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sigh I suppose it's probably unrealistic to hope for separate first-flush and second-flush Darjeeling blends...

I think this is for grab and go - they have a variety of huge ready made filter coffee flasks in many US cafes / universities. It's not the same as a gourmet artisan well made timed tea... but I really hope that it improves the general awareness of tea in general.

I'm not an employee of the company, I'm just a huge tea nerd.

Thanks for the feedback! Right now we have 18 ingredients per machine. But I must say, more variety is a common request. We stock what's popular and curate our selection based on user feedback. So please keep it coming.

http://federalreserve.gov is the website of the "board of governors of the Federal Reserve System" (who are appointed by the President). Individual Federal Reserve banks have websites like https://www.clevelandfed.org/ or http://www.newyorkfed.org/ or http://www.frbsf.org/

Yeah I know. But I still stand by my assertion that in every practical sense, the Fed should be treated as a govt. agency and should be pretty much completely transparent.

How many government agencies can you name that are even moderately transparent?

Very few, but what's your point? Do you think we should stop demanding and fighting for transparency just because we don't have it now?

Google says that PRG files belong to FoxPro (or tools with similar lineage).

My impression of IBM as a place to work is that it's hopelessly bureaucratic in a way that no simple reform is going to be able to fix.

For instance. Once upon a time I had an internship there, working with a particular product dealing with server management. As part of the setup process required to customize servers, users were directed to go to a random university user's home directory to download one particular older version of some open-source boot-utility software (newer versions wouldn't work). This is, of course, a terrifying distribution mechanism.

Actually hosting and distributing this file wasn't something that IBM people were willing to do; you'd need to run it through the Lawyers. (This probably feeds a Not Invented Here syndrome.)

That said! At least the internship was with the Software division. The way I heard it, Services was 90% of the revenue and Software was 90% of the profit. Things are a lot better in Software. Still a damnable maze of cubicle farms, though.

> I strongly think that there should be very strict regulations on how much they may drive.

And how will that be enforced ... how, exactly? Short of proactive electronic monitoring in every single vehicle on the road in Europe as a prerequisite for driving anywhere at all, that is.

The entire premise of this operation is that you throw caution to the wind and save money because it's an extra ~$200 and you're making around $3/hr, if you're lucky enough to be employed.

As far as I know big trucks have meters that monitor how long you have been driving (at what speed).

While I have no idea what that costs, you should be responsible for what you are doing on the road. And if commercial driver think it is a good idea to drive 100h in just 5 days, such reckless behavior has to be stopped. If you want to save money and sacrifice your on health, that's your decision but endangering others is a no-go.

I'd also be reckless (and forbidden) to drive without working breaks even if they have worked well enough for you so far. If you don't sleep enough, your reflexes will be pretty bad and that is just as bad as not having functioning breaks.

And how much would that cost him? Maybe 200€ per trip more. The cost would not only be split among the passengers but also among his legally smuggled goods. And I think he is making enough money if he gives each passenger tobacco that he sells for a lot of money and even has someone's paycheck for half a year with him.

> As far as I know big trucks have meters that monitor how long you have been driving (at what speed).

Most freight companies have an existence and operations outside the grey market. They can be subjected to this sort of regulation. An independent guy with a van? Enforcing that will be a whole lot harder. He won't install it. Or he'll install it and disable it, or otherwise thwart its well-functioning. If you set up checkpoints to verify that the device is installed and functioning he'll detour around them, over rural highways.

And if the lawless independent guys with a van can undercut the lawful one, they'll get the business.

I've given up on Civilization in favor of Europa Universalis IV. What it lacks in epic-scale from the ancient era, it makes up for with lovely detail. Attrition may kill more of your army than the enemy, peasant uprisings and revolts are common (rather than signs of epic mismanagement), papal elections and the Protestant Reformation are intricately structured gameplay mechanics... or you could play as the Aztecs and contend with a 'doom' countdown which can only be sated by occupying enemy lands for human sacrifice. :P


It's not strictly about being a bad customer of the airlines... You can get free flights by being bad customers of other businesses offering airline miles (like credit cards) or by defrauding taxpayers (the well-known "buy dollar coins from the Mint" scam). This might even be profitable for the airlines. Sometimes.

Once upon a time a nerdy young boy in a Catholic high school was obsessed with airplanes. He started flying around the country collecting frequent flyer miles, reporting small problems with the plane, and getting lots of $200 "apology" vouchers and stuff. It was fun.

Today he has a big fan club, runs some airfare-hacker forums and gives interviews to magazines with no journalistic credibility or fact-checking whatsoever (cough cough). Airfare hacking today is harder than it used to be, and you can't even defraud the US Mint by ordering dollar coins on your credit card (with no fee / free shipping), but you can still get lucky with mistake fares and/or pay people to violate all the terms and conditions and fly in your name, if you're sneaky about it.

You are being generous. Too generous. These are very, very high-spin bullet points and contrary analysis is easy. Let's try a few examples!

(Disclaimer. These opinions are for sample use and being contrarian only. Seriously advancing these opinions is a legitimate thing, but the purpose of this post is not to advance them. They will not be defended if you reply.)

Reduce dependence on foreign oil and gas? He's been against all sorts of oil projects and fracking from the moment he took office (although if you want to be pedantic Keystone is technically foreign oil). The mess around Gaddafi and Syria, and the troop withdrawals in Iraq, helped gave rise to ISIS/ISIL to begin with, and they're far from contained yet. NATO vs Russia has looked less like "shoring up" NATO and slowly weakening Putin than just letting Putin having his way with Ukraine (or "the Ukraine", if you're Putin). "Re-balance relation with Israel" could equally be construed as propping up Hamas and giving his blessing for Iran to build nuclear weapons. Re-establishing relations with Cuba is re-establishing relations with a totalitarian state and a bad idea! The environment deal will accomplish nothing in the end.

(end sample opinions)

I think there's a few too many caveats here, and that at best a few decades out we'll be looking at the Obama foreign-policy record as decidedly mixed.

Fracking is at an all-time high and US oil production is higher than it's been for a while. Whether you are happy with oil prices or not, environmentalists will tell you it's blatantly dishonest to say "He's been against all sorts of oil projects and fracking."

Most of this is US foreign policy which is not specific to Obama, it just represents continuity from Bush.

It was our entry into Iraq which created enemies like ISIS, not the withdrawal from Iraq. Iraq was never going to be the 51st state.

I agree that Putin has been allowed to do whatever he wants, but the clear start of that was the Georgia fiasco under Bush, and the unspoken alternatives are extremely unpleasant. I hate what happened to Ukraine, but I wouldn't personally die to fight Putin about Ukraine, so why should I volunteer our troops to die for that? Was that ever really an option?

There is plenty of room to disagree about whether we should have been making deals with Iran and Cuba.

If someone has an honestly favorable impression, it doesn't mean they have "very high-spin bullet points" but the arguments you've advanced are clearly dishonest.

I doubt fracking will last if the techniques involved still require oil being near $100/barrel. That seems to be the sweet spot for starting up a new well. Plus, it seems there's more resistance to fracking in other states (outside of ND) since there's evidence of water pollution due to improper uses (Oklahoma has had some of its ground water sources polluted due to mismanagement and general idiocy). I doubt we'll see fracking last more than a decade in this country at this rate if companies can't follow the basic regulations on the matter, too.

If anything, Obama has been almost entirely, intentionally neutral on fracking. He knows how important it has been to delivering a massive new source of domestic energy supply, including enabling natural gas to overtake coal.

He has cleared not sicced his EPA on oil & gas companies heavily reliant on fracking, when he easily could have made their lives far more difficult.

I think that's the only thing Obama has done good on since the Solyndra snafu. It's best the govt just foster a general policy of funding all domestic energy interests (fusion, solar, wind, oil, and etc) than just picking one clear winner. Stuff like grants for researching a new method of oil extraction is good, but giving a loan to an oil company to open a production quality well is not.

> we'll be looking at the Obama foreign-policy record as decidedly mixed.

Except his foreign policy doesn't exist in a vacuum and it's entirely subjective. Compared to Bush's 'big stick' foreign policy, for someone who doesn't live in the States, Obama truly is "change" personified.

I was in Japan when Obama was elected for his first term and there were people literally in tears at finding out that Obama had won. You'll see a couple news reports and interviews on youtube where you'll see them saying "Yeah, we're happy he won." then they would repeat his slogans "Change!" and "Yes we can!". But I had a chance to speak to a bunch of those people due to the nature of my job and after some rather in-depth questions, they weren't in tears because Obama had won, they were in tears because they were happy McCain/Palin lost. They didn't want another "crazy" republican in office. It was actually a bit shocking to learn that people abroad follow our politics more closely than a good many of our citizens. And it was interesting to see that they consider democrats the level headed bunch, and the more 'peaceful' party.

So I don't think they're a fan of Obama personally (though I'm sure some are), I think it's the fact that they prefer democratic foreign policy over republican foreign policy in general, and see republicans as war mongering neocons.

>And it was interesting to see that they consider democrats the level headed bunch, and the more 'peaceful' party.

Well why wouldn't they? Just because Republicans run as the party of mature, responsible individuals who can see how liberal idealism sounds nice but will ultimately founder against the hard rocks of the real world doesn't mean that their real-world policy record bears out their propaganda. In fact, the Democrats are basically what most of the world considers responsible conservatives (eg: mature, responsible people who can see how idealism sounds nice but ultimately founders, and thus how stability is preferable above all else). The Republicans are considered far-right nationalists, warmongers, and religious crazies.

>So I don't think they're a fan of Obama personally (though I'm sure some are), I think it's the fact that they prefer democratic foreign policy over republican foreign policy in general, and see republicans as war mongering neocons.

Again: well yeah. Nixon went to China. Today's Republican foreign-policy establishment spent a lot of effort claiming that if we don't go to war with Iran, that if we in fact use diplomacy without invading, we're effectively Neville Chamberlain. They said exactly the same thing about Iraq, and look how that turned out.

If you want a mature, responsible conservative, vote for the Democrats. If you want an actual left, vote Socialist. The Republicans have been far-right since Bush II.

You wrote, "the troop withdrawals in Iraq, helped gave rise to ISIS/ISIL to begin with,"

The troop withdrawal in Iraq was caused by an agreement signed between the Bush administration and the Iraqi government. The Obama administration tried (some say not hard enough, but it cannot be denied that it tried) to extend the deadline negotiated by the Bush administration, but the Iraqi government denied the extension.

If this is an example of "contrary analysis" you would have been better off sitting on your hands.

Thanks for making the case for the opposition :)

The biggest problems with central planning were never quite as much about the lack of computing power, but more about the incentives that go with that power structure. Politically, the central planner gets to reward all his friends and punish his enemies and deprive them of resources and opportunities. Even aside from the obvious implications on political liberty, getting the opportunity to do business in that environment is a matter of political connection, not merit, leading to stagnation.

I suppose, though, that you could at least use sufficiently advanced algorithms to monitor supply levels and inventories and sales to adjust prices so you can bring back some measure of the price-signaling mechanism that central planning has traditionally lacked... if the guy in charge isn't tempted to fiddle with prices for political reasons. Looking at some extant central-planning huggers like Tom Steyer (who wants to investigate/punish/tax oil firms because California regulations make gas more expensive than elsewhere in the nation) you can color me skeptical of the premise.

Then there's the fact that no one can know what any given person wants to buy at a given time, and therefore central planning is doomed to failure because you can't centrally plan "the right" prices for everything, and then you'll end up vastly misallocating resources, and there will be widespread destitution ala Soviet Union.

In conclusion, central planning ultimately just completely fucks up any economy. Check out Venezuela for a recent example.

So if 100% central planning results in a total catastrophe, then there should be no central planning at all, because any extent of central planning is harmful compared to less (or ultimately none at all).

This problem applies to a non-central planned economy too. Someone somewhere has to make a decision of what people want to buy and make it in advance of the item being purchased (hence inventory). This is why most business use central planning. If they get the planning wrong they lose money and potentially go out of business. The question is can this be scaled up now economy wide now that we have much more advanced computational tools to predict and react swiftly to demand changes. I don’t know :)

However you might want to define "central planning", there's a massive difference. The business people are using their own money, but central planners use everyone else's.

Actually most large businesses are using someone else's money - the shareholders. The same sort of agency problems that exist in centrally planned economies also exist in large public companies.

You got the point though, so it's kind of pointless to keep arguing, right? Whatever money is lost is someone's own money.

I didn’t think we were even arguing, just discussing an interesting idea :)

Our current economic system is remarkably similar to the centrally planned economy the socialist dreamed of creating. Most productive enterprises have no controlling owners - the ownership of most public companies is highly dispersed and much of it in the hands of pension funds, etc. About the only difference between a socialist “paradise" and what we have now is that the indirect ownership of the means of production is not evenly distributed within society.

So if 100% central planning results in a total catastrophe, then there should be no central planning at all, because any extent of central planning is harmful compared to less (or ultimately none at all).

I don't think your argument works. If I drink a swimming pool full of water, I will die. Does that mean I should drink no water at all?

Maybe it was poorly phrased. Here's another attempt.

Any degree of central planning is harmful to us because: 1) it always represents an opportunity cost compared to people making choices themselves, and 2) the choices made by central planners are not made to benefit the masses (because otherwise they'd just let people make the choices themselves)

What would be the point of being in a position to make decisions for other people, if you were just going to do your best to benefit others, instead of yourself?


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