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Subject: Conformity and Complexity rss

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Kelsey Rinella
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I've been kicking around some connections in my head for a while, and I think it's time to kick them around outside my head and see what others think.

In considering jumping ship from an iPhone to Android, I found myself uncomfortable with the idea that I might end up with a device relatively few other people use, and which therefore gets relatively little support from the manufacturer, even for potentially critical vulnerabilities. Maybe none would be discovered, and it would be fine, but users like me would only have the market power to force such attention from a manufacturer if there were a lot of us. So there's a real benefit to conformity--if you conform, you can expect your needs to mold the world, while if you don't, you must adapt to the needs of the world.

Laws work the same way. If you're doing something really common, you can expect the laws to be reasonably sensible. But if you're unusually or uniquely placed, the law might evoke Kafka and there'd be no backlash worth a lawmaker's time. The greater the proportion of legislative work to population, the less problematic this is. But the less effective a legislature is at working together to pass, amend, or repeal laws and the more people it must govern, the harder it is to propel them to address any particular problem, and so the more it benefits a person to have only those problems lots of people (or a few powerful people) have.

I'm coming to wonder whether this dynamic is behind the political alignments we have in the United States. Powerful people and people who prefer conformity will tend to want legislatures to handle fewer issues. The more closely law conforms to the changing and diverse needs of society, the less power and conformity matter.

Total speculation. Thoughts?

EDIT: I forgot to make the connection to complexity promised in the title explicit. It acts as a denominator. If you can think of the degree of fit between laws and problems as a scalar value, then you can expect it to be roughly legislative efficacy divided by (societal complexity times corruption).
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Based upon my poor understanding of history, science, and ethics...
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You put that much thought into that AND will still support Hillary?
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Well, on your premise issue:
http://www.businessinsider.com/apple-ios-v-android-market-sh...
__

I don't think it follows. Everyone pays taxes and the laws are ridiculous.

I think the major division in US politics is between those who want a cheap, easily manipulated workforce (and who believe if you gave them money, they'd just waste it anyway), and those who want people to generally have a comfortable life (and believe if you give them money, they'll buy products, creating a rising tide that lifts all boats). It's the difference between a Southern plantation owner and Henry Ford.
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Kelsey Rinella
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Tall_Walt wrote:
Well, on your premise issue:


Oh, I agree that Android is doing very well, but the particular device and version of Android I choose might well not be. My assumption is that flagship Nexus and Samsung phones are probably similar to iPhones in terms of consumer market power, but less popular phones aren't so reliably supported. The last time I considered leaving iOS, it was to Windows Phone, so I'm aware that what attracts me might not appeal to as many others as I'd have thought.

Tall_Walt wrote:
I don't think it follows. Everyone pays taxes and the laws are ridiculous.


I'm not quite sure what you're saying with these two sentences. Could you clarify?
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Walt
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rinelk wrote:
If you're doing something really common, you can expect the laws to be reasonably sensible.

Paying taxes is really common, but the laws are ridiculously complex.
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Kelsey Rinella
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Tall_Walt wrote:
rinelk wrote:
If you're doing something really common, you can expect the laws to be reasonably sensible.

Paying taxes is really common, but the laws are ridiculously complex.


That's an interesting example. I feel like paying very simple taxes is actually quite simple. If you take the standard deduction and have exactly one employer, you can fill out the 1040EZ and it's a breeze. It's only if you have to do something a little unusual that it starts becoming a nightmare. Not only that, but there's a relatively broad awareness that it gets bad FAST, which creates exactly the sort of anxiety which leads people to want to conform to the easy way. Does that explanation seem sensible to you, or do you think I'm still missing something important?

I do feel like taxes are a neat issue in that I think the fit between law and reality is likely to be even worse here than in many other cases, because it's SO controversial that it's likely to be very difficult to get agreement from enough legislators to accomplish anything. So this reveals that my abstraction of legislative efficacy as a simple scalar value really does abstract away some useful information and reduce the predictive value of my formula. That might be worth it for ease of use and testing, but it's still worth noting.
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Walt
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One question, I suppose, is whether you're paying the right amount of taxes with 1040EZ, or are you paying a "simplicity tax"? (I pay my own simplicity tax by going to a tax accountant.) Homeowners or those with investments all have to use the long form: property tax deduction, interest deduction, auto license fees, 1099s.... Homeowners are a large class, and small investors are pretty common, too.

And if you're employed, you're taxed on every paycheck. Is your company doing it right or are they stealing from you? The latest company is Chipotle, underpaying its workers.

Another significant, though not nearly as large class, is small business owners. Clinton has pledged to simplify things for them; I have not heard Trump do so.
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Koldfoot wrote:
You put that much thought into that AND will still support Hillary?
But what about Bacon?
 
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rinelk wrote:

In considering jumping ship from an iPhone to Android, I found myself uncomfortable with the idea that I might end up with a device relatively few other people use,



HUH?
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Chris
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So is this thread about smart phones? I recommend Droid as they are more customization. The most popular are Galaxy's and Galaxy Notes.

iPhones are still widely used and do have a good battery life.


I'm not sure what all that other bullshit is you are going on about.
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Koldfoot wrote:
You put that much thought into that AND will still support Hillary?


This is what happens when you take a male and force him to become a stay at home mom. Shit goes sideways very quickly.
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jeremycobert wrote:
Koldfoot wrote:
You put that much thought into that AND will still support Hillary?


This is what happens when you take a male and force him to become a stay at home mom. Shit goes sideways very quickly.


shake

The 1950s called, they want you back.
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rekinom
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rinelk wrote:
Powerful people and people who prefer conformity will tend to want legislatures to handle fewer issues.


The opposite appears to be true.

Conformity can be and has been enforced by the legislature repeatedly, by both the left and the right. Prohibitions and taxes on alcohol, drugs, tobacco, firearms, and sex-for-hire. Tax breaks and subsidies for having a job, a home, going to college, and having a kid. And don't forget the reams of regulations governing many many activities.

The powerful want legislation that protects their power. The powerful hire someone to do their taxes for them. They do not benefit from simplicity. The more complex the tax code is, the better the chance is that they can insert bits of tax code that they can be benefit from. Complex systems are more easily perverted.


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Kelsey Rinella
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Altair IV wrote:
rinelk wrote:

In considering jumping ship from an iPhone to Android, I found myself uncomfortable with the idea that I might end up with a device relatively few other people use,



HUH?


My impression is that there are so many Android devices that some of them aren't that popular. Since it seems there must be some attention from the handset maker as well as Google for each of these to be updated, it sometimes takes months for updates to the OS to reach some handsets (and older models get relatively poor support for updates). The number of people using an iPhone 5S (my current phone) is likely quite a bit higher than the number of people using the fourth most popular Android phone from the time it was released. And there are a LOT of Android phones even less popular than that.

Segueing in much the same way as the OP, I feel like this is analogous to entrepreneurship. The problem with starting an innovative business is that existing regulations and laws may lag behind your needs. But still, there are lots of entrepreneurs and they're widely regarded as important, so you'd think this would make it easy to address their needs. That just groups together people who need different things from lawmakers, though. What entrepreneurs need to succeed is often specific to the business they wish to create. Similarly, what I need from developers of my phone isn't the same as what all other Android users need, it's specific to my model of the handset.

galad2003 wrote:
So is this thread about smart phones? I recommend Droid as they are more customization. The most popular are Galaxy's and Galaxy Notes.


To what extent does this increased customization seem to you to pay off? I often find that I am drawn to customization options which, upon reflection, benefit me very little. This is why I no longer change my xbox live avatar's clothes, for example.
 
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jeremycobert wrote:
Koldfoot wrote:
You put that much thought into that AND will still support Hillary?


This is what happens when you take a male and force him to become a stay at home mom. Shit goes sideways very quickly.


Ladies and gentlemen... the thoughts of a Raiders fan.
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verandi wrote:
jeremycobert wrote:
Koldfoot wrote:
You put that much thought into that AND will still support Hillary?


This is what happens when you take a male and force him to become a stay at home mom. Shit goes sideways very quickly.


shake

The 1950s called, they want you back.


No, they don't.


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Kelsey Rinella
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rekinom wrote:
rinelk wrote:
Powerful people and people who prefer conformity will tend to want legislatures to handle fewer issues.


The opposite appears to be true.

Conformity can be and has been enforced by the legislature repeatedly, by both the left and the right. Prohibitions and taxes on alcohol, drugs, tobacco, firearms, and sex-for-hire. Tax breaks and subsidies for having a job, a home, going to college, and having a kid. And don't forget the reams of regulations governing many many activities.

The powerful want legislation that protects their power. The powerful hire someone to do their taxes for them. They do not benefit from simplicity. The more complex the tax code is, the better the chance is that they can insert bits of tax code that they can be benefit from. Complex systems are more easily perverted.


That's a good point (well, two)--there's a countervailing effect for powerful individuals or individual corporations, which have dedicated staff able to cope better with not just complex, but rapidly-changing laws. So both complexity (which need not require further legislative action) and change (which obviously does, except in the rare cases where triggers are built into the law) give them a competitive advantage relative to those less able to hire such staff.

Your other point that conformity can be encouraged by law is absolutely right, as well. But even when there's inadequate popular support for such laws to get them passed, it's possible to incentivize conformity by reducing legislative efficacy.

So I don't mean to suggest this is the only effect which influences conformity, only that it is one I hadn't heard discussed before.
 
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jeremycobert wrote:
Koldfoot wrote:
You put that much thought into that AND will still support Hillary?


This is what happens when you take a male and force him to become a stay at home mom. Shit goes sideways very quickly.


I was a stay at home Dad by CHOICE for nine years. My wife even says that I needed to because she couldn't. What's wrong with it?
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rcbevco wrote:
jeremycobert wrote:
Koldfoot wrote:
You put that much thought into that AND will still support Hillary?


This is what happens when you take a male and force him to become a stay at home mom. Shit goes sideways very quickly.


I was a stay at home Dad by CHOICE for nine years. My wife even says that I needed to because she couldn't. What's wrong with it?
Real men go out to work



Soooo butch!
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rekinom
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rinelk wrote:
Your other point that conformity can be encouraged by law is absolutely right, as well. But even when there's inadequate popular support for such laws to get them passed, it's possible to incentivize conformity by reducing legislative efficacy.


I am not sure what you mean. Do you have an example?
 
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Kelsey Rinella
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rekinom wrote:
rinelk wrote:
Your other point that conformity can be encouraged by law is absolutely right, as well. But even when there's inadequate popular support for such laws to get them passed, it's possible to incentivize conformity by reducing legislative efficacy.


I am not sure what you mean. Do you have an example?


Sure. Right now, my impression is that employment is changing. It's less common than it used to be to graduate and then get a job for a large employer, and work there your whole career. Large employers would like to offer less job training and worse compensation while still making their employees want to stay with them, but it would be very difficult to get legislatures to pass laws which support that model because the changes in the underlying patterns of work would make them very unpopular.

But they don't need to. Existing laws make employment by large companies much less uncertain. Switching to a self-employed, "gig economy"-style career requires tons more paperwork and makes health care far more expensive. If large employers can simply keep legislatures from recognizing this and simplifying the laws governing self employment, they can keep some of their employees from leaving to pursue such a life.
 
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slatersteven wrote:
rcbevco wrote:
jeremycobert wrote:
Koldfoot wrote:
You put that much thought into that AND will still support Hillary?


This is what happens when you take a male and force him to become a stay at home mom. Shit goes sideways very quickly.


I was a stay at home Dad by CHOICE for nine years. My wife even says that I needed to because she couldn't. What's wrong with it?
Real men go out to work



Soooo butch!




The group got their start in 2008.

however.. it's a rotating cast.
Original Members
Felipe Rose (Native American)
Alex Briley (soldier persona)
Mark Mussler (construction worker)
Dave Forrest (cowboy)
Glenn Hughes (leatherman)
Victor Willis (Police or Naval Officer)

Members

Felipe Rose
Alex Briley
Ray Simpson
Eric Anzalone
Bill Whitefield
Jim Newman

Past members

Victor Willis
Randy Jones
Glenn Hughes (deceased)
Ray Stephens (deceased)
Mark Lee
Miles Jaye
G. Jeff Olson
David Hodo
Alec Timerman
Mark Mussler (deceased)
Stephen Hewitt
Dave Forrest
Lee Mouton
Peter Whitehead
Py Douglas
AJ Perrelli (deceased)

 
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maxo-texas wrote:
slatersteven wrote:
rcbevco wrote:
jeremycobert wrote:
Koldfoot wrote:
You put that much thought into that AND will still support Hillary?


This is what happens when you take a male and force him to become a stay at home mom. Shit goes sideways very quickly.


I was a stay at home Dad by CHOICE for nine years. My wife even says that I needed to because she couldn't. What's wrong with it?
Real men go out to work



Soooo butch!




The group got their start in 2008.

however.. it's a rotating cast.
Original Members
Felipe Rose (Native American)
Alex Briley (soldier persona)
Mark Mussler (construction worker)
Dave Forrest (cowboy)
Glenn Hughes (leatherman)
Victor Willis (Police or Naval Officer)

Members

Felipe Rose
Alex Briley
Ray Simpson
Eric Anzalone
Bill Whitefield
Jim Newman

Past members

Victor Willis
Randy Jones
Glenn Hughes (deceased)
Ray Stephens (deceased)
Mark Lee
Miles Jaye
G. Jeff Olson
David Hodo
Alec Timerman
Mark Mussler (deceased)
Stephen Hewitt
Dave Forrest
Lee Mouton
Peter Whitehead
Py Douglas
AJ Perrelli (deceased)

No idea what this has to do with my picture of real working men.
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rinelk wrote:
I've been kicking around some connections in my head for a while, and I think it's time to kick them around outside my head and see what others think.

In considering jumping ship from an iPhone to Android, I found myself uncomfortable with the idea that I might end up with a device relatively few other people use, and which therefore gets relatively little support from the manufacturer, even for potentially critical vulnerabilities. Maybe none would be discovered, and it would be fine, but users like me would only have the market power to force such attention from a manufacturer if there were a lot of us. So there's a real benefit to conformity--if you conform, you can expect your needs to mold the world, while if you don't, you must adapt to the needs of the world.


Your premise is off -- more people use Android than Apple. If you grab a google-branded phone (or root your own) you get rid of all manufacturer crapware and have the same experience as more users.

Your logic is sound, though. Reasons to stay with Apple include a better focus on user experience for non-technically inclined users, as well as simple network integration (as long as you never break brand.) It's a proprietary scheme and I hate it, but it's quite effective, and it does work well together. (A less cynical version would say that by having a limited hardware profile they are able to offer a better user experience by guaranteeing that all products work together seamlessly. But fuck that.)

Anyway, to the actual point: This is testable, conformity is a testable attribute, although generally, you'll see things like "right-wing authoritarianism" or "left-wing authoritarianism" tested. (Said another way, this idea may have some scientific evidence, although I'm not sure it's in your favor.)
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rinelk wrote:
rekinom wrote:
rinelk wrote:
Your other point that conformity can be encouraged by law is absolutely right, as well. But even when there's inadequate popular support for such laws to get them passed, it's possible to incentivize conformity by reducing legislative efficacy.


I am not sure what you mean. Do you have an example?


Sure. Right now, my impression is that employment is changing. It's less common than it used to be to graduate and then get a job for a large employer, and work there your whole career. Large employers would like to offer less job training and worse compensation while still making their employees want to stay with them, but it would be very difficult to get legislatures to pass laws which support that model because the changes in the underlying patterns of work would make them very unpopular.

But they don't need to. Existing laws make employment by large companies much less uncertain. Switching to a self-employed, "gig economy"-style career requires tons more paperwork and makes health care far more expensive. If large employers can simply keep legislatures from recognizing this and simplifying the laws governing self employment, they can keep some of their employees from leaving to pursue such a life.

Maybe another aspect of this is Congress being nerfed by the GOP so GOP state legislatures can run amok.
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