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07:00 - 23:0023:00 - 00:00

11:00 PM
The thing is... we have nothing else. War is all we know.
And eating. But that's beside the point.
@PrestonFitzgerald Well, it is still only 4.7% of your GDP.
I never even knew that the US military employs civilian people until last year, when I met somebody who worked exactly that in Ramstein.
@rumtscho You mean contractors?
Our military, especially the army, is becoming heavily privatized.
She was surprisingly nice for my stereotyped view of "soldiers" and people who work with them. Also very beautiful. The first time I met a half-Native-American person face to face.
11:01 PM
@Cerberus I'm of the belief that GDP doesn't mean much. When you consider all of the bunk that counts as product.
@PrestonFitzgerald Perhaps, in time, that will make it easier to cut off some parts?
@Cerberus No, I mean civilian people living on a military base and getting a salary from the army.
@PrestonFitzgerald Haha, sure.
@rumtscho Oh...
Our forces are being slashed right now. We haven't seen cutbacks like this since right after Vietnam.
Not people who own a firm which sells services and products to the army, but real employees. They seem to exist, and are even sent to far away places.
11:02 PM
And the pay is fantastic.
I have a buddy who just spent two years in Afghanistan repairing UAVs
over $200k contract
@PrestonFitzgerald I suppose that is good?
I am a little bit proud of myself that I don't even know what an UAV is.
@rumtscho Hmm then why aren't they incorporated into the army?
It's top 10% income I belive. @Cerberus
@rumtscho I think like a vehicle.
@PrestonFitzgerald What is?
11:05 PM
@Cerberus I don't know why, I just know they exist. It surprised me too.
@Cerberus The cost of having a large force is too much. In the military here if you make it 20 years you earn fantastic benefits.
There are large, long-term costs to having career servicemen
Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
11:06 PM
so we hire contractors, pay them excessively, and then send them on their way
@PrestonFitzgerald Right, so why do they pay their soldiers/officers so much?
I actually don't know about here.
@Jolenealaska Ah!
(By the way, imagine having NATO declare war on you...)
@Cerberus Supply and Demand. If I'm going to go to Afghanistan you better believe you'll have to make it worth my time.
Almost nobody here believes in these conflicts
And also just having the money to throw it around.
Right, but most soldiers probably don't go to Afghanistan, right?
Okay. "almost nobody" is extreme
11:07 PM
@rumtscho Yeah, the budget is a little bit excessive.
If their budget was as tight as ours, nobody would be getting that kind of money. And by ours, I mean the people who fight cancer.
Oh. Well actual servicemen do not make great pay
Who would dare declare war on a country whose army is almost as powerful as the rest of the world combined?
@PrestonFitzgerald Ah OK. Then who do?
@cerebus Contractors. Lockheed Martin. Boeing.
@Cerberus The people who sell weapons to the army.
11:09 PM
I've been to the National AUSA conference in DC. The largest military trade show in the world, according to some.
Want a tank? Have a seat!
It's disgusting lol
But yes, that is our product.
Ah OK, yes.
So why not just pay those contractors less?
@PrestonFitzgerald Do you work for Lockheed Martin now?
@rumtscho No. I used to work for a military software publishing company. I'm out of that field now though.
@Cerberus Government contracts are paid to the lowest bidder.
So... Uncle Sam says, "I need 10,00 tanks in 2 years."
And companies compete to earn the business
They bid each other down
@PrestonFitzgerald Ah well, the nice official theory.
So they pay what the market can bear. There are only so many companies that are capable of fulfilling the contracts
11:12 PM
Then...why does the defence industry get paid so well?
lol @rumtscho
Ah, a kind of oligopoly?
I find our military spending remarkable in light of the fact that we can't seem to manage universal health care.
Exactly that
Can you start up a business that builds tanks?
But can you make 10,000 in the span of two years? To military spec?
There are only four or five companies that can
@PrestonFitzgerald Let's say that from an economic point of view, auctions (especially lowest-bid auctions) are seldom optimal, even if the market has all the nice attributes Adam Smith assumed in his basic theory.
11:14 PM
There are TONS of incentives to small business, woman-owned business, native american business, etc. But it's a sham.
@rumtscho I think it depends.
But in reality, it never has them. There is the oligopoly you mentioned, there is insider information, and then there are the dirty parts noone talks about.
For sure.
For commodities, I think auctions can work well?
@Cerberus No, the simple kind doesn't work well for commodities either, you want at least a second-bid auction for that.
11:16 PM
Soft corruptions: representatives have friends and/or financial interests in those companies, and they are sent lots of lobbyists, and they can get lucrative jobs there as soon as they leave office.
@rumtscho Hmm how do you mean?
I am too tired to pull out my first semester microeconomics book to look up the details, and besides, it's been so long since I studied this stuff that I'd need a lot of time to understand the details again
A Vickrey auction is a type of sealed-bid auction. Bidders submit written bids without knowing the bid of the other people in the auction. The highest bidder wins but the price paid is the second-highest bid. The auction was first described academically by Columbia University professor William Vickrey in 1961 though it had been used by stamp collectors since 1893. This type of auction is strategically similar to an English auction and gives bidders an incentive to bid their true value. Vickrey's original paper mainly considered auctions where only a single, indivisible good is being sold...
I think this is the simplest auction which delivers optimal results under optimal conditions. The simpler ones don't deliver optimal results even when the conditions are optimal.
That sounds very complicated!
As for real-world contracts, the matter gets messy. Not only do you have asymmetrical information, you also have biased decision makers. Lobbyists are a problem, of course. But there would be problems even without them.
Blah. I have people coming over tonight. And I don't think I have anything I can prepare to serve. My host-dar is pinging off the roof and I feel like a jerk.
11:19 PM
I find it hard to gauge the effects of such a system at a glance...
@PrestonFitzgerald what is a host-dar? An Englo-Russian idiom for stuff you offer to your guests?
US Federal Acquisitions are insane. There are entire colleges devoted to it.
@PrestonFitzgerald Hmm when did you know they were coming?
@rumtscho It was a play on RADAR, per our militaristic discussion
You can even ask them to bring some food if they announced their advent a short time ago.
11:20 PM
@PrestonFitzgerald if you tell us what you have lying around, maybe we can think up something easy you could prepare.
Like...sardines in chocolate sauce.
@PrestonFitzgerald Ah OK. "Dar" means "gift" in Russian, so I thought it is your host's gift to your guests.
@Cerberus My girlfriend just told me about an hour ago. They will be here within two hours. She doesn't share my need to be... Uhm. Host-like?
I don't have much. And I'm a little broke at the moment. =/
@rumtscho lol that's a fun misunderstanding
Do they come at snack-time or at full-meal time?
11:22 PM
Evening, after dinner
I have whisky and bacon.
@PrestonFitzgerald Then you have no obligations.
Sounds good already.
Yay whiskey and bacon!
Do you have tomatoes?
Anything like mayonnaise or crème fraîche?
11:23 PM
Yes, whole wheat bread. Skim milk. Mayo.
Some uninteresting cheeses.
OK. You could dry the tomatoes with a towel, then put them into the oven for 30 minutes to dry further. Meanwhile, fry bacon.
Then serve bacon and tomato on toast with mayonnaise.
Canned BMT
BLT - L + M
Bacon Mandarins Tomato?
11:25 PM
I don't see how that could go well...
I would have thought more on the finger food side for such timing (and budget)
I have no idea how that would work in a can!
What about toasting the bread, then splitting and toasting again.
This usually supposes more doughy/fat stuff, like crackers or popcorn.
11:25 PM
Bacon-tomato marmalade
@rumtscho Cut the bacon-mayo-tomato toast in small pieces and serve as finger sandwiches. I sometimes do that, and it's great.
@PrestonFitzgerald I've seen onion marmalade recipes, so why not :)
You can even replace the bacon with medium-boiled eggs and salt, also great.
OH. boil eggs, thin slices
On toast with bacon
11:26 PM
Yes, with mayo and tomato.
Indeed, if you have the time and inclination to go shopping, microwave popcorn can be a cheap and guest-friendly buy
It is a great combo, although I've never tried it with canned tomatoes. So I would dry them.
@rumtscho True.
@Cerberus But if he is also in America, we don't know if the next supermarket isn't 40 minutes by car
Hmmm. I need to clean up a bit. I'll probably be back around in a bit. I'll take pictures. Thanks guys.
11:28 PM
@rumtscho Hmm true.
Something from nothing. Always satisfying
@PrestonFitzgerald if you want to trully impress them, you can also make dollar-sized pancakes and serve them with a dip
If you have bacon, your life will be saved regardless.
Good luck!
@rumtscho Also great!
Or latkes.
fry them up with tiny pieces of bacon inside, and make a dip from the mayo, yogurt and some dry spices/herbs
11:29 PM
Sounds good!
did you say yogurt or milk? milk won't work.
But cream cheese will.
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