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Messages - AgelessDrifter

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General Discussion / Re: GOP Healthcare details are coming out.
« on: March 13, 2017, 04:33:46 PM »
I eat this shit like 5 nights a week

p sure you can live fairly healthy on a diet of just water and sweet potatoes

General Discussion / Re: GOP Healthcare details are coming out.
« on: March 13, 2017, 02:21:09 PM »
Sweet potatoes are the fucking truth, what is wrong with you heathens

Spamalot / Re: torrents
« on: March 13, 2017, 02:27:07 AM »
I still need to know where to torrent music

General Discussion / Re: GOP Healthcare details are coming out.
« on: March 12, 2017, 02:37:57 PM »
You bite your fucking tongue sir

General Discussion / Re: we're officially in the future pals
« on: March 11, 2017, 04:50:20 PM »
Well, fighter jets can fly for hours. There has to be some size vs. MPG equation involved here, but probably also refinement of tech. I wonder if you could get winged jet bikes to like 1 hour if you threw enough money at it. It could have reasonable range and be a viable commuting vehicle if you get it through regulations.

Yeah but I don't think they can hover motionless for hours without utilizing lift generated by really fast forward motion. You could get that going on this thing, too, I gues, but then we're pretty much talking about a totally different sort of device

My Daughter attends a public Montessori via a magnet school lottery option.    The local public school in my district is now 60% or more Hispanic and huge percentages of elementary school students that can't speak English.  Many of which have had very traumatic things happen to them and pose a discipline problem.  All the white and a large percentage of the blacks in our area with even middle class incomes are sending their children to private schools.  We have Catholic private school that scores better that is as low as $6800 a year and you dont have to be Catholic but I'm sure they hear about it.  Then there is schools in the 20k-30k bracket, and then the richest kids go to one that is more like $40-$50k. In our local public school now we need like one teacher per 7 kids or something for that population.  In our area if we had not gotten her into the lottery, we would have spent 15k a year for a private Montessori that is rated higher then the public one(which is good) down the way and a voucher would have been a big help to our 2 worker middle class life style with a family of four.   I have known several kids now that are simular to my children and they have not fared well in the predominately Hispanic public schools and black ones in the past.  My neighbor is also one of the teachers at that elementary school.

Everyone who can even marginally afford to has fled the brown people and the public school is now full of people from lower socio-economic backgrounds with the baggage that statistically brings, you say?

Almost like putting primary education on the free market has downsides.

Really makes you think.

General Discussion / Re: we're officially in the future pals
« on: March 10, 2017, 04:53:34 PM »
I did not expect to be impressed by the link but actually I am pretty impressed by the link

3 minutes is really short, though. I'm amazed they can make it last that long at that size, but I wonder how much longer they can possibly keep it going.

Which step is "ask a question and ten shout I DON'T KNOW WHY YOU WON'T JUST ANSWER THE QUESTION" over the other speaker whenever they start to answer?

Synth's Book Club / Re: 1984
« on: March 09, 2017, 04:28:08 PM »
Did you start Foundation and end up grated upon or was the decision spontaneous

Spamalot / Re: Atari Jaguar "The Cave" infomercial
« on: March 09, 2017, 12:22:44 AM »
You'd think Bob was the product the number of times they say his name every minute.

Ben Carson has proven himself to be an absurd moron enough times that he doesn't deserve the benefit of the doubt. Whatever he meant to say about slavery he was clearly justifying horseshit bootstrappism to begin with, and the thing about Obamacare being slavery is pretty hard to justify

General Discussion / Re: Shoe thread (S.O.S. Nadanson plz halp)
« on: March 09, 2017, 12:09:11 AM »
I am one of those 40 year olds who look the same as their 20 year old self.  I found levis, a shirt and some converse and I stopped looking.

This, except the converse. My boots look different from when I was 20 and my clothes fit a little better because I'm in much better shape than at 20, but it's still mostly just solid colored shirts (a plaid here or there for hipster cred), bluejeans and the same pair of boots every day for me.

General Discussion / Re: GOP Healthcare details are coming out.
« on: March 09, 2017, 12:02:53 AM »
According to a recent nyt article, colorectal cancer has increased in people under fifty by 3%/year for long enough that it's effectively quadrupled. That's despite a 3%/year *decrease* in the overall population due to medical advances (early identification, polyp removal). That's in large part because doctors have to weigh the comparatively low chance of cancer in under-fifties vs the exorbitant cost of a screening. So by the time a young person gets a screening it's often because they visited the doctor enough times, got enough tests, and ruled enough other shit out to get the nod for a screening. Which is also expensive.

I had assumed that colonoscopies were largely expensive because of the need to compensate the doctors, but based on what San said in this thread it kinda sounds like the doctors are paid so much because they give so many expensive procedures and therefor bring in a lot of revenue for the clinics? So what's the nature of the expense to begin with?

Synth's Book Club / Re: 1984
« on: March 08, 2017, 09:52:27 AM »
Oh. Yeah you should plow on, dude.

General Discussion / Re: This board sucks v 5.123(random bullshit)
« on: March 08, 2017, 01:39:54 AM »
meanwhile, in Brazil

Synth's Book Club / Re: 1984
« on: March 08, 2017, 01:18:04 AM »
just the stuff i mentioned above; it feels as if it's written for a much younger audience, and not in a good way

i will probably return to 1984 eventually just to finish it up and see if im missin out on something gr8, but it wasnt really holding my attention at all, and neuromancer had stolen me from the cancer book + i was eager to get back to it

No I mean what part of the book were you in--what was actually occurring in the story.

I dunno if it'll bother you (since you are able to enjoy Big Bang theory anything is possible) but the core story element of Foundation is that human behavior, viewed broadly, is governed by universal laws that can be used to make really specific predictions now and then. It's hard to suspend belief for.

I also had some complaints about the narrative structure of the book, now-definitely-impossible science fiction conceits aside, but I'd have to spoil the plot to talk about them.

General Discussion / Re: GOP Healthcare details are coming out.
« on: March 08, 2017, 01:02:12 AM »
which is not to say that it's not unfortunate that those people who are neither comfortably wealthy enough not to feel the burden of increased health insurance costs nor so poor as to be completely unable to afford it to begin with are negatively affected by the cost of uninsured people going to ER

but while that is genuinely unfortunate, I am less concerned about the monetary strain on all those people than I am about the single parent working two full time jobs who can't afford to get treatment for all the heart problems stemming from the stress of it being able to at least get seen in the ER when his high blood pressure finally causes a stroke.

General Discussion / Re: GOP Healthcare details are coming out.
« on: March 08, 2017, 12:53:06 AM »
Which is not so much to sing the praise of Obamacare--which still fucks over a lot of people who make just enough money to be able to afford a plan but not enough to actually be able to cover the deductibles should they ever have to actually use it, etc--but just to point out that "fine with either" is kind of a preposterous stance.

General Discussion / Re: GOP Healthcare details are coming out.
« on: March 08, 2017, 12:49:05 AM »
HEre is my point :

If you want universal single payer - I'm fine with that.

If you want every person to take care of their own needs I'm fine with that.

In the latter case, if someone decides they don't want health insurance, then don't make me pay for it because  prior to the ACA, people could game the system by using the ER for health care and pass the cost on to people who do choose to be responsible. THe ACA individual mandate tried to correct this by forcing people who would rather use the ER as their primary care to chip in at least something. If Trumpcare removes the individual mandate then we should repeal the part of the healthcare law that forces ERs to become a place where non-payers can still get care subsidized by people who are responsible and buy insurance.

A lot of people working full time and then some can barely afford to both pay rent and eat reliably. Failing to have health insurance is not a personal choice for them to take responsibility for--it literally isn't a choice. Or wasn't, before Obamacare.

Synth's Book Club / Re: 1984
« on: March 06, 2017, 10:28:04 PM »
Foundation was ok but I have a suspicion it may grate on you.

What was going on in 1984 when you stopped reading?

General Discussion / Re: Logan
« on: March 05, 2017, 03:08:16 PM »
Damn, gonna have to go see this based on rave reviews I'm seeing here and elsewhere.

Is it going to matter that I've seen like 1/3 of all X-Men movies up to this point? I saw first class but not Days of Nonsensical Title and X-Men 1 but not 2 or 3, or the Wolverine shitfest with Deadpool and bad special effects.

General Discussion / Re: This board sucks v 5.123(random bullshit)
« on: March 04, 2017, 02:20:19 PM »
check out this new hot shit I've been listening to

General Discussion / Re: This board sucks v 5.123(random bullshit)
« on: March 04, 2017, 02:17:25 PM »

it's been too long since I listened to this

General Discussion / Re: This board sucks v 5.123(random bullshit)
« on: March 04, 2017, 11:03:28 AM »
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is the best out of The Dollars Trilogy. Discuss.

I love all three movies but this is hard to argue with

General Discussion / Re: Shoe thread (S.O.S. Nadanson plz halp)
« on: March 03, 2017, 05:08:36 PM »
The back outside corner of my soles disappear obnoxiously fast. I think I went through 6 or 8 replacements in my old ones before the shoes themselves got too worn down to fix

General Discussion / Re: Nintendo Switch
« on: March 03, 2017, 04:38:26 AM »
It's called Switch because when I see one I turn 360 degrees and switch back to playing my n64

General Discussion / Re: Something to chew on.
« on: March 02, 2017, 05:27:45 PM »
the wise man bowed his head solemnly and spoke: "theres actually zero difference between good & bad things. you imbecile. you fucking moron"

what was this from anyway

I think it's just some random guy's tweet, but it so perfectly encapsulates the internet zeitgeist that it pops into my head constantly

General Discussion / Re: Nintendo Switch
« on: March 02, 2017, 04:20:59 PM »
That doesn't convince me it's not just gonna be Skyrim with Zelda decals on the box, but I hope it really is that good.

General Discussion / Re: boston dynamics stuff, so cool + creepy
« on: March 02, 2017, 10:41:44 AM »
One of the writers at Jacobin did a piece not too long ago about the four possible economic futures he sees as possible--two apocalypitic (dearth-based), and two post-scarcity, but only one ideal. The post-scarcity-but-somehow-still-shitty one he calls rentism.

Hierarchy and Abundance: Rentism

Given the technical premises of complete automation and free energy, the Star Trek utopia of pure communism becomes a possibility, but hardly an inevitability. The bourgeois elite of the present day does not merely enjoy privileged access to scarce material goods, after all; they also enjoy exalted status and social power over the working masses, which should not be discounted as a source of capitalist motivation. Nobody can actually spend a billion dollars on themselves, after all, and yet there are hedge fund managers who make that much in a single year and then come back for more. For such people, money is a source of power over others, a status marker, and a way of keeping score — not really so different from Doctorow’s whuffie, except that it is a form of status that depends on the material deprivation of others. It is therefore to be expected that even if labor were to become superfluous in production, the ruling classes would endeavor to preserve a system based on money, profit, and class power.

The embryonic form of class power in a post-scarcity economy can be found in our systems of intellectual property law. While contemporary defenders of intellectual property like to speak of it as though it is broadly analogous to other kinds of property, it is actually based on a quite different principle. As the economists Michele Boldrin and David K. Levine observe, IP rights go beyond the traditional conception of property. They do not merely ensure “your right to control your copy of your idea”, in the way that they protect my right to control my shoes or my house. Rather, they give rights-holders the ability to tell others how to use copies of an idea that they ‘own’. As Boldrin and Levine say, “This is not a right ordinarily or automatically granted to the owners of other types of property. If I produce a cup of coffee, I have the right to choose whether or not to sell it to you or drink it myself. But my property right is not an automatic right both to sell you the cup of coffee and to tell you how to drink it.”

The mutation of the property form, from real to intellectual, catalyzes the transformation of society into something which is not recognizable as capitalism, but is nevertheless just as unequal. Capitalism, at its root, isn’t defined by the presence of capitalists, but by the existence of capital, which in turn is inseparable from the process of commodity production by means of wage labor, M-C-M’. When wage labor disappears, the ruling class can continue to accumulate money only if they retain the ability to appropriate a stream of rents, which arise from their control of intellectual property. Thus emerges a rentist, rather than capitalist society.

Suppose, for example, that all production is by means of Star Trek’s replicator. In order to make money from selling replicated items, people must somehow be prevented from just making whatever they want for free, and this is the function of intellectual property. A replicator is only available from a company that licenses you the right to use one, since anyone who tried to give you a replicator or make one with their own replicator would be violating the terms of their license. What’s more, every time you make something with the replicator, you must pay a licensing fee to whoever owns the rights to that particular thing. In this world, if Star Trek’s Captain Jean-Luc Picard wanted to replicate his beloved “tea, Earl Grey, hot”, he would have to pay the company that has copyrighted the replicator pattern for hot Earl Grey tea.

This solves the problem of how to maintain for-profit enterprise, at least on the surface. Anyone who tries to supply their needs from their replicator without paying the copyright cartels would become an outlaw, like today’s online file sharers. Despite its absurdity, this arrangement would likely have advocates among some contemporary critics of the Internet’s sharing culture; Jaron Lanier’s You Are Not a Gadget, for instance, explicitly calls for the imposition of “artificial scarcity” on digital content in order to restore its value. The consequences of such arguments are already apparent in the record industry’s lawsuits against hapless mp3 downloaders, and in the continual intensification of the surveillance state under the guise of combating piracy. The extension of this regime to the micro-fabrication of physical objects will only make the problem worse. Once again, science fiction is enlightening, in this case the work of Charles Stross. Accelerando shows us a future in which copyright infringers are pursued by hitmen, while Halting State depicts furtive back alley “fabbers” running their 3-D printers one step ahead of the law.

But an economy based on artificial scarcity is not only irrational, it is also dysfunctional. If everyone is constantly being forced to pay out money in licensing fees, then they need some way of earning money, and this generates a new problem. The fundamental dilemma of rentism is the problem of effective demand: that is, how to ensure that people are able to earn enough money to be able to pay the licensing fees on which private profit depends. Of course, this isn’t so different from the problem that confronted industrial capitalism, but it becomes more severe as human labor is increasingly squeezed out of the system, and human beings become superfluous as elements of production, even as they remain necessary as consumers. So what kind of jobs would still exist in this economy?

Some people would still be needed to dream up new things to be replicated, and so there will remain a place for a small “creative class” of designers and artists. And as their creations accumulate, the number of things that can be replicated will soon vastly outstrip the available time and money to enjoy them. The biggest threat to any given company’s profits will not be the cost of labor or raw materials — both minimal or nonexistent — but rather the prospect that the licenses they own will lose out in popularity to those of competitors. Marketing and advertising, then, will continue to employ significant numbers. Alongside the marketers, there will also be an army of lawyers, as today’s litigation over patent and copyright infringement swells to encompass every aspect of economic activity. And finally, as in any hierarchical society, there must be an apparatus of repression to keep the poor and powerless from taking a share back from the rich and powerful. Enforcing draconion intellectual property law will require large battalions of what Samuel Bowles and Arjun Jayadev call “guard labor”: “The efforts of the monitors, guards, and military personnel . . . directed not toward production, but toward the enforcement of claims arising from exchanges and the pursuit or prevention of unilateral transfers of property ownership.”

Nevertheless, maintaining full employment in a rentist economy will be a constant struggle. It is unlikely that the four areas just described can fully replace all the jobs lost to automation. What’s more, these jobs are themselves subject to labor-saving innovations. Marketing can be done with data mining and algorithms; much of the routine business of lawyering can be replaced with software; guard labor can be performed by surveillance drones rather than human police. Even some of the work of product invention could one day be given to computers that possess some rudimentary artificial creative intelligence.

And if automation fails, the rentist elite can colonize our leisure time in order to extract free labor. Facebook already relies on its users to create content for free, and the recent fad for “gamification” suggests that corporations are very interested in finding ways to turn the work of their employees into activities that people will find pleasurable, and will thus do for free on their own time. The computer scientist Luis von Ahn, for example, has specialized in developing ‘games with a purpose’, applications that present themselves to end users as enjoyable diversions while also performing a useful computational task. One of von Ahn’s games asked users to identify objects in photos, and the data was then fed back into a database that was used for searching images. This line of research evokes the world of Orson Scott Card’s novel Ender’s Game, in which children remotely fight an interstellar war through what they think are video games.

All of this means that the society of rentism would probably be subject to a persistent trend toward under-employment, which the ruling class would have to find some way to counter in order to hold the system together. This entails realizing a vision that the late André Gorz had of post-industrial society: “the distribution of means of payment must correspond to the volume of wealth socially produced and not to the volume of work performed.” This might involve taxing the profits of profitable firms and redistributing the money back to consumers — possibly as a no-strings-attached guaranteed income, and possibly in return for performing some kind of meaningless make-work. But even if redistribution is desirable from the standpoint of the class as a whole, a collective action problem arises; any individual company or rich person will be tempted to free-ride on the payments of others, and will therefore resist efforts to impose a redistributive tax. The government could also simply print money to give to the working class, but the resulting inflation would just be an indirect form of redistribution and would also be resisted. Finally, there is the option of funding consumption through consumer indebtedness — but readers in the early twenty-first century presumably do not need to be reminded of the limitations inherent in that solution.

Given all these troubles, one might ask why the rentier class would bother trying to extract profits from people, since they could just replicate whatever they want anyway. What keeps society from simply dissolving into the communist scenario from the previous section? It might be that nobody would hold enough licenses to provide for all of their needs, so everyone needs revenue to pay their own licensing costs. You might own the replicator pattern for an apple, but just being able to make apples isn’t enough to survive. In this reading, the rentier class are just those who own enough licenses to cover all of their own license fees.

Or perhaps, as noted at the outset, the ruling class would guard their privileged position in order to protect the power over others granted to those at the top of a class-divided society. This suggests another solution to rentism’s underemployment problem: hiring people to perform personal services might become a status marker, even if automation makes it strictly speaking unnecessary. The much-heralded rise of the service economy would evolve into a futuristic version of nineteenth century England or parts of India today, where the elite can afford to hire huge numbers of servants.

But this society can persist only so long as most people accept the legitimacy of its governing hierarchy. Perhaps the power of ideology would be strong enough to induce people to accept the state of affairs described here. Or perhaps people would start to ask why the wealth of knowledge and culture was being enclosed within restrictive laws, when, to use a recently popular slogan, “another world is possible” beyond the regime of artificial scarcity.

General Discussion / Re: Did anyone watch the Oscars?
« on: March 01, 2017, 10:24:03 PM »
I love Denzel Washington

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