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Finland is killing its experiment with basic income

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Since the beginning of last year, 2000 Finns are getting money from the government each month - and they are not expected to do anything in return. The participants, aged 25-58, are all unemployed, and were selected at random by Kela, Finland's social-security institution.

Instead of unemployment benefits, the participants now receive €560, or $690, per month, tax free. Should they find a job during the two-year trial, they still get to keep the money.

While the project is praised internationally for being at the cutting edge of social welfare, back in Finland, decision makers are quietly pulling the brakes, making a U-turn that is taking the project in a whole new direction.

"Right now, the government is making changes that are taking the system further away from a basic income," Kela researcher Miska Simanainen told the Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet.

The initial plan was for the experiment to be expanded in early 2018 to include workers as well as non-workers early in 2018, but that did not happen - to the disappointment of researchers at Kela. Without workers in the project, researchers are unable to study whether basic income would allow people to make new career moves, or enter training or education.

"Two years is too short a timeframe to be able to draw extensive conclusions from such a vast experiment. We ought to have been given additional time and more money to achieve reliable results," professor Olli Kangas, one of the experts behind the basic-income trial, told Finland's public-service broadcaster YLE.

In recent years, a growing number of tech entrepreneurs have endorsed universal basic income (UBI), a system system in which every individual receives a standard amount of money, simply for being alive.

Entrepreneurs who have expressed support for UBI include Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, and Google's futurist and engineering director Ray Kurzweil.

These tech moguls recognize that UBI, as well as combatting poverty, could also help solve the problem of increased robotization in the workforce, a problem they are very much part of creating.

At the 2018 TED conference, Kurzweil made a bold prediction about the future of "free" money, predicting that by the 2030s, UBI will have spread worldwide - and that we'll be able to "live very well on that."

Contrary to universal basic income, however, which advocates say should apply to all citizens regardless of background, Finland's trial is only targeting people in long-term unemployment.

The existing unemployment benefits were so high, the Finnish government argued, and the system so rigid, an unemployed person might choose not to take a job as they would risk losing money by doing so - the higher your earnings, the lower your social benefits. The basic income was meant as an incentive for people to start working.

But in December last year, the Finnish parliament passed a bill that is taking the country's welfare system in quite the opposite direction. The new 'activation model' law requires jobseekers to work a minimum of 18 hours for three months - if you don't manage to find such a job, you lose some of your benefits. And Finance Minister Petteri Orpo already has plans for a new project once the basic income pilot concludes in December 2018.

"When the basic income experiment ends this year, we should launch a universal credit trial," Orpo told Finnish newspaper Hufvudstadsbladet, referring to a system similar to that currently in use in the United Kingdom, which collects a number of different benefits and tax credits into one account.

No official results of Finland's basic income experiment will be published until 2019, after the pilot has come to an end.


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rlauzon
62 days ago
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I'm surprised that it took Finland that long. Socialism doesn't work, has never worked and will never work.
rocketo
60 days ago
Truly we should continue to support the shining model of capitalism

Burgers Now Outsell the Classic Baguette Sandwich in France — Pop Culture

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Oh la vache! Recently the French had to swallow the news that cheeseburgers are now more popular than their own iconic jambon-beurre sandwich.

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rlauzon
85 days ago
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So I would assume that heart disease is going to be the #1 killer of French people soon.

Florida student Emma Gonzalez to lawmakers and gun advocates: 'We call BS' - CNN

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(CNN)Emma Gonzalez, a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, addressed a gun control rally on Saturday in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, days after a gunman entered her school in nearby Parkland and killed 17 people.

Below is a full transcript of her speech:
We haven't already had a moment of silence in the House of Representatives, so I would like to have another one. Thank you.
Every single person up here today, all these people should be home grieving. But instead we are up here standing together because if all our government and President can do is send thoughts and prayers, then it's time for victims to be the change that we need to see. Since the time of the Founding Fathers and since they added the Second Amendment to the Constitution, our guns have developed at a rate that leaves me dizzy. The guns have changed but our laws have not.
    We certainly do not understand why it should be harder to make plans with friends on weekends than to buy an automatic or semi-automatic weapon. In Florida, to buy a gun you do not need a permit, you do not need a gun license, and once you buy it you do not need to register it. You do not need a permit to carry a concealed rifle or shotgun. You can buy as many guns as you want at one time.
    I read something very powerful to me today. It was from the point of view of a teacher. And I quote: When adults tell me I have the right to own a gun, all I can hear is my right to own a gun outweighs your student's right to live. All I hear is mine, mine, mine, mine.
    Instead of worrying about our AP Gov chapter 16 test, we have to be studying our notes to make sure that our arguments based on politics and political history are watertight. The students at this school have been having debates on guns for what feels like our entire lives. AP Gov had about three debates this year. Some discussions on the subject even occurred during the shooting while students were hiding in the closets. The people involved right now, those who were there, those posting, those tweeting, those doing interviews and talking to people, are being listened to for what feels like the very first time on this topic that has come up over 1,000 times in the past four years alone.
    I found out today there's a website shootingtracker.com. Nothing in the title suggests that it is exclusively tracking the USA's shootings and yet does it need to address that? Because Australia had one mass shooting in 1999 in Port Arthur (and after the) massacre introduced gun safety, and it hasn't had one since. Japan has never had a mass shooting. Canada has had three and the UK had one and they both introduced gun control and yet here we are, with websites dedicated to reporting these tragedies so that they can be formulated into statistics for your convenience.
    I watched an interview this morning and noticed that one of the questions was, do you think your children will have to go through other school shooter drills? And our response is that our neighbors will not have to go through other school shooter drills. When we've had our say with the government -- and maybe the adults have gotten used to saying 'it is what it is,' but if us students have learned anything, it's that if you don't study, you will fail. And in this case if you actively do nothing, people continually end up dead, so it's time to start doing something.
    We are going to be the kids you read about in textbooks. Not because we're going to be another statistic about mass shooting in America, but because, just as David said, we are going to be the last mass shooting. Just like Tinker v. Des Moines, we are going to change the law. That's going to be Marjory Stoneman Douglas in that textbook and it's going to be due to the tireless effort of the school board, the faculty members, the family members and most of all the students. The students who are dead, the students still in the hospital, the student now suffering PTSD, the students who had panic attacks during the vigil because the helicopters would not leave us alone, hovering over the school for 24 hours a day.
    There is one tweet I would like to call attention to. So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed, even expelled for bad and erratic behavior. Neighbors and classmates knew he was a big problem. Must always report such instances to authorities again and again. We did, time and time again. Since he was in middle school, it was no surprise to anyone who knew him to hear that he was the shooter. Those talking about how we should have not ostracized him, you didn't know this kid. OK, we did. We know that they are claiming mental health issues, and I am not a psychologist, but we need to pay attention to the fact that this was not just a mental health issue. He would not have harmed that many students with a knife.
    And how about we stop blaming the victims for something that was the student's fault, the fault of the people who let him buy the guns in the first place, those at the gun shows, the people who encouraged him to buy accessories for his guns to make them fully automatic, the people who didn't take them away from him when they knew he expressed homicidal tendencies, and I am not talking about the FBI. I'm talking about the people he lived with. I'm talking about the neighbors who saw him outside holding guns.
    If the President wants to come up to me and tell me to my face that it was a terrible tragedy and how it should never have happened and maintain telling us how nothing is going to be done about it, I'm going to happily ask him how much money he received from the National Rifle Association.
    You want to know something? It doesn't matter, because I already know. Thirty million dollars. And divided by the number of gunshot victims in the United States in the one and one-half months in 2018 alone, that comes out to being $5,800. Is that how much these people are worth to you, Trump? If you don't do anything to prevent this from continuing to occur, that number of gunshot victims will go up and the number that they are worth will go down. And we will be worthless to you.
    To every politician who is taking donations from the NRA, shame on you.
    Crowd chants, shame on you.
    If your money was as threatened as us, would your first thought be, how is this going to reflect on my campaign? Which should I choose? Or would you choose us, and if you answered us, will you act like it for once? You know what would be a good way to act like it? I have an example of how to not act like it. In February of 2017, one year ago, President Trump repealed an Obama-era regulation that would have made it easier to block the sale of firearms to people with certain mental illnesses.
    From the interactions that I had with the shooter before the shooting and from the information that I currently know about him, I don't really know if he was mentally ill. I wrote this before I heard what Delaney said. Delaney said he was diagnosed. I don't need a psychologist and I don't need to be a psychologist to know that repealing that regulation was a really dumb idea.
    Republican Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa was the sole sponsor on this bill that stops the FBI from performing background checks on people adjudicated to be mentally ill and now he's stating for the record, 'Well, it's a shame the FBI isn't doing background checks on these mentally ill people.' Well, duh. You took that opportunity away last year.
    The people in the government who were voted into power are lying to us. And us kids seem to be the only ones who notice and our parents to call BS.Companies trying to make caricatures of the teenagers these days, saying that all we are self-involved and trend-obsessed and they hush us into submission when our message doesn't reach the ears of the nation, we are prepared to call BS. Politicians who sit in their gilded House and Senate seats funded by the NRA telling us nothing could have been done to prevent this, we call BS. They say tougher guns laws do not decrease gun violence. We call BS. They say a good guy with a gun stops a bad guy with a gun. We call BS. They say guns are just tools like knives and are as dangerous as cars. We call BS. They say no laws could have prevented the hundreds of senseless tragedies that have occurred. We call BS. That us kids don't know what we're talking about, that we're too young to understand how the government works. We call BS.
    If you agree, register to vote. Contact your local congresspeople. Give them a piece of your mind.
    (Crowd chants) Throw them out.
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    rlauzon
    123 days ago
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    Ah, yes. Another ignorant product of our left-wing-nut controlled public schools.
    satadru
    123 days ago
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    What a moment. This generation may save us yet.
    New York, NY

    Daylight Saving Time isn’t worth it, European Parliament members say

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    Earlier this week the European Parliament voted 384 to 153 to review whether Daylight Saving Time is actually worth it. Although the resolution it voted on was non-binding, the majority reflected a growing dissatisfaction with a system that has been used by the US, Canada, most of Europe, and regions in Asia, Africa, and South America for decades.

    The resolution asked the European Commission to review the costs and benefits of Daylight Saving Time. If the EU were to abolish Daylight Saving Time, it would need approval of the majority of EU member states and EU Parliament members.

    Last week's vote to reconsider seasonal time change was proposed after 70,000 Finnish citizens signed a petition to end Daylight Saving Time, according to German-based international broadcaster Deutsche Welle. Ireland Member of European Parliament (MEP) Sean Kelly has been working to stop time changes as well.

    "We think that there's no need to change the clocks," Kelly said to Deutsche Welle. "It came in during World War One, it was supposed to be for energy savings—the indications are that there are very few energy savings, if any—and there are an awful lot of disadvantages to both human beings and animals that make it outdated at this point."

    The claim that setting clocks an hour ahead in spring doesn't save energy or make societies safer is often used by Daylight Saving opponents. In the past, when lighting a home was the primary driver of electricity consumption, adjusting clocks to take advantage of late-evening sunlight might have made a dent in that consumption. But in today's world, air conditioning and electronics are also significant portions of electricity demand, and optimizing business hours to coincide with daylight hours doesn't significantly impact that draw of electricity.

    In fact, the US added three more weeks to Daylight Saving Time in 2005, in part in the hopes of capitalizing on potential energy savings. But by 2007 that dream hadn't panned out: people just consumed more electricity in the dark morning hours instead of in the dark evening hours.

    Other research has shown that adjusting to Daylight Saving Time can take a real toll on the sleep habits of some people, and losing an hour of sleep leads to more than eight minutes of "cyberloafing"—that is, wasting time on the Internet. Deutsche Welle says farmers have complained that cows get restless waiting for an extra hour to get milked, and, according to the BBC, French MEP Karima Delli said the time change made people tired and led to more accidents.

    On the other hand, an extra hour of daylight in the evening is often good for tourism-dependent industries. Deutsche Welle wrote that EU Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc said regardless of how the EU proceeds, it's important that the whole European Economic Area stay on the same page.

    Still, it seems that choosing whether to stick with winter time or summer time is key in a transition away from Daylight Saving Time. Years ago, Russia tried to go on permanent summer time, but changed to permanent winter time in 2014 after the summer-time-in-winter change gave people stress and health problems when it stayed darker for longer during winter mornings, according to the BBC.

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    sarcozona
    124 days ago
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    Winter time forever!
    kleer001
    128 days ago
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    If we could banish daylight saving time in my lifetime...
    sirshannon
    129 days ago
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    I agree.
    rlauzon
    129 days ago
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    I've been saying this for years.

    The Full BBS Documentary Interviews are Going Online

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    This year, the full 250 hours of interviews I conducted for the BBS Documentary are going online at the Internet Archive.

    There’s already a collection of them up, from when I first set out to do this. Called “The BBS Documentary Archive“, it’s currently 32 items from various interviews, including a few clip farms and full interviews of a bunch of people who sat with me back in the years of 2002-2004 to talk about all matter of technology and bulletin board history.

    That collection, as it currently stands, is a bit of an incomplete mess. Over the course of this project, it will become a lot less so. I’ll be adding every minute of tape I can recover from my storage, as well as fixing up metadata where possible. Naturally you will be asked to help as well.

    A bit of background for people coming into this cold: I shot a movie called “BBS: The Documentary” which ended up being an eight episode mini-series. It tried to be the first and ultimately the last large documentary about bulletin board systems, those machines hooked up to phone lines that lived far and wide from roughly 1978-2000s. They were brilliant and weird and they’re one of the major examples of life going online. They laid the foundation for a population that used the Internet and the Web, and I think they’re terribly interesting.

    I was worried that we were going to never get The Documentary On BBSes and so I ended up making it. It’s already 10 years and change since the movie came out, and there’s not been another BBS Documentary, so I guess this is it. My movie was very North American-centric and didn’t go into blistering detail about Your Local BBS Scene, and some people resented that, but I stand by both decisions; just getting the whole thing done required a level of effort and energy I’m sure I’m not capable of any more.

    Anyway, I’m very proud of that movie.

    I’m also proud of the breadth of interviews – people who pioneered BBSes in the 1970s, folks who played around in scenes both infamous and obscure, and experts in areas of this story that would never, ever have been interviewed by any other production. This movie has everything: Vinton Cerf (co-creator of the Internet) along with legends of Fidonet like Tom Jennings and Ken Kaplan and even John Madill, who drew the FidoNet dog logo. We’ve got ANSI kids and Apple II crackers and writers of a mass of the most popular BBS software packages. The creator of .QWK packets and multiple members of the Cult of the Dead Cow. There’s so much covered here that I just think would never, ever be immortalized otherwise.

    And the movie came out, and it sold really well, and I open licensed it, and people discover it every day and play it on YouTube or pull out the package and play the original DVDs. It’s a part of culture, and I’m just so darn proud of it.

    Part of the reason the movie is watchable is because I took the 250 hours of footage and made it 7.5 hours in total. Otherwise… well….

    …unless, of course, you’re a maniac, and you want to watch me talking with people about subjects decades in the past and either having it go really well or fall completely apart. The shortest interview is 8 minutes. The longest is five hours. There’s legions of knowledge touched on in these conversations, stuff that can be a starting port for a bunch of research that would otherwise be out of options to even find what the words are.

    Now, a little word about self-doubt.

    When I first starting uploading hours of footage of BBS Documentary interviews to the Internet Archive, I was doing it from my old job, and I had a lot going on. I’d not done much direct work with Internet Archive and didn’t know anything going on behind the scenes or how things worked or frankly much about the organization in any meaningful amount. I just did it, and sent along something like 20 hours of footage. Things were looking good.

    Then, reviews.

    Some people started writing a few scathing responses to the uploads, pointing out how rough they were, my speech patterns, the interview style, and so on. Somehow, I let that get into my head, and so, with so much else to do, I basically walked away from it.

    12 years later (12 years!) I’m back, and circumstances have changed.

    I work for the Archive, I’ve uploaded hundreds of terabytes of stuff, and the BBS documentary rests easily on its laurels of being a worthwhile production. Comments by randos about how they wish I’d done some prettify-ing of the documentary “raw” footage don’t even register. I’ve had to swim upstream through a cascade of poor responses to things I’ve done in public since then – they don’t get at me. It took some time to get to this place of comfort, which is why I bring it up. For people who think of me as some bulletproof soul, let it be known that “even I” had to work up to that level, even when sitting on something like BBS Documentary and years of accomplishment. And those randos? Never heard from them again.

    The interview style I used in the documentary raw footage should be noted because it’s deliberate: they’re conversations. I sometimes talk as much as the subjects. It quickly became obvious that people in this situation of describing BBS history would have aspects that were crystal clear, but would also have a thousand little aspects lost in fuzzy clouds of memory. As I’d been studying BBSes intensely for years at this point, it would often take me telling them some story (and often the same stories) to trigger a long-dormant tale that they would fly with. In many cases, you can see me shut up the second people talk, because that was why I was talking in the first place. I should have known people might not get that, and I shouldn’t have listened to them so long ago.

    And from these conversations come stories and insights that are priceless. Folks who lived this life in their distant youth have all sorts of perspectives on this odd computer world and it’s just amazing that I have this place and collection to give them back to you.

    But it will still need your help.

    Here’s the request.

    I lived this stupid thing; I really, really want to focus on putting a whole bunch of commitments to bed. Running the MiniDV recorder is not too hard for me, and neither is the basic uploading process, which I’ve refined over the years. But having to listen to myself for hundreds of hours using whatever time I have on earth left… it doesn’t appeal to me at all.

    And what I really don’t want to do, beyond listening to myself, is enter the endless amount of potential metadata, especially about content. I might be inspired to here and there, especially with old friends or interviews I find joyful every time I see them again. But I can’t see myself doing this for everything and I think metadata on a “subjects covered” and “when was this all held” is vital for the collection having use. So I need volunteers to help me. I run a Discord server that communicates with people collaborating with me and I have a bunch of other ways to be reached. I’m asking for help here – turning this all into something useful beyond just existing is a vital step that I think everyone can contribute to.

    If you think you can help with that, please step forward.

    Otherwise… step back – a lot of BBS history is about to go online.

     

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    rlauzon
    147 days ago
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    Yay! Just watching some of these videos brought back many memories.

    Hard Truths Not Taught in Schools

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    J Metz published a great article describing six hard truths not taught in school. As all good things should come in 7-tuples, here’s another one I was told ages ago when I was a young hotshot full of myself:

    Professions were created for a reason – they enable people to do the work they’re qualified to do.

    Needless to say, it took me decades to fully understand its implications.

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