[ExI] it was the best times, it was the best of times

Tomasz Rola rtomek at ceti.pl
Fri Oct 4 18:27:30 UTC 2013

On Thu, 3 Oct 2013, spike wrote:

> But now. it feels to me like we now have aaaaaalllll thiiiiis coooool stuff
> available online to the pauper, the free online training tools, the really
> meaty websites filled with skills that rich and poor alike need to struggle
> to master.  There is still no royal road to trigonometry.  In that sense it
> is the best of times for really poor people.  You can pick up internet on a
> 200 dollar Kindle or equivalent, and there is free wifi over most of this
> town now.  It isn't the fastest and a Kindle isn't the best interface, but
> for two days' minimum wage, look at all the stuff you can get!

I almost agree, but:

1. If I were a pauper, I'd rather spend 100 on decent used laptop than 50 
on Kindle. The truth is, one can live quite long while reading stuff on 
LCD (I lived quite long reading on CRT - albeit I always tried to buy from 
above the cheapest shelve) and Kindles (or ebook readers, if you please) 
lack anything valuable in this digital age other than good-for-reading 
display. I mean, no keyboard (some models sport this laugh of so called 
keyboard), no compiler, no decent editor of one's choice (say, if one 
wants Emacs? with full elisp enabled, of course), not even a SD-card (in 
case of Kindle) - so I can read until I faint but what can I _make_ , on 
my own, with this knowledge? To make, I need decent kb, some cpu and 
enough mem to compile. Longterm, I'd say this is worth much more than cool 
eink display - and I say this while having desktop, laptop and ereader. 
Last but not least, ereader is to be treated as monolitic piece of 
hardware - if something buckles up, one can trash it. Some repairs are 
possible, but it's much easier to try with a laptop and even easier with 
desktop, where rolling upgrade is one of the coolest property I can think 
of - it's possible to start with really shitty hw and go up in small 

2. While your depiction of prospects is true, and it is so in increasing 
number of places, the other side of it is that "your pauper" wasn't born a 
pauper or his parents were not paupers, or their parents etc etc, so he 
was taught the value of learning oneself (however, what actually is the 
value of this? perhaps it depends on neighbourhood). The real pauper is 
born into real paupers, I'm afraid, and then he goes to pauper school and 
chances are, there he is taught to, say, trade drugs (or trade  
himself/herself) and to "get reach or day traying". One can see some of 
paupers' attitude when analysing career of some sportsmen, who at their 
peak earn millions and present cars to the strangers, then quickly go back 
to the place of origin when their money dries away (is being given away, 
is being stolen by their smart advisors and so on).

However, I don't think I ever was a pauper (especially that I was able to 
attend to public schools in times when one could expect from them, just as 
schools were to expect from me - not sure how much this is the case 
today). So maybe I'm wrong about something. Particularly when it comes to 
describing attitudes. Obviously, some paupers elevate themselves quite 
high and not all are loosing their earnings in stupid ways.

Overally, I think I could trade even the network in exchange for ability 
to read from works freely available in current pub repositories (too many 
to list them here, Project Gutenberg and its kins). I.e., petabyte local 
read-only storage may be preferred to twistlers and falsebooks :-). Many 
of them books are somewhat dated, but anatomy atlas from 1900 or Latin 
book from 1911 are really good enough for me. But ok, network plus limited 
local storage for a number of books I find valuable is good, too. The 
first option would be better for paupers with bad internet access.

> This has all given me a vision of sorts, which ties in nicely with the
> current US government's thrashing about, partially shut down, so they say.
> The fed was hoping someone would notice.  So far we have learned we can do
> just fine without their expensive help.

I have vague suspicion that central _working_ government has quite few 
good uses, even if I decline to elaborate on those. I think it is ok to 
trash a gov only if you are goodenooph to take on local robbers, druggers 
and human traffickers by yourself (an army of one, etc). Otherwise, I 
advice to pay taxes and demand results (or the other way). I guess Wild 
West wasn't really very good place to live from today's perspective 
(hint: if the good always won, where the contemporary bads came from?).

I somehow fail to envision anarchic paradise when everybody cooperates and 
no gov is necessary. Too angelic for us humans. I am much more prone to 
see how long term no-gov situation turns, in case of country like US, into 
war of everybody with everybody else. By long term here I mean longer than 
a week :-).

> licensed here.  I think we could set up a system where aspiring doctors
> could do much of their qualification for medical school online, starting at
> any time.  Much of medical school could be done with online training as
> well.  In this way we could generate many more doctors.  Of course they
> would likely not be as competent as our current crop, but they would have
> far less investment in their education, so they could charge a lot less.

But, I guess you can have this already? From CA to Mexico, go to hospital 
there? Tijuana, Chihuahua, Ciudad Juarez? Pay less, have a doc possibly as 
competent as your average?

Tomasz Rola

** A C programmer asked whether computer had Buddha's nature.      **
** As the answer, master did "rm -rif" on the programmer's home    **
** directory. And then the C programmer became enlightened...      **
**                                                                 **
** Tomasz Rola          mailto:tomasz_rola at bigfoot.com             **

More information about the extropy-chat mailing list