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Comment Or the other reason.... (Score 3, Informative) 263

The fact the whole state is a river flood plain and only stupid people build homes in a river flood plain?

Global warming may have cause the weather pattern changes, but it does not change the fact that if you build in the low lands, you have to expect flooding because it will absolutely happen with a 100% guarantee.

Comment Re:No surprises there (Score 1) 161

Growth is technical progress.

People today are more wealthy than people 10 or 20 or 50 years ago. The median family spends less on food, Cars have more features, yet only reflect a purchase price of 56% of the purchaser's income in the median case. We've gone from extremely-expensive computers with 4MB EDO RAM and 33MHz CPUs to having high-speed, multi-gigabyte RAM, 64GB storage devices in our pockets as a simple fact of life. Communication is ubiquitous with cell phones and high-speed Internet.

Clothing is cheaper; people today have about 50% increased access to more and better healthcare than people of the 90s; and we spend nearly half our money on luxuries.

Automation won't just put us into caves and cages to be fed a nutritious gruel by robotic keepers; it will make the Tesla Model S the household car of the lower-middle class, while the poors make do with that currently-$45,000 Model 3. It will place more electronic gadgets into everyone's hands. It will dramatically increase the access to healthcare, while lowering the cost of complex tests and treatments. $800 ceramic-on-ceramic fillings--the best remediation you can get for dental caries--will become the standard, even among the poor, because they cost $20.

The poor will not simply be shoveled off into the corner. They'll work, hard, and live beneath the rest of us, as they do today. They'll work and they'll live as well-off middle-class families live today. Their hard-earned money will buy them the sorts of $2,000 appliances I purchase for myself, because that $1,897 double-oven stove only costs $350 in the world of the future (well, there's inflation, but the poors have that much more money, too, so whatever).

Luxury. Technical progress brings luxury down to the people. There was a time rags were made of old clothes because cloth cost more than 90% of the population could afford; people wore one or two sets of simple clothing--nothing fancy and expensive, because frills and pleats increased fabric use--and many were haphazardly dressed in the poor's last-season fashion, tacky and out-of-style, handed down to the rabble because it simply won't do in noble social circles. Now we all have 10 days's worth of fancy clothing, coats, hats, a million pairs of shoes... things that would have cost us 15 years's salary--and, the fancy stuff with all the pockets and pleats we use today, 40 or 60 years's salary--back then.

Remember when a cell phone cost $4,000 in 1983? In 2015 that's over $9,000; two hours per week of talk would cost you $550/month. Not everyone can afford that; yet poor people buy a $60 feature phone or spend $170 on a used iPhone, and $60/month for unlimited talk and text plus 3GB data. I use under 500MB of data, so I spend $33/month and just get Ting.

How many rich people luxuries do you use now? How much of the stuff you're using is a much-more-advanced version of something that was available to people who could spend 3 times the median income on it 25 years ago? Your cell phone is comparable to a multi-million-dollar supercomputer in 1985. Microwaves were an invention of the air force, because a million-dollar radar emitter in a fighter jet pumps out a lot of microwaves, and they put a door in the cockpit where you can slide in a tray of food and then have yourself a hot meal; your microwave probably cost $70.

Do you really think people will just roll over and eat the slop the robots pour down their throats? We'll do what we've always done: Get richer. We'll take all the luxuries of the rich and then complain they've found new toys we can't afford.

Comment Re:No surprises there (Score 1) 161

improving an economy's efficiency lowers the unemployment rate rather than saying that lowering the unemployment rate improves an economy's efficiency because otherwise you are talking nonsense.

They're both sort-of true. Higher employment means higher production-per-capita, thus more buying power per-capita, thus more wealth; although an extremely-low-unemployment economy falters because of labor shortage, thus can't grow.

Efficiency in an economy is complicated.

One of the primary drivers of efficiency is technical progress. Technical progress simply means new technology allows us to produce more goods in the same labor. Take the same population, employ fewer farmers, employ more engineers, employ more doctors, and still produce the same amount of food because the farmers plus engineers are able to output more food per total labor hour; these doctors used to be farmers, but we don't need them anymore, so now we have healthcare. When you get down to money, you realize all the services being bought are paid for by consumers (that's where revenue comes from, and we pay wages out of revenue), and so necessarily things must get cheaper as a percentage of the per-capita income (that doesn't say the distribution is equitable; just that the cost of product X is a smaller fraction of *all* money being spent).

I like to talk about the cost of wage dollars. An employer pays an employee's wage, plus payroll taxes, plus benefits, plus unemployment insurance premiums; and the employee pays income taxes and such things as OASDI and Medicare (not to mention sales taxes, VAT, etc.). An employer has to spend some number of dollars for an employee to take home some number of dollars--for example, $1000 minus 6.2% OASDI is $938; at a 25% tax rate, the employee takes home $703.50. An employee's time is divided among products, and the employer's cost is divided into products; the employee must buy those products (and produce the revenue source to pay wages of employees) out of his wages.

Obviously, more take-home pay per employer cost means more maximum buying power. A business may or may not lower the price of goods to a minimum. Tere are economic pressures which cause this to occur to varying degrees, which is why food has a slimmer margin than diamonds and cars have a slimmer margin than food (lots of bulk negotiation up the production chain for cars; the manufacturer might make 10%, but the coal and steel mines negotiate low-margin contracts for multi-billion-dollar profits). Still, a 10% or 3% or 40% margin is a proportion on top of cost; and costs have always trended toward stability--lowering--when technology improves, else we would never advance as a society because we'd never have the consumer buying power to buy anything we hadn't bought before.

That's efficient. It's why progressive taxes are efficient, why some forms of universal basic income are efficient, and why accomplishing economic goals such as state welfare to greater effect with lower cost is efficient: consumers end up with more spending money per dollar paid as production cost by employers, and thus can buy more.

That effect tends to not simply lower unemployment, but stabilize the economy: when there are problems, your Jenga tower doesn't just collapse; it wobbles a little, and a piece falls off the top.

Your argument is that the economy is a zero-sum game, for business A to be successful it must reduce the success of business B. This is false

Technical progress would suggest that an economy is not a zero-sum game because the economy grows.

That does not mean that the economy is infinite at a given time. The economy, as it is now, has limited consumer buying power. In the future, technical progress will increase the per-capita buying power, and population growth will increase the number of consumers, thus causing an exponential (f(t) = g(t)*p(t))) growth in the economy. For any point in time (t), there is a limited amount of consumer buying power in the economy.

That means any business which grows gets its growth from the growth of the economy--a limited resource--or from the reduction of another business. Because the growth of an economy is a limited resource in that the economy only grows by so much in a span of time, not all businesses can be successful; there is a limited amount of new business success available. That means they're competing.

Does that make sense?

Comment Re:What Envirmental Wacko caused it? (Score 3, Funny) 309

A multi-cat household can be hard on even the toughest kitty litter; so when your litterbox needs a change, go for the Nuclear Option. Containment 100% silica-based kitty litter can handle even the toughest jobs, whether you're managing a two-cat household or a nuclear waste disposal site.

Containment 100% silica-based kitty litter: don't let your waste go nuclear.

Comment Re:doh! (Score 2) 516

Obama didn't release his birth certificate for one very good reason, he is very clever and Trump is very stupid.

The fact is that the Republicans will always invent some crazy idiotic 'scandal' that they obsess about and endlessly throw up smoke. The birther conspiracy was mind numbingly ridiculous. It would require someone to go back in time to plant the birth notice in the papers. Or for some group of conspirators to go to an enormous amount of trouble in order to make a particular black kid president.

So rather than release the birth certificate and let the Republicans invent a new scandal, Obama held onto it and let them obsess about a scandal nobody else thought made the slightest sense, knowing that he could knock their house of cards down any time he chose. Which of course he did a week before the Bin Laden raid which was guaranteed to end the story.

George W. Bush opened torture chambers across the world and collected photographs for a sick sexual thrill. Yet nobody ever talks about that. None of the people complaining about Hilary ever complained about GWB refusing to comply with Congressional investigation or the deletion of 5 million emails.

So here is what is going to happen. Trump is going to go down to the biggest defeat since Carter and he is going to drag the rest of his party down with him. And afterwards there is going to be a new civil rights act that prohibits Republican voter suppression tactics and the gerrymandering that give them a 5% advantage in elections. And by the time it is all done the Republican party will have two choices, either boot the racist conspiracy theorists and Trumpists out or face two decades in the wilderness.

Comment Nothing to hide (Score 1) 344

I put my phone number on goods I'm having shipped to America illegally so customs can call me for an explanation if they so desire. Yes, I'm trafficking things across the border that I'm not allowed to traffick across the border; and yes, customs inspects the package and decides it's fine.

I still don't want them digging through my Facebook and shit. My Facebook is online and exposes a ton of shit to everyone; there is no expectation of privacy, and they're welcome to go looking, and I still don't want to hand over a compendium of all the leads they should use to investigate me at their leisure. It's just a hassle to keep myself that well-documented.

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Technological progress has merely provided us with more efficient means for going backwards. -- Aldous Huxley