Sunday, June 14, 2015

People are Strange and Things are Weird

People are always strange because we're imperfect, although some people are a lot more imperfect than others. Things are always weird, too, because the whole world is fallen.

The trick is to analyze these things and minimize the strangeness and weirdness. (Personally, like the late Ray Bradbury, I just revel in the whole bizarre circus.)

Two weird and bizarre things going on right now is that we are stomping on the brake and accelator at the same time. But then, aren't we always?

Last time I checked, the economy has at least doubled since 1980. But that money is going to the rich, not everyone else. There are at least two reasons: when the government inflates the money suppy the rich are the first to get the money, so they can buy up everything. Then there is the fact corporations and the very rich pretty much own politicians, who pass laws enriching them at the expense of everyone else. Specifically the middle class, which is in trouble.

That's the stomping on the brake.

Pressing the accelator is what science and technology is doing (as far as I'm concerned, science that works immediately turns into technology).

There is some stange stuff going on. For one thing, automation, i.e, robots, are putting people out of work. Yet that automation makes prices drop. I can buy a brand-new car for about $9000, and someday I expect it to drop to $3000. Why buy a used car when brand-new cars cost that much?

Then there is genetic engineering. Will it someday come to the point where almost all diseases can be prevented for cured?

Here's an example: my cousin was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Stage 3. We thought he was going to die. Instead, one treatment wiped it out, although he had to go though six altogether (he told me, "I kept the hair on my head but everything else fell out, including on my balls").

So nearly everyone is getting poorer, thanks to our bloated, evil, exploiting government, yet at the same time we're getting richer and richer, thanks to science, technology and what free market we have left. The brake and the accelator at the same time.

Some claim all this ever-accelerating technology is going to take us to the Singularity, but what does that even mean? It's sounds like a bad science-fiction fantasy, and doesn't even make any sense to me. Skynet? Oh, please.

I am reminded of the movie Elysium, in which everyone was poverty-stricken but all diseases had been cured.

That looks to be our future.


Rusty Shackleford said...

Cars are light years better than they were even in the 90's, and I don't think that's something people really appreciate. Any new car you can buy today will blow away a '95 Honda Accord in terms of reliability. Computer aided engineering, robotic assembly and improvements in the chemistry and manufacturing of every fluid, belt, gasket, etc. have changed everything about the way cars are built and maintained. The Chevy small block V8, for instance, has been in production continuously since the 50's and is the most manufactured engine ever. GM engineers didn't know until they were able to run computers simulations in the 90's that they had the spark plugs firing in the wrong order. The original order was only the 3rd most efficient possible sequence. When we talk about reliability rankings today, a glitch in the LED is enough to send a car tumbling down the list.

Rusty Shackleford said...

Cars cost about the same, though. For instance a Ford Mustang was $2,400 in 1965 ($18,000 adjusted for inflation) vs $24,000 in 2015. A 1965 VW bug was $1,500 new ($11,000 in 2015 dollars) vs 12,800 for a Nissan Versa which is the cheapest car for sale in the NA market this year. I've driven a number of cars in this segment, and they make for pretty dire motoring. Everything that goes into just making new cars meet evolving regulations for pollution and safety will probably do a good job of keeping the new car market above the $10,000 mark for any foreseeable future, barring some revolution in engine technology.

Bob, as far as your $3,000 dollar car goes, in 2004, the last year that the classic bug was for sale in Mexico, you could have bought one for around $4,500. Supposing VW or Citroen could use modern manufacturing to build a brand new classic bug or a 2CV for ~3,000 bucks. Would you buy one?

Bob Wallace said...

The last new car I bought - a 2000 Chevy Cavalier - I got 488,000 miles out of it before the transmission blew. I had a mechanic tell me the Cavalier was "a champ" and he didn't understand why it was out of production. And I had a friend buy a Kia Rio for $9000, brand new. No AC and no power steering and a stickshift.

And yes, I'd buy a basic car for $3000. I hardly drive anymore, for one thing. I doubt I put 2000 miles a year on my car.

Mindstorm said...

All diseases cured? Simply not possible. Treating symptoms, perhaps. But certainly not curing diseases that result from genetic variation (like cancers, for example). New mutations arise all the time, so that's unavoidable.

Mindstorm said...

Search Google Scholar for "epigenetic drift" for example.

outsider said...

Can confirm bureaucracy is as horrendous as ever. Spent weeks and spent hundreds just trying to change the registration on an old car.

Rusty Shackleford said...

If someone was selling a new car with a proven design for 3,000, I'd be heading to the dealership right now. Let me tell why it'll never happen. Every woman I've ever known has liked only two kinds of cars: expensive cars and new cars. I've never met a woman who cared much about cars beyond that, but I've definitely met women who'll look down of you for driving a cheap car or an old car. It's like the Chris Rock bit about how men would be fine with living in cardboard boxes if it weren't for women. The Yugo, for instance, actually wasn't a bad little car at all. It was mocked out of the market, though, primarily for being too inexpensive.

300,000 is nothing for a modern car these days, if it's taken care of. 479,000 is unusual, but if you take care of your car your car will take care of you.

Mindstorm said...

On the other hand, it's possible to eradicate infectious diseases.