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It's easy - and indeed it's fun - to mock.

But it is not easy to do it so well. Congrats.

My problem is that while generally your point is true and in-assailable, and I can say Huzzah with the best of them, specific points in my life indicate that your point isn't essentially or entirely true.

Part of this seems to be that there are certain laws of physics and R&D and productization and distribution that manifest themselves. My first experience with this was while in the industrial pollution control business. A valve, a plate, a corner of a vent will cost x amount for a certain amount of efficiency and life expectancy. You want another 1 percent of efficiency, it may cost 100% more. More platinum, more delicate work, fewer people with the expertise, longer delays and longer projects...on and on and the same for several factors like that and life expectancy...and each additional increment costs substantially higher as the implementation approaches 100%.

Then to the audio world, but in spades...especially as the world of listening, and more power capabilities and desire, and the knowledge of what was happening as sound reproduction went from tubes to transistors to digital components. Psycho acoustics and Total Harmonic Distortion and the relevance of Third Order Harmonics and other this and thats...all unheard of in the earlier age, all very important in understanding how to make the reproduction of sound and experience as close to the original as possible.

Do we need that? Do we need 99.999% efficiency at the smokestack? in the internet service? in the tonality of the speakers?

Not always, but the answer is obviously "Yes". Some part of 'we' needs it.

Do I need the far grooviest sound as I type this? No. Does an engineer or producer who sits in front of the speakers for 12 hours a day need to have less distortion (lest they go made or make wrong decisions that get mis-interpreted later in the reproduction chain? Yes. Do I need a better sounding system than most people, as I have had some training and experience with 'good better best' and don't like to hear some niggles that are distracting?

Yes and no. Needs and wants become the issue at some point.

On and on this goes, and can be translated into politics as well as television, friendships as well as reading matter. (PS - As an Apple affectionado, I am required (need to? want to?) take quite verbacious umbrage at any insinuations implied with your associating Mac products with unrequired hype.)

I don't want to try to justify the magic rocks with antenna like interiors, though I have witnesses things just as odd apparently doing something positive.

I could justify the turntable if need be. I could justify Larry Ellison's incredible yachts and the employment that they bring, the lifting of quality standards world-wide and interesting spin offs from the developments. I could also smear them (as well as my time as a keyboard junkie) for egregious greed in a world that has more people suffering than surviving well, more people merely surviving than creating well.

As that great philosopher Vonegut says so well:

La di dah.

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Mon Jan 12th, 2009 at 07:01:08 AM EST
I think the problem is not there there is no place for quality, but that there is no necessary correlation between quality and price.

You don't "get what you pay for" you get to pay for the marketing budget and the profit margins as well as what you actually get - and that is the price tags that someone has put on your participation mystique.  If you buy into the hype you are paying through the nose.  If you know and buy what you actually need you can identify quality and value.

notes from no w here

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jan 12th, 2009 at 09:35:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You don't "get what you pay for": you don't get what you don't pay for.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jan 12th, 2009 at 04:20:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I could justify the turntable if need be. I could justify Larry Ellison's incredible yachts and the employment that they bring, the lifting of quality standards world-wide and interesting spin offs from the developments. I could also smear them (as well as my time as a keyboard junkie) for egregious greed in a world that has more people suffering than surviving well, more people merely surviving than creating well.

This boils down to three things.

  1. population control
  2. resource allocation
  3. sustainability

And really item one and two are subsets of item three. Sustainability is still ill-defined, even by people on this website. That's certainly part of the problem. Leftists defending apple also demonstrates an emotional and intellectual gulf that will not be easy to bridge.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Mon Jan 12th, 2009 at 11:10:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion; to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not rich; to listen to stars and birds, babes and sages, with open heart; to study hard; to think quietly, act frankly, talk gently, await occasions, hurry never; in a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common--this is my symphony.    
     William Henry Channing, clergyman, reformer (1810-1884)

I don't know. Just because McMansions are not viable in all places, doesn't mean that I have to live in a thatched condominium.

Isn't it funny that we find our arrows to be in the best fletched and in the handsomest of quivers: As a non-meat eater, I find that the capacity of the land to feed several times more people in a much more sustainable manner and without the chemicals now used, to be the most significant argument against there even being a real population or resource problem...but then, I bet you see different nails and have different hammers

...or perhaps you are implying that we have no chance, that the solution is less of everything for everyone...and less of everyone as well?

Bizarre as it may seem, I'd assert that this would only make matters worse.

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Mon Jan 12th, 2009 at 03:46:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sustainability doesn't require any sort of equality across the population, but I'd like to change the culture to something that isn't an exaggerated expression of human instinct which is where we are at today.

As a non-meat eater, I find that the capacity of the land to feed several times more people in a much more sustainable manner and without the chemicals now used, to be the most significant argument against there even being a real population or resource problem...but then, I bet you see different nails and have different hammers

Efficiency cannot be greater than 100% which means there is a hard limit on our population. We could probably string out 20 billion humans on a diet of 900 calories of rice and vegetables a day, but why? Shouldn't we be concerned about our collective quality of life?

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Mon Jan 12th, 2009 at 09:07:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We could probably string out 20 billion humans on a diet of 90 of rice and vegetables a day, but why? Shouldn't we be concerned about our collective quality of life?
Alternatively, it's not clear that the current low density of population is actually sufficient to ensure a reasonable quality of life either.

I have this image in my head of a pre-historic hunter-gatherer who's worrying how future people can stand living in cities, with their crazy indoor plumbing and prepackaged food available in giant walk-in refrigerators etc.

--
$E(X_t|F_s) = X_s,\quad t > s$

by martingale on Mon Jan 12th, 2009 at 10:27:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
While you philosophers and elitists argue, I'm going to do something positive for us all. I'm going to invest my money in Sustaining Stocks~!

New Mutual Fund will be First in US to Track Dow Jones Sustainability Index


Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Tue Jan 13th, 2009 at 02:29:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
<sigh>

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jan 13th, 2009 at 02:34:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I understand your point, but going from today's 6.5 billion to 20 billion is beyond even my long term comments (and a diversion from discussion).

Meanwhile, just in average numbers, a unit of meat protein takes 7 times more water, 7 times more grain input, 7 times the land and creates (to use a technical term for it) a shitload of detritus, much of it not on the list of cool things to have around.

Now, I don't want to highjack this thread with a holistic rant, but it does have to do with world economics part 1. As I understand it, amino acids are amino acids, no difference between beef amino acids (and thereby, beef proteins) and vegetable amino acids (and thereby vegi-proteins.) But the stuff that comes along with modern beef production (hormones, pesticides, cutting out the bad parts instead of turning away the entire cow) and the stuff that comes along with eating beef proteins such as the great tasting fats and the cooked nitates that turn to nitrites, the aforementioned hormones and other exciting chemicals that come with the execution, the are causing cancer and other health issues that the collective pays for...a blot on our quality of life from the get-go.

I cannot extrapolate to 20 billion. Nor do I have the time to multiply out and prove that the amount of food that can be sustained without petroleum-based fertilizers is much higher than 900 calories per person well into the future. But the back of the napkin says that we can do better for everyone beyond - well beyond mere survival.

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Tue Jan 13th, 2009 at 07:38:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There is still an upper bound on the number of humans that can be put on this planet.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Tue Jan 13th, 2009 at 07:47:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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