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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:Finland (Score 1) 441

The ironic thing is that this is basic investing, that businesses should be glad to be doing. I don't get why this is not done more often.

Socialise the costs, privatise the profits.

Why would businesses pay for something when they can get everyone else to pay for it instead and take the money they would have spent in CxO bonuses ?

Comment Re:The scourges of the WWW, in chronological order (Score 2) 309

8) Hidden menus and mystery meat.

Google Maps is the prototype example. In the first or second iterations some years ago, Google Maps was very nice. Menus and functions used to be obvious and intuitive. They've hidden more and more things behind cryptic icons or that only show up on mouseover. I'm sure I could read up on it and figure it all out, but I use it so rarely that it's not worth my effort. Alternatives such as Mapquest are easier to use, and for occasional things like printing directions they're adequate (although Mapquest is also moving in the Google direction).

Just 2 days ago I needed some custom directions, because a road where I wanted to go was closed by construction making the GPS useless. I tried to use Google maps and futzed around until I sort of had the route I wanted on the screen, but when I tried to print only a small portion was shown and the rest chopped off. By trial and error, I kept zooming out until it fit the printer page, but then the street names became suppressed because I zoomed out too far. After about 10 minutes I gave up and used Mapquest.

(I now remember that the previous time I used Google Maps a few months ago I also gave up on printing directly and instead captured a screen shot and printed that! I forgot about that trick 2 days ago.)

And while I'm on a Google rant, they used to have links to to translate, books, etc. on the main page, and now there's nothing. I have no idea how people find these anymore (I have bookmarks for them). Well, I guess they can Google for "Google translate", but you have to know that it even exists before you can do that.

Comment Re:Ever the optimist is our Elon (Score 0) 426

90% of the work we're doing now (and probably closer to 100% of slashdotters' work) doesn't *need* to be done, but we do it anyway.

That's because the alternative is to just give them the things they need to live, which bothers a lot of people who like to take the position that the only moral way to survive is to work.

It has nothing to do with Maslow. If people's time wasn't taken up with bullshit jobs, and they instead were able to do work they found personally fulfilling without having to worry about working to survive, then their esteem and self-actualisation would be taken care of.

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