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Comment Re:So backwards... (Score 1)227

I concede that companies should not profit from products that might kill people. That is all that I concede.

So you'd be OK with a company if it sells such products at cost or at a loss (say while they are still working out the software bugs that might kill people)? What does profit have to do with it?

Comment Re:3500 degrees (Score 1)123

Because when you mix 2 things at temperature T, it doesn't make a thing at temperature 2T. Don't mistake temperature for energy.

It depends on what kind of "mixing" you allow. You could have an array of 1000K lamps shining on solar panels, then combine the solar panel outputs to drive a small 2000K lamp. Certainly there would be a lot of energy loss in this system, but the temperature would increase to 2T.

So without specifying the constraints on the collection system, you can't say that a 2T increase isn't possible. The solar cell method has only passive components, so passive alone is not sufficient to forbid a 2T increase.

Comment Re:LOL! NERD! (Score 1)229

Me too. I think the big difference is the lack of feedback in math. If I work for hours or days to construct a proof, I don't really know if it is valid or not, and maybe it was all a waste of time because I made an error in the first few steps. With programming, I can test incrementally, fix errors as I go, and I can see the end result is valid because the program works. The feeling of accomplishment is much better.

If you use automated proof verifiers, like HOL, Metamath, Mizar, etc., the experience is the exact opposite from what you suggest. When a proof is automatically verified, you KNOW the math is 100% correct, even if you spent days working out the proof. That provides a tremendous sense of accomplishment. When writing a computer program of any complexity, while it can be satisfying to see it run, you will never know (barring formal verification) that there aren't still hidden bugs not yet uncovered.

Comment Re:alternative translation (Score 2)94

I would much rather see \$50 billion spent on a speculative quantum computer than on a wall with Mexico. Even if it doesn't work or is "less powerful than a Fitbit," there will be lessons learned pointing to ways to making it work, and probably far more important, there will be spin-off technology that could dramatically improve our lives in ways not yet known. With a \$50 billion Wall, not so much.

Comment Re:Has the Internet Killed Curly Quotes? (Score 1)207

It makes the difference between " start quote " and " end quote ".

In almost all cases, notwithstanding your intentional violation of traditional typographical rules above, a start quote has a space before it and not after, whereas an end quote has no space before it. So in ordinary text, curly quotes rarely convey additional information.

It results in unreadable mess like "Can't open file "'"'"\$filename"'"' just because "Can't open file "\$filename"" is ambiguous.

The topic is ordinary text, not computer language methods of escaping quotes within quotes.

Comment Re: Finland (Score 1)441

How so? Take someone that's being paid, let's say, \$5000/month at the moment, and let's take a UBI of \$1000/month to have a neat number to work with. With the UBI they'll be getting \$6000/mo, but paying back \$1000/mo for a net of \$5000/mo. That's exactly what they were already getting, so where's the subsidy for the employer?

The \$1000 less they have to pay the person to do that job because that component of their worth in the market is being met by the UBI not the employer.

The minimum wage is not the same thing. It is a required minimum amount the employer must pay, not a minimum amount paid by the public.

It's a good point. I quite like the general idea. None of this is going to be viable long term though, because we can automate all of these things too.

Yes. But there needs to be a transitionary step so the people who can't handle the idea of "getting something for nothing" can get their head around it (or die).

Comment Re: Finland (Score 1)441

They can't just pay \$X less and hope to still have people working for them though, unless the resulting wage is high enough that the employee will be paying most or all of their UBI back in taxes, in which case the \$X reduction is mostly or completely just a regular pay cut.

That doesn't really address the point ? Even if someone is being paid relatively a lot, the UBI still represents a subsidy to their employer who will be paying them roughly the equivalent of the UBI less than they would be if it didn't exist.

A job guarantee relies on there being jobs available, which as we've established is kind of the problem. I guess you could invent some pointless work for someone to do, but forcing them to spend a significant chunk of their time doing meaningless busy work doesn't strike me as being better than not forcing them to do it.

There is arguably plenty of work that is not so much "pointless" as not particularly profitable. Someone to help little old ladies on and off buses, for example. Or more teachers. Or take back all the jobs around publicly funded services that have been privatised and improve it (eg: cleaning staff).

Comment Re:I predict a lot of misunderstandings about BI (Score 1)441

That is an incredibly convoluted way of saying "reduce the cost to business for employing people". :)

But it doesn't really explain what you're trying to achieve. The last few decades show that reduced costs to business go primarily into CxO bonuses and - maybe - shareholder dividends.

Businesses aren't charities. They won't employ more people without unmet demand. Supply-side economics is bunk.

In that context what really matters is this:

[...] while receiving an extra \$269.08 deposit from Social Security every 2 weeks.

Not the reduction in taxes to business (though I agree payroll taxes are bad taxes).

As I said elsewhere, a jobs guarantee is a better and fairer option than a UBI (or similar), at least until we really do have robots that can do anything and current attitudes towards welfare have matured.

Comment Re: Finland (Score 1)441

Let me put it another way, a UBI of \$X is a subsidy of \$X to employers who can pay their employees \$X less and pocket the difference themselves.

A jobs guarantee (paid employment by Government for anyone who wants it) is a better and fairer solution than a UBI, at least until we really do have robots that can do anything and everything.

Comment Re:call insurance (Score 1)492

If I was subject to epileptic seizures by animated GIFs, I'd certainly turn off GIF animations. (I have them turned off in my browser because I find them annoying.) Why didn't this guy do that? Seriously, there are so many animated GIFs these days that surely quite a few would have just the right frequency to trigger seizures in a susceptible person.

If you are allergic to peanuts, you don't take peanut factory tours. If GIF animations cause you to have seizures, you turn them off. If you don't know how to do it, just google "how to turn off animated gifs to prevent seizures". Is this really not common knowledge in the epileptic community?

Comment Re: Finland (Score 1)441

And if you don't pay your employees enough, they'll stop working for you[...]

That's OK, there's zillions more employees out there. We already have a massive surplus in workers (hence high unemployment and low wages) and that surplus is only going to keep increasing.

But since people who are working will essentially be giving their UBI back in taxes anyway, I find it hard to see it as a subsidy to businesses.

Employer pays someone a dollar an hour to work 20 hours a week. Worker needs UBI to live.

What scenario are you envisaging where a worker will be paying back their entire UBI in taxes ?

Comment Re: Don't forget (Score 2)351

Yes, it is.

The only free market is one without any rules. So no property rights, no contracts, no money, no fraud, no standards, nothing.

Anything else and all you're doing is arguing about the extent of regulation you want in your market.

It shouldn't take long with a history book to conclude where "no rules" inevitably ends up.

Comment Re:I predict a lot of misunderstandings about BI (Score 1)441

Taxes don't need to be raised on the highest income earners; they can be lowered on businesses, notably on payroll (tax taken based on how much wages you pay).

What would this achieve ?

Comment Re: Finland (Score 1)441

Believe it or not, there are a number of high profile libertarians advocating basic income over the sprawling welfare state we have.

Of course they are. A UBI is a subsidy to business. If the Government is paying their employees a wage, they won't have to, which means more money in their pocket.

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