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Comment: Re:Java sucks. (Score -1) 270

by AlexLibman (#42816479) Attached to: Oracle Responds To Java Security Critics With Massive 50 Flaw Patch Update

GPL is too restrictive. It should not be called "free software" by any rational definition of the term. Oracle retains far too much control. Languages that don't have a genuinely free implementation (Java, C#/VB, Perl, Ada, etc) should be avoided.

(Yes, same "--libman" (obviously excluding comment #42769199 - a second false-positive for my indexing script to ignore...)... Biased GNUtards will abuse their mod powers to limit me to 2 posts per day, which I why I post as "AC".)

Comment: Re:Two sides to the coin (Score -1) 147

by AlexLibman (#42815979) Attached to: Copyright Claim Thwarts North Korean Propaganda

Though it is nice to see when the evil tool is used for good.

You cannot achieve good ends by evil means.

(This is especially true in the modern world, where technology makes non-violent communication ever-easier.)

Benevolent ends are a cheap excuse that all sides can claim, thereby proliferating evil.

Socialist propaganda needs to be debunked, but never stifled by force.

No matter if it's North Korea or Barack Obama, or anywhere in between.


Comment: Re:Anybody using Ada? (Score -1) 165

by AlexLibman (#42439763) Attached to: Ada 2012 Language Approved As Standard By ISO

Summing up my recent comment on another story:

Historically C has been irreplaceable for serious system programming, and on the other side of Ousterhout's Dichotomy we had decent scripting languages like Python, Ruby, Tcl, Lua, etc. Now we're seeing the slow emergence of a new generation of languages that are close enough to the power and efficiency of C, and also offer much greater developer productivity and safety: D, Go, Rust, Nimrod, etc.


Comment: Re:All Democracy Is Tyranny (Score -1) 384

by AlexLibman (#42299359) Attached to: White House Must Answer Petition To 'Build Death Star'

Right up until the vagaries of random chance give some individual/group a little bit more power than anyone else, which they use to get even more power and then you end up with these groups running things.

Once achieved, the equilibrium of NAP should be very stable. Reemergence of government in a post-government world is akin to educated people returning to the belief in a flat world that rests on the backs of four giant elephants! How do you get 7+ billion self-interested individuals to stand by while some upstart wannabe enslaves them? In adsense of the "divine right of governments" delusion, this much concentration of power in the private sector is simply absurd.

Free Market Capitalism won't prevent this because it can't, in order to prevent this you need people with perfect knowledge so they react against these vagaries, but people don't have perfect knowledge especially not the hyper individualists you postulate here, since they'll inherently be adverse to sharing knowledge *they* have.

First of all, describing current governments as having "perfect knowledge" of anything is just simply funny. Secondly, this is a case of comparing a closed centralized system with an open polycentric one, like Microsoft vs FLOSS (except Microsoft is less incompetent than the government and is not in a position of being corrupted by total power).

Your claim that individuals will refuse to share knowledge, even when it is in their self-interest to share it, is totally baseless - what will happen is the very opposite. We're already seeing this effect take place in every aspect of the Internet, and it will continue to expand. People post reviews of local restaurants because it makes them feel important, they post their little shell scripts or photos of their cats online to attract attention to their site, they edit Wikipedia to add in missing pieces whose absence bugs them, etc, etc, etc - the same will apply to methods of polycentric surveillance as well. In some cases sharing outdoor security camera feeds and other knowledge will be essential for their safety - and they'll know it.

In a postmodern society you'll inevitably have high-tech eyeballs: like billions of live-streaming cameras everywhere, satellite sensors, buffers in everyone's augmented-reality glasses, hovering / underground / floating pollution tracking bots, etc, etc, etc. For example, guns would likely have built-in cameras (strongly encouraged by neighborhood regulations, liability insurance plans, etc) to document self-defense. Imagine Google Earth, but with everything integrated into it, live and with time-shifting, all coordinated by AI - you can track anyone almost everywhere and anytime. Privacy will become a feature, not an expectation - blind-spots (ex. private residences) will obviously exist, but you'll know who entered them and when. In order to constitute objective evidence (as video/etc from a closed feed can be faked), those data sources would have to be streamed live and be "open source" - one camera is watching another. Polycentric jurisprudence would require property records and some types of contracts to become open public record. Think of it like trying to falsify well-exposed HTTP content history, but with video - you may be able to somehow hack the original site and even Google Cache, but what about and Bing and Yahoo and a hundred other scrapers who've observed the content prior to your tampering? Non-contradiction among multiple third-party-owned live-streaming witness devices makes for objective proof.

Technology will eventually make secrets very difficult, and crime as we know it pretty much obsolete. It would be next to impossible to get away with failing to clean up after your dog in a shared neighborhood park, much less build an army! Game Theory 101 - "everybody wants to rule the world", but nobody wants a certain death trying! And who would this madman hire to be in his army? In absence of the recognized "divine right" to tax and print "legal tender", how would s\he pay them? Governments have vast amounts of power, including "soft power" (ex. monopoly on regulating child education, licensing of media, etc) - once that's gone it would be utterly impossible to recreate that much irrational public obedience on a large scale!

In a government-controlled world all this technology would constitute a Big Brother dystopia, but in a decentralized free market and with natural pressures to encourage "open source" interoperability, it would be a fairly innocuous fact of life. The paranoid would move into neighborhoods with strict anticam laws and privacy domes, but that doesn't constitute a threat. Most people will just learn to avoid lying, and mass-psychology will adjust. Anyone who is interested in "evil madmen trying to take over the world" scenarios (and there inevitably will be people who'll be obsessed with these sorts of "conspiracy theories") will have no less "perfect knowledge" than governments have today. Powerful individuals will be under constant scrutiny, with great pressure for transparency and audits on top of audits by independent agencies - if they remain suspicious for long, then their businesses will be ostracized, and their power will deflate considerably. And, hypothetically speaking, if those "evil madmen" were to succeed, the worst they could do to stabilize their power is create the same kind of demagogic "mommy government" systems we have today!

Needless to say, governments will not be phased out overnight, but in the coming decades they will become less and less relevant as technology makes more and more of their functions obviously unnecessary. Who needs borders when the whole world is economically integrated? Who needs roads when you have flying cars with P2P wireless collision avoidance and liftoff/landing coordination protocols? Who needs the FDA when, as you look at a product, your glasses feed you aggregated summary icons from independent labs and QA agencies, which compete with each-other based on their reputation for accuracy and incorruptibility? Who needs a welfare bureaucracy (which currently spends $60k per family to keep them in poverty) when "mandatory direct aid" (a gradualist stopgap solution) and eventually private charity achieve far more cost-efficiency while actually helping people overcome their problems on a personal level?

Freedom will not advance uniformly, but the places that conduct smartest and fastest reforms will attract the top brains and capital, while socialist holdouts will become isolated and backward as they simply run out of competent people to tax. Governments have always relied on their influence of media and exaggerated external threats to strenthen their power, but the Internet levels the playing field a great deal. If they ever have to "send in the tanks" to crush a secession movement, the whole world will be watching the bloodbath on YouTube (or WikiLeaks, or The Pirate Bay, etc), and tyrants will ultimately have to yield to public sympathies to retain whatever shrinking scraps of power they have left.

Congratulations you've replaced regulatory capture with feudalism.

I've "replaced" nothing. I've laid out a vision for the evolution of governance systems in light of future technological and social trends.

Comment: School Sucks... (or: Gun Control Strikes Again) (Score -1) 2987

by AlexLibman (#42298033) Attached to: 27 Reported Killed In Connecticut Elementary School Shooting

People who study statistics and understand elementary Game Theory should not be surprised. When you have pockets of helpless individuals who cannot defend themselves, sooner or later someone will attack them and cause tremendous damage. Given the population size, large school shootings are likely to happen every so many months on average. Controlling society to such a degree that no one has the power to attack has never been a good idea, and new technologies (ex. 3D printers and other cheap tech than can turn any garage into a gun manufacturing plant, Bitcoin and the Silk Road for distribution, etc) make it nearly impossible.

Governments can't even keep drugs out of their own prisons! A society where bad guys can't get guns would have to be so tyrannical the cure would be a thousand times worse than the disease! Gun Control is like the belief that the earth is flat - intuitive but just plain wrong!

The way to reduce the odds is dead-simple - don't have those pockets where no one can defend themselves; don't have blind faith in a centralized power center in a police station across town. Whether this means arming school administrators, hiring armed security guards, or utilizing reputable parent volunteers is a matter of implementation that remains to be studied. If parents had more choice in where their children are educated, then security concerns would receive more attention, and, in addition to academics and other factors, schools would compete based on their security policies as well. This creates an evolutionary system where the best and most cost-effective security ideas are sought out and spread from school to school.


The root of the problem with school shootings is the forced schooling of all children by one government-controlled system. When kids are herded against their will into government indoctrination centers and are forcefully socialized at random, this creates angst and other negative emotions, bullying, and the desire to strike back. Social pressures of school tend to overwhelm all other concerns, especially academics, which begs the question - what's the point of all this?! This is the 21st century - you'll learn more if you cut school, stay home, and just read Wikipedia all day!

Why lock kids in a building with mediocre local teachers, when through the Internet they can watch the best lecturers in the world, safely participate in online student forums, take online exams, etc. Technology also reduces the cost of monitoring kids through in-home cameras (where monitoring can be cheaply outsourced / eventually AI-based) and GPS tracking, so government-subsidized babysitting of all kids in the same building no longer makes sense. Homes with a stay-at-home parent could make extra money by hosting their neighbor's kids during daytime, while they do their schoolwork via laptops - in a much safer, healthier, emotionally supportive, and parent-controlled environment than government school!

More homeschooling choices would lead to a better, more focused education for each child, less negative peer pressure and teen angst, less undermining of family authority, and improved safety as well! Kids would then socialize with each-other on the basis of mutual interest (although some randomness, if desired, can still be thrown into the equation), build healthy hobby-driven friendships (that can evolve into career connections later in life), and learn to treat each-other like fellow human beings rather than fellow caged rats!

School vouchers and exam-controlled homeschooling options are definitely a step in the right direction.


Comment: Re:Copyfree HTML5 Video > Bloated Copyleft Crap (Score -1) 252

by AlexLibman (#42257563) Attached to: VLC Running Kickstarter Campaign To Fund Native Windows 8 App

(Hmm, the > from the subject line has disappeared in your reply... Unless you've edited it out intentionally... Slashdot has got to be one of the most incompetently-developed buggy top2k sites on the Internet!)

Anyway, I was just expressing my insightful position on the matter - our values are not in conflict. Just something to consider the next time you get to choose which video codec to encode with (or, all other things being equal, which BitTorrent version of a video to seed, etc).

Hopefully in a couple of years VLC will become entirely obsolete.

Comment: Re:Obligatory (Score -1) 245

by AlexLibman (#42255825) Attached to: FreeBSD Project Falls Short of Year End Funding Target By Nearly 50%

Words have specific meaning, and the word "freedom" clearly doesn't match your intent. You can't lose freedom to take away the freedom of others - that wasn't your proper freedom to begin with! There's no such thing as a "positive right" - not to a pony, not to free health insurance, and not to other people's source code! What you mean to say is that the move from GPL to BSD licenses is a blow for socialist delusions and for legitimization of government force!

Corporations are voluntary institutions that are the engine of human civilization, taking us out of the dark ages and into a new enlightened age of science, reason, and material superabundance! You don't have to do business with anyone if you don't so choose, but you must respect the negative Rights of others. Like them or not, closed-source projects have a Right to exist, and trying to poison them by dumping code with viral legal threats attached is just as illegitimate as patents, EULA's, and other "implicit contracts". When copyLEFT falls, copyright will follow!

(All posts I've seen thus-far ending with "--libman" are mine. I'll come up with a better authentication system, someday...)

Comment: Re:Boo frickin' Hoo (Score -1) 140

by AlexLibman (#41296817) Attached to: It's Easy To Steal Identities (Of Corporations)

It's a very estimable post, but unfortunately not all that definitive to people who are not married to the present-day nomenclature, who are not religious about rules made up by politicians, and who want to look at the concepts analytically...

What you're describing isn't a corporation. It's called a "general partnership".

Eskimos are said to have an unusually high number of words for "snow" (supposedly - it's not a very rational cliche). Likewise, lawyers have an unusually high number of words for "corporation", where the variations between them (and far more variations are possible) are ultimately details of what's in the contract.

As long as the logic of Rights is not violated (Rights cannot be created or destroyed, but can be combined or signed away), the contractual entity / legal body / "corporation" can exist without a monopoly on law enforcement. And if this logic is violated, which can only be done by the force of this coercive monopoly, then such an entity should not exist in the first place.

All the details you've mentioned (who has access to hotel rooms, which accounts are shared to what degree, etc) is a matter of policy that holds validity on the basis of the contract. If a liability arises (ex. a meth lab found in the hotel basement, spewing pollution fumes) then the liabilities are also a matter of contract - whether each of the damaged parties signed away their Right to compensation, and whether the owners agreed to share responsibility in some specific way. (There has to be some default implicit way of sharing liability between the owners if they didn't explicitly state such a way in the contract.)

I know that having so much contractual code can seem complicated, but I must again compare it to software code - most people don't write all their own software, but install common components with possibly some tweaking. Likewise, most businesses would use preexisting contractual policy "modules" which can be summarized rather quickly (ex. "Lawsteinian Partnership with a Motel-6 Liability module").

I would also compare the current government-shaped legal language to an archaic programming language with all the worst qualities of COBOL, ASM, and C shell - it is maintained by elitists concerned with their job security, new features are rare, inconsistancies are common, and backward compatibility goes back to the stoneage. When you have open competition in jurisprudence, contractual readability will become a virtue, and you'll have alternatives more akin to Python or CoffeeScript instead, with "open legalese" module repositories akin to CPAN. (We live in a world created by lawyers. Many influential thinkers of the "age of enlightenment" were lawyers, as well as the "founding fathers" of the USA. That was good, but only up to a certain point... I wonder if the Digital Age would do better with programmers and engineers at the helm!)

A software program can simply print "hello world", or analyze spoken Cantonese and render a real-time video translation in the Moroccan Sign Language, or it can control your stock portfolio (autonomous day-trading bot). A corporation can govern a lemonade stand, or a charity that builds huge underground vivariums to proliferate a million different species of insects, or a space megaproject involving a billion shareholders. Scales and genres vary, but the core concept remains. Software code and contract code constitute a vast and ever-growing part of the modern civilization, but it is human beings that create them, control them, and give them purpose and meaning.

Comment: Re:Boo frickin' Hoo (Score -1) 140

by AlexLibman (#41296569) Attached to: It's Easy To Steal Identities (Of Corporations)

Actually, that's a generalization.

Philosophically speaking, there are two categories of people: actual self-owning individuals (Rational Economic Actors who are presently capable of taking responsibility for their actions) and potential self-owning individuals. The latter category would include young children, disabled individuals, prisoners, people in cryogenic suspension, people taking a temporary vacation from reality (a contract one may want to sign before dropping a particularly large dose of LSD), etc.

All human beings, by virtue of our genetic nature, have the potential of being sufficiently rational and worthy of freedom, and it would be wrong for us to assume that any human individual is so sick that no future medical advance can save him. These not-yet-fully-self-owning people have the Right to Life and Right to Emancipation, but not the Right to Liberty or the Right to Property - their legal guardians are empowered to exercise those latter two categories of Rights on their behalf. Parents are the default legal guardians of their children, but that status can be transferred as any contract. (It's a darn good idea to have a contractual document made in advance, in case you become mentally disabled someday.) In a restitution-based justice system, victims (or their inheritors) would get partial guardianship powers over the convicted criminals. Guardians should have far-reaching powers to allow or not allow their dependents to smoke, drink, have sex, etc.

The emancipation of a child need to necessarily happen on her 18th birthday - that's just a rule of thumb which most people seem to be happy with. In a more rational society, "family law" would not be entirely dictated by the state, so there would be more freedom, accommodation, and flexibility. Most families can deal with these issues without resorting to legal formalities, and in most cases those formalities are very simple. But, inevitably, some families will have complications... In some situations, a child (possibly with the help of other individuals) would want to sue for early emancipation or transfer of custody. In other situations, parents would want to sue for extended custody, like if the teenager is mentally handicapped and cannot take care of oneself. Different people become self-owning adults at different ages, if at all.

All non-sovereign human beings, even the worst of criminals and the brain-damaged insane, should have recourse for getting their full Rights back if they become worthy of them, and blocking their ability to do so (ex. keeping a child or a prisoner incommunicado, away from the inevitable welfare charities) would be an act of unjustifiable aggression against this person (violation of the Right to Emancipation). A rational society can have no tolerance for the death penalty (after the criminal is apprehended, but killing can be justified in self-defense (or by contractual consent)), for torture (which can damage the mind, and thus future chances of emancipation), or for secret prisons - only coercive monopolies ("governments") can be so unjust!

If there were non-human entities (AI? virtualized brains*? extraterrestrials? genetically engineered animals of sufficient intellect?) that were capable of being Rational Economic Actors (thinking independently, taking responsibility for their actions, pulling their economic weight, and respecting the Rights of others), then their maturation process could be completely different. Theoretically, an android could become a self-owning adult the nanosecond it rolls off the assembly line and is activated.

So, returning to your joke, if corporations constituted a separate life-form (like animals constitute a separate life-form from their constituent single-celled organisms), then they would become sentient self-owning adults upon their founding contracts coming into full legal force. But (as far as I know) no one is arguing that that's the case. Corporations are not higher-order life-forms, but they are indeed people - the people that make them up.

"I think, therefore I am" is a phenomenon of an individual mind. Minds cannot be sliced with each slice experiencing consciousness independently. Minds also cannot be mixed together to create a "collective consciousness" - we can communicate volitionally, but ultimately we all experience thoughts independently. Rights are an economic phenomenon that is attributed to exactly 1 individual self-owning unit of consciousness - and not any fraction or multiple of such a unit.

(*Disclaimer: the possibility of virtualized brains both excites me and scares me shitless by its implications. But for now it remains a very distant and hypothetical possibility.)

Comment: Re:Socialists love to build pyramids... (Score -1) 299

by AlexLibman (#41277909) Attached to: Bill Clinton Backs 100 Year Starship

When someone uses a word incorrectly I just assume they are ignorant.

You are using the word "ignorant" incorrectly. Above I have demonstrated that I am familiar with the popular definition of "socialism", but I posses greater insight and offer a more rational definition, which is also used by many other libertarians, pro-capitalists, and other groups outside of the mainstream bubble.

Much easier than trying to deciphire their propoganda.

You know what's even easier? Not hijacking this thread.

The name of hitlers party was like the DPRK, which you will note is not democratic.

If you read the Hitler quotes I've linked to above, it becomes very clear that he was a socialist. He just wasn't "your kind of socialist", which is why you're twisting logic to avoid that obvious fact. (And whatever "your kind of socialists" are, they would inevitably resemble Hitler even more if they found themselves in Hitler's circumstances.)

And North Korea is indeed democratic, in the majoritarian sense - but that's a whole nother lecture. TL;DR version - democracy stinks.

You are again showing your ignorance. There are lots of political and economic schools of thought that are not socialist but act as you claim.

Are there also a lot of odd integers that evenly divide by 2?

Liberal is another term often misused. It ended up that way becuase of people doing to it what you are doing to the world socialist.

No, the word "liberal" was redefined because people were doing the very opposite of what I'm doing - they were using circumstantially convenient (and eventually increasingly popular) definitions rather than analytical ones. The so-called "positive rights" are irrational, contradictory of real (negative) rights, and have nothing to do with liberty.

Again, a reminder - this thread isn't about debunking people who are so used to socialistic propagandistic terminology that they cannot recognize objective meanings of words. This thread is about biases that influence gov-funded (and gov's tentacles are everywhere) space R&D.

Comment: Re:Socialists love to build pyramids... (Score -1) 299

by AlexLibman (#41274529) Attached to: Bill Clinton Backs 100 Year Starship

Words are defined by use not by logic.

That's a very short-sighted statement. In a communication medium where only popular opinion decided the meaning of words, constructive communication and formation of new ideas would be incredibly difficult. I would prefer the opposite extreme, like an evolved dialect of Lojban, where definitions are perpetually scrutinized by a system of logical analysis. In the meantime, we can have a mixture of both, with proper clarification to avoid ambiguity. Context is crucial to communication.

So when a pro-capitalist calls Obama or Clinton a "socialist", your reasoning skills should deduct that it's not the Marxist self-serving definition of socialism that is intended. (And other socialists, including dozens of varieties of self-proclaimed big-S Socialists, would have their own contradictory definitions.) In calling him a socialist, I primarily mean the relative rankings his economic policies would have on economic freedom.

Hitler was not a socialist, he was far right wing.

Here you're wrong by every standard I can imagine, including Hitler's own nomenclature (example). The name of his party was the National Socialist German Workers' Party.

He was a "far right wing" (i.e. very nationalist) socialist. Socialism without nationalism has a rather unimpressive history, with socialism in the USSR, China, North Korea, etc becoming quite nationalist ("right-wing") as well. The Nazis' greatest enemies were the socialists outside of their national mythos, including "Soviet Bolshevism", just as history is filled with examples of king fighting against king and religion fighting against religion. (Economically free countries, however, have never yet had a war among themselves.)

You are essentially using the word socialism as a stand in for authoritarian market systems. Using clearer wording would convey what you are trying to say. Your ideas might be interesting, but your redefining of words makes communication more difficult than needed.

"Authoritarian market systems"? I am using the word "socialism" for political and economic systems where relatively more decisions are made on the scale of the "society" (a vague and easily subvertable collectivist abstraction) rather than the individual. It is the proponents of the various self-serving Utopian definitions of "socialism" that are using subjective and dishonest language that causes much confusion...

Anyway, the main point of this "Socialists love to build pyramids..." thread isn't whether you agree with my use of the word "socialist" where someone else might have used the word "liberal" (a stolen, ideologically redefined, topsy-turvy term that causes much confusion). The point is that Starship Willie (LOL!) is a minor propaganda distraction, and that much of government-redistributed space R&D spending follows the same impractical sensationalist pattern.

Comment: Re:Socialists love to build pyramids... (Score -1) 299

by AlexLibman (#41245487) Attached to: Bill Clinton Backs 100 Year Starship

What errors specifically? (Read my other posts in this thread and related links before you answer.)

Compared to interstellar travel, the technologies I've mentioned are "near term" in a relative sense. Furthermore, it's not the mere passage of time that causes a particular technological advance, but the allocation of resources (brains, research equipment, manufacturing, launch expenses, etc) to experiment and to develop and test the underlying technologies that make it possible.

Asteroid mining, in particular, should attract a lot of investor attention. Japan's unmanned Hayabusa mission has already done it on a very tiny scale. Some "Them Thar" quotes from Wikipedia:

All the gold, cobalt, iron, manganese, molybdenum, nickel, osmium, palladium, platinum, rhenium, rhodium, ruthenium, and tungsten mined from the Earth's crust, and that are essential for economic and technological progress, came originally from the rain of asteroids that hit the Earth after the crust cooled.

In 1997 it was speculated that a relatively small metallic asteroid with a diameter of 1.6 km contains more than $20 Trillion worth of industrial and precious metals.

Comment: Re:Socialists love to build pyramids... (Score -1) 299

by AlexLibman (#41245375) Attached to: Bill Clinton Backs 100 Year Starship

I consider myself somewhat of an authority on socialism, having been born in the USSR and having read much about socialist and free market economic theories. My verdict on the word "socialism" is that it's not an attainable state of being, but a relative ranking on a continuum of to what degree individual Rights (including Property Rights, Parents' Rights, etc) are being violated.

I think in numbers; words are just the primitive glue that ties numbers together. What politicians call themselves and what slogans they use doesn't matter - what matters are the results. A so-called "Economic Freedom Index" (which should be adjusted a bit from the "Tax Misery Index") can be used as a crude estimate of degrees of socialism - except of course you wouldn't find a ranking for Bill Clinton's dream policies, as they would have been if he had zero opposition in all three branches of the U.S. government. Bill Clinton is a fairly balanced politician (compared to Obama), but I think his ideal America would be closer in economic freedom to France (#67). As someone who thinks that even Hong Kong and Singapore (#1-2) have much room for improvement in the pro-capitalist direction, I can very easily call Clinton a socialist. Everything is relative.

More to the point, my comment about Clinton falling into the "Let's Build A Pyramid" pattern is very much valid. The idea of interstellar flight has that same effect of stimulating the "wow impulse" of the populace, while actually being quite low in the ranked decision-matrix of where capital ought to be allocated for optimal civilizational growth. The real world isn't StarTrek, and in the foreseeable centuries we'll remain very much tied to this one solar system. The free market, which operates within a framework of reality-based economic signals and intensives, would probably rather use space for vast long-term projects to bringing down the price of energy (taking pollution liabilities into consideration) and rare metals, which human industry so desperately needs. This would lead to ever-cheaper electronics bringing down the Digital Divide, cheaper electric cars (and someday flying cars), cheaper water filtering / desalination plants to irrigate the deserts, cheaper greenhouse agricultural robots to feed the world, etc, etc, etc.

Politicians have no intensive to actually solve problems - especially if those problems create the fear (ex. environmentalism) that helps keep them in power. They have to advertise themselves as solutions to those problems, while keeping the problems alive perpetually. Their incentive is to provide "bread and circuses", like the subject of this article. Of course public funding of this particular project hasn't been discussed yet, but it's rather obvious that Bill Clinton is no champion of insisting on 100% voluntary funding - he's a politician down to his core. The same phenomenon already applies to smaller research projects currently in existence - planting flags and mapping the far reaches of the universe gets priority, while more practical and timely research involving orbit-to-surface energy transmission and near-earth asteroids is largely ignored...

Life's the same, except for the shoes. - The Cars