Future Horrible Practices


Mike Dwyer

Mike Dwyer is a former writer and contributor at Ordinary Times.

Related Post Roulette

156 Responses

  1. Avatar Doctor Jay says:

    The school one has me scratching my head. Someone has to watch (or at least ‘be responsible for’) the kids pretty much all the time when they are young. So who would it be? A ratio of one or two children per adult is really not very efficient, and as such, would be horrifically expensive.

    What am I missing? Is it she expressing stay-at-home-mom envy? What’s going on with this?Report

    • Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

      She has definitely drank the homeschooling Kool-Aid. She thinks anyone above the poverty line should probably keep one parent at home. Easy for her to say when she probably makes well over $1 million per year.Report

      • Well, whatever works for her. Moving to a farm outside of effing Darlington (where the nearest Big City is Mineral Point? Oy) certainly gives a lot of nicely unstructured time that can be filled up by Little House cosplay.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        That’s also assuming a traditional two-parent family at all times while the kids are under college age. Anybody with one eye should know that traditional two-parent families aren’t the only family form these days. Even if you have two parents and one is able to devote full time to kids and home, not every stay at home parent is going to be able to home school their kids efficiently or even monitor somebody else doing it.Report

      • Avatar PD Shaw says:

        That clears things up; just needed to identify the “poverty” line.

        And juice is by no means “just as bad” as soda.Report

        • Avatar Troublesome Frog says:

          Maybe not by every metric, but if the metric you’re using is calories per 12 oz serving, it’s basically the same.

          A can of Coke with a vitamin supplement and a little bit of fiber looks not outrageously different from a glass of orange juice with salt added from 10,000 feet.

          I suppose it all depends on what variables you’re optimizing for when you say “just as bad.”Report

  2. Avatar greginak says:

    Interesting; your list is good and but hers is silly. Schools will gone and are a social service. Oy…she is lost without a clue. Cubicles; geezy will everyone be a contractor working from home? Only in a some tech fields and only so far. Plenty of people would hate working from home and will rebel against it at some point.

    Football. Bet you it will still be here. Inertia is powerful and it has become an integral part of american culture. Maybe some more , largely ineffective, safety measures. Likely many fewer kids playing, but it will still be here. The rest of your list seems correct.Report

    • Avatar Troublesome Frog says:

      I’ve been working for a completely virtual startup I co-founded for not quite three years now, and while I’m totally in favor of more work from home in general, I’ve observed a few things:

      1) Not many people can handle working alone all day every day. Psychologically, it’s rough on most folks. I’m extremely well suited to it and it even gets to me sometimes.

      2) There’s some percentage of workers who are pretty productive when you watch them who are completely incapable of managing their own time. This is very difficult to predict. It’s also tough to distinguish between a lack of progress due to lack of effort and a lack of progress due to legitimate struggles. Measuring productivity is critical.

      3) I can get a lot more work done when I don’t spend 2 hours a day in a car. My analysis is this: The time I spend commuting and working hits some daily maximum, regardless of how I divide that time between driving and working. If I work 9 hours and commute for 2 hours, that’s almost 20% of my work time wasted. Not commuting is huge.

      4) Projects that require significant coordination are very difficult to coordinate remotely. The most effective solution I’ve seen is having everybody sit in a chat room while they work so they can observe the conversations and participate when necessary. This is pretty good for tech, but not so great for a lot of other jobs.Report

      • Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

        I agree with much of this. I used to think working from home was the goal. Now I find after a couple of days I miss the bustle of the office. And working with other teams remotely makes everything take 3 times as long. A nice blend seems best.Report

        • Avatar Troublesome Frog says:

          I’m doing contracting on the side to pay the bills while we work to get this other monster off the ground, and I’ve found that a day every week or two in the office is just about right for what I do. The contracting work is embedded systems work, so I have to shuttle hardware back and forth between my home lab and the customer’s site. Absolutely miserable commute, but it breaks the monotony.

          I’m definitely not going crazy, but I’m married. I get to see my wife at the end of every day (or work next to her if she works from home). If I was single, I’m betting it would be a serious issue. Zero human interaction for days on end.

          If I had to put together a perfect schedule for my other (mostly software) company, I’d say 1-2 days a week in the office would be ideal. Enough time to sync up, debug stuff that requires more than one engineer, and generally expedite the “tight loop” work while leaving plenty of alone time to get work done. But that’s software engineering. YMMV.Report

          • Avatar Kim says:

            Yeah, software folks tend to like some “quiet time” to get their stuff done without having people pop in on them and disrupt everything.

            I can see how contracting or “customer service” jobs like being a lawyer require a lot more “in office” time. But I think with nearly every job (even secretary) there’s some heads down time.

            I think the main issue is cubicles really, really suck at heads down time. Having people work at home doesn’t fix the issue of offices that don’t work.Report

            • Avatar El Muneco says:

              It’s not being at a central location, or the commute, or the coffee. It’s the cubicle that can never be shut. It helps build fertile ground for ad-hoc brainstorming/collaboration. But when you really need to concentrate, you need a door. Not just a Les Nessman line of tape on the floor, no matter how good you are at miming.Report

              • Avatar Troublesome Frog says:

                I get jumpy and distracted working with people moving around behind me. The worst possible situation is the cubicle with my back facing the gap… err… door. I’m constantly turning around to see if there’s somebody standing behind me.

                An open plan seems like a special form of torture unless there’s a quiet place to retreat to.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw says:


        Concurred. I had a few jobs where I worked from home. #3 was spot on. #1 is as well. I would have moments where I would think things like “I haven’t seen anyone but the baristas at my coffee shop for five days….”Report

    • Football. Bet you it will still be here. Inertia is powerful and it has become an integral part of american culture.

      As the Yogi explained, predicting is hard: especially the future. Here is my attempt:

      We are already seeing middle class parents discouraging their kids from playing football. The question is whether this is a blip due to the news cycle or a long term trend. My guess is long term trend. This will itself change football’s place in American culture. Right now, it is very all-American to go down to the high school on Friday night to watch your kids, or your neighbors’ kids, play football. This would go away, for middle class schools.

      This would work its way into the NCAA. Not necessarily, or immediately, at the top level. Alabama won’t have any trouble recruiting. But the local Div. III school will. I foresee a lot of those programs going away (and good riddance). Eventually this would work its way up until the only potential recruits left are those hoping to play in the NFL. This will always be a much larger pool than those with realistic prospects of playing in the NFL, but not unlimitedly so. In the alternative, the NCAA will have to bite the bullet and pay its labor.

      None of this means that middle class people won’t be happy to watch paid gladiators play the game, but at the least it would change the relationship. Football would no longer be something that normal people play. Would this matter? Not in the short term, but I can imagine the NFL slipping some in American cultural consciousness.

      The historical models are horse racing and boxing. A century ago, both were really big deals. They are both still around, but marginalized. I fully expect that the NFL will continue to be a big deal within my lifetime, and probably my kids’, but a hundred years from now? I don’t know.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        *Yawn* Baseball dies before football does. (too many teams, too many games per season — see it cut down to something like six teams in the majorest of cities).

        The fundamentals for sports are all wrong. People, plain and simple, don’t like them as much anymore. Baseball has extra problems because of the open air stadium thing, but they’re all going to disappear and relatively quickly.Report

      • Avatar Aaron David says:

        Boxing has only marginalized due to MMA, which seems to be rising. Horse racing has fallen but I would not be suprised that the fall coincides with NASCAR and other avenues for gambling. Rather, I think that the class perceptions of who is playing/watching football will be the marker.Report

        • Avatar Mo says:

          Boxing was marginalized well before MMA. Post-Tyson and possibly Holyfield, boxing didn’t have any real cultural clout.Report

          • And even before that it was thinned. People would watch a Tyson fight, but they didn’t go down to the local ring to watch the Friday night fights there.

            The horse racing equivalent is that the Triple Crown races still command broad attention, but the sport is strictly niche apart from that.Report

      • Avatar El Muneco says:

        They could go to soccer as a model. Kids with talent get a “futures contract” to bind them to the club, who pays them a stipend through school, then a wage until they either make it or don’t. Of course, most of the world has a stronger vocational training tradition than the USA, but times change – maybe football will be a leader in that area.

        A hundred years is a long time, but much less than a hundred years ago an English player was known as “The Footballing B.A.” because degreed players were so rare. Tying sports training to an academic degree might be another practice that is looked back on quizzically.Report

        • Avatar Trumwill says:

          This is what I would like to see happen. Doubt it will, though.

          Players may end up getting paid outright, but not due to a shortage. As @richard-hershberger points out it’s the lower schools that will lack for players and they can’t afford to pay. The upper schools can afford to, but will probably never lack for talent. If players get paid, it will be due to a legal requirement or the PR.Report

          • Avatar El Muneco says:

            Oh, you’re probably right. I can’t see it happening in a short-term time frame. It would take pressure from all sides – a weakening grassroots tradition (really, the dream isn’t that a blue-chip prospect can get to Alabama, it’s that a solid HS player can get to Western Oregon or Grambling); a difference in kind between D3 and D1; and an entire generation of NFL coaches who hate having to re-train offensive linemen who never learned proper footwork since the NCAA game lost its connection to the NFL game.Report

            • Avatar greginak says:

              A real football minor league wouldn’t take away from the kids who go to small schools though. Both baseball and hockey have thriving minor leagues but also D1 college level where some kids go on to the pros. Both can do well but provide different avenues.

              Instead of Euro Fball someone, or the nfl, should start a teen/ young adult league 18-23 in a football crazed place like texas or florida. Heck they could play in high school stadiums in texas. 10-12 teams from kids out of HS in the fall for low pay but a chance to play. It could make money and give a real minor league option. Not sure why it hasn’t happened.Report

    • Avatar Michael Cain says:

      I have always said that Bill Gate’s fascination with voice-controlled computing later in his career simply reflected the fact that he had been given a private office, and traveled by private jet, for too long…Report

      • Avatar Autolukos says:

        Seems about right; when working on these types of things, I’ve seen many a voice command be picked up by every phone within 20 feet.Report

      • Avatar Morat20 says:

        Reminds me of the 30 Rock episode with a voice commanded TV. The Law and Order episode on kept turning the TV off, then told it to delete it’s DVR contents.Report

  3. Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

    Dangerous jobs. Either a robot will do the work, or the work will be done by a remote operator.Report

  4. Avatar DavidTC says:

    School, but not for the nonsensical reason she gave.

    What we will be astonished with in the future is that we got teenagers up at 7:00 or earlier, stuck them on a bus, and dumped them, half-asleep, into their classes.

    This is almost criminally stupid, expecting teenagers to function that early. Teenagers have the latest-in-the-day sleep cycle of any humans, and should generally be sleeping somewhere from 11-midnight to 8-9. (Yes, nine hours.) Many teenagers have circadian cycles that mean they *can’t* sleep before 11. That’s just how it works at that age.

    It’s not like this is some hard-to-discover secret. Every single teacher of 7-12th grade will tell you that in their first class, almost all the students are clearly very sleepy.

    This not only has the obvious detrimental effect on education, but lack of sleep also raises the risk of depression and suicide. Luckily, those things *never* happen with teenagers.Report

    • Avatar KatherineMW says:

      That’s biological? I figured it was just due to a preference for staying up late among most teens. I had no trouble with mornings as a teen.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC says:

        Yes, it is biological.

        And that preference for staying up late is *also* biological.

        Different people have can wake up earlier or later than the average, but they usually still follow the average around. And the average changes over their life, as does the total amount of sleep required.

        Teens tend to gravitate to going to sleep around eleven to midnight, and need about *nine* hours of sleep, which means they shouldn’t be waking up until eight or nine.

        This is not because they ‘like’ staying up late…well, it is, in much the same way people *like* getting enough sleep each night, and people *like* eating at regular intervals. It’s not not some *habit* or social construct…it’s true in all societies. It what the teenage body is designed for.

        And this is also pretending that teenagers actually have a choice about how late they stay up. A lot of teenagers are extremely overscheduled, and late at night/early in the morning are the only times they can manage homework. I.e., it’s not just that they’re sleeping at the wrong times, it’s that they literally are not getting enough sleep, period.

        As for your experience…I notice you didn’t say when you had to get up ‘in the morning’. You do realize that, depending on the bus route and time of the start of school, some teenagers *do* get to sleep until eight or so? If not, if you were able to get up easily at seven, well, you were one of the lucky teenagers that had a slightly shifted circadian cycle. But not only is that is not only not true for most teenagers, but there are just as many shifted the *other direction*, where they really need to be sleeping until nine or even ten.

        Of course, I’m rather sensitive to this because I have delayed sleep phase disorder, which means *I’d* rather be staying up until 4 or 5 in the morning every day, and sleeping until noon. I *cannot* get to sleep before 2 in the morning, and usually sleep until 10. (I actually *can* get up earlier than that without much problem, but I really try to get eight hours of sleep.)

        But people tend to not actually understand how the circadian cycle works or that it is real. They seem to think that any human can adjust to any schedule, as long as they go to bed at a consistent time, and wake up eight hours or so later. As anyone who has tried working a night shift can tell you, this is about as far from the truth as humanly possible, and people just think it’s true because the vast majority of people are keeping close to the schedule that their body wants.

        If people don’t know how it works, I dare them to try a sleep schedule of 7 in the evening to 3 in the morning. Set the alarm the first day so you wake about 5 in the morning, so you’re nice and tired by 7 in the evening, and try to go to sleep. Just try it. And then try to wake up at 3 in the morning.

        Good luck with that. (And, strangely, if everyone here actually did try it, one person would be completely startled as to how much *better* it works, because *they* have a circadian cycle disorder also.)Report

        • Avatar KatherineMW says:

          I got up at 7 or 7:30 in the morning – but I wasn’t so swamped with homework that I was staying up especially late. And people vary a ton. I have an uncle who does fine on five hours of sleep a night; I’d be sleepwalking through my day if I tried that.

          My cycle seems to be mostly based on light; in summer I’m up at 5 or 6am whether I want to be or not. (I should really invest in a good blackout blind.)

          Your condition sounds like it would be incredibly frustrating; I’m sorry if I came across as judgmental.Report

          • Avatar DavidTC says:

            I got up at 7 or 7:30 in the morning – but I wasn’t so swamped with homework that I was staying up especially late. And people vary a ton. I have an uncle who does fine on five hours of sleep a night; I’d be sleepwalking through my day if I tried that.

            Depending on age, five hours isn’t that odd. As people get older, they need less and less. That’s why I said that teenagers literally have the longest sleep cycle of any people…children start out quite low, and it increases all the way nine hours for teenagers, and then about 21 or so it drops down to eight (Probably at the same time those teenage eating habits cause everyone to put on 30 pounds.), and then slowly decreases, and can get quite low in the elderly.

            My cycle seems to be mostly based on light; in summer I’m up at 5 or 6am whether I want to be or not. (I should really invest in a good blackout blind.)

            I did that to my room. I don’t get woke up by light, but I find it really hard to get back to sleep if I *am* woken up by something and it’s light.

            Your condition sounds like it would be incredibly frustrating; I’m sorry if I came across as judgmental.

            Oh, it’s not frustrating WRT to me, I work from home and start at any time between 10. (Aka, I turn my computer on at ten, and then spend thirty minutes actually waking up.) And if you were judgmental of anyone, it was teenagers. 😉

            I’m pretty used to people not understanding how the circadian cycle works at this point. Like I said, most people completely ignore it, because it happens to sync up with when society expects them to be doing thing.

            The annoying people are the people who constantly think I’m just being lazy because I don’t want to get up at eight in the morning. My family does this little judge-y thing because I ‘sleep late’ and they want me to help them out, but, of course, I don’t ‘like getting up early’.(1)

            I have to keep explaining that getting up at eight to me is like a guy who normally gets up at seven getting up at five. They wouldn’t expect *him* to want to get up earlier, but for some reason they think I can just ‘go to bed earlier’. (I’m actually a little baffled by that concept. Can normal people just lay down and go to sleep for eight hours any time they want? I seriously doubt that.)

            And, of course, the blackout curtains don’t help. ‘If you got rid of those, you’d wake up earlier’. Well, maybe. Maybe not. If I wanted to get up earlier, I could just use an *alarm*, unlike a lot of people who seem to have serious problems with waking up, I wake up just fine. Hell, when I do need to get up early, I usually end up waking up *before* my alarm.

            The problem is that I wouldn’t get to *sleep* any earlier, so all changing my schedule would accomplish is sleep deprivation. (And, frankly, people who sleep deprive themselves and don’t have to are idiots. Forget purchasing luxury goods…the best luxury anyone can buy for themselves is enough sleep.)

            1) Which is kinda rich of them, as *they’re* the ones who have set up complicated lives that need *my* help with moving people around and babysitting and taking people to the airport. I think I’ve asked my family to drive me somewhere *once* in the past couple of years, and that was because my driver’s license was about to expire and I’d been too sick to renew it for the week, but finally had to go anyway and was too sick to drive safely.Report

            • Avatar Kim says:

              go read the research again. the elderly still get eight hours, when they aren’t in pain. Restless/lack of sleep is generally caused by poor health.Report

            • Avatar trizzlor says:

              >>My family does this little judge-y thing because I ‘sleep late’ and they want me to help them out, but, of course, I don’t ‘like getting up early’.

              Ohh man can I relate. When I was in grad school I found my most productive writing time to be 10pm-2am, which meant I got up 9-10am. A lot of my friends and family are early-risers and I would constantly get the passive aggressive treatment from them about always being in hibernation; “I’ve been up for hours and went to the gym already!” etc etc. The idea that I sleep the same amount but just at different times simply would not take hold. Now that I have a kid, I’ve retrained to wake up at 7am and – go figure – I’m absolutely exhausted by 11pm, right around the time the old me would start firing on all cylinders. The whole experience really hammered the “This is Water” insight that people actually have a *very* difficult time shifting perspectives. If they see someone asleep a lot, well, that means the person sleeps a lot and that’s that.

              If it’s any consolation, being an early/late riser is (mildly) genetic ( http://www.nature.com/ncomms/2016/160202/ncomms10448/full/ncomms10448.html ) so you can tell them they’re discriminating against your condition.Report

          • Avatar Kim says:

            “does fine” probably equals has lost sentience, but that’s fairly normal as people age.Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain says:

        I learned to have no trouble. Dad was a former senior petty officer, and if I wasn’t out of bed by the appropriate time — early, band was during first period in high school — he laid hold of an ankle and started dragging me. First you wake up, then you realize that your legs are off the bed and you’re about to fall, and then the adrenaline hits.

        I never did outgrow the early-riser habit that instilled in me.Report

        • Avatar Kim says:

          Two thoughts run through my head at this comment, I’ll give them in reverse order:
          1) I’m really tempted to call this child abuse.
          2) Pulling shit like that on someone trained for combat is likely to not turn out so well.Report

        • Avatar DensityDuck says:


          “and boy, I’ll tell you what, my dad taught me right. He didn’t take any shit, and I learned not to give him any. And it really taught me how to–”

          (I move my hands forward on the table; he flinches back and his head dips slightly.)

          “–anyway, as I was saying, I really think we’re too soft on kids these days.”

          (I stare at his face, and his eyes roll wildly as he tries not to meet my gaze.)Report

  5. Avatar DavidTC says:

    Also, damn, is her list stupid or what?

    Was there *any* point in time where actual people (as opposed to our robotic MBA overloads) thought humans could work best in cubicles?

    That has always been, quite clearly, an incredibly stupid idea, and, like most incredibly stupid ideas that save tiny fractions of money, was implemented and rolled out by total idiots for several decades while everyone stood there and explained how stupid it was.

    EDIT: Also, how *exactly* is juice as bad as soda? Actual real juice is much better for you than soda, and even the fake stuff like Sunny Delight usually has less sugar than *soda*.Report

  6. Avatar dragonfrog says:

    I think the cable packages will go away, but your prediction for why is too small. I would predict cable television packages will last as long as cable television itself, which is to say not very long.Report

    • Avatar Marchmaine says:

      Cable packages – This is already happening but eventually the idea of paying someone hundreds of dollars per year for packages you only watch 5% of will be considered ludicrous.

      To be replaced by spending hundreds of dollars for the things you watch 85% of the time. Better $$ to watch ratio, but not a net drop in cost – in the long run. In the short run, some early adopters of un-bundled services may win the arbitrage, but in the long run the entertainment dollars will be hoovered up.

      So, possibly “ludicrous” will be a term of envious remembrance.Report

      • Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:


        It’s funny people assume they’ll somehow spend less and get more. That’s bad business for the people that hold the IP rights.Report

        • Avatar KatherineMW says:

          Netflix. $15/month. The Canadian version isn’t great (I usually get it for a month when something new and interesting comes out, and then drop it), but it’s at least as good as a basic cable package. And even the option of getting it for a month and dropping it with no consequences or hassle is something cable would never give you.

          Most TV shows are online now, too, for free (with ads, like on regular TV). No need for a cable subscription, just an internet connection.

          Many people are, quite clearly, spending less and getting more compared to usual cable packages.Report

          • Avatar Marchmaine says:

            Certainly… at this moment in time, there is a scramble to establish platforms, so lot’s of content appears free, but it is actually subsidized by the current revenue streams.

            As those revenue streams shift, the content prices will change… watch this season’s show 1-day after airing? Not any more. Will one Netflix subscription cover all their produced content? Probably not… or perhaps it will, but not at $7.99/month. More content will be a’la carte (as it is now) with a lot less available for free. I expect season -n will simply have reduced pricing until (perhaps) ending up free 3-, 5-, 7- years after the initial run. Does binge watching Friends now seem fun?

            Additionally, Netflix is now producing content that you may want to watch… but so is Hulu, and Amazon, and HBO, and Showtime, and all the other content providers. You’ll either have lots of subscriptions with $$ attached to them, or will forego the cool Hulu shows in favor of Netflix. Also, as has already happened to Netflix, as content producers set-up their platforms, Netflix’s library will continue to shrink. [How annoying will it be to pay Lionsgate by the drink?]

            Quite possibly a company will strike deals with all of them and bundle the most popular content in a single (better) app for about the same as what they all cost separately… but you’ll be happy to pay because the value of the better application and simplification of the service with be totally worth it.

            And that’s how we arrive at $100/month subscription for just the content you really want – minus all the dross.Report

            • Avatar DavidTC says:

              Also, as has already happened to Netflix, as content producers set-up their platforms, Netflix’s library will continue to shrink.

              I don’t understand how you mention this, but then go with the assumption that we will then end up with large bundles.

              What is probably going to happen is the space gets more and more fragmented, with individual studios and even shows getting their own platform, or possibly using some other platform but you buy the show *inside* it. Like Steam, except you’re probably renting vs. buying. (Or maybe you can do either.)

              I can imagine a universe with Steam, or with three or four Steams, plus three or four Spotifies, along with a dozen TV show so big they can maintain their own site. And all the Steams have basically *all* the content, because why the hell not? And the first episode is free. (Of course, they need to charge a *hell* of a lot less than, for example, Apple charges.)

              Our current universe is a bit skewed because all the original, non-produced-for-TV content is being made *by the websites*. Netflix is making House of Cards, and to get that, they’re making you pay for the entire site. This is not actually a different model than with HBO, just a different wire into your house.

              The model will change when people start making shows with the intend of just…*selling* (Well, renting) them to people. The first Xena or whatever low-budget ‘syndicated’ show, and one view is sold for pennies, basically whatever ad revenue would have given them (Instead of the insane prices Apple charges). And it might not come from conventional studios.

              There actually a lot of independent content producers on Youtube. (And many used to be on blip, which choose exactly the wrong point to fail.) Which, tada, they expect to make only pennies (in ad revenue) from each showing. Think The Guild, but you pay for it…and some investor comes along and says, “You know, if I put a $100,000 an episode into this, and own most of the revenue, this might work as a ‘real’ TV show.”Report

              • Avatar DavidTC says:

                Oh, and I sorta assume that the Netflix model of ‘a bunch of shows for a single subscription’ and whatnot will continue to exist, but they will mostly be for *older* shows. (People sorta forget we already invented TV distribution and perhaps shouldn’t forget how ‘syndication’ works.)

                And I suspect, instead of microtransactions for each show (Which would make consumers hesitant.), people would get some sort of monthly subscription of credits or something. It might even look *like* current Netflix in that most of that is hidden, and you only get a notice if you’ve come close to your limit. Perhaps there are indicators next to each show ‘Free’, ‘1 credit’, ‘3 credit’, etc. (And I can see random episodes being given out for free to get new viewers.)

                But the key difference between this and now is that *currently* Netflix has negotiated ‘broadcast’ rights to a TV series, and is distributing it without any other royalties back to the content owner. (As far as anyone knows. That all is all extremely secret.)

                Whereas the people specifically producing new content are going to balk at taking that deal, as means their earning are unmoored from how good it is. And Netflix won’t want to pay someone a flat rate to have the ability to show a completely untested show either!

                The *new* model will be Netflix (Or whoever) taking a percentage, and the rest going to the owner. And it will be without any sort of exclusivity.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                Do I even want to know how much porn Netflix has commissioned???
                … probably not, actually.Report

              • Avatar El Muneco says:

                Commissioning porn kept Cinemax alive for a decade when Showtime and HBO had beaten it dead to rights at its primary mission.

                Anyway, there have been successful subscription-based services delivering minimally-exploitative guaranteed-legal porn for a while now. I can think of one that’s going to be celebrating its 20th anniversary later this year. When the online store no longer considers it a priority to mention the price of the DVD, you know the business model has changed…Report

      • Avatar El Muneco says:

        On the flip side, how often do you find something – for current examples, the “Shannara” miniseries on MTV or Craig Ferguson’s new show on the Hitler Channel – on a channel that you wouldn’t have subscribed to if it was a la carte?

        In fact, I suspect that some of the channels have negative actual cost to the consumer – the cost of production is fully paid by Mesothelioma(*) lawyers and the people who make Snuggies – so they can be thrown in for “free”.

        (*) What demonic influence made the spell checker learn that word?Report

        • Wait, “Shannara”? As in Terry Brooks “Sword of Shannara?” You would have to pay me to watch that. I shudder even at the idea of having it available, so I am happy that I dropped my cable package last year.Report

          • Avatar Glyph says:

            The show is supposed to be awful, and “Sword” was Tolkien plagiarism of the hackiest order, but “Elfstones” and “Wishsong” weren’t half-bad.Report

            • I read “Sword” in my impressionable youth, while in the full throes of Tolkien adulation. It was such egregious fourth-rate hackwork that I swore never to read anything else by Brooks, or to the extent possible to financially support him no matter how trivially or indirectly. I have had various people tell me that his later books are better, but I will not be forsworn in this. I no longer hold to many of the ideals of my youth, but one must draw the line somewhere. I am happy that I am not paying a cable provider, some fraction of my subscription going to MTV, and some fraction of that going to Brooks for the rights.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine says:

                Same here, even as a child I had two overwhelming reactions, 1) This is shitty Tolkien, a 2) can this be legal?Report

              • Avatar Glyph says:

                Yep, same here…and at an age when you wouldn’t expect me to be particularly observant nor discriminating.

                But like I said, the next book was actually quite neat I thought, and the third wasn’t bad (never went beyond those).Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                And still not the worst sf/fantasy writer.
                That title goes to the idiot who decided to plagiarize from a blatant parody of his own work.Report

              • I would have a hard time deciding who was the worst sf/fantasy writer, even if I restricted the discussion to writers I have read and who commanded enough of my attention for me to remember them.

                I am curious who you have in mind. I’m not familiar with the incident you describe.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                I’m talking about the guy who gets confused with the dwarf (little person, whatever — if they’re not from scandinavia, you don’t call them dwarves??). [The little person was quite nice about the whole incident, fwiw.]
                Of course, you’re not familiar with the incident described, you’d have to know someone willing to write a novel-length over-the-top parody, and then send it to the bastard.Report

          • Avatar James K says:


            The series is based on Elfstones, not the Sword of Shannara. It’s OK, but nothing special.Report

          • Avatar El Muneco says:

            You gotta realize, I’m the guy who has been known to watch softcore porn and fast-forward through the sex scenes.

            The “Shannara” miniseries is gloriously, magnificently horrible.

            It’s like a Xena episode, only if they took the Greek gods totally seriously rather than being campily creative. The production values are similar, though – probably since they spent most of their money on makeup for the big baddie who appears for an average of less than five minutes per hour.

            The lead actress has a dramatic range that ranges from “quizzical” to “worried”, usually settling on “mildly surprised” even if that’s inappropriate for the scene. The guy who plays “12-step program” the druid is handicapped by having a voice that sounds like he’s trying for Sean Connery even if he isn’t. And the king was played by a guy doing a bad John Rhys-Davies impression – made worse by the fact that it actually was John Rhys-Davies.

            And the source material, is, as you say, risible. A Tolkien hack job made non-actionable by one thoroughly obvious and painfully cliched twist in world-building. And Brooks is possibly the only author around worse at naming characters than George Lucas.

            I wouldn’t miss an episode. I do DVR it to save it for nights when I’ve had something to drink first, though.Report

        • Avatar Alan Scott says:

          Shannara series is an interesting egg.

          It’s apparently bad, but not in any way for the reasons that the books were bad.

          Seems like MTV wanted to to a YA fantasy show and then looked around to see what properties could be had for cheap. The final product is apparently a lot more Hunger-Games ripoff than Tolkien ripoff.Report

          • The “I Robot” phenomenon. I wonder how much it is worth to buy a name like that to attach to your project. Are they counting on legions of Brooks fans to flock to the show?Report

            • Avatar Glyph says:

              When it comes to that Lucifer monstrosity (purportedly based on Gaiman/Carey comics), they changed the whole concept so much I don’t know why they bothered at all.

              Lucifer HIMSELF is the most public of public domain characters, I’d imagine; if you wanted to make the show you made, why pay Gaiman/Carey/DC anything at all, just to end up with annoyed comic fans complaining?Report

              • Avatar North says:

                Because to complain they first have to go see; and they always go see. Buy the IP, attach it to the project then you have a small guaranteed audience. Coke Encrusted Hollywood Exec told me that one once over a three martini lunch.Report

              • Avatar Zac says:

                That is definitely not true: myself and several of my friends are huge fans of the comic, and to a man and woman have refused to watch the show, because it looks like a fishing travesty.Report

              • Avatar Alan Scott says:

                I suspect that Lucifer is a different story: Something that started as a good pitch and got ripped to shreds by the development process.Report

              • Avatar PD Shaw says:

                I watched the first of Lucifer, and wondered why they were remaking the Constantine TV series that had just been cancelled? (In particular both insert an african-american angel to serve the same function)Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        Yeah, pretty much agree here. We’ll find that instead of paying $130 for 300 channels, optimistically we’ll be paying $110 for 30. More pessimistically, it’ll be the end of the Golden Age of Television as we know it as networks no longer have the breathing room to experiment.

        As an aside, the cable companies themselves are not the reason that bundling persists. Many have wanted to offer it. It’s the networks themselves because ABC can leverage ESPN to foist Disney Kids on consumers.Report

        • Avatar dragonfrog says:

          Still: Prediction is too small. The idea of a “channel” that broadcasts shows at times of its, not your, choosing, will be a thing of nostalgia shortly.

          If you remove the time based broadcast element, so that Netflix or Hulu qualify as “channels” then sure, I’m paying for access to everything Netflix has and am not interested in 99+ % of it. So that remains in effect.Report

          • Avatar DavidTC says:

            The idea of a “channel” that broadcasts shows at times of its, not your, choosing, will be a thing of nostalgia shortly.

            Yeah, I’ve been reading this thread with bafflement. I feel like doing the (speaking of him) Craig Ferguson joke ‘To explain for our younger viewers, a cable channel is like Netflix, except someone else is deciding what you can see, and if you miss it, you can’t see it again.’.

            How we purchase cable channels is not going to be subject to ridicule in the future, anymore than we often joke about you used to have to buy buggy whips in packs of 4 but buggies only had places to hold two of them.

            In the future, you will buy access to online TV shows. It might be some sort of bucket like Netflix or Hulu, or it might be individual subscriptions to TV shows.

            About ten years ago, I was convinced we were going to see some sort of advance-DVD-buying. Buy the stream of a season in advance, you get the season to stream as it comes out, and you get mailed the DVD at the end. That…isn’t going to happen, if only because no one cares about DVDs anymore.

            I still don’t think the Netflix model is the best one. I keep wondering where the original content that *isn’t* created by the site itself is going to end up. I feel like there needs to be some middle ground between House of Cards and cracked.com’s videos on Youtube.

            And I really think it will happen, and that some point TV pilots won’t get ‘picked up by studios’, they will get *investors*, willing to pay to make the show. And they will make it and see what people will buy it. What site it ends up is not important, or maybe it’s literally on all of them. Some sites have the first episode for free, some throw it into a vague basket and let people buy it with a bunch of other stuff, whatever. And perhaps you can also buy episodes direct from their site.

            Basically, TV is going to end up working like music. It sorta already is.Report

            • Avatar Kim says:

              gog.com has the gamers, which is videotaped “television or movie” done by a bunch of freelance actors. It’s hilarious reenactments of decent gaming groups.
              (that and some quality trolling).Report

          • Avatar Will Truman says:

            Sort of? I don’t know what the future holds for cable itself. We (at least in the US) are still in an age of less-reliably fast Internet with bandwidth limits, which may be the case for some time to come and which cable/satellite completely sidesteps.

            Be that as it may, the point stands regardless and does apply, as you suggest, to paying Netflix. Netflix qualifies as a “bundle” as we’re talking about non-trivial expenses for a lot of content so that people may consume the fraction of it that they are interested in. If cable does go under, people who want to watch their favorite shows are likely to be paying several services a considerable amount of money to be able to continue to do so because they want this show on Netflix, this other show on Prime, and this show on Hulu.

            Or put another way, these shows cost a lot of money to make. If we want to make them, we’re going to have to pay for them. Right now, these payments are dispersed so that I am paying for Home & Garden Network despite a complete lack of interest while someone else is paying for Nickelodeon despite their lack of interest. If I don’t have to pay for H&G, the cost to them goes up. If they don’t pay for Nick, then I have to pay more.

            This applies whether we’re talking about unbundling, streaming, or whatever else.Report

        • Avatar KatherineMW says:

          So it’s “breathing room to experiment” that has brought us umpteen CSIs and NCISs? And that has turned the Discovery Channel into crap and the History Channel into nothing but WWII and Ancient Aliens and sensationalism?

          Some of Netflix’s original shows (e.g., Jessica Jones) have been better than pretty well anything I’ve seen on the regular TV stations, so I’m not sure that moving away from conventional cable packages will bring a precipitous decline in quality.Report

          • Avatar Mo says:

            The CSIs and NCISs get the ratings. If anything, there will be more of it. You know how movies are largely reboots, franchises and sequels because they’re safe? TV will become more like that.Report

            • Avatar KatherineMW says:

              TV ratings are weirdly specific and don’t reflect actual viewership (they value young men more than other viewers, and don’t count people who watch the show online after the night when it airs), so I wouldn’t put a ton of stock in them.Report

          • Avatar Kim says:

            reality tv, actually. cheap as hell, and easy to make.Report

          • Avatar Will Truman says:

            You’re missing a lot of good television on cable! The TV networks have become more conservative and franchise/reality programming is the result. Cable, though, has tons and tons of good programing, and enough so that they can keep them going with more limited viewership. Not as much is riding on every individual decision.Report

            • Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

              I agree with Will on the quality of cable programming. There are some really excellent shows out there. With that said, Hulu’s paid membership gets you access to most of those. Add on Netflix for its offerings, Amazon Prime gets you access to premium channels and then Sling for sports. All of that together is still cheaper than most cable bundles.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                My assumption is that they can license that stuff relatively cheaply precisely because they’re getting that money from the cable/satellite providers. If cable and satellite tumble, they’ll need to charge more or reduce programming expenses.Report

          • Avatar Alan Scott says:

            I think we’re severely overstating the danger of a million CSIs.

            Doesn’t much matter that they get great ratings, because those ratings are being driven by casual consumers. When the question is “which of five or ten shows do you want to watch when you sit down in front of a TV on tuesday night?” casual is going to win over shows with small but dedicated followings.

            When the question is “Which show are you willing to pay $10 to watch?” the calculus changes immensely. That’s why premium cable shows look like premium cable shows and not network TV shows.

            What we’re going to see is:
            *Less casual watching of TV, especially as millenials age into the core casual demographic. People sitting down to watch sitcoms and police procedurals will be replaced by people sitting down to watch something on youtube.
            *More shows that are simultaneously safe bets and golden-age-of-tv examples. For example, shows that are based of of existing properties in other media or foreign-market shows that are made with the intent of capturing most of their viewers from people unfamiliar with the original works (See: Game of Thrones, House of Cards, Jessica Jones). Also, shows that rely on strong branding and established creators to get off the ground, even tie-ins to existing shows (Better Call Saul, American Crime Story).
            *Short seasons and half-seasons, and more bottle episodes. Especially among the critic’s darling sitcom genre, (which will stick around as the short season makes the budget cheaper and also lets actors do these shows as a “B-side” to their primary show or a movie career.
            *With bundled cable dying, we’re going to find out whether everyone else was subsidizing sports fans or sports fans were subsidizing everyone else. Not sure which way that will swing.Report

            • Agreed. The CSI genre has no hold on me, but I have a weakness for old-style sitcoms. I am currently working my way through The Mindy Project on Hulu. Were it taken away, I would feel mild reject for a few moments then go find another one to watch instead. I pay for Hulu, but this show isn’t why. There is more casually watchable programming currently available than I expect to watch in my entire lifetime, most of it available for free or very modest cost. This is an entirely different discussion from that of individual shows I want to watch enough to induce me to pay for them.Report

            • Avatar KatherineMW says:

              Doesn’t much matter that they get great ratings, because those ratings are being driven by casual consumers. When the question is “which of five or ten shows do you want to watch when you sit down in front of a TV on tuesday night?” casual is going to win over shows with small but dedicated followings. When the question is “Which show are you willing to pay $10 to watch?” the calculus changes immensely. That’s why premium cable shows look like premium cable shows and not network TV shows.

              I think you’re precisely right about this.Report

          • Avatar James K says:


            I agree, if anything the revenue model of subscriber TV offers better incentives for experimentation than the revenue model for broadcast TV.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          I know people who pay $110 for 4-5.

          Back before we finally said “WHAT ARE WE DOING???” We were paying $60ish for 2-3 (and the ability to spend $50 on a PPV).Report

        • it’ll be the end of the Golden Age of Television as we know it as networks no longer have the breathing room to experiment.

          This is non-obvious to me. The new Golden Age really kicked in when HBO came up with a business model that monetized buzz rather than eyeballs. Netflix has the same model, hence their refusal to tell us how many people are actually watching House of Cards.Report

          • Avatar Kim says:

            Netflix seems like they’ll greenlight anything.
            This has been noted by the guy who came up with “Here comes honey boo boo”
            … yes, you should be worried.Report

          • Avatar Will Truman says:

            HBO had a lot to fall back on when they entered the fray. As did the cable networks that followed suit. I’d argue that the cable networks played a bigger role once premium kicked everything off.

            And House of Cards was less risky than it is sometimes made out to be. It had a familiar name (to a lot of people) and a movie star backing it.

            Which is not to say that I’m not wrong. I might be. But it’s movement away from the financial formula that produced what we now have.Report

            • Avatar Kim says:

              Gortimer Gibbons was a lot more risky. I mean, it even has animation (and when I say animation, I mean they got every single big name in animation to do an episode).Report

  7. Avatar Francis says:

    Burning coal for heat and hydrocarbons for fuel, once alternatives were available (as they are today).

    Women as second-class citizens anywhere in the world.

    Healthcare not being virtually 100% govt financed / govt backed.

    Solo commuting in anything other than a single passenger vehicle.



    Separate bedrooms for small children? Marriage? Taboos against incest? Single-sex bathrooms? Radically different notions of what ‘privacy’ means?Report

    • Avatar Kim says:

      “Taboos against incest?”
      … nope, that one’s staying. Taboos in general change very, very slowly — and this one has a fundamental fairness issue attached. If daddy decides he wants to sleep with his daughter, he has a lot of cards that she doesn’t (and knowledge, etc). Ditto with mommy and her son.

      Of course, just because it’s taboo doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.Report

    • Avatar Alan Scott says:

      Um, What?

      Taboos against incest are the strongest and most permanent taboos human culture has.

      The specifics of what counts as “incest” change a bit, since the biology of reverse sexual imprinting is down to childhood proximity and not actual blood relationship… but I don’t see anything about current changes in family structure that’s going to support a weakening of that taboo in the next few generations. If anything, it gets stronger.Report

      • Taboos against incest are the strongest and most permanent taboos human culture has.

        Unless you’re European royalty.Report

        • Avatar Alan Scott says:

          Again, it’s down to the Westermarck effect.

          It’s not about who you are blood related too. It’s about who you grow up knowing. So if you are cared for by a bunch of servants and never see your cousins or brothers until you’re a teenager, your brain isn’t primed to think of a relationship with them as incest.

          That’s why I think it’s silly to believe incest taboos will go away soon: I think more people closely know their cousins today that knew them 50 years ago.Report

  8. Avatar Will Truman says:

    I think cubicles, juice, and tackle football will be with us for some time.

    I think we will continue to eat meat and treat animals poorly until synthetic meat becomes viable and affordable, then everyone will suddenly be horrified.

    Cable bundling will probably go away, though I’m not sure that will be a good thing. I’m relatively sure it will not be nearly as good a thing as people think it will be.Report

    • Avatar greginak says:

      I think as more things can be replicated or have artificial versions, having a “real” thing ( meat, sex, whatever) will be more and more valued. I think that it part of the desire for authenticity among many people. When so much is sales pitch or marketing babble or a factory creation people value it less and distrust it more.Report

  9. Avatar KatherineMW says:

    My workplace moved towards open-plan just before I got there. I like it a lot (easier to talk and interact with colleagues, feel less boxed in), but people who are used to cubicles miss the privacy and relative quiet created by more isolated workplaces and say the change makes it hard to concentrate.Report

  10. Avatar Jaybird says:

    I’m surprised that we’re still outsourcing more often than homesourcing.

    I suppose I know that *I* can’t do my job without being on site where I can put my hands on a crash cart or whatever, but god only knows why the managers who spend 6-7 hours a day in a meeting can’t do that sort of thing via Skype.

    The future will have people expressing surprise that people commuted in order to sit in a room and discuss a powerpoint being projected on the wall.Report

  11. Avatar j r says:

    Working in cubicles – “In 20 years we’ll laugh at the idea that work could only be accomplished in a cubicle after a soul-crushing commute and aggressively terrible break-room coffee.” – Jon Acuff

    This is a weird one, because we are already here. In fact, there has never actually been a time when “we” held the idea that “work could only be accomplished in cubicle after a soul-crushing commute…” You have to put a whole bunch of qualifiers in front of the word “we” before this becomes even remotely true.

    She says it’s absurd that families are replacing soda with juice because it’s just as bad. She says that right now cutting juice is “the most important single thing you can do to prevent childhood obesity.”

    What? That is almost certainly a spurious claim.

    I am sensing a pattern here.Report

  12. Avatar Kazzy says:

    Not sure if someone said it, but I think my kids will probably (and their kids will definitely) look at a lot of environmental issues differently. They’ll see gasoline-powered cars and the endless packaging of foods and other products as real moral blindspots. The only thing that might offset this would be dramatic improvements in waste management/recycling.

    I think food production — including meat — will share a similar fate.

    Basically, anything that the rich (be they individuals or whole nations) can adopt will suddenly become “The Only Moral Way To Do It”. We already see this happening now but I think it will be exacerbated. The issue will be, on the one hand, they will probably be right about much of it. But on the other, they’ll be turning the lesser off into moral monsters for the very practices that helped enrich the elite to begin with.

    Funny how that works.Report

    • Avatar James K says:


      Given your prediction has historical precedent, I’d say you’re on firm ground.Report

    • Avatar Kolohe says:

      the gasoline power car thing I see – we’re already at the point of being perplexed that we ever dumped massive amounts of lead in the air.

      The flip side of ‘excessive’ packaging of food is a lot less food spoilage – and food waste – and a whole lot *more* food safety.

      Yes, a flaw in the (mass) production process can lead to widespread contamination, but in a distributed production network, you got to count on *everyone* practicing good sanitation practices – not just the people at the point of production.Report

      • Avatar DensityDuck says:

        “we’re already at the point of being perplexed that we ever dumped massive amounts of lead in the air.”

        Not really; at the time it was simply not well understood that lead exposure could be hazardous at the amounts that automobile exhaust would put into the environment. And lead definitely solved a problem that automobile engines were having (fatigue due to parts wearing against one another).

        When people realized that lead was a bigger problem at lower levels than anyone had imagined, they took the lead out. The engine wear issue was resolved by improving manufacturing tolerances so that parts didn’t bump into each other (which made the engines quite a bit more expensive than they had been).Report

        • And lead definitely solved a problem that automobile engines were having (fatigue due to parts wearing against one another).

          Tetraethhyl lead was also used to raise the octane level of gasoline, that is, to allow it to work at higher compression levels. There were alternatives, but they were more expensive.

          When people realized that lead was a bigger problem at lower levels than anyone had imagined, they took the lead out.

          That is, laws were passed, with the oil industry screaming the whole way.Report

  13. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    Voter registration and in-person voting. “Holy crap! How did you ever have democracy that way, grandpa?”Report

    • Avatar Michael Cain says:

      In-person voting, at least in the western states, definitely. We’re what, ten years from near universal vote-by-mail in the West? Back East, I’m not so sure. I seem to have an awful lot of eastern acquaintances who oppose vote-by-mail strongly because they’re absolutely positively sure that there will be enormous fraud (and Colorado, Oregon, and Washington would find it if they weren’t completely incompetent). I’m more pessimistic about online voting after the last couple of weeks, since it appears that there’s more resistance to strong encryption than I thought.

      States without citizen ballot initiatives. “How did you keep your legislators in line if you couldn’t put measures they refused to address on the ballot?”Report

      • Avatar KatherineMW says:

        I’m skeptical of this because trends seem to point to mail becoming obsolete in the next few decades (aside from shipping packages.

        Online voting would be more in line with social trends, but I can’t imagine any way of doing it that would be remotely secure.Report

        • Avatar Michael Cain says:

          The entire legal system grinds to a halt without a way to deliver documents and authenticated signatures to essentially anyone, anywhere. If online systems can’t deliver that, then paper mail will survive.Report

          • Avatar James K says:


            There’s a difference between document delivery and “the mail”. If moving physical documents becomes sufficiently niche that only lawyers need to do it, it makes little sense to maintain the massive infrastructure and workforce of a Post Office just for that purpose.Report

            • Do legal documents get sent use the Post Office much, as opposed to messengers and private delivery services like FedEx? (Real question: I have no idea.)Report

              • Avatar Kolohe says:

                My parents’s estate stuff was post office, but also with added services, like registered or certified mail and delivery receipt confirmation. (and the only way to get stuff to Canada with a sig at their end was usps express mail)Report

              • Avatar PD Shaw says:

                Part of it has to do with lay-people complying with the law, or lawyers trying to communicate with lay people. Increasingly in litigation, lawyers file on-line, but there remains a need to keep non-lawyers in mind)

                Another part of it is that the postal service possesses greater reliability from a legal perspective. What that means is that there are court decisions which conclude that giving a package to FedEx can be inexcusably late when it would have been timely if it had been put in a US post office-box on the same day. The justification is that the delivery business is unregulated and no different than giving a document to your cousin Vinnie to deliver. It’s not a completed transaction and lacks the protection of the criminal justice system.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                That is an interesting point, @pd-shaw .

                If I mail something via the post office, who has legal liability for it?
                If I mail something via a private courier, what then?

                Imagine, if you will, that I send a brick of weed via FedEx. If the FedEx guy gets pulled over and they find it, is he guilty of possession? @burt-likko might be a better person to ask (I don’t know if you’re a lawyer PD).Report

              • Avatar PD Shaw says:

                The issue, otherwise known as the mailbox rule, is that it is convenient to have deadlines run from a clear date of performance. You put something in the mailbox by the deadline, and you’ve done all you can do. Any intervening act is a felony which you cannot be responsible for. It’s simple for the government to check the postmark to see that it was mailed on time.

                BTW/ Last I looked FedEx doesn’t fully guarantee that its packages will be delivered on time, they just offer a refund if it doesn’t.Report

              • Avatar Burt Likko says:

                Yes. Post office gets used a lot.Report

              • Avatar Michael Cain says:

                Dude, what are you doing up and answering questions at that hour?Report

            • Avatar Michael Cain says:

              I wasn’t clear enough as I meant “legal system” broadly to cover documents that have, or may have, legal standing. I seem to have to deal fairly routinely with “sign and return” things, including ballots. We have most of the basic tools to handle it — crypto hash functions that make it really likely that the pile of bits you received is the same pile I sent, public/private key strong encryption. Trusted applications at each end, not so much. Trusted OS at each end, really not so much. How many processes are running on the device where you will receive and store such a document? How many of those do you know what they’re doing? Is the storage as reliable as the filing cabinet for paper in my office?Report

      • Avatar El Muneco says:

        Not to step into Kim’s bailiwick, but shouldn’t they be looking to voting machines first where fraud is concerned? Where there is not only method, motive, and opportunity to commit fraud, a technological solution to the problem of possible smoking guns, and no technological solution to remedying any of the above?Report

      • Avatar DensityDuck says:

        “States without citizen ballot initiatives. “How did you keep your legislators in line if you couldn’t put measures they refused to address on the ballot?””

        it’s interesting that nobody really addressed this. Although I think that, given the way the Court found a reason to drop the Proposition 8 case, the answer is that citizen ballot initiatives are considered garbage governance that shouldn’t be permitted.Report

        • Right, it’s not like laws passed by legislatures are ever found unconstitutional, or like the single most important tax law passed in California in the last 50 years wasn’t Prop 13.Report

          • Avatar Michael Cain says:

            Similarly, Colorado’s conservative TABOR amendment limiting government taxes and revenues without voter approval of increases is easily the most important tax policy ever passed here. On the liberal side over the last 15 years, renewable energy mandates and legalized marijuana — the legislature had basically said, “We’re not willing to touch those.”Report

          • Avatar DensityDuck says:

            Not sure where you’re going with that, because Prop 13 is pretty universally condemned as awful.

            The whole proposition system is regularly held up as an example of how California voters keep voting to give themselves things without paying for them. I’m really not sure why you’re suddenly defending it other than “DensityDuck posted so Mike Schilling has to disagree”.Report

  14. Avatar Damon says:

    Non metal backed “money”.
    Fractional reserve banking.
    “Representative gov’t”

  15. “Really, Grandpa, people used to take Ayn Rand seriously?”Report

    • Avatar j r says:

      What’s funny is that there are basically two groups of people who take Ayn Rand seriously: actual Objectivists and left-leaning people who want to use Rand as an all-purpose foil to anything remotely libertarian-ish.

      The latter group is much larger than the former.Report

      • Avatar greginak says:

        fwiw. I believe Paul Ryan, actual influential and high ranking congressman, loves him some ayn and gives out her books to be read by staffers. She has quite a bit of cachet among some on the right in think tanks and gov. They may not have clue about what she thinks or ignore all the stuff they don’t like, but she is influential. Sad but true.Report

        • Avatar j r says:

          Rand has cachet among the right, because she was a full-throated supporter of capitalism. So yes, there is lots of overlap there, but taking Rand seriously requires a whole lot more than just a fondness for free market economics. Economics is only a small part of Objectivism.

          Here is what Ryan has said about Rand:

          “This is why I’m not an objectivist. This is why I disagree with her philosophy. But I think her novels are great.”

          Calling Paul Ryan an Rand devotee or an Objectivist because he agrees with the economic points made in Atlas Shrugged has about as much validity as calling Bernie Sanders a Marxist, because he supports a social democratic welfare state.

          As for the point of my comment, find the number of times that Ryan used Rand to make a policy point and then compare it to the number of times that left-leaning publications and pundits tried to use the Rand thing to criticize Ryan. Dollars to donuts the latter is larger than the former.Report

          • Avatar greginak says:

            Not saying Ryan has a hidden Rand shrine in his closet. He modified his public statements about Rand though after he got to be a big name. He backed off his public fondness for her. Whatever, who enjoys her books if it isn’t for her philosophy? Does anybody read her for fun? And maybe he does have a private pic of her in his wallet.Report

        • From Wikipedia:

          [Alan Greenspan] became one of the members of Rand’s inner circle, the Ayn Rand Collective, who read Atlas Shrugged while it was being written. During the 1950s and 1960s Greenspan was a proponent of Objectivism, writing articles for Objectivist newsletters and contributing several essays for Rand’s 1966 book Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal including an essay supporting the gold standard.[56][57] Rand stood beside him at his 1974 swearing-in as Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers. Greenspan and Rand remained friends until her death in 1982.

          Good thing he never had any real influence.Report

          • Avatar greginak says:

            Well yeah…i’m sure HE had a life sized animatronic model of rand in his secret closet.Report

          • Avatar Kolohe says:

            Did Maestro Alan actually do his job in a way that displayed an affinity for goldbuggery or an aversion to central planning?

            He’s the very example of the guy you put on a Twitter speech police board that doesn’t believe in any restrictions on free speech – and winds up working within the established parameters of the system anyway.Report

            • Avatar Kim says:

              Yes, yes and yes. Here, lets throw free money at people,and assume that nothing BAD will happen!!!Report

              • Avatar Kolohe says:

                Is ‘throwing free money at people’ anything close to what Rand said or believed? Isn’t it the complete opposite of what she stood for?Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                No, not at all. She believed in the free market’s ability to regulate itself, which is what Greenspan looked towards as he allowed derivatives to spiral out of control (and CDOs, and the LIARs and NINJAs…).Report

              • Avatar Kolohe says:

                which is not at all the same thing as ‘throwing free money at people’.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                That, in particular, is known as “holding the interest rate too low for too long a time, as bubbles start to form in the economy” The FED is supposed to make sure we keep a decent growth rate, and don’t artificially inflate major markets like housing. Because when bubbles happen, the economy as a whole gets hurt.

                And housing bubbles tend to lose countries an entire decade or so.Report

      • Avatar Zac says:

        Given how much damage just one of the former managed to do as Fed Chair, I’ll take my chances with the latter.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        It’s been my experience that a lot of libertarians began by really liking Rand, and later soured on her to some degree, though many retain some affection for some of her ideas. I believe OT alum Jason K. is such a libertarian, and I don’t think he’s all that unorthodox in either his libertarianism or his path to it.

        That said, the only people I’ve ever met who were hardcore Randheads were Objectivists who talked nothing but trash about “libertarians.”Report

        • Thee are also libertarianish posters still at OT who have expressed admiration for Rand’s screeds, if not for full-throated Objectivism. It doesn’t bother me; it’s like SF fans I know who, even though well above the age of 12, sill love Doc Smith’s Lensmen books.Report

          • Avatar Chris says:

            I just assume that if you’re a fan of Rand’s fiction, you probably haven’t read any good books, and I should therefore recommend dozens.Report

  16. Avatar DensityDuck says:

    Failure to institutionalize the mentally ill or hopelessly substance-addicted.
    Human control of vehicles.
    Windows. (as in, instead of a glass window looking out of your room, you’ll have an ultra-HD TV that can display any environment you choose, and computer-controlled LED lighting that varies in color and intensity to match.)Report