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downzy

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downzy last won the day on March 28 2017

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About downzy

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    Toronto, Canada
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    Politics, photography, snowboarding, golf, weight lifting, current events, television, running.

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  1. UHD/4K Disc Thread

    Amazon, at least here in Canada, had them on sale for several weeks after Christmas. Funny thing was that they were cheaper to buy individually than in the three-piece set. Kind of strange. I thought about buying Nolan's Batman films but decided to pass. Only really loved The Dark Knight, the other two are okay. And I'm not sure how many times more I need to watch the Dark Knight (I've lost count how many times I've seen it). It would be great to see it in 4K once but not sure I need to own it. Also, none of them are what I would consider visually stunning films, at least in my opinion. There's a few scenes, like the bank heist, but the colour is fairly muted and there are few expansive cinematic scenes like Nolan's other films (Inception, Interstellar, Dunkirk). I think I'd be more inclined to buy Burton's first Batman film were it to ever be given a 4K UHD release as I found that film more visually stimulating. I'm not sure if I'm going to buy a lot of UHDs. Back in the 2000s I ran up a collection of 200+ DVDs but eventually gave them all away. Never watched them more than once or twice (none at all in a few cases). I remember thinking back then that the picture quality would never be bettered and how else would I have access to all of these movies. Now with various streaming companies and video/audio technology significantly better I'm not sure I want to invest in another large UHD library. I'll buy a few to watch whenever I want to remind myself why I bought a 4K OLED, but unless the films are my favourites, have visually stunning 4K HDR visuals, and tough to get through streaming channels, I'm not sure I'll be buying many in the years to come. I would imagine that most movie studios will eventually coalesce around one to three streaming services in the next couple of years and hopefully most 4K Ultra prints will be available through those channels.
  2. Going to be visiting L.A

    Moved to Anything Goes as this topic doesn't have much to do with GNR news or discussion. I was in LA a few years ago. This might sound strange but if you want a good feel of what LA is like ahead time play the video game Grand Theft Auto 5. They do an amazing job at encapsulating the look and feel of many of LA's best known neighbourhoods and landmarks (though in real life there is way more traffic). Definitely check out the old clubs on Sunset Boulevard. I had lunch at the Rainbow and it was great to soak in all the history of the place. Also check out Canter's Deli and see if Marc will show you the booth made famous by the band picture. It's actually not the booth many think it is (it doesn't have the image hanging directly over it). Definitely check out Venice Beach and Santa Monica. You should rent a car regardless as LA is difficult to get around without one (unless you plan on using Uber but that can add up quickly). If you do rent a car, take your bathing suit and drive up the Pacific Coast Highway to Malibu. Along the way there are some great little beaches where you can give surfing a try. If you're looking for a more relaxed, less touristy vibe check out Manhattan beach on the south side. I was only there for an hour on my last visit but definitely where'd I'd spend most of my time the next time I go back. Hollywood is probably something you should check out if you've never been. A little too touristy/tacky for my taste but something to check out if it's your first time. Another interesting place to spend some time is Beverly Hills and Rodeo Drive. Bring sunglasses as you'll see some of the best looking women and amazing cars this side of Monaco. Finally, there's the studio tours that are worth checking out if you're interested in that kind of stuff. In terms of places to stay, I'd look at AirBnB. There are some amazing places in the Hollywood Hills that will give you a great view of the city plus an opportunity to stay in locations you'd normally never get a chance to. Plus they're usually cheaper than decent hotels in LA, which start at $250 and easily go up from there. West Hollywood and the hills is a decent place to stay as it's fairly central and closer to most of the attractions you'll likely want to see. Perhaps @RussTCB can offer a few other suggestions as I know he visited LA last year and had a great time. In terms of general advice, don't try to see everything. LA is huge and running around the city trying to see as much as possible will not make for a great trip. Pick a few general areas and take your time. Traffic in LA is horrific so you're better off enjoying a few spots than stuck in traffic trying to see everything. Hope you have a great time and best of luck with your diagnosis. I think you have the right attitude by making the most of things now, something we all should do regardless of health.
  3. US Politics/Elections Thread

    Unfortunately, Trump doesn't strike me as an authority on finance history. https://qz.com/1181498/rolling-back-regulations-often-comes-before-a-financial-meltdown-according-to-the-imf/
  4. US Politics/Elections Thread

    Yeah, it would be interesting to hear why certain countries polled the way they did. What has Trump done that made his leadership approval increase in Ethiopia relative to Obama?
  5. While I have no idea what he does before a show, I'm fairly certain Axl spends some time backstage after the show. I've heard him spending an hour or two backstage after the show before heading to the after party or hotel. I would imagine that rider requests are for after the show.
  6. UHD/4K Disc Thread

    Could the issue be that with download/streaming the data is compressed whereas with discs it’s not (or perhaps it’s just compressed less). I’d be interested in knowing the bit rate of a disc versus streaming? They say the minimum to stream 4K content is 25mb a second. That seems low to me (but again, I really have no idea).
  7. US Politics/Elections Thread

    In the "not a huge surprise" space: https://www.politico.com/story/2018/01/18/trump-global-leadership-polls-344989
  8. US Politics/Elections Thread

    Not to get too tawdry, but it’s creepy af to hear Trump favourably comparing his porn star mistress to his then 24 year old daughter Ivanka. I got turned off from the Daily Show when they ran their ‘Donald Trump wants to bang his daughter’ bit a year or two ago, but hearing stuff like that really makes one start to wonder.
  9. US Politics/Elections Thread

    Sorry, I was being a bit loose in my description. You're right, it's not a socialist nation. It was only in relationship with the U.S., that does not have a well-supported welfare system nor collective bargaining at the national level, does Norway lean closer to socialism.
  10. US Politics/Elections Thread

    41 percent of Americans participate, but 80 percent of the wealth generated by the stock market is owned by the top ten percent of Americans. Less than a third of American households own stocks in excess of $10k, compared to 93 percent of households in the top 1 percent. Look you'll get no argument from me that a rising stock is in anyway a bad sign (though, it's starting to enter into serious bubble territory with evaluations and P/E ratios completely out of line with historical averages). But the argument that a rise in the stock market is a boon for the middle class is just wrong since its gains are limited to only a small slice of American households. The U.S. economy for FY2016 was $18.59 trillion. $200 billion is substantial, but represents 1.07 percent to the US overall economy (and this is assuming that money actually gets put back into circulation, which isn't a foregone conclusion). All of this news is great, but it's a fly on the back of an elephant. Relative to the entire population few Americans will actually feel the effects of Apple's repatriation of its cash reserves.
  11. US Politics/Elections Thread

    Fox probably would have had ten retractions a day when Obama was President (if, you know, it could be considered credible).
  12. US Politics/Elections Thread

    Yes and no. What it does is setup a precedent that U.S. companies can funnel profits to oversees operations to avoid paying domestic tax and then have it brought back onshore when legislators open up a tax window, creating an effective corporate tax rate of 10 percent or less (depending on deductions). This is what happened the last time the U.S. allowed for a tax repatriation window, with most of the money brought back used for shareholder payouts. I've read arguments that we shouldn't discount share buybacks and dividend payouts, but since only a minority of Americans own stocks, it likely won't help the middle or lower class worker. We can better determine the effectiveness this tax reform on four different criteria. The first, already mentioned, is shareholder payouts. If we discover that share buybacks and dividends jump significantly over the next two or three years it undermines the arguments for the corporate tax cuts and repatriation. Already buybacks are at record levels as profitable companies are finding better uses of their cash than to pay back investors. This leads one to wonder if giving conglomerates more money will actually spur on the second standard to evaluate these tax cuts, which is wage growth. If we start to see significant wage growth one could possibly attribute this to the recent tax cuts. We've already seen some evidence of this with Walmart, AT&T, and Boeing. But there's also rebuttals to these recent headlines, as many of these companies have political motivations to win curry with the Trump administration (AT&T is currently in a legal battle over its merger with Time-Warner, Boeing does a lot of business with the U.S. military) while others, like Walmart, while giving its workers a raise they're also firing tens of thousands of employees and shutting down stores (there's also evidence that raising Walmart wages were already underway years before this tax cut). This is going to be a hazy metric since wage growth can be attributed to a variety of factors. The third criterion is capital investment. This is probably one of the best measures of these tax cuts. If we see companies invest in themselves by expanding production or increasing R&D budgets we can give Trump and Republicans credit. I'm skeptical that this will happen, since we've seen record profits by corporate America over the last five years and no corresponding increases in corporate investment. Moreover, historically low interest rates have been present for almost ten years now; the conditions for investment have been there for awhile and yet we see anemic investment. With interest rates creeping up last year and further increases likely, it's hard to see why companies would invest now as borrowing costs are higher. The fourth measure is the deficit and debt. Republicans and Trump have long advocated that lower tax rates will spur economic growth that will result in the tax cuts paying for themselves. History has almost never demonstrated this dynamic panning out. But we'll see where we are in five to ten years. If the cost of these tax cuts ends up adding $1.5 trillion (which is a conservative estimate), then it undermines arguments that these tax cuts were necessary to grow the economy. But sure, this is great news and hopefully more companies follow Apple's lead. But this strikes me as a PR move by Apple. There have been too many other promises of investment or jobs by corporate America over the last year that have proven to be an illusion. Remember when Wisconsin Governor boasted about getting Foxconn to invest in his state, resulting in 13,000 jobs. Turns the deal between Foxconn and the state of Wisconsin will likely be in the $4.5 billion range. That translates into $35k per worker for ten years. So we'll see where we are five years from now with this recent Apple announcement.
  13. US Politics/Elections Thread

    Yeah, that was the best part of the show. I kind of wish the entire interview/episode was Letterman talking to Lewis on the bridge. Letterman is known for being irreverent but him taking on a serious issue such as civil rights was interesting. My problem with his interview with Obama was that he didn't get Obama to open up; we didn't really learn anything about him that we didn't already know. At least, that's how I saw it.
  14. Home Theaters

    I finally bit the bullet and bought a 55" LG OLED B7. Coming from a seven year old 43" LG LED tv, the difference is striking. It took awhile to play around with the various picture settings to get something that I thought worked best. A colleague I know bought one last summer and returned it because he thought it was too dark. I noticed this too when I first turned it on but things brightened up considerably when I turned off the Power Management/Saving feature. The dynamic range on this television is mind-blowing. I've enjoyed just watching the little fireworks screen saver that comes on after a few minutes. I've got an Xbox One S so I'm able to play 4K UHD discs on it. Right now I have Planet Earth II, Mad Max, and Dunkirk. I haven't had a chance to watch the two movies, but have watched a couple of episodes of Planet Earth II. The colours and visuals are stunning on this set. The B7 does support ATMOS and there times when it does sound like sound is coming from behind me, but it's nothing substantial and I'm looking forward to buying an ATMOS or wireless surround-sound sound bar later this year. I'm not setup to use wires in my living room so it has to be wireless or a soundbar. I've been reading reviews at this years CES and Sennheiser's soundbar upcoming offering looks amazing. Likely won't be cheap but considering premium surround sound offerings by Samsung, Sony, and Sonos range from $1700-$2300 here in Canada I'm hoping it will be similarly priced when it comes out. So far so good and I'm really happy with it. Just need to add some serious sound to the setup and I'll be good for a long time to come.
  15. US Politics/Elections Thread

    What I find funny about Trump wanting immigrants from Norway is that it's one of the most left-leaning socialist nations in the world. So on the one hand you have a President and party who advocates for a roll-back of the regulatory state to levels similar to "shithole" countries but desires immigrants from prosperous leftist nation-states. Or maybe the connection is just lost on him and he just wants more white people.
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