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Comment: Re:First time a Muslim packs one with explosives (Score 1) 121

by NicBenjamin (#49376361) Attached to: How long until our skies are filled with drones?

Dude, if you want to know what Muslims think about Boko Harem you should probably avoid all news sources where the bottle blonde to hijab ratio is infinity.

Daesh, as ISIS is called by actual Muslims, is hated. There are no official Muslim political leaders, including the Iranians, who haven't condemned it. Most of them (again, including the Iranians) have sent troops to fight it. Quite a few have lost more troops to Daesh then we ever will, because we refuse risk American lives. Most of their recruits are actually westerners.

They're the guys from France's Islamic 5% who got out of High School and looked for those high-paying working class jobs, discovered that in the 21st century those are a myth, and furthermore that if you're in France and you aren't on the exact college track you can't get into a good college, and said "Fuck this France Shit, I'm returning to my roots and violently opposing all this French Shit; and since my holy book was written by the same guy who ordered the slaughter of the Canaanites I'm actually gonna be following the letter of my religious laws when I rape that Yazidi chick to avenge myself on all the French Catholic chicks who turned me down." They're basically what happens when you put a bunch of Non-white Muslims into a culture that consistently turns a significant group of it's young men into white supremacist racist thugs.

BH is just as despised. Their justification is that Western Education is evil, and yet the people of Chibok thought Western-style education was so important for their daughter's future they sent the girls to school on an alert day to take Western-style tests. In English. They certainly wish they hadn't now. All the criticism I've seen of President Jonathan's handling of the situation is that he didn't take it seriously, he let BH conquer vast tracts of the country, and that this may have been an electoral ploy becau7se said vast tracts were mostly Moslem and were poised to vote against him.

Comment: Re:First time a Muslim packs one with explosives (Score 1) 121

by NicBenjamin (#49376245) Attached to: How long until our skies are filled with drones?

Don't be ridiculous.

When a white guy who has a problem with Islam guns down an entire family in cold blood, partly because he couldn't handle that the woman wore headscarves, nobody in a position of authority will even conclusively rule it's a hate crime. OTOH anytime somebody named Mohamed gets in a fight with somebody not named Mohamed it is immediately labeled terrorism.

So yes, while the OP may be racist, he's also got an excellent point on how the US political and social elites will respond if the first asshole to abuse drone technology happens to be Islamic.

Comment: Re:Delivery drones (Score 1) 121

by NicBenjamin (#49376163) Attached to: How long until our skies are filled with drones?

Drone's have a couple major inefficiencies:

1) Engine's scale really well with size. Thus a train with one Diesel engine and 50 truckloads is a lot more fuel-efficiant then 50 smaller truck engines.

2) They fly. Flying is the least energy-effiicant form of transportation ever invented because you have to overcome gravity and push enough air to get yourself moving, and half the time your rated airspeed is lower then your actual groundspeed because "25 MPH airspeed East" just means you're going East 25 MPH faster then the wind 9aka: the air) is. If the winds going west Fast you could actually be creeping west.

Watch birds on a windy day. It's not uncommon for them to totally fail to fly in their chosen direction and give up. Pizza Hut is not gonna tolerate not being able to deliver to half their target market because it's really fucking windy today and their energy-efficiant drones top air-speed is too slow to go that way. They are not gonna tolerate not being able to get their drones back from the second half of their delivery market because the damn drone's airspeed isn't enough to come back.

Don't get me wrong. At some point AI will be good enough that lots of little package delivery will stop arriving in trucks driven by white working class guys who actually make a living wage. Gutting the careers of white working class guys who actually make a living wage, and then insisting they shoulda been smarter 30 years ago in High School if they wanted to not be on welfare, is the kind of thing both you and the political elite seem to take joy in.

But aerial drone delivery for everything every day is not a "next five years" thing because you'd need somebody to put a couple billion into developing a mass produceable vehicle with an air-speed in the 30s (you know when the weatherman says "Strong Breeze? that means windspeed could be as high as 31 MPH).

Comment: Re:Why NOT cooperate with them? (Score 1) 82

by NicBenjamin (#49375683) Attached to: NASA Denies New Space Station Partnership With Russia

Who do you think makes rockets? The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace workers.

Who do you think processes rocket fuel? The Steelworkers.

Who do you think designs the damn things in government labs? Government employees, most of whom are unionized.

The current Republican party will never fund any of these groups, partly because some of them are Evil Unions, and partly because the lesson the GOP base learned from the Bush years was that government spending is an evil in it's own right.

Comment: Re:Putin's getting desperate... (Score 1) 82

by NicBenjamin (#49373827) Attached to: NASA Denies New Space Station Partnership With Russia

You wanna know what an MD in her first year of residency has? A 350% debt-to-personal-GDP ratio. Post-residency she's still in the 150-200% range. You wanna know what a 19-year-old home depot cashier at $9.25 an hour has? No debt at all. You wanna guess which one of those women will have a more financially stable future?

Compare that to the US. Yes we have a lot of debt. but we have it mostly because some idiot insisted on cutting taxes without cutting spending, financed two major wars 100% via debt, and then didn't notice that light touch mortgage regulations were about to cripple the economy and fuck everyone over. That a) tanked Federal revenue, while b) drastically increasing social spending because unemployed people qualify for a lot more food stamps, which would have been bad enough if that idiot hadn't already had us running a sizable deficit.

Now if any of us actually gave a shit about the deficit (rather then giving a shit about manipulating people to support our other policy positions) it would be trivial to fix. Raise the income tax five points, fire the Army because we've got Marines, abolish NASA, implement a massive Federal VAT, or any number of ideas could fix it single-handed.

But like I said, nobody who claims to care about the deficit actually cares about the deficit. They care about manipulating moderates into supporting their social-engineering scheme to either a) cut government spending because it's a threat to freedom and the American way of life, or b) jack up the income tax rate because inequality is a threat to freedom and the American way of life.

Which one are you?

Comment: Re:Putin's getting desperate... (Score 3, Interesting) 82

by NicBenjamin (#49367927) Attached to: NASA Denies New Space Station Partnership With Russia

What in my post implied Putin cares what ordinary Americans think? I mentioned him trying to appease a Russian domestic audience with a space station, and potential difficulties he'd have reining in the Donbass rebels, but I said nothing about Western public opinion.

BTW, your premise is wrong to an extent at least. All my comments got a -1 troll, the AC posting that Russia was a superpower got to +4 insightful, and everyone criticizing that blessed comment also got -1 troll. Which means the Kremlin apparently loosed it's merry band of paid internet trolls on Slashdot.

Comment: Re:Why NOT cooperate with them? (Score 0) 82

by NicBenjamin (#49367911) Attached to: NASA Denies New Space Station Partnership With Russia

You could actually. $10 Billion a year for 10 years is peanuts in the context of a $Trillion budget.

The issue is that poisonous combination of a) deficit hawks, and b) partisan gridlock which makes it impossible to do anything that costs money. c), the ideological elites absolute commitment to low taxes on itself means that even during flush times (ie: the late '90s- early 2000s) it won't happen.

If you want the government to buy nice things that are not tax cuts you have to vote in the Democratic primaries so that the Dem who wins is not one of those free-market obsessives who are honestly convinced the economy grows much faster with a top tax rate of 38%; and then you have to vote for that guy in the General election.

Comment: Re:Putin's getting desperate... (Score 3, Interesting) 82

by NicBenjamin (#49367767) Attached to: NASA Denies New Space Station Partnership With Russia

"Leading" is a relative term in a world dominated by the US. We're a fifth of the economy. We're most of the military spending. We have the most advanced weapons. Our culture is known world-wide. The Chinese could compete with us, if they get a few more years of 8% growth and they can figure out their aging population problem. The Europeans could also compete with us, if they'd ever get off their damn asses and give their precious sovereign right to veto every-damn-thing to the EU.

Russia clearly belongs in the next tier, right along with the Japanese and other regional powers. But it's not like Russia can bail out small Latin American countries without noticing the hit to it's budget. But the top tier clearly could. So could the Japanese.

Comment: Putin's getting desperate... (Score 0) 82

by NicBenjamin (#49367597) Attached to: NASA Denies New Space Station Partnership With Russia

He would have confirmed this with Obama if he was still on his game. He clearly needs something to show his people that Russia is a leading nation among the entire world, and not just a regional power in Eastern Europe, and what better way then say "we're collaborating with the US on a space station no other two countries could build?"

Putin desperation is either good or bad. If he decides he can declare victory in Donbass and calm things down (and he has the political muscle to keep the Ukrainian separatists in line) it's good for the US. If he decides he needs some other victory to appease his critics then it could get really iffy, potentially nuclear war iffy if he starts supporting separatists in Latvia (which is 25% Russian) or something similarly suicidal.

Comment: Re:Best buy (Score 1) 194

by NicBenjamin (#49367231) Attached to: Best Buy Kills Off Future Shop

"British system of 1789," so any present tense discussion of the British government is irrelevant.

And yes, in 1789 the Brits had a an upper chamber selected by the groups intended to run the nation (the House of Lords) and a frequently re-elected lower House that was intended to be the voice of the People (the Commons). The Upper was supposed to cool the relatively hot tempers of the lower, veto any attempts to replace the elite by popular vote, and generally wear the man pants.

The differences between Senate election (at the time Senators were appointed by the State Legislature), and inheriting a Peerage is precisely analogous to the difference between Presidential elections (by a House of Electors appointed by those states) and inheriting the Crown.

Comment: Re:Economy (Score 1) 194

by NicBenjamin (#49363419) Attached to: Best Buy Kills Off Future Shop

Depends on the market.

My job at Home Depot is probably more threatened by the current management's obsession with cutting labor costs then larger market conditions.

Lots of people, including contractors, would rather go a store with six locations in the County that has everything they need, with better then 50% chance of having a guy who can warn them about the tricky bits; then buy from a company with no locations in Cuyahoga County; or buy from a location with a 100% chance of having that smart guy on the other side of the fucking County. Especially since the specialty shop on the other side of the County is likely to have higher costs, because half it's staff aren't kids just out of high school thrilled to be getting 25 hours a week at $9.25. Which means management's unstated goal on replacing the $10-$20 an hour guys with said kids is much more of a problem then the Internet.

The internet is actually helpful, because it's really hard for Amazon to compete with Home Depot on shipping concrete.

Comment: Re:Best buy (Score 2) 194

by NicBenjamin (#49363325) Attached to: Best Buy Kills Off Future Shop

We tried Annexing countless times. Literally. I can't count the times. Once during the Revolution, once during the War of 1812, another time in the 1830s when our Marshall in Detroit "accidentally" let Canadian rebels "borrow" the entire contents of the arsenal, numerous times in the late 1860s when the Fenians tried to conquer Canada...

They've always been quite adamant that they are quite happy to be her Majesty's Unamerican subjects.

And you're highly exaggerating our originality. The US System is precisely identical to the British system of 1789 except for three things: 1) instead of one document containing everything the Brits had multiple documents, 2) the King selected by much different means (descent from Electress Sophia vs. selection by the states), and 3) we had two levels of government (state and Federal). Other then that the whole thing is warmed-ovwer British mush combined with good-old American boastful bullshitting.

Comment: Re:The Canadian middle class is dying out. (Score 1) 194

by NicBenjamin (#49363263) Attached to: Best Buy Kills Off Future Shop

And the really smart people have done the math, and bought a fairly used but still reliable vehicle (ie: closer to $5k then $10k), that's gets at least 30 MPG. They maintain it at the dealer because they know he's only going to screw them over on the official bill; rather then screwing them over by trying to use plumbing parts in a car*. Then they drive it for at least a decade.

The easiest way to lose $3k a year every year forever is insist on having a recent-model $30k vehicle in your driveway at all times. The second-easiest is to try to keep a $500 hooptie running 365 days a year if you aren't a skilled mechanic.

*Yes this actually happens. No I do not understand why someone would think a part meant for room temperature to possibly 130 Fahrenheit would work in a fucking internal combustion engine for any meaningful period of time. But I have actually witnessed a backstreet mechanic spend an hour trying to find the plumbing fitting that matched the one he'd pulled from a car.

Comment: Re:And now why this can not be done in the USofA (Score 1) 317

Strictly speaking the reason nobody in the US supports large Hydro projects is that most of them have already been completed. It's not like we can re-engineer Iowa to be a huge plateau so that the Mississippi dam in Nebraska can generate power from a 100 ft drop.

Nuclear is virtually impossible to get support for anywhere because it's a classic Black Swan risk. Yeah if everything works you're Sweden and you've got no environmental impact, but if there's a disaster after the power company's fucked up safety procedures you're doing $100 Billion in damage. Moreover in a loosish union of sovereign states it's really difficult to convince one to accept all the nuclear fuel.

The use of money is all the advantage there is to having money. -- B. Franklin