. Given that cutting ICE vehicles represents one of the easiest ways to reduce global pollution, however, accellerating that switch through legislation has become attractive, maybe even imperative.

Comment Re:Holy Mutually Exclusive Things, Batman! (Score 1) 405

So, European values don't actually include free expression.

The values do but the laws don't. If you look at European freedom of speech laws then they all basically say, in different languages, "freedom of speech is guaranteed, insomuch as it's speech the government doesn't find objectionable". The exception is codified into the law itself.

When your legal guarantee for freedom of speech is this vague, you only have as much freedom of speech at any given time as your govt is prepared to give you. Europe survives this by having a very strong tradition for freedom of speech and so for the most part your govt will let you say a lot of really stupid stuff before they lock you up.

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