economy of scale

Study buddy (Smut)

I often imagine Sehun being the Flirt Master who can get any girl… 

Originally posted by fy-sexo-exo

Pairing: Sehun x Reader

Genre: Smut

Word count: 5543 words

Warning: Rough sex, Public sex, Dirty-Dirty talk, Voyeurism

AU: College!AU


Study buddy

Four standard assumptions of perfectly competitive models – One. Economies of scale are… small relative… to the size of the… market. Two. Output… is homogenous. Three. Information… is… soft- and… fluffy. Four. I want to marry you… sweet, cuddly turtle-bunny-cushion. Something hits the elbow you’re leaning your head upon and you shoot up, slightly panicking. Shit. You had fallen asleep. It was only for a minute; you defend yourself in your mind. Nobody saw you, right?

You lift your hands to rub your eyes but stop yourself in the nick of time. You have almost forgotten that you are wearing black eyeliner and mascara. Thank God you remembered just in time – It would have been a catastrophe if you didn’t.

You look around, pinching your eyes a few times instead and examining the endless array of tables that is populated with college students and their college books, notebooks, markers and pencils. During the exam periods, it’s difficult to find a spot left empty. Outside the College library, there’s typically a line of students waiting to claim a seat, even at this unholy hour of nine pm.

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One thing I’m curious about is whether we’re going to see a shift away from small private landlords to large corporate landlords with greater economies of scale.

How bosses are (literally) like dictators,” Elizabeth Anderson, Vox, 17 July 2017:

The earliest champions of free markets envisioned a world of self-employment

Why do we talk like [businesses aren’t dictatorships]? The answer takes us back to free market ideas developed before the Industrial Revolution. In 17th- and 18th-century Britain, big merchants got the state to grant them monopolies over trade in particular goods, forcing small craftsmen to submit to their regulations. A handful of aristocratic families enjoyed a monopoly on land, due to primogeniture and entail, which barred the breakup and sale of any part of large estates. Farmers could rent their land only on short-term leases, which forced them to bow and scrape before their landlords, in a condition of subordination not much different from servants, who lived in their masters’ households and had to obey their rules.

The problem was that the state had rigged the rules of the market in favor of the rich. Confronted with this economic situation, many people argued that free markets would promote equality and workers’ interests by enabling them to go into business for themselves and thereby escape subordination to the owners of capital.

No wonder some of the early advocates of free markets in 17th-century England were called “Levellers.” These radicals, who emerged during the English civil war, wanted to abolish the monopolies held by the big merchants and aristocrats. They saw the prospects of greater equality that might come from opening up to ordinary workers opportunities for manufacture, trade, and farming one’s own land.

In the 18th century, Adam Smith was the greatest advocate for the view that replacing monopolies, primogeniture, entail, and involuntary servitude with free markets would enable laborers to work on their own behalf. His key assumption was that incentives were more powerful than economies of scale. When workers get to keep all of the fruits of their labor, as they do when self-employed, they will work much harder and more efficiently than if they are employed by a master, who takes a cut of what they produce. Indolent aristocratic landowners can’t compete with yeoman farmers without laws preventing land sales. Free markets in land, labor, and commerce will therefore lead to the triumph of the most efficient producer, the self-employed worker, and the demise of the idle, stupid, rent-seeking rentier.

Smith and his contemporaries looked across the Atlantic and saw that America appeared to be realizing these hopes — although only for white men. The great majority of the free population in the Revolutionary period was self-employed, as either a yeoman farmer or an independent artisan or merchant.

In the United States, Thomas Paine was the great promoter of this vision… Paine argued that individuals can solve nearly all of their problems on their own, without state meddling. A good government does nothing more than secure individuals in “peace and safety” in the free pursuit of their occupations, with the lowest possible tax burden… Paine was a lifelong advocate of commerce, free trade, and free markets. He called for hard money and fiscal responsibility.

Paine was the hero of labor radicals for decades after his death in 1809, because they shared his hope that free markets would yield an economy almost entirely composed of small proprietors. An economy of small proprietors offers a plausible model of a free society of equals: each individual personally independent, none taking orders from anyone else, everyone middle class.

Abraham Lincoln built on the vision of Smith and Paine, which helped to shape the two key planks of the Republican Party platform: opposition to the extension of slavery in the territories, and the Homestead Act. Slavery, after all, enabled masters to accumulate vast tracts of land, squeezing out small farmers and forcing them into wage labor. Prohibiting the extension of slavery into the territories and giving away small plots of land to anyone who would work it would realize a society of equals in which no one is ever consigned to wage labor for life. Lincoln, who helped create the political party that now defends the interests of business, never wavered from the proposition that true free labor meant freedom from wage labor.

The Industrial Revolution, however — well underway by Lincoln’s time — ultimately dashed the hopes of joining free markets with independent labor in a society of equals. Smith’s prediction — that economies of scale would be less important than the incentive effects of enabling workers to reap all the fruits of their labor — was defeated by industrial technologies that required massive accumulations of capital. The US, with its access to territories seized from Native Americans, was able to stave off the bankruptcy of self-employed farmers and other small proprietors for far longer than Europe. But industrialization, population growth, the closure of the frontier, and railroad monopolies doomed the sole proprietorship to the margins of the economy, even in North America.

The Industrial Revolution gave employers new powers over workers, but economists failed to adjust their vocabulary — or their analyses

The Smith-Paine-Lincoln libertarian vision was rendered largely irrelevant by industrialization, which created a new model of wage labor, with large companies taking the place of large landowners. Yet strangely, many people persist in using Smith’s and Paine’s rhetoric to describe the world we live in today. We are told that our choice is between free markets and state control — but most adults live their working lives under a third thing entirely: private government. A vision of what egalitarians hoped market society would deliver before the Industrial Revolution — a world without private workplace government, with producers interacting only through markets and the state — has been blindly carried over to the modern economy by libertarians and their pro-business fellow travelers.

There is a condition called hemiagnosia, whose sufferers cannot perceive one half of their bodies. A large class of libertarian-leaning thinkers and politicians, with considerable public following, resemble patients with this condition: They cannot perceive half of the economy — the half that takes place beyond the market, after the employment contract is accepted, where workers are subject to private, arbitrary, unaccountable government.

🔥🔥🔥

Printable solar cells just got a little closer

A U of T Engineering innovation could make printing solar cells as easy and inexpensive as printing a newspaper. Dr. Hairen Tan and his team have cleared a critical manufacturing hurdle in the development of a relatively new class of solar devices called perovskite solar cells. This alternative solar technology could lead to low-cost, printable solar panels capable of turning nearly any surface into a power generator.

“Economies of scale have greatly reduced the cost of silicon manufacturing,” said Professor Ted Sargent, an expert in emerging solar technologies and the Canada Research Chair in Nanotechnology. “Perovskite solar cells can enable us to use techniques already established in the printing industry to produce solar cells at very low cost. Potentially, perovskites and silicon cells can be married to improve efficiency further, but only with advances in low-temperature processes.”

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I think an oft overlooked aspect of spaceborne interplanetary economies is the scale of industry you need to support rocket or mass driver based transportation of goods… like, chemical fueled rockets consume an absolutely massive quantity of fuel to hop from planet to planet, translunar, interasteroidal distances etc compared to a shipping truck, train or oceanic freighter, and if you’re planning on large-scale interplanetary trade then you’re going to need to scale up production of volatiles accordingly, which means massive refineries, which demands metals and minerals to construct them, as well as necessitating the existence of factories to manufacture building materials and specialized parts, which necessitates more volatiles to carry out metallurgy and industrial processes, and so on… you can see where I’m going with this.

If we don’t use chemfuel rockets in the rocket case, and go with - say - electric propulsion, the delta-V between worlds still necessitates large quantities of volatiles. Nuclear rockets add even more complication as you now have to make massive investments into uranium mining (which is only viable on rocky worlds with volcanism and ideally hydrology), as well as centrifuging and machining reactor components. Mass drivers might not technically need fuel - but you need to manufacture a metal casing for each payload launched by your coilgun, and that gun will need repairs, upkeep, oversight… plus, how do the payloads slow down at their destination?

Fusion also requires massive supporting infradtructure, unless we manage to master plain hydrogen-hydrogen fusion in the next centuries. Helium-3 can only be viably mined from gas giants. Getting stuff on and off of gas giants is hard, and you’ll need a lot of supporting infrastructure. Tritium needs to be manufactured (slowly) by irradiating deuterium or lithium. And deuterium is extracted from heavy water, which has extremely low natural abundance, so you need to churn through a LOT of water. If you have torchships, your fuel consumption will be massive - the fusion energy required to propel reasonably large spacecraft in the near future starts on the order of gigawatts, and depending on how much thrust power you want, or how much interplanetary trade there is, your fuel requirements can quickly eclipse the power needs of Earth

In general the picture I’m building for myself here is that any significant presence in interplanetary space will necessitate the construction of a large industrial base if our spacers want to do much mass scale trade with each other, or interact much at all, besides beinf a bunch of very disparate islands. This might look like colossal “water refinery” operations, largely at icy asteroids and comets beyond the snow line of the solar system - and these refineries will demand metal mining, factories, and plentiful power. Unlike on Earth, all the water you need is locked in ice and mixed with nasty chemicals like ammonia, which means melting or boiling it before purification. Imagine if all the fresh water used by humans today were produced by melting down blocks of ice at the polar caps, and then shipped home by tanker (or maybe airplane would be closer?). The notion of water refineries also dovetails nicely with the idea brought up by my friend Abby @raingiant that long-lasting, large habitats demand plentiful water to create stable ecosystems where nutrients and waste products can be cycled effectively through a relatively small system, resulting in something not unlike a spaceborne analogue of the Pacific Northwest or New Zealand forests, fens, wetlands

This among other thoughts I’ve been mulling over for a while contribute to my thinking that space economics are anything but the simple, one-and-done affairs that you’d get the impression of from looking at lofty NASA or SpaceX proposals… There is plenty of room for conflict and intrigue in the establishment of society in space, on the material level. Far from being a simple matter of “can we haul mining equipment here? If yes, then we can expand exponentially to the stars without any issue,” or “space travel is costly and therefore impossible,” you’re working with a huge and complex system with many interdependencies, as with any other society that’s ever existed

okay so in Classic Capitalism we all compete at delivering products or services in a free market (at least if the fuckin’ mafia can keep their noses out of it), so I might be manufacturing carpet (products!) and trying to offer the best quality for the lowest price, or I might be installing carpet (services!) and trying to get the job done quickly and efficiently, which is all well and good.

anyone else can come along and try their hand at making better carpet, or cheaper carpet, or installing it faster and more cleanly than I do, and I can’t stop them from doing this (mafia aside) so the customer gets the best deal.

except the modern range of internet megacorps are running industries with network effects and economies of scale where it doesn’t really make sense to have thousands of providers: social networks get more valuable if everyone you know is on them, streaming media services are more valuable if they have all the content everyone is talking about, this is more of a winner-takes-all race where an improved option isn’t going to get off the ground unless some chance catastrophe happens to take down the incumbent at just the right moment.

anyway I forgot where I was going with this but it sucks and I hate it

American public discourse doesn’t give us helpful ways to talk about the dictatorial rule of employers. Instead, we talk as if workers aren’t ruled by their bosses. We are told that unregulated markets make us free, and that the only threat to our liberties is the state. We are told that in the market, all transactions are voluntary. We are told that since workers freely enter and exit the labor contract, they are perfectly free under it. We prize our skepticism about “government,” without extending our critique to workplace dictatorship.

Why do we talk like this? The answer takes us back to free market ideas developed before the Industrial Revolution. In 17th- and 18th-century Britain, big merchants got the state to grant them monopolies over trade in particular goods, forcing small craftsmen to submit to their regulations. A handful of aristocratic families enjoyed a monopoly on land, due to primogeniture and entail, which barred the breakup and sale of any part of large estates. Farmers could rent their land only on short-term leases, which forced them to bow and scrape before their landlords, in a condition of subordination not much different from servants, who lived in their masters’ households and had to obey their rules.

The problem was that the state had rigged the rules of the market in favor of the rich. Confronted with this economic situation, many people argued that free markets would promote equality and workers’ interests by enabling them to go into business for themselves and thereby escape subordination to the owners of capital.

No wonder some of the early advocates of free markets in 17th-century England were called “Levellers.” These radicals, who emerged during the English civil war, wanted to abolish the monopolies held by the big merchants and aristocrats. They saw the prospects of greater equality that might come from opening up to ordinary workers opportunities for manufacture, trade, and farming one’s own land.

In the 18th century, Adam Smith was the greatest advocate for the view that replacing monopolies, primogeniture, entail, and involuntary servitude with free markets would enable laborers to work on their own behalf. His key assumption was that incentives were more powerful than economies of scale. When workers get to keep all of the fruits of their labor, as they do when self-employed, they will work much harder and more efficiently than if they are employed by a master, who takes a cut of what they produce. Indolent aristocratic landowners can’t compete with yeoman farmers without laws preventing land sales. Free markets in land, labor, and commerce will therefore lead to the triumph of the most efficient producer, the self-employed worker, and the demise of the idle, stupid, rent-seeking rentier.

Smith and his contemporaries looked across the Atlantic and saw that America appeared to be realizing these hopes — although only for white men. The great majority of the free population in the Revolutionary period was self-employed, as either a yeoman farmer or an independent artisan or merchant.

In the United States, Thomas Paine was the great promoter of this vision. Indeed, his views on political economy sound as if they could have been ripped out of the GOP Freedom Caucus playbook. Paine argued that individuals can solve nearly all of their problems on their own, without state meddling. A good government does nothing more than secure individuals in “peace and safety” in the free pursuit of their occupations, with the lowest possible tax burden. Taxation is theft. People living off government pay are social parasites. Government is the chief cause of poverty. Paine was a lifelong advocate of commerce, free trade, and free markets. He called for hard money and fiscal responsibility.

Paine was the hero of labor radicals for decades after his death in 1809, because they shared his hope that free markets would yield an economy almost entirely composed of small proprietors. An economy of small proprietors offers a plausible model of a free society of equals: each individual personally independent, none taking orders from anyone else, everyone middle class.

Abraham Lincoln built on the vision of Smith and Paine, which helped to shape the two key planks of the Republican Party platform: opposition to the extension of slavery in the territories, and the Homestead Act. Slavery, after all, enabled masters to accumulate vast tracts of land, squeezing out small farmers and forcing them into wage labor. Prohibiting the extension of slavery into the territories and giving away small plots of land to anyone who would work it would realize a society of equals in which no one is ever consigned to wage labor for life. Lincoln, who helped create the political party that now defends the interests of business, never wavered from the proposition that true free labor meant freedom from wage labor.

The Industrial Revolution, however — well underway by Lincoln’s time — ultimately dashed the hopes of joining free markets with independent labor in a society of equals. Smith’s prediction — that economies of scale would be less important than the incentive effects of enabling workers to reap all the fruits of their labor — was defeated by industrial technologies that required massive accumulations of capital. The US, with its access to territories seized from Native Americans, was able to stave off the bankruptcy of self-employed farmers and other small proprietors for far longer than Europe. But industrialization, population growth, the closure of the frontier, and railroad monopolies doomed the sole proprietorship to the margins of the economy, even in North America.

The Smith-Paine-Lincoln libertarian vision was rendered largely irrelevant by industrialization, which created a new model of wage labor, with large companies taking the place of large landowners. Yet strangely, many people persist in using Smith’s and Paine’s rhetoric to describe the world we live in today. We are told that our choice is between free markets and state control — but most adults live their working lives under a third thing entirely: private government. A vision of what egalitarians hoped market society would deliver before the Industrial Revolution — a world without private workplace government, with producers interacting only through markets and the state — has been blindly carried over to the modern economy by libertarians and their pro-business fellow travelers.

There is a condition called hemiagnosia, whose sufferers cannot perceive one half of their bodies. A large class of libertarian-leaning thinkers and politicians, with considerable public following, resemble patients with this condition: They cannot perceive half of the economy — the half that takes place beyond the market, after the employment contract is accepted, where workers are subject to private, arbitrary, unaccountable government.

Elizabeth Anderson, “How bosses are (literally) like dictators,” Vox (x)

anonymous asked:

why do you think are some of the reasons that Tulsa Oklahoma (black wall street) became so successfull.

That’s an easy question: Tulsa, OK aka; Black Wall Street was so successful because they practiced Group and Communal Economics.  They pooled their resources, they recycled not only their currency but their skills and resources among each other, and finally, they did not dilute their time, resources, and talents among the White majority.  That’s it.  

Of course, it was much easier to practice Group and Communal Economics because Integrating and diluting ourselves into the dominate or White economy (on a mass scale) wasn’t an option until the mid-60s.  

That’s the foundation of all of the successful Black communities or towns from the Black Metropolis of Bronzville in Chicago, Strivers Row of Harlem, Rosewood in Florida, Allensworth in California, Tulsa OK, and many more Black towns and prosperous communities that sprung up between Reconstruction and the mid-60s.  

Dr. Claud Anderson pretty much has modernized this formula for success in his magnificent text; Powernomics: The National Plan to Empower Black America. There’s also The Blueprint for Black Power by Dr. Amos N. Wilson that also lays out in greater detail these same tried and proven strategies for collective successful.  

Since you didn’t ask me about why they failed, or why we will/or have failed to repeat that success I won’t burden you with a drawn out explanation about it, but I would be remiss if I didn’t touch on that.

The reason Tulsa was destroyed, and all the rest.  Some were destroyed by open violence and aggression, others through more subtle means like policy manipulation and redlining.  Sadly, that will be the fate if we do the same. 

White (local, state, and federal) government agencies and non-state White actors and institutions have stolen more than a Trillion dollars worth of land, wealth, and resources from Blacks in the US since the Emancipation of Black people and the ratification of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the Constitution! It’s so much bigger than Reparations for Slavery.  There isn’t enough loot in the US treasury to make good on it’s debts to Blacks, and the US is still adding on to that debt to this very day.   

That’s why Group and Communal Economics are not adequate for an Oppressed Population, it only works after you are liberated, or you have fought your oppressors to a stalemate; just ask China, or the Chinese-American community.  

We need Revolutionary Economics which expands and intensifies Group and Communal Economics; that’s the only way to build in such a way that will not be vulnerable to White Aggression and Subversion. 

As the Racist used to say “a rich Ni99er is still a Ni99er,” I imagine they still say that, just not in mixed company.

We can’t buy our way out of oppression.  Securing wealth without securing liberation only makes you a more enticing and vulnerable target to your oppressors; or worse, it will force you to see the interest of your oppressors as you own.  

The next Labour government will transform the workplace

Labour’s 20 point plan to end the ‘rigged economy’ in work

Labour is backing a comprehensive programme to strengthen rights at work, make sure new jobs are good jobs, and end the race to the bottom in pay, conditions and job security.

Low pay and insecurity have mushroomed under the Conservatives. Labour will invest in the jobs and industries of the future, and take action to enforce a floor under employment standards across the board – so that all jobs are decent jobs.

The next Labour government will bring in a 20 point plan for security and equality at work:

·  Give all workers equal rights from day one, whether part-time or full-time, temporary or permanent – so that all workers have the same rights and protections whatever kind of job they have

·  Ban zero hours contracts – so that every worker gets a guaranteed number of hours each week

·  Ensure that any employer wishing to recruit labour from abroad does not undercut workers at home - because it causes divisions when one workforce is used against another

·  Repeal the Trade Union Act and roll out sectoral collective bargaining – because the most effective way to maintain good rights at work is through a trade union

·  Guarantee trade unions a right to access workplaces – so that unions can speak to members and potential members

·  Introduce four new Bank Holidays – we’ll bring our country together with new holidays to mark our four national patron saints’ days, so that workers in Britain get the same proper breaks as in other countries.

·  Raise the minimum wage to the level of the living wage (expected to be at least £10 per hour by 2020) – so that no one in work gets poverty pay

·  End the public sector pay cap – because public sector wages have fallen and our public sector workers deserve a pay rise

·  Amend the takeover code to ensure every takeover proposal has a clear plan in place to protect workers and pensioners – because workers shouldn’t suffer when a company is sold

·  Roll out maximum pay ratios – of 20:1 in the public sector and companies bidding for public contracts - because it cannot be right that wages at the top keep rising while everyone else’s stagnates

·  Ban unpaid internships – because it’s not fair for some to get a leg up when others can’t afford to

·  Enforce all workers’ rights to trade union representation at work – so that all workers can be supported when negotiating with their employer

·  Abolish employment tribunal fees – so that people have access to justice

·  Double paid paternity leave to four weeks and increase paternity pay – because fathers are parents too and deserve to spend more time with their new babies

·  Strengthen protections for women against unfair redundancy – because no one should be penalised for having children

·  Hold a public inquiry into blacklisting – to ensure that blacklisting truly becomes and remains a thing of the past

·  Give equalities reps statutory rights – so they have time to protect workers from discrimination

·  Reinstate protection against third party harassment – because everyone deserves to be safe at work

·  Use public spending power to drive up standards, including only awarding public contracts to companies which recognise trade unions

·  Introduce a civil enforcement system to ensure compliance with gender pay auditing– so that all workers have fair access to employment and promotion opportunities and are treated fairly at work

 John McDonnell MP, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor, said:

 “These policies will be the cornerstone of the next Labour government’s programme to bring an end to the rigged economy that many experience in workplaces across Britain.

“The scandal of six million people earning less than the living wage, and four million children growing up in poverty are not inevitable. It only takes a change of government to bring these outrages to an end.

“The measures we are planning will make that possible, update our country for the 21st century and prepare us for the economic challenges ahead.

“They will also underpin the values we want to see in the British economy, and underline the scale of Labour’s plans to transform the workplace from the shop-floor up to the boardroom.

“When voters go to the polls on 8th June they should know that if they vote Labour, they will be voting for a change in the balance of power not only in society but in their places of work.

“It will mean tearing up the Tory status quo that allows most people’s wages to fall behind prices, and allow them to start to share in the wealth they help to create.

“Only a Labour government led by Jeremy Corbyn will stand up for the many in our offices and factories, while the Tories are only prepared to protect big business and a wealthy few.”

Rebecca Long-Bailey, Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, said:

“Labour’s 20 point plan on employment rights seeks not only to extend the rights of workers but enforce them too. For too long people have fallen through the gaps in the law or suffered because the law is simply inadequate, we intend to stop this. This election offers a clear choice: do you want a labour market run for the many or the few.”

IKEA HISTORY

THE BEGINING

Ingvar Feodor Kamprad was born on 30 March 1926, on a small farm called Elmtaryd near the village of Agunnaryd, in the Swedish province of Småland. Kamprad began his career at the age of six, selling matches. When just ten, he criss-crossed the neighbourhood on his bicycle, selling Christmas decorations, fish and pencils.

At the age of 17, in 1943, his father rewarded him with a small sum of money for doing well in school, despite being dyslexic. With it, Ingvar founded a business named IKEA, an abbreviation for Ingvar Kamprad from Elmtaryd, Agunnaryd, his boyhood home.

Two years after starting IKEA, he began using milk trucks to deliver his goods. In 1947, he started selling furniture made by local manufacturers. By 1955, manufacturers began boycotting IKEA, protesting against Kamprad’s low prices. This forced him to design items in-house. 

He is also behind the simple, yet revolutionary innovation that is the flat pack. He began selling IKEA products in flat-pack form, from his own warehouses. Thus the basic IKEA concept – simple, affordable flat-pack furniture, designed, distributed and sold in-house – was complete.The driving idea behind IKEA was, and is, that anyone should be able to afford stylish, modernist furniture. He felt he was not just cutting costs and making money, but serving the people as well.


THE FIRST STORES

The first store was opened in Älmhult, Småland, in 1958, while the first stores outside Sweden were opened in Norway (1963) and Denmark (1969). The stores spread to other parts of Europe in the 1970s, with the first store outside Scandinavia opening in Switzerland (1973), followed by West Germany (1974).

Older IKEA stores are usually blue buildings with yellow accents (also Sweden’s national colours) and few windows. They are often designed in a one-way layout, leading customers counter clockwise along what IKEA calls “the long natural way” designed to encourage the customer to see the store in its entirety (as opposed to a traditional retail store, which allows a customer to go directly to the section where the desired goods and services are displayed). There are often shortcuts to other parts of the showroom. Newer IKEA stores, like the one  make more use of glass, both for aesthetics and functionality. Skylights are also now common in the self-serve warehouses; natural lighting reduces energy costs, improves worker morale and gives a better impression of the products.


THE RESTAURANT

Every store includes a restaurant serving traditional Swedish food, including potatoes with Swedish meatballs, cream sauce and lingonberry jam, although there are variations. In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, the usual boiled potatoes have been replaced with French fries. Besides these Swedish foods, hot dogs and drinks are also sold, along with a few varieties of the local cuisine, and beverages such as lingonberry juice. Also items such as prinsesstårta (princess cake) are sold as desserts. Stores in Israel sell kosher food with a high degree of rabbinical supervision. The kosher restaurants are separated into dairy and meat areas; falafel and non-dairy ice cream are available at the exit. IKEA stores in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates serve chicken shawarma at the exit café as well as beef hot dogs, while in United Kingdom, a Quorn hot dog is available in the exit café.


PLAY AREA

Every store has a play area, named Småland (Swedish for small lands; it is also the Swedish province where Kamprad was born). Parents drop off their children at a gate to the playground, and pick them up after they arrive at another entrance. In some stores, parents are given free pagers by the on-site staff, which the staff can use to summon parents whose children need them earlier than expected; in others, staff summon parents through announcements over the in-store public address system.


FURNITURE

Rather than being sold pre-assembled, much of IKEA’s furniture is designed to be self-assembled. The company claims that this helps reduce costs and use of packaging by not shipping air; the volume of a bookcase, for example, is considerably less if it is shipped unassembled rather than assembled. This is also practical for many of the chain’s European customers, where public transport is commonly used, because the flat-pack methods allow for easier transport via public transportation.

IKEA contends that it has been a pioneering force in sustainable approaches to mass consumer culture. Kamprad calls this “democratic design,” meaning that the company applies an integrated approach to manufacturing and design. In response to the explosion of human population and material expectations in the 20th and 21st centuries, the company implements economies of scale, capturing material streams and creating manufacturing processes that hold costs and resource use down, such as the extensive use of Medium-Density Fiberboard (“MDF”). It is an engineered wood fibre glued under heat and pressure to create a building material of superior strength which is resistant to warp. IKEA uses cabinet-grade and furniture-grade MDF in all of its MDF products, such as PAX wardrobes and kitchen cupboards. IKEA also uses wood, plastic, and other materials for furniture and other products. The intended result is flexible, adaptable home furnishings, scalable both to smaller homes and dwellings as well as large houses.


INTERESTING FACTS

IKEA products are identified by one-word (rarely two-word) names. Most of the names are Scandinavian in origin. Although there are some exceptions, most product names are based on a special naming system developed by IKEA. Kamprad, found that naming the furniture with proper names and words, rather than a product code, made the names easier to remember.

  • Upholstered furniture, coffee tables, rattan furniture, bookshelves, media storage, doorknobs: Swedish placenames (for example: Klippan)
  • Beds, wardrobes, hall furniture: Norwegian place names
  • Dining tables and chairs: Finnish place names
  • Bookcase ranges: Occupations
  • Bathroom articles: Scandinavian lakes, rivers and bays
  • Kitchens: grammatical terms, sometimes also other names
  • Chairs, desks: men’s names
  • Fabrics, curtains: women’s names
  • Garden furniture: Swedish islands
  • Carpets: Danish place names
  • Lighting: terms from music, chemistry, meteorology, measures, weights, seasons, months, days, boats, nautical terms
  • Bedlinen, bed covers, pillows/cushions: flowers, plants, precious stones
  • Children’s items: mammals, birds, adjectives
  • Curtain accessories: mathematical and geometrical terms
  • Kitchen utensils: foreign words, spices, herbs, fish, mushrooms, fruits or berries, functional descriptions
  • Boxes, wall decoration, pictures and frames, clocks: colloquial expressions, also Swedish place names

They Were The First Company To Feature A Gay Relationship In a Commercial.While the commercial only ran once in 1994, it was still a big deal for such a major company to release an ad with a homosexual couple. Since then, the company had ran a number of ads targeting the gay community, including one of the first ads to feature a transgender person

Their Catalog Is almost More Popular Than The Bible. Every year, there are almost three times more copies of the catalog printed than the bible. They started printing the catalog in 1951 and it has since taken on a life of its own, consuming a full 70% of the companies marketing budget every year and developing a devoted fan base of people who analyze the images looking for obscure books in the bookshelves, Mickey Mouse references and cats hiding in the fake households. There are now 55 editions printed in 27 languages every year.

IKEA Also Sell Houses. If you live in Scandinavia or the UK, don’t head to a real estate agent, head to IKEA and grab a flat-pack house for a fraction of the cost. The BoKlok houses were originally released in Sweden in 1996, and have since expanded to IKEA stores across Northern Europe.

FUTURE

Kamprad has been married twice. In his first marriage, to Kerstin Wadling, he adopted a daughter, Annika Kihlbom. In the other, to Margaretha Stennert, he has three sons: Peter, Jonas and Mathias. The three sons are gradually succeeding their father, who now serves as senior advisor at IKEA.

Virtual reality theme park brings Norse legends to life

Source: Fortune 

Norse Theme Parks is blending traditional attractions with virtual reality and augmented reality experiences at its new Copenhagen park.

Theme parks around the world are beginning to incorporate virtual reality into their attractions, in addition to using it to design rides. There’s a VR theme park being built in China. And now a startup is building a Norse mythology virtual and augmented reality theme park in Copenhagen, Denmark.

According to Peter Franklin Wurtz, co-founder of startup Norse Theme Parks, The Legendary World of Norse Mythology: Yggdrasil will blend traditional rides and attractions with virtual reality and augmented reality experiences when it opens in 2019.

Keep reading

settleforsecnav  asked:

But, their advantage is they risk nothing close to what we risk by sending in carriers; they can lose cheap missile boats and cruise missile trucks all day and not give a shit. But that sword cuts both ways Distributed Lethality is a way of keeping the risk to our carriers low enough...|So why still build supercarriers rather than CVLs or WWII-sized fleet carriers, then? Instead of concentrating the vast majority of the aircraft in the CVBG into a central platform, disperse it among many?

This has been suggested by many already - building carriers like the America-class LHAs; omitting the well decks and making them pure aviation-focused ships; much like the small carriers operated by most foreign navies. Just a quick google search brings up a few such suggestions:

http://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/why-the-us-navy-should-build-smaller-aircraft-carriers-1600899834
http://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/americas-carrier-gap-crisis-highlights-a-need-for-sma-1740644946
http://nationalinterest.org/feature/should-america-embrace-smaller-aircraft-carriers-14001

As you might have surmised by the names in those URLs, the idea is fucking retarded.

For starters, economies of scale are still king when it comes to ships - big vessels are just more efficient, pound for pound, at everything they do. This is especially true for nuclear propulsion, which is a lot cheaper to operate on a day-to-day basis (midlife fueling nonwithstanding,) and scales up well, but not down. A big carrier will carry more munitions, aircraft, etc. for less cost than two smaller carriers equaling the same displacement. But there’s also operational efficiency. Carriers are very crowded; they’ve gotten bigger and bigger over the years primarily to accommodate bigger and bigger aircraft. The more space you have on deck and in the hangars, the more efficiently more people can work simultaneously to push aircraft and munitions around. And bigger carriers will have more equipment to support such operations. They’ll always generate sorties faster and more effectively, and that’s the effective measure of a carrier’s firepower. There’s also the matter of defense. Carriers are inherently lopsided weapons systems; incredible offensive standoff power countered by incredible vulnerability to damage. Thus a carrier’s best defense is offense. Since big carriers have superior offense, they also have superior defense.

That latter point is linked directly to the large carriers ability to operate much more effective aircraft than smaller carriers. Consider the F-14 Tomcat, the ultimate in offense-as-defense. A purpose-built high speed, long range fleet defense interceptor with a purpose-built long-range anti-bomber missile, meant to out-standoff anti-carrier standoff weapons. Such a large aircraft - with its heavy missile payload - could never operate from a small ski-ramp carrier with its intended payload, and even if you built a smaller CATOBAR carrier, it couldn’t carry enough big F-14s to defend itself without cutting deeply into the number of strike aircraft on board, forcing a hard tradeoff. Ski-ramps are hard on aircraft; and they’re nowhere near as effective as a catapult, limiting the payload/fuel (and hence the offensive ability) of carriers. VTOL fighters simply aren’t as effective as standard fixed-wing - the weight devoted to VTOL equipment subtracts from performance, payload and range. The Brits had the best go at this possible with the Sea Harrier, an attack jet souped up for the air-to-air role - and as good as it was, it still wasn’t the equal of a supersonic-capable air superiority fighter. The F-35B is certainly far superior, but the F-35C is even better.

In addition there’s the question of how many different kinds of aircraft you can operate. Not everything on a carrier is a hot-shot jet fighter. For instance, the E-2 Hawkeye is a carrier-borne AWACS plane; it’s big and heavy and can really only operate off a big CATOBAR ship. I needn’t remind you how huge a difference AWACS is! Such aircraft are force multipliers; they make a huge difference to the effectiveness of an air wing. (The fact that the F-35 includes so much ECM/OECM/sensor equipment into the airframe itself, as well as the stealth that lets it operate much more freely in threatened airspace without support, is necessary to make the idea of smaller carriers replacing bigger ones feasible at all.)

Big carriers are hands-down a superior offensive weapon. The big trade-off is, of course, that they can’t be in two places at the same time. Some people have suggested this is a major advantage for the kind of wars we’ve been fighting in the last few decades; where we park off the coast and bomb a bunch of terrorist fucks with nothing but their limp dick and non-functional Stinger missiles to oppose our strikes with. They might have a point, but not when they suggest we should swap fleet carriers for LHAs - we already operate a sizeable fleet of amphibious assault carriers. The sensible thing to do would be to replace the aging LHAs with aviation-focused ones (such as the LHA America class, which is doing precisely this.) The America is LHA-6; LHA-7 is being built, and the Navy plans to revert to normal amphib assault ships with a well deck with LHA-8. Changing that decision and building more aviation-focused ships is definitely worth discussing. The Americas can carry 20 fighters apiece right now, which means you need three to equal a carrier air wing, but F-35s can do a lot of things requiring twice their number in older aircraft, and some things older airframes can’t do at all (which is why they’re so damn expensive.) America already has her cake and eats it too, with these two separate fleets - changing the equipment focus of one can significantly lessen costs and burdens on the other.

Of course people were arguing that back in the 90s too, when the amphib carriers only had Harriers and people were sneering at the F-22 as A Waste Of Money because The Cold War Is Over and We Will Never Have A Symmetric War Again. The F-35B is a game-changer, however; it can make amphibs a potent threat in symmetric wars and we’ve got the possibilities of such on the horizon. Some people argue that this makes aviation-focused LHAs a double threat; cost-efficient in the constant asymmetric wars, and a nasty asset that punches above its weight in a full-out scrap. These people have a point. Others suggest that they can actually replace fleet carriers, and that they’d be more effective at that role.

These people do not have a point. They are fucking stupid.

The trade-off with distributing your lethality is that you also distribute your defenses. That’s precisely why Fanta said “we ran the simulations, and we lost a lot of small boats, but we killed the enemy.” That’s precisely why you distribute the small boats - the ones most cost-effective to lose. That’s why China has eighty or so of those itty bitty missile boats - they’re cheap as hell. “Cheap” is not a term you apply to an aircraft carrier, even a “small” carrier. Small ships are simply less capable of defending themselves - they have less space and tonnage for their own defensive weapon systems, have far less aircraft for offense-as-defense, and if they are hit they’re more vulnerable to damage; they have less manpower for damage control and less reserve buoyancy (it takes less damage to sink them.) Worse, you have to distribute your escort ships - which means any one task force will be much, much easier to overwhelm with missiles. There’s a god-damned reason that “concentration of force” has been a key tenet of military strategy, on land, air or sea, since the first two Neanderthals teamed up on the asshole two caves over.

It only makes sense to distribute lethality - and accept the losses inherent in it - if you know for a fact you cannot beat the enemy in a toe to toe scrap. The Chinese are in this situation with America. You’ll note in that prior post that every time I mentioned an inherent weakness or problem for a carrier task force, I also noted that America had overcome it. That’s because we have the vast technological/industrial base - and wealth - to win that kind of big conflict decisively. If you have the qualitative edge, concentrating your forces multiplies that advantage, to the point where you’re much more likely to take no serious losses in a scrap.

There’s also the issue of co-ordination. The Japanese at Midway operated all four of their carriers together - so they could launch their strikes together, in a co-ordinated fashion. The Americans operated their carriers in two task forces, in part to avoid having them all found at once (i.e. distributed lethality.) As a result their outgoing strikes were poorly co-ordinated and straggled in piecemeal. The idea behind modern distributed lethality is that with modern cruise missiles, you can spread out your forces, but still concentrate force by firing all the missiles at the same target from many scattered locations. You can apply the same to aircraft, benefiting from modern satellite-based command, control and communications…

… unless you can’t. Electronic warfare is something the Chinese and Russians have not been ignorant of, and attacks on satellite infrastructure are not out of the question - especially given how disproportionately US forces rely on them for a force-multiplier advantage. You don’t even have to shoot them down - soft-kill techniques like upload jamming work well too, and let’s not get started on the potential of a high-altitude EMP burst! You cannot take these command and control assets for granted. The US certainly doesn’t; our GPS-guided munitions that don’t already have backup inertial guidance are slated to receive it with future upgrades. This makes concentrating your scattered firepower quite difficult.

Additionally, the US has a massive inventory of equipment and weapon systems designed for an entirely different doctrine. People think that the retirement of the F-14 and the rise of the F-35B means we’ve shorn ourselves of that equipment, so we can shed the doctrines that go with it. They forget our vast fleet of missile destroyers and cruisers, which were built and optimized for the job of air defense, specifically of a carrier task force. Our potential enemies, the Chinese, certainly don’t think that role is obsolete - despite investing heavily in an attritional distributed lethality model, they’re still building modern air-defense destroyers as fast as they can and doing their best to catch up to us in those capabilities. The Aegis system is designed to co-ordinate the weapons and sensors of an entire fleet to function as more than the simple sum of its parts - scattering those ships about plays to their weaknesses, not their strengths.

That doesn’t mean distributed lethality doesn’t have its place. The thing that makes carriers such lopsided weapons isn’t that they’re easy to kill - between their gigantic bulk and modern damage control/construction techniques they’re damn hard to kill. But they’re very easy to mission-kill. One good whack and the ships too big a mess to even think about doing flight operations. They’re easily neutered. In such a situation having an LHA or two with 20 F-35Bs apiece hiding in the wings could make a big difference in the fight; dropping a nasty surprise on an overconfident enemy. Distributed vs. Concentrated force in shipbuilding is a trade off between “lose some of your firepower permanently, or lose all your firepower temporarily.” Distributed lethality in naval aviation assets helps you hedge your bets quite a bit. And for the cheaper, lower-value assets we do have (and are currently building,) it makes great sense to use those to draw heat off the “big stick” of the CBG; they’re liable to be sunk, but in terms of how beneficial their efforts are to the survival of the Big Stick, which is an all-or-nothing prospect, its well worth the cost.

The Navy is implementing Distributed Lethality in a way which makes small, cheap ships achieve results well above their cost by supporting the efforts of the expensive primary assets. This greatly increases the survivability of those assets without having to give up their many advantages.

America is fucking rich. We can have our cake, and eat it too - and we should. But if we absolutely had to choose, we should go with the fleet carrier. Fleet carriers are Hard - in sheer industrial might and monetary cost, and also in operational use. But we are the absolute, hands-down best in the fucking world at it, and if it came right down to it, I believe the carrier battle group would prevail in a straight-up slugfest between the Chinese “defense saturation missile spam” attack, no new strategies or weapons required.

anonymous asked:

How did the Soviet bureaucracy emerge? How bad was it? And to what extent was Stalin responsible for it? Thanks.

This article gives a very good historical overview and for the most part answers your question.  What it touches on the least is the reason for the emergence of a bureaucracy in the Soviet state to begin with, and in order to understand the reason for this emergence, we most go back to the very beginnings of the revolution - to the days of Lenin.  An important thing to keep in mind is that, given Russia’s material conditions at the time of the October Revolution, a bureaucracy was simply unavoidable.  A country as vast as Russia, with a shortage of managerial and technical expertise, and a dire need for centralization (for the war effort) would necessarily entail a swelling bureaucratic stratum in society.  Indeed, Lenin’s own words testify to the existence of

“bureaucratic distortions of the proletarian state and… all sorts of survivals of the old capitalist system of government offices” (‘The Role and Function of the Trade Unions Under the New Economic Policy,’ C.W, vol. 33, p. 187. See also Tenth Congress of the R.C.P.(B.)C.W, vol. 32, p. 212)

Which were in part due to

“the political immaturity and cultural backwardness of the mass of the working people on the other.” (Ibid.)

He furthermore maintained that

“our state apparatus is to a considerable extent a survival of the past and has undergone hardly any serious change. It has only been slightly touched up on the surface, but in all other respects it is a most typical relic of our old state machine” (‘How We Should Reorganise the Workers’ and Peasants’ Inspection,’ C.W, vol. 33, p. 481)

Lenin however did not hold that such an evil could be done away with in a single stroke.  To those who claimed that it could, he could reply that

“It will take decades to overcome the evils of bureaucracy. It is a very difficult struggle, and anyone who says we can rid ourselves of bureaucratic practices overnight by adopting anti-bureaucratic platforms is nothing but a quack with a bent for fine words”. (See Lenin: Collected Works Volume 32; pp. 56-57)

The reason for this was noted by Stalin in 1927,

“The surest remedy for bureaucracy is raising the cultural level of the workers and peasants.  One can curse and denounce bureaucracy in the state apparatus, one can stigmatize and pillory bureaucracy in our practical work, but unless the masses of the workers reach a certain level of culture, which will create the possibility, the desire, the ability to control the state apparatus from below, by the masses of the workers themselves, bureaucracy will continue to exist in spite of everything.  Therefore, the cultural development of the working class and of the masses of the working peasantry, not only the development of literacy, although literacy is the basis of all culture, but primarily the cultivation of the ability to take part in the administration of the country, is the chief lever for improving the state and every other apparatus.  This is the sense and significance of Lenin’s slogan about the cultural revolution” (The Fifteenth Congress of the CPSU (B), December 2-19, 1927)

So, the cultural development of the workers was a major area requiring improvement in order to do away with bureaucracy.  But what does “cultural development” even mean?  Well, it refers to both the ideological mindset of the proletarian and peasant masses, and their capacity to manage an economy of scale in a manner which subjugates capital to its own interests.  Illiteracy, which you could say was fairly dominant in Russia, was a major evil which needed to be conquered in order to advance the struggle against bureaucracy.  With regards to the “ideological mindset” and “capacity to manage an economy of scale in [the masses’] own interests”, Lenin himself spoke of a general lack of this capacity, which prompted a growth in bureaucracy.

“[Lenin] explained that the Soviet state’s recruitment of "bourgeois specialists” was a “compromise” with the bourgeoisie, and one the magnitude of which went beyond what had originally been foreseen, but which had been made necessary by the fact that the workers’ councils, the soviets, and the factory committees had not proved able to organize production on a national scale: “Had the proletariat acting through the Soviet government managed [my emphasis – C. B.] to organise accounting and control on a national scale, or at least laid the foundation for such control, it would not have been necessary to make such compromises.” (Bettelheim, Charles. Class Struggles in the USSR. New York: Monthly Review, 1976. Print., p. 156)

Indeed, the economic history of the RSFSR’s first several months was one of disaster.

“The case of the railways will suffice as an illustration…. the overall management of the railways was entrusted, and complete control by the workers decreed on 23 January 1918. Within a few months the railways were in a state of collapse. The ‘complete and utter disorganization’ was growing daily:

The workers by present-day rules are guaranteed their pay. The worker turns up at his job … does his job, or not, as he pleases, no one can control him, because the [railway repair] shop committees are powerless. If the workshop committee attempts to exercise some control, it is immediately disbanded and another committee elected. In a word, things are in the hands of a crowd, which thanks to its lack of interest in and understanding of production is literally putting a brake on all work.“ (Leonard Schapiro. The Origins of the Communist Autocracy. New York: Praeger Publishers, 1965. pp. 137-138.)

"The conditions existing immediately after October did not make it easy to go over to a unified form of control. The workers were not spontaneously convinced of the need for the powers of their factory committees to be limited by subordination to an outside authority. In the eyes of many of them, the establishment of more or less centralized control looked like a "confiscation” of the power which they had just succeeded in wresting from the bourgeoisie and which they wished to retain at the level of their own factory. This way of looking at the matter was encouraged by the opponents of the dictatorship of the proletariat, especially by the Mensheviks, who incited the trade-union organizations in which they had influence to defend the independence of the factory committees and even of the railroad “station committees. 

Transition to workers’ control in this sense, and abandonment of the type of "decentralized” and anarchical control favored by the factory committees, came up against especially strong resistance from the bourgeois and petty bourgeois ideology, still deeply rooted in the masses, of “everyone for himself,” of “individual enterprise egoism,” and of an abstract notion of “freedom. (Bettelheim, p. 146-147)

Ergo, the ideology dominating the proletarian masses was one of a petty-bourgeois nature, one which dramatically hampered both advances towards socialism and production in general.  Further difficulties in trying to improve the system of complete authority in the hands of the broad masses eventually resulted in the increasing reliance upon specialists, experts, and capitalists from the old Tsarist regime who held a general monopoly on the technical capacity to manage an economy of scale.  This was arguably the chief factor which buttressed the bureaucratic stratum in the USSR.

Feint Fix [3.5 House Rule]

Special Attack: Feint

Feinting is a melee attack action. To feint, make a Bluff check opposed by a Sense Motive check by your target. When feinting in this way against a nonhumanoid you take a -4 penalty. Against a creature of animal Intelligence (1 or 2), you take a -8 penalty. Against a nonintelligent creature, it’s impossible. You also take a -4 penalty if you wield a two-handed weapon, and gain a +4 bonus if you wield a light weapon or a rapier or any other weapon to which Weapon Finesse applies.

If you win the opposed roll you deal no damage, but the next melee attack you make against the target does not allow him to use his Dexterity bonus to AC (if any). This attack must be made on or before your next turn.

Feinting in combat does not provoke attacks of opportunity.


Ripple Effect

The Invisible Blade’s Uncanny Feint ability allows him at 3rd level to feint as a free action, without using up one of his iterative attacks, once per round. At 5th level, he can feint this way once before each attack he makes.

The Marshal’s Art of War minor aura also affects the opposed roll of feint (making a feint attempt or resisting one).

The Insightful Feint spell allows you to feint (once, with a +10 insight bonus) as a free action, without using up one of your iterative attacks and without provoking an attack of opportunity if you fail, even if you don’t have Improved Feint.

Sense Motive becomes a class skill for Fighters, Rangers, Warblades and Crusaders. Basically, for all melee classes.

The Rogue Comments:

As written, feint doesn’t work as intended, because it screws action economy and scales very badly. This houserule attempts to fix both problems. The goal is to make Feint a viable, but not always optimal, option in combat. Rogues are obviously those who benefit most from it.

Action economy is fixed by making feint an attack action, like trip or disarm. This allows for better verisimilitude, but also plenty of tactical options when you have multiple attacks per round, iterative and/or from two-weapon fighting.

Scaling is fixed by removing BAB from the defender’s opposed check. This is because, for one, it’s really unfair to add the defender’s BAB to sense motive but not the attacker’s BAB to bluff. And for a practical reason: monster BAB goes through the roof at some point, making feint entirely pointless - and disappointing anyone who loves the idea of “fooling the big brute with clever swordsmanship”.

But DMs, beware: by removing BAB from the opposed check entirely, Feint is guaranteed to work Vs virtually all monsters at mid-high levels, for anyone that puts max ranks to bluff. (There’s no middle ground here. Due to the numbers, even if we go for the less radical option of adding BAB to both bluff and sense motive, at higher levels it’s either feint always works, or never works. Choose your extreme.)

This houserule went for the “always works” extreme, because Feinting in combat isn’t really overpowering. It’s a trade-off, basically imposing a penalty to the target’s AC at the expense of an attack. The big deal about feint is that it triggers sneak attacks, but even then, it’s not a no-brainer. If the rogue can flank, or otherwise guarantee sneak attack damage for all her attacks, why should she lose an attack in order to feint? And let’s not forget, sneak attack can be blocked by so many things. So even if the opposed roll is guaranteed to succeed, feint remains a good option only situationally.

For campaigns that deal less with monsters and more with NPCs with swords, adding BAB to both rolls may be preferable. Some seafaring campaigns are a good example (there’s an aboleth, a sea drake, and 342 corsairs, pirates, and cutlass-wielding zombies from that ghost ship).

Extra bonuses/penalties relating to weapon size were added for verisimilitude (and as a consolation prize for those who prefer swashbuckling elegance to “hulk smash” tactics).

I’ve been using this houserule for a long time, and it works like a charm. Combat is more immersive. The martial characters (and the bard) use it from time to time, and are quite content with having an extra option. The swashbuckler is happy. And the Rogue is ecstatic.

4

Up Close And Personal With A Maersk Triple-E

Bloomberg’s Copenhagen-based photographer Freya Ingrid Morales had to get her sea legs fast to photograph the arrival of the world’s largest container ship, the Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller, on Monday, July 28, at the Danish port of Aarhus.

A very early morning reveille was required to board the pilot vessel Hermes which supervised the skilled operation necessary to guide A.P. Moeller-Maersk A/S’s giant vessel to its moorings.

Too large for any port in the Americas or the Panama Canal, Maersk’s Triple-E is a class of vessel designed for “efficiency, economy of scale, and the environment,” according to the company’s website.

The ship is made of 98% steel. That’s enough to build 185,489 Harley- Davidson Inc. Fat Boy motorcycles…in case you were wondering!

Photographer: Freya Ingrid Morales/Bloomberg


© 2014 Bloomberg Finance LP

wired.com
"It's a $1 billion gadget..."

Cliff Kuang:

A few years ago, the CEO of Vertu was showing me the company’s newest $8,000 phone, bragging that the gadget was far more substantial and well-made that any $500 iPhone could hope to be. I stopped him short, pointing out that the iPhone isn’t a $500 gadget. It’s a $1 billion gadget. After all, how many billions has it cost in R&D, to develop all the gobsmacking manufacturing techniques, all the software tricks, the App Store, and all the battery tech inside? The reason it costs so much less than a Vertu isn’t because it’s less well made. It’s because 700 million people have helped amortize Apple’s investment in it.

Apple now seems hell bent on finding new ways to flex that muscle.

This is exactly right. Luxury brands look at Apple and see a low sticker price. What they miss is the billions in R&D spending behind the sticker – and the hundreds of millions of units shipped that feed this machine and allow for the sticker price to remain so low. 

They don’t think Apple is a competitor because people pay more for luxury. For some people, that’s sort of true – though it’s more paying for a brand or lifestyle. But most people are content to pay for quality. And Apple often tops the luxury brands in this regard. Which is problematic for them, to say the least.

anonymous asked:

What would be an appropriate form of ninjutsu for say special ops or black ops agent?

None. Ninjutsu is only really appropriate if your character is a ninja or a recreational martial artist. It’s growing in popularity as a martial art practiced for self-defense due to the fact that like Krav Maga and Systema, it hasn’t been converted into a sport martial art and retains it’s deadly nature. It is also one of the rarer martial arts to find outside of Japan. You won’t commonly find lots of schools for it like you would Karate, Judo, Jiujutsu, Aikido, and others. Most importantly, in terms of the modern world of professional combat, it doesn’t have a home in modern intelligence or military operations. It is an outdated form of combat. (This doesn’t mean the techniques are ineffective or don’t work, it’s simply that modern combat changes regularly (every six months or less) and anyone in that world must constantly work to keep pace.) Combat and warfare are constantly evolving. They’re constantly adapting and regularly changing, being updated to deal with new threats or counters to old techniques. Someone, with the background, could, probably, take Ninjutsu and adapt it into an effective combat form for clandestine work, but, it would no longer be Ninjutsu.

Ninjutsu is a practical martial art; one of the only preserved Japanese ones, in fact. The problem is, it hasn’t been updated, so it’s not well suited to dealing with modern combat. It will work on untrained foes, but putting it against someone with a military or paramilitary background has a real potential to go sideways.

For serious covert operations, your character is going to be dealing with professional combatants. This is just an economic assessment. Training a special forces operator is a very expensive proposition. Basic training for a soldier in the US today costs upwards of a million dollars (I’m assuming there’s actually an economy of scale model in effect here, but I don’t have the detailed breakdown of this statistic, sorry). Special Forces Operators represent a considerably larger investment, in both time and money. Further, they’re also much rarer. For Special Forces, it’s not enough to just get someone and try to push them through the training, the military is looking for a specific mindset, and that drastically limits the pool of potential candidates. In turn, the training is often as much about weeding out unsuitable candidates as instilling a skill set.

Putting them toe to toe with a gang member on the street isn’t just overkill, it is putting a lot of money on the line against something going wrong and, things do go wrong. So unless your street level criminals got their hands on something disproportionately valuable (like a weapon of mass destruction or a VIP), you’re not going to want to risk that much money trying to deal with them.

Otherwise, you’re better off throwing law enforcement at them, and saving your elite operators for the kinds of things where they’re the only option.

That said, Special Forces Operators are exactly the kind of people who, if bored, might look at Ninjutsu, decide they wanted to take pieces of it out of it, and mix what works into other styles. Not (necessarily) so they could use it in the field, but just as a challenge or an intellectual exercise.

Give them ten to fifteen years playing around with this amongst each other and you could, very easily, end up with a new martial art. It wouldn’t look like Ninjutsu. It wouldn’t be Ninjutsu. But, it could easily be a modern, practical martial art based on sticking twenty Ninjas in a blender.

-Starke

About my comic creator survey

So I’ve been getting a lot of questions about this survey I’m doing about comics creator pay and I wanted to talk a little bit about what I’m going to use this data for and what I’m interested in.

[A sidebar: if you’re wondering about my survey about sexual harassment that I did in April - and it seems a lot of people are, as I get asked about it on the regular - that data is a lot harder to process for a lot of reasons. I had to step back after it was completed partially for my own mental health as tied into the rape threats and whatnot as well as reading a lot of horrific stories of assault, rape, and harassment and partially just because I got married in May and didn’t have time! But also beyond the simple statistics of who’s getting harassed and how much, the stories are the really difficult part. Names have been named in that survey that could cause some real shit in the comics industry and I have to figure out the most responsible way to deal with the information people have trusted me with.  That’s going to take time. Please be patient.]

ANYWAY. About this comics pay survey. I’m gathering this data for a variety of uses which includes general articles about it as well as for use in my book about selling comics to women. Ladydrawers, the excellent group of folks I did Don’t Be A Dick with, did some research a couple years ago about pay in comics that included some interesting data. I think that there are a lot of people out there right now making comics who don’t know what fair pay is for the jobs they are doing.  For most careers, you can do a quick google search and see average salaries for something at least tangentially related to what you do. This has been very helpful to me over the years. But it’s much harder to find that data for comics, primarily because SO much of the work is done by freelancers. This data is important for employers AND employees/freelancers. 

The top question I’m getting is why I didn’t ask who people work for and my answer to that is that I don’t care. I don’t want this to be about how particular companies pay - we all know there are companies that don’t pay well in comics. But that’s not data I’m interested in nor do I find it particularly useful for what I need, although obviously I can see how some creators would want that info. I also think people would be less willing to take the survey if they thought their publishers might find out. I’m more concerned with the people who are making the work. I want to know how many of them have insurance, how many make a living off comics, how much they are getting paid a page and if they think it’s fair. I’m especially interested in the varying dollar amounts that people identify as “making a living” - if you say you made 80% of your living from comics but you made $100k last year, well, you’re looking at things slightly differently than someone who made 100% of their living from comics but made $15k (and I’ve seen both those answers, BTW). The zip code/country field is also pretty important - after all, $40k in Brooklyn is going to get you not a whole hell of a lot but $40k in Omaha, Nebraska will give you a pretty comfortable living. And of course I’m interested in how various genders, sexual orientations, and races compare when it comes to money from comics. I’ve studied publishing for years and have a fascination with pay structure and royalties and things like that. Not everyone gets page rates but I’m interested to use a per-page income number (as best people can estimate it using however they make income from comics) as a comparison across the board.

On the topic of “page rates” - I had one comment on the survey about how they hate discussing comics pay by page and didn’t want to break down what they made per page because it cheapened the work. I suppose I get that, but the reason I asked everyone (even people who make money via royalties or sales or ads or whatever) to say what they made per page is that it’s the easiest way to gather the information I’m most after: what comics people make per hour on average and how much that varies. This is the education that I think more people in comics need.

I know most of the rates of comics people who worked at DC in the Batgroup from 2008-2011 and what I don’t know, my husband (the former scheduling manager at DC) knows with a nearly terrifying level of recall. I can turn to him and say “what did [creator A] make per page?” and he’ll be like “well on this book he made ___ and then he signed his exclusive and made ____ but on his Vertigo work he made ___” and then I do math for fun because I don’t know I’m a nerd (no seriously sometimes I just sit around and do math about comics pay for fun). DC rates are some of the highest (if not THE highest of the work-for-hire pay) in comics (say what you want about them, but it’s true). This gives me a great basis for comparison when hiring creators for projects in my time post-DC even if NDA business and general decency keeps me from revealing the details. But a lot of people in comics have no basis for comparison.

Say you don’t know any numbers and there’s no information available - and you’ve never drawn a comic for money before. What if someone offers you $50 to draw a page that will take you 8 hours? Do you take it? Do you know if it’s fair? What if you think that’s what ALL artists make? What if you were making $25 a page and you wanted to negotiate a higher rate to $50 a page but weren’t sure if anyone at all in comics made that? What if you were getting paid in an advance, not a page rate, and you wanted to compare that advance to various page rates? It’s easy to do the math and see what it would break down to per hour pre-tax but it’s less easy to know if this is what everyone’s getting paid and you’re just being demanding if you have concerns about it. 

Information on rates helps publishers and fans too, I think. Hopefully it gives readers more information on the time and cost that goes into comics to increase understanding of why it can be such an expensive hobby (especially in contrast with things like video games that are expensive to make but cost less in a time spent enjoying/cost ratio partially thanks to economies of scale). Publishers can see a broader look at rates and income in comics than they may be getting on their own and hopefully understand a little better the immense financial burden those creators might be under. 

Anyway, I hope that explains what I’m after a little better.  I know the responses will vary wildly but I really do want people from all areas of comics creation to respond - if you’re at least trying to monetize your comics (like, you have a webcomic with an ad on it or you take minicomics to a con or you just got a book deal or you work for Marvel - whatever) then you are welcome. If you draw a comic for yourself and haven’t shared it anywhere that’s obviously different. I want to encourage creators of all levels to respond too because i plan to talk about rates as they vary or don’t vary based on years in the industry and whatnot. 

So please, help me have fun with math and I will share that mathing with you.

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/195oxaJzyj9Ah_5rumY7Gayu1KudfmbvavdhdkhGtKFg/viewform