Bryan Wade Imagine for a moment that this wasn't about Assange. Imagine that it was a Tibetian civil rights activist that recently became famous after a big protest or after releasing a bunch of info that was extremely embarrassing to China. And then, almost immediately after the incident, Chinese officials started making accusations that the activist had done some terrible crime and needed to be extradited to China from his current hiding spot in the first world. Do we just extradite the activist, no questions asked, or should we make special considerations, to ensure that nothing nefarious is going on, while still investigating the crime? Or do you believe that China is the only country that is capable of corruption?
Bryan Wade Look, I don't care if they have video and DNA "evidence" of him murdering someone. If the government spent 100 million dollars, it could fabricate this evidence. I'm not saying that the charges are made up. I have no idea. Just that there is a huge motivation for the US to bribe people for millions of dollars to fabricate evidence in this specific case. What you have to understand is that this is not a normal case! It does not apply to the everyday criminal. Special considerations need to be made for political targets as governments have a strong incentive to abuse the justice system against them. I don't normally take conspiracy theories seriously, because most of the time there isn't really a motavation.
Bryan Wade He should be treated differently because he is a political target. If someone is at risk of assassination or attacks by foreign nations, as many people believe, then reasonable accommodations should be made to ensure their safety.
Bryan Wade "By evading questioning, he has broken Swedish law as well." Wrong. He has offered many times to be questioned via phone, email, and even in person at the embassy. The Swedish government has refused anything other than extradition. The Swedish government would have no reason to refuse this unless its purposes were more nefarious. It is quite a reasonable request given that he is fearful of extradition to the US.
Bryan Wade If you don't let people surrender then what do you think will happen the next time something like this happens? If the only slight possibility for a criminal to come out alive is to shoot all the people coming after you then that is exactly what they will do.
Bryan Wade I don't understand the point that you are making, especially since you called it a "modest proposal" implying that you are taking an extreme stance to discredit those who believe it. The question isn't "should we pay bartenders more/less". This is because you have no ability to affect this. If everyone stopped tipping then economics says that the average bartender salary of 3$/hour would have to be raised, causing the price of drinks to be raised to pay for this, saving you 0$. What tipping really does is allow bartenders who provide better customer service to be payed more. It allows better bartenders to be payed more than bad bartenders. Good ones get tipped and bad ones don't, different than what would happen under hourly wage.
Bryan Wade That doesn't make any sense. If people no longer tipped, thus forcing barowners to pay employees more, then prices for drinks would have to be raised. On average, the amount per drink that prices raise by would be about equal to the average amount that is no longer tipped per drink and we are back where we started.
Bryan Wade The article was my attempt at satire. "I don't think it's that big a deal considering Washington already had an online option since 2008. It's a minor expansion to an already established idea, really." I agree.
Bryan Wade It could only get cheaper. Right now if Fedex or UPS attempts to offer letter delivery service they will be sued by the government, as it is ILLEGAL to compete against the post office, even if the service that Fedex/UPS is better and cheaper in any way. It is illegal to create a better service, in what world does that make sense? We don't have to get rid of the post office, just make it legal to compete against it.
Bryan Wade I will agree that getting an ivy league degree in something that isn't in demand, such as most liberal arts, will likely not bring in enough returns to justify the cost. Getting a high level degree which teaches you skills that are in high demand will absolutely be worth it. Fields such as Computer Science, petroleum engineering, math/finance, and statistics are very high paying and greatly reward those who have education in these fields.
Bryan Wade The point is that the there is nothing wrong with this female fluff that you say applies to the lowest common denominator. A friend of mine sometimes comes off as extremely feminine and ditsy, but she is the most successful computer science student i know who has received dozens of high paying job offers and has basically started her own company. The technology field does not belong to geeks. Being ultra feminine makes you no less of a scientist, and there is nothing inherently superior about geek culture.
Bryan Wade Why can't science be sexy, feminine, flashy, or pink? Why can't people who associate with these kinds of cultural identities be into science? It is exactly this kind of attitude, that keeps women out of science. Guess what, there are a lot of women who with these kinds of cultural identities and there is nothing wrong with appealing to them, just as there is nothing wrong with appealing to the male-dominated geek culture. Science doesn't have to be nerdy or geeky. I wish less people thought that it inherently has to be and that to not be geeky, or to be in any way traditionally feminine is somehow degrading.
Bryan Wade No that doesn't make any sense. If companies could make more money by being restricted to offering only 16 ounce or smaller sodas, what they would do is simply only offer 16 ounce or smaller sodas (with or without the legal restrictions!). If offering large sodas was less profitable then what reason would they have for doing it?
Bryan Wade The classical solution to the tragedy of the commons is privatization. I don't think that was the example that you were looking for. A more appropriate economic concept would be to point out that roads provide positive externalities to society, and if they were all privatized then the free market would rationally underproduce them, unless they were subsidized.
Bryan Wade The most damage that anonymous has ever done is taken down the playstation online network, which isn't even comparable to nuclear war. Things like Stuxnet are quite a bit more worrisome, but even these types of government created attacks can only do a few billion dollars in damage, which is still not comparable to a nuclear attack.
Bryan Wade The biggest consequence of adding back the ability to default for student loans is that companies will simply stop offering loans to all but those who are most able to pay them back because their parents co-signed the loan. The reason why defaulting isn't allowed is because the loans are often very large and people don't own anything of value at this point in their life. If defaulting was allowed, then it would be extremely sound financial advise to take out a 200k student loan and default on it. Who cares if your credit score is shot for a couple years, you just got a degree costing/worth 200k, so won't need to take out a loan anytime soon, and they can't take back your degree!
Bryan Wade I'm not sure what point you are trying to make against "Eat less, move more". Unless you are already exercising to the point of injuring yourself, exercising more will pretty much always make you a healthier person, and probably lose weight as well (although increased muscle mass might increase wieght, but unless your working out as much as a body builder, you probably don't have to worry). People often don't like to hear this, but one of the best solutions to becoming healthier (i.e. physically fit) really is just to take up a varsity sport and work out for 2-3 hours a day, every day.
Bryan Wade (char limit) To continue this hyperbole even more. Basically what I am saying is that even if 100 nuclear power plants melted down every single year, in gigantic Chernobyl style disasters, nuclear power still wouldn't even be half as dangerous as coal, in terms of total deaths.
Bryan Wade Fukushima (and Chernobyl!) proved that nuclear is safe, not dangerous. Even if every single publicized nuclear incident was as bad as Chernobyl, nuclear would still be safer than most of the alternatives. This is because a Chernobyl Disaster causes about 4,000 cancer deaths over 20 years, where as when a dam breaks, it levels the cities downstream, and causes 100,000 deaths (see Banqiao dam incident), and hydro is a SAFE energy source. 30,000 people in the US and 500,000 people in China die every year due to coal pollution, but nobody talks about them. http://nextbigfuture.com/2011/03/deaths-per-twh-by-energy-source.html This stat is according to the WHO. Moral of the story is that air pollution sucks and so does coal.
Bryan Wade Oh really? What about all the hippies who are deathly afraid of Genetically Modified food, even though the scientific consensus is that it is completely safe? What about the whole organic fad, even though the scientific consensus is that there is no difference between organic and inorganic food? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organic_food#Nutritional_value_and_taste What about the people who think that nuclear energy is some sort of super dangerous technology, when on an energy produced per death ratio, it is by FAR the safest? What about the people who think that global warming is going to produced an apocalypse style disaster, even though the consensus is that the effects will be much more modest and over hundreds of years?
Bryan Wade Ok then, so the kimel curve has nothing to do with the laffer curve. The laffer curve is a graph of tax rates vs tax revenue not vs gdp growth. The main point of the laffer curve is to show that every additional 1% increase in tax rates will produce less revenue than the last and that the marginal returns and is negative past an indeterminate point on the graph. Its just about diminishing marginal returns from tax rates. Here I thought you were arguing that the laffer curve is bunk, but if you agree that tax rates have diminishing marginal returns, and that a 1% increase in taxes produces less than a 1% increase in revenue, then you agree with the central point of the laffer curve.
Bryan Wade Perhaps these FBI investigations were a waste of resources, but I have yet to see any evidence that they were illegal. Nobody's emails were stole, no phones were tapped, and no one broke into anything. A couple people just entered a public area. Is it illegal to enter a mosque for "the wrong reasons"? How are anyone's rights being violated? How is your freedom of speech being limited? What is preventing people from practicing their religion?
Bryan Wade People respond to incentives. The laffer curve is just something that can be deductively proven from this assumption. IE, when you tax them more, they have a larger incentive to evade taxes and less of incentive to work for money. Do you believe that people respond to incentives? Data is unimportant if you don't have a solid theory of what is happening. What is your theory as to what is happening that would cause tax revenues to increase by more than 1% after a tax increase of 1%? Is the income effect so large that it counteracts the substitution effect?