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Instead of building giant, needlessly complicated glass roads that , even if they work, would be only mildly more efficient than regular roads while costing hundreds of billions if not trillions of dollars to implement on a large scale, why not just put solar panels over parking lots? Or invest in green roofing in cities? Or put the solar panels off to the side of the road?
This isn't the Apple 1 or the moon landing. It's the nuclear bazooka, or 3D movies, or the flying car or the jetpack. The idea is in and of itself, dumb. The Apple 1 at its core - a computer in a smaller box - was a good idea poorly implemented because the implementation was still new. Computers were already known to be useful tools. Small boxes that we can put on desks have been useful for ages. Putting some good thing in to another good thing is like 99% of all technology ever created. Even fucking rockets are just fuel put inside a really big thermos flask at their core.
Solar roads are putting two things that are bad at being roads together - glass and solar panels - and expecting them to be good roads.
Not to mention that I bet making all that glass is going to use up a lot of energy.
It's an interesting question. I'll do my best to answer it. I'll say right away that my answer is yes, the effort is put in to explaining why.
- Should you solve a problem like the Gracchis?
I had some longer talk about Russia that I might rewrite one day, but I thought of a much, much better example.
When the United States defined its constitution, we postponed making a decision on one crucial point: slavery. We didn't answer the question, all we said was "at some point in the future, we should really get around to answering this." Only we didn't. Decades went by. Tensions rose. Economies became more and more based around the institution of slavery, societies became based around it as a function of the home. Whole populations were imported to the country. It sort of looks like we had an answer if you observed from the outside without any context, but we really didn't.
The answer that we got, where we made slavery illegal - and where we answered whether or not states took precedent over the country - cost hundreds of thousands of U.S. lives. Burnt millions of dollars of property, saw an entire region of the country devastated just trying to answer these questions. The answer was that slavery was illegal and immoral, and that the country was more important than the state.
It will seem callous and cold to say this, but slavery was a small question. It was an easy question too, you had a demonstrably better economy in the area of the country without slaves. The confederate south was fighting a war over a question with a fairly definitive answer; a working class is better to have than a slave class.
That answer cost 600,000 lives and change.
The questions we face now, from climate change to how you handle post-industrial economies, to labor automation to the extent of free trade, to the nature of the United States as a global power, those aren't questions with easy answers. Everyone thinks we need to deal with this (except climate change for....some reason), but people aren't sure how. They only know that change is necessary, but they don't want the immediate pain that comes with change. They don't want to answer the questions, because we may not like the answers.
At some point in the future we are going to get self-driving cars. We're going to get automated labor. It won't be awesome science fiction, it will be really boring, and it will be drawn out over enough time so that people don't really notice until we're all the way in to it. People are going to lose jobs, and we're going to find that all of the people who went "no jobs will always exist" were saying that based off of historical trends that applied to industrial societies and industrial innovations.
The last time we had to do this it was the Great Depression and we had maybe the best president in all of United States history for the job. FDR, agree with him or not, knew how to handle the regular people who were eating food and drinking beer. Are we going to be that lucky again? Or are we going to end up with a group of confederate leaders, who are unwilling to make any preventative changes? And if we have the latter, how many dead come out of that?
The Gracchi brothers were putting in reforms that likely wouldn't have kept someone like Caesar out of power. That may be what all democracies eventually become, dictatorships by choice when a hyper-competent, charismatic leader comes along. The problem we need to solve isn't the preservation of Democracy, it's the problem how whether or not a coming power shift, if it has to happen, is going to cost the lives of hundreds of thousands, or a handful.
Getting back to your Star Wars analogy, it's less "look at the Rebels blowing up the Death Star" and more "how do we keep people from violently seizing power and killing thousands if not more."
That's why we should solve it. Not because its high minded, but because if we aren't prepared for these power shifts, the end result is a bloody, awful war.
Did people think that it was going to be that different? Tesla is the exception. Start-up software companies are easy enough to make because software isn't a huge buy-in cost and it works in a fairly ideal environment. Software doesn't need to be durable.
Cars are heavily used, complicated pieces of metal. They're carefully manufactured using techniques that have been honed for decades at this point. The process of designing a car is difficult. It has to be three things, appealing to look at, efficient to drive, and durable enough for daily use.
Of course the end result is that the company making cars pretty much since the car existed, is going to be the one that builds the actual car part better. It'll just take the self-driving part from other people.
I guess I just see this election and the clear partisan lines that come up as evidence that none of this shit is going to change anyone's mind.
Being polite is nice when there's an honest willingness to change your mind, but the guy isn't going to suddenly give a better answer because people say please rather than fuck you. He's got his lines, he's got the positions he's going to vote on. You think he's going to deviate from that because people were nice?
We've been past that point for so long that I almost pine for the days when we thought it was crazy that people ganged up on Bush Jr. For his pronunciation. I've got enough whinging responses on reddit with people calling for the death of any number of political opponents or people still bringing up Hillary that I can't fucking stand it any longer.
We're many many years past the point of being nice and polite.
I'm like so baffled by this comment that I barely know how to respond.
This guy gets asked by the crowd why he's not doing what he's promised, gives bad and unsatisfying answers, and gets booed for giving bad and unsatisfying answers.
You don't think that maybe there's some merit to the anger behind the crowd at all? That maybe the reason they're angry is because they don't feel represented in a system that functions solely based on the feeling that the people's interests are being represented? Or that maybe it's something that might seem a bit rude from the outside but the people he represents have seen every side of this guy for at least this election cycle if not much much longer?
Its like the attitude that people get towards trump. My mechanic had the news on when I went to pick up my car, and he looked at me and went "man everyone is going after trump these days, like gosh give him a chance."
He's the goddamn president, he has control of Congress and will eventually have the judiciary. He has more power than any single American citizen could possibly ever have. Chaffetz has more power than any person protesting there.
I'm not exactly sympathetic to powerful people in a representative democracy being booed because their constituents don't feel like their interests are being represented. I'm not sympathetic because that's a stupid idea.
Yeah, VR is fairly niche and no game has really caught fire in it. It's fun to play and I'll probably get a vive when I move to Chicago in may? But I'm getting it because I like the weird novelty and have no concern about looking like an undignified monkey who enjoys throwing virtual objects.
It has the deeper problem that movies had with 3D. It's a technology that has some potential? But it never really gets used in a way that justifies it's own existence to a larger audience.
We're a long ways away from VR being a thing that catches fire. It'd need to be its own device and significantly less goofy looking.
The other issue is that at the end of the day, if you run a VR rig, you either have a Samsung gear or maybe a playstation VR because they're cheap, or you went all in and got a Vive.
Oculus has just been the worse version of the vive for a good bit of time now. The vive is at least so weird and so much of a buy in that you'll lose any semblance of caring about your dignity, because you've set up a room for this shit anyway so strap yourself is. Oculus you still sit in a chair like a normal person and try to pretend you're cool.
I'm not sure it'll be a revolution so much as just more and more riots and further and further damage to the United States' ability to act as a stabilizing element worldwide.
There's one last chance coming up, and that's in 2020. In 2010 states got gerrymandered all to hell, in 2020 we could have a chance to reverse that. That's a decade of a DNC controlled house. I mean, it's not the best thing? But I'll take it over a GOP dominated house being the rule.
I remember the Bush years only vaguely, since I was growing up and thinking, among other stupid things, that politics weren't that important to me as a 14 year old. I also totally came up with a Freudian idea of self, and thought communist farming was awesome. 14 year old me should be kept away from political office, and maybe slapped around a bit.
One of the few memories I have of Bush was from the 2000 election, in which we were polled on which candidate we like better. George Bush liked tacos the best, and he was a Republican. Al Gore liked cookies the best, and was a Democrat.
I was initially going to vote for Al Gore, but as I went to cast my ballot, I thought about it and decided that cookies for every meal would actually make me feel pretty sick, and so I voted for Bush.
I probably put more thought in to that election than Trump has put in to his executive orders.