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Comment Really hope they're easy to ship (Score 1) 428

If they're so easy to ship, why does his company say "sorry, we don't operate in your zip code"? Well, that's a shame... could you, I don't know, maybe *ship some to me*? It's not like I live in Siberia, I'm a 10 minute drive from one of the larger cities in the US.

I'm already sold on the whole concept, I just really want them to let me buy their product.

Comment Re:Holy flamebait batman! (Score 1) 917

I may be an engineer, but I'm far more old-and-crusty than fresh. :) I'm not saying this would be easy, or even possible, to change in any sort of rapid form, but I think it's worthwhile to try and think about what sort of end states might be stable and what sort of effects radical changes might have. And I think that the most important thing to accept when thinking about this is that the economy is a system in dynamic equilibrium. If you try and hold everything constant and make just one change, you will fail. In this case, however you implement it, a UBI *will* make wages go down and taxes go up, and if you don't build that into the system the system will do it for you (for example, you could fund a UBI by just printing the money for it, which would fuel rampant inflation which would be similar to a 'tax' on every dollar by making each dollar worth less, meaning lower wages and higher taxes, effectively)

And even if it never ever happens, at the very worst, maybe the theoretical economy we're talking about can be used by some sci-fi writer to make a more interesting universe for a cool story, so that's something...

Comment Re:Holy flamebait batman! (Score 2) 917

You're looking at it from an insufficiently revolutionary perspective. Sure, if we leave almost everything the same but try and implement a UBI, it'll be a colossal failure. But if we were to implement a UBI in a way that changes everything drastically, there might be a stable way to do it.

Look at it this way: If you tell businesses that the minimum wage is now $0, and they now have a %50 tax on revenue (not profit, revenue), and that they should take into account both that new tax and the fact that all US citizens will be getting $25k/year when figuring out how they adjust their wages/salaries... sure I just pulled these numbers out of my butt and I'm not at all sure if they'd work, but that's the kind of radical shift in thinking that'd have to happen for a UBI to *be* practical. And maybe there's no combination of numbers that'd make that work, or maybe there are numbers where that'd work, but there's no path from where we are now to get to a stable UBI-based economic system, or maybe there is a path that'd work, but there'd be so much resistance that it's impossible, or maybe there aren't numbers that'd work today, but someday there will be.

But you're right that implementing UBI without simultaneously changing almost everything else would never work. But I think it's worth thinking about how everything *could* be changed in a way that *would* make it work.

Comment Re:Holy flamebait batman! (Score 5, Insightful) 917

You incentivise productivity the same way you always have, by paying for it. The UBI just moves the incentive from "I have to do this or I'll die" to "I can do this and make a better life for myself and my family".

I'm generally a pretty conservative/libertarian sort of person, and as such UBI makes me more than a little uncomfortable, but I definitely think it's worth thinking about, and disussing amongst people who won't react to it based on knee-jerk predispositions. And at some point, I think it may well become preferable to the alternatives. What kind of changes (both positive and negative) would we see if we used a UBI to completely replace welfare, SNAP, social security, unemployment insurance, disability insurance, and the minimum wage? It's hard to know, but from a basic trade-off standpoint, would the amount of people who decide that living on a UBI is enough for them and permanently slack off balance the amount of people who are afraid that if they get a job, their government checks will stop (whether or not that's a valid fear)? Would the economy find a new equilibrium where every job that Mike Rowe has showcased would suddenly become significantly higher-paying (and much more effort would go into automation for those jobs) because no one *wants* to do them, and people pre-UBI are only willing to if they have no other choices but starvation?

And how would people abuse this system? If everyone has a guaranteed income for life, will people take advantage of the UBI-only "poor" by giving them loans that eat up their entire UBI and leave them just as broke as before? (The answer to that is yes, they will, so the real question is more like "so how do we prevent that from happening?")

In the US, I've heard a lot of people talk about our "Puritan work ethic" that says that work is its own reward. I think a UBI would really put that to the test. If it's true (and I personally believe it is) then people will work, even for next to nothing, with a UBI to keep them afloat. Maybe we even get rid of some of the laws that were enacted to keep workers safe from abuse by their employers, because those laws presuppose that you *have* to work to survive and so if an employer is abusive you don't have the freedom to say "screw you, I quit." (Or the laws are based on the notion that work is a finite resource, so if I'm working 80 hours a week, I'm taking food out of the mouths of someone who *could* be working half of those hours)

All in all, I think it's a fascinating subject, and one that deserves a ton of thought. Unfortunately, it touches so many nerves and goes against so many deeply held beliefs that it's hard to have a conversation about it that doesn't quickly devolve into an ugly mess (see also: this whole slashdot post) And that's a shame.

Comment Re:Baffling (Score 1) 301

Generally, I'll stand by my assertion that masturbation and a loving relationship are different not just in degree and quality, but are categorically different. But for the sake of argument, let me make a small modification to your analogy: "I'm hungry, and you've taken away all of the Doritos and Mt. Dew". "Well, why don't you make your wife grill you a burger, even though she's made it very clear that she has no interest in cooking?"

Comment Baffling (Score 4, Funny) 301

"Just go out and meet someone"

First of all, I have a strong suspicion that "just going out and meeting someone" would be considered a far worse option by my wife than porn watching, just sayin'.

Second, even if I were single, there's no equivalence there. If I go out and meet someone... and by meet someone I mean find someone attractive and stare at them while publicly masturbating, as one might hypothetically do with porn, that's going to be A) probably unsatisfying for me B) almost certainly more than a little bit awkward for them, and C) illegal in most places.

Meeting people and romance and love and actual sex and all that fun stuff is great, but that's not what porn is about. It's like saying "I'm hungry, and you've taken away all the food." "Well, why don't you go out and buy a jacket?" Sure clothing and food fall in the same general category of "necessities", but that doesn't make them interchangeable.

Comment Re:More important... (Score 1) 203

I was about to say the same thing. This would be freaking *huge* if it could do that.

For a long time, what I've really wanted is for municipalities to place "yellow light" posts. Take the length of a yellow light, multiply it by the speed limit, and put up a post that distance before the far side of an intersection. That way, assuming you're going the speed limit, if the light turns yellow after you've passed the post, you know that you can maintain speed and clear the intersection before the light changes. But it might not work well, it'd be a change, and it'd cut down on the red-light-ticket revenue of the municipalities that would need to fund it, so it wouldn't ever happen.

But this could be *so much better!* Your car knows the speed you're driving at, your gps knows your approximate location (and in my experience, it's pretty accurate, though maybe not accurate enough for this application), and if this sort of feed could tell you about an upcoming yellow light change, that has *got* to be useful.

Of course, I know self-driving cars can see light changes, but I'm not sure how much of the self-driving hardware/software would be needed to implement this one feature. But I've got to think that it would be a general win for both safety *and* ticket-avoidance.

Comment Be nice to expand this (Score 2) 109

What I'd like to see is something that can share my exact location with non-emergency services in non-emergency situations. Like when my wife asks "where are you?" or I ask my kids the same, it'd be nice to have a button to push that says "I'm right here" with coordinates and maybe even map-based street addresses (and if you want to get *really* fancy, would also send my current destination and ETA if navigation was active)

It's entirely possible this already exists and I just haven't found it yet.

Comment One of the benefits of reading (Score 2) 296

I've always felt like one of the big advantages reading has over other sorts of media is that it's intrinsically rate-limited. The problem with this technology (and it's a problem that might be overcome at some point) is that it's not dynamic. There are some times, in some shows, where I *do* want to speed it up without losing information, while there are other times when I need to pause and say "WTF just happened, and how does it relate to everything else int the show, or the universe, or my life, or what have you?"

To me, this seems like it might be an evolution of fast-forward. Traditional fast-forward cut out sound, so if you were information-input-starved, that was actually a worse option. I've tried video time-compression, and it didn't work well for me, but I think that's more likely because it was all-or-nothing and was still at a fixed rate that might not be exactly right. Maybe what's needed is a button that says "for the next N seconds (maybe 15?), accelerate slowly, then decelerate back to normal speed", and you can hit that button at a rate that lets you process what you're seeing at a comfortable rate. Of course, the problem with a button like that is that it would completely tear marriages asunder and generally make watching video with company torture for most of the people watching. You'd have to adopt a paradigm like hiking, where the leader should be the slowest person, so as to make sure no one is left behind. And I can think of few party games less fun than "give the remote to the slowest thinker".

Comment Visio (Score 2) 889

Just about everything else I've found good alternatives for, and maybe there are some good alternatives for Visio and I just haven't found them, but the real deal certainly does seem nice. There have been times when I've needed to use it fairly often, these days it's pretty rare actually, maybe once a year or so...

And while there's lots that's nice about it, I'm not even sure it's the application that's really the killer for me, but the large available base of existing stencils, and I think that's causing a feedback loop: no one makes stencils in any other format because there isn't a widely accepted alternative format, and no apps can get a foothold because of the lack of stencils. So it's really the format wars all over again, but in a smaller niche.

Comment Something to be cautious about (Score 1) 55

While I like the idea of thinking about UI improvements, and I certainly don't mind having new ideas in the realm, the thing that you most need to consider when bringing UI ideas from the game world is that gaming is designed to be challenging, while the purpose of a good functional UI is to remove challenges. Bringing UI ideas in from hollywood is slightly easier, because their intent is to be visually interesting, which is a bonus for a functional UI if, and only if, you can make it visually interesting without compromising functionality (or preferably in a way that enhances functionality)

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