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William S. Truman

Will. Flipping. Truman.

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99 Responses

  1. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    The long history of using “defending white women” as a “justification” for violence against African-Americans:

    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/history/2015/06/the_deadly_history_of_they_re_raping_our_women_racists_have_long_defended.htmlReport

  2. Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

    For Oscar 4 – that’s what I do, not what Will does.Report

  3. Avatar North says:

    Vertical farms are super cool and exciting but my understanding is that, at least so far, they can’t produce food at a rate economically comparable to conventional farming even if you factor in transportation costs*.

    Still not a reason not to keep trying and developing it. If it could ever be pulled off that’d be a huge book (and then the Californians could take a hacksaw to the central valley’s water subsidies! Sorry Francis, I tease because I care).

    *Though I’ve heard it can be achieved with lettuce.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to North says:

      True, but I believe that’s more due to capital outlay than production numbers for many crops. Others would need some “adjusting” before they could work in a vertical setup like that.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

        Capital outlay is still a cost. You don’t have to shell out a couple million to make a conventional horizontal cucumber field.Report

        • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to North says:

          Exactly,

          However, once the capital cost is amortized, the ability to keep operating costs incredibly low & yields high should, over the long term, make such ventures more profitable.Report

          • Avatar North in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

            Absolutely, but (and I believe with lettuce it actually does work) as I understand it currently hydroponic produce with their amortized capital costs are much more expensive than traditionally horizontally grown produce. Believe me no one would be more happy than I would be if that ceased to be the case.Report

            • Avatar Morat20 in reply to North says:

              This might be something to consider tax breaks and subsidies for.

              It’s not like modest subsidies are going to break the industrial agricultural folks (honestly, they’d probably happily buy into this) and given some of the long-term trends (climate and water, as well as the increasing costs associated with fertilizers) it might be one of those times for government to give a small push to get something up and running at least on a trial basis before it becomes a burning need. (CAFE standards, for instance, are something I’ve always supported for similar reasons. A car is a long term purchase, and few people can afford to grab a new one just because gas prices have spiked — and the development time for a new vehicle is…not fast).

              Then again, I’d be pretty happy if the industrial agriculture business divorced itself from heavy fertilizer use and went back to crop rotation, which appears to be cheaper in the long run (and a heck of a lot better for anyone downhill of your farm).Report

            • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to North says:

              So a few things to keep in mind:

              This can be done hydroponically, or not. Hydroponics is more flexible, but involves more capital costs (water management). Dirt farming indoors is easier to setup, but involves more work.

              The building does not need to be a greenhouse/transparent. Most plants grow just fine under a specific visible light frequency range which we can tune LEDs to emit. This means old buildings can be repurposed to vertical Ag (imagine an old warehouse, or Costco or Sam’s Club converted to such uses…).

              Not every crop lends itself to this. Leafy greens do especially well (lettuce, bok choy, spinach, etc. Strawberries would be a winner. I imagine some roots vegetables would do well, too. As would certain varieties of beans. Corn, peas, sunflowers, etc would probably require some effort to create varietals that would be short but remain productive. Same with tree/bush crops. If such varietals are possible or easy is beyond me.

              Still, this is something we could be encouraging with grants, tax breaks, or other subsidies, and see if the techniques can be refined before we have a water or other major Ag crisis (i.e. this is a food supply issue because TERRORISM!!!! We need DHS grants, STAT!).Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                IIRC, one of the other advantages of indoor farming is pest control combined with, well, better recycling and use of waste.

                You don’t tend to get as many pests in an indoor farm, which means less need for pesticides. You can keep (and sell) fish raised in the water stores (which also contribute waste as fertilizer), and waste mass can actually be burned to provide heating and some power.

                You can get a lot of interesting loops running and reducing water and chemical use, especially when the water doesn’t just run off but is retained.

                What you end up with is a particularly space-age type of farming, even if it’s dirt in boxes in a warehouse, since there’s possible efficiencies you can’t get under open sky.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Morat20 says:

                Which all rolls into reduced operating costs (and I mentioned briefly in the blurb for the original link).

                Open sky farming persists because of sunk costs in land, but also in machinery & infrastructure, as well as deep knowledge of techniques. But it’s still very much a bit of a gamble every year, and in the face of climate change, it’s more of a gamble as time goes on.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Morat20 says:

                I’m 100% on board. I hear people inveigle about septic and I can’t help but think “that horrific noxious chemical stew must have some kind of use it could be put to…”
                The idea of cities converting their waste water into plant food and growing their own produce in internal urban farming systems mmmm! I’ll take my singularity with a side of fries please.

                To say nothing of the fact that it’s a step towards self contained systems which is a step towards space exploration woo!Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to North says:

                Oh, yeah, one more reason to move this forward – reduce emissions. Farm equipment doesn’t generally have to meet the same emissions standards as on-road vehicles.

                So with reduced tractor hours, and reduced food miles…Report

              • Avatar Damon in reply to North says:

                You could also make water systems closed loops systems. Black water gets cleaned and recirculated to the white water. Some folks still feel “icky” about that though. It’d pretty much solve the cali city water problems though.Report

    • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to North says:

      A friend of mine was doing this on a very very small scale – a couple of bookshelves in his front window. He was producing enough greens for the household, and to make a small table at the farmer’s market worth his while – at least in winter when field and conventional greenhouse crops are not locally viable.Report

  4. Avatar Kolohe says:

    allegedly (key word), prominent Los Angeles public school teacher suspended from teaching for reading to his class a passage from Huck Finn. (and not one that had the n-word).Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Kolohe says:

      There aren’t enough known facts to really know what’s happening. It could be that a parent complained about the passage but it could also be that this is a convenient excuse for administrators to fire a teacher who seems to hate current trends in teaching.Report

  5. Avatar Kolohe says:

    Popehat’s latest on the reason magazine justice department subpoenas and possible gag order.Report

  6. Avatar Notme says:

    Looks like Greece is in trouble. I say good riddance. They speak about their dignity when asked to repay the loans but somehow their dignity wasnt an issue when they took the money.

    http://www.theguardian.com/business/live/2015/jun/18/greek-crisis-eurozone-finance-ministers-merkel-liveReport

    • Avatar Kim in reply to Notme says:

      Germany is just as much to blame for the entire stupid mess.
      If the Housing Crisis was the fault of the banks for making Stupidly Foolish Loans, you may lay the blame at Germany’s feet for the demise of the Euro. Whenever it happens.Report

      • Avatar notme in reply to Kim says:

        Kim:

        Prehaps you could fleash that out for us as to why you think this debacle is in part or in whole Germany’s fault?Report

        • Avatar Damon in reply to notme says:

          How about this?

          Greece “cooked the books” to show a debt ratio required to join the EU. Everyone knew the books were cooked, but still let them in. As a result, they got access to low cost loans from wealthier countries, which were given in large amounts for many years. It takes two to tango. The german banks knew the score, or should have known. That’s the risk you take when you make a loan and don’t do due diligence.Report

          • Avatar notme in reply to Damon says:

            You have a valid point. However, no one made Greece take those loans when offered and no one made Greece continue their antiquted pension scheme that is a large part of the problem. Greece could have taken the time to make structural changes to their economy but hasn’t and now refuses to.Report

            • Avatar Kim in reply to notme says:

              My links noted that Greece kept their end of the bargain (in terms of fixing “structural issues” as germany wanted), as stupid as Germany was being. I’m not citing my own opinion, but McBride’s, who is a name you should recognize.Report

            • Avatar Morat20 in reply to notme says:

              The business of vetting an applicant’s ability to pay is what a bank does.

              If a bank loans out ten million dollars to a man who will never be able to repay it, it is the bank’s problem.

              Your confusion is due to substituting moral judgments rather than business ones in this case. If Company A bought Company B for 100 million dollars, despite knowing Company B was bankrupt and — even best case — could only bring them perhaps 25 million dollars — would you feel much sympathy for Company A’s woes as they wrote off 70 to 80 million?

              Would you be blasting the previous owners of Company B for misleading poor Company A?

              No, of course not. You’d consider Company A a bunch of idiots who didn’t do due diligence or otherwise screwed up by the numbers, and would see their predictable bankruptcy and re-organization as a standard business practice.

              But with people and countries, you bring morals into it. Same exact problem, but suddenly it’s ‘bad’.Report

          • Avatar North in reply to Damon says:

            Yeah Damon you’re on the money in this. Greece certain egregariously cooked the books but there’s been a large implicit deal in much of the EU’s formation. The periphery countries opened their markets up entirely to efficiently produced and highly competitive German goods, the Germans in exchange provided financial support (loans) to help the periphery develop (or at least pay for the German goods). The periphery got loans sure, but Germany got a massive opened market for their economy to export to. They also got to lump their powerful currency in with the weak currencies of the periphery which prevented appreciation. In a non-EU scenario Germany’s skyrocketing deuchmark would have heavily crimped their ability to export and depressed their employment numbers. Those benefits to Germany from this association are not even remotely small things.

            And that’s why, despite the peripheries tantruming, Germany really doesn’t want any of them to exit. If the EU were to dissolve Germany would be looking at a titanic depression and a serious problem for its export biased economy. Likewise Greece doesn’t want to exit because they’d basically be reverting to a third world economy and currency.

            I expect that what will happen is what has been happening. Germany, reluctant to pay for their part of the party, will cavail, kvetch and lay down conditions but they’ll continue reluctantly lending to Greece. Greece, unwilling to pay for their part of the party, will cavail, kvetch and push back on the conditions but they’ll reluctantly come to some kind of compromise on constraints in order to keep borrowing. The banks will remain open and the EU will keep fumbling along forward.Report

            • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to North says:

              In America we solve problems like Greece by transferring federal tax dollars from wealthy states like New York or Texas to poorer states like Alabama or Kansas. The EU doesn’t have a mechanism for this.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to LeeEsq says:

                Quote so Lee. The EU had an ad hoc system that kind of aped the US in which was they lent money profligately to the poor countries. For it to even begin to approximate the American system, though, those debts would have to be either forgiven or indefinitely rolled over.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to LeeEsq says:

                The situations are pretty different.

                The US has the sense of unity that the money is considered to be going from Americans to Americans. Federal though we are, we mostly think of one another in terms of being of America rather than of our state of residence. Another major factor being that nations in the EU have a lot more power than states in the US, making it harder to argue that the central government has an obligation to cover for national government decisions. The last factor thing is that even with all of this, we don’t give money directly to state governments on the basis of budgetary need, which is how the loans work. (Kansas and Connecticut are raising taxes, and Maryland and Illinois are likely to cut services, rather than appealing to the federal government for free money.) (Though I suspect at some point, the feds will have to start loaning out money.)Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Will Truman says:

                Well sure will but absent these transfers in economic terms what are the incentives for poor states to remain in the US? If they didn’t get transfers they’d be saddled with a rich states economic policy, mandatory open trade and a rich state’s currency (with two of those being the main sticks a state reaches for when they hit a recession).Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to North says:

                If they retained the degree of autonomy that EU countries otherwise have, I’d argue that the open borders and free trade would actually be quite beneficial regardless. Of course, such an arrangement is hard to keep bound.

                But the biggest reason is, I believe, because they think of themselves as Americans rather than Kansans. I think such things are too often underestimated.

                Also underestimated is the degree to which a wide variety of arrangements are beneficial to both parties. A lot of people slip to an assumption that if an arrangement is a winner for Greece or Kansas, it must be a loser for Germany or California. That’s close to the opposite of what you’re saying, so it’s obviously not directed at you, but it’s something I see quite a bit of. (Likewise, of course, such an arrangement can be a loser for both parties.)Report

    • Avatar Francis in reply to Notme says:

      A. Here in the real world, states and corporations walk away from loans all the time. It’s odd (not really) that it becomes a matter of morality only when traditionally disfavored groups do it.

      B. There is a whole lot of blame to go around on the design of the EU, but when the idea was first pushed in the 50s WWII was still very fresh in a lot of memories.

      C. Forcing even more pain onto the Greeks is likely to have significant adverse political consequences down the road.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Francis says:

        “C. Forcing even more pain onto the Greeks is likely to have significant adverse political consequences down the road.”

        Serious question: for whom? Cold war is over, if they drop into Russia’s orbit, eh, whatever. The bigger political fallout for ‘core Europe’ would be if the Greeks are seen ‘getting away with it’ while Spain and Ireland and even Italy have the perception that they have to ‘suck it up’.Report

        • Avatar North in reply to Kolohe says:

          If the Greeks exit, Kolohe, it would trigger several things:

          -First it’d prove it can be done. Currently the EU has no mechanism for the exit of member states.
          -Second it’d provoke a titanic banking crisis. The original Greek banking threat was not resolved, it was ameliorated and papered over. It’s definitely somewhat less dire now than it was; the European banks have been trying desperately to deleverage*; but if Greece exited than the next tier up of countries and banks would suffer a financial crisis.. which would then topple the next tier up etc.. etc..
          -Third when those crisis’s came to a head the next up tier of countries would have to either accept Germany’s hard medicine or exit the Euro and with Greece having already exited the temptation to follow suit would not be minor (depending on how much of a disaster Greece’s exit turned out for Greece).
          -Fourth If the periphery departs then most of the low performing Euro economies are no longer part of the Euro. What happens then is the Euro would appreciate madly in value which would be enormously harmful to exporting power Germany’s economy. Also Germany would have lost its captive periphery market; nothing says those departed countries would have to keep their markets wide open to German exports. You’d see massive downward pressure on all the remaining EU members (and especially Germany’s) employment numbers.
          -Fifth let us not forget that the EU core nations economies are heavily regulated and are not exactly renowned for their ability to quickly turn on a dime. I wouldn’t say there’d be blood on the streets but a lot of core nations citizens would be out of their Jobs and their pensions and savings would be devastated by waves of financial institutional failures. At the very least every politician and official currently comfortably employed would be out on their ass. That seems minor to you and me but to those comfortable politicians and officials that is no small consideration.
          Sixth if the EU dissolves into that kind of mess it’d be a global event. You can rest assured that the further east and the US would feel it keenly. Another global recession would be the conservative thing to expect. So for your last question “for whom” most likely for everyone but especially the Europeans.

          *Which is why, coupled with German led austerity politics, Europe has been writhing in an unrelenting series of recessions.Report

          • Avatar Kolohe in reply to North says:

            it’d prove it can be done.

            The Euro isn’t the Hotel California, we need a proof of concept for exit

            Second it’d provoke a titanic banking crisis

            It may provoke a St Lawrence seaway cruise ship running into a canal lock banking crisis, but not a titanic one. The grecxit has been a medium probability event for what, 4-5 years now? Greek bond rates are now over double what they were a year ago, meaning people have been already getting out of Dodge. It is very likely that the people in the game are making a pure speculative play anyway, betting on the chance that they will continue to be bailed out. Getting the Greeks out of the system would insulate the other weaker, but not a weak as Greece, countries from getting into a bigger systemic risk with an interminable Greek bailout. (i.e. cut of your forearm arm to prevent the Grayscale from turning the rest of your arm and then your body into stone).

            As for Germany’s politics, even Germany’s left-wing is sick and tired of Grece’s s***.

            The head of the Social Democratic Party said

            Europe and Germany will not let themselves be blackmailed. And we will not let the exaggerated electoral pledges of a partly communist government be paid for by German workers and their families.

            Germany GDP is already well over 1/4 of the Eurozone. Keep copacetic with France and you have half the total economy behind the money. Get rid enough of the chaff, and you may even get to finally bring the UK in the fold. The Euro has already depreciated significantly against the US dollar and the UK pound because of risk of grecxit – so it’s already largely priced into the currency.

            Which is why, coupled with German led austerity politics, Europe has been writhing in an unrelenting series of recessions.

            The UK has been doing ok, and if Germany’s the engineer of the austerity train, Cameron’s been the conductor.Report

            • Avatar North in reply to Kolohe says:

              My point is that it hasn’t been done so no one exactly knows how you’d go about doing it in terms of step by step actions. For a small example; you’re going to be issuing your own currency which will be monopoly money compared to the Euro so your banks are all going to go bankrupt (again) so most likely you nationalize your banks and enact strict capital controls. Which is terribad for business and will undoubtedly precipitate another economic crisis. It’s not so much that no one thinks you can leave (as you said it ain’t the Hotel California) as much as no one knows exactly how bad it’ll hurt to leave and how much it’ll cost. That uncertainty presents a barrier to exit that would disappear after a grexit*.

              You’ve got the banking backwards. Most of the people who were overexposed during the first Greek crisis are still overexposed. Yes the small lenders et all have bailed out but most of the big holders of Greek debt got repaid… … … with more Greek debt. This isn’t what they wanted but it’s what they got instead of getting nothing. The Italian and Spanish banks are still awash in Greek Debt. The ECB made soothing sounds and assurances and so the lenders agreed to roll their debt over but if Greek defaults then all the big players who were naked under the water before are still naked. The Greek default still triggers a Italian and Spanish collapse which triggers an Irish and French collapse etc etc…

              You’ve also got the macroeconomics kind of topsy-turvey. Yes in a Grexit the EU currency would get stronger and the Euro would appreciate. If you are a German or other Euro exporter however an appreciating Euro is a very very bad thing. Suddenly all your customers purchasing power is in the toilet and the relative cost of your exports goes through the roof. That’s why, for instance, Canadian manufacturing contracts when the American dollar weakens against the Looney. It gets harder for Americans to buy Canadian stuff so they buy less of it. Germany’s economic prosperity has been largely based on Germany making and selling stuff to the rest of Europe. If their market base suddenly is in a market that can be closed off and is denominated in Greek drachmas then the Greeks are going to stop buying all the German’s stuff and the German manufacturers start laying off German workers. Moreover if the EU appreciates without the periphery then the Euro would appreciate against ALL currencies and everyone would buy less German stuff and the German manufacturers start laying off tons of German workers.

              Yes the soundbite politics and the politicking politicians wave their arms around and inveigle about profligate Greeks and they’re right on the surface but if you look under the surface to the foundations of the EU you’re looking at the foundations of Germany’s current prosperity. That’s why Merkel and the other adults in the room may make a lot of noise about Greece but turn pale at the idea of a breakup. They know exactly what side of the bread Germany’s toast is buttered.

              This is emphatically not simply a case of the Greeks having pulled some kind of con on the Germans and now needing to be kicked to the curb like the fire breathing politicians like to claim.

              *now if Greeks political leaders end up swinging from lamp posts as the country burns that’s raise a difficult barrier to exit but I digress.Report

              • Avatar Kolohe in reply to North says:

                ‘depreciating currency is good for exporters’ is generally true, but not universally true, and assumes a rather high interchangeability of goods – an assumption that I believe Krugman got his not-really-the-Nobel-Prize-but-that’s-what-everyone-calls-it for proving it generally false. In other words, if Mercedes are still awesome cars, then sales will remain about the same, Germans are going to make more money with a more valuable German currency. In any case, I believe the instability of the Euro is already priced in.

                But moreover, again, we’ve been dithering around at this for a half a decade. If the system will be destroyed by a Greek exit, than system delenda est. A system that can’t figure out how to manage a very likely scenario and is still in existential crisis mode after years of work deserves to be uprooted and upended.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Kolohe says:

                Well it’s not just Greece, the fear is that a Greek exit would precipitate a collapse and contagion that would either result in Germany sucking it up and forgiving the debts or allowing a looser monetary policy (in which case why not just do it now and forestall a grexit) or the removal of the poor nation periphery from the EU in which case Germany will suffer significantly.

                But the core point is that Greece isn’t the only one that benefited from the EU being expanded like it did. The Germans made out well in the deal too which is why they are so unenthused at winding down the EU.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to North says:

                The whole bloody mess was started because a bunch of idiots didn’t think about “Okay, if we have ONE currency what happens if different areas of Europe are having different economic conditions? How do we handle monetary policy if, to pick a totally random example, Germany is booming but Italy and Greece are stagnant or in recession?”

                In America, we solved the problem somewhat accidentally — a whole ton of automatic federal stabilizers that kick in and send money from boom states to bust states (Medicare, SS, food stamps, unemployment insurance, etc – not to mention the big, yearly, block grants and federal spending — all of which buffer states facing economic difficulties and allow federal monetary policy to not screw outlying states so hard).

                Europe has…nothing like that at all, as far as I can tell.

                During the Great Recession, a good chunk of the problems facing Europe were a good section of Europe wasn’t getting the monetary policy it needed (and would have pursued under it’s own currency) — it was getting the opposite, at times.Report

              • Avatar zic in reply to Morat20 says:

                In America, we solved the problem somewhat accidentally — a whole ton of automatic federal stabilizers that kick in and send money from boom states to bust states (Medicare, SS, food stamps, unemployment insurance, etc – not to mention the big, yearly, block grants and federal spending — all of which buffer states facing economic difficulties and allow federal monetary policy to not screw outlying states so hard).

                fascinating insight; bears some deep thought and analysis, @morat20

                And I don’t really think I’ve ever heard that point made before. If it’s not original, and you have literature exploring it; linky goodness would be appreciated. If original, wow.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to zic says:

                I’m pretty sure Krugman has, in fact, written about it at length. Brad DeLong too.

                It’s certainly not an original insight — I saw quite a number of articles during and after the Great Recession about it. It’s one reason Germany is taking a lot of grief, because there’s a perception that Euro monetary policy is being done based on what the more powerful economies (Germany) need, and not what the struggling ones (Italy, Greece, France at one point I think) need.

                You can see it in action here, during recessions. States tend to automatically cut back spending during recession because tax receipts fall. But SS and Medicare payments can’t be cut by states, and food stamp and unemployment insurance claims go up as people lose work — and those don’t get cut either. So even as the state’s are cutting spending (generally making the problem worse) the Feds tend to be automatically increasing it, without having to vote on it.

                You simply can’t run a single monetary system over a huge area comprising multiple independent states like that without some mechanism for, well, cash transfers. (The problem does sort of scale all the way down. Even inside states, you have cities doing well and others poorly. And in cities, you might have suburbs or districts doing well and others poorly…).Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Francis says:

        A succinct summary of my long winding response above and I agree with the lot of it. Anyone who suggests that Germany hasn’t gotten as much if not more out of the EU than Greece has is simply not paying attention.

        I’d add only to your point C, Francis that in addition to the adverse political consequences would be massive economic consequences and Germany would feel them keenly.

        Merkel is infinitely far from a fool. She’s a canny and deeply pragmatic operator and she’s keenly aware of this which is why she continues to walk the line on Greece balancing the populist indignation of her electorate against the anger of the Greek electorate. In a weird way the Lady Chancellor is almost an honorary Greek politician in how closely she must pay mind to the Greeks.Report

      • Avatar James K in reply to Francis says:

        @francis

        Personally, I’d be in favour of the Greek government defaulting but that won’t fix their problem. Last I checked, Greece was running a primary deficit – even without debt repayment they still have insufficient revenue to cover their expenses. And since borrowing on a D credit rating is a bit tricky, they’ll still need to engage in austerity. The advantage of this strategy (for me at least) is that at that point they won’t have anyone to blame but themselves.Report

    • Avatar North in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Definitely a lower case v victory for labor. It should be fascinating to see whether in the medium to long term it turns out to be an upper case Victory for labor or a loss.Report

      • Avatar Morat20 in reply to North says:

        Contract employees are, to be blunt, often contract employees entirely so they can get the shaft.

        Uber’s business model might as well be called “The average American doesn’t understand nor can calculate depreciation of capital investments” (IE: their car).Report

        • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Morat20 says:

          The average american uses their vehicle as a consumption good and gets no return (nor tax break) on the use of their vehicle. With uber, they can turn a consumption good partly into a capital good.

          Cars are lasting longer than ever. Uber drivers are not (or should not) be buying new cars. But to the extent they may be buying new cars, and to the extent that the extra driving makes cars wear down faster, it is Obama Administration policy to get rid of older cars on the road and replace them with new ones.

          But it is good to see that the taxi lobby still has a good stranglehold on some state legislatures.Report

          • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Kolohe says:

            You do realize there is a difference in usage and wear between “driving to work” and “driving FOR work”?

            There’s also the plain fact that Uber is basically ignoring labor law (I think California’s pretty spot on — Uber employees aren’t traditional independent contractors, they’re not even independent franchise owners. Uber exerts far too much control over them) and using that to profit.

            Regardless, it’s a flat-out distortion of market principles — whether you think taxi drivers should be independent contractors or Uber drivers should be employees, either way Uber is basically profiting solely off of the regulations they’re NOT having to follow due to employee classification.Report

            • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Morat20 says:

              You do realize there is a difference in usage and wear between “driving to work” and “driving FOR work”

              yes, and one you pay for and one you get paid for.

              The biggest intellectual splash of the last 10 years, and maybe of the generation, was made by a guy who said returns on capital beat returns on labor pretty much everywhere and all the time.

              So when we give people an opportunity to be capitalists, instead of labor? “Sorry you’re labor, get back into your box”. The ostensible champions of the people claim victory while the game stays rigged towards r>g.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Kolohe says:

                I’m not even sure which part to eyeroll at the most. Your “back in the box, labor!” bit, which is hilarious because Uber drivers are drivers — they ARE labor. Or your bit about your car as capital investment, because hilarious the people investing in the capital (the drivers) are not the ones setting their labor rate, and thus can’t be including depreciation.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Kolohe says:

                “So when we give people an opportunity to be capitalists, instead of labor?”

                Capital gets to set their own price.Report

        • Avatar North in reply to Morat20 says:

          Morate, I’m actually inclined to think that you and Kolohe are both right on this one.Report

  7. Avatar Chris says:

    Ugh, dunno how this ended up here!Report

  8. Avatar dragonfrog says:

    The security of some computers that sit between a human body and enough morphine to kill them ranges from terrible to nonexistent, and the company that makes them apparently should have known this for a year now. What could possibly go wrong?Report

  9. Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

    This is kind of fun

    Report

  10. Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

    Coyote has a good point about the new face to be put on American money. Why Hamilton?Report

  11. Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

    One more:
    https://medium.com/@BoltVC/how-it-s-made-series-beats-by-dre-154aae384b36

    I’ve never owned a pair of Beats headphones, but I sure as hell would not pay $200 for any headphones.Report

  12. At the end of this month (June 2015), a leap second will be added to the Network Time Protocol all our computers use. This turns out to be more important than you might think. The last time that a leap second was added (June 2012), Quantas Airlines’ systems went to hell for two hours because their internal time didn’t match the external time. Google apparently puts considerable effort into dealing with this.Report

    • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Michael Cain says:

      I once spent a considerable amount of time studying how computers handle time.

      It is ridiculously complicated and very, very, very smart people spent a lot of effort getting computers separated by vast distances and unknown lags and delays to all agree on roughly the same time. (Networks are the worst. Your individual PC can ping a time server and if you’re off a few milliseconds due to lag, whatever. Network a hundred computers together that all need to share the same time? With a network with unknown lag that spikes and changes? Chaos. It works, though!)

      And, of course, top level folks programming web sites, internal systems, and the like never really think about it. They just grab the time and assume it’s the same for everyone. (Well, probably not the MMORPG guys. Those guys are really, really, really used to dealing with lag and people who exploit it.)Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Morat20 says:

        The ICE, global parent organization for a number of stock exchanges and clearing houses (including the NY Stock Exchange) has announced that they will suspend operations for 61 minutes surrounding the leap second occurrence in order to avoid the legal liabilities they might incur if trades happened on the wrong day.

        There’s a rant in there somewhere about the finance industry being out of control if they’re scheduling trades with sub-second timing…Report

  13. Avatar zic says:

    This is amazing.

    Google Research has a post from software engineers Alexander Mordvintsev, Software Engineer, Christopher Olah, Software Engineering Intern and Mike Tyka, Software Engineer gave a static image and programed neural networks to find patterns in the static from its training for a specific image, so say ‘bird’:

    We train an artificial neural network by showing it millions of training examples and gradually adjusting the network parameters until it gives the classifications we want. The network typically consists of 10-30 stacked layers of artificial neurons. Each image is fed into the input layer, which then talks to the next layer, until eventually the “output” layer is reached. The network’s “answer” comes from this final output layer.

    I am totally fascinated by these images. They’re beautiful, and really really remind me of CJ Cherryh’s Fire an Ice novels, when there are faces in the walls and the experiments I’ve been doing with pulling out the spectral separation when light bends around things that create interference patterns; like the fuzz on the stem of a flower.

    Time to experiment in layers and combine them.Report

    • Avatar Morat20 in reply to zic says:

      Neural networks are a hoot and a half (my Master’s was focused on machine learning) but over-training is a well known problem.

      I mean, you can at least tell if you have a good training and test set (if you’ve over trained, when you turn it loose on the test data it’s never seen, it’ll be obvious).Report

  14. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Oh, here’s a blast from the past.

    http://www.yclusa.org/about-the-yclusa/frequently-asked-questions/

    The closest thing that I can imagine that online society is like for them would be being a fan of Big Band music today and trying to get people to change the subject from dubstep and/or rap for a second.Report

  15. Avatar Kolohe says:

    http://www.arlnow.com/2015/06/22/argument-over-the-value-of-a-college-education-ends-in-slashing/

    An argument between two men about the value of a college education ended with one of the men being slashed across the face.

    The argument started when the men began debating the “worth and importance of a college education,” police say. The suspect became angry during the argument, at which point he pulled out the pocket knife. A crime report did not specify whether the suspect was arguing for or against the value of higher education.

    Report

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