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softwareNerd last won the day on May 22

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About softwareNerd

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    My wife and kid. Software. Finance.

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  1. The typical advice from financial advisers to clients is to put their money into an index fund, getting a combination of: low commissions and lowered temptation to try an beat the market. In general, this is still good advice. but... ... it is based on a key assumption that the future U.S. performance will be pretty much like the past. Stocks can be hurt by inflation, but their prices inflate too. And, couple that to an unwritten assumption that statist governments have an incentive to subsidize the most common vehicle of investment. A true hyper-inflation type scenario is different. But, since such situation has not really occurred in U.S. history, a financial adviser will never advise you to plan for it; not qua financial adviser. A few economists might be willing to predict hyper-inflation in the U.S., but they're basing their advice on a theory that has not been borne out for a century. One can compare the DOW vs. Gold, but looking at the DOW "priced in gold", how many ounces of gold would it take to buy the DOW. Source: https://www.macrotrends.net/1378/dow-to-gold-ratio-100-year-historical-chart A big problem with this raw chart is that the price of gold was fixed in the U.S. from the great depression all the way to Nixon. So, the relatively bad performance of the DOW during the 1970s was gold shooting up in price from many years of pent up legal binding. Given that legal context, one really ought to look at post-1980 data. Which gives us this portion: Since 1980, the only time when one could have bought gold and still be better off than the Dow today was the years between 2000 and 2008. Notice that this is pre-Great recession, pre-housing-crisis, not post. Why? because the factor at play was the DOW rather than gold. It was the DOW that was shooting up. Since 2009, the DOW has shot up again, far beyond its previous highs. Since about 2012, the price of gold has not followed. Consequently, the DOW has risen significantly in gold terms. if you think the DOW is in a new bubble, then that might be an even better (as in history-based) reason to buy gold than a hyper-inflation scenario. However, betting against the stock market averages is something that a typical financial adviser will not recommend because it is usually a way to under-perform. My personal view on gold is that if I own it, it will likely under-perform the stock-market over most multi-decade periods. Personally, I don't see a complete break down of the U.S. system during my lifetime. I'm also aware that in a complete breakdown, either the government or some thug is likely to take my gold from me, and to prevent that it may become necessary to hide it and not actually use it... making its value theoretical. But, as I said, I don't expect anything even close to this scenario in my lifetime. I think gold is a decent multi-generation asset, if you want to buy some to leave to your grand children. Even here, buying something like a rental property is likely to have better returns, because it is a true investment. Finally, if you do buy gold, beware of the scammers out there. Companies that hype the coming inflation etc. are dicey. Many of them try to convince their customers to buy coins that are not near 100% gold. So, if you do buy physical gold, stick with regular U.S. Gold eagles and the like.
  2. Not sure what a *BIO* ethicist can bring to the subject. All the relevant biological facts have been known for thousands of years.
  3. This idea of irrationality comes about as follows: we start by thinking of abortion as a post-event contraception. therefore, there appears to be no rational reason to wait; meanwhile, the fetus is growing from a clump of cells to something more substantial and integrated With this mental model, it is easy to think that the line from pre-sex-contraception to late-term abortion is a line of increasing irrationality The problem is that this mental model has little to do with facts and reality of why people have abortions at different points in time. What we would find, if we examine actual women having actual late-term abortions, is tat the later ones actually appear more, rather than less, justifiable...to an outsider.
  4. Also related...."when an entity gains what rights". Children are a special legal category in most legal systems, and rightly so. It is correct for the law to recognize that a child needs some adult looking out for them -- a guardian. One might phrase this as the child having as many rights as an adult, but that ignores the core to the concept of rights: a human deciding, for themselves, in their own minds, and then acting upon their decision freely. As for AI... that's beyond my experience of reality.
  5. The point is: the politician may support late-term abortions to get primary votes. However, a key segment of those primary voters support it on principle. (As do I, btw)
  6. I'm willing to bet that 99% of the women getting late term abortions are acting morally and rationally in that respect.
  7. As Eiuol said, the Democratic push to allow more freedom than the average voter is asking for is a question of principle. You're right that it has cost Democrats votes and even seats. However, the way the system of primaries works, every now and then one of the parties will push its candidate into a stance that appeals to those who are politically active within their own party, at the cost of losing the actual election. I disagree with the assumption that this topic is somewhat settled around the Roe v. Wade line. The GOP tries way harder than the Democrats to move the line. And, at the state level, the GOP has managed to rob lots of of their rights. With Trump moving the SCOTUS balance even more Christian than before, the risk to rights have become more real. Since Trump has good odds of winning the next election, the threat is serious. Of course one ought not judge the rightness of something by percentages. If, 1% of women have their rights denied, that is big deal. Nevertheless, if the country can hold the line at Roe v. Wade, that's probably better than the alternative that the GOP seems likely to push upon us.
  8. Have not read this book, but saw a link on the Marginal Revolution blog. May be of interest for anyone who is curious about what has been tried around the world, plus authors suggestions for privatizing. Street Smart - Editor Gabriel Roth
  9. The fact that things have changed and made it safer makes it even more likely that Ran would agree with full-term abortions. Also, the simple fact that she said -- albeit off the cuff -- that the line is drawn at birth. I'm always a little wary of arguments that go "this is what Rand would have thought"... because its basically speculation and -- much more importantly -- it does not matter a great deal to whether the conclusion is right or wrong. So, it almost always becomes two sides contesting what is ultimately an appeal to authority. So, both sides end up arguing that they themselves are the ones who are committing that particular logial fallacy. Your point about more freedom necessitating more responsibility. I see it as an arbitrary statement, unsupported by any facts or reasoning.
  10. One most definitely cannot extrapolate that Rand would be against full-term abortions, when ... the quote above has no such implication; and, she clearly said otherwise Not that it matters that much, but just want to set that record straight
  11. You're right. I understand the context now.
  12. Not that I disagree, but this isn't really an argument, but an ad hominem.
  13. Wow Got to love modern science. There'll likely come a time when the "test tube" baby concept will become something that can go from conception to full development. In that context arguments about using the mother's body, and about the mother making the decision because the fetus is in her body, will not be relevant.
  14. Given the nature of the process, there's never going to be a way to argue something like Day 36 if okay, but Day 37 is not. To my mind, one can argue at the granularity of a month or something like that. The focus on "when does this thing become a human" is basically the correct one, but I think the primary argument is still a philosophic one, not a biological one. In other words: why the heck do we recognize each other's rights at all. The philosophical argument that begins with a visualization of adults who want to interact with each other and recognize certain rights they will agree to not cross, regarding curtailing the other's total freedom of action. Lose that focus, and the argument dangle in the air (technical term for "is rationalistic" ) Personally, I would not want the law to draw the line any time before birth. Of course, we know that this too can become an argument about "here to draw the line"... mom goes into labor, baby starts to slide out, baby's head emerges, baby fully emerged, umbilical cord cut, baby is crying, nurse washes baby down. I would not want the law to be peering into the process. I think that focus loses track of the philosophical point of why we come up with the concept of rights in the first place. So, I would want the law -- particularly the law of evidence -- to have a heavy presumption on the legality of the actions of the adults, granting them freedom of action and freedom of attestation. I should add though, that this is a discussion of theory. Living in the U.S., I might even support a constitutional amendment that draws the line somewhere in the third trimester, depending on how it is worded. One key is that the wording would have to be that any restrictions imposed by law for abortions before that -- like admitting privileges for doctors, or the width of hospital hallways, should be explicitly declared unconstitutional. The second would be that the amendment should allow abortions beyond the line, if there is really a reasonable danger to the life of the mother. The third is that abortions should be allowed after that line if the child is not going to be a viable human being, and will die shortly after being born.
  15. Why three years? Why not four or five? About half of 1 year olds can walk, and many can say a word or two. Is walking the cut-off? Talking? But you settle on 40 weeks, based on rational capacity. Not sure what that concept means... the faculty constantly grows. Its a few years before kids even understand the difference between reality and the observation of reality... which is why they hide their face and think you can't see them. And, then, as they begin to understand the existence of object and subject, they also start to understand that there is cause and effect. And then they reach the stage where they think every cause has an effect, and so they constantly ask "why"... in a never-ending stream. At that stage, they've got the rationality mechanics working.
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