Steven L. Taylor
Thursday, November 3, 2022
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective.
He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog).
Follow Steven on Twitter
Barcelona is not the beauty that Florence is. But goddamn, there’s something in the water of Catalonia because these people do some amazing, strange, surreal work. Dalí, Gaudí, Lluís Domènech i Montaner. I never loved Florence, not even when I lived there, but Barcelona is a place I could spend a few years.
Sagrada Familia by night.
The Theater of Catalan Music.
The takeover of the Republican Party by the Deep South has marched relentlessly forward, to the point where I predict this election season will witness mobs led by masked vigilantes killing someone over the results. It may be too soon for out and out lynchings so the victims will “simply” be beaten to death, run over by cars or shot, but just wait a cycle or two. The gallows will be back.
The gallows already made a comeback in Washington D.C. on Jan. 6, 2021.
@CSK: Good point but I can’t bring myself to give it a thumbs up
While the word lynching evokes the image of a man hanging, that act is incidental to the crime of lynching.
The law is similarly broad.
Ahmaud Arbery was lynched. Trayvon Martin was not.
Greetings from beautiful Puerto Vallarta! Where I shall fiddle away the remainder of US election silly season.
Nice town so far though
Trevor Noah nails it.
@Jim Brown 32: Take a boat across the bay to Yelapa. You won’t be sorry.
If one needs to look for DEM talking points…
Good article re: how one party does stand for Democracy:
@iampoliticsgirl completely nails the differences between the two parties:
If the GOP talking points really boil down to “yeah, we lost, but FU we are still going to inflict our will on you”… then why would anyone think this is a good basis for governing?
Saw an estimate that there are 300,000 blue checks on twitter, if all paid the $8/month the revenue would still be chump change <$29M.
In other Social Media news, Boob and Dick pics are returning to tumbler.
@OzarkHillbilly: Bet! I’m here for a week with nothing locked in except a daily round of golf.
Musk tried to meme yesterday – posted an insipid 4chan-like mess with the gist that people are fine with a $8 Starbucks frappe for 30 min are stupid for not liking $8 bluecheck for 30 days. As soon as I saw it, I was wondering who the insult was directed to. Like most righty memes, it misses the mark by a country mile.
If you’ve got a bluecheck, you almost certainly can afford Starbucks everyday and think it’s a better value.
(1) It’s COFFEE (even if crappy) and thus automatically superior to social media
(2) it has real world benefits like caffeination, sugar boost, relaxation and nutrition as opposed electrons in the wind
(3) the coffee will not decrease in worth as you drink it. It’s value is the same from first sip to final gulp. The next you purchase will be the same since the need/desire will still be there. The bluecheck will becomes more worthless every day anyone can pay for it. It will devalue immediately like a car driven off the lot and keep going down as Twitter continues to spiral
(4) if Elon keeps F-ing things up, it will not matter in a few months when he crashes Twitter and walks away from the wreckage. Save that 2-3 months of wasted money and go get a peppermint mocha venti and maybe a brownie.
All in all – temporary coffee is a better deal then a monthly subscription to idiocy. That he can’t see that and stole a meme off 4chan goes to show he really doesn’t understand his target audience very well.
@Jim Brown 32: I have friends who go there every winter. Rent a house and just stay from Xmas to sometime in March. It’s beautiful.
@Sleeping Dog: @KM: Mush is proof that one doesn’t have to be smart to be rich.
Musk is apparently dragging 50+ engineers from Tesla over to Twitter. As car guys, they have no experience designing social networks, and most work with a completely different coding language.
It really feels like he’s trying to eff up Twitter in as many ways as possible.
Also, Starbucks doesn’t require you show up with your coffee and milk and syrup and cream, make your coffee on their machine, and then charge you $8 for it.
@Kathy: Well said.
Anyone else, I’d say the plan was to take whooping big loss to erase tax liabilities for a few years. St. Elon fancies himself a messianic transformative figure, though. It’s not about money or wealth with him.
So, I’m back to an impulse buy that went wrong. But I’m still sure most of the financial risk was assumed by others. Others who thought, “Wow! If St. Elon the Most Wealthy thinks paying $44 billion for an unprofitable app/website is a good idea, He surely must have a genius plan to make it worth a lot more in a few years. WOW!! This is the greatest investment opportunity EVER! Better than buying shares of Apple in the 80s!!”
@Jen: What percentage of Twitter employees is Musk going to get rid of? I’ve seen both 25% and 75% quoted. And Musk thinks he’s going to have a viable company at the end of this?
Heck, even the Romans at their worst only went for 10%!
The other problem with Musk’s acquisition of Twitter….is that it makes no sense. Usually when companies purchase other companies it’s in order to grab market share of the purchased company, or in order to acquire technology in a new area that said company is planning to expand into and which it can potentially apply elsewhere. But Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter? Given that his two main areas of expertise right now are space launch vehicles and electric cars, Twitter makes as much sense as investing in Las Vegas showgirls. At least they can dance.
@Jen: Well, those guys are doing a code review, which is a thing, but it isn’t programming exactly. It’s “take a critical look at the code and tell me what you think”. If I were a Twitter programmer, I wouldn’t like it, but I would probably admit it was inevitable. Musk doesn’t trust the Twitter staff, and he does trust staff from Tesla and SpaceX.
They aren’t being asked to write code, just evaluate what’s there. This is a very important distinction. It is much much easier to read code than to write it. All programmers can read an understand just about any programming language, or come up to speed reading it quickly. Writing takes longer.
Finally, they are probably being paid as consultants, which makes the whole arrangement legal.
Again, if I were a Twitter engineer, I wouldn’t like this. I might even quit. I expect Musk would be fine with that.
Not just at their worst, but it was an extreme measure on the face of a bad defeat. Not something they did every time they lost, or worse yet every time they won.
@Jay L Gischer: I worked at a SaaS company for a bit, and while I know reviewing code isn’t the same as writing it, I’m extremely dubious that a bunch of people versed in Python are going to have smooth sailing reviewing Scala. I have no doubt that they THINK they’ll be awesome at it, they are engineers after all.
@Liberal Capitalist: This has been true since Reagan. The country, after a long hard battle, after many elections and negotiations came to the conclusion that we wanted the Federal government to protect the environment, to help protect workers, and to promote and protect our national parks, forests, etc. Republicans argued that we shouldn’t those things, but they lost. Yet when Reagan was elected he made a farce of the protections put in place. He appointed as heads of the agencies in charge of these things people who were actively hostile to the very concept of the what had been agreed to. The Bushes did the same, and of course Trump did too. Bottom line, Republicans haven’t respected the results of elections for over 40 years
In relation to the Ukraine grain export deal brokered by Turkey, and Erdogan’s insistence it would go ahead despite Russian tantrums.
It looks a bit like there might be a reason in addition to the Turkish warships for Putin to back off.
Turkey’s trade balance Net Errors and Omissions reached a record $28.3bn on earnings.
That leaves $22bn inflows still a mystery.
Now who might be trying to move very large amounts of money around anonymously, we wonders. A complete mystery and an enigma.
Not a dry eye in the house.
I got maybe half way thru it.
If Twitter is using Scala as a better Java, then it will be straightforward enough — there are still a lot of weird things with Scala that they would miss, but procedural code is procedural code.
However, it Twitter is using Scala as a functional programming language, those poor little Python programmers are going to have a lot of trouble even following it. And the trend with Scala is to use it as a functional language.
Also Tesla uses Python? No wonder their cars start on fire, that’s just the CPU overheating! (Python is great for many things… I really hope they aren’t using it for the self-driving-car things though.)
When I read about Stephen King rejecting a blue check fee, it struck me that people usually pay King for his writings, actually pay him a lot. Many, maybe most, blue check people are ordinarily paid for their written output. Twitter has (had) people like Stephen King writing for free; isn’t that a good deal for the owner of Twitter.
What would it profit investors is they maintain the platform but lose a penny of shareholder value?
@Gustopher: If you want to take a bet on self-driving cars, I’d buy stock (or ADRs) of companies such as Toyota, Hyundai, Japanese/Korean/German OEMs….fuhgettabaht Tesla. Aside from Tesla not having any registered IP, Musk will find that he’ll now get dragged into a heck of a lot of infringement cases if he doesn’t take account of the patents that DO exist in the area.
Plus, Tesla is walking backwards when it comes to the technology. Just cameras ain’t going to be enough. It’s horrible engineering. If Musk had really wanted to provide Tesla with a future, he would have taken the money he squandered on Twitter and used at least some of it on R&D to develop cheap LIDAR and other sensors.
I recall reading (but don’t recall where, LOL) someone saying the sensing/computing/communication requirements of self drivers outside of some highly constrained circumstances will be horrendous to the point of being unmanageable..
You’ll need centimetric accuracy 3D models of the environment of operation, plus unhackable verification, including updating on a real time basis, plus the vehicles own sensors, plus data exchange with nearby vehicles.
Just the hardware capability alone is daunting; the software still more.
I can just about imagine it becoming workable on a motorway (aka freeway) or an American suburb; or dedicated bus and goods routes; but all over a European city, or British country lanes?
Fat chance, IMO
One way to gauge how capable Teslas are to self drive, is to look at the Vegas Loop, made by -checks notes- St. Elon’s Boring Company, and operated by Teslas with a driver.
That’s a fixed route with no obstacles, no pedestrian access, no two-way traffic, and you need a human with a meat brain to operate it.
It may be free on Twitter, but King is advertising his work there at no cost to him or his publisher. You may ask why King needs to advertise at all, and you’d be right. BUT…publishers need to justify their advertising budgets, and spending a shitload of money advertising King is something they can justify by pointing to his huge sales. Twitter is just free advertising, which publishers will happily take, too.
Whenever I read articles about self-driving, I laugh. These things are tested on well-marked roads laid out in grids and gentle curves.
I’m betting one would last about half a mile on my route to work (and only because that’s a straight bit of road. After that, it’s 1.75 lanes wide, with plenty of curves and hills, no lines on the road, and random animals popping out of the woods on one side or the marsh on the other. It would end up being a Tesla graveyard. 🙂
Barcelona is my 2nd favorite city in the world, right behind Paris. I spent two weeks there once doing nothing but architecture tours and visits. Came home for two months, then went back to Barcelona for four months. I could live there, too. For years, I’ve tried to find a production shooting there that would hire me. No luck.
@KM: “$8 Starbucks frappe for 30 min are stupid for not liking $8 bluecheck for 30 days”
At almost 400 calories, the Starbucks frappe would last a lot longer than 30 days for me…
@Jim Brown 32:
Hey Jim –
1. Hit the Malecon Boardwalk. Oceanfront boardwalk with great views. Get the tacos off a cart there, and you’ll be in heaven.
2. Hit the Centro Histórico; the central historic district, especially the cobblestone market around the fountain.
3. Lastly, make sure you hit The Palm Cabaret and Bar.
I love Puerto Vallarta. Have a great time.
Maybe St. Elon’s Tesla coders could reprogram the app for self-Tweeting.
Why should yo go looking for memes, news stories, post links, post updates, give likes, re-tweet, etc., when the app should be able to do all that crap for you?
@Mu Yixiao: Whenever I think of self-driving cars, I get the image of a totally shell-shocked AI-loaded autonomous vehicle, wrapped around a lamppost in downtown Boston. Whimpering.
(All those stories you have heard about Boston drivers? They’re true.)
There’s a lot of technology which is getting gradually introduced in EU and Japanese vehicles and I can see the EU/Japan/and Korea getting up to level 4 autonomy. The best the US will probably stabilise around is a) truck convoys and MAAAYBE b) near-autonomous golf-cart AVs for use in retirement communities.
The problem is, either you divide the control between the vehicle and the infrastructure, which means in the U.S. bloody expensive infrastructure (even if we’re only equipping interstates) OR you try to put everything on board the vehicle, which means a bloody expensive vehicle.
On the other hand, one possible impetus for the introduction of near-autonomous vehicles will be the insurance companies. We don’t have to have perfect autonomy–we just have to have “better than live human drivers”. At which point insurance companies can split the difference, grab market share, and make out like bandits.
@KM: Fortunately, there are two or three really good coffee shops in Longview and Kelso. I almost never have to go to Starbucks. (And the even have better food/snack menus, too. 😀 )
Maybe people picture KITT in Knight Rider when they think of self-driving cars. Right now it’s more like Clippy in MS Office.
Trump is demanding that Mitch McConnell be impeached. Apparently no one has informed Trump that there is no mechanism for impeaching a senator.
@grumpy realist: self-driving cars seem Unamerican. Some machine that just follows traffic rules and doesn’t flip the bird or speed and all you can do is sit inside helplessly while it goes 20 in a school zone even if you know the kids are somewhere else and you’re in a hurry?
I don’t see it catching on.
Improved crash avoidance makes sense though.
(Although my car keeps trying to put me back in my lane when I am giving bicycles a wide berth while passing… Clippy says “I see you’re passing a bicyclist, would you like to hit them instead?”)
One thing self-driving cars would excel at is long distance driving. Say, 8-12 hour drives. Not many people take road trips this long, but more might if 1) the car did the driving, and 2) “car” meant a kind of SUV at a minimum where you could stretch out and sleep, or set up a desk and work, while the car gets you elsewhere.
Sleeping in a car, van, or bus is not the easiest thing, but one can do it. I managed it growing up when we stuffed 7 people in an LTD (and no one wore seat belts; I’m lucky to have survived that), for ten hour drives. Not the whole way, but enough to stay sane under such conditions.
I’ve managed it better later on in first class buses on night trips lasting 4-6 hours, as long as I remember to bring earplugs along.
Maybe the next generations will get that. Maybe the car will wake them up every few hours warning “LOW BATTERY LEVEL! RECHARGE! RECHARGE!”
Come to think of it, how much range will the sensors and computing power take off from a self-driving EV? 5% maybe? More?
The only appropriate punishment for this bag is that he is forced to clean every cat litterbox in
New York City every day for the rest of his life. Let him sling some real sh!t.
Or you could build a network of dedicated tracks, things where people don’t need to drive, travel at more than twice the speed of normal cars, are far more space efficient in terms of passengers to area uses than a freeway, and have room for people to walk about, get refreshments, but more fuel efficient than aircraft etc.
We could call them “trains”.
Might catch on. 🙂
Clippy: “I see we are being tailgated. Shall I break-check this s-bag?”
I think Britain and Europe have good or at least decent rail networks. Other countries are different. I couldn’t tell you what the passenger rail situation is in Mexico.
That aside, there’s convenience. No train stops at my house. Nor do any airlines that I know of 😉
Paul Pelosi has been released from the hospital.
Well, maybeso. Maybe not so. I know people who love their hybrids and electrics. However, they make the sign to ward off the evil eye every time I ask, questions like,
@Flat Earth Luddite: As the technology improves, in both charging and batteries, the prices will come down.
For me, I just bought a single seater EV with a 100 mile range. It’s perfect for me. I drive alone 90% of the time. I’ve only had it a week, and have only driven 220 miles total, but so far my monetary output for running so far it is zero.
I’ve charged at free Volta station at the gym and the grocery store. I’ve driven it in the rain, and at night. It’s fun. But this isn’t about fun. For me, it was a purely financial decision. I bought a vehicle that will pay for itself in 17 months, based on savings of gasoline and oil alone. When you toss is the repair and upkeep costs, it will probably pay for itself in a year.
EV’s are the way to go. As for those who live in rural areas, a new gas 2023 base Ford F-150 goes for $36K. A base gas Chevy Sliverado 1500 goes for $38K. That’s almost the exact prices for the electric versions of those trucks.
If they can afford the gas version, they can certain afford the electric version. At this point, the technology is there, and getting better. Now it’s a matter of making sure people have the facts.
@Kathy: I can see that I’m not part of this target market very easily. I didn’t have the $58,000 that they wanted for the SUV the salesperson tried to get me to test drive when I went looking for my Spark. I certainly don’t anticipate having the kind of money a self-driving version of that SUV would cost.
(I do find riding in an SUV okay when someone else is driving, though.)
True, but most people I know are working 1.5-2 jobs to pay their apartments, and are scrambling to keep their 10 year old beater running. They can no more afford to buy a new car than they can afford first/last/damage (+ pet fees) to move.
It works for you, and for many, but the idea that it’ll work for most people leaves me scratching my head. We just move in different circles.
@Kathy: When I lived in Seoul and Daejeon, the subway stopped very close to my officetel, and there were one or two lines in Seoul that actually stopped in the basements of places where rich people lived.
@Just nutha ignint cracker:
I don’t like driving SUVs, or even a large sedan like old Ford LTD. But if it drove itself, who cares.
I suppose a self-driving sedan or a compact would work as well. But to lie flat, assuming the front seats recline almost all the way, you could only carry two people. The ride might not be as smooth, either.
And there’s the matter of seat belts. They’d have to be designed to follow you on the recline. And even then they may not restrain you effectively in a crash. So, do you trust the self driving car not to crash ever?
@Flat Earth Luddite: Yeah. Eddie moves in different circles that either of us (for example, I don’t know anyone who’s purchased a new pick up either–and haven’t for 3o or 40 years going back to when I still made decent money). The more important thing in my perspective is that what Eddie’s describing isn’t likely to happen during the years that I will still be able to drive (I don’t anticipate replacing the car I own now, for example). And I don’t anticipate that the kinds of people we know will be likely to ever buy new cars–it’s one of the things on the list of things middle class people can’t afford, along with taking a vacation that involves travel and getting cancer treatment–so our kind of people will still be buying used market vehicles. Used electric vehicles will be an interesting market.
@Just nutha ignint cracker:
@Flat Earth Luddite:
Well, someone is buying alot of big trucks the last ten years. Every year, literally every year, the biggest sellers are trucks. Big trucks. Dodge Ram at #3. Chevy Silverado at #2. Ford F-150 at #1.
Also, this little EV car I purchased is, literally, the first new car I’ve ever purchased. Every other car I’ve bought in my life has been used, and I’ve never leased a vehicle. I’ve never financed a car either. I’d rather pay cash for a $10,000 car then finance a $20K car.
@Just nutha ignint cracker: My own feeling is that it’s the distaste a lot of people have with “the Talk” (with their parents about giving up the keys and not driving any more) that has pushed a lot of the development of autonomous cars here in the U.S. Who would have though–technology development through embarrassment?
@EddieInCA: Thanks for advice Eddie! I’ll definitely hit them up!
@Just nutha ignint cracker:
Some stations in Mexico City’s metro, especially in the older lines, are co-located with office or commercial buildings, with the entrance in the buildings’ ground floor. Most are entirely underground, with stairs leading to several streets (much like you see in movies set in Manhattan).
@CSK: I saw that earlier today and thought to myself “Imagine voting for an Ex-President who doesn’t even know that Congress-Critters can’t be impeached, they can only be voted out.” 😛 😛
I recall Musk is being investigated for programming Teslas with an aggressive mode to roll through stop signs.
If I had a self driving car I wouldn’t care if it went 20 mph thru a school zone on a holiday. If it were actually self driving, I’d be reading or something and not notice. But no, I’m supposed to be behind the wheel alert for for any threat the idiot car can’t handle. I’m supposed to sit there for hours watching the road carefully but not actually doing anything?
Took me awhile, but I finally stumbled on to how to set the “intelligent” cruise control on my Honda to just be a dumb cruise control.
@Jax: No hard to imagine considering that about 105% of the people Trump was speaking to were thinking “damn right they should!”
@EddieInCA: Trust me. I can tell that lots of people are buying pick ups when I see the 40 that are on the lot at the Chevy dealership that takes care of my Spark. I just don’t know any of the people who are buying them and don’t expect that any of them are living on the equivalent of Social Security, a $600/month pension and an annual stipend of less than $1000 from an IRA inherited from a family member. (I bank the money I make substitute teaching and use it for unexpected expenses and charitable contributions. My other inherited portfolio doesn’t produce any cash for me, just tax events.) And I’m paying taxes on more money now than I was in 1985–the highest income year of my life until I retired.
I’m not complaining though. I never thought that I’d become one of the upper tier retirees–or that the upper tier would be so dang wide. But I did make my money the old fashioned way just like Former Guy did. 😉 And I’ve held on to a much greater percentage of it, too.