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The World / Russia and America to go war
« on: June 19, 2017, 09:05:23 pm »
Some Syrian bombs landed too close to American troops in Syria, and the US shoots down a Syrian plane.    Russia is now offering to shoot down American planes.

Maybe too conspiracy theory, but my first thought was -  Can/will Trump now claim that he's really not Putin's bitch?

General Discussion / Re: Investments
« on: June 19, 2017, 07:58:58 pm »
Generally, an index fund is an investment (you can get it from a bank) which tracks the stock markets. (They do so by buying stocks in proportion to the Toronto Stock Exchange, or something similar. )

The advantages? Since you're not betting everything on one stock (or one sector of the economy) then it can be much more stable and you're less likely to loose money. Index funds also tend to have lower management fees (since whomever is offering the fund doesn't actually have to do any work to pick which stocks are going to do better... they just look at whatever the exchange is doing).

The disadvantages? Well, many index funds are based on the stock market, which can be volatile (like after the problems in 2008) so there is some risk.

They usually do pretty good... on average, you might expect them to go up around 5-10% per year (although keep in mind that some years they may actually go down in value.) I'm risk-adverse, but I use Index funds for the majority of my investments.
 If you want to put money into your home, the best investment is to paint or put up new siding. Maybe put in a new front door or do some landscaping. (And make sure there are no leaks.) 
Thanks very much for the information, appreciate that you kept it simple and clear for me.   I may go talk to a bank person, or in my case a Credit Union person since that's who I bank with.

Remodeling a kitchen may improve your home's value, but you don't always get as much increase in value as you put into the renovations. Remember, what YOU might like in a kitchen may not be what a potential buyer wants in a kitchen, and they may decide your renovations are horrible and will want to make their own changes.
It's in poor enough condition right now that a buyer could reasonably say "Drop the price because I'll have to fix the kitchen".   It's all cosmetic, so shouldn't cost too much to spruce it up, even if I do spring for a stone counter top, and I would keep colors neutral - no bright orange feature walls in my future.   :)     I'm definitely doing some landscaping, regardless of what I do with the kitchen.   :)


There is also the risk of spending money too soon. Yes, we will eventually need more medical resources to handle the elderly. But if we spend billions for that NOW, the stuff will probably just sit idle for a decade or 2 until its needed.Infrastructure spending should be something that is done on a consistent basis.

This issue is already here.  Not sure where you are, but in BC hospitals send dying people home, regardless of how much care there is or isn't available.  No care?  You can walk and speak so home you go - never mind that you can't figure out how to sign a form if someone hands you pen upside down, or that you no longer quite see the need for pants when you go to the grocery store, because after all, the adult diaper covers everything.    In another case, a co-worker had to take almost a month off work because the hospital simply discharged her father one day.   My partner also watched an old woman being sent home around 10 pm; people scurrying around to give her her belongings, call her a cab.  She clearly had no idea what was going on.
We're already late on this spending to support health care services for seniors.

General Discussion / Re: Investments
« on: June 19, 2017, 01:09:28 pm »
How risk-adverse are you? Would you be content with a broad-based index fund or something similar?

I'm not very risk-adverse, although obviously I'd prefer not to lose my money.   I don't know what a broad-based index fund is.

The other option I'm considering is to do a small kitchen reno, because I plan to sell this townhouse in a year or two and kitchen reno would make it pretty and easier to sell.  it's a bit 'dated' and has some minor cosmetic damage.   

General Discussion / Re: Download Culture
« on: June 19, 2017, 01:05:11 pm »
There's enough free content out there for the poor to watch.

Perhaps, but when I had no TV and was looking for free content, I didn't find much.   I now have basic cable again, but not HBO and I notice that I used to be able to get John Oliver on YouTube, but the last time I tried HBO had made it near impossible to watch.   No more free John for me.  I can access old stuff pretty easily, but rarely find anything current.   

Was talking to someone yesterday who called himself geeky, and accesses Hulu, which isn't broadcast in Canada.   Pretty sure that it's contrary to Hulu's terms of use to watch their content in Canada.  Would you consider this 'theft' as well?   

Perhaps the difference between us is that corporations so often behave immorally that I'm not too concerned if a few people get away with stealing from them.   Having said that, I prefer to pay for my content because I think there is also a slippery slope - somebody has to pay because if enough people don't, there won't be anything for anyone.   And especially for programs I really enjoy, like Game of Thrones, I think it's important to pay for that.   Thus, once a year I sign up for HBO, watch GOT, and then maybe keep it going a couple more months, then cancel my subscription again.   

General Discussion / Re: Download Culture
« on: June 19, 2017, 12:17:47 pm »

They say 'Copying is not Theft'.  I say 'IS TOO !'.

Seriously their one argument is so paper-thin as to be mockable.  You can't "steal" Intellectual Property because it still exists after you took it.  False analogy.

I hope nobody here steals IP, seriously.  If so shame on you....

I agree, downloading or streaming media is theft.    I know people who stream content; their income hovers right around the poverty level and so if they can get free or near free content, good on them.  It's not like the media companies aren't making profits of billions even with content theft.   Of course, not everyone who illegally streams does so because they can't afford the cost of cable or to go out to a movie, but as long as we have a capitalistic society, we're going to have people who steal what the capitalists are selling.   

General Discussion / Re: Investments
« on: June 19, 2017, 12:19:57 am »
If you're thinking of individual stocks, Amazon is starting to look like a pretty safe bet.   

If I didn't have an ethical dilemma about what they're doing, I would buy some of their stocks. 

They're going nowhere but up.

What are they doing that's unethical?

General Discussion / Re: Pet Culture
« on: June 18, 2017, 08:36:44 pm »
That's pretty cute.  My dog's name is Boone, which might be considered odd for an Egyptian dog. My sister found him under her husband's car when he was six weeks old, barking the bad things away.  He wasn't too interested in making friends, but he did want the food and water she put out.   Mom never came back, so my sister took him in and decided he needed a name.   She was looking up Egyptian names on a website, and came across "Boone", with the meaning "I'm strong and can take care of myself, but feed me anyway".   She thought it fit him perfectly.   

General Discussion / Re: Investments
« on: June 18, 2017, 08:28:55 pm »
I've never invested in my life, but this month I happen to have $5000 looking to make some money for me.  Any suggestions from the more experienced?   

General Discussion / Re: Podcast Culture
« on: June 18, 2017, 12:38:03 pm »

I introduced 'A Logic Named Joe' here on another thread:

I'd be interested if someone gave that a listen....

I did.  I was impressed that it originally aired in 1955 and yet was so prescient for the turn of the century.   

General Discussion / Re: Transit Culture
« on: June 15, 2017, 09:47:51 pm »
So far I'm the only one on 'transit'....  :D

I'm on transit daily.  For six years I skytrained from Surrey to Downtown Vancouver.  Now, I take a bus.   I prefer to ignore everyone else because I don't like making small talk.  I look safe and approachable, unfortunately, so people tend to ask me questions about stuff that I usually know nothing about. 

You are not the only transit reporter.  There's a twitter user who also gives transit updates; calls herself 'gropedgirl' and describes the impolite behavior of some men. 

General Discussion / Re: Thanks for posting here
« on: June 13, 2017, 11:56:43 am »
And you are.... ?

I'm the archenemy of DogOnPorch and Argus in the Islamic conflict.

General Discussion / Re: Thanks for posting here
« on: June 13, 2017, 11:09:22 am »
  You'd be astonished at the people who don't stand out to me despite many years of engaging with them.

After a while they all run together, sound the same, look the same ....

General Discussion / Re: Gender Culture
« on: June 13, 2017, 11:01:59 am »
It would be interesting to know somebody who is trans, to learn from their perspective.

I've known 2 well enough to talk to beyond "hi, how are you".  Both were male-to-female, one was attracted to women and the other was attracted to men.  One changed later in life, after serving in the military and the other changed in her late teens/early 20s.

The most difficult part was the acceptance.  For the older woman, she had to accept herself first - military duty was at least partly an attempt to prove her maleness, a desire to conform in a very obvious way.  Once she'd made the change, she was able to find partners among other lesbians, although at the time I knew her, she wasn't with anyone. 

The other, because she was that much younger, found self-acceptance easier in part because there was more awareness generally and her parents supported her.  But what was extremely difficult for her was acceptance from men once they found out she'd once been male.

For them both, belonging and acceptance within society was important, as it is for most humans.  I think people who generally fall in with the norms of society don't quite get how much of a drive it is for humans to conform; for them, it is effortless and natural to fit in and they seek ways to differentiate themselves in some small way and congratulate themselves on being unique.   For those who really are very, very different it's a real challenge to admit and pursue their own true identity puts them at odds with 99% of the group and that's a very difficult thing to do.  That's why it's so laughable when someone says "Oh, teenagers are just making a choice to be gay/trans, to follow a trend - they're just looking for attention", while kids commit suicide because they feel so unacceptable because of their difference. 

Canadian Politics / Re: Canada's New Foreign Policy
« on: June 08, 2017, 10:14:21 am »
I liked the indication of reducing our reliance on the States for trade.  Also could mean less reason to involve ourselves in American wars.

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