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About maarsen

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    Social Justice Hyperbolist
  • Birthday 06/08/1956

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    A Tiny place during the summer
  • Interests
    "Books, lots and lots of books. I read 'em, you betcha." Making tasteless jokes about anything sacred. Or not.

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  1. As Bezos is worth 155 billion dollars, as I just heard, I think he has the power to command the economies of countries who wish they had that kind of capital behind them. How long before the corruption begins?
  2. maarsen

    SpaceX's Big Falcon Topic 2

    The ESA learned a lesson from the last naming contest and is not making it a popularity contest. A jury will pick the most suitable name for an explorer of Mars.
  3. If what you are doing can be written out as a set of rules that need to be followed, such as designing a bridge or searching a database for relevant precedents or creating a computer program then an AI such as the one that had the rules of a game such as Go programmed into it will be able to not only replicate what you do but improve on what you do to such an extent that you will be unemployable. Any behaviour that does not easily lend itself to following an algorithm is behaviour that cannot be easily done by a AI. Being peripatetic in your job, unless it involves driving, is also a good way to be insulated from the effects of AI as they tend to be somewhat immovable.
  4. maarsen

    U.S. Politics: The Marionette Presidency Edition

    This kind of strategy remind me of a boxer using his face to block punches.
  5. Wide scale automation will do a lot more damage to those with degrees or certificates in technical fields than those with arts degrees. Take programming or integrated circuit design. AI taking over these jobs is so much easier to implement than having AIs building a house or doing childcare. If your job involves paperwork, then someone is creating an AI to do that job, especially if it involves scanning files for keywords or phrases, or doing anything requiring computation. Teaching Shakespeare or any of the other classics of literature seems to be a lot harder to automate.
  6. maarsen

    SpaceX's Big Falcon Topic 2

    For those that are interested the European Space Agency is having a naming contest for the Mars rover. Airbus has a link on their site to the contest also.
  7. Iain Banks wrote a novel with just this concept. It was called The Business.
  8. Unfortunately, the Presidential/Electoral College system in the USA does not result in real democracy either. Just look at your present situation. And no, parliamentary systems have their flaws also. Just look at my situation up here in Ontario.
  9. Taking anthropology courses in university gave me a real insight into human behaviour. Cultures adapt just as plants and animals do to ensure long term survival. Once you realize that human history becomes much more understandable. I keep repeating to myself that Trump is a short term phenomenon.
  10. maarsen

    U.S. Politics- SCOTUS 2: The Election Strikes Back

    Speaking of the 60s it was fun and exciting as I knew I would live long enough to see how it all ended. 50 years later I am not so excited, except for the fact that Trump is older than me and should die sooner.
  11. This has been known for longer than economists have been around. Just about every culture realized that capital tends to conglomerate into the control of the few and has taken steps to counteract the trend since not doing so tends to destroy that culture. The Pacific Coast indigenous peoples used the potlatch ceremony, Bronze Age and Iron Age peoples buried the goods of the wealthy with them, and modern societies have death taxes. Doing away with the redistribution of wealth upon the death of the controller of that wealth will destroy our society just as fast as Trump seems bent on doing. People should be given the choice of either spending their wealth in their lifetime or have it forfeited to the state upon their death.
  12. It is really easy to write about Cuba but I doubt that many people, apart from Canadians, really do take the time to travel there and see the country. Per capita income means nothing if you live in a plutocracy as Cuba was under Batista. Take the lack of railways in Cuba. There is one rail line in Cuba and that was built for the Hershey company for the transport of sugar cane, not people. The telephone system that was in existence when Castro took over was already obsolete. Infrastructure in Cuba was to facilitate sugar production for the USA, and nothing else. There is a reason that Castro could walk in and topple Batista without any real opposition.
  13. Just like in 2008? Back in the 70s a Canadian politician, David Lewis, had phrase that should be in the lexicon. 'Corporate welfare bums'.
  14. If you want to increase government access to capital without nationalizing just about everything, change inheritance laws so that on the death of anyone with more than let's say 10 million in assets, the government taxes the estate at 90+%. If you want to be an entrepreneur type of guy go ahead but you just can't take it with you.
  15. maarsen

    U.S. Politics: Kraving for Kavanaugh

    I have no doubt that it was a political move. The question is who initiated the touching. Ms. Daniels has worked as a stripper for a bit and is aware of the rules according their lawyer. Someone is trying really hard to punish her. I keep waiting for Trump to be led away in handcuffs for groping, but it seems only women get punished for this kind of stuff.