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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: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.

Comment Re:Choices. (Score 1) 106

Rent in general does this same thing already. People buy up properties just to rent them out which forces home prices up which makes it harder for people to buy and forces them to rent from the people who started that cycle by buying up the housing to rent it out.

That exact mechanism, generalized to all capital besides just real estate, is exactly what causes the runaway concentration of wealth that breaks a truly free market and turns it into capitalism.

Comment Landlords are not middle class (Score 1) 106

If you own property and make money from renting that property out to others you are not middle class, you are upper class, by any measure.

The proper middle class barely own property enough to not have to borrow it from others.

The statistical middle class can only dream of such luxury as not borrowing housing, never mind lending it.

Comment Re:This thread makes me think (Score 1) 287

The experience of un-evaluated perception of reality.

This phrase really jumped out at me as an accurate way of describing the kind of "wow insightful" mindset I'm sometimes (less often nowadays) able to get into, always without drugs. I see that as a very positive thing. It feels like the ability to, metaphorically, move around and manipulate conceptual space, to look at ideas from new perspectives, take them apart, put them back together again, freely and without any constraints. Writing this now kind of reminds me of the stereotypical first stage of a business brainstorming session where everyone is asked to throw out ideas and refrain from telling anyone that their idea is wrong... yet.

In those brainstorming sessions, the "throw out anything" phrase has to be followed by a more critical phase, and likewise I find that the ideas that I reassemble and turn around in that metaphorical conceptual space need to be tested in a different, more critical mindset afterward. (Although the freer mindset is itself also useful in finding flaws in preexisting ideas, ones that never face certain tests in routine real-world usage but easily fall apart when poked and prodded in novel ways in that free-floating conceptual space, revealing vulnerabilities that could one day be exploited in real usage). It reminds me also of an evolutionary algorithm, or real evolution itself: generate lots of variations and possibilities in phases of relative freedom (e.g. a time of plenty that allows a population to spread and mutations to survive and accumulate), then cull everything that you possibly can leaving only the strongest to survive into the next phase.

If some people have trouble reaching that freer state of mind that lets them generate possibilities without using drugs, then I guess more power to them for their drug usage. But that kind of mental freedom can't be the end of the story. Clear thinking requires an open mind but also a critical mind, one willing to entertain any possibility that hasn't been eliminated, but one also willing to discard those that it has to. If the takeaway these drug users have from their experience is all openness all the time and never any criticism then they've just swung from one end of the horseshoe to the other.

Comment This thread makes me think (Score 1) 287

Some of the comments in this thread have been kind of offending me. But that offense has made me think.

A bunch of comments above from people who've done LSD talk about the mind-blowing experiences they've had on it, and put down people who don't want to try it, or who poo-poo it, as some kind of beings of lesser consciousness. As someone with no interest in doing LSD, those comments kind of offend me, largely because the mind-blowing kind of stuff they describe sounds like the kind of state I used to operate in almost all the time, full of off-the-wall crazy insights, constantly finding interconnections between seemingly disparate things, and new angles on everything, way back before life beat the fuck out of me and I had to adopt a much more pragmatic and guarded mindset most of the time. But I still get get into those states now and then, and yeah it's this exhilarating thrill that feels like OMFG I suddenly understand the meaning of life the universe and everything. A lot of what I come up with in those states of mind can, later, in a more sober state of mind, be turned into something more productive, and the insights I find and refine that way continue to positively shape my worldview for the rest of my life. A lot of the other stuff is utter crap, and sometimes it may take me years of sober reflection to realize how crap it was, while other times it's obvious the next morning.

All that makes it seem to me like these people, the ones bragging about how LSD opened their mind and how people won't try it are squares or whatever, seem like they are the lesser-minded beings who need drugs to achieve what seems to me like a natural healthy state of being I've never needed drugs to achieve, and have only found difficulty achieving after years and years of trauma. (Trauma which, as a relevant aside, feels like it is gradually making me more and more like "normal people", which has made me long suspect that maybe what we think of as "normalcy" is the effect of pervasive early trauma in most people's childhoods that I was somehow able to avoid or resist for longer).

But then all that makes me think. Switch out the LSD discussion for one about an anti-anxiety medicine, and instead of talking about having these big open-mind higher-consciousness experiences, let's talk about comfortably socializing with large groups. Now imagine naturally sociable people putting down anti-anxiety meds. And people with social anxiety disorder speaking of how the anti-anxiety meds have transformed their lives, how they could just be social and it wasn't scary or challenging and they just got it. And then the naturally social people looking down on them in turn for needing drugs to achieve what seems to them like a natural healthy state of being they've never needed drugs to achieve.

Those people kinda seem like dicks. Some people just aren't naturally able to do those things, and the drugs transform their lives by allowing them to. But at the same time, other people are naturally able to do those things, and the drugs don't unlock any thing special that they're missing out on without them. And the drug-users suggesting they are missing out on that are also kinda dicks. So maybe let's not be dicks to each other and just accept that different people have different brains, that for some people certain drugs will have dramatic transformative effects on their lives, and yet other people have no need for those drugs to achieve the same things.

Comment Xeon (Score 1) 92

It costs far less to buy a 16 core Xeon system from eBay with 32-64GB of RAM then to buy a Ryzen or Core i7. If you're concerned about performance per buck, eBay a real system. And... oh, the bars I got on consumer benchmark software was double or triple when I was using my 20 core Xeon server as a gaming PC for a few days.

On the other hand, I find that a good notebook does everything I need most of the time. Who really cares about the high end of consumer processors? They cost too much and the motherboards are made like shit.

Comment Re:I'll end up buying several because fuck Nvidia (Score 1) 92

To be fair, NVidia sells quite a few more discrete cards than AMD does. AMD's core graphics business is discrete=marketing, integrated = profits. They both make excellent products, but hardware failure rates are generally consistent. The chips themselves don't generally blow out, but more often than not, it's support circuitry. Also, there's a weird thing I've noticed, people who consciously attempt to differentiate between the two vendors tend to have entirely different patterns to how they treat their hardware and use it as well. To this day, ATI (I know they're not called that anymore) users are very much more like Apple users where nVidia users are generally much more oriented towards disposable computing.

Also consider that people who are willing to spend more than $150 on graphics cards are generally not the types of people making a 10 year investment. Those cards are supposed to be replaced every other year. So why bother making them good enough to last more. But either way, neither nVidia or AMD actually make cards, they make chip sets and the other companies make the cards. And no... they all pretty much suck. Zotac, MSI, eVGA, etc... they are NOT designing for durability. They design for performance and bling.

I know there are counter-websites picking on AMD the same way. It's like Norwegian and Swedish joke books. They are the exact same book, they just switch the roles.

If you're hoping to make a business out of "aging graphics cards", I have a few S3's in a box somewhere if you want them. They still run flawlessly.

Oh... and here's the thing, if your performance needs stay constant and you can still play all the games which interest you on the older cards, you should upgrade for the sake of lower power silicon if nothing else. My daughter and I play Overwatch... at the same resolution on almost identical computers. She has a GTX 1050 and I have a GTX 970. Her computer uses about 25% less power than mine. That may not sound like much, but it easily pays for the cost of the card each year.

Comment Re:Oh shit, "a refreshed user-interface" (Score 1) 96

hmm... I'm not sure I agree with you.

Windows 8 was the best user interface I've ever seen. I absolutely loved it and it went downhill quickly as people like you complained they couldn't figure out how to use it and Microsoft responded. Then in Windows 10, they more or less killed all the best parts of Windows 8 and brought us back the start menu which frankly... just isn't as usable.

Microsoft Office is bloody brilliant, their UI works absolutely fabulously and this is coming from someone who has been using Microsoft Word since the DOS days. The original ribbon wasn't great, but it got better.

Can't speak about Firefox, I only ever use it as a javascript debugger and DRM stripper.

Gnome never had a good user experience. Even the absolutely latest version doesn't address core issues that have existed since the beginning. Font rendering is absolutely horrible. You'd imagine that after 20 years of Freetype and other projects, they would have finally implemented something resembling a decent anti-aliaser... but nope. Then there's the damn near random design of UI controls that in the very few cases they are consistent contain checkboxes the size of 3 pixels squared or buttons with borders twice as wide as they should be. Of course you can customize that stuff, but if you do, the apps won't scale worth a shit because GTK+ is written by a bunch of drunken coders. Don't worry, most other desktops aren't really much better. With the billions going into Linux development, it would be really nice if just one company other than Google would actually attempt to focus on usability on Linux and Android doesn't really count as a Linux thing anymore.

Android... well, Android is just a copy of iOS in the latest versions. Let's be honest, over the past 10 years, it's almost silly how many efforts have been made by vendors to skin Android as iOS and then Google did it themselves. I have an Android phone I use when I travel and it's amazing how little I care for that phone. The entire experience feels slapped together and while search works better and the web browser is clearly better than on iOS, the overall user experience is poor. I love Apple's rule that programs known to crash get removed from the store. Google could try that, but more often than not, the program which crashes the most on my Samsung is the Play Store app itself. Oh, then there's the crap tons of crap ware from T-Mobile who I'm sure don't care about anything other than getting more icons onto the screen of their own... I don't even know what they do because who wants to open them?

When Windows and Mac first came out, a lot of people in their 40's complained about how if a bunch of generation X babies keep forcing us this way, we'll end up surrounded by graphics and programs that don't work anymore. They complained "I hate Windows 95 because there are too many ways to get to the same place". Surprisingly enough, they sounded a lot like you.

They were wrong too.

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