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Apparently they didn't quite get the payload to orbit though, according to TV news.

Oh, yeah...

May. 9th, 2017 10:30 pm
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The last time I was here I got sidetracked and so didn't read all my friends-list and so I'm now a week behind...


Apr. 26th, 2017 10:19 pm
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In France, their presidential election has been whittled down to two candidates, neither of who come from mainstream parties. Which once again suggests voters in the West have had enough of the status-quo.

Democracy isn't a method for electing good governments, but a method for getting rid of unpopular ones. People would never have forced their rulers to submit to democracy if they were happy with how they were running the country. So it's in essence a negative method of choosing governments. You keep throwing your rulers out until you happen to select ones you're actually happy with, at which point you stick with them until they go bad.

All that being said, it would be good if your democracy was designed to give you a reasonable choice of alternatives to whoever's in power. This was demonstratively not the case in the American presidential election, where the choice was between an unpopular candidate representing the status-quo and just the one other, who was equally unpopular. (To all intents and purposes - I know there were a few others running.) So American democracy fails (in the presidential elections at least) at producing a good choice of alternatives to an unpopular administration. Maybe, (if you must have a president), the French method of selection is better than the US one?

Anyway, whether you're electing a president or a ruling party (or coalition), a system that produces a good mix of choices to whoever's in power would seem to be a desirable system to have.
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The essence of growing old is not that your body is wearing out, but that your contemporaries are mostly no longer dying in car crashes or of drug overdoses or at their own hands, but from natural causes. For my generation, last year's death toll of the famous was probably an early spike in what we can expect from now on. And this year isn't looking too good for New Zealand, with first Murry Ball dying and now John Clarke. (Who are connected forever in the movie of Ball's Footrot Flats, where Clarke was the voice of Wal...

As soon as Clarke appeared on NZ television he was instantly famous, due in part to there only being one TV station in the country then. It was deserved fame though, with a career going from this...

to, in Australia, this...

The Games, somewhere inbetween, was a TV series about staging the Sydney Olympics and will probably be viewed as his high point...

If I could've found it, I would've chosen a clip where Clarke and I think Bryan Dawe switch to discussing something in Strine to mask what they're talking about in front of someone British, who stands there grinning incomprehensibly. But I couldn't find it, so the above will have to do, despite it being way overused in the past day.

Clarke's move to Australia was New Zealand's loss but undoubtedly Australia's gain. And on hearing why he moved, (a wife who couldn't stand NZ), we should have no further quibbles. Everyone's been saying he was a lovely man and that's just further proof of it. All is forgiven Australia, on this one.

Maybe if he hadn't suffered from a fear of flying he would've focused his microscope a bit more on NZ after the Fred Dagg days. But there's lots of ifs when someone so talented dies too soon. Forget those, and if you've seen too much of his TV over the last day, perhaps just quieten down and read some of his writings instead...

Sorely missed, both sides of the Tasman.
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"Polygynandrous species - where males and females have multiple partners in a given breeding season - possess larger brains than those using other systems of mating, such as a harem or monogamy."

Who knew?

From here:
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There's been suggestions recently that with robots and AI set to take most everybody's jobs away we should perhaps tax the robots. So I thought I'd look into how that might play out by imagining how it might effect a business and the tax it generates. Thus...

Effect of robots on a business - chart 2.

There we have a business with at first 10 humans and no robots, then 5 humans and 5 robots and finally 1 human and 9 robots. A robot is assumed to cost half what a human costs and does the same amount of work. There's a flat tax of 20% applied to both the humans' payroll and the business's profits. The robots aren't taxed, as this is to show what happens when a business can cut its labour costs, all else being equal.

As you'd expect, the business makes more profit with replacing the humans, but the total tax generated by the business, (meaning the tax from the payroll plus the business profits), decreases. So not only has the number of the unemployed increased, but the state has less revenue to deal with the increase. However, it's not too bad though, as while the business has almost doubled its profit when there's just one human left, the tax take has dropped a bit less than a third.

I've seen reports though that robots on average are much more efficient than this, so here's where they're just 1/5th the cost of a human...

Effect of robots on a business - chart 2.

From that you'll see the more efficient robots have now more than doubled the business's profits and the tax take has only dropped about an eight.

Either way though, people are out of a job and less tax is collected. If it's expected to be short term though, then a progressive tax could make up for the loss in the tax take, going by these examples. (And progressive taxes are common, such as in the US, UK, etc.) Which would mean business as usual with regard to helping people though periods of unemployment.

But if robots are going to create a higher average level of unemployment, more tax to pay for that will have to be collected. A higher progressive tax could be used, but perhaps a better way would be to factor into the business tax the amount of payroll the business pays. Meaning a large payroll relative to the business's profit would reduce the percentage of tax it pays. A simple though probably not very good example...

Effect of robots on a business - chart 3.

In that, if the payroll is greater than the business's profits then the business's tax rate is reduced, um, thus...


So if the payroll was twice the profit, the profit would be taxed at half the tax-rate. (10% instead of 20% in these examples.)

As the payroll is only higher than the profit in these examples when there's no robots, that's the only example this change effects, the total tax dropping and the business profits rising. This does produce a more even spread in the total tax across the three examples though, but a rise in the tax-rate would be required to compensate for the overall drop in the country's tax-take. (And a rise in workers' pay to compensate for the tax-rate rise...)

Anyway, the moral of the story is that if you want to tax the robots, (meaning gains in efficiency that result in less people being needed to run a business), taking into account how much a business pays its employees when deciding its tax-rate would seem a good way to do it.

If you want to have a play with this, the following will possibly load into your spreadsheet after you copy and paste it as a text file...

"Tax Rate",,,20
"Gross Income",,,1000000
"General Expenses",,,400000
"Total Expenses",,,=D3+D4
"Business Profit",,,=D2-D5-D6
"Payroll Tax",,,=D6/100*D1
"Payroll After Tax",,,=D6-D8
"Business Tax",,,=D7/100*D1
"Total Tax",,,=D8+D10
"Bus. After Tax Profit",,,=D7-D10

And this is the alternative Business Tax...


Note that what you're trying to achieve is to both increase the tax rate as the payroll decreases while also increasing the business's profits. Efficiencies are good, so they should increase profits.

(The things I waste my time on... :)
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Check out the Excel/VisualBasic vs Red game of Pong there!
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Putin: "Who let them out of the country?!" Trump: "Who let them into the country?!"

Pussy Riot in Texas...

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Summary would be an income for families with young children and a reduction in the superannuation rate. The details are a bit of a mess, (so the arguments will be about the details and not the concept as a whole), but those are reasonable places to start if you plan to introduce a UBI gradually. Equally though, that gradual approach is a way to see the idea die on the vine before it gets to being universal.
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"Scientists have generally believed that dendrites meekly sent currents they received from the cell’s synapse (the junction between two neurons) to the soma, which in turn generated an electrical impulse. Those short electrical bursts, known as somatic spikes, were thought to be at the heart of neural computation and learning. But the new study demonstrated that dendrites generate their own spikes 10 times more often than the somas." From here...

And to add to that, the dendrite spikes are only digital some of the time.

"Explanations exist; they have existed for all time; there is always a simple explanation for everything — neat, plausible, and wrong." (To paraphrase:)
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Interesting graphs here...

While the first graph shows that participation in the labour force has been increasing in every country looked at except for the US and Sweden, it's much more interesting in the graphs broken down by age and gender. For those 24 and under, gender participation looks much the same, with a general decline being put down to more participating in education.

For those 25 and over though, male participation has been declining while female participation has been increasing. And except for Japan, females now outnumber males in the work force for those between 25 and 54.

Ignoring the male/female mix (and Sweden), is the US's decline due to the US leading the trend here and the other countries will eventually follow, or is the US an anomaly for some reason or another?

(Note that 'work force' means those working and those seeking work. This is not about the level of unemployment.)
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Just in case any of you missed the announcement, you can't cross-post to LJ at the moment...

I wonder if it's because of bandwidth issues, or because too many LJers have been moving to DW?
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Labour very comfortably won the bi-election in Mt Albert...

Labour - Jacinda Ardern: 10,000.
Greens - Julie Anne Genter: 1489.
The Opportunities Party - Geoff Simmons: 600.

(Yes - that round ten thousand is correct.)

TOP won't be very happy with that result given the National Party wasn't even standing, but at least it's near 5% of the vote which is the threshold for parties in New Zealand's general elections. And the voter turnout was only about 30%, so it's not as though Mt Albert cared much about this election.
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This is a test to see if my tags retain their upper-case letters. So, I'm tagging this post with "Testing a Tag"...


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