Thanks whoever allowed me to post again. It is appreciated.
Due to excessive bad posting from this IP or Subnet, comment posting has temporarily been disabled. If it's you, consider this a chance to sit in the timeout corner . If it's someone else, this is a chance to hunt them down. If you think this is unfair, please email email@example.com with your MD5'd IPID and SubnetID, which are "5cc8c054671a69799e1e5eb37bfc523f" and "94da33efa6ea012c0607ad6d32121eb3" and (optionally, but preferably) your IP number "188.8.131.52" and your username "Qrlx".
My last post is 6/5/2004. That's almost three weeks ago. While the quality of my content isn't always award-winning, I'm definitely not spamming. If somebody has a problem with me, my account, or my subnet, how 'bout some feedback?
Personally I think it's something in Comcast's routing tables because my outside IP doesn't even show up when I do a trace to slashdot.org. But if every comcast customer was blacklisted, I kinda think that would be fixed by now. WTF??!!
I have emailed firstname.lastname@example.org three times. No responses. In desperation I emailed roblimo and got back a response "You posted on Saturday." Yeah, Saturday two weeks ago. Thanks for nothing.
I can't spend all day posting on Fark. They don't thread their stories so you can't carry on a conversation there. At this rate I might have to get some work done!
Alright, this is a great point. Allow me to try to explain myself.
Coal power is not going away. Not without a complete sea change. Something akin to World War III, except I think that after a World War III coal power would be just as prevalent, only not as much coal would be burnt because there would be so many fewer people burning it.
Nuclear power; well realistically the genie is out of the bottle, but aside from France and Japan it might be contained. A nuclear reactor is inherently dangerous for the same reason that a nuclear bomb is inherently dangerous. Maybe the so-called nuclear reactor is a part of some secret weapons program. Middle eastern countries simply aren't allowed to have nuclear power. Nuclear power adds a dangerous, potentially catastrophic new dimension.
It's really no surprise that there are tremendous negatives to burning coal. Look at graphic arts from the 30s, the black smoke pouring from the smokestack was proudly displayed as a symbol of progress and pride in industry. It's only recently, by which I mean within the last century, that society has come face to face with just how small and finite the world has become. Decisions that were made hundreds or thousands of years ago were smart then but disastrous now. There's simply no way to know that (just as an example) all the oil we're pumping out of the Earth won't lead to some horrible geologic catastrophe in a century or two. On the other hand, had we not found oil, whales might be extinct. It's tough to come up with a real cost-benefit analysis when the benefits are so obvious and the costs may remain hidden for two hundred years. Asbestos is a more modern example, and who knew in 1902 that the legal system would be able to pry so much wealth away?
Anyway, I feel like I've wandered off a bit. Here's the thrust of my argument: If you can accept that we will continue to burn coal for the forseeable future, then what's the point of nuclear? Maybe it is cleaner, but it will never eliminate coal completely. And surely it could not displace oil, which has its own problems.
Ultimately, we have the same goal, right? Clean power. I'll even grant that in the next thousand years, nuclear would be cleaner. (Though at ten thousand years, nuclear will still be a mess and coal probably won't.) However, solar, geothermal, or wind would be cleaner still. So rather than put all this R&D into nuclear power, which happens to have the negative opportunity cost called worrying about nuclear weapons proliferation, let's focus our non-fossil fuel energy program on less potentially disastrous alternatives.
Happiness is an Exit Only Visa
Sometime during the Eighties, I lived in Saudi Arabia. In a sodden four-story flat with chickens on the roof, two blocks from the old Riyadh Airport, in the Sulaminayah of Riyadh.
I posted this about GMO foods, and out of nowhere a Monsanto employee shows up to announce how GMO foods are the only salvation for our planet.
The thread is http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=37176&cid=3996143
All the fuss is because if the trojan corn somehow gets planted and grows, then that represents unlicensed used of the product and Zimbabwe's corn can't be sold because the crop was "stolen" from Monsanto or Ortho or whoever's GM seeds it came from.
Even if the corn manufacturer didn't come after them for theft, Zimbabwe still wouldn't be able to sell ANY of their corn to countries that don't accept GMO food becuase they're very picky about tiny amounts of contamination. It's kinda like to be "organic" fruit or the fields have to have been free of pesticides for thee years -- only then do they say it's organic. Before that it's transitional.
Now, I have strong feelings about GMO foods. It's one thing to cross this rose with this rose and make a new rose. It's something else when you splice a gene from a salmon into a strawberry. Maybe it's no different from a functional biology perspective but to me, selective breeding is very different than molecular level manipulation of DNA.
The other thing is: how do we know this stuff is safe? Who tests it? What is so wrong with non-GMO food that it's reached the end of its useful lifespan and needs to be "overclocked" to provide any value?
And this whole concept of the "terminator" seed, one that only grows once, and the seed it produces is sterile. I don't think I'm being alarmist whey I say I'm very concerned about those kinds of seeds being introduced in the wild. Who is to say it wouldn't cross-breed with "normal" plants and keep them from reproducing? Don't many of the variations in life around us stem from mutations or genetic mishaps of one form or another?
If you want me to believe that GMO food is just fine, then I need to see empirical data. Show me leukemia rates for children who eat "normal" crops and ones who eat GMO. No such studies exist, to my knowledge. I'm not going to just take the word of the salesman that the product is safe, and the USDA shouldn't either.
"Somebody" writes a virus, let's call it Rhinovirus 31337. The "source code" is copywritten and encrypted in such a way as to be a technological means to protect the information. In this case, the entire workings of the virus are contained in this string:
Pharm-O-Leetica "discovers" the "cure" for Rhinovirus 31337 and launches a multi-million dollar ad blitz, softening the market for deep penetration. They buy up a few Congressman along the way.
Meanwhile, back at 2600 Headquarters, Bruce "Emacs" Perens and Leonard "Vi" Felten have teamed up to discover a cure for the 31337 virus. They easiliy de-sequence, or "reverse engineer," the threat. They hire Russian programmer Dmitry "Acrobat" Sklyarov to announce their findings at the World AIDS Conference.
Just before Dmitry takes the stage, the Feds, led by John Ashcroft and Hillary Rosen, storm the Convention and Dmitry is hauled off and thrown in Camp X-ray for overstaying his visa. Hackers find a backup copy of his work and quickly discover that the files are encrypted with the password "voraylkS." It takes another six weeks to decode the archaic Visicalc format.
In the meantime, millions have become infected with 31337. The cure costs about $1000 per month, but rumors begin surfacing that all you need is a glass of warm milk at bedtime and you'll be fine! Brazil announces that they intend to provide free milk to their suffering populous; pharmaceutical companies around the world cry foul. "That's OUR cure!"
A clueless Pharm-O-Leetica VP, dazed from the fast pace of mergers and layoffs, announces "You reverse engineered our virus; only WE are allowed to do that!!!"
(sound of gauntlet falling)
I dare you to come up with a better analogy!
By the way, Neal Stephenson should write a book based on my post, and I'm not just saying that because I'm an egomaniac who is going to accept the +1 Bonus for this diatribe.