Anyone else feeling somewhat inadequate in comparison?
I know this might be interpreted as a flamebait and I see the common "but the government is incompetent/corrupt/inefficient" answers already, but those don't negate what I just wrote in any way upon closer inspection. However, this is genuinely how I feel and I feel stupidified when I see how these programmes aren't yet serious international standards.
You allude to the best argument for these things, something like: "people are born into the world with a set of advantages and disadvantages they neither earned nor deserve, so we should do our best to even the playing field".
But you missed the mark in terms of identifying the best argument from the other side. "Because the market will solve it and those that work hard enough will make it, so it's fair" is not the argument. That's a just world hypothesis. The good argument is: high taxes and large social programs distort economic incentives; if you "tax the rich at 70%," people will behave differently, and your society will be less wealthy as a result. Which would you rather have? A wealthy society with inequality or a poor society without inequality? Anyway, the fundamental point here is that all human progress is agonistic, and "evening the playing field" will result in less progress, not more.
We're trying to walk the line between these two perspectives. We have "free" social programs but wealth still buys all kinds of advantages. I think we're doing a fairly good job, but it's imperative that we take both sides of this argument seriously. There's no reason to think we can have our cake and eat it.
This is a good as in goodwill and honest point here. However, I think it isn't a dichotomy based on evidence. For example, most of northern Europe has these programmes and they are not poor, and there exist many poor countries without these programmes. If I thought these programmes would leave the people less wealthy, healthy, happy, I would be against them.
If the programmes create negative incentives in people as to not be productive and successful to a degree that offsets the advantages in reduced crime, more tax because of higher educated people and thus salary and countless other and not easily measured advantages like progress on science, culture, and art, then I would be against those programmes. This is however not what we are seeing. It is a scary shadow on the wall while we can see the cute bunny in the foreground with our eyes directly.
Further, equality of opportunity is surprisingly cheap over time. You end up with more capable workforce which pays for the cost of maintaining it.
PS: Now targeted deductions are another story, those can cause real economic harm.
I think it's pretty clear that progressive taxes create negative incentives, particularly when it comes to encouraging people to get rich in the first place (which usually means starting a business).
> Further, equality of opportunity is surprisingly cheap over time. You end up with more capable workforce which pays for the cost of training it.
Yeah, the question is where to draw the line. Public education seems like something we definitely want. But if we truly want equality of opportunity, I don't think we can have communities like this:
> Schull is a very small community, couple of thousand max but there's been a lot of 'alternative' type immigration there from other first world countries, artists etc from places like England (eg Jeremy irons), Netherlands so its secondary school is pretty progressive afaik. They have a slipway to the bay right next to the school so the school does sailing classes etc. The planetarium in question is a stone's throw from the school. County Cork has a youth orchestra. Overall not the worst place in the world to grow up.
Everyone can't have sailing lessons and a planetarium.
Anyway, few people are going to turn down becoming rich because they end up with only 100 million instead of 300 million dollars. Opportunity however plays an important role and again you can measure relative importance via social mobility. Comparing different counties at different time periods and once again Opportunity ends up far more important than high but not punitive tax rates.
We are never going to have absolutely identical opportunity for everyone in society. But, these are not platonic ideals rather measurable and testable pragmatic choices.
Is a powerful false dichotomy argued by the rich. It is NOT a poor society, but people fear they would be less rich, when 99% of them won't be if you add in the societal benefits.
Just having good education is going to make your country wealthier in a generation.
Toronto is huge.
What you see with the teenager in question is a small town with decent enough resources. And that is the decision we took ultimately: to move to a small town with rich residents.
I prefer to say anything I’ve done or accomplished was in spite of that situation (and because of good teachers) rather than because of those stringent circumstances.
But yes, in Ontario the best schools are probably just outside of the big city centres rather than in them. Upper Canada College for one. The world that places like that exist in is so far removed from the Canada I grew up with that I still think I’d have to see it in person to believe it exists. I’m only partly exaggerating.
I hope we can do better than that in the future I’m realizing that we’re all better off if every child has the opportunity to learn and experience from the widest array—rather than limiting those opportunities to children who had the good fortune of good circumstance. It’s not exactly in their control, and it seems like a hell of a good investment to me.
I was advocating for more funding to public education so that more children have access to more learning experiences.
I hope that’s more clear.
Example: declining student enrollment, increased spending https://www.fraserinstitute.org/article/per-student-spending...
Canadian provinces’ public schools are ranking in the top 10 of world countries.
As an aside, I do not trust the Fraser Institute to be unbiased on the matter of any kind of public spending. Public spending is a essentially against their core values.
Everything bar the geo-specific things (sailing,planeterium) come from the same money pot for every school in Ireland (ROI) and are pretty much the same for most schools countrywide. The more disadvantaged an area your school is in, the more resources(a la funding/support) it gets.
This extends outside school to community. The most disadvantaged/crime-ridden communities get the most government funding(local sports/after-school activities/local community centers etc.)
""but the government is incompetent/corrupt/inefficient""
There's always some kind of overhead. Open markets and open societies require infrastruture.
Rules, government, lawyers, accountants, judges, cops and so forth are cheaper (for society) than anarchy (laissez faire).
I'd take the Freedom Markets™ advocates a bit more seriously if they offered any kind of alternative. Something a bit more constructive than "taxes are theft!".
It's not really that simple. Taking, by force, from Person A to raise Person B's children is complicated especially if you're worried about justness.
A lot of people like a carbon tax because it will lower carbon emissions, if you tax productivity it has the same effect. A lot of people like clean energy subsidies because it makes clean energy more common, unfortunately subsidizing poverty often has the same effect.
I'm not saying you're wrong to care, I'm saying it's not a simple problem.
You don't acquire a $100 million fortune by performing 1000x the labor of a person with $100k, you get it by skimming the fruits of a lot of other people's labor.
Or you can solve some previously unsolved problems which allow you to produce better products for lower costs than your competitors. This is how Carnegie, Rockefeller, Walton, Bernard Kroger, Aaron Montgomery Ward, Richard Warren Sears, etc. all made their fortunes. Even modern tycoons like Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Bill Gates, etc.
Can they get too much market power and start stealing from society? Absolutely, that's why we have anti-trust laws. But to see a fortune and assume a theft is to fundamentally misunderstand economics.
How much value? Who determines how much you get to keep of it? These are highly charged political questions that have driven a lot of economic history!
> But to see a fortune and assume a theft...
I never said theft. I responded directly to the idea that people vast wealth is merely "the fruits of one's labor." And I stand by this statement: it is not, it is the fruit of many people's labor.
> ...is to fundamentally misunderstand economics.
I suppose I should tell my economics professors.
It's not the same situation, so there's no reason to think it'd have the same effect.
A carbon tax's effect would come from opportunity cost. A company stops a behavior because of a carbon tax when they've found something more profitable. The tax just shifts the line of "more profitable."
But what's somebody going to do if you tax their wealth more? They only "other opportunities" are leaving the country or having more free time. The first is definitely a risk to consider, but the second seems unlikely for the class whose income comes from just investing their wealth. Why not invest, even if the profits are smaller?
Tax investing and that shifts the line just like a carbon tax, except in this case the people investing are more likely to start buying politicians or sending their money overseas. Those things don't benefit society like having them fund the research and diligence necessary to find and invest in the next Google, the next Target, or the next energy revolution.
There are many companies that produce little real world value, yet tons of income.
I think the author of this piece values these accomplishments more than the guy in question.
I could somewhat deal with the rest with a shoulder shrug, but this one is what makes it too hard to swallow :)
He got that for winning the Google science award in the article.
Ireland has like 5 million people? How would it have/support an adequate university research system to support a top-tier talent?
So it even has to do with the protestant/catholic divide (science and manufacturing was something "they" did). It's a very painful story, and a lot of Irish tech people have a chip on their shoulder (narcissistic injury) because of our backwardness.
Unfortunately, these companies were brought over by accountants, not engineers..
In so far as, Ireland gave them an opportunity to target EU market (& tax deals) which meant their staff is mostly non engineering (customer service/finance/legal).
The big mistake Ireland made (back then) was not ensuring some of their core business functionalities _had_ to be present in Ireland (i.e. engineering)
A lot less new tech companies built by accountants and customer support staff compared to engineers.
These are just a few off the top of my head, but the history is really interesting. A good bit of it has to do with Shannon, which actually served as inspiration for Shenzen believe it not!
I've been tempted to write up this history for quite a while because it's not really well known, and even despite being in STEM myself was quite surprised when I found out Analog Devices actually do design and manufacturing here and were making chips for Apple and Waymo!
Finland has a population of 5M.
Granted, he moved later, but that's a counterexample for the first ~30 years at least.
I can't ollie a board. Such is life.
pretty normal to graduate high school and attend university
> works as a curator at the Schull Planetarium
I don't know what responsibility this holds how he got the job so it's hard to say.
>has won 12 science fair awards
I don't know the award scheme so hard to say. Even if he won 1st place 12 times, a science fair is hardly difficult to win since you are basically competing against semi-motivated highschoolers.
>speaks three languages fluently
This depends on the language. Some people get 2 languages for free from home and learn another to fluent level in high school. Not really a mind-blowing accomplishment.
>plays the trumpet at orchestra level,
This is really the only one that required consistent effort.
>had a minor planet named after him by the MIT Lincoln Laboratory."
Out of all these, the only thing I wish I had is the ability to play the trumpet.
Being engaged enough as a teenager to win stuff, have a job, become actually fluent at languages (Irish high school does not make you fluent), do your grades in music, and choose then qualify for a university outside Ireland - none of this is easy or the "default" that is expected of children growing up there.
The default is you either stay in the town you grew up in or attend one of several major Irish universities free of charge with a bunch of your friends. After which you get a job in one of the bigger cities, maybe emigrate for employment reasons, or indeed head on back to your home town anyway and look for work there. That's normal.
You're doubtful of this kid's accomplishments but you have no context for the surrounding culture or how hard these things might have been for him individually.
I grew up there. It's not easy to stick your neck out and try to achieve things or be interested in success as a teenager in a rural school in Ireland.
Those days are long gone thanks to the neo-liberals.
Impressed by this guy's accomplishments. His parents and environment are doing something right.
A lack of popular support for the truly free education movement (some name like FEIS if I remember correctly) while it looked like the Celtic Tiger was going to provide every Irish(wo)man with a rental property in Bulgaria led us to this pass.
> The vortex tube was used to separate gas mixtures, oxygen and nitrogen, carbon dioxide and helium, carbon dioxide and air in 1967 by Linderstrom-Lang. Vortex tubes also seem to work with liquids to some extent...
I would think if no ones figured out desalination via vortex, filtering otherwise seems unlikely
There's lots of work done already on removing suspended particulates from liquids, eg https://petrowiki.org/Removing_solids_from_water#Desanding_h... .
Will be interesting to see how this ends
Go to any R1 university and talk to the postdocs, they are the same teenagers with ten to fifteen more years of knowledge under their belts.
That's not to say there is no such thing as prodigy, but they tend to be in a few fields where it is possible to substitute sheer raw brilliance for knowledge of the literature (e.g. certain subfields of math) and they are extremely rare.
But people just think "amazing" when a teenager does something, because people now have very low expectation for teenagers.
I'm a firm believer that in order to reach virtuous levels in anything, you really need to take advantage of your teenage years to nail down the fundamentals.
I'm a musician myself, and spent almost every day between ages 13 to 20, often up to 6 hours a day, practicing and playing my instrument. Way more often than not, when I meet very talented people in different walks of life (music, tech, sports, etc.), it's the same story.
Teens also tend to have a very naive optimism and ambition / drive. Nothing is impossible, and no-ones gonna stop them. I think you need that no-breaks mentality to succeed.
And lastly, people naturally root for young people. The next hope, and all that.
The only difference is that during your teenage years you get to choose. There is no pressure to get a "useful" degree or find a high-paying job.
Something obvious: Just because you have these opportunities doesn't mean you automatically take advantage of them and become virtuous. A lot of people waste their opportunities in exchange for something else.
While your point about about teenagers having lots of discretionary time to become better at what they choose to pursue is very valid, the 10,000 hour rule is a distortion of the findings of a study on accomplished violinists. It is not broadly applicable. The tradition of violin playing has hundreds of years of teaching and quantifiable and measurable performance indicators. Other fields, not so much.
This is why I think more companies should embrace skunkworks projects/time. Imagine if some of the best engineers around the world were given time during the day to work on some hard problems they wouldn't necessarily be thinking about. I'm sure we'd solve some problems pretty quickly. Instead engineers are working on extracting more eye time for ads.
For this guy the effort investment will be very profitable at least. I'm honestly happy for him (but a litte baffled that they still look for multitask superheros able to play the tuba. Why we would want a girl/guy, able to clean the ocean, spending one single hour of their precious time learning the baby elephant walk instead?).
It seems that the number of "don't apply if you are not young" job offers in science is increasing in any case.
I don't think the prize takes his tuba skills into account at all. It's just that very driven people take to be driven in their various interests.
That said, one reason to prefer tuba-playing ocean cleaners might be to avoid those that will burnout before reaching the goals.
Showing them "hey what you can do with your mind is valued by society" might help do that.
... and for most of the participants, here comes the surprise...
This seems to be a hole that needs plugging. Regulations that prohibit the use of this stuff altogether would be even better.
A lot of microplastic is from textiles. If you ban all sources of microplastics you'll be back to wearing only wool, cotton, silk, linen, and leather.
A lot of the remainder is from plastic single use containers. Instead of banning them they could simply be returned to the shop from which they were bought for recycling as is done for most drinks containers (both plastic and aluminium) here in Norway.
Banning plastic bottles would mean a substantial increase in energy use because the alternative is glass which is much heavier and more costly to recycle. Perhaps we could switch to aluminium for more containers.
It fashionable now to complain about the deliberately created microplastics like those used in cosmetics but the vast bulk come from wear and tear on what are now effectively traditional materials.
what would be wrong with that? i'd be all for it.
it's also possible to make plastic containers and bottles reusable.
So, wait... If we just stopped using microplastics in soaps, shower gels and facial scrubs we'd mostly stop dumping microsplastics in to the environment?
But we don't because we'd rather have this totally optional, cosmetic benefit?
Humans are so stupid.
I strongly think it's the majority, though I don't have a source, that most microplastics come from wear and other sources. From consumer sources, microplastics come from synthetic fibers and wear from regular plastic products, among others.
Only the pieces that are visible enough to be still recognizable make it into photos in news articles. The real data is very different, especially when you are looking for the micrometer-sized plastics that end up killing fish or getting into bottled water.
Also I noticed the term "microplastics" is used for two different things - one are fragments of plastic size 1-5cm, the other is the size of glitter particles and smaller. It is the second one that's more of a concern.
pretty much a google search away
There are still a lot floating around though.
... and what kwhitefoot said about textiles.
Anything made of plastic, because it deteriorates over time.
Tires with synthetic threads, as another HN poster mentioned recently.
Plastic shoes (most shoes in western world)
Glitter and car paint
The magnetite left behind seems toxic also. When I saw it being dropped in the water, I wondered how the fish are going to survive all that.
Microplastics that settle to the bottom of the ocean might be collected somehow. The rest are dispersed by ocean currents in a vast, vast volume of water, especially colloidal plastic. How would we have enough magnetite to do any of this?
I really hope there can be some plastic-eating bacteria that will break down microplastics and won’t get out of control and create a worse problem
However we as a society must switch away to biodegrdable plastics! Why haven’t we done this for decades, same as with electric cars? Governments are unwilling to use pigovian taxes and tariffs to subsidize eco-friendly alternatives.
Plus many Europeans don’t want to go to the US. Not for anything more than a vacation. This view has strengthened over the last several years.
I know, lots of articles are published that cite one another. But none of them have any actual harm documented. They just vaguely refer to one another with "It's well-known that these things are harmful" and then cite another article that says the same thing.
It reminds me of 'solar roads', another hyped-up internet sensation based on nothing.
So, a graduate student and half a dozen flower pots are the sum total of evidence driving this hysteria?
We could possibly be having an effect on our environment directly with our actions and we are trying to figure out how to stop it. Solar roads is more of a fad "solution" to the issue. Microplastic is the problem.
There's sand of every size, everywhere. To show another kind of sand is of importance requires some evidence.
"The WHO says the evidence suggests that all larger plastic particles, and most of the smaller ones, simply pass through the body without being absorbed at all"
So while the plastic might not be absorbed, can we say the same thing about what’s stuck to the plastic?
Science involves measuring things. So far, all that's been measured (unreliably) is that these things exist.