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My programming language is better than yours Show more

My programming language is better than yours Show more

My programming language is better than yours Show more

My programming language is better than yours Show more

My programming language is better than yours Show more

My programming language is better than yours Show more

My programming language is better than yours Show more

My programming language is better than yours Show more

Federated Republic of Sean @freakazoid

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My programming language is better than yours Show more

My programming language is better than yours Show more

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@Wolf480pl @cjd @freakazoid @dazinism The balkanization of Balkan could be viewed more directly as evidence that people *believe* ethnostates to be more stable. But as social constructs are built on feedback loops, that may very well turn out to mean that they are, in fact, more stable. πŸ˜€

As I understand it though, the main problem with Yugoslavia was that the unifying force and idea was a personality cult around Tito, and the disintegration following his death was slower than might have been expected. A multi-ethnic state forged without force and with a more sustainable unifying idea than one person would stand a better chance.

@clacke @cjd @freakazoid @dazinism
But to have a unifying force, don't you need common values? And once you have common values, doesn't it become a single culture?

@Wolf480pl
I'm a bit pessimistic on the future of the EU because the US, with a single common language and national back story, still at some point it almost disintegrated and was only saved by a brutal show of force. Also the north and south have gravitated into the blue team and the red team who still fight like cats and dogs.
@clacke @freakazoid @dazinism

@cjd @dazinism @clacke @Wolf480pl The US did not end up in a civil war over cultural differences; it ended up in a civil war because the South was economically dependent on slavery, and the North was unwilling to share in the burden of weaning them off of it despite being just as responsible for it as the South. The "show of force" and reduction of states' rights has probably prevented a lot of conflict since then, but at huge cost and a missed opportunity to learn to live together better.

@Wolf480pl @clacke @dazinism @cjd The EU seems to have two main challenges: the Eurozone members have too much sovereignty to be able to share a single currency, and they haven't figured out how to handle refugees. Both require a central government that can redistribute wealth.

Racism is also obviously a huge issue, both against the people coming from the Middle East and North Africa as well as against eastern Europeans.

@cjd @dazinism @clacke @Wolf480pl Brexit is obviously a big threat to the EU's future, depending on how it pans out. But it's also an opportunity for the EU to actually decide how departure should work, providing an "escape valve" that can prevent or mitigate future crises.

I had thought racism against Muslim's in France was a huge problem, but from looking at the Wikipedia page it tends to get overblown in the media here and Muslims integrate really well in France. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islam_in

@freakazoid @Wolf480pl @clacke @dazinism
Based on my limited experience from Paris and the outer-lying region, I observe that a French person is a very particular thing. "Les enfants de la RΓ©publique" are something created by a very strict education system which begins very early. Here, there is such a thing as a French Muslim, a person who is indeed French but is also indeed Muslim. Not the same thing as a person who migrated here from a French territory.

@cjd @dazinism @clacke @Wolf480pl On the red/blue team thing, the US has been far more politically divided in the past even since the civil war. I'm far more worried about the decline in perceived legitimacy of the federal government. But FDR was far more charismatic than Trump and at least as disdainful of the separation of powers. He tried to get a bill through Congress that would have let him appoint a bunch more judges to the Supreme Court.

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@cjd
IMO EU isn't supposed to be a single state. I'd rather it be an economical (and maybe millitary) alliance, aggregating the bargaining power of member states against giants like US, Russia, and China.

Haven't dug into it, but it looks like most of the major issues stem from the freedom of movement assumption. Now, I still think freedom of movement is a nice thing, but maybe we need to revisit its pros and cons, or tweak it a bit.
@clacke @freakazoid @dazinism

@Wolf480pl @dazinism @clacke @cjd Whether or not it's supposed to be a single state, it is. They have a parliament that passes far-reaching laws. They have a single currency and each member is allowed to issue debt that is considered (whether or not it's justified) to have the backing of the entire union. They have few to no internal border controls and strong(ish) external border controls. They are far more of a state than the US was under the Articles of Confederation.

@cjd @clacke @dazinism @Wolf480pl The EU has two clear choices given this fact: accept that they're a state, or accept that they've made themselves a state and undo that. The latter is probably a bad idea with Pax Americana on the way out.

@freakazoid @cjd @clacke @dazinism
>They have a single currency

That's Eurozone, not the whole EU. Many EU countries do not have Euro as their currency.

> They have a parliament that passes far-reaching laws.

Which then need to be ratified by each member state's own parliament before they enter into force.

>They have few to no internal border controls and strong(ish) external border controls.

That's Schengen Area, not EU. It mostly overlaps, but there are countries outside of EU which are in Schengen, and EU members which are not in Schengen.

@Wolf480pl @dazinism @clacke @cjd I can't find evidence of a ratification process beyond passing the Council (55% of states representing 65% of the population) and Parliament. Members get latitude in how they actually implement legislation via their own internal legislation, but that's the most I can find. It's more authority than the central government had under the Articles of Confederation. The Articles required unanimity.

...

@cjd @clacke @dazinism @Wolf480pl The fact that the Eurozone, EU, and Schengen are not the same thing just means it's a dysfunctional state, not that it's not a state ;-)

I think we can at least agree that they're in an unstable region of configuration space right now, and something needs to change. I think that restricting internal freedom of movement or trade would be economically devastating and essentially take Europe out of the running as a world power.

@freakazoid @dazinism @clacke @cjd

With regard to freedom of movement - I don't know enough about economics to be able to assess how bad it'd be to restrict it.

As for freedom of trade - I think you're the first one here to suggest restricting it, and I think you can have freedom of trade without being a single state, and with each member having their own currency.

Also, I don't think being able to pick and choose some of the EU-related treaties without accepting other ones would necessarily be an unstable configuration.

And even if some models are impractical to implement in EU right now, I'd like to explore the configuration space in an abstract way, to see what configurations are theoretically possible.

@Wolf480pl @cjd @clacke @dazinism AFAICT the instability comes from having a common currency without automatic wealth transfers, which can result in deflation and potentially default within individual member states.

One can definitely have freedom of trade without a common currency, but having your own currency means you can do the equivalent of enacting tariffs by devaluing your currency. With restrictions on tariffs, the likely outcome is competitive devaluation.

@dazinism @clacke @cjd @Wolf480pl In fact, something similar happened in the US under the Articles, only with external tariffs instead of currencies: states couldn't charge tariffs on trade among themselves, but they could charge tariffs on goods coming from outside. But the goods would just come in through whatever state had the lowest tariffs, so it was a race to the bottom. This was one of the biggest impetuses behind the Constitutional Convention.

@freakazoid @dazinism @clacke @cjd

Hm... in Poland we recently had deflation for a moment. But we're not in Eurozone. We still have our own currency... so why are we not devaluing our currency to create the effect of tarrifs? (if we did that, we'd have inflation, right?)

@Wolf480pl @cjd @clacke @dazinism It's an interesting question. The NBP seems unwilling to drop their benchmark interest rate below 1.5% for whatever reason. Poland has a significantly lower debt to GDP ratio, including for private debt, than even Germany, so maybe they didn't consider a couple years of deflation to be that big a problem?

1.5% is still a pretty low rate historically, though; it was a record low for the NBP. And the Zloty did drop 11% against the dollar during that period.

@freakazoid @dazinism @clacke @cjd
hm, so low interest rates cause currency to devalue?

@Wolf480pl @cjd @clacke @dazinism Actually I guess it was about 27% against the dollar, but it was relatively stable against the Euro, so it seems like things in Poland may have been affected more by what was going on with the rest of Europe than anything else.

Devaluation is hard to define with modern fiat currencies. Lowering interest rates has the effect of discouraging holding of it, plus the way central banks lower rates is by increasing the supply, usually by buying government debt.

@dazinism @clacke @cjd @Wolf480pl If you define the value of a currency by CPI, then by definition it wasn't devalued. But CPI looks at a specific set of prices. It appears to have been declining food and energy prices that caused Poland's deflation, not declining wages. Unemployment appears to have peaked in Poland just before the inflation started and has declined ever since. Which may actually be the reason the NBP didn't feel the need to lower rates further.

@freakazoid @cjd @clacke @dazinism
pretty sure there were at least 2 cases of Polish parliament refusing to implement some EU directive, but I don't remember off the top of my head, so maybe I'm wrong.

@freakazoid @cjd @clacke @dazinism
ACTA may've been one of those cases, but I'm not sure if it went through Europarliament, or if treaties like this go through a different path.

@Wolf480pl @dazinism @clacke @cjd There are apparently several different paths. I was going by Wikipedia's description of the "Ordinary Legislative Procedure". "Regulations" take effect directly, while "Directives" need to be implemented by each national parliament, but are still binding AFAICT. Modifications to the Treaty of Lisbon, and I think international agreements like ACTA, need to be ratified by national parliaments.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European

@Wolf480pl @dazinism @cjd @clacke Specific values need to be shared. "Culture" is not a binary thing; you don't either have a single or different cultures. You have sets of values with different levels of compatibility. There are also values that are required to live with people who don't have all the same values as you. These values tend to develop over time as groups with differnt values live alongside one another.

@freakazoid
And then these values suddenly disappear if you give people "social media".
@clacke @cjd @dazinism

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@clacke @cjd @freakazoid @dazinism PRT == automated guideway transit with small vehicles. The vehicles are summoned at stations, the guideways are closed to everything but those small vehicles. There’s been fully-automated PRT systems in service since the 1970s at least. Higher infrastructure cost to deploy, but it can be done with technology that demonstrably 100% works today.

β€œAutonomous vehicles” means autonomous cars on the roads, a much much much harder problem to solve, but using existing infrastructure.

@bhtooefr @cjd @freakazoid @dazinism Right, PRT implies rails or something close to rails. Is there any point to non-autonomous PRT today then?

@clacke @cjd @freakazoid @dazinism The β€œPRT vs. AV” debate being posed in this thread isn’t between a hypothetical β€œnon-autonomous PRT” and autonomous PRT, it’s between autonomous PRT and autonomous cars on roads.

@bhtooefr @cjd @clacke @dazinism I was thinking of PRT systems where the cars could be driven on roads as well, which solves the last mile problem. I can't find mention of such an option on the Wikipedia page, so maybe it wasn't as common a proposal as I'd thought. That's why I was thinking about the combination of the two technologies.

...

@dazinism @clacke @cjd @bhtooefr PRT seems like it could potentially deliver on the failed promise of monorails: cheap elevated guideways. Monorails are big and you can't walk on the guideways, so being able to evacuate means you need a lot of ladders or walkways along the side, so the infrastructure is not much cheaper. With PRT you could potentially climb over or around the cars and walk on the guideway, just like on an elevated freeway.

@bhtooefr @cjd @clacke @dazinism That means you can have a guideway that's barely larger than a pair of cars and space the emergency ladders/stairs farther apart, assuming elevated guideways, which I think is usually what you want.

Though there is a huge advantage to sharing infrastructure even with dedicated lanes, since you can just expand as you cut into normal car travel.

@dazinism @clacke @cjd @bhtooefr (There are also structural reasons monorail tracks are expensive, and the vehicles are more expensive. So the only real advantage is noise because they run on pneumatic tires, but there are lots of different guideway and vehicle configurations that can use pneumatic tires.)

@freakazoid
I spent a good few years working modifying vehicles to run on biofuels & trying to encourage decentralised biofuel production. Became very aware of transport issues, alternatives, energy requirements & thought about it all a lot

Its not hard to imagine better systems but theres a number of massive & influential industries (roads/oil/auto/finance) tightly tied to the existing model. This heavily influences the political will to push for alternatives

@clacke @cjd @bhtooefr

@freakazoid

I attended government consultation events packed with representatives from the established industries, pushing heavily for their interests

I think the finance around autos is very important. After a mortgage its the biggest debt many folks have (although college/uni debt has also become huge)

The implications of changing from this amount of personal debt would be huge

The transport inefficiency in our societies is huge. People travel long distances to…

@clacke @cjd @bhtooefr

@freakazoid

…another town (sometimes even country) to do a job, someone else from that town does the same the other way. Same with goods. Its all daft. You'd think that economic efficiency would stop stuff like this, but it doesnt, its common

@clacke @cjd @bhtooefr

@dazinism @freakazoid @clacke @bhtooefr
I seem to recall someone saying that nobody thinks about skype as a green technology, but the possibility for telecommuting which it created has had a massive impact on energy consumption. People still need handshake and eye-contact, it's part of trust and collaboration, but this doesn't necessarily have to be every single day.

@cjd @bhtooefr @clacke @dazinism Zoom, Slack, email, Jira, and Confluence reduce my commuting by 20%. I'm planning to work only remotely after this job; I have a standing offer for a job where the office is much farther away but I could work from home most days and on days I went in my drive would only be a few miles because I could take light rail to the train.

@dazinism @bhtooefr @cjd @clacke Low interest subsidizes the capital cost of cars to an extent. Long commutes are an effective wage reduction. I think they don't go away because voters (i.e. the people who actually vote, donate, and campaign for politicians) won't allow them to. By which I mean they don't allow the construction of new housing or mass transit.

@clacke @cjd @bhtooefr @dazinism As for goods going long distances, that's subsidized by exchange rates, fixed international postage rates, the governments of export-dependent countries, and the US government through stupid tax laws (which I think 45 may have fixed?). Also ships don't have to pay motor vehicle fuel taxes (or many other kinds of taxes AIUI). Not sure about international cargo planes.

@dazinism @bhtooefr @cjd @clacke I think this is why a carbon tax is ideal. It lets us shift things gradually and "naturally", and we'll naturally start with the lowest hanging fruit, which is probably the truck fleet and other fleet vehicles, because the infrastructure is more centralized and biodiesel can run in unmodified engines.

@freakazoid @bhtooefr @clacke @dazinism
My personal opinion is that we need a new "interface" which is neither butt-on-seat nor rubber-on-pavement. Some interface between a transport pod which carries passengers or cargo and the car/train/boat/mag-lev/hyperloop which carries it, then a sort of router which switches pods on and off of different transport. This would change the economics of running (for ex) a train line, because it can directly pull commuters off of a road.

@cjd @dazinism @clacke @bhtooefr We already have such an interface, and it's cheap as hell. It's called a cargo container. There is also some kind of system that allows attaching those to trailers, but I don't know how standardized it is given that I see trailers loaded directly on flatbed train cars a lot.

@freakazoid @bhtooefr @clacke @dazinism
Now it just needs to be fast enough and safe enough that people will sit inside of them while they're being transported.

@bhtooefr @clacke @dazinism @cjd It is probably possible to design a fully-automated loading and unloading system that could load cars onto special "sleds". The main drawbacks would be that you're unnecessarily transporting the car's power plant and undercarriage, and the sleds and loading system would be expensive compared to just driving a special car onto a guideway.

@cjd @dazinism @clacke @bhtooefr Actually, now that I think of it, adding hardware to current electric cars to let them run autonomously and receive power from a guideway would be damn cheap. Just a lowerable doodad underneath with a pair of brushes and an interface to a bus that signals over the power lines. Linking the cars together could be optional, but that linkage could provide redundancy in case of gunk on the guideway conductors.

@bhtooefr @clacke @dazinism @cjd Alternatively you just have two doodads (trolleys?) that connect to the center guide.

You'd probably want the guide to be T-shaped to make it hard to touch both sides if someone needs to walk on the guideway. Unlike the "third rail" or overhead line in an AC system, I think HVDC is safe if you only touch either conductor, since neither would be grounded.

@cjd @dazinism @clacke @bhtooefr Rather than using cameras or sensors on each car, the guideway could use cameras all along it. No radar is necessary, and the processors could be local and connected in a daisy-chain fashion with wireless long-range links to bridge any failed wired connections or control units. You'd have 3 control units per cell, maybe just by overlapping them with the next and previous.

@freakazoid @dazinism @clacke @bhtooefr
The idea would be to split the part with the passengers, HVAC, stereo, etc from the part with the powerplant, wheels, etc. Of course it's carrying more than you have to carry if everybody's on a bus, but my opinion is if your transportation network can't be used to transport an ambulence, it's not complete.

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@freakazoid @cjd @dazinism The thesis to me seems to be that everyone keeps saying that currency replaced barter, but in reality this has never been observed, rather barter occurs where currency has been in use but then failed.

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My programming language is better than yours Show more

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My programming language is better than yours Show more

My programming language is better than yours Show more

My programming language is better than yours Show more

My programming language is better than yours Show more

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My programming language is better than yours Show more

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