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I don't buy "unintentional".

There's also the shifting economics. In the youth of the boomers, working yourself through college was a thing, getting on the bottom rung of the property ladder with your entry level job was a thing.

Nowadays you'd get a bitter laugh suggesting a millennial do either. But boomers still think it.

"They don't have a work ethic" - no shit, they don't. They've made the entirely rational decision that hard work doesn't pay. Rather, work is a painful subsistence deathmarch promising no future other than more of the same.


The idea of work ethic has been contorted.

I will work hard for years if I get a reasonable reward for it. 20 years of 40 hour weeks for a family home and reasonable life at the end? Sure.

40 hour weeks for zero increase in net worth and barely making the rent? Get outta here. Someone else can be your pawn. I'll find alternative ways to live, screw your little game.

The idea is deferred gratification, not total lack of gratification.

"working yourself through college was a thing"

Not just youth of the boomers, but as an early gen-x I had no problem doing the same. Well, I had minor credit card debt but nothing much. The government didn't help much back then, which is why my tuition payments were like $2K instead of $30K like now.

Today I could not possibly afford to buy the house I bought and live in around the turn of the century. Note that in the long term those prices always revert to the norm. One way or another the median property buyer eventually buys the median property. So either their wages go up (LOL as if that's ever going to happen without a revolution) or the prices go down (guaranteed, this is baked into the cake at this point). There is a famous saying about the market can afford to be irrational longer than you can afford to wait so its not like its going to be next week, but eventually the average dude is going to be able to afford the average domicile, and the only question is who's going to take the painful adjustment.

Even though I was at the tail end of "Gen X" like the author of the article, I still managed to pull it off. This wasn't without any debt but I went to a state university that cost about $10k/yr and paid for most of it by working part time throughout school and full time over summers (while living for free at home during breaks, foregoing the car payment, and skipping the pricey spring breaks and summer vacations).

That's not to say I didn't take out any loans but when I graduated, I owed the equivalent of a Ford Focus rather than a good chunk of a home mortgage. Looking at the costs at the same state university, it's now up to around $13k for tuition, fees, and a dorm room for a full year. That's a decent $3k/yr bump from what I paid but I also didn't take advantage of cheap community college tuition for the first year or two so there are still ways to do it and not graduate with $50-100k in debt.

If anything, I think what's missing (and was missing for me as well) is a real focus on the value of degrees and the real cost of debt. Offers of loans and credit are thrown at students all the time and it's way too easy to accept when you haven't spent years of being truly broke and in debt. Likewise, there was so much focus on just going to college because that is what you did after high school. Just pick a major based on something you like and no mention is made of which fields are actually hiring and what they're paying.

The idea of just going to college and paying $40k or $60k to spend four years learning about something interesting just "because" really only works if you come from wealth and can just pay for it. As long as it costs that much, I think there should really be more focus on exactly what you're getting at the end. Too many young people think it's "college, then graduate, then get job in field, then use salary to pay off any loans while maybe saving up to buy a house somewhere down the line". I don't think you can really blame them because if I remember correctly, I was ignorant of much of reality at 17 when I was applying for this stuff.

I've heard it mentioned as specifically a tool for refugee camp type situations, when you have a lot of warlike supplies (bags and barbed wire) to hand, and a lot of people to house in a hurry.

Your chance of winning money may be tiny, but your chance of actually not dying of a AIDS went way up. Pay for the infinitessimal chance of a coffee, receive a donut instead. Tasty, tasty donut.

Yeah, but the will to actually not dying of AIDS should be taught somehow. Otherwise, you are covering up the problem. In a year the lottery goes away, AIDS comes up again.

Just like fixing a bug superficially instead of going for the root.

If you wanted donuts you could've just get them in the first place.

I am not saying the results aren't positive, or that they aren't better than nothing. But I don't think this solves anything in the long term, and the manipulative and "the ends justify the means" approach rings the "should this really be done?" alarm bell in my mind.

One reason that HIV infection is high is because it's a taboo subject. The government can affect this taboo status through education, yes, and also this way.

Punishing HIV positive people (for example, by making it illegal for them to enter the country) contributes to this taboo. Giving a government-mandated lottery ticket mitigates the taboo, and it's my belief that this will have lasting positive consequences even after the lottery goes away.

Also, people not getting infected today are not infecting people tomorrow (exponentially). Stopping infections today is exactly the right thing to do for the long-term.

Weel, in the long term, the only thing that solves anything is probably a vaccine/cure. There are other initiatives also.

If this is true, then the alarm in my mind won't ring: The lotteries led to a 21.4 percent reduction in HIV incidence among participants over a two-year period, and a reduction of more than 60 percent among participants identified as “risk-loving individuals” — those who were identified at the study’s start as people who enjoyed risky behavior."

You are assuming the scientists who did these studies and the scientists attempting to merge them with meta-analysis are asleep at the wheel and have failed to correct for obvious confounding factors that a random member of the public could brainstorm in the seconds it took you to post.

This doesn't seem like a sensible assumption, absent evidence.


Hey Julian,

I really wasn't trying to discredit any of the studies done. Whenever I participate in discussion my main motivation is always to try and create nuances. I know before hand that an actual truth is impossible to attain, so I feel it's better to just try and add some color to the discussion.

Causation and correlation is of course always low-hanging fruit, I just felt it was curious that the article did not touch upon it and wanted to fuel a different angle of discussion.


As a general rule, devils-advocacy (being the process of advocating a position you don't agree with because you think it isn't getting enough air time) is unhelpful verging on concern trolling.

If it's a strong argument, why hasn't it convinced you?

When you do that, you emit weak arguments that are easy to knock down but send the discussion off on a tangent.


I never considered nuancing a discussion could be unhelpful, but I think I understand your point. There's some kind of underlying truth we're attempting to uncover, and in your opinion, I'm derailing by "nuancing" through devils advocacy; submitting arguments I do not actually believe to be worthwhile.

I'm wondering though, does it have to be so black and white? Can't I believe partially that what i'm positing is worthwhile, or at least have a feeling there's something to uncover down that avenue, without being entirely convinced? I would assume bouncing half-baked ideas off each other could be valuable (though I do recall a bunch of studies debunking Brainstorming, which I guess this is similar to).


Wind engineers: why isn't "save the birds" as simple as a ring-enclosed sandwich of mesh screen, blades, mesh screen?


Because generally the birds don't really need saving from wind turbines.

Numbers from an unverified source: http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/green-science... (other sites seems to agree on the cats vs turbine numbers)

Alternatively, from a source you might expect to be very biased in favour of birds: http://www.rspb.org.uk/forprofessionals/policy/windfarms/


A problem with the estimates in the U.S. is that turbines disproportionately affect legally-protected birds, and so the numbers are suspected to be severely under reported.


So what? If they're too stupid not to fly into a giant blade, then maybe it's ok that they die.


Let me introduce you to a wonderful concept:


Enjoy the next three days of reading.


A selfish reason to care is that apex predators like birds of prey are useful as indicators for the health of an ecosystem. Take the case of DDT as an example.

A less selfish reason is that bad things happen to the rest of the ecosystem when you mess around with apex predators.


Any thermostat with a placebo button is basically telling workers, we don't care if you are suffering in stuffy or shivering working conditions, because we know better. It's arrogant and condescending and manipulative, it speaks very badly of management, and I would be sorely tempted to smash it with a rock.


It's easy to get into 'thermostat wars' if everyone can change the temperature though. Some people (like myself) prefer it colder and can't work comfortably at the temperatures others prefer.

It may sound selfish, but I'm of the opinion that it should be set at the lowest level that people are comfortable with and then those who are too cold and put layers on.


I totally agree with you. If you're too cold, you can dress up. I can't dress down from my t-shirt because you set up a fucking sauna in the office.


Yes, I was just working with a heavy coat, gloves, and looking for ear protection a few weeks ago. Yet, that's exactly what I heard when I tried to fix it.


The answer is to improve the heating system so it can be set per worker. This dovetails nicely with giving people rooms - and their own thermostat dial.

Death to open plan offices, I say.


Solutions are easy when time and money is no object.


Don't smash it with a rock. Cover it, blow a fan over it or set a very hot laptop next to it, if you want changes in temperature.


Ah, yes. One winter bout 25 years ago we wondered why the thermostat seemed to have no relation to the temperature of the office. Then somebody noticed that there was a LaserJet immediately under it. Moving the printer worked nicely.

But there was no such easy fix one summer when the techies with a south window were cooking and the boss with a north window was just right. The boss resisted all efforts at a compromise.


Canned air is your friend, any time you want something very cold in a hurry.


The fake thermostats, being fake, don't react to local temperature variation by changing system behavior. You need to find the real thermostats.


When I worked at one large corporation, they always kept the temp around 63ish. The sales people joked it was to keep us awake and dialing all day.

Of course they outlawed space heaters, but that didn't stop anybody from bringing them in. The funny part was trying to coordinate them so we could warm a certain set of cubes without blowing the fuse.

It was our way of getting some feeling of control back. It's interesting how important this is to people - to feel like they're in control of their surroundings.


Driving jobs go byebye.


So, Skynet, basically?


I think that in Britain, if they shoot, they kill. Guns are extremely ineffective at "set phasers to stun". Blowing someone's hip apart is quite enough to kill them.



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