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Comment: von Braun's ethics (Score 1) 292

In May 1945, von Braun had to decide whether to surrender to the U.S. or the USSR. This is how he described the decision:

We knew that we had created a new means of warfare, and the question as to what nation, to what victorious nation we were willing to entrust this brainchild of ours was a moral decision more than anything else. We wanted to see the world spared another conflict such as Germany had just been through, and we felt that only by surrendering such a weapon to people who are guided by the Bible could such an assurance to the world be best secured.

Draw your own conclusion about his ethical compass.

Comment: Great question (Score 1) 755

by GPS Pilot (#48741685) Attached to: Science Cannot Prove the Existence of God

Great question; but if you've figured out some of the pieces of the framework, you're further along in explaining the nature of God than if you haven't figured out some of the pieces of the framework.

That's why I tell people to study a physics book if they want insight into the mind of God.

Makes perfect sense: everyone who believes in God believes that God authored the laws of physics, but not everyone who believes in God believes that the Bible is divinely inspired.

Comment: Not proven (Score 1) 556

If the sky breaks open, choirs of angels break forth, a 10km-long arm reaches down from the skies and an 8km golden-haired, bearded face looks down upon humanity and utters words of unshakable truth...then God is proven.

Well, although I believe some sort of supernatural entity created the universe, the scenario you describe would not "prove" the existence of God to me.

"What does God need with a starship?" James T. Kirk famously asked in Star Trek V.

What does God need with a beard, or a cohort of angels, or an arm or a face, or anything resembling the body of an earthly living being, for that matter?

If I see a 10 km-long arm in the sky, I will think "damn, that's an impressive hoax."

Comment: Hope you're right (Score 1) 334

by GPS Pilot (#48362807) Attached to: Americans Rejoice At Lower Gas Prices

Iranians don't want nukes to attack their neighbors, they want them as a defensive deterrent.

Your faith in the rationality of this Great-Satan-rhetoric-spewing, eschatology-minded, 12th-imam-loving nation is greater than mine.

The guys who cooperated, and gave up their nuke programs (Saddam Hussein, Muammar Qaddafi), are dead.

I recall Gaddafi voluntarily handing over materiel, and being much more cooperative with UN weapons inspectors than Hussein. He should have been rewarded with, perhaps, a quiet asylum villa where he could have lived out his retirement. Not this: "The video appears to picture Gaddafi being poked or stabbed in the rear 'with some kind of stick or knife' or possibly a bayonet".

Comment: Re:A killer attitude (Score 1) 334

by GPS Pilot (#48362577) Attached to: Americans Rejoice At Lower Gas Prices

The 250,000+ deaths mentioned in the article are not due to heat getting cut. It's due to people with weak immune systems (mostly elderly) trying to economize by setting their thermostats low, which makes them marginally more susceptible to influenza and other illnesses.

Lower energy prices --> less incentive to economize. An old person dying of a preventable seasonal illness isn't as newsworthy as other types of deaths, but yes it still counts as a tragic human death.

While I was vacationing in the UK, I was surprised to see the resort meter my suite's energy usage, and charge me for it when I checked out. Of course hardcore environmentalists love those kind of policies. (I didn't mind so much... aside from the slight hassle, I guess it's better than assessing an average charge to wasteful and thrifty people alike.) But for immune-compromised tenants, it does give them an incentive to place themselves at marginally greater risk of dying.

Comment: The point is... (Score 1) 334

by GPS Pilot (#48362333) Attached to: Americans Rejoice At Lower Gas Prices

Your assumption that I sometimes buy new cars in incorrect. Cars depreciate about as fast as PCs, and I take great satisfaction knowing that someone else ate that depreciation.

But whether I buy new or used is irrelevant to the point I was trying to make. If it's logical for people to buy a more fuel-efficient vehicle when the price of fuel increases (and it is), it is also logical -- not a lack of willpower or other character flaw -- for people to buy a less fuel-efficient vehicle when the price of fuel decreases. Anthony Perl can't have it both ways.

Comment: Re:A killer attitude (Score 1) 334

by GPS Pilot (#48348137) Attached to: Americans Rejoice At Lower Gas Prices

Of course inexpensive energy didn't fix all of society. But it did a lot of social good, and I'm glad you somewhat acknowledge that now.

I'm not opposed to "inexpensive energy" but to subsidize fossil fuels for those who can easily afford it

You seem to have a lot in common with the article I linked. Note the story about the millionaire who protested the fact that the UK government subsidizes his fuel bill.

Comment: Re:Bizarre (Score 1) 334

by GPS Pilot (#48341073) Attached to: Americans Rejoice At Lower Gas Prices

Nobody fears a nuclear Iran more than the Saudis, not even the Israelis.

Is that a rational fear; is an Iranian nuke more likely to be detonated in Riyadh than Tel Aviv? (Or, given that Iran is the biggest state sponsor of terror, transferred to a terrorist cell that floats it on a small boat into New York Harbor?)

Comment: Insulting my willpower (Score 1) 334

by GPS Pilot (#48341015) Attached to: Americans Rejoice At Lower Gas Prices

Whenever I buy a car, I build a spreadsheet to compare Total Cost of Ownership for several different models. One of the inputs, of course, is the price of fuel.

If that variable goes up, I am steered toward a more fuel-efficient vehicle, and according to Anthony Perl, I "have the willpower to stick with the program." But apparently I should banish that factor from my spreadsheet if the price of fuel goes down, lest I be steered toward a less fuel-efficient vehicle, and become guilty of a huge characater flaw.

I mean, an addiction to large overpriced SUVs that never touch dirt or mud is clearly an addiction spiraling out of control that we should probably earmark billions in taxpayer money.

You're being sarcastic, but Dubya took real action toward that end.

Comment: Re:Pot erased an average of 8 IQ points (Score 1) 219

by GPS Pilot (#48340705) Attached to: Silk Road 2.0 Seized By FBI, Alleged Founder Arrested In San Francisco

That's an excellent question.


How about exhaustion from work? Let's ban overtime, and limit daily hours to 4 while we're at it.

In fact, legislators have already dealt with this. The law limits the standard workweek to 40 hours (even shorter in France), working overtime is something that's pretty heavily regulated, and child labor laws prohibit all work for kids under 14.

When adults work and earn income, there is less of a need for kids to work and earn income, but the opposite dynamic exists for controlled substances: when adults gain easier access to them, minors also gain easier access to them. (For most of the people who voted for Amendment 64 here in Colorado, that was an unintended consequence; but for some it was very intended -- "power to the babystoners!") Thanks for making points that support my position.

Where do you draw the line?

I thought I had made clear that permanent loss of an average of 8 IQ points is too high a price to pay for the freedom to get stoned (a freedom that people who have their sobriety don't even miss). Now I ask again, where do you draw the line?

Comment: Re:Pot erased an average of 8 IQ points (Score 1) 219

by GPS Pilot (#48339947) Attached to: Silk Road 2.0 Seized By FBI, Alleged Founder Arrested In San Francisco

STFU, no one is talking about legalizing pot for minors

LOL, I'm in Colorado where voters decided to legalize pot in 2013 -- nominally only for adults -- and as a result use among minors has increased dramatically. That's one of the reasons Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) called the decision "reckless."

You can not win the game, and you are not allowed to stop playing. -- The Third Law Of Thermodynamics