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Comment Re:Idiotic (Score 1) 591 591

I remember when the Death Penalty was reinstated in the US.

The proponents, in the popular media, said that it was necessary for the drug war - and would only be used in extreme cases, for Drug Kingpins, and Serial Killers, where there was no doubt about guilt, because there was overwhelming evidence, and full confession.

As it turns out - this was absolutely not the case.

Comment Re:Without them completely? No (Score 1) 365 365

We don't have shit for a way to replace the fertilizer supply,

. . . I see what you did there.

If the starvation dying doesn't get you, the lack of medical supplies is going to curb another large portion of our population.

Any future speculated "civilization" is going to be very different from our current one, that is for sure. Life is going to be much less convenient. I still believe that "advancement" will be possible.

Comment Re:No (Score 1, Interesting) 365 365

Your air conditioning and clothes dryer are modern conveniences.

Solar can power modern technology. But a future, speculated civilization will have a much less convenient, and lower standard of living. Just because life is inconvenient, doesn't mean society can't advance. We discovered how to split the atom before we had antibiotics. (antibiotics are not really a necessary component of an advanced, modern civilization. They are a convenience. Yes, it is inconvenient when people die young from preventible diseases. But we can still get to the point where we could - in the future, transition from solar to nuclear; for cases where that scale of electrical power generation is necessary to continue to advance).

The problem with our current civilization is that people have placed convenience (and profitable enterprise enabling hoarding of personal wealth) beyond basic common-sense principles of long-term survival (sustainability). There are really two routes here. We can either choose sustainability over convenience. Or Nature will choose, for us (and we lose both). We may never get convenience back. But I think it's very doable to get sustainability back. Even without ready access to petroleum.

Another huge benefit we've had from petroleum is the advances to agriculture from the Haber-Bosch process. Basically; this converts energy into food (through synthesis of atmospheric Nitrogen into fertilizer). This is what revolutionized agriculture in the early 20th century, and allowed our population to explode like a test-tube full of hearty yeast and grape-juice. Economists argue that that population explosion was necessary for our modern, advanced civilization. I believe that thinking to be biased by short-term thinking. This path has absolutely devastated our options, as far as a sustainable future goes. Eventually, the yeast drown in their own waste (CO2 and alcohol - so fitting). That's what will happen to us. I am thankful that whatever civilization comes after us, will not be permitted by readily-available fossil fuels, to repeat this horrible mistake, because they will need to struggle to peak-out at a global population of 1 Billion. Yes - life will be inconvenient, nasty, brutish, and short. But civilization will remain sustainable.

Comment Re:Easy explanation (Score 1) 97 97

Well, from my admittedly "selection-biased" perspective, I *do* know some elderly people. Yes, the ones with dementia are quite miserable. The ones who get into a really severe state, generally don't "last" more than a year. (thankfully). I also know a couple of elderly people (in their 90's) (and, I've had some relatives, as well, up in their late-90's) who are totally mentally sharp. They have hobbies, activities, and some health problems, but nothing horrible. I don't even know how people like this die. :)

I've also known a couple of guys who, in their 70's, got cancer . . .
And I've known a couple of people who suffered from strokes, and heart problems.

Unfortunately, strokes and heart problems can lead to dementia SYMPTOMS. (until the heart just quits, of course). Take care of your ticker, and your blood pressure.

Of all these; I'd say cancer was probably the easier death.

But my first choice is "none of the above, and have a happy, full-life into my 90's". Whether I have any friends or family or not.

Dementia would be last on my list of "ways to go peacefully". Maybe 2nd to last, because ALS fucking sucks too. (just ask Stephen Hawking).

Comment Re:No Bad management is causing the drought (Score 2) 173 173

"price water properly" is probably a good, and simple solution.
But there are many practical barriers that make this nearly impossible.
For one, there are treaties and water-rights already assigned. These involve multi-state government agreements, and there really is not an authority mechanism in existence that can address these in a unified way.
For two, there are political entanglements (regulatory capture, and officials who are basically corporate AG lapdogs).

This is one of those Utopian Ideals issues, where you think that if some magical authority came in, and put a gun to everyone's head and said: you will give up your advantageous, privileged bargaining position, and now you will pay what everyone else pays for water (and be willing to pull the trigger when they refuse or fight back) - it would solve the problem.

Basically, we need a Stalin. Or a Pol Pot.
Or we need to magically convert into a race of altruists.

Comment Re:What on earth (Score 1) 234 234

Anything that becomes molten will mix into the fuel and dilute it,

Not really. Anything that becomes molten, will pretty much vaporize, because Uranium melts at like 2000 F. If the Uranium is molten, everything else will boil away.

However: It's bollocks because the hole in which the uranium is burning, has fissures and crevases, and the Uranium would unevenly flow into small, tight spaces, spreading out and; ultimately diluting and cooling.

Experiments done at Argonne labs back a few years ago also suggested that the Uranium will form a cooler coating, as an outer shell. The core may remain molten, but the shell is cool enough to harden, and contain the molten core. The core may burn through the shell, but much of the mass will be left behind, as the molten part runs down into the burned-out cavity below, and the process repeats.

In any case, either of these scenarios would generate significant ongoing outgassing, and none of that has been observed at Fukushima; so it's likely the fuel melted and diffused and cooled. Just like Chernobyl.

Comment Re:2006: "There's no real estate bubble..." (Score 1) 252 252

It kept rising after 2004, because Greenspan stimulated the economy with a low FED rate. When it became obvious that the rates needed to be raised in 2004, they kept them low - likely to continue funding the war; which was not paid for by tax hikes or bonds, but but was paid for with debt. This overstimulated the economy (exactly what Keynes said NOT to do with stimulus spending), which is what really created the bubble. Irresponsible manipulation of monetary policy by the Bush administration. This is why Greenspan had to retire in disgrace. A disgusting legacy of greedy monetary policy manipulation for a generation and a half.

Comment Re:2006: "There's no real estate bubble..." (Score 4, Interesting) 252 252

Oh I remember this, too; in 2007; and I kept imagining that housing demand will always go up, because we're always adding more people, right?

I was naive enough that I could never conceive that we'd get to a point in this nation where vacant, foreclosed houses outnumbered homeless people 4:1. I never dreamed that our trusted financial institutions and ratings agencies would sell their credibility and AAA ratings like a crackwhore sells her virtue. Yet, post 2008 - the banks were willing to sit on empty, depreciating inventory, rather than let their fellow americans sleep indoors under a roof. Disgusting. I learned a lot since 2007.

But I'm pretty sure that when the next crash comes, everybody's going to act all surprised like they didn't see it coming, and though it could never happen like that again.

"Well hello there Charlie Brown, you blockhead." -- Lucy Van Pelt