comments by raindoctor

raindoctor   befriend   ignore   Fri, 5 Jul 2013, 7:02am PDT   Share   Quote   Like (1)   Dislike     Comment 1

Well, conformity = less risk. If conformity leads to losses (as in recent housing bubble), all those conformants can sob together and blame someone else, like the government, banks, etc.

raindoctor   befriend   ignore   Wed, 3 Jul 2013, 3:32am PDT   Share   Quote   Like   Dislike     Comment 2

thomaswong.1986 says

my two cents, our great need today is alternative energy sources,

you will find great success looking after natural gas in middle america.

Not sure we need additional SW programmers, doctors or lawyers.

Even though what you say is true for those who can live for another 200 years, we, mere mortals, care about what is gonna happen in this decade and the next decade. That's how people are. When polity, policy is filled up with such people, who wanna make a quick buck for next decades, how about those who don't have power? What can the latter do? Just follow the elite sheep.

raindoctor   befriend   ignore   Tue, 2 Jul 2013, 10:33am PDT   Share   Quote   Like (1)   Dislike     Comment 3

FunTime says

For the record, I favor the supposed gift from the Greeks of knowledge for knowledge sake. I find it helpful in forming a perspective that keeps day-to-day events at bay.

What unites everyone in the states? American dream, of course! American dream is not about knowledge; it is all about money. Money, more money, ways to make much more money, etc.

To all those people working in Technology, Finance, Medicine, Law, and other well paid fields, American dream = make sure that their kids reach a financial status a notch above what they currently have.

The school one went to, the kind of friends they have, the kind of circles they belong to, etc are all means to achieve that American dream.

raindoctor   befriend   ignore   Tue, 2 Jul 2013, 4:50am PDT   Share   Quote   Like   Dislike     Comment 4

FunTime says

Children get educated in and out of good schools. The good schools aren't the source of education. Good schools might be the way to climb social circles, though, and so maybe a person's life becomes not harmfully difficult through social benefits.

It depends on how you look at it.

1. Modern education's primary purpose is to help people move up the ladder; its unintended consequence is some learning.

2. Modern education's primary purpose is to help people learn; its unintended consequence is is to help people move up the ladder.

Elite schools, academies, etc, sell the view point (2), to conceal the view (1).

What other alternatives are left for these parents, except to try to climb their way up?

raindoctor   befriend   ignore   Tue, 2 Jul 2013, 4:22am PDT   Share   Quote   Like   Dislike     Comment 5

FunTime says

I can see how this data would have a very satisfying effect on data-driven, science education parents. It has that effect on me. I don't think it's enough data, though. To simple. I'm actually doubting the benefit of good schools on a person's life. Climbing social ladders has benefits, but you have to be careful about how much priority you give it or someone ends up jumping off a ladder

What other alternatives are left for these parents, except for education? Even education may not get jobs in a few decades, as we are trying to get rid of once white collar jobs.

raindoctor   befriend   ignore   Wed, 29 May 2013, 8:52am PDT   Share   Quote   Like   Dislike     Comment 6

That's what happens in a country where there is no culture, or the only thing that unites people in that country is so-called "American Dream", which is nothing but "make money at any cost" without looking after the majority of ordinary folks. If someone protests against this American Dream of making money, he is branded as "anti-markets, anti-freedom, anti-capitalism, pro-communism, pro-socialism".

America is run for, and by, criminal gangs called lobbies. Even the schools feed the same stuff: look at the rat race for admissions into top schools; it is all about making money!!

raindoctor   befriend   ignore   Wed, 15 May 2013, 4:56am PDT   Share   Quote   Like   Dislike     Comment 7

"The Supreme Court rulings undid a string of campaign finance regulations and opened up loopholes for groups to avoid disclosure. The tax-exempt 501(c)(4) nonprofit, which can accept unlimited contributions from any source and whose donors can be kept secret, became the primary vehicle for operatives looking to engage in politics with "dark" money. The number of applications for 501(c)(4) status spiked, thrusting the IRS into a precarious position of overseeing partisan politics in a way that it had never done before.

"It's just another example of just the inability of the IRS to really enforce what are really political election campaign regulations," said Ofer Lion, a lawyer who works with tax-exempt organizations at Hunton & Williams. "These are career civil servants down in the IRS basement somewhere without adult supervision trying to deal with problems they don't know how to deal with."

The main problem is the need for the IRS to review partisan political activity, which has been strictly limited for tax-exempt organizations since 1954. While 501(c)(4) groups are allowed to engage in some political activity, including running partisan advertising, it cannot be their primary purpose. In its review process, the IRS examines whether a group is seeking tax exemption for inappropriate reasons like personal gain or, the current concern, improperly engaging in politics."

From http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/14/irs-tea-party-targeting_n_3272849.html?utm_hp_ref=politics

raindoctor   befriend   ignore   Sat, 4 May 2013, 12:13pm PDT   Share   Quote   Like (1)   Dislike (1)     Comment 8

Well, Keynes had an insight. Fix the aggregate demand problem, the economy cures it itself. The self-interests of the elite are not same as those of 95 percent of ordinary people; in which case, we need an entity that is different from elites, to serve the public. That's what the government is supposed to.

When the economy is cold (in recession), fire up the fiscal policy to inject into the economy. Monetary policy has no teeth; it just redistributes what is in the system.

When the economy is hot, bring in a tax policy to suck the money out.

raindoctor   befriend   ignore   Wed, 1 May 2013, 5:48pm PDT   Share   Quote   Like   Dislike     Comment 9

lostand confused says

I am still scratching my head-I am willing to pay cash, but you give me a loan at zero percent interest and a discount/rebate for that? WTF?????

Now, if only I can find someone who will give me a zero percent mortgage!

Well, the dealer is rational here: he makes 'more' money off by financing and other rebates. If you pay in cash, he makes less.

raindoctor   befriend   ignore   Tue, 30 Apr 2013, 5:29pm PDT   Share   Quote   Like   Dislike     Comment 10

New Renter says

The catalytic converter(s) does nothing for mileage, only for emissions.

Well, fuel injection is controlled by ECU, which in turns takes the readings from cat converter via O2 sensors. Yes, cat plays a role in the mileage.

raindoctor   befriend   ignore   Sat, 27 Apr 2013, 4:10pm PDT   Share   Quote   Like (3)   Dislike     Comment 11

The business of "number of jobs" is useless, unless we know the average income of these newly added jobs. These two factors (number of jobs and average income) provides a clue to the so-called recovery; in other words, we can figure out how much these jobs would add to the aggregate demand.

raindoctor   befriend   ignore   Thu, 25 Apr 2013, 8:16am PDT   Share   Quote   Like   Dislike     Comment 12

CaptainShuddup says

You were disliked for posting the best account of the state of employment that I've seen yet. And to be honest your assessment in most verticals is more optimistic than I would put it.

I am not optimistic either. I see a pattern in these jobs: coveted jobs are far and few between. Getting these coveted jobs is very tough: that's why you see the rat race among India and chinese parents in the states. These coveted jobs are made to sound like 'you just need an MBA, JD, some other paper'!!

Let me give you an analogy. Imagine that 90% of fire and police jobs don't come with any benefits at all, and yet people would line up for these jobs. 10 % of police and fire jobs with generous benefits are with vey very wealthy cities like Atherton, Palo Alto, etc. This would set up a two tier job structure: public jobs with wealthy cities vs those with other cities, and every one is trying to game the system to get a job with those 10% wealthy cities.

In corporate world, this 90-10 job split happened long time ago. Working through way up does NOT work. Getting those 10% jobs is, to a large extent, depends on who one is born to. If one is a kid of those Indian and chinese IT guy in the valley, one is disappointed, but these sucker parents don't realize it. These sucker parents rationalize their rat-racing behavior other ways: 'oh, I wanna keep my kids busy; that's why I am sending them to Cupertino High; if I send my kids to other schools, they won't be busy and end up doing things I don't like'.

raindoctor   befriend   ignore   Thu, 25 Apr 2013, 6:16am PDT   Share   Quote   Like   Dislike     Comment 13

Read this professor from UC Davis on STEM and h1b:

http://heather.cs.ucdavis.edu/h1b.html

raindoctor   befriend   ignore   Thu, 25 Apr 2013, 6:14am PDT   Share   Quote   Like   Dislike     Comment 14

Rin says

Folks, the existence of the lifelong postdoc is in itself, proof of the oversupply of scientists/engineers.

One cannot have a legion (sorry, make that armies) of highly skilled laborers earning $36K-$42K with a 2-5% chance of finding full time work as a principal investigator in academia, industry, or govt.

Thus, there's no shortage of S&Es, only a shortage of idiots who're willing to work in industry, for postdoc salaries. That's it.

It is called post-doctoral treadmill. Once you are on it, you won't get out.

raindoctor   befriend   ignore   Thu, 25 Apr 2013, 6:11am PDT   Share   Quote   Like (7)   Dislike (1)     Comment 15

What kind of jobs are out there? Let me run through a list.

1. Attorneys (JD). Unless you are from HYS, your chance of eke out is very slim. Even if you are HYS JD, you gonna be a slave, working 80 hrs a week, looking for billable hours at top tier law firms. Many clients (of these top tier law firms) have wised up and started outsourcing much of work like document review, patent filing, research to companies like evaluserve, etc.

For more on a typical lawyer, check this board http://www.shitlawjobs.com

2. MBA. Unless you are from HSW, your chance of getting ahead or even a secure job is very very slim. Many call Wharton as a MBA factory nowadays. Just go to quora.com and see some of the profiles of these HSW guys. You can see what's going on. Sure, these HSW guys may have fancy titles at many places, but don't expect them to retire 'securely' with all baggage like trophy wife, a home in expensive neighborhood, tuitions for private schools, etc.

Ordinary MBAs are just useless; and every college/university has some kind of executive/evening/morning MBA program taught by part time instructors. Everyone in the corporate world (from walmart to netapp) want to a leg up and sign for one such program. Just go to Santa Clara university MBA program to see such types!!

3. Bachelors in business. This is a dominant major every college offers. When you walk into enterprise or hertz rental next time, ask that guy at the counter where did he graduate from and what his major was. 90% of the time it is BS/BA in business from some cal state or even some UC system.

4. Accounting. You may get hired by top 4 accounting firms. Don't expect to survive there after 2 years. They want slave labor there; that's why these firms hire in bulk because of the attrition rate.

5. Wall Street/finance sector jobs. Even if you are a top tier school like HYPSM (for undergrad), HSW(for MBA), you try to move up. On wall street, you eat what you kill. Not many opportunities to kill, unless you are part of the established gangs like GS, etc. If you are an associate at GS, don't expect much, you will be forced out in 3 years or you will move to other firms.

Look at those who got busted for insider trading. Most of them went to elite MBA programs( Mathew Marthoma a Stanford MBA).

6. Insurance agents: here, you see all those "start your insurance agency from your home" types. Nowadays, they need a degree for that. Insurance agents are dime a dozen. Saturated.

7. Realtors(r): yeah, they are too many. Degree and good looks required.

8. Sales (cars, appliances, tvs at frys, bestbuy). Not many survive in this profession. I was on, could not survive. You need to generate money for your employers in terms of extras like warranties.

9. Sales (kirby vacuum door to door, etc). Open your pennysaver, you see such opportunities. I went to kirby meeting once when I was desperate to get a job. I left the meeting halfway

10.Security guard. Another shitty job requiring guard card from the state. Shitty pay, odd shifts. Many new immigrants tend to work in this sector because it is better than working for walmart or frys, which pays just the minimum wage. Security guards get paid $2 to $4 more than the minimum wage. There is a competition to get a security guard job if you don't want to work the grave shift.

11. Customer service (walmart, target, frys, etc). These jobs are toughest to get because you are competing against 100's of others like you.

12. MD (doctors). Sure, you can make a decent living. Don't expect to become a multimillionaire like your father, a MD, who came from India like 30 years ago.

13. Landscaping: yes, there is a competition. If you are a small time landscaper, don't hire any. If you hire someone, expect the latter to steal your customers.

14. Plumbing, electrician: Many tell people to get into trades. I don't think think tradesman have a bright future. If you are independent, you should find many non-corporate apartment complex owners. Otherwise, you gotta work for corporate plumbing companies like roto rooter. Companies like roto rooter want people without prior experience;however, when you apply, they don't even call you.

15. AGriculture jobs: seasonal, back breaking. So, you get labor from the south of the border.

16. Meat industry: you have competition from low wage labor

17. Service jobs in independent businesses: go to any small restaurant, you see many low wage labor.

18. Fast food: it is tough to get a job in this field too.

19. Government jobs: you gotta know how to get one, otherwise it is tough

20. Software/Hardware/Info tech: If you are a good software developer, you are in demand. But this industry has many semi-development, project mgmt, jobs. If you are one of those project management, run-an-ETL-report-everyday jobs, don't expect much once you loose your job.

Large companies tend to have more semi-dev, non-dev IT jobs. However, there are not many large public companies besides ATT, Comcast, HP, IBM, etc.

Don't expect an Indian manager to hire you (as an employee or as an contractor) in many semi-dev and non-dev positions.

21. Construction jobs: seasonal. Many public construction companies use contractors, who in turn use cheap labor from you-know-what.

-----------------------------------------------------------

The ground reality is like as I described above. Yet we have elites telling the public to go to college to get a degree, as if a degree gets a job.

The real problem: not many decent jobs out there!!!

raindoctor   befriend   ignore   Sun, 21 Apr 2013, 11:33am PDT   Share   Quote   Like (1)   Dislike (1)     Comment 16

One of the arguments for having a minimum wage is to force employers to use automation. Sure, automation leads to job losses. When the private sector can't provide full employment, countries with sovereign currencies can use fiscal policy to provide full employment.

Automation is good for humanity; but current policies are bad!

raindoctor   befriend   ignore   Sat, 20 Apr 2013, 12:50pm PDT   Share   Quote   Like   Dislike (1)     Comment 17

As science and technology improves our lives, two things would have to happen:

(a) the standard of living should go up
(b) the cost of living should go down.

However, the cost of living is going up as the standard of living is going up. That's the culprit. Public policy should focus on decreasing the cost of living by implementing a tax and regulation policy. Today, food is dirt cheap in the states compared to rent and health insurance. In many rural areas of third world countries, the major chunk of earnings go to food; real estate is almost free except for the construction cost of the shack.

Every country is captured by rentier capitalists; so, don't expect any change at all wrt the cost of living. T

As iwog pointed out, we don't need too many humans to do things because of technology. That's what is happening. Eventually service sector will be decimated; in a way, it is good. Most of the service sector jobs are low-paid, without stability and benefits, anyway. Decimation of service sector due to automation and robots will annihilate the major paradigm of "work to pay bills, mortgage and tuition".

Robot serves up 360 hamburgers per hour: http://singularityhub.com/2013/01/22/robot-serves-up-340-hamburgers-per-hour/

The only hindrance to full automation is energy: without energy, robots, machines and computer servers don't run. Today, energy is produced by coal, natural gas, and oil. Solar constitutes a very minor part; same with nuclear energy. In old agrarian society, the energy used to till the land and harvest crops was animals and humans.

raindoctor   befriend   ignore   Fri, 19 Apr 2013, 9:08am PDT   Share   Quote   Like (1)   Dislike     Comment 18

Well, we need to distinguish religious intolerance from civic intolerance. One can be civic tolerant yet religious intolerant: that's what we see in the west; this situation also tells us that religious intolerance does not entail civic intolerance (like terrorism, modern crusades, beheadings during the reformation era, etc).

For more, check
http://www.hipkapi.com/2011/03/03/religious-intolerance-vs-civic-intolerance/
http://www.hipkapi.com/2011/04/14/religious-intolerance-and-terrorism/

raindoctor   befriend   ignore   Mon, 25 Mar 2013, 6:00am PDT   Share   Quote   Like   Dislike     Comment 19

sfba got many suckers. Imagine a guy putting $200K downpayment, then buying a home in Dublin for $800K. After that, commuting from dublin to Sunnyvale in company bus every day. I see such folks everyday.

Sure we on this board think that these guys are irrational. But they have different reasons: (a) schools for their kids so that these kids can achieve the american dream; (b) no need to worry about rent increases and other problems associated with renting; (c) in good company with fellow home owners, who provide the psychological support of being a home owner; (d) existence of the next set of fools to buy these properties held by the current rational home owners (or 'fools').

All these reasons hinge on the assumption of producing the next generation of fools. The next gen fools are created by $140K tech jobs and/or by their wives and kids.

raindoctor   befriend   ignore   Thu, 21 Mar 2013, 4:19pm PDT   Share   Quote   Like   Dislike     Comment 20

Short term interest rate is a policy variable. This policy variable drives the long term interest rate. All other crap like markets drive the short term rates is false.

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