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Comment Public Education can do whatever the hell it wants (Score 1) 281

I homeschool my kids. I also vaccinate them.

I couldn't care less what requirements public education has, here or elsewhere. Just don't make me pay twice to educate my kids and stop letting local politicians be selfish bastards about public resources. The local park won't let a group of homeschooling parents setup a PE program w/o paying a $500/year annual fee for park permit....yet the public school kids get to throw everyone off part of the park during school hours.

Comment Western Digital Still in Business? (Score 2) 78

Maybe I'm just not keeping up, but Western Digital seems to have been on a downward path for quite a long time....I'm not sure why they are still in business.

Back in the early 90's, WD drives were OK, but seagate had a better reputation for anything important. Since then, they seem to have just languished - acquiring other companies products. Their enterprise/datacenter drives aren't that bad, but seagate still seems to rule the roost. On the consumer end, quality control has been quite hit or miss and despite their making ever larger drives at cheaper prices, I would never trust their drives with anything important.

As for SSD's, their competition has really been for the last several years between intel vs samsung versus 3rd parties (kingston/seagate/etc). Does WD sell a lot of SSD's comparatively?

Comment Re:I really don't understand (Score 1) 82

The Kindle DX was awesome....Whoever discontinued it in order to promote Amazon's tablets instead made a huge mistake - A high end modern Kindle DX could easily justify a very high price. My DX lasted 4+ years in which time I read a few thousand books...but eventually the keys stopped working (I even used crazy glue for a bit to keep it working).

Comment Wolfram is the best choice for Education (Score 1) 241

The answer depends on your goal.

If you want to teach kids so they can get a job, any popular coding language will do.
If you want to teach kids what programming is about, any teaching focused language (such as pascal) might be appropriate.

If you want to teach your kids how to incorporate math, electronics, robotics, and computing into the rest of their lives...than I think a computational computing focused language and tools such as Wolfram Framework and Mathematica makes sense. The problem will be that there are very few teachers or parents able to teach it properly.

I'm homeschooling my kids and I've bought Mathematica for each of them. I'm reading the various howto guides and textbooks now to figure out how to teach it properly. We will be incorporating arduino type coding and using mathematica to supplement their math and science classes too.

Comment Re:who pays? (Score 1) 180

Honestly, if the USA ever gets into a serious war where it's survival is at state, I wouldn't count on the Europeans to help in the slightest....they are part of NATO, but don't even meet the minimum obligations for membership (2% of budget for military) nor do they have much of a recent record for sending more than token forces to help allies (and, then, only if they're promised that their is little risk to their soldiers).

Economics wise, the European Union and China are both trying to replace the United States....I'm not sure if Europe would be that sad if something bad happened to the USA.

So, yes, I think the USA should quit NATO - especially since the UK will no longer be inside the EU.

In the last 50 years or so, the USA has only had a few countries that it could count on at all for more than token help....England (UK), Japan (although it's had limitations on its military), and perhaps South Korea. I'm not sure if Canada has provided any significant assistance (their was noise about them sending troops to Iraq, but given the size of Canada's population - I'm not sure if it was a significant number).

Comment Re:Unintended concequences (Score 2) 136

Not to be pedantic but I hate that the creation of Linux is being used above to promote piracy.

Yes, part of the motivation for the creation of Linux was to save $ on software - but it was more than that.

- The UNIX most people used (SunOS) was only available on Sun Workstations which were wickedly expensive dedicated hardware found only at universities or corporations that could afford them.
- The BSD community at the time had some ports to the x86 platform but their developers didn't really get along with many in the open-source community.
- Tanenbaum had proven that x86 hardware (still new to critical tasks) could run UNIX, but his operating system was more of a teaching tool than software that was designed to run GNU/Open Source Software or even be used in production systems.

So, Linux succeeded and was created not just because it was cheaper, but because it really filled a need that other solutions hadn't met yet.

Comment Re:Not a surprise... (Score 3, Informative) 269

California still has an energy crisis, at least in SoCal...just no one talks about it because there is no evil corporate villain to blame... electric costs are still 12-24 cents/kwh depending on time of day and which utilization level one is placed. Water rates are also getting quite high...Unfortunately, the solutions (controlling imigration/total population, overall development density, and using nuclear or low-cost fossil fuels energy go against the orthodoxies of the prevailing ruling class) we will be stuck with 3-6% energy inflation for as long as the eye can see.....naturally, everyone is getting taxpayer funded solar panels to minimize extortionate rates.

Comment Limiting providers fine - kickbacks no (Score 2, Insightful) 173

There may be situations where a landlord has a good reason to limit who is accessing and modifying the cable/wire infrastructure of a property - so, a blanket ban on such is probably not a good idea.

On the other hand, I don't have any problem with banning the kickbacks/payments that encourage the practice at the cost of renter choice.

Comment Re:Does that count people like me? (Score 1) 188

I don't watch much TV -- not because I don't want to, but because there is very little of real value to watch.

The only decent news is CNBC squawk box which is only on from 3am-5am pacific time (before the east coast markets open).
There is only 3-4 hours of reasonably interesting drama or sci-fi tv created per week, and then only for about 30 weeks/year.

The rest of TV is mostly dancing idiots on parade....shows made by idiots meant to entertain other other idiots.

So, assuming 1hr of news 5 days/week for 52 weeks/yr and 3hrs of entertainment over 30 weeks/year, that adds up to only about 400hrs of worthwhile television per year for the entire year....or just a little over 1hr/day.

Educational TV? Where do you get that? Publicly funded television stations are so politically biased that you can't trust the science in them -- many of the shows are more about political indoctrination than anything else. I don't let my kids watch PBS.

If I want informational shows, it's usually best to buy them directly off teachingcompany/great courses....or find the rare youtube channel with someone who actually knows what they are talking about presenting ideas....

So, basically, anyone watching an average of more than 2hrs/day of TV....I just feel sorry for them and move on.

Comment UBI is completely the wrong approach (Score 1, Interesting) 1052

Problems - too many workers, workforce needs better education or retraining, population living longer is increasing healthcare costs while making it harder for younger generations to move up the ladder of career success, population and politicians are incentivized to raid future savings for spending today

Solution - Not UBI, it doesnt really solve problems and it has side effects that might make it a net negative.

- Encourage older workers to mentor younger ones and leave the workforce earlier while encouraging younger workers to spend more time getting a rigorous and real education before working- How? not free public colleges (government already has history of destroying education), find a way for older folks to have a direct investment over long term in younger employee performance - students pay portion of future earnings for 20yrs as soc security type payments rather than take college loans?)
- reduce social programs for those in their prime working years and not disabled, while increasing incentives for older workers to retire earlier, e.g we take care of you if your under 25 or over 55, but not for more than short term emergencies with those in between
- The only ubi type payments would be in the form of some kind of national profit sharing plan. As long as government has a deficit, no one gets a dime. payments also reduced while government has debt. Automatic refund if income greater than expenses and no debts. Simplified flat tax or vat type tax system while keeping some incentives for kids and home, building communities.
- Somehow citizenship needs to be more important with greater benefits and also be harder to get. Maybe everyone really shouldn't have an equal vote. More national and state incentives to limit population growth, especially illegal immigration.

Comment Re:Pay TV only, that is (Score 1) 175

Realistically, however, for many of us - if it isn't available on amazon instant video, the shows or movies will never be seen - even if they are free or widely popular on netflix or theaters. cost/value isn't the issue - distribution medium and software/hardware/content aggregation is.

Comment Re:Taxes are lower? (Score 1) 639

I guarantee you that the long term effect of increased tax rates will not be a sustained increase in tax revenue. The economy is dynamic and will shrink those areas affected by the highest taxes. Scientific studies have shown that regardless of historical tax rates or how taxes are structured, total national tax revenue is always comes out to between 15-20% of GDP.

Historically, the USA has had total annual expenses in the 16-18% range, only reaching 20-22% in times of war or national emergency.

Guess what we are currently spending? Guess what economists forecast as total spending required to meet entitlement obligations in the next twenty years. We're spending around 20% now and could easily reach 25% if entitlements remain as is.

Fix spending. Then, we can talk about taxes.

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