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Comment: Re:"very telling" indeed (Score 1) 140

by ultranova (#48435969) Attached to: Greenwald Advises Market-Based Solution To Mass Surveillance

Why would anyone think that People answering to Corporations answering to the Government would work?

Didn't Japan do something like that after WWII with the zaibatsu system? Seemed to work quite well for them...

Government answers to the people.

It does. It's giving people exactly what they demand, whether that's getting tough on crime (and ignoring "technicalities" like actual evidence), tryijng to stamp out drugs with maximum prejudice, ensuring no one gets anything they haven't earned, etc. Every single policy pushed by either Democrats or Republicans is trying to pander to some block of voters. The problem is, those voters haven't quite internalized the idea that a nuclear-armed de facto demigod is treating every single one of their angry online rants and under-the-breath mutters as a heartfelt prayer, and doing its best to please.

The government answers to the people, just like genies responded to whoever held their lamp in old tales. But that also means that a master who won't think through the consequences of their wishes has only themselves to blame.

Comment: Re: It's still reacting carbon and oxygen... (Score 1) 139

by NeutronCowboy (#48434091) Attached to: Coal Plants Get New Lease On Life With Natural Gas

Do I also get to make sweeping generalizations about conservatives because you don't like government interference except to:
- control what I do in my bedroom
- control my social life
- control what I talk about
- control who I do business with
- control where I go
- control what I believe
- control what business I'm allowed to engage in

Just asking whether the "idiots are everywhere" and "generalizations are fun" rules can be abused in the other direction as well.

Comment: Re:So close, so far (Score 1) 524

by ultranova (#48431575) Attached to: "Barbie: I Can Be a Computer Engineer" Pulled From Amazon

What people disagree on what equality means (equality of opportunity vs equality of outcome for example).

But a systematic inequality of outcome suggests that the opportunity was not really equal. Every particular roll of dice is random, but if I keep getting all 1's and you all 6's, I'm going to take a good long look at that dice.

Of course even a system governed by a honest dice kinda sucks. Maybe we should try going for a point-based build instead?

Comment: Re:Put your money where your mouth is. (Score 4, Interesting) 228

by Ambitwistor (#48429569) Attached to: Does Being First Still Matter In America?

Actually, Congress did give NOAA more money for a new supercomputer. The computer hasn't materialized because NOAA is locked into a single-source contract with IBM. As TFA mentions, IBM just sold its supercomputer division to a Chinese company (Lenovo). It seems some people are antsy about the implications for a Chinese company providing the computer behind a critical national security capability (weather prediction).

Comment: Re:So close, so far (Score 1) 524

by ultranova (#48429403) Attached to: "Barbie: I Can Be a Computer Engineer" Pulled From Amazon

Who needs competition anyway? Why go to the moon, why be the best at anything?

Indeed. It would be much easier to fling our nuclear shit at the Soviets like good screeching monkies, rather than impress the world with our feats of engineering.

Just out of curiosity, do you actually know what aggression means?

Sounds more like lazy people wanting to get carried by those they look down upon.

And this sounds like someone's having delusions of grandieur.

Comment: Re:Simple (Score 1) 210

by ultranova (#48428737) Attached to: Lessons Learned From Google's Green Energy Bust

So why hasn't some company just built a fusion reactor and made untold billions of dollars?

Should fusion ever work, it's still nuclear. It still involves radiation, and produces radioactive waste - the reactor vessel will get activated over time. Greenpeace has already announced they'll oppose fusion power too.

So basically, even if someone had the technology, actually building the plants would be impossible, the enviromentalists have seen to that.

Comment: Re:Capitalism does not reward morality (Score 1) 192

by ultranova (#48425003) Attached to: Is a Moral Compass a Hindrance Or a Help For Startups?

In a free market capitalist economy markets discover prices that allow markets to clear, that means the prices adjust accordingly to the supply and demand for all things, including all types of labour and capital and land and other assets and resources.

This is the problem, actually. Historically and currently the supply of labour is greater than demand, thus the prices adjust to very low levels. This is bad for the people who get paid barely enough to eat (and not necessarily even that), and it's bad for the companies, since it means most people can't afford their products. So those companies downsize, which lowers demand even more (since there's now more unemployed people), which gives the companies need to downsize more, and so forth. The end result is a complete collapse of production systems out of lack of demand while people starve.

Basically, you're taking a pre-industrial economic model that assumes skill is all the capital you need, and apply it to post-industrial world where you can do nothing without lots and lots of money. Adam Smith assumed everyone who wants to can always find a productive job, shoveling horseshit if nothing else, but that hasn't been true for a while now. Capitalism is a system of optimally allocating labour; it can't handle a world where labour is no longer the limiting factor for production.

It is unacceptable to declare some form of moral authority based on theft and initiation of violent force.

All forms of ownership are based on willingness to initiate force against anyone who ignores your claims of ownership. All such claims originate from someone simply claiming something as theirs. That they've often passed through many hands over many generations doesn't change this fact. And that means that declaring some claims as valid and others as theft is simply a matter of convention; all claims of ownership are ultimately stealing from public domain. So stop treating them as some kind of revealed holy order and see them as they are: a convenience similar to, say, city limits, which absolutely can be adjusted without there being anything immoral about this (altough such adjustments need to happen in an even, fair and legal manner, obviously).

Comment: Re:Capitalism does not reward morality (Score 1) 192

by ultranova (#48424933) Attached to: Is a Moral Compass a Hindrance Or a Help For Startups?

Anything that reduces individual freedoms is less moral than anything that increases individual freedoms. Anything that reduces private property rights and self determination through these rights is less moral than than anything that increases private property rights and self determination.

The problem is, excessive focus on private property rights leads to wealth concentration which decreases self determination - and thus effective individual freedom - for most participants. Or possibly for all, since even the wealthy have their potential choices limited to those which acquire them more, or at the very least maintain what they alrady have.

This process led to the excesses that gave birth to both socialism and fascism during the Industrial Revolution. Any capitalistic system that fails to adress it is going to give birth to similar movements. And those which manage to suppress them yet fail to learn their lesson will collapse due to insufficient share of wealth going to the lower classes that they could continue participating in the economy even if they wanted to, which is currently happening.

AFAIC the profit motive is the most moral way to run a society because it is the most moral way to run an economy without stealing and without using collective violence against an individual.

Claims of ownership are backed by threats of violence, either private or collective. Property does not exist in a society that has truly forsworn violence.

Comment: Re:I bet Slashdot knows better than any engineer.. (Score 1) 480

by ultranova (#48424875) Attached to: What Would Have Happened If Philae Were Nuclear Powered?

some of them might actually be certified experts.

But on the Internet, they're just screen names. So they need to use their expertise, rather than these hypothetical certificates, to back their arguments. Which might not be such a bad idea IRL, either.

Comment: Re:Exploding Rockets vs. Nuclear Power (Score 1) 480

by ultranova (#48424835) Attached to: What Would Have Happened If Philae Were Nuclear Powered?

Spaceborn or would-be-spaceborn RTGs have crashed many times with no outcry or PR trouble for the responsible space agencies, I don't see any reason why this would be any different.

Because hysterics is nowadays an accepted way of doing politics. And because of that, there's a lot of people who jump at any chance, no matter how ridiculous, to make nuclear power seem scary, consequences be damned.

And let's face it, inability to send space probes to outer solar system is a pretty small consequence compared to climate change and economy permanently crippled by high energy prices, both of which are the inevitable consequences of succesfully opposing nuclear energy.

Comment: Re:Duh (Score 1) 222

by ultranova (#48420963) Attached to: Three-Way Comparison Shows PCs Slaying Consoles In Dragon Age Inquisition

Don't need to upgrade regularly anymore, huh? Go look at the system requirements on AC: Unity and tell me you can play that on even medium settings with a system that hasn't been upgraded in years.

Go loot at pretty much any other game and you can. That you can find always find a game that requires a high-end PC to run, doesn't mean that you have to upgrade. Especially not when the game in question has around 7 or so practically identical predecessors which run on mid-level machines just fine.

If anything, modern PCs with their multicore 64-bit CPUs are years ahead of game development, which still targets 32-bit machines by default.

Felson's Law: To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism; to steal from many is research.