At Kiva Han waiting to meet someone who's either not showing up or horribly late (or they're at the other Oakland Kiva Han)... I'm reminded why I stopped coming in the first place - hearing coffeeshop philosophers whose claimed knowledge of the way things must be in the world extends into areas where science either has or soon will prove them wrong - "The ancient greeks already knew that N is impossible - why are we letting universities waste money on it?" .. just like wikis, there's a need for people more wise to step in and correct inaccuracies in philosophy, not doing that is a burden, but doing so is a great way to waste a lot of time, especially when (as happens too often) one ends up simply dismissing the person if they're not open to questioning their ideas, or (worse) being so anti-authority and radical-democratic that they dismiss the effectiveness of science, think universities are part of a system to "hold back/compartmentalise science", and/or want to vote on what is true/reasonable with other people there. Kiva Han seems to collect such people.. still, they have reasonably good food, can (barely) pick up CMU's network, and have decent tables. It's not as cool as the Beehive, but it's a decent place.
I worry that sometime in the future, there will be studies on psychoactive drigs conducted (or funded) by industry and, finding that some of them make people less impulsive and thus less inclined to buy things, even if impulsivity is a feature of some larger genuine problem, will apply pressure to drugstores/manufacturing plants/etc to cease production of such drugs. Given criticism that FDA approval can be fast-tracked or bought by powerful drug companies (a problem akin to some in the patent office), I could see this happening - I am unaware of safeguards to prevent this (or even what they might look like were there any). Invisible (to the public) pressure/influence between agglomerations of capital are potentially very harmful to the public...
Thinking again about a potential mechanism within a mixed-market system to protect workers' interest - fine-grained tax incentives for compliance with various interests of the workers, met/applied piecemail:
We imagine a 2% tax on net income (or gross, although that may be very harsh) on businesses, with portions of that tax nullifiable through accumulation of points using some kind of scale. Said scale would be partly manipulable through votes either by the general public, the workers in that industry field as a whole, or the company (the latter may lead to vote buying or other types of threatenability, which may or may not be desirable), with a default set of criteria looking something like:
- 0.3% - Provide health/dental plans and insurance to all employees, said plans meeting certain criteria for cost and level of service
- 0.3% - Retirement plans
- 0.4% - Employee Dignity (scalable, based on various factors, with strong penalties for required/expected uniforms, weaker for dress code, etc)
- 0.2% - Work environment (no cubicles, employee-chosen music, etc)
- 1% - Environmental impact
- etc etc.
Weaknesses of the idea largely stem from difference between ththis and true collectives or a socialist state - it expresses social discomfort with some matters but presents them as a trade off to owners/managers of capital rather than the workers themselves, it is difficult to define/handle borders/criteria for areas where these incentives don't apply in a way that these borders won't be danced around, etc.
As much as I have disliked it every time I've tried actually programming with it, it may be time to give Haskell another try.
Also, in a "hit-by-the-obvious" moment, I have learned that carrying 2 40lb bags of cat litter the 4 blocks to my home provides massive shoulder soreness that has (so far) lasted several days. I thought I had just slept funny :)