Author Topic: 10 Things Americans Waste Money On  (Read 25244 times)

GuitarStv

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Re: 10 Things Americans Waste Money On
« Reply #50 on: June 02, 2016, 06:32:41 AM »
Now whether or not we consume too much, that's up to each individual to decide.

That line of thinking has brought us to the current world environmental state that exists today.

mak1277

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Re: 10 Things Americans Waste Money On
« Reply #51 on: June 02, 2016, 09:34:02 AM »
The air conditioning thing is VERY real

It's real, but I've never met anyone who actually liked it.  I mean, I enjoy appropriate air conditioning (bring the temperature down to 80 if it's 100 outside) but every woman I have ever gone anywhere with in the summer has complained that restaurants/retail are TOO COLD

You've never met my wife.  She does get cold in restaurants, but she keeps our A/C at home at 70 most of the time.

Christof

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Re: 10 Things Americans Waste Money On
« Reply #52 on: June 02, 2016, 04:12:22 PM »
What all of these foreigners who complain about how Americans consume don't understand is that consumption is a function of cost and availability.

You really can't compare prices that easily.... Just within Germany an average 4 bedroom house can cost anywhere between 25K (outside small towns in eastern Germany) and 1 million (Hamburg or Munich).

Even in the US consumption really differs. What is a smart choice in New York or Boston, would be unthinkable in Los Angeles or San Diego, like paying several 100K for a parking spot. There are so many things that you in the US pay much more than we in Germany on average, yet they remain popular. Cars, mobile phone, internet, restaurant, cable come to my mind.

dragoncar

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Re: 10 Things Americans Waste Money On
« Reply #53 on: June 02, 2016, 06:27:18 PM »
What all of these foreigners who complain about how Americans consume don't understand is that consumption is a function of cost and availability.

You really can't compare prices that easily.... Just within Germany an average 4 bedroom house can cost anywhere between 25K (outside small towns in eastern Germany) and 1 million (Hamburg or Munich).

Even in the US consumption really differs. What is a smart choice in New York or Boston, would be unthinkable in Los Angeles or San Diego, like paying several 100K for a parking spot. There are so many things that you in the US pay much more than we in Germany on average, yet they remain popular. Cars, mobile phone, internet, restaurant, cable come to my mind.

So your position is that it's smart to pay several 100k for a parking spot in NY? 

Cyaphas

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Re: 10 Things Americans Waste Money On
« Reply #54 on: June 02, 2016, 06:48:24 PM »
So your position is that it's smart to pay several 100k for a parking spot in NY?

Things like that don't exist in London or Paris? Would/could they if those places were in highly land competitive areas like say... an island?

talltexan

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Re: 10 Things Americans Waste Money On
« Reply #55 on: June 03, 2016, 02:36:02 PM »
Agreed that the space is much more limited in Europe. Because of this, Europeans have to spend more TIME doing things. I feel as though the (short-term) mustachian tradeoff is TIME for MONEY, for EUROPEANS it would look like SPACE for TIME, and normal consumerist Americans it would be MONEY for SPACE.

Making Cookies

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Re: 10 Things Americans Waste Money On
« Reply #56 on: June 03, 2016, 04:55:28 PM »
Yep and for some of us, living in a tiny apartment means we have to entertain ourselves by going out and doing something. All you can do at home is eat, read, and watch TV. I've lived like that. Glad it works for some but I hated it.

Our garage shop, yard for playing with kids and pets, neighborhood (for walks), etc. is what keeps us sane.

redbird

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Re: 10 Things Americans Waste Money On
« Reply #57 on: June 04, 2016, 12:35:32 AM »
I've never been to Europe. But one thing that struck me in particular was the comment about poor building materials. I lived in Japan for 3 years. One of the things I really hated about Japan was the way houses were built. The thin walls with no insulation in them, the leaky single paned windows, the bathroom and kitchen plugs near water sources that don't have GFC and seem like potential fire/electric shock hazards... I've lived in all sorts of places in the US and they all have felt pretty luxuriously built compared to Japanese houses. This includes the oldest, cruddiest places I've lived too.

Also, #8 - I wish there was more/better public transportation in the US. But the US is HUGE. Most European countries are fairly small. France is smaller than Texas, and that's only 1 of our states. It's just hard to pull off good public transportation logistically.

Seppia

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Re: 10 Things Americans Waste Money On
« Reply #58 on: June 04, 2016, 04:27:59 PM »
The air conditioning thing is VERY real

It's real, but I've never met anyone who actually liked it.  I mean, I enjoy appropriate air conditioning (bring the temperature down to 80 if it's 100 outside) but every woman I have ever gone anywhere with in the summer has complained that restaurants/retail are TOO COLD

Doesn't that make it even stupider though?
To all those who say "whoa AC is great we need that"
Of course, it would be idiotic to say that since in the alps we don't have AC you shouldn't have it in Orlando as well.
The point is: if it's 110 F outside why the hell do you need to keep sub 70 temperature inside?

I will never forget when I checked into my room in Houston (it was July or August) and the AC was set to 67.
SIXTY SEVEN DEGREES!


What all of these foreigners who complain about how Americans consume don't understand is that consumption is a function of cost and availability.

Americans consume more, live in bigger homes, upgrade their electronics more often, etc because it is much more inexpensive to do so here than in Germany, Spain, etc.

We drive big sedans, SUVs, trucks, and sports cars because in the USA because they're more affordable than in the UK/EU. The money you pay here for a sports car gets you a Fiesta or a Focus overseas.

The money you pay for a 2,500 square foot home in the suburbs here gives you  a 2 bedroom 1,000 square foot apartment in Europe.

The point isn't that the USA is better or worse or that Americans consume too much or too little. The point is that consumption is tied to cost and availability. If the cost were higher, we'd consume less, it's that simple.

If the costs were lower in EU, they'd consume more, hands down.

Now whether or not we consume too much, that's up to each individual to decide.

Europeans save more in % of income

dragoncar

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Re: 10 Things Americans Waste Money On
« Reply #59 on: June 04, 2016, 06:15:36 PM »

The point is: if it's 110 F outside why the hell do you need to keep sub 70 temperature inside?


The only reasonable purpose would be if people have been walking around outside for a while and are hyperthermic (even if slightly) and need to cool down quickly.  Maybe it would make sense for the foyer to be at a lower temperature.  But of course most people aren't walking around in 110 F heat, they are coming directly from their air conditioned car.  With the exception of outdoor malls, amusement parks, and so forth and so on.

HBFIRE

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Re: 10 Things Americans Waste Money On
« Reply #60 on: June 04, 2016, 06:16:52 PM »


I still don't get where the not-washing stereotype comes from...

I think it is because many (most?) don't use deodorant in Europe.

Seppia

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Re: 10 Things Americans Waste Money On
« Reply #61 on: June 05, 2016, 01:20:21 AM »


I still don't get where the not-washing stereotype comes from...

I think it is because many (most?) don't use deodorant in FRANCE.

Fixed that for you.
;)

BlueHouse

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Re: 10 Things Americans Waste Money On
« Reply #62 on: June 05, 2016, 07:25:33 AM »

The point is: if it's 110 F outside why the hell do you need to keep sub 70 temperature inside?


The only reasonable purpose would be if people have been walking around outside for a while and are hyperthermic (even if slightly) and need to cool down quickly.  Maybe it would make sense for the foyer to be at a lower temperature.  But of course most people aren't walking around in 110 F heat, they are coming directly from their air conditioned car.  With the exception of outdoor malls, amusement parks, and so forth and so on.
Here's another possibility. In centrally cooled zones,the room with the thermostat may be substantially cooler to begin with, leaving the other rooms warmer. When I visit my sister, she kindly turns their AC down to 68 or 70 because their bedroom (with the thermostat) is better insulated, has an attic above, trees outside, and corner Windows. The guest bedrooms are in the front of the house with no attic cover, vaulted ceilings, no shade trees, and very little air flow. They have to sleep under layers of covers for the other occupants to be remotely comfortable. 

Christof

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Re: 10 Things Americans Waste Money On
« Reply #63 on: June 05, 2016, 09:14:53 AM »
So your position is that it's smart to pay several 100k for a parking spot in NY?

I should have said: "what may be a smart choice"... 100k for a parking spot can absolutely be a smart choice, if you make several times that annually, you save billable time, and plan to work another 40 years in that place or expect to sell it for more. Not likely the case for anyone here, though.

But one thing that struck me in particular was the comment about poor building materials.

That's another perception issue...

In most countries in at least Western Europe houses are made from brick stone or steel and concrete. Sheds are made out of wood. Every time there's another hurricane or flood in the US, our news are full of pictures of US houses that collapsed like a card house. So people here equate building material suitable for sheds only used in an area with frequent natural disasters and come to the conclusion that clearly that's the inferior choice.

Things are changing slowly, though. The number of houses made out of wood here is increasing.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2016, 09:23:27 AM by Christof »

FINate

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Re: 10 Things Americans Waste Money On
« Reply #64 on: June 05, 2016, 01:10:26 PM »
In most countries in at least Western Europe houses are made from brick stone or steel and concrete. Sheds are made out of wood. Every time there's another hurricane or flood in the US, our news are full of pictures of US houses that collapsed like a card house. So people here equate building material suitable for sheds only used in an area with frequent natural disasters and come to the conclusion that clearly that's the inferior choice.

Things are changing slowly, though. The number of houses made out of wood here is increasing.

For those in earthquake country (US West coast) brick doesn't handle earthquakes as well as wood structures. Steel reinforcement makes brick safer, but there's still the issue of expensive damage repair because it doesn't flex the way wood does. Steel works well, though not a lot of houses are built with this...a cost issue?

Interesting historical note: Most of the redwood forests in my area were clear cut in the 19th century largely to fire kilns for producing lime, which was used to manufacture bricks. We learned from the 1906 earthquake that bricks are not a good building material out here, so the lime kilns went into decline and the forests in the Santa Cruz mountains were able to regrow after an initial logging boom to supply lumber for the SF rebuild. http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=912

Christof

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Re: 10 Things Americans Waste Money On
« Reply #65 on: June 05, 2016, 02:08:42 PM »
Many thanks for the historical note. That'll help in future discussions.

dragoncar

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Re: 10 Things Americans Waste Money On
« Reply #66 on: June 05, 2016, 04:25:20 PM »
In most countries in at least Western Europe houses are made from brick stone or steel and concrete. Sheds are made out of wood. Every time there's another hurricane or flood in the US, our news are full of pictures of US houses that collapsed like a card house. So people here equate building material suitable for sheds only used in an area with frequent natural disasters and come to the conclusion that clearly that's the inferior choice.

Things are changing slowly, though. The number of houses made out of wood here is increasing.

For those in earthquake country (US West coast) brick doesn't handle earthquakes as well as wood structures. Steel reinforcement makes brick safer, but there's still the issue of expensive damage repair because it doesn't flex the way wood does. Steel works well, though not a lot of houses are built with this...a cost issue?

Interesting historical note: Most of the redwood forests in my area were clear cut in the 19th century largely to fire kilns for producing lime, which was used to manufacture bricks. We learned from the 1906 earthquake that bricks are not a good building material out here, so the lime kilns went into decline and the forests in the Santa Cruz mountains were able to regrow after an initial logging boom to supply lumber for the SF rebuild. http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=912

A lot of that redwood was also used for homes-- if you see older construction a lot of it has amazing lumber compared to modern lumber

warmastoast

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Re: 10 Things Americans Waste Money On
« Reply #67 on: June 05, 2016, 06:10:58 PM »


I still don't get where the not-washing stereotype comes from...

I think it is because many (most?) don't use deodorant in FRANCE.

Good grief.  As someone who lived there for 11 years I can quite categorically say that there is no truth there.   If anything the french are more fastidious about personal hygiene that most other countries....   I find it barbaric that US houses do not have a bidet.  And no, you don't use it for washing your feet!!


Fixed that for you.
;)

Kitsune

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Re: 10 Things Americans Waste Money On
« Reply #68 on: June 05, 2016, 06:14:50 PM »


I still don't get where the not-washing stereotype comes from...

I think it is because many (most?) don't use deodorant in FRANCE.

Good grief.  As someone who lived there for 11 years I can quite categorically say that there is no truth there.   If anything the french are more fastidious about personal hygiene that most other countries....   I find it barbaric that US houses do not have a bidet.  And no, you don't use it for washing your feet!!


Fixed that for you.
;)

A bidet is the hight of civilization, especially as a lady-person during a certain time of the month. I regret not having one in my house SO MUCH.

exterous

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Re: 10 Things Americans Waste Money On
« Reply #69 on: June 06, 2016, 07:25:29 AM »

Think this is more the people you associate with and has less to do with "Americans".

Not based on the numbers, and I do keep track. To throw a good dinner party I have to keep notes on my guests' work schedules, dietary needs, personalities, and interests. It's part of intelligent hosting and it makes me better able to choose a successful menu and schedule. My mother did a lot of corporate and industrial diplomatic entertaining, and I learned from her. So, there's a science to group entertaining and statistics plays a part. Demographics can be relevant.

I'd estimate my statistical sampling size at well over 250 households

I'm curious about your methodology that lends you to characterize an entire country with such sweeping generalizations but I suspect your sample size and\or sample pool doesn't warrant such statements


I'm surprised to see so much pushback against this article.

I'm sure not all Europeans are better on all counts, but none of the ten things she listed should be controversial as unnecessary "luxuries" that are commonplace in the U.S. (and many of these phenomena have a neutral effect on quality of life at best).

I was nodding my head along in agreement that all 10 are problems with the U.S.

Well some of them don't make a lot of sense. Bemoaning the lack of public transportation in the US compared to European countries without acknowledging that European countries are 4-16x more urban is ignoring a rather significant issue. This isn't to say certain areas don't fall flat *cough* LA *cough* but there is a bit more to the story than the 'love to drive'

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwjIiafst5PNAhVWUVIKHbOUBQMQFggcMAA&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.lincolninst.edu%2Fsubcenters%2Fatlas-urban-expansion%2Fdocuments%2Ftable-urban-land-cover-data.xls&usg=AFQjCNGA_W99T-KeuKYZDAv6DImu2wbakg&sig2=2eLynvOLS28ETpoPmg2Iag&bvm=bv.123664746,d.aXo
(a bit older but an easy comparison area using the same definition of urban and rural)

Air conditioning is another one. Again this isn't to say that its not a problem in some areas but a good chunk of the US population lives in an area much more humid than Western Europe (Where the author seems to spend a lot of time?). Weather patterns in the US also mean that areas as far north as Minnesota and Michigan will get frequent periods of high temperatures plus high humidity compared to Western European areas. Most people seem to discuss temperatures without acknowledging (or realizing?) the impact humidity has on comfort so regional humidity differences tend to have an impact on perception of temperature.I'm sure if she had spent time in or talking to someone from Seattle or Maui about air conditioning she would have gotten a different impression

https://www.climate.gov/sites/default/files/GlobalSpecificHumidity2013_1440.jpg
http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/data/as-seattle-sweats-few-air-conditioners-cool-us-down/

libertarian4321

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Re: 10 Things Americans Waste Money On
« Reply #70 on: June 06, 2016, 08:52:22 AM »
"1. Takeout, takeout, takeout. ... At that point, with the delivery charges, tips, and fees, why not just take a book and go sit at the actual restaurant? The food would be better and you’d be getting an “experience” along with it for your money. But I know the point is convenience, even if I don’t understand it."

The guy is mathematically challenged.  "Take out" (and he means delivery, "take out" can just be stopping by KFC on the way home from work) costs LESS typically.

Sure, you might pay a few bucks for a delivery fee.  And you'll probably tip the driver a couple of bucks on top of that.

So for a $60 delivery meal for 4 people, you might pay $7 or $8 in fees and tips.

But you eat that same meal in the restaurant, and you pay $9 or $12 in tips.  That's already more than you pay for the delivery.  On top of that, you have to burn gas to get to the restaurant, if it's not right in your neigborhood, that's probably a few dollars more.

So why not read your book in the comfort of your home, rather than in a loud restaurant, and save money as well?


gaja

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Re: 10 Things Americans Waste Money On
« Reply #71 on: June 06, 2016, 09:17:48 AM »
Northern Norway has a population density of 11 persons per sqmi. For the US, this is the same as ND and SD, and only Alaska, Wyoming and Montana have less people per sqmi. Driving from Trondheim to Kirkenes (without crossing into Sweden or Finland) takes 27 hours (total distance 1200 miles). If you go the coastal route (where the people live) the distances are twice as long, and you need to rely on a lot of car ferries and passenger boats. If you use the methodology from exterous' file, there are zero large cities and zero urban land usage in this region.

No matter where you live in Norway, you have legal right to public transport. It is sometimes solved by taxis or taxi boats, the cruise line Hurtigruten gets public funding to service 34 towns and villages daily (26 of those in the north), and there are a lot of tiny airports. In the most remote areas, the bus might only stop twice a week, but it is available. If you live in a town with a few thousand people or more, you normally don't need to own a car. All towns and villages are walkable (to a larger or smaller degree). There are also governmental programs to ensure that all small and remote villages have access to a grocery store and fuel.

I have no idea how the public transport works in North and South Dakota. It might be similar to what I described, it might be better. My prejudice says it is probably not, but feel free to correct me.

Brokenreign

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Re: 10 Things Americans Waste Money On
« Reply #72 on: June 06, 2016, 04:17:45 PM »
1. Takeout

Yup

2. Pre packaged foods

Definitely, my coworkers enjoy microwaving their lunch

3. Fast Fashion

No, but I'm a dude

4. Extreme AC / Heat

Yes, was just in Florida, with 98 degree temperatures but was freezing inside the hotel even wearing pants / long sleeved shirt

5. Big homes on small lots

Yes yes yes!  McMansions are the worst!

6. Bulk Grocery

Definitely - but this isn't a bad thing for certain things

7. Constantly new electronics

Aha.  Coworkers buy the latest 70 inch smart phone

8. Cars

Truly abysmal traffic, clown car driving abounds

9. Gym memberships

$200 per month to do crossfit is the norm among my coworkers, and their gym doesn't have AC/Heat

10. Restaurants

True, but Europeans love cafes and pubs too

Overall - very accurate, not understanding why 90% of the comments here are critical.  I have lots of respect for other countries that have the wisdom of a much longer history, especially with food.  Most impressed with health of Asian / Mediterranean diets.

People tend to become extremely defensive when their "tribe" or lifestyle are criticized by someone they perceive as an outsider. I'm sure few of the people here indulge in the 10 items in the list but the tone of the article and age/nationality of the writer seems to put people on the defensive.

Such reactions seem to become more prevalent all the time as people become more polarized in their perspectives at which point anyone with a slightly divergent opinion becomes an outsider (hipster, snob, millennial, privileged...whatever label is convenient).

Now off to warm up a frozen pizza!

GuitarStv

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Re: 10 Things Americans Waste Money On
« Reply #73 on: June 07, 2016, 07:05:15 AM »
Actually, most Americans I've met are pretty good about laughing about themselves and their quirks . . . when spoken by another American.  If the writer said that she was from Texas, I bet this thread wouldn't have raised any eyebrows at all.  There's a nasty jingoistic undercurrent that seems to take hold when the person making the observations is a foreigner though.  I've noticed this more with the US than any other country, and suspect that it's related to the rather large amount of flag waving (in comparison to other countries) that goes on in the states.

Magilla

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Re: 10 Things Americans Waste Money On
« Reply #74 on: June 07, 2016, 07:37:39 AM »
Actually, most Americans I've met are pretty good about laughing about themselves and their quirks . . . when spoken by another American.  If the writer said that she was from Texas, I bet this thread wouldn't have raised any eyebrows at all.  There's a nasty jingoistic undercurrent that seems to take hold when the person making the observations is a foreigner though.  I've noticed this more with the US than any other country, and suspect that it's related to the rather large amount of flag waving (in comparison to other countries) that goes on in the states.

The same is true of pretty much every country, state, town, family etc (ie tribes, cliques etc).  But hey I'm sure your experience with the world is so much broader than everybody that you can make sweeping statements about other tribes and not sound like a jackass.

GuitarStv

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Re: 10 Things Americans Waste Money On
« Reply #75 on: June 07, 2016, 07:41:02 AM »
Actually, most Americans I've met are pretty good about laughing about themselves and their quirks . . . when spoken by another American.  If the writer said that she was from Texas, I bet this thread wouldn't have raised any eyebrows at all.  There's a nasty jingoistic undercurrent that seems to take hold when the person making the observations is a foreigner though.  I've noticed this more with the US than any other country, and suspect that it's related to the rather large amount of flag waving (in comparison to other countries) that goes on in the states.

The same is true of pretty much every country, state, town, family etc (ie tribes, cliques etc).  But hey I'm sure your experience with the world is so much broader than everybody that you can make sweeping statements about other tribes and not sound like a jackass.

^ Case in point.

Magilla

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Re: 10 Things Americans Waste Money On
« Reply #76 on: June 07, 2016, 07:49:47 AM »
Actually, most Americans I've met are pretty good about laughing about themselves and their quirks . . . when spoken by another American.  If the writer said that she was from Texas, I bet this thread wouldn't have raised any eyebrows at all.  There's a nasty jingoistic undercurrent that seems to take hold when the person making the observations is a foreigner though.  I've noticed this more with the US than any other country, and suspect that it's related to the rather large amount of flag waving (in comparison to other countries) that goes on in the states.

The same is true of pretty much every country, state, town, family etc (ie tribes, cliques etc).  But hey I'm sure your experience with the world is so much broader than everybody that you can make sweeping statements about other tribes and not sound like a jackass.

^ Case in point.

Saying "case in point" doesn't actually make it so.   The point was that making sweeping generalizations about other tribes makes you sound like a jackass regardless of your tribe.  Your whole post was the "case in point".  Turning around and saying it too is a bit of "I know I am but what are you" childish behavior all too common on the interwebs.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2016, 07:52:02 AM by Magilla »

exterous

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Re: 10 Things Americans Waste Money On
« Reply #77 on: June 07, 2016, 08:00:41 AM »
Northern Norway has a population density of 11 persons per sqmi. For the US, this is the same as ND and SD, and only Alaska, Wyoming and Montana have less people per sqmi. Driving from Trondheim to Kirkenes (without crossing into Sweden or Finland) takes 27 hours (total distance 1200 miles). If you go the coastal route (where the people live) the distances are twice as long, and you need to rely on a lot of car ferries and passenger boats. If you use the methodology from exterous' file, there are zero large cities and zero urban land usage in this region.

No matter where you live in Norway, you have legal right to public transport. It is sometimes solved by taxis or taxi boats, the cruise line Hurtigruten gets public funding to service 34 towns and villages daily (26 of those in the north), and there are a lot of tiny airports. In the most remote areas, the bus might only stop twice a week, but it is available. If you live in a town with a few thousand people or more, you normally don't need to own a car. All towns and villages are walkable (to a larger or smaller degree). There are also governmental programs to ensure that all small and remote villages have access to a grocery store and fuel.

I have no idea how the public transport works in North and South Dakota. It might be similar to what I described, it might be better. My prejudice says it is probably not, but feel free to correct me.

A country that is long and thin, like Norway, is going to have a huge advantage over many US states. If memory serves most of Norway's northern population lives within a very short distance of a single road - E6 (and maybe 838?). This is a huge transportation logistical advantage over states in the US that about 4x as wide as Norway (South Dakota but obviously varies) as the routes will be concentrated and constrained in scope. There are states that have comparable population density distributions like Alaska where the population is clustered along a few routes. They also happen to have a capable transportation system in the form of trains, ferries and bus routes. So, while over all population density is important, distribution is also a factor

Again this isn't to say there aren't areas in the US that can't do better with public transportation as there absolutely are but that doesn't mean that its as easy as pointing to a different area and saying "but it works here."
« Last Edit: June 07, 2016, 08:02:14 AM by exterous »

GuitarStv

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Re: 10 Things Americans Waste Money On
« Reply #78 on: June 07, 2016, 08:05:19 AM »
Actually, most Americans I've met are pretty good about laughing about themselves and their quirks . . . when spoken by another American.  If the writer said that she was from Texas, I bet this thread wouldn't have raised any eyebrows at all.  There's a nasty jingoistic undercurrent that seems to take hold when the person making the observations is a foreigner though.  I've noticed this more with the US than any other country, and suspect that it's related to the rather large amount of flag waving (in comparison to other countries) that goes on in the states.

The same is true of pretty much every country, state, town, family etc (ie tribes, cliques etc).  But hey I'm sure your experience with the world is so much broader than everybody that you can make sweeping statements about other tribes and not sound like a jackass.

^ Case in point.

Saying "case in point" doesn't actually make it so.   The point was that making sweeping generalizations about other tribes makes you sound like a jackass regardless of your tribe.  Your whole post was the "case in point".  Turning around and saying it too is a bit of "I know I am but what are you" childish behavior all too common on the interwebs.

Look, I like the US.  By and large, the Americans I've met when visiting and the tourists from the US here have all been great people.  But there are certain patterns that have popped up time and again that I noticed.  The sort of angry hyper-defensiveness that you demonstrated is I was referring to in my post.  It's specifically when someone from another country criticizes or jokes about something that is 'typically American'.  That's why I said 'case in point' when you responded angrily at my comment.

This is not a reaction that I've noticed from the other Canadians, Europeans, or Asians when someone from another country makes simple observations about their home country . . . when it's generally laughed off, or agreed with.  Of course not all sweeping generalizations are true every time and for every American, but they are true often enough that people notice them.

boarder42

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Re: 10 Things Americans Waste Money On
« Reply #79 on: June 07, 2016, 08:55:12 AM »
Some of the stuff seems pretty uncontroversial, like the A/C bit.

I've noticed that most people around me in set the temperature warmer in their buildings in the winter and cooler in the summer.  Bit like waaaaay too much.  In my office I'm unable to wear long sleeve winter weight shirts during the winter because I'd be sweating all day long.  In the summer I can't wear short sleeved summer weight shirts because it's freezing cold.  That's silly.

you live in canada of course you dont need AC.  i wouldnt need to use mine if it werent for the humidity in the summer here in KC.  we get temps into the 70s at night still right now but guess what its 80-90% humidity so you cant really open the windows and let all that in.  europeans dont need ac b/c their climate is milder.  this take on AC is akin to someone from mexico writing about how idiotic heaters are for canadians.  i assume you're wasteful and use heat in your house - HOW DARE YOU!!!. 

GuitarStv

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Re: 10 Things Americans Waste Money On
« Reply #80 on: June 07, 2016, 09:11:33 AM »
Some of the stuff seems pretty uncontroversial, like the A/C bit.

I've noticed that most people around me in set the temperature warmer in their buildings in the winter and cooler in the summer.  Bit like waaaaay too much.  In my office I'm unable to wear long sleeve winter weight shirts during the winter because I'd be sweating all day long.  In the summer I can't wear short sleeved summer weight shirts because it's freezing cold.  That's silly.

you live in canada of course you dont need AC.  i wouldnt need to use mine if it werent for the humidity in the summer here in KC.  we get temps into the 70s at night still right now but guess what its 80-90% humidity so you cant really open the windows and let all that in.  europeans dont need ac b/c their climate is milder.  this take on AC is akin to someone from mexico writing about how idiotic heaters are for canadians.  i assume you're wasteful and use heat in your house - HOW DARE YOU!!!.

You might be surprised, Toronto actually gets pretty warm in the summer months.  We'll often get a week or two during the summer with highs in the upper 30s (around 100 F) and humidity around 90 - 100%.

It's not the use of A/C that seems silly, but when you use the A/C to keep temperatures below what you would have during the summer, and then heat to above what you would have during the winter.  That's pretty common practice around here and drives me nuts.

Brokenreign

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Re: 10 Things Americans Waste Money On
« Reply #81 on: June 07, 2016, 09:23:14 AM »
Actually, most Americans I've met are pretty good about laughing about themselves and their quirks . . . when spoken by another American.  If the writer said that she was from Texas, I bet this thread wouldn't have raised any eyebrows at all.  There's a nasty jingoistic undercurrent that seems to take hold when the person making the observations is a foreigner though.  I've noticed this more with the US than any other country, and suspect that it's related to the rather large amount of flag waving (in comparison to other countries) that goes on in the states.

The same is true of pretty much every country, state, town, family etc (ie tribes, cliques etc).  But hey I'm sure your experience with the world is so much broader than everybody that you can make sweeping statements about other tribes and not sound like a jackass.

^ Case in point.

Saying "case in point" doesn't actually make it so.   The point was that making sweeping generalizations about other tribes makes you sound like a jackass regardless of your tribe.  Your whole post was the "case in point".  Turning around and saying it too is a bit of "I know I am but what are you" childish behavior all too common on the interwebs.

Look, I like the US.  By and large, the Americans I've met when visiting and the tourists from the US here have all been great people.  But there are certain patterns that have popped up time and again that I noticed.  The sort of angry hyper-defensiveness that you demonstrated is I was referring to in my post.  It's specifically when someone from another country criticizes or jokes about something that is 'typically American'.  That's why I said 'case in point' when you responded angrily at my comment.

This is not a reaction that I've noticed from the other Canadians, Europeans, or Asians when someone from another country makes simple observations about their home country . . . when it's generally laughed off, or agreed with.  Of course not all sweeping generalizations are true every time and for every American, but they are true often enough that people notice them.

Perhaps it's the constant perception of external scrutiny from outsiders that causes the defensiveness. I've noticed the same thing in Alberta in response to criticism of the oil sands and Keystone. Even people that have no skin in the game seem to react strongly to any criticism from outside (even other provinces). This didn't seem to be the case until the last few years when foreign media coverage of the oil sands really picked up. It's as if many citizens feel personally bullied or insulted even if they previously didn't give a shit about the industry. Everything America does is the subject of external criticism, so I can totally understand this knee jerk defensiveness.

Anyone have any recommended reading on the phenomenon? I'm genuinely curious as to why people get personally offended these things.

Brokenreign

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Re: 10 Things Americans Waste Money On
« Reply #82 on: June 07, 2016, 10:07:03 AM »
I like your post Moustaches. I would like to add hamburgers, monster trucks and politeness (maybe this is superficial, but it's still nice) to your list. Also, most people in a service role seem really good at their jobs. I'm sure others would disagree, but I'm always amazed at how smoothly things seem to run in the states.

Brokenreign

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Re: 10 Things Americans Waste Money On
« Reply #83 on: June 07, 2016, 02:04:30 PM »
I like your post Moustaches. I would like to add hamburgers, monster trucks and politeness (maybe this is superficial, but it's still nice) to your list. Also, most people in a service role seem really good at their jobs. I'm sure others would disagree, but I'm always amazed at how smoothly things seem to run in the states.

I agree!  The advantage of everyone working long hours, brutal layoffs, and overall efficiency of American corporations is that as a consumer you get better service.

Except Comcast subscribers.

Huh - well that's a depressing reason. I still like the burgers...though I am now saddened to know that they are made with the blood, sweat and tears (possibly literally) of the staff. Your theory does seem to be at odds with the apparent politeness though.

Magilla

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Re: 10 Things Americans Waste Money On
« Reply #84 on: June 07, 2016, 02:37:51 PM »
Actually, most Americans I've met are pretty good about laughing about themselves and their quirks . . . when spoken by another American.  If the writer said that she was from Texas, I bet this thread wouldn't have raised any eyebrows at all.  There's a nasty jingoistic undercurrent that seems to take hold when the person making the observations is a foreigner though.  I've noticed this more with the US than any other country, and suspect that it's related to the rather large amount of flag waving (in comparison to other countries) that goes on in the states.

The same is true of pretty much every country, state, town, family etc (ie tribes, cliques etc).  But hey I'm sure your experience with the world is so much broader than everybody that you can make sweeping statements about other tribes and not sound like a jackass.

^ Case in point.

Saying "case in point" doesn't actually make it so.   The point was that making sweeping generalizations about other tribes makes you sound like a jackass regardless of your tribe.  Your whole post was the "case in point".  Turning around and saying it too is a bit of "I know I am but what are you" childish behavior all too common on the interwebs.

Look, I like the US.  By and large, the Americans I've met when visiting and the tourists from the US here have all been great people.  But there are certain patterns that have popped up time and again that I noticed.  The sort of angry hyper-defensiveness that you demonstrated is I was referring to in my post.  It's specifically when someone from another country criticizes or jokes about something that is 'typically American'.  That's why I said 'case in point' when you responded angrily at my comment.

This is not a reaction that I've noticed from the other Canadians, Europeans, or Asians when someone from another country makes simple observations about their home country . . . when it's generally laughed off, or agreed with.  Of course not all sweeping generalizations are true every time and for every American, but they are true often enough that people notice them.

Please point out where my replies to you are hyper-defensive about US criticism?  I was merely pointing out that making blanket statements based on anecdotal evidence (ie "people you met") is a good recipe for looking like a jackass.  We've all done it (myself included), it's what anonymous internet forums do to otherwise reasonable people.

I don't just have an issue with this article, I have an issue with all people that make stupid blanket statements about places or people they barely know.  For every stereotype I've ever heard of a particular place or people I've always found it to be otherwise when I visited the place.  I guess if someone wants to complain about something they'll always find a way.

Chris22

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Re: 10 Things Americans Waste Money On
« Reply #85 on: June 07, 2016, 03:14:39 PM »
This is not a reaction that I've noticed from the other Canadians, Europeans, or Asians when someone from another country makes simple observations about their home country . . . when it's generally laughed off, or agreed with.  Of course not all sweeping generalizations are true every time and for every American, but they are true often enough that people notice them.

Really?  Go tell a Frenchman what's wrong with France or a German how Germany is wrong and get back to me.  Americans, in my (relatively limited, I'll admit) experience, take themselves far less seriously than many Europeans.

Seppia

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Re: 10 Things Americans Waste Money On
« Reply #86 on: June 07, 2016, 04:20:20 PM »
I'm Italian, I lived in the USA 6 years and I believe the Us is the awesomest country on earth by a significant margin.
Still, that doesn't mean Americans do not do anything stupid.

It's a FACT that American are on average the most wasteful (in terms of resources) humans on earth.
Bigger cars
Cooler AC
Bigger homes
Lower savings
These are not opinions, you can look up the stats for yourself.

A country that is long and thin, like Norway, is going to have a huge advantage over many US states. If memory serves most of Norway's northern population lives within a very short distance of a single road - E6 (and maybe 838?). This is a huge transportation logistical advantage over states in the US that about 4x as wide as Norway (South Dakota but obviously varies) as the routes will be concentrated and constrained in scope. There are states that have comparable population density distributions like Alaska where the population is clustered along a few routes. They also happen to have a capable transportation system in the form of trains, ferries and bus routes. So, while over all population density is important, distribution is also a factor

Again this isn't to say there aren't areas in the US that can't do better with public transportation as there absolutely are but that doesn't mean that its as easy as pointing to a different area and saying "but it works here."

I thought I heard it all, but Norway having an advantage in public transport potential over the USA because of geology is one of the best ever.
Norway is essentially made of mountains, fjords and ice.
It's incredibly long and thin, has ZERO plains and it's almost impossible to go on a straight line from point a to point b
A good chunk of the country has multiple months with only a few hours of sunlight per year
It's scarcely populated.

If I had to rank all the world countries by how easy it would be to implement a functioning public transportation system, Norway would be just a tad above Antarctica, Greenland and maybe Mordor


you live in canada of course you dont need AC.  i wouldnt need to use mine if it werent for the humidity in the summer here in KC.  we get temps into the 70s at night still right now but guess what its 80-90% humidity so you cant really open the windows and let all that in.  europeans dont need ac b/c their climate is milder.  this take on AC is akin to someone from mexico writing about how idiotic heaters are for canadians.  i assume you're wasteful and use heat in your house - HOW DARE YOU!!!.

I cannot believe we are still discussing this

IT'S NOT THE AC's EXISTENCE, IT'S THE 68 F INSIDE WHEN THERE'S 105 F OUTSIDE.


Chris22

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Re: 10 Things Americans Waste Money On
« Reply #87 on: June 07, 2016, 04:37:02 PM »
And what's the "right" temperature?  Until there's a movement to allow businessmen to dress for the climate, instead of wearing dress pants and long sleeves every day, 68* is pretty close to a comfy temp for me.

Brokenreign

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Re: 10 Things Americans Waste Money On
« Reply #88 on: June 07, 2016, 04:39:19 PM »
I'm Italian, I lived in the USA 6 years and I believe the Us is the awesomest country on earth by a significant margin.
Still, that doesn't mean Americans do not do anything stupid.

It's a FACT that American are on average the most wasteful (in terms of resources) humans on earth.
Bigger cars
Cooler AC
Bigger homes
Lower savings
These are not opinions, you can look up the stats for yourself.

A country that is long and thin, like Norway, is going to have a huge advantage over many US states. If memory serves most of Norway's northern population lives within a very short distance of a single road - E6 (and maybe 838?). This is a huge transportation logistical advantage over states in the US that about 4x as wide as Norway (South Dakota but obviously varies) as the routes will be concentrated and constrained in scope. There are states that have comparable population density distributions like Alaska where the population is clustered along a few routes. They also happen to have a capable transportation system in the form of trains, ferries and bus routes. So, while over all population density is important, distribution is also a factor

Again this isn't to say there aren't areas in the US that can't do better with public transportation as there absolutely are but that doesn't mean that its as easy as pointing to a different area and saying "but it works here."

I thought I heard it all, but Norway having an advantage in public transport potential over the USA because of geology is one of the best ever.
Norway is essentially made of mountains, fjords and ice.
It's incredibly long and thin, has ZERO plains and it's almost impossible to go on a straight line from point a to point b
A good chunk of the country has multiple months with only a few hours of sunlight per year
It's scarcely populated.

If I had to rank all the world countries by how easy it would be to implement a functioning public transportation system, Norway would be just a tad above Antarctica, Greenland and maybe Mordor


you live in canada of course you dont need AC.  i wouldnt need to use mine if it werent for the humidity in the summer here in KC.  we get temps into the 70s at night still right now but guess what its 80-90% humidity so you cant really open the windows and let all that in.  europeans dont need ac b/c their climate is milder.  this take on AC is akin to someone from mexico writing about how idiotic heaters are for canadians.  i assume you're wasteful and use heat in your house - HOW DARE YOU!!!.

I cannot believe we are still discussing this

IT'S NOT THE AC's EXISTENCE, IT'S THE 68 F INSIDE WHEN THERE'S 105 F OUTSIDE.n

I believe that Canada is now #1 for energy usage. Take that America! We're #1! Imagine a goose soaring majestically to coincide with that statement please.

Kitsune

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Re: 10 Things Americans Waste Money On
« Reply #89 on: June 08, 2016, 08:20:50 AM »
And what's the "right" temperature?  Until there's a movement to allow businessmen to dress for the climate, instead of wearing dress pants and long sleeves every day, 68* is pretty close to a comfy temp for me.

Which is GREAT, until the women in the office are expected to wear sheath dresses and heels, in which case we all bloody freeze. Or wear pants and blazers and long sleeves like the men do, and then get comments about being 'unprofessional' and 'dressing inappropriately for the season' and that kind of BS. (Yes, this actually happened to me. From a woman, for the record.)

Frankly, I'm ALL FOR making corporate office-wear weather-appropriate - pants and short-sleeved shirts for men, or whatever. And then everyone can be sensibly attired for the season and we can stop wasting energy on cooling down buildings so that people need extra sweaters in the middle of summer.

mak1277

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Re: 10 Things Americans Waste Money On
« Reply #90 on: June 08, 2016, 08:24:41 AM »
I feel like there are a lot of people overestimating the precision with which a large office building's temperature can be regulated.  The only thing for certain is that some proportion of people in the office are going to be uncomfortable no matter what the temp is.

Kitsune

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Re: 10 Things Americans Waste Money On
« Reply #91 on: June 08, 2016, 08:33:56 AM »
I feel like there are a lot of people overestimating the precision with which a large office building's temperature can be regulated.  The only thing for certain is that some proportion of people in the office are going to be uncomfortable no matter what the temp is.

Wouldn't it be great if management recognized this and let people pick whether they'd rather work in the 'warm spot' or the 'cold spot' given their personal heat/cold tolerance, and let everyone get on with doing work and doing less whining about the office temperature?

Oh, wait. That would make sense. Never mind.

Chris22

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Re: 10 Things Americans Waste Money On
« Reply #92 on: June 08, 2016, 08:39:51 AM »
And what's the "right" temperature?  Until there's a movement to allow businessmen to dress for the climate, instead of wearing dress pants and long sleeves every day, 68* is pretty close to a comfy temp for me.

Which is GREAT, until the women in the office are expected to wear sheath dresses and heels, in which case we all bloody freeze. Or wear pants and blazers and long sleeves like the men do, and then get comments about being 'unprofessional' and 'dressing inappropriately for the season' and that kind of BS. (Yes, this actually happened to me. From a woman, for the record.)

So basically, women set standards for women and then make other women adhere to them even though they are inappropriate for the ambient temp?  Got it.  :)

Kitsune

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Re: 10 Things Americans Waste Money On
« Reply #93 on: June 08, 2016, 09:34:05 AM »
And what's the "right" temperature?  Until there's a movement to allow businessmen to dress for the climate, instead of wearing dress pants and long sleeves every day, 68* is pretty close to a comfy temp for me.

Which is GREAT, until the women in the office are expected to wear sheath dresses and heels, in which case we all bloody freeze. Or wear pants and blazers and long sleeves like the men do, and then get comments about being 'unprofessional' and 'dressing inappropriately for the season' and that kind of BS. (Yes, this actually happened to me. From a woman, for the record.)

So basically, women set standards for women and then make other women adhere to them even though they are inappropriate for the ambient temp?  Got it.  :)

Well, the policing of women's fashion choices is mostly done by other women. Men's opinions doing actually enter into it all that much.

GuitarStv

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Re: 10 Things Americans Waste Money On
« Reply #94 on: June 08, 2016, 10:59:45 AM »
I feel like there are a lot of people overestimating the precision with which a large office building's temperature can be regulated.  The only thing for certain is that some proportion of people in the office are going to be uncomfortable no matter what the temp is.

I've worked at places where the proportion of uncomfortable people approaches 100%.

dougules

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Re: 10 Things Americans Waste Money On
« Reply #95 on: June 08, 2016, 11:07:46 AM »
I feel like there are a lot of people overestimating the precision with which a large office building's temperature can be regulated.  The only thing for certain is that some proportion of people in the office are going to be uncomfortable no matter what the temp is.

I've worked at places where the proportion of uncomfortable people approaches 100%.

I'm currently sitting in my office with a fleece on when it is 81 degrees outside.  Mind you I'm cold-natured, but still...

mak1277

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Re: 10 Things Americans Waste Money On
« Reply #96 on: June 08, 2016, 11:25:42 AM »
I feel like there are a lot of people overestimating the precision with which a large office building's temperature can be regulated.  The only thing for certain is that some proportion of people in the office are going to be uncomfortable no matter what the temp is.

I've worked at places where the proportion of uncomfortable people approaches 100%.

I'm currently sitting in my office with a fleece on when it is 81 degrees outside.  Mind you I'm cold-natured, but still...

Defaulting to colder seems like the best option though.  You can always put on a sweater, but I can't exactly take off my shirt at the office if I start sweating.  68* is pretty much ideal for me.

GuitarStv

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Re: 10 Things Americans Waste Money On
« Reply #97 on: June 08, 2016, 11:33:53 AM »
I prefer a temperature of 60 F.

Kitsune

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Re: 10 Things Americans Waste Money On
« Reply #98 on: June 08, 2016, 11:35:46 AM »
And given my preferences, 80-85 seems just about perfect.

So, I guess we should work in separate offices. ;)

jinga nation

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Re: 10 Things Americans Waste Money On
« Reply #99 on: June 08, 2016, 11:41:37 AM »
And given my preferences, 80-85 seems just about perfect.

So, I guess we should work in separate offices. ;)
Come to my workplace... it's 85F inside, a few degrees hotter outside, humid in and out, A/C isn't working, 24 unhappy engineers, datacenter one door away has a barely functioning A/C unit. And this is just the beginning of the summer. Tropical Storm Colin passed. We still had to work.

Be happy for what you have.