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If you live in a major city it's considerably cheaper to take cabs even on a pretty regular basis than to own a car.
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I've been saying to friends for some time that this November will be a massive landslide victory for Obama. Most of them have been skeptical, but they also don't seem to understand the margin by which he won in 2008. The dude is popular, he's competent, the economy is a little sucky but it's getting better and not worse, Osama bin Laden is still dead, and he's running against a candidate from the clown show that is the modern Republican Party. The people who voted for him in 2008 haven't vanished. And if nothing else he's a spectacular campaigner, as we just saw with the "FIrms" ad. Romney asks for an apology, Obama goes all "Here is my final offer: nothing" on him. It's not even going to be close.
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Is this sort of an equal protection thing? Once you've extended a privilege to everyone on conditions X & Y you're limited in imposing conditions Z that some states will find easier to uphold than others? I haven't actually read this part of the decision so I'm just making this up, but it's the only way it (sort of) makes sense to me.
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The overriding impression from this report is just how *close* this battle was. It could easily have been another disaster like Pearl Harbor. The US commanders must have been quite nervous after the first, you know, half-dozen attacks they made resulted in the loss of essentially all their planes. The message is "parity is not enough", which no doubt continues to inform the decision to maintain an overwhelmingly superior navy. Much military spending is wasted and should be better-controlled, sure, but I always laugh when I read someone complaining about the 11-carrier fleet because no other nation has more than a couple of carriers. You don't want parity. You want ridiculous, overwhelming superiority, so much so that it makes it obvious that any attempt to build & use naval force will be pointless. The US fleet is a bargain.
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They want to avoid foreclosure if they can avoid 40% losses on 3/4 million dollar loans, as is not infrequently the kind of loss they're taking. I've been following the housing market very closely in Oakland/San Leandro/Alameda the last five years or so and the volume of foreclosures and the losses the lenders have taken have been enormous, even with an obvious restriction in the foreclosure pipeline in the last year. With transaction fees and commissions, cost of foreclosing and eviction, damage to properties after foreclosure, and so on, the losses on many loans made after 2006 look to have been 25-50% in most cases.
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"But careful or not it makes it seem as though the spending is only worthwhile if it does, in fact, lower the long-run deficit." It's almost as though the purpose of the economy and of human effort in general was not to change the numbers in some spreadsheet at the CBO but actually to provide food, shelter, medicine, education, and employment to the population! But that's crazy talk.
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Wow, what a bunch of amateurs. They should have used "hello1" for everything like I do.
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"Certainly the high point for the Germans. They rightfully thought they had the war won at this time" Yes, though the imminent failure & termination of all Luftwaffe operations over Britain in May should have been a worrying sign. For being defeated - which is not in dispute - Britain was certainly going to cause a lot of trouble over the next few years, with Lancasters and Halifaxes now rolling off production lines and several hundred thousand tons of bombs to be dropped.
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Delivered with appropriate melodrama. I approve.
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Tax expenditures are expenditures nonetheless. The fraud is in pretending that giant tax breaks for favored industries are anything other than deliberate, costly subsidies.
Toggle Commented Apr 13, 2011 on Obama's Speech at Economist's View
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"Why Aren't Economics Departments Using Their Macroeconomic Slots to Hire People Who Know Walter Bagehot?" Because there is an extremely lucrative business in doing a kind of pretend economics - one that produces answers that please very wealthy individuals and corporations, and has the stamp of Scientific Economics, but isn't really based in reality? Because many university economics departments are now run by people who have made a career of pretend economics and they don't want to hire anyone who might show them up? At some point you guys are just going to have to treat them like doctors did chiropractors and purveyors of patent medicines: distinguish the evidence-based part of the profession from the quacks. If you don't, the entire profession is going to be written off as quacks, a situation you are rapidly approaching now when Esteemed Economics Professors are out there spouting total nonsense about the economic stimulation effects of austerity. They're not doing your brand any good.
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The interesting thing about the Oklo reactors (which is what I was talking about too) is that they could only have happened at that particular point in time, when the amount of U-235 was about 3% of all uranium, and also when there was oxygen in the atmosphere to allow uranium to dissolve in water. The other really striking thing is that the fission happened in a cycle where about 30 minutes of criticality was followed by 150 minutes of cooldown. I love that something so long ago happened in such a human-scale kind of way.
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I'm as big a nerd as you could hope for and I find the iPad kind of revolutionary, yes, and I agree that the app store serves a very useful purposing in filtering malicious or grossly-incompetently-written software, although it has unfortunate anti-competitive and censorship problems. The Android multiple-app-store model seems better (and no doubt Amazon would like in on the iOS app business and could make a pretty good argument for being allowed access). And Serolf Divad is right about tablets rapidly replacing laptop and desktop (and other) computers, although it's nowhere near there right now - I have the Apple keyboard dock but the UI still requires you to touch the screen a lot and text handling is still very primitive compared to mouse & keyboard interfaces. (For instance, selecting text, moving the insertion point, and cut-and-paste are all vastly more usable with a mouse.) Although apps play a pretty small role in why I think the iPad is revolutionary. The browser and video playback are much bigger factors (especially Netflix). I can sit and watch a full-length movie without worrying about battery life, with reasonably good sound, while curled up on the window seat at my house. Doing that with most laptops requires a trailing power cord, finding somewhere the cooling fans can exhaust without overheating, and hassle rearranging position. The iPad's only problem is finding a way to stand it up. So anyway, it is intimate technology, which is something Apple has always done well, it's something you want to have at hand and are comfortable snuggling up with. That was true of the iPod, it was true to some degree with the cute little Macs, it was definitely true of the iPhone. But none of those had the big, wide, visual connection to the outside world that the iPad has.
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"from Sept. 1, 1939, when through guarantees to Poland, Britain unleashed the conflagration with a criminal and premeditated will" Yeah, no. "The lightning-like and crushing victory of Germany in the West eliminated the eventuality of a long continental war." Don't hold your breath. "We haven't elevated lying into a government art nor into a narcotic for the people the way the London government has done." Oh, okay, good to know. "It is highly ridiculous to count on the eventual moral breakdown of the Italian people. This will never happen. To speak of a separate peace is idiotic." Right. "There remains Russia, but her fundamental interests advise her also to follow in the future a good-neighbor policy with Germany." Er, you might wanna communicate that to Adolf, buddy. "The industrial power of the United States certainly is great, but for aid to be useful supplies must safely reach England and also be of such quantity as not only to replace the destruction already inflicted and that which will come to the industrial plants of Britain, but also to bring about superiority over Germany." Okay then. "Tenth, to beat the Axis, Great Britain's armies would have to land on the Continent, invade Germany and Italy and defeat their armies, and this no Englishman, no matter how insane and delirious by the use and abuse of drugs and alcohol, can even dream of." True, but, and I don't want to spoil the ending for you here, you haven't exhausted the possible outcomes here. "In all cases it is more likely that the United States, before it is attacked by Axis soldiers, will be attacked by the not well known but very warlike inhabitants of the planet Mars, who will descend from the stratosphere in unimaginable flying fortresses." Speaking of important things not to do that you might want to communicate to your allies... On the other hand, the war was mercifully light on Martian stratofortresses.
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The boogeyman of "the government is too big" is not really efficiency but a Stalinist totalitarian state full of corruption and repression and suffering. Unfortunately a corporatist fascist repressive state is just as unpleasant and neither is really all that likely in a country like the US where the government is fairly firmly under the control of the people.
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If it weren't for the fact that almost everyone else's hours also increased - and that pay overall was stagnant except for the top few percent - I'd say that this might have been a meritocratic change, that is, that it might have reflected corporations becoming more efficient, firing the slackers at the top, and replacing them with people who actually show up for work. Instead I think it's just that they sit in the office for long hours playing Solitaire but now make 10x as much as they did in 1980.
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"China’s power use will triple in the coming decades, mainly from coal-fired plants." China burned 3.2 billion tons of coal last year. It net-imported 150 million tons of coal. It has reserves of about 114 billion tons. Someone less lazy than me can graph the exhaustion curve there, but it looks like China will be out of coal within 20-35 years, right? Perhaps we should start looking at alternative energy. Starting, say, 30 years ago.
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"Relativity Simply Explained" by Martin Gardner is, well, what it says it is. I don't think either relativity or evolution are counterintuitive, quite the opposite.
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"most people we want are employed somewhere already" Well, yes, that's why it's called the "labor market" as opposed to a "slave auction". I am constantly amazed by the belief of non-technical executives that while they are precious irreplaceable snowflakes who must be paid at the upper edge of the income distribution for their position (if not more), highly-educated, highly-skilled technical workers with years of experience are just "coders" who, by rights, should be obtained much like day laborers, by just walking out onto the street and offering the first likely suspect $15/hr. And then they wonder why their projects don't get finished, or their competitors crush them with far better products. And then they hire some more of their buddies as execs, fire anyone who was telling them they needed to pay for better talent, and go out and try to hire another batch of "coders" on the cheap. This is also why fussiness over salary is a very bad sign for prospective hires. If the company is going to be successful, a (say) 25% difference in salary costs isn't going to make the difference. So if they're willing to seriously risk losing a good candidate over not paying market rate, they are probably too stupid to work for and therefore too stupid to succeed.
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"the government decided that a substantial part of the GDP lost in the crisis would never return" This being the most completely insane part to me, although also familiar from previous rounds of Tory austerity. There is no effort to do anything productive with what one decides to destroy; it is pure wrecking, targeted at influential opposing interest groups, and there is total indifference to the consequences for unemployment, for communities, for welfare, or for the economy as a whole. There are a lot of very rich people in Britain who don't particularly care how the economy does because they will always be very rich. They don't particularly want anyone else to become very rich because they like being the only ones who are. This is true in the US too, but the US has more escape valves.
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He had the English Channel. He didn't need all that much else.
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Neat. I ordered the book: http://www.amazon.com/Street-Fighting-Mathematics-Educated-Guessing-Opportunistic/dp/026251429X 18.098/6.099 is nearly 181/61 is nearly 180/60 which is three, but a bit less because 61 is about 2% more than 60 so the result will be about 2% less than 3 or about 2.94, but a little bit more because 181 is more than 180 but only about 0.5% more so it'll be about 2.955 or about 2.96, which it is, almost.
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The "logic" of the restriction to forcible rape is that if you let people who just "claim" to have been raped get an abortion, all those wanton, careless sluts who get pregnant will claim to have been raped to get abortions, and you might as well have no restrictions at all. Better show some bruises if you want sympathy. Being 13 and pregnant by a non-blood-relation family member isn't going to cut it.
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I agree that Obama's response has been reasonably good, and has at least tried to use the extensive US military aid to Egypt as a lever to avoid a bloodbath in the streets. But it's still an embarrassing liability that Mubarak is very clearly our man there.
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"The Wheel Will Change the Way We Live Forever, Once We Turn It on Its Side and Attach It to Something, But What? " This is genuinely, seriously, the funniest damn thing I have read in ... days. The rest of the list I can take or leave. This is genius.
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