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About Altherion

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  1. Altherion

    NHL: 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs

    Interestingly enough, the Bruins sweeping them is exactly what happened the last time the Blues made it to the Stanley Cup finals... in 1970. To be fair though, that was a weird situation in which an expansion team was guaranteed to make it to the finals to play against the best of the Original Six (the latter won every time this playoff format was used). The teams are a lot more even this time around.
  2. I think Ser Scot raises a valid point: would the people who live there even listen to whatever their distant Earthly ancestors have to say on the subject? Also, I think depleting all resources in 400 years is an exaggeration. First, most the stuff we use is conserved and can be recycled. Second, space is really, really hard -- the best analogy we have is sailing to a new continent, but this doesn't do it justice. The scenario where humanity is in a position to use more than 10% of the Belt's resources within centuries is quite optimistic.
  3. Altherion

    SpaceX's Big Falcon Topic 2

    I'm really curious to see what the Starlink pricing structure will look like and how well this will work in large, dense cities. Internet service in the US is one of the most absurd rip offs in the world so it should be possible to undercut the existing providers in rural areas and still make a hefty profit, but I suspect that there will not be enough capacity to handle, say, New York City. If it does work everywhere, this could be a really good deal when combined with various voice-over-IP phone services (or something like Google Fi if you're willing to pay a bit for a phone number independent of the internet).
  4. Altherion

    US Politics: Don't Panic - Organize

    I think it's simply a matter of who is going to pay for the solution(s). Electric cars, solar panels and the like are mostly non-controversial because they're voluntary. Yes, there's a tax subsidy for many of these things, but it's not that large and given that the list of things for which there is some tax subsidy or other is very long, it's not obvious why this one should be singled out for complaint. However, to make a meaningful impact, non-voluntary measures are required and these almost always cause redistribution. It's hard to see a scenario in which this redistribution doesn't go against conservatives so they're not interested.
  5. Altherion

    Whataboutism as a Rhetorical Tool

    How is it irrational? It's the classic rational response that results in the tragedy of the commons. When you have a shared resource (e.g. the Earth's atmosphere) and an advantage that can be gained by exploiting or spoiling this resource (e.g. cheap energy from fossil fuels), it's perfectly rational to reply to calls to cease exploiting or spoiling the resource with "But what about everyone else?" If you do not do this and unilaterally cease exploiting or spoiling, the end result will be that you're doubly screwed because the resource will still be spoiled or depleted and, unlike the people who didn't stop, you didn't even get anything out of it. More generally, I agree with Free Northman Reborn that the "What about...?" question is neither irrational nor fallacious when used to determine priority or motive. For example, it makes perfect sense for the masses being asked to spend the very limited to non-existent discretionary income at their disposal for more expensive but cleaner technology to ask "What about all of the private jets of the people who are asking?
  6. Altherion

    US Politics: Don't Panic - Organize

    There were more jobs added in April than expected: It'll be interesting to see how long this lasts; real wage gains in the past few decades have averaged out to almost nothing.
  7. Altherion

    Electric Cars - Advise?

    The Nissan replacement program is a bit of a special case: they screwed up badly in that their battery packs were noticeably worse in just a year or two (that 30kWh graph is down to 85% after 2 years) so they had to fix it somehow. Replacement after a decade is very unlikely simply because the technology is changing so quickly. Again, even 3 years from now, chances are the batteries being produced will be different in both capacity and interface. The number of people with old batteries who want a replacement is far too small to produce compatible ones (which definitely won't be used for anything else because the interface will be obsolete).
  8. The New York Times apparently decided that there is at least one issue on which it agrees with the most extreme of the far right, but eventually had to apologize due to the backlash: The cartoon is an interesting example of political propaganda last popular in parts of Europe circa the late 1930s. It combines three distinct antisemitic tropes: the Jew is portrayed as a dog, the Jew is leading a politician opposed by the cartoonist and the politician himself is accused of being Jewish (note that Trump is wearing a yarmulke). I didn't think I'd see such a thing in contemporary mainstream media -- or at least not for another decade or two. The amount of time it took them to apologize is also pretty surprising: the cartoon was first published last Thursday.
  9. Why do you think that it will age poorly? It's pretty well established that addiction is a biochemical disorder in the brain.
  10. Altherion

    Electric Cars - Advise?

    I very much doubt there is any electric car you can buy today that won't be noticeably inferior to comparable vehicles in, say, 2022 (i.e. three years from now). They're getting better fast: not only is the capacity of batteries growing, but the charging speeds are getting dramatically faster. For example, Tesla recently announced a revision to their charging stations that would increase the peak power delivered from 120kW to 250kW and, combined with some other improvements, cut the charging time in half. The same article has links for other forthcoming chargers which are even better (350-500kW), but of course the battery needs to be designed to take advantage of this. That said, even given the fact that they're evolving, the ones out may be good enough depending on what you're looking for. I know people who have had first a Leaf and then a Bolt (though not as their sole car) and they're pretty nice.
  11. I'm not aware of any pre-WWII large scale intervention by the US government to help students with paying their college tuition. Which program are you thinking of? Wrong in what? Other than Warren's proposal not going anywhere (which I think you agree on), the only statement I've made is that if the federal government provides more money to the university system (whether as additional loans or simply cash), the universities will raise prices some more. This is what happened in the past and I'm fairly confident that this is what will happen if we do it again... but there's no way to prove it because the government isn't likely to pony up the funds.
  12. Fair enough -- in certain cultures, its age is measured in millennia -- but US government intervention in this way is only decades old (though maybe more than a few if you count the GI Bill as part of the same idea). Probably not -- simply because I'm reasonably confident that Warren's proposal has no chance of going anywhere to begin with.
  13. Yes, more money. This argument about education being critical is at least a few decades old. The first solution to it was to increase the amount of credit available in subsidized loans. The predictable result of this was that the universities raised their prices even higher. Warren's proposal (by the way, here's the full Medium post) is to go from these subsidized loans to simply dumping large piles of cash into the university system -- first by paying off the loans and second via massive federal subsidies that make college free for students. Note that nowhere in that proposal does she mention forcing the colleges to reduce price or even restricting them from further increases.
  14. I don't disagree with you regarding the value of education, but what does that have to do with my question? The vast majority of the people with college loans have already gotten the education that the loans paid for. If you wanted to help students, the only reasonable way forward in the US at this point is to force colleges to lower costs. There's a variety of ways to do this, but handing out more money is most certainly not one of them -- that's a large part of how we got into this high tuition mess in the first place.
  15. She explicitly states that unlike most income, it will not be subject to tax. The proposed way it's paid for is also fairly unique: it's a tax on wealth rather than on income or real estate. More specifically, 2% per year on everything over $50M. Fine, let's spend half the money on half a dozen climate change moonshots and divide the other half between everyone except the rich -- or maybe even everyone with no exceptions (a-la a universal basic income). Again, there is a whole lot of ways to spend a trillion dollars. This doesn't answer the question of why it should be given to people with college loans rather than any other set of people.