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Comment Re:Long-term broad market net of inflation (Score 1) 529

Unless there is a drastic change, I think the era of 7-9% stock market average returns is over. The GDP of the USA has been declining on average over the last 40-50 years....2% growth used to be horrible, now it is just average.

Even John Bogle who founded Vanguard is suggesting only 6% returns before inflation over the next 10 years....so perhaps 3-4% return after inflation - and that is for an ideal diversified portfolio.

I've started to include more international stocks and real estate in my portfolio...but who knows how that will end up long term.

Comment Re:Logic and Reason, or lack thereof (Score 2, Insightful) 199

There is no such thing as separation of church and state in the constitution. There is just a provision blocking the creation of a government run church, e.g. the founders didn't want a Church of the USA and in the same amendment, another provision preventing the government from interfering with citizens practicing religion.....afterall, many of the original colonists left Europe/England because of state run churches like the Church of England forced people to become members or prohibited the practice of other religions. These colonists were still very supportive of government and the church working in tandem, and religious values being imposed via law, and expected prayer to happen at school. They just wanted to be able to choose the religion and not have forced membership or have government interfere with their religion.

The fact that most American Citizens believe the constitution meant something completely different is more a result of who controls the instruction at public schools than the actual truth.

Comment Three Types of Personality in the Workforce (Score 1) 339

Maybe it's just me, but I've come to group most workers into three categories:
- Manipulators - Those good at generating images, focusing attention, turning strangers into friends, and figuring out exactly what others want. These are the perfect sales, marketing, and investor relations workers. Given that sales, marketing, and investor relations are so critical to future business projects and the ability of companies to survive....they're who you generally find as CEO's.
- Planners - Those who can concentrate and focus on the bigger long term picture, discerning truth from advertising, and who can imagine new solutions for existing problems, and deal with very sophisticated technical projects. These make good engineers and who you may find creating new business startups. Much of the slashdot audience would probably categorize themselves into this group. However, at a certain point, most businesses find that they can't grow enough revenue, attract enough new investors, or keep employees happy with these people in charge. So, they end up hiring the manipulators into the top jobs.
- Followers - For whatever reason, there are a lot of people who don't really care so much about their job or what it accomplishes, as long as they can feel good about themselves and have good friends and a life outside of work. These people would refuse any major leadership role if offered. Work is just a way for them to accomplish other things. You'll find a lot of high end service people in this category - doctors, etc.

Comment Increasing Economic Stagnation - Much wider issue (Score 1, Interesting) 245

As I've watched American prosperity and society change over the last 30-40 years, I've come to believe the following are the cause of the economic stagnation/depression that just gets worse each decade:

- Americans went gung ho into promoting cultural and ethnic diversity wiping away the uniformity of the 50's/60's replacing it with gigantic mess where no one talks to each other any more because they have nothing in common. Many recent research studies suggest that culturally/ethnically diverse societies find it much more difficult to unify or agree on common values or solutions to national problems. Is diversity good? Yes.... Was it in the long run good for America, maybe not.

- Education became politicized and focused on test scores and indoctrinating rather than teaching thinking and self sufficiency, partly this is a result of the widespread adoption of public schools and the removal of educational choice for families...local communities used to determine educational standards and parents used to have the primary responsibility for teaching their kids, not lowest common denominator schools that politicians manipulate the educational standards to ensure future generations will be one gigantic monolothic low paid workforce that can't provide for itself and yet will continue to vote for the polticians ruining the education of their kids.

- Lawyers -- there is a reason everyone hates them, but 40-50 years ago there were much fewer of them....legal crap everywhere began to spread in the 80's and now nearly anyone in power has a law degree, a degree which trains them to think not as engineers/doers but in terms of win/lose where one's only responsibility is to take care of oneself and his/her client.

- population growth -- yes, there are many states in the country that are underpopulated...but the areas where everyone wants to live are vastly overcrowded and the resources/environment are suffering greatly....it's not healthy for the mind or body...constant stress and overworking. Back when things were much more rural and there was a smaller population, people naturally cooperated with each other more.

- Public Debt -- whatever you think about the threat of future fiscal collapse, every $ removed from the economy for debt or interest payments is one less $ that goes into the broader economy to stimulate business or invest in infrastructure. We're on collapsing spiral here on way or another.

So, short of everyone suddenly deciding to handle all these big issues much differently than we have the last 40 years, I don't have much hope of any significant improvement. Technology and productivity increases help...but we've been relying on them for too long and if the pace of technological improvement slows down - our economy will get much worse.

Comment Democrats (Score 1, Troll) 547

Yes, Republicans will allow individuals to sign contracts that allow ISP's to rape their privacy - believing that people should pretty much be able to do what they want as long as they are willing to pay the consequences.

Democrats on the hand, want everyone except for the rich to be able to avoid all negative consequences -- afterall they can always find someone other than themselves to blame, and democrats are sure happy to rape anyone except the poor or illegals for anything that makes them feel good. They even get a thrill out of making nuns pay for medical insurance that covers abortions.

They both suck, but I know which one is worse.

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)...so 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.

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