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Comment: Re:Subsidize the supply side (Score 2) 939 939

The more means of abstraction to the service required, the more you're handing things to the middlemen. We don't want to cut checks to let everyone buy without price controls, otherwise the market will respond as if everyone's richer and just price accordingly. If you do price controls, that's extra regulation and besides the point.

What ought to be happening is a new homestead act; there are far more foreclosed buildings held by crooked banks than homeless people. Seems to me they should be dissolved, and the homes doled out - people who don't have to scramble for survival will be able to do far more productive things with their time.

Landlord profits are a lousy thing to optimise for. They're not in it to have the most energy efficient, well-made, forward-thinking homes. They're not in it to sell just enough. They're going for maximum profit. Doesn't our civilization have better things to do than let people who own far more than they personally need control things?

Comment: Re:This is a good thing. (Score 1) 294 294

No matter how bad the things the NSA and its lackies do inside the national borders, the worse stuff happens elsewhere.

How do you think they keep their hands clean? Egypt and even Syria have been client states for rendering prisoners for torture methods the CIA didn't stoop to. Raw recorded phone conversations between US citizens have been handed over to Mossad. They use different governments and nations as shells in their game, and ultimately, place on the hierarchy of power and fear, from bottom to top, is much more relevant to how people are acting than any border.

This is not the kind of power we should be okay with, when they've tortured people in Gitmo, Abu Ghraib, and Bagram - and wow, now they have a black site in Chicago????

You can't have a vicious beast headquartered in DC and expect it to only eat out! We're the midnight snack, here. The tricks they've gotten away with overseas with the people they've goaded the American public to hate and blame, they'll turn on that same public.

Justice for the Other person isn't just a matter of high humanity, it's a matter of our own long-term freedom. That's why I have never opposed war from a place of not supporting troops, or loving my country and world less than a whole lot. In real life, karma comes whether deserved or not - it goes around, it comes around, and who knows who it'll roll over on the way. Because of the violence we got co-opted to with a pack of lies, we're just shuffled to a later spot on the line to goodness knows what. My heart's broken for the state of humanity when the 5% of it that's the USA is both oppressed and used to oppress.

Comment: Absolutely (Score 2) 170 170

And I have never felt content to just play a game. Games always fall short in some way. I found it rewarding to try and splice out code for unnecessary features when they wouldn't run in 128K on our home PC in the 80's, I thought I'd struck gold when I found out Chuck Yeager's AFT stored its planes in flat text and simple experimentation could reveal what the numbers were, and before I was coding Nethack and MUDs, I was hex-editing X-Wing. That was way more interesting than any game alone, though the adults in my life thought I was "just playing games".

Yeah, well, I didn't listen to them, and that's why I'm not mowing lawns to get by.

Comment: Re:It's not even that convenient (Score 1) 270 270

Heh. Nice straw man. No, I buy strictly local-independent, never chain. The grounds get composted and go into my garden. The little extra paid for the coffee beans is made up for the lack of unnecessary corporate goods elsewhere. The point isn't hipster pretentiousness, it's to point out that good stuff doesn't come from black boxes, and it's ridiculously simple to be hands on.

Comment: It's not even that convenient (Score 4, Insightful) 270 270

This is horrible. Keurig coffee is crap, and it creates a huge amount of disposable waste.

Me, I have a small water boiler to get the water up to 208 degrees F, two grinders - a hand-turned grinder and an electric one for when I'm in a hurry and the noise isn't a problem, and a french press. I keep the coffee beans whole in a brown paper bag. Just grind, pour in a way that doesn't leave grounds floating above the water, and I can take the french press back to my desk and pour into a large mug in five minutes.

It's still simpler than a PBJ and I don't create a huge pile of plastic garbage. Jeez, will someone get the marketing departments some psychotherapy already?

Comment: Re:Propaganda Works (Score 1) 686 686

"An awkward, feeble, leaky lie is a thing which you ought to make it your unceasing study to avoid; such a lie as that has no more real permanence than an average truth. Why, you might as well tell the truth at once and be done with it. A feeble, stupid, preposterous lie will not live two years -- except it be a slander upon somebody. It is indestructible, then of course, but that is no merit of yours."

- Mark Twain, "Advice to Youth"

Comment: Then they decrypted the radio transmission (Score 1) 154 154

A British voice was heard saying...

"And here's where he lives..." (some sort of bang)
"And here's his neighbor..." (bang again)
"And here's his neighbor's summer home..." (bang and some thumps)
"And here's the town by the beach - tropical island - the whole planet he lived on!"

The bangs became curiously long and bass-level, and the voice broke off into maniacal cackling.

Comment: Re:Either fast breeder or thorium (Score 1) 417 417

Every time this comes up, either a fast-breeder or a thorium crackpot comes out of their holes.

What if we just stop wasting resources?

Take transport: why does it take > 30 kW to move around one ~80kg bag of flesh&bones? Because it's too cheap. Why don't we insulate homes more? Because the alternative is too cheap. Ad nauseam.

Sometimes the appropriate technology is advanced, sometimes moving a pile of dirt into the right place does the job. Here's an example:

Yes, you can retrofit many existing homes to this standard. You can even use sandbag-laying equipment for this purpose. What's in the way are regulations built to suit developers and homeowner's associations built around building and flipping energy-guzzling disposable McMansions - for starters.

The latest methods for building these homes resemble 3D printing and they only need a fraction of the solar panels a regular home does to be completely off-grid. Add rainwater harvesting and composting, and you just cut out the need for energy-guzzling waterworks. Add gardens and greenhouses, and replacing the first 50% of your food consumption from carbon-intensive sources is easy. Moreover, very little portland cement - itself alone responsible for 11% of humanity's CO2 emissions - is needed for this.

The gadget-oriented can still go to town automating the opening and closing of shutters and convective cooling to complete this completely self-sufficient home that could supply most of its occupant's food. Building one of these is a survivalist coup. Building a lot of these is a strategy to turn this crisis around without even touching a nuclear reactor.

I just want to highlight that we can easily bring our consumption down to a level that we can easily scale renewables up to 100% for.

Comment: Re:Strictly speaking... (Score 1) 417 417

Do you realize that carbon dioxide uptake from the atmosphere is what's driving ocean acidification? Compare the map of the world's forests to one hundred, one thousand, and ten thousand years ago. Add the fact that industrialization over the past two centuries got hundreds of millions of years' worth of sequestered carbon and released it into the atmosphere. What's this to the natural world? A top-level mass extinction.

The ecosystem's screwed. Whether it's beyond recovery is the question. Seeing as how humans come from an ecosystem, not a factory, we've got to be doing more about this than we are.

Comment: Re:Ancient Chinese wisdom (Score 1) 116 116

Any civilisation that in 5000 years never managed to invent the fork and carried on using 2 sticks to eat with isn't that great.

Really? You're sure that they just couldn't figure a fork out?

Here's the story of chopsticks. Having potential weapons at the dinner table became a real problem in times of tension, and it became a violent, rude spectacle to stab or slice your food at dinner with others - think state functions or otherwise. It implies what you might be thinking to do to others present. Hence, leave the knives in the kitchen with the cooks. Hence, you don't use those stabby forks. Spoons and chopsticks become the social acceptable ways to eat.

Not that everyone learns from the past however old their civilization is, but China's cultural roots are extremely sensible. Save your slurs for the stupid officials who are acting authoritarian in childish ways. They're not good examples of any culture.

Comment: LLVM assembly (Score 1) 641 641

Since we actually have a widely accepted portable assembly language now, I have been pondering this very question. LLVM assembly holds a lot of potential, similar to how the TAOS operating system promised back in the early 90's with its virtual processor assembly:

The guy who inspired me to want to program used to write assembly on a 386 with a slightly hacked copy of the 8086-oriented freeware assembler CHASM. He read compiled binaries in hex like code. I asked him, "Doesn't it take a lot more time to write in assembler?" "Not that much", he replied, "You break things down into functions and build libraries of code you don't have to reinvent, just like in C." The guy was freaking brilliant.

We've so frequently created new languages around new ideas in programming, and that's great, but eventually the number of abstractions becomes quite an issue. People are willing to write operating systems like MenuetOS in assembly in x86_64 asm. That's great. I'd love to see a compiler there to do validation of code, uphold Ada-like programming by contract, that sort of thing, but I'd love to see assembly programming make a comeback.

At the source of every error which is blamed on the computer you will find at least two human errors, including the error of blaming it on the computer.