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paulkienitz

Profile Information

Gender: Male
Hometown: Bay Area, California
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 1,151

About Me

Software engineer who thinks a lot about the future. http://paulkienitz.net/future/

Journal Archives

I bet what he really wants is a way to trade away overvalued Tesla shares without appearing to sell.

Tesla stock is immensely valuable but also extremely illiquid, because being seen to sell it off would tank its inflated price. So what he's looking for is a way to trade stock in Tesla for stock in something else that is less overvalued. This would allow him to sell back part of it and realize some gains. Otherwise, though on paper he's the richest guy in the world, he can't extract those riches as cash. If he buys Twitter in a stock swap, he can sell parts of it for actual money, which today he can't do without popping the bubble.

Fuck daylight savings, whether it changes seasonally or not.

I don't want my daylight "saved". I never asked anyone to save any daylight for me. I demand the daylight in my savings account be returned to me. And I want a clock that says what time it is in my timezone, instead of some political fiction about what time somebody else thinks I should pretend it is.

Ukraine war exposes lack of support for Trump's pro-Putin GOP wing

Source: Los Angeles Times

As wars have so often done, the Russian invasion of Ukraine — predicted for weeks, but still a shock — has quickly begun to clarify who stands where.

One result has been to highlight how little support Trump’s Russia-friendly attitudes have within his party.

...

In a rare bit of agreement, Republicans and Democrats had equally negative impressions of Russia, although Republicans were slightly less favorable than Democrats in their view of Ukraine, 66% versus 57%.

Read more: https://www.latimes.com/politics/newsletter/2022-02-25/ukraine-trump-and-the-politics-of-war-essential-politics



The Tucker Carlsons and other pro-Putinists aren't selling it anymore.

Putin's empire-conquering mindset is no different from that of some Bronze Age king

who glorifies his statue of a god by trying to enslave as many neighbors as possible.

This is because their entire program consists of lies and doublethink.

They cannot articulate what their opponents stand for because they never articulate their own position, they only lie about it. Endless lies about libertarian ideals or christian traditions or economic prosperity, all to deny and deflect from the actual agenda of white male supremacism.

Fusion doesn't just have to become feasible, it has to become cheap to make any difference

Even if we were able to build a fully working mature sustainable fusion plant tomorrow, the power it produced would still be substantially more expensive than that from solar cells. Fusion will probably be the dominant source of power someday for future colonies among the moons of Jupiter or the asteroid belt, but I don't think it'll make economic sense here in our lifetimes.

Cameras incentivize very strong brand attachment

because you have to invest thousands of bucks into a system that locks you in with compatibility, and switching brands is very expensive. So all the fanboy toxicity you find anywhere else gets extra intense because people really don't want to admit they picked the wrong horse, because if they do it'll cost them a big wad of cash.

This also incentivizes the companies themselves to nurture and cater to loyal fans. Companies that treat everything as disposable, like Sony, fail at earning the decades-long loyalty that can be had.

It probably doesn't help that the whole camera industry is now shrinking and financially weak and many companies are in a frail state, because the cameras themselves improved so fast that they've run out of ways to make next year's model better than last year's, so most people aren't replacing the old cameras they've got. (Mine is from 2013.) So people are worried they may have bought into a brand that not only might turn out not as good, but might not even survive. All of this anxiety can help drive additional toxicity to compensate.

So I'm not surprised that cameras are where this comes out.

been saying that for a few years now

Trump didn't just reveal what the Republican party has now become since the era of Gingrich and Dubya, he revealed what had always underlain the popularity of figures like Reagan and Nixon. He revealed why the Republican party retains power even as its ability to make any kind of policy dwindles away as everything they try fails. They used to do a good job of covering it up with policy, but the core appeal of the party has been the nationalist culture war of "real americans" vs everybody else, even back before I was born. Trump's dog whistle is the same one that they've been tooting since the days of Harding and Hoover. The crackdown on the Bonus Army 90 years ago came from the same fascist impulse that January 6th did.

everything they're for, they can't say out loud

because what they're for is privilege. White privilege, male privilege, Christian privilege, and especially privilege for the rich.

why fiat currencies are stable

The sort of people who promote cryptocurrency have a long tradition, which predates bitcoin, of poo-pooing fiat currencies. They say they can't be trusted. In the old days they would have been gold bugs. But now the allure of speculative bubbles, which these pseudo-currencies are designed to constantly produce, have got a lot of these people suckered into thinking that these highly volatile and inherently valueless abstract "coins" are the future of money, and more trustworthy than fiat currencies.

So why do fiat currencies end up being trustworthy and stable, when you can't see what gives them their value?

I think the explanation comes down to incentives. The world has many fiat currencies, and they have a competitive relationship with each other. And the way to win that competition is to be the most robust and stable at storing value. People want to spend their inferior currencies and save their superior ones. The central banks and reserve boards that back the world's major currencies have strong incentives to keep their currencies as stable as they can. Those who succeed have their currencies used around the world, rather than only at home.

The big winner at this competition has been the US dollar. It is used and desired everywhere. And I don't think most people appreciate what a powerful and effective thing that is. The United States used to be the strongest country in the world because it had the best technology and manufacturing. That's no longer true, but it's as dominant as ever, just because it has the best currency. It's so desirable that we run a substantial "trade deficit" which is actually not a deficit at all, but a privilege most countries would dearly love to achieve: the ability to import goods essentially for free by printing money for export.

Every other major currency wants to be as desirable as the dollar. The strength of the dollar is why the EU came up with the Euro, even though it hurt many of their member countries. The Chinese are very much hoping to internationalize the renminbi, and if they do we're gonna notice the effects.

The rewards of having a fiat currency that's sound and stable are immense, and that gives every fiat currency backer all the incentive they need to produce something sounder than any crypto-coin is ever likely to become even in a best-case scenario.
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