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Comment: Re:I'm all for abolishing the IRS (Score 1) 271

by jcr (#49374655) Attached to: Sign Up At irs.gov Before Crooks Do It For You

I'm trying to come up with a good argument that taxing production is more easily made progressive than taxing consumption, but now I'm not sure that's right.

That's because it isn't right. If someone's spending a million bucks a year, they get taxed on a million bucks a year. If they're earning a million bucks a year and living like a monk, then the funds they've earned aren't out there competing with yours for goods and services. A miser is an ideal neighbor.

-jcr

Comment: Re:Freedom to discriminate == no protection ... (Score 2) 886

If you are such a whiny idiot that you think it should be OK to say "we don't serve your kind here", then you should have no legal or moral basis to claim that someone shouldn't be able to do the same to you.

Yes, I agree. People should be able to refuse to do business with someone for any reason whatsoever, and vice versa. Religious conviction shouldn't have any special status in law above any other type of preference or desire.

So either shut up, and accept that you have no other ways you're legally allowed to discriminate against someone ... or accept that it should also be someone else's right to refuse you because of your religion.

I agree and accept this.

Comment: Re:I'm pretty sure Jesus said not to do this (Score 1) 886

The problem is where do you draw the line?

Why is there a line to be drawn?

Photographer refuses to take photographs at a non-white wedding because of "religious" beliefs. Will take photos of any white ceremony.

And? Can the couple still get married? Can they find a photographer? Pretty sure they can. The photographer's bigotry does not pick anyone's pocket or break anyone's leg. It does not interfere with anyone's rights. Let him turn down paying customers and give opportunity to his competition, it's sort of a self-limiting problem.There is no need for any action here, any more than if a Catholic music composer accepts a commission from the diocese but doesn't accept a commission from the local synagogue (or from the Westborough Baptist Church).

Comment: Re:How is bigotry a good thing? (Score 1) 886

Explain to us then the rational opposing position then. Explain to us the pro-discrimination position whereby we should be permitted to discrimination on the basis of race, gender, age, or even sexual orientation when none of those things should matter.

You seem to be under the mistaken impression that all things except what the state have decided are proper should be forbidden.

Yes, among enlightened people race, gender, age, or even sexual orientation should not matter. That does not imply that unenlightened people should be subject to criminal prosecution or lawsuits.

You should be permitted to discriminate in some areas because you should be permitted to do anything you want that does not interfere with the fundamental rights of others. Housing is a fundamental right, so you shouldn't be legally able to discriminate in renting out a house. But hiring a specific person to take your wedding pictures is not a fundamental right, so a photographer should be legally able to turn down a paying customer for whatever reason they want, even bigotry.

Comment: Re:No they don't (Score 1) 213

by Mr. Slippery (#49370051) Attached to: Chinese Scientists Plan Solar Power Station In Space

Doing the math with the wrong numbers isn't informative. You've ignored the atmospheric losses suffered by ground-based systems -- clouds, dust, the opacity of air. I think you're also being much more generous in estimating the potential lifetime of ground-based systems than space-based ones, which skews your numbers.

It may be that the gains are small enough to not justify the launch costs, though that depends on how much we value land taken up by solar arrays.

Comment: Re:Tired of Consensus = Fact (Score 1) 396

by moeinvt (#49369633) Attached to: Experts: Aim of 2 Degrees Climate Goal Insufficient

"There is no chance of another glacial period occurring until CO2 levels drop well below 300 ppm again."

Even a small scale nuclear war could do it. National Geographic did an article a few years ago where it was suggested that 100 Hiroshima-sized weapons could very well reverse the near term warming trend. That assumed a certain amount of ash and soot from secondary burning however.

Comment: Radio Shack Closing Around Them (Score 1) 92

by billstewart (#49368043) Attached to: Arduino Dispute Reaches Out To Distributors

I started playing with Arduinos a couple of years ago. You ordered them by mail order at the time. Eventually Radio Shack started carrying them, which made it easier for anybody to pick one up (and while I live in Silicon Valley, if I needed a few resistors or LEDs or simple components to go with them, it was often easier to stop at Radio Shack than Fry's or mailorder.) Now they're fighting over the name, and Radio Shack is going out of business.

Comment: Re:Wrong Focus (Score 4, Informative) 118

by jcr (#49365325) Attached to: SpaceX's New Combustion Technologies

As it happens, back in the '80s I worked at a company (Commonwealth Scientific) that built ion-beam guns based on the Kaufman duoplasmatron, which was the basis of the mercury-vapor thrusters that NASA had developed in the 1960s. The company was trying to make the aperture of the guns as wide as possible, and the difficulties included neutralizing the ion beam on the way out, keeping the plasma inside the gun stable, and keeping the beam density even. Basically, the bigger the gun, the harder it was to make it run steadily. When I was there, they had 8" apertures and were working on scaling them up to 12" apertures.

-jcr

When you don't know what to do, walk fast and look worried.

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