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Places Where the Silicon Valley Bubble Could Pop

Soulskill posted about 3 months ago | from the acquire-while-the-acquirin's-good dept.

Businesses 107

waderoush writes: "If Silicon Valley is in a bubble — which it is – how will it finally burst? Where is the bubble's membrane being stretched so thin that it's in danger of tearing open and letting the real world rush in? This commentary from Xconomy picks real places around the San Francisco Bay Area embodying tensions, imbalances, injustices, or dangers that could escalate into a show-stopping crisis for the technology economy. One is Bank of America's former headquarters in the heart of San Francisco's Financial District; another is an elementary school in Oakland that happens to sit on the Hayward Fault. 'If we can identify the fractures that threaten to destroy the innovation machine, we might be able to patch them up and keep the system going for a while longer — and maybe even point it in a smarter direction,' the piece argues."

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107 comments

I Read TFA... (4, Informative)

NotSanguine (1917456) | about 3 months ago | (#46903835)

It was disjointed and didn't really seem to have any sort of point or theme. Now I can't get that time back. :(

Re:I Read TFA... (3, Funny)

CheshireDragon (1183095) | about 3 months ago | (#46903891)

I have to agree with you..
Good thing most of the crowd comes here after only reading the summary and may heed your warning

Re:I Read TFA... (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about 3 months ago | (#46904257)

I have the feeling that most of the crowd don't even bother to read the summary.

And it appears to me, that some don't even bother to read the post that they are responding to.

Re:I Read TFA... (1)

LinuxIsGarbage (1658307) | about 3 months ago | (#46905677)

Some don't even seem to read the headline.

Re:I Read TFA... (1)

TranquilVoid (2444228) | about 3 months ago | (#46906039)

It's worse than that, half the posters don't even read the post they're replying to, they just want to say their bit.

Re:I Read TFA... (1)

Jartan (219704) | about 3 months ago | (#46906807)

Half the posters don't even read their own reply.

Re: I Read TFA... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46906935)

That's a lot of halves.

Re:I Read TFA... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46908457)

And when it comes to patent law pieces, half the of the sillilest posters forget to put I-ANAL after their posts

Re:I Read TFA... (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | about 3 months ago | (#46904661)

Not really sure how San Francisco or Oakland have anything to do with Silicon Valley either.

Re: I Read TFA... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46904695)

Really ?

Re:I Read TFA... (5, Insightful)

curunir (98273) | about 3 months ago | (#46906395)

Read the linked TechCrunch article...it's really a great explanation of everything that's going on. One good example was Mountain View working on a commercial development that would bring 42,550 jobs to the city while only creating additional housing for 7000 people. This in a city where already far more people work than live. To Mountain View, it's simple...residents require more services like schools, fire departments and police than do office complexes. But those workers have to live somewhere and cities like Mountain View that are acting selfishly are pushing rents up in nearby cities.

Two of those cities are San Francisco and Oakland. Both cities have a lot of housing when you ignore one minor detail...the current residents that would need to be displaced. But since all those jobs in Mountain View pay way more than the current residents make, developers and landlords are only too happy profiteer off the well-compensated tech workers by pricing the current residents out of the market.

But, as the piece lays out, it's not tech workers that are to blame and, for the most part, not tech companies either. It's mostly local and state government's 30+ years of stupidity that's led to this. Starting with prop 13 in 1978 and the backlash that led to rent control laws, government created an environment where homeowners fight tooth and nail against new housing and rent control drives rent up by distorting the market. The ensuing difference between controlled and uncontrolled rents causes conflict between tenants and landlords who see how much money they're losing each month. So the city adds even more idiotic regulations that ensure a certain amount of housing is sold/rented below market rates, which has income restrictions that just about guarantee that poor people won't be able to afford them...but zero-income children of parents willing to cosign qualify quite easily.

Meanwhile, companies keep growing/starting up and more and more high-paying jobs keep coming to the area. But thanks to all those "I got mine, screw the rest of you" homeowners who keep new developments from being built, those jobs come without the corresponding increase in necessary housing. So what are current landlords to do...every form of meddling is forcing prices through the roof to the point where only highly-paid professionals can afford them? You could either sit by and allow your tenant to pay you a small fraction of what the place is worth (and sometimes rent it out for full price on AirBnB...no rent control there) or you could use some sleazy tactic to evict the long-time tenant and let the boom dollars roll in. Also, notice I didn't say tech professionals...we make up less than a quarter of the well-to-do SF population...there's more finance than tech.

As per usual, the ones most hurt by this are the working poor. The abject poor are doing the same as ever...when you make zero and live off city-provided social programs, rent prices really don't affect you all that much. But the people trying to be productive members of society are basically forced to move away and commute back to the city. And this has some really nasty side effects...like police officers who have no real attachment to the community they serve because they've been priced out of living there.

Protesting the Google bus makes for a great shot on the 11pm news, but is otherwise counter-productive. If we want to fix the issue, we should:
a) Repeal prop 13, rent control, the below-market-rate program and all the other government meddling.
b) Tell homeowners to go fuck themselves and start building new housing as fast as we can.
c) Add significant tax incentives for people who live close to work. This would have the dual effect of being "green" by reducing commutes and making it unattractive to work in cities that do not provide enough housing to support the businesses there.

Alternatively, we could just accept that poor people will need to move and let it happen. It's heartless, but given how bungling government is, it's pretty much inevitable. The unfortunate part is that what's considered poor is almost ridiculous. Someone making $100k/yr will basically never be able to afford to buy a home in SF.

See...SF and Oakland have a lot to do with Silicon Valley :-)

Re:I Read TFA... (4, Informative)

NotSanguine (1917456) | about 3 months ago | (#46906517)

Thank you. You should have written the article. :)

The housing issues are nothing new. I don't live in the bay area now, but back in 2000 I did live in Santa Clara for about six months. I recall reading an article in the San Jose Mercury News back then about full-time public school teachers in San Jose who were living in homeless shelters because they couldn't afford to rent or buy in the area. I also recall at least a couple of colleagues commuted 2.5-3 hours each way because they couldn't afford to house their families any closer to the bay area.

Or tech companies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46906967)

Or tech companies can just start or move to somewhere else. This isn't the 19th or early 20th century where everyone in one industry has to be close to one another. Even the auto industry is spread out all over the World now. And with something like software, there is absolutely no reason to be in SV - I can't think of any other industry that is more portable than software.

And don't tell me that nonsense of "it's where the skilled people are".

Re:Or tech companies (2)

ranton (36917) | about 3 months ago | (#46907693)

Or tech companies can just start or move to somewhere else. This isn't the 19th or early 20th century where everyone in one industry has to be close to one another. Even the auto industry is spread out all over the World now. And with something like software, there is absolutely no reason to be in SV - I can't think of any other industry that is more portable than software.

And don't tell me that nonsense of "it's where the skilled people are".

Well there is a great debating technique; just call their rebuttal nonsense before they even say it. Although it works much better when you actually give reasons why the predominant theory is nonsense instead of just throwing it out there without backing it up.

While people may want to believe that technology has progressed far enough that it doesn't matter where you live, reality does not seem to back that up. Humans still seem to be far more social. I know I work better with the coworkers that come to the same office than I do with our remote workers; mostly because I have built friendships with them. I have good rapport with many remote coworkers, but it is not the same.

There are many tangible examples of the benefits of living close to coworkers. Topics we talk about during lunch or while playing golf or poker benefit not only our current job but improve job prospects in the future. I have networked at a coworker's barbeque, at fundraising events, at house warming parties, etc. While it is hard to track just how much of a benefit these interactions are, even if they rarely yield million dollar contracts they are probably worth the extra cost of living in or very near a major city.

Employers and employees both gain employment opportunities by being near a critical mass of employees. More employers means you have more "job security" because you can easily find new work. More employees means you can find better employees or more specialized employees if you need to, or ramp up/down for projects easily without needing to hire consulting firms at $200+ per hour. Even in the suburbs it can be very hard to find talent.

On top of that, most affluent people simply want to live near large cities. The larger the city, the more culture/food/entertainment is available. I grew up in a farm town, and I cannot express just how much better life is living in the suburbs. The food is much better, the schools are immeasurably better, the options for what to do on a Friday night don't include "hang out in the Walmart parking lot", etc.

Like it or not, having a city densely population with talented workers is still a useful thing.

Re:Or tech companies (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46908267)

But there are plenty of large cities out there that arent silicon valley that companies can move to that are much more affordable, I think thats more his point. I definitely agree you cant telecommute everyone, especially in engineering that just doesnt work at all. But there is absolutely no reason for all these companies to have to be within the same 60mi radius of each other anymore when there are plenty of places out there that offer all the same amenities with a cost of living thats half as much.

Thats why I never interview with offers from places in the valley. They would have to double my salary just to maintain the same standard of living, let alone add on more on top of it to even make it enticing to move. So, from the example of Denver where I am, we have plenty of tech companies around including google, oracle, couple of storage companies, tons of startups in boulder, and a large amount of engineering all over the area that all these companies pull from. Finding companies to work for here is not hard at all (we have people leaving ours at a fairly high rate now but thats more a reflection on my current employer). So with housing prices here being less than half of silicon valley but with all the financial benefits, having a large city nearby, and everything that the state itself offers, Im not sure why more companies dont move here or all the cities like here in other states.

Re:I Read TFA... (1)

doom (14564) | about 3 months ago | (#46910675)

You've got a fair grasp of what's going on, but this is crap:

a) Repeal prop 13, rent control, the below-market-rate program and all the other government meddling.

You'd think in this day and age people would think two or three times before going with laissez-faire free market "solutions", but there's a lot of you guys around at this point...

The trouble with these ideas is that whatever they say, people don't really *want* to leave issues like the character of their neighborhoods up to the whims of The Market. Rent Control is essentially a hack to slow down these kinds of changes.

Do you really want to see an unrestricted build out everywhere through out the Bay Area? Personally I wince every time I see a construction crane, because I know whatever it is they're building it's going to suck. Circa 1950 or so, The Market apparently lost the ability to build anything that isn't a piece of crap.

BTW, the techcrunch article you liked so much leads up to a recommendation for a Bay Area regional planning agency (presumably with the authority to tell Mountain View to shove their NIMBYism down their throat). It's not at all a plea to get the government out of the planning business.

(Myself, I think Google should get over that "don't be evil" business, and hire some of they guys who work for sports teams shaking down cities to build stadiums for them. All Google needs to do is *hint* that they're thinking about moving to Fremont, and I think Mountain View would come around.)

Me too. I should have stopped at the "which it is" (1)

tlambert (566799) | about 3 months ago | (#46904707)

Me too. I should have stopped at the "which it is".

It's a total jingoistic piece that's more or less written as a rant about how much nicer things used to be, before the (presumed) current tech bubble.

Why do we care if large "funny money" transactions are happening? It's not like an all stock purchase of supposedly valueless companies by a supposedly valueless company matters to anyone, in an economic sense.

I have no idea why he brings up BofA, which has little to do with tech funding, why he brings up "Google Busses" then references a much better article that disproves his own thesis, ageism (except at HP, IBM, and Oracle), why anyone in SV should care about Oakland falling into a huge crack in the Earth, or why the Market street "gentrification" (which was disproven by the article he brought up during his discussion of "Google Busses").

But I guess some Wookies *do* want to live on Endor... or it would make no sense, right?

Re:Me too. I should have stopped at the "which it (3, Informative)

flyingsquid (813711) | about 3 months ago | (#46907513)

I don't know if I'd call it a tech bubble, it's more of a froth- lots of little bubbles. During the original tech bubble that started in the late '90s, pretty much everything was massively overvalued, and pretty much every shitty startup would go public and see its stock rocket up, even (especially) if they didn't make a profit and didn't have a business plan. It was widespread financial insanity, collective economic madness. The average stock on the S&P 500 traded at 40 times earnings, versus about 18.8 today. In other words, the average company costs about twice as much (relative to its earning potential) then as now.

Today, there are definitely some overvalued tech stocks. Facebook has a P/E of 76, Netflix has a P/E of 128, Amazon has a P/E of 428. Which means that at current earnings levels, a dollar invested in Facebook will pay off in 76 years, that same dollar invested in Netflix will pay off in 128 years, and Amazon stock will pay for itself in a little over four centuries. You're speculating (i.e. gambling) if you buy any of those companies. But other tech stocks are more reasonably priced. Google has a P/E of 28, Microsoft's P/E ratio is 15, Apple's is only 14. We are seeing bubble-like behavior in certain companies and in certain industries (social media, for example) but it's going a little far to say that the entire industry is in a bubble.

Re:I Read TFA... (1)

Dahamma (304068) | about 3 months ago | (#46906373)

Luckily the summary lost me at "If Silicon Valley is in a bubble — which it is – how will it finally burst?"

Ok, pretend to ask a question and answer it in the SAME sentence... yeah, it's bound to be a well thought out impartial article...

Re:I Read TFA... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46907761)

u took the silicon valley bashing bait. u hurt bro?

Re:I Read TFA... (1)

NotSanguine (1917456) | about 3 months ago | (#46911023)

u took the silicon valley bashing bait. u hurt bro?

Buying alphabets on the installment plan there champ?

Facebook. (0, Troll)

captaindomon (870655) | about 3 months ago | (#46903841)

It is WAY over valued.

Re:Facebook. (2, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 3 months ago | (#46903931)

It is WAY over valued.

If you are so much smarter than the market, then you should be able use your superior intellect to make a fortune by taking a perfectly timed and highly leveraged short position. After you cash out, come back and post a picture of your yacht.

Re:Facebook. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46904017)

It is WAY over valued.

If you are so much smarter than the market, then you should be able use your superior intellect to make a fortune by taking a perfectly timed and highly leveraged short position. After you cash out, come back and post a picture of your yacht.

Your conceptualization is turned around the wrong way.

It doesn't take a smart person to see Facebook is overvalued. It takes a lot of really dumb investors to overvalue social media, hence the bubble.

Re:Facebook. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46904057)

Markets can remain irrational longer than you can remain solvent

- Keynes

Re:Facebook. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46905457)

That's what happens when you have a "central bank" that prints, prints, prints and throws the money at investment banks and exchanges.
Pseudo-clever smart alecs like ShanghaiBill never seem to get that system enables infinite amounts of front running and other shenanigans. Shill-bill's only slogan is "if you are so smart, why aint you rich??????? GUFFFAWW UHUHUH"

Re:Facebook. (1)

flyingsquid (813711) | about 3 months ago | (#46907757)

Markets can remain irrational longer than you can remain solvent

- Keynes

Eventually, the bubble pops, the collective delusion ends, and gravity and other natural laws reassert themselves, the whole thing comes crashing down. The key word being "eventually". Bubbles are self-sustaining, there's a feedback loop. People buy in because the price goes up, as more people buy in, the price goes up more, and so on. Sober, rational people look at fools making money and eventually decide they've made a mistake and start jumping in even as the whole thing starts racing towards disaster and becoming more unstable, so the bubble converts more people over time. The media eventually start calling it a bubble, but lots of people stay in the game even though they know it's unsustainable because they think they can time the market. They know their luck can't last, but they money is too good so they stay in. Like a gambling addict at a casino, they tell themselves they'll just play one more hand...

The result of all these things is that bubbles take years to play out. If you look on Google Trends you'll see that "Housing Bubble" becomes popular in 2005, a full three years before the financial crisis and the collapse of the housing market. People realized we were in a housing bubble and yet the whole thing kept going, becoming more and more delusional, until it finally exploded. The same thing happened with the Internet Bubble- it popped in 2000, but in 1999 there was already a book called "The Internet Bubble."

Selling short into a bubble is a bit like being the one sane guy at a cult compound trying to tell everyone that no, the magical silver spaceships are not coming to take you to heaven when the world ends. Yes, eventually the whole thing will burn to the ground and the survivors will realize that the Shining Leader was just a creepy perv with serious mental health issues. But it's anybody's guess when that will happen.

Re:Facebook. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46904067)

You reason like a child.

Re:Facebook. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46904091)

It is WAY over valued.

If you are so much smarter than the market, then you should be able use your superior intellect to make a fortune by taking a perfectly timed and highly leveraged short position. After you cash out, come back and post a picture of your yacht.

Does not follow - You can know it's going to crash, but the market can stay irrational longer then you can stay solvent...

Re:Facebook. (1)

citizenr (871508) | about 3 months ago | (#46904479)

This only works with rational actors. Problem is 100 billion flies simply CANT BE WRONG!!1 So eat that shit up.

Re:Facebook. (1)

turbidostato (878842) | about 3 months ago | (#46904855)

"Problem is 100 billion flies simply CANT BE WRONG!!1 So eat that shit up."

100 billion flies are NOT wrong. It is the one thinking that what's good for a fly is good for people the one being wrong.

When will silicon valley fall apart.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46903879)

Said someone from 1986. When will London fall apart? Or Rome? Or [yourcityhere]. The answer is that they all experience a crisis from time to time, and then keep chugging along.

Re:When will silicon valley fall apart.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46903961)

Right, I mean, that's why we all live under the Roman empire.

Re:When will silicon valley fall apart.... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46904045)

The Romans as a civilization may be gone, but Italians and the beautiful city or Rome are still here. I was there just a few weeks ago.
Remember London? That city burned to the ground, I think, 3 times in the middle ages? I was there a week before I went to Rome and yeah, still there.
Those were HUGE events in history that, by all means, should have destroyed them, but they carried on. I am sure we will be saying that about Detroit in a few decades.

Re:When will silicon valley fall apart.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46904221)

Well there remains very little of the city of rome as it was at roman time. Just a few vestiges. The Colosseum itself used to be much different than what we have, and up to 18th century my ancestors(I'm Italian) did a lot to destroy it, they simply did not suceed since it's so sturdy :)

So what you are saying is that except for a natural catastrophe humans and their actions never fail?

Re:When will silicon valley fall apart.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46904263)

Detroit has to deal with issues far worse than what Rome and London had to. I'll take a massive inferno and and barbarian attack over a permanent encampment of human trash and bureaucrats. At least the fire will burn out and the barbarians will go away.

Re:When will silicon valley fall apart.... (1)

ranton (36917) | about 3 months ago | (#46905227)

So you are basically saying that Silicon Valley will still exist and humans will still live there, but it will having nothing to do with its former glory? I think that is pretty much what the article said as well.

Re:When will silicon valley fall apart.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46905233)

What about Ozymandias?

Re:When will silicon valley fall apart.... (3, Interesting)

russotto (537200) | about 3 months ago | (#46905499)

What about Ozymandias?

He's still dead. Or are you looking for the Humanities at MIT article from yesterday?

If people still remember the current era of Silicon Valley over 3000 years from now, it would be a miracle. If people care about it so much they restore some of the monuments, it would be a greater miracle.

Yes, the statue of Ozymandias -- Ramses II -- that Shelley referred to has been restored and re-erected. Not bad for a king dead for millenia. And that's not the only surviving statue.

Free-to-play games development (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46903967)

A ton of game developers are jumping on the free-to-play game bandwagon, hoping to cash in on so-called "whales".. However, consumers are starting to wise up and governments are looking into regulating such games that use gambling-like and other abusive techniques to hook players.

Re:Free-to-play games development (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46904085)

I think a lot of those games should be banned. Especially the ones that force you to pay in order to not take YEARS to advance in the game.

Re:Free-to-play games development (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46904289)

I think you should get your head out of your ass and stop playing games, you moron.

Re:Free-to-play games development (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46905497)

GOVERNMENT should ban people liek you from being big meanies!!!!

BTW, Hillary 2016!!!

places where the water level turns us to slop (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46903973)

the new submersible mansions are almost ready http://www.globalresearch.ca/weather-warfare-beware-the-us-military-s-experiments-with-climatic-warfare/7561 hang on to our hemispheres

It's a short list of random bad stuff that might.. (1)

mspohr (589790) | about 3 months ago | (#46903983)

This is a complete waste of time. Don't even bother to read it.
It's a random list of stuff that's not quite right or might go wrong... nothing to do with Silicon Valley, really.

Re:It's a short list of random bad stuff that migh (1)

CheshireDragon (1183095) | about 3 months ago | (#46904095)

This is /. most probably didn't read it before they came here to rant and rave in their comment

What about the other economic worries (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46903995)

Honestly, I don't even take these kind of posts seriously anymore. At least the tech industry in general puts out products(as meaningless as some of them are). How about the real estate market, where houses are overvalued tremendously in most cities and real estate agents are making a living from something that can be done more efficiently by yourself online?
How about the stock market in general, where it's basically reduced to trying to make money from micro trades instead of long term investment? How about when that bubble pops?
How about any number of other sections of our economy(the over-regulated medical industry, the government protected entertainment industry, etc) that are propped up by things that are seemingly fragile and unstable?

Don't get me wrong, I'm worried about the tech industry(and silicon valley at it's heart), but not nearly as much as the many sections of our economy which are less productive.

Re:What about the other economic worries (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46904109)

I wish extra apostrophes would pop. Jesus Christ, it's not quantum mechanics! it's means it is!

Re:What about the other economic worries (1)

NotSanguine (1917456) | about 3 months ago | (#46904279)

I wish extra apostrophes would pop. Jesus Christ, it's not quantum mechanics! it's means it is!

It's is not, it isn't ain't, and it's it's, not its, if you mean it is. If you don't, it's its. Then too, it's hers. It isn't her's. It isn't our's either. It's ours, and likewise yours and theirs.
-Oxford University Press, Edpress News

This is a public service announcement. With apostrophes.

Re:What about the other economic worries (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46904345)

apostrophe's

Re:What about the other economic worries (0)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 3 months ago | (#46904599)

You (or perhaps Oxford) should have put quotation marks around the invalid words.

Re:What about the other economic worries (1)

NotSanguine (1917456) | about 3 months ago | (#46904627)

You (or perhaps Oxford) should have put quotation marks around the invalid words.

Since I was quoting, I feel it would be inappropriate for me to modify the text. Please contact the source [oup.com] with your comment. Thanks.

Re:What about the other economic worries (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46908683)

The link you provided was of very little use. If you want to refer to a specific article, give an explicit link, not just a link to their home page.

In other words, I couldn't find the quote you referenced. But I suspect that it uses italics for words that are the object of discussion. If you don't have italics, the standard is to use quotes around the words.

For example, the word "facetious" has all 5 vowels, in alphabetical order. The contractions "it's" is short for "it is," while the work "its" is the possessive form of the word "it".

Next time take a little more care, especially when discussing language. It can be confusing if you aren't careful to differentiate between the words that are the object of discourse, and the words used in that discourse.

I'd give you an F in 8th-grade English, based on oyur submission.

Games (1)

The Cat (19816) | about 3 months ago | (#46904021)

It will happen to the game industry first. The entire AAA market is sequels, and anything new is trying to make money through bullshit micro-transactions everyone bitches about.

The Indie market is all Unity clones with shitty half-assed graphics that don't sell unless they're on a 75% discount on Steam, and even then, everyone bitches about them.

The Flash market was fine until Adobe and all the two-bit dumbfuck five-dollah arcades smothered it under a hairy bare ass.

There hasn't been a hit retail mobile game since Angry Birds. All HTML5 games are Gamemaker clones with no sound.

Game industry is fucked, folks. Sell short.

Nonsense Essay Generator strikes again? (1)

PaddyM (45763) | about 3 months ago | (#46904103)

In other news, solar energy will never be viable as long as innovation bubble engines continue to run on coal and oil.

What does he mean by his stated premise? (2)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about 3 months ago | (#46904149)

The author states that Silicon Valley is a bubble. What does he mean by that? Does he mean that real estate prices in Silicon Valley are over-valued? Does he mean that the tech companies in Silicon Valley are over-valued? Does he mean that the advantages for a tech company, or a technology professional to be located in Silicon Valley are over-valued? Or does he mean something else?
I did not read the article because the summary made me think that the author never defined what he meant by that statement. Without that meaning being defined there is no way to evaluate the soundness of his arguments about it (well, actually, there is. One concludes that the reason it is left poorly defined is to hide how unsound his arguments are).

Re:What does he mean by his stated premise? (4, Funny)

NotSanguine (1917456) | about 3 months ago | (#46904291)

The author states that Silicon Valley is a bubble. What does he mean by that? Does he mean that real estate prices in Silicon Valley are over-valued? Does he mean that the tech companies in Silicon Valley are over-valued? Does he mean that the advantages for a tech company, or a technology professional to be located in Silicon Valley are over-valued? Or does he mean something else? I did not read the article because the summary made me think that the author never defined what he meant by that statement. Without that meaning being defined there is no way to evaluate the soundness of his arguments about it (well, actually, there is. One concludes that the reason it is left poorly defined is to hide how unsound his arguments are).

He means, "please visit my site. I want more ad revenue. I don't have anything approaching interesting, coherent, relevant or even moderately useful to say, so I'll just string a bunch of random crap about the SF bay area together and see if I can get slashdotted.

Re:What does he mean by his stated premise? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46905551)

oh yeah, everythings a BIG CONSPIRACY to by everyone to gain a WHOLE TWO CENTS from google.

Fuckin tard.

Re:What does he mean by his stated premise? (1)

NotSanguine (1917456) | about 3 months ago | (#46906113)

oh yeah, everythings a BIG CONSPIRACY to by everyone to gain a WHOLE TWO CENTS from google.

Fuckin tard.

I generally apply Hanlon's Razor [wikipedia.org] . I'm thinking it applies in spades to you. Unless, of course that's you Wade Roush. In which case, I guess the truth hurts.

If it's not you, then I wonder what happened to your sense of humor. Sigh.

oh I know! (0)

sgt scrub (869860) | about 3 months ago | (#46904269)

The tech industry needs duct tape! Duct tape will keep anything from fracturing.

I get it. (3, Interesting)

statemachine (840641) | about 3 months ago | (#46904365)

I mean, I've been seeing a lot of columns/op-eds/blogs lately about how California and/or SF & Silicon Valley sucks. This article is tame, but it hits on every single political talking point -- much like a back-handed compliment. When you have to bring up employer-sponsored shuttle buses (remember vanpools?) and a hypothetical future earthquake, you've got nothing.

California just raised $18 billion surplus in tax revenue from a booming economy and from raising taxes -- and they're arguing about how much debt to pay off. OTOH Kansas cut taxes and is getting close to $500 million in the hole with high unemployment -- and they're arguing about how much more taxes to cut. Missouri's governor just vetoed a plan similar to Kansas' basically saying KS is crazy -- now the legislature wants to impeach him.

Unemployment is down nationwide and 288,000 jobs were gained this month. If your state is still in a recession, it's your own state's leaders.

I guess there's a narrative that people have to tell themselves while watching success from the viewpoint of the bottom of the pit they dug themselves.

It's also campaign season.

California has spending problem, not revenue prob (4, Insightful)

perpenso (1613749) | about 3 months ago | (#46905651)

California has had surpluses before, it does not have a revenue problem. What California has is a spending problem. When surpluses occur the legislature usually goes wild with spending, and some of the governors join in. They act as if the current peak in the economic cycle is the new normal and spend accordingly.

Gov Gray Davis saw revenue increase by about 10% but he and the legislature increased spending by about 30%. Things were so out of control Davis was recalled and Schwarzenegger was voted in.

So seeing a budget surplus in California may simply be a precursor to the next budget disaster.

Re:I get it. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46905853)

Unemployment is down nationwide and 288,000 jobs were gained this month. If your state is still in a recession, it's your own state's leaders.

I guess there's a narrative that people have to tell themselves while watching success from the viewpoint of the bottom of the pit they dug themselves.

It's also campaign season.

You apparently didn't recognize that 800,000 (plus) people dropped out of the labor force (meaning gave up looking for a job or their unemployment ran out). Those are simply government unemployment CLAIM numbers. The real statistic is rather concerning.

The only thing that will stop SV... (1)

greenwow (3635575) | about 3 months ago | (#46904407)

is complete lack of developers. When I, as a high school drop-out, can get a job in less than a week after I decide to start looking, there just aren't enough developers. I changed jobs 19 times in the 15 years I lived in San Mateo, and it was never hard to find a job. Despite jumping around a lot and having some terrible recommendations, it's still easy to find a job there if you can spell Java. That is killing innovation, and I don't think SV will survive the drought. I since moved to Seattle, and while there are almost no good devs around there, the job market is much smaller so the problem isn't nearly as severe as SV. My last job here took me two days to get an interview and one day to get the offer after I started looking.

Re:The only thing that will stop SV... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46904867)

When a friend of mine interviewed in that area, he was pretty much told that he had to compete for a dev position between an offshore dev house, or a H-1B that will take the position for low five digits/year. Living in the Bay Area for a salary that is barely above minimum wage is an exercise in masochism.

Re:The only thing that will stop SV... (1)

greenwow (3635575) | about 3 months ago | (#46905243)

> H1-B

Unless you are a company like Infosys that has a huge influence with the US government, you can’t depend on being able to hire even a single H1-B developer. I call BS.

> low five digits/year.

That part is also BS. I’ve offered six figures to developers that don’t even have a college degree. To be fair, my company is based in San Mateo in a dated building just over a half of a mile walk from a Caltrain station and 23 miles from the center of SF so that doesn’t help. If we were in a cool part of downtown SF, I would have a much easier time of hiring.

Re:The only thing that will stop SV... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46905319)

to compete for a dev position...

He should have called their bluff. I often use those excuses before making a lowball offer. The fact is that there are thousands of more open positions than people to fill them in the Bay Area. Just yesterday on craigslist there were 69 new jobs posted. Out of the more than dozen times I've spent the money to post a job there, I've never gotten a single qualified applicant. You truly can write your own ticket here.

Re:The only thing that will stop SV... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46905589)

it doesn't cost money to post on craigslist. YOu are a liar.

Re:The only thing that will stop SV... (1)

Eric Green (627) | about 3 months ago | (#46905919)

Uhm, it does in fact cost money to post job ads on Craigslist. See http://www.craigslist.org/abou... [craigslist.org] . It's one of their major sources of money, along with hooker ads (oops, "therapeutic services", my bad).

Why you would do so, however, eludes me. As with the poster above, at multiple employers that have tested the Craigslist waters we've never had anybody remotely qualified respond to one of our Craigslist ads. They're just pocket change compared to Dice.com or compared to paying a recruiter's fee, so it was a "why not?". But every one of our hires seems to have been either a personal referral from a current employee, or a recruiter lured them away from another company.

Re:The only thing that will stop SV... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46906243)

Considering three-fourths of my company's recruiting expenses are the huge amount craislist charges for poq Fukvk sting ads, you are a piece of shit liar. Thanks for proving you are such a piece of shit that you are a Republican. Your kind does not does not believe in scinecFu kqe. Fuck you and your kind. Just because you are liars givs you no ribht to fuck the world You are disgustong .. Fukk oyuaslklsd,f. sadkjfpoj.skdfnlksdfj.,wef Fuvk>!

Re:The only thing that will stop SV... (1)

greenwow (3635575) | about 3 months ago | (#46906281)

Why do you piece of shit Republicans lie like that? It costs a lot money to post on craigslist. Why does your kind lie about that? You and your racist kind are disgusting. Just because a lot of you white people are disgusting racists doesn’t mean that that the eliteists that run that site are also racist. They do charge for posts. WHY THE FUCK DO YOU REPUBLICANS LIE ABOUT THAT?

There simply are not enough developers in the Bay Area to meet demand. That fact is killing businesses here.

Re:The only thing that will stop SV... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46906291)

it doesn't cost money to post on craigslist. YOu are a liar.

Why do you Republicans lie like that? It costs a lot money to post on craigslist. Why does your kind lie about that? You and your racist kind are disgusting. Just because a lot of you white people are disgusting racists doesn’t mean that that the elitists that run that site are also racist. They do charge for job posts

Re:The only thing that will stop SV... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46905021)

Exactly. Lack of developers has really hamstrung companies in the Bay Area. I've had nearly twenty open positions for more than a year, and despite spending over six figures in recruiting, I've only found one developer so far. Finding even a mediocre Java developer is nearly impossible here. Most of my friends jump around jobs a lot to make more money, and most of them can find a higher paying job within two weeks of trying. There's a lot of great ideas and a huge amount of capital, but there just aren't enough developers to execute. If the bubble pops, it's going to be because Facebook, Google, Apple, etc. after hiring armies of developers leave no room for real innovation here.

Re:The only thing that will stop SV... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46908337)

Maybe its because many good developers just dont want to touch the bay area with a 10ft pole. They realize that due to cost of living and housing there that even if a bay area company offers them 2x as much as a company not in SF/NY/LA/CH that they can have the same or better lifestyle. The only reason to live in one of those cities anymore is if you really really really want to be in those cities. Otherwise there are plenty of smaller cities that still offer the same diversity, amenities, etc but at half or less the cost of living

Useless article, fun though exercise (2)

Moof123 (1292134) | about 3 months ago | (#46904465)

The article had no thesis, and really was just mindless rambling.

Why is there no similar rant about New York, Malibu, or many other very expensive places? New york may be more expensive yet.

Re:Useless article, fun though exercise (2)

Animats (122034) | about 3 months ago | (#46906159)

The article had no thesis, and really was just mindless rambling.

Agreed. The ad-driven tech bubble will burst at some point, but not for any of those reasons.

Bank of America was bought by North Carolina National Bank in 1998. So that issue was 16 years ago. SF has a sizable homeless population because SF isn't that homeless-hostile. Compare San Diego [sandiego.gov] .

Earthquakes are a real worry. SF prepares for them. All new buildings get serious reinforcement, and most of the old ones have been retrofitted. All through SF, you see huge diagonal steel braces in buildings. (In some retrofits, these block windows.) The San Francisco Bay Bridge from the island to Oakland was completely replaced because one short section broke in the 1989 earthquake. The Golden Gate Bridge was reinforced in the 1950s. Freeway supports are huge compared to what you see in the rest of the country, and many that were not damaged at all by the 1989 quake were beefed up. Now SF is starting a mandatory earthquake retrofit program for wood-frame buildings with 5 or more dwelling units. Unreinforced masonry buildings (i.e. brick) were dealt with years ago; there were about 2000 in 1990, and all but 125 have been reinforced or torn down. That's definitely a problem that's not being ignored.

Re:Useless article, fun though exercise (1)

NotSanguine (1917456) | about 3 months ago | (#46906543)

SF has a sizable homeless population because SF isn't that homeless-hostile. Compare San Diego [sandiego.gov] .

As I recall, SF actually provides better than most places for the homeless. I'm reminded of a news article I read a number of years ago about a city in Florida (sorry, no cite) that, since SF was so homeless friendly, decided to devote their minimal allocation of funds for the homeless to pay for bus tickets to SF for their homeless population.

And people say Republicans are dumb. Bus tickets, FTW!

Re:Useless article, fun though exercise (1)

vandamme (1893204) | about 3 months ago | (#46908819)

Not the real New York, where we keep the cows, grass, and mountains. The cost of living is incredibly lower.

Where EXACTLY did the tech bubble burst in 2001? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46904633)

Honestly, except for academic economists and historians, who honestly cares where a bursting bubble first gets punctured? It's a bubble, pierce it anywhere and it collapses. It's like blaming a million-acre forest fire on the poor camper who set it off. If that much forest was ready to burn, some lightning bolt would have set it off in in a few years anyway.

obviously posters are from outta town (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46904901)

I think the quality of life here in the Bay area has gone to crap over the last 20 yrs..
Land lords gouging to get their own over leveraged homes paid off, streets running rampent with depression.
the value of the dollar being ignored, human value being ignored, people stepping over each other for what seemed a peice fo the pie..
when will people realize (landlords) That they are pricing them selves out of their own market.
whats next bail-outs for land lords whom over valued their properities from the GOVT which is actually out of our piockets??

what does it take? Blood, mass hysteria, plague, physical violence, before landLords (not humans) get a clue. Its not about a large upfront pricing, but it should be longeviety.. you want to keep the property rented throught out the life of the property..
but unfdortunately the short sidedness of some individuals will have to screw the masses..

Please wake up soon from the nightmare and get real..

OK, I'll play. (1)

Irate Engineer (2814313) | about 3 months ago | (#46905199)

Assuming that there is a bubble, it will burst and take the dumbass fools who think the dot-com glory days are about to make a comeback.

Nothing of true value will be lost. Stupid people and money will be parted.

Assuming that there is a bubble in the first place.

Which I am told there is, but that might be BS.

Slashdot is like that.

Beta still sucks.

Re:OK, I'll play. (1)

frank_adrian314159 (469671) | about 3 months ago | (#46909265)

Nothing of true value will be lost. Stupid people and money will be parted.

Not necessariry. When all those people lose their jobs, the folks who used to sell them coffee and rent them apartments, those who sold them cars and hotel reservations for their travel, their grocers and pharmacists, all will suffer. They are not "stupid people". They are businesses who sell to the folks employed by your "stupid people". The knock-on effects are often larger than the crash itself, if you hadn't remembered that from 2008 through... well, now.

I actually trust Slashdot a hell of a lot more than your economic analysis.

Re:OK, I'll play. (1)

Irate Engineer (2814313) | about 3 months ago | (#46910339)

If you only sell coffee to bubble surfers, you yourself would be a bubble surfer. You might consider marketing coffee to tradesmen like plumbers and such; they aren't going anywhere.

I am disappointed (1)

russotto (537200) | about 3 months ago | (#46905443)

Neither 1 Infinite Loop nor 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway nor 1 Hacker Way were on the list.

Delaying the pop.... (1)

tokencode (1952944) | about 3 months ago | (#46905559)

simply means a bigger mess when it happens.

Al Gore's Skull (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46905803)

Seeing Al Gore's Skull POP like in the movie 'Scanner' would be a welcome event in the recent history of planet earth i would say.

POP

Wunderbar !

Ha ha

Re:Al Gore's Skull (1)

bbsalem (2784853) | about 3 months ago | (#46909683)

Don't blame Al Gore. He is only an effect, a hanger-on. The guys you should be looking at are harder to find and examine. Might I suggest that the guys you should be looking at are the economists in the Stanford University School or Economics and School of Business who proposed in about 2004 how to monetize web-site click counts into a market and began to persuade investors to spend good money after bad in companies like Facebook and Google. Before that Silicon Valley might have had a legitimate claim to fame for supplying mil-spec hardware, although it could be argued that Social Media is but Signals and Code technology originally developed for radars applied to streams of words supplied by people.

I don't know but I think I really am done (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46905899)

I'm leaving the BA. I get a real kick out of the fact that my new house has corrugated metal siding and costs less than 1/20th the tract homes here in Redwoo City. Meanwhile, they just put the finishing touches on the 201 Marshall apartment building. The top floors have... corrugated metal siding. My new place has a view of a lake. Theirs has a view of Caltrain. I'm willing to the same floor space as my new house will rent for more than $2k/mo, and if I were financing (which I'm not) my mortgage would be less than 1/4th that. That's how insane this all is.

Redwood City is a forest of cranes now. It used to be "deadwood city". Building booms are always a dead giveaway that something is up, and it's usually not good. It should take less than a year for these projects to be complete--and empty when the next drop hits.

555Cal?! (1)

aaarrrgggh (9205) | about 3 months ago | (#46906319)

If you want to pick a Bank of America symbol, go for 1455 Market, not 555 California! Nothing "important" was in 555; 1455 was carefully guarded by 1 South Van Ness which actually had a BofA sign, but no real operations.

1455 is now the home of Square, among others, and the abandoned buildings adjacent were rebuilt as domiciles for the tech elite... That building is the quintessential icon of the Silicon Valley bubble burst (in SF), helipad and all!

(OT 555is Ha Ha Ha in Thai...)

Re:555Cal?! (1)

pigiron (104729) | about 3 months ago | (#46909671)

You don't know WTF you are talking about. 1455 Market was one of the three data centers. All the executive, marketing, financial accounting and planning, and securities trading offices were at 555 California.

ideas? innovation? (1)

doom (14564) | about 3 months ago | (#46906409)

The really puzzling bits are where he talks about how it'd be a shame if the bubble popped because of all the cool innovative stuff those guys are working on... that's news to me, I thought it was all mobile-phone versions of sweatsox.com.

"Our knew app automatically counts sidewalk cracks, and allows you to post the total to your facebook page!"

Remember, the idea doesn't matter, it's only the execution that counts!

Unconsidered option (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46906523)

The tech bubble could burst because of a stock market correction (which would likely also happen if the article's Silicon Valley-centered thesis is correct) but a market correction not attached to any particular geographic location would be better.

My guess is that an orderly change in Fed monetary/interest rate policy (step increases in short-term rates) would do the trick, and if done judiciously; perhaps in conjunction with changes in fiscal/tax rate policy changes (lowering state/fed tax rates; cutting govt spending by reducing headcount through attrition) could lead to a much_more_orderly correction process.

Re:Unconsidered option (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46907477)

The tech bubble could burst because of a stock market correction (which would likely also happen if the article's Silicon Valley-centered thesis is correct) but a market correction not attached to any particular geographic location would be better.

My guess is that an orderly change in Fed monetary/interest rate policy (step increases in short-term rates) would do the trick, and if done judiciously; perhaps in conjunction with changes in fiscal/tax rate policy changes (lowering state/fed tax rates; cutting govt spending by reducing headcount through attrition) could lead to a much_more_orderly correction process.

Also on the fiscal side, moving from income taxes to consumption taxes; even better.

Re:Unconsidered option (1)

bbsalem (2784853) | about 3 months ago | (#46909467)

Do you really believe that stock prices and investment in today's economy is really connected to anything of value? I have my doubts. I also doubt that monitory policy is real important, it is a right-wing red herring used to cover up the speculation going on by international investment that is based on HFT and little else. The bubble that will burst is a global economic one, and we will get more guys like Putin as a result. We have been down this road before, like 75 years ago, The causes are the same, an unfair and imbalanced economic system driven by the interests of an oligarchy, a capitalist oligarchy, and the result is predictable enough, violence on a global scale as sociopaths like Putin, like Hitler, take, advantage of discontent in the have not's and disrupt wealth and investment, the only recourse they have against selfishness. We are all insane; having made the same grand mistake over and over. The only trouble is that now we are capable of destroying all of humanity in each cycle until we learn that economics is lethal and that ecology is what we need. We should eat the rich.

maybe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46906681)

false-premise.gif

A stupefyingly badly written piece (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46908501)

Real bait-and-switch. The intro left hints that the author might have concocted an interesting metaphor for this tech bubble he describes, but the main sections of the article twist the metaphor in inconsistent ways. The author appears to be so in love with his own cleverness that he forgot about craft. And, in true Wile E. Coyote fashion, he doesn't even deign to support his basic assumption (other than citing one example that was a function of a lot of other factors), essentially relying on a conclusory statement that boiled down to, "If you don't think there's a bubble, you're a fucking idiot. Now that that's established, let's move on." I imagine that there may be some real content buried in there, and it might be an interesting exercise for a journalism student to rewrite the piece to be internally consistent and to actually make sense.

The Link from the OP makes the point. (2)

bbsalem (2784853) | about 3 months ago | (#46909391)

But not in the way the website intended. When I navigate to the link using Chrome with Ubuntu 12.04 a popup appears and stays on the screen making it had to read the text of the article. I might save the page to see if I can defeat the advertising, and that is why Silicon Valley Tech is a bursting bubble. The greed-driven intrusions companies are creating on their web pages is driving people away. There is only so bang for the buck that can be squeezed out of the real estate of a web page without getting disruptive and either web designers don't really know how to handle all the browsers correctly or they don't care and want the advertisers to interfere with the user's experience. I wanted to read what the writer had to say since I live in Silicon Valley, and I have become a critic of the economics of business on the web, especially social media, that seems to be the latest fad in Silicon Valley. Having been through the dot gone bust of 2000 I can tell you that what turns on investors and what drives the economics of Silicon Valley may have little to do with reality, at least of view of it longer than six months.

I got to read the article, I agree with it. (1)

bbsalem (2784853) | about 3 months ago | (#46909631)

I had trouble with a popup when I first loaded the linked page, but going back to it the popup wasn't there and I got to read the article, and I agree with it mostly. I have said many of the same things it does in my posts here. I live in SV and am pretty critical of what it has become especially after 2000. I am critical of investment, the amount of capital companies with dubious business plans have been able to raise. That and the banking situation and the face that the problems that caused the Bubble of 2008 haven't really been addressed either by government or investors, and the result is an imbalanced and unfair economy. That is true not only in SV but worldwide and it has caused continuing unrest in the rest of the world and sows dragon's teeth for war and disruption.

I would say that the problems in the Bay Area with housing and the unrest that is could cause shows that investors do not care very much about side-effects and especially the unintended consequences of their decisions. A worse possibility is that investors, people who buy public equities, venture capitalists, and private investors are all elitists, perhaps emboldended by the way they have been able to rig finance and possibly by having Conservative political views, and simply don't care who their actions may hurt.

Greed and denying inclusiveness to protect advantage is the norm in history, it is nothing new, but as many notorious cases of the rich and powerful being brought to heel, lately being Donald Sterling, that unintended consequences are being brought to bear sooner than most of the powerful expect, and often their efforts to use public relations to obscure their transgressions are not enough; the sole benefit of social media, which, though, depends on the issue being very easy to grasp. That is why the uproar over Google Bus is so important and why people who would call themselves innocents become targets because of association. It is the speeding up of effects that matters and why people who might have not have gained the limelight might now get exposed to it and be totally unaware of why. People are beginning to question whether having a super-intelligent elite is really a benefit to most who rub shoulders with them. They will question weather the companies in SV with the huge market caps were good investments when the stock tanks in the next burst, and hopefully it will dawn on people that investors aren't all that smart and why did we ever set our priorities in society to make it super easy for them. They may not rregret the exodus of 200,000 jobs from Silicon Valley. At least the housing market wil return to some kind of sanity.

BART and Hayward Fault (2)

bbsalem (2784853) | about 3 months ago | (#46909761)

I live in Silicon Valley. Yesterday, the news media reported with some hoopla that BART has bored a nice tunnel under Lake Elizabeth in Fremont for its extension to Warm Springs and Silicon Valley. Nice, now tech workers can live in the East Bay and get to work in San Jose faster. What they didn't tell you, and I should know because I have my degrees in Geology and studied the geology of the Bay Area, is that Lake Elizabeth is probably a sag pond associated with if not in the Hayward Fault. The OP link to the article which correctly pointed out that an expected M = 6.5 to 7.5 quake on the Hayward Fault in the East Bay would have much more effect than even the Loma Prieta even on the San Andreas Fault in 1989, because the epicenter could be very close to major population density. So a tunnel in soft sediment very near or across a active fault line that could have six feet of strike slip could result in disruption of the commute line, if not risk for passengers. I was quite shocked that this is where BART chose to dig a tunnel and at the potential risk. Judging by BART's recent history, I can say that I have doubts about the quality of its management, and I guess that is a general problem with business and government in a financialized world. Too many people with business backgrounds that deny scientific findings.

Until it breaks elsewhere... (1)

RockDoctor (15477) | about 3 months ago | (#46910455)

'If we can identify the fractures that threaten to destroy the innovation machine, we might be able to patch them up and keep the system going for a while longer

It's in the nature of materials or systems under stress that they'll break somewhere else, if you apply a patch to one identified weak point.

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