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Comment: We Should Step Back a Minute... (Score 1) 319 319

What makes anyone so sure that we need cooling? What if they go over the edge and trigger irreversible Ice Age conditions? I should think we'd find that a more difficult problem to rectify! I don't think Earth can warm faster than our technology to stop it, at current rates.

We could stand a warmer climate -- dare I say it, a much warmer climate if you ask North Dakotans -- so long as we address the issue of desertification.

I promise it's much more complicated, but it should be sufficient to say that more ground cover planetwide will bring more atmospheric moisture, which leads to more ground cover, which, yadda yadda, prevents things from getting too warm. I'm told there is a period of history in which the global climate was much warmer -- and more importantly, wetter -- than it is now, and remained stably so for several hundred million years. I don't think the matter of stability is being addressed by these folks.

It's not really warming that we should be going all Chicken Little for; it's desertification. Overall stability of the climate should be the priority over desperately trying to stabilize the current conditions, which may or may not be optimum for human use.

It is my country bumpkin opinion that we should be concerning ourselves with how to make our climate wetter, not colder. I think city folks who live in more tropical locales lose sight of that fact, but those of us who live in the deserts are keenly aware of it.
 

+ - With Tumbling Oil Prices, Who Wins and Who Loses?

HughPickens.com writes: The price of oil is now under $70 a barrel after OPEC decided it would not cut back production significantly in the months ahead and the latest OPEC move suggests that it isn’t going to reverse course anytime soon.. Now Neil Irwin reports in the NYT that the falling price of oil looks likely to be one of the dominant forces shaping the global economy in 2015. So who wins and who loses? Winner: Global consumers as anybody who drives a car or flies on airplanes gets lower prices for gasoline and jet fuel. Loser: American oil producers — One of the big open questions is just how many of the small, independent producers in the American heartland will still be viable with oil prices in the $60s rather than the $100s. Many have relied on borrowed money, and bankruptcies are possible. Loser: Vladimir Putin — Russia’s economy is already facing its sharpest challenges in years, as Western sanctions imposed after Russian aggression toward Ukraine crimp the nation’s ability to be integrated in the global economy. Russia is a major energy producer, and the falling price of oil compounds the challenge facing its president, Vladimir Putin.

Potential Loser: The environment. As a general rule, the cheaper fossil fuels become, the more challenging it will be for cleaner forms of energy like solar and wind power to be competitive on price. But solar and wind power are sources for electricity, whereas fluctuations in oil prices most directly affect the price of transportation fuels like gasoline and jet fuel. Unless or until more Americans use electric cars, they are largely separate markets, so there’s no reason that cheaper oil should cause a major reduction in investment in renewables. The average pump price of a gallon of regular gasoline in the United States was $3.12 this week, down from $3.80 in October 2012 and down from $3.70 just four months ago. In the past, cheaper gasoline has two environmentally problematic effects: It leads people to drive thirstier cars and trucks and to drive them more miles. This time may be different. The number of miles Americans drive per capita has declined for nine straight years dropping from roughly 10,100 miles in 2004 to about 9,400 miles in 2013. A change that significant suggests a change in lifestyle—one that would be hard to upend. In addition, the average fuel economy of new cars and trucks sold in the United States has increased markedly over the past decade—in contrast to the 1990s, when new-vehicle fuel economy essentially flat-lined. Today, the average new car sold in this country goes 36 miles on a gallon of gasoline, up from 29.5 mpg in 2004. "Times have changed since the dawn of the last era of cheap oil," says Jeffrey Ball. "Even assuming low oil prices are the new normal, a cleaner energy system probably is too."

Comment: Re:When I hear "I work 60 hours a week"... (Score 1) 717 717

I actually did work one construction job 55-60 hours a week for most of a year, so I could have actually waved a whole bunch of pay stubs in your face. This was a company that advertised to its clients that it provided crews on 60 hour work weeks. I was in my early 20s at the time, and even then the 6x10 plus commutes took their toll. I split for better conditions well before I became one of the 50-year-old losers doing it. (Come to think of it, that company is now gone forever... couldn't have happened to a better outfit. It was always a shit place to work.) The 15-20 hours of overtime pay a week looked good, until you did the math on how much more OT was taxed....

Anyway, my work hour load or "work/life balance" is always about right, being self-employed now. And when I have employees, I'll pay hourly, with overtime work being optional. I always have thought that salary was bullshit if you didn't equate the salary to x number of hours per month. If $4000/mo is for 160 hours (bargained at hire time), then asking someone to work 200 or 250 hours for the same pay is reprehensible.

I don't see this as a political issue, either -- it's not labor vs. capital. It's mutual human respect, and the contract law of a law-run society. Company needs labor, labor needs money, and the two need to agree somehow on a price. Company wants labor as cheap as possible; labor wants as much money for doing as little as possible. Compromise is key, but it rarely benefits both parties equally. It's something we all work on, I guess.

Comment: Re:Pffft (Score 1) 723 723

I live in snow country (Colorado)... and I've never bought snow tires or chains. 20 years and I've never had a need for them. No 4x4 either, I'm fine with front wheel drive. I don't think I even know anyone who owns a set of chains for their daily driver.

In other words... it's not the failure of vehicles to be equipped that's Atlanta's problem. It's people who don't know what to do or how to drive on slippery roads. And true, it's not like people who've never left the deep South have any reason to have ever learned those skills, so it's not some kind of failure on their part. That's just how it is.

Comment: Re: Fucking Retarded (Score 1) 70 70

Ironic that Venezuela had their violent crime rate drop by a factor of a thousand by removing guns from the citizenry.

Yes, and now all the Venezuelans dance and sing Kumbaya, there is love and joy and peace and freedom for all!

Or is it a country run by a dictator who seizes private assets; beats, kills, or imprisons political opponents; and the paramilitary police run rampant over the populace that's starving because their currency has been ruined?

Gosh, I can never remember which it is!

Tell you what, AC, if you think post-Chavez Venezuela is a nice and safe (because no guns right?) place to live, feel free to move there, and I'll give you a swift kick in the ass to send you on your way.

Comment: Re:education (Score 2) 306 306

Besides, the guy supported by the 1% LOST.

And at the same time, the other guy, who was supported by the 1%, won.

You're seriously kidding yourself if you think there's any difference between the two major parties at the federal level. All you have to do is look: has the policy changed from Bush to Obama? Is the war over? Is Gitmo closed? Are the Patriot Act and the TSA gone? Your "liberal" president has upped the spying, fed the "defense" contractors, sent more troops overseas, and cut NASA. The previous "conservative" president raised taxes and vastly increased the size and scope of the federal government.

Nothing changes. The person who occupies the White House is merely a figurehead, and whether he's called a Democrat or a Republican, he works for the same people, and those people ain't me and you.

And you know what? It's not going to change, either. Today's wealthy and powerful may fall from their towers from lack of breeding and management (note wastrel heirs and heiresses like Paris Hilton), but there will be more to take their place, because there will always be someone who wants more than his neighbors have -- and the talent and drive, or sheer cravenness, to go and get it. If we divided all the world's wealth equally to everyone right now, we'd be right back where we are now within a generation.

Except, I'd be part of the 1% after. :-)

Comment: Re:Finally, a safe use for HFCS (Score 1) 199 199

The rich will always exploit the poor to whatever extent they can get away with. In this case, it means that a small group profits from foreign demand while the laborers suffer. It's the same as "blood diamonds" - perfectly normal "free market" foreign demand may send capital to the region, but increases human suffering.

But you're not accounting for the reduced human suffering on the other end. Perhaps the First World benefits from quinoa, so the suffering balances out.

Blood diamonds help the situation of many married men who are suffering from a lack of fellatio. Does it seem right that people die for this? Alas, no, but it does show the true human cost of marital bliss.

So who says the suffering of American suburbanites is less worthy of hand-wringing than the suffering of little brown people on the other end of the world? All things balance somehow.

Comment: Re:Pathetic (Score 3, Insightful) 683 683

What you're missing is that these private buses are using public stops. It's a very minor thing, yes. But it's also a perfect symbol of what's been happening in America:

Or, it may simply be that existing places where public buses stop to load and disgorge passengers -- happen to be someone's crazy idea of good places for private buses to do the same.

I've seen places where bus stops have a pullout area so as to be out of a traffic lane while stopped. Don't know if that applies here, but think about it... what sense would it make to deliberately stop somewhere other than a bus stop, for the express purpose of avoiding bus stops?

If you think the private companies should put in their own bus stops, grand. But they can't just go out and tear up streets without permission from city and/or state governments, which may or may not ever accomplish anything anyway.

We put up public infrastructure for people to use. I'm reasonably certain we can't discriminate against people with too much money.

Comment: Re:Big deal. (Score 1) 449 449

The truth is he can't write decent software and never could, is no visionary, and merely saw the potential of applying the Mafia business model to a software company.

Point 1 there, true or not, is irrelevant, and I doubt Bill Gates lies awake nights worrying about all those software development skills he missed out on learning.

But not visionary? I'm sorry -- I'm no Windows fanboy -- but you do not get to where he's gotten without a vision. Even if you have help, and step on everyone on the way up, it still takes a powerful vision and sheer force of will to carry it out. Hell, I bet even Stallman would give him that.

Comment: Re:One and the same (Score 3, Informative) 441 441

Yes, nullification is frowned on by judges. That doesn't mean it's wrong; it means that many judges do not like anything that curtails their power as the black-robed potentate at the head of the room.

Jury nullification is a sacred part of Anglo-Saxon law, and everyone needs to know about it. As far as I'm concerned, it should be a part of jury instructions every trial, or included in high school civics classes, because the number of Americans who know this simple concept is vanishingly and frighteningly small.

Your last sentence there is NOT an example of jury nullification. In fact, it's pretty much the exact opposite.

It is, fundamentally, the job of the jury to decide law as well as fact. It's why we have juries -- it doesn't take 6 or 12 people to decide fact, after all -- a computer could do that. The jury exists to check abuse by the state, as a final stop to the application of bad law. This is so important because the state holds all the power (police, judge, prosecutor, jury pool, etc) to the point that without jury nullification, even the most innocent of the "innocent until proven guilty" of accused doesn't stand a chance against the system -- a system we ALL know is corrupt and dangerous.

So let the judges squirm. We, the people, have ourselves to protect.

Comment: Re:Here's a question... why? (Score 1) 543 543

That is all so... sad.

Everything runs on energy, us included, and we have to fuel up. It's not optional. It's going to take up a certain amount of our time.

I cannot for the life of me understand why anyone would want to substitute real food for fast food, let alone this liquid-diet nonsense.

Hell, we really have adjusted misery down, haven't we? Once, it took ALL of our time to stay fed. Now the occasional trip to the store and a bit of chopping and cooking are too much for some lazy twats. Get a grip.

Why not just hook up an IV for nutrients, a catheter, a bedpan, and your virtual reality goggles... and just become a being of pure experiencing? Maybe you could upload your brain, a la "Lawnmower Man" so the real humans around you won't have to listen to how terrible life is for you any more. Won't it be great to not be inconvenienced by breathing and the occasional bladder-voiding?

There is no opinion so absurd that some philosopher will not express it. -- Marcus Tullius Cicero, "Ad familiares"

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