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Comment Re:Not a bad deal, really. (Score 1) 84

take the look to independently investigate the research that has been done in this area. There is a lot of bullshit, but there is also work that has never been refuted—work whose significance level is such that it is above and beyond anything except it is adequate in any other area

Please link to this, I am not aware of such research.

Comment Re:And who trusts Financial "Advisors"? (Score 1) 61

Investing in a diversified selection of index funds and staying the course will beat that vast majority of professional advisers.

While this is certainly true, I do think there is some use for professional advisers, especially if they participate in financial planning (as many do), rather than just managing investments. (If they only do the latter, you really have an "investment manager," rather than a financial adviser.)

Several years ago I was convinced by my spouse to go talk to one of these people. We had a recommendation from a family member who is in the financial sector. What was useful was NOT the possibility of ongoing investment advice (which, the parent said, could mostly be summed up with "diversify" and "track the average with index funds or related securities").

Instead, the utility of financial advice was the overall state of a person's financial "health" in general, and how to get things organized. Stuff like assessing whether you have an adequate liquid "emergency fund," whether you have enough insurance (and of what types), whether you are saving enough for retirement, for kids' education, etc., how to approach making major financial decisions/investments, how to diversify types of assets and accounts to maximize tax advantages, etc.

Sure, you can do all this yourself. I certainly had the ability to research all of this myself, but frankly I hadn't before I met with this adviser. Some of it I just wasn't interested in learning a lot about, some of it was stuff I hadn't really thought about yet (or considered various aspects in managing risk, etc.).

To me, once I knew all the stuff after a few meetings, I could run stuff basically myself. Other people aren't as savvy financially, or they really can't be bothered to sort it out (just like many people can't be bothered to do their own taxes) -- so maybe paying for a periodic consultation and assessment could be helpful.

The problem, from my perspective, is that "financial advisers" focus too much on investments, since their goal is often to grab as much of your assets as possible so they can extract fees for "management," etc. That's where things get stupid. If they really focused on "consultation fees" for providing more comprehensive planning, I think it would be a more legitimate business. But that's hard work. It's much easier to skim a few percent off the top of investment accounts which are "managed" (but really often just designed to track index funds).

Comment Re:O RLY? (Score 1) 304

Any major manned project at this point is going to involve a lot of robotic probes and preparation.

Yeah, we're already doing that. We've sent robotic probes to the Moon, Mars, and the asteroid belt lately. Have you forgotten about all the hubbub over the bright spots they found on Ceres? We are *not* ignoring the asteroid belt.

But asteroids are a lot easier to get to and from than Mars, precisely because of their lack of gravity and lack of atmosphere.

I disagree. True, Mars has enough of an atmosphere to be a nuisance (because you need reentry shielding, but there's not enough there to be really useful for aerobraking), but it's also significantly closer than the belt. Farther = a longer journey. For a probe, a few extra months might not be that big a deal, but for humans, it is. Mars is already too far as it is (as in, "too long a journey for most people to want to sit in a spacecraft that long", plus the radiation concerns).

A lunar space elevator might be a nice project. But in the end, the moon is a really harsh environment, the resources it has are hard to get at, and it, too, has just too much gravity.

The environment isn't that harsh; it's 3 days away (super-close in celestial terms), and there's no annoying atmosphere, and just enough gravity so that we can operate on it without having to invent all-new methods for every simple little thing. But the gravity is low enough that a lunar space elevator should be quite doable, unlike Earth (where the gravity is way too high so we don't have good materials with enough strength, and we have a thick atmosphere that causes all kinds of problems with such an elevator).

The proximity of moon to earth also means that remotely operated robots are a reasonable alternative to manned exploration.

I disagree entirely. For simple probing around, sure, that'll work OK, but if you want to do any really serious work, you have to have boots on the ground. Remotely-operated vehicles are *not* going to build factories, mines, etc. We do *not* have that kind of technology yet. Some heavy-equipment stuff could definitely be converted to remote-control: dump trucks, shovels, etc. But that'll only work as long as nothing goes wrong. As soon as something breaks or gets stuck, you're going to need some people there to deal with it. So you could definitely get by with a lot less manpower on-site, by operating a lot of vehicles remotely, but you'll still need some. It's just like our UAVs ("drones") used by the US military: the planes are flown remotely, I think even by people stateside, but you still have to have real people on-site in the theater to refuel them, do maintenance work, etc., when they land. It'll be the same for heavy equipment on the Moon.

I still think our primary focus should be exploration of the asteroid belt, first with robotic probes, then towing asteroids into lunar orbits, creating habitats, and finally moving out there.

We're already exploring the asteroid belt. We could stand to do more though. But there's no reason we can't get started building habitats and industrial facilities on the Moon simultaneously. We already know there's a crapload of asteroids out there with valuable ores, so we might as well prepare for using them. And we should definitely be working right away on building the technology for capturing and towing these asteroids.

Comment Re:And is an example of the worst... (Score 5, Interesting) 84

You might also remember that the 60s were generally a decade of prosperity, not just for the 1% on top but for pretty much any and all people in the US. It was a decade of economic growth, people could actually afford building new homes, two cars and still pay off their mortgage.

How much thereof was due to the moon program? Directly? Probably little. But indirectly the program had incredible impact on the US economy. Due to its secrecy and the "we" spirit, pretty much any and all work had to be done inside the US, creating jobs. New inventions, not only in technology but also in process management and management itself, boosted the economy further than anything before. The inertia of this all led the US well into the 80s.

If anything, we'd need something like this again. Something that means more domestic production jobs, innovation and new possibilities. Right now we do have corporate welfare as well. But in the worst kind. Where the people pay for corporations to take jobs abroad.

Comment Re:Authoritarians will always rule. (Score 1) 413

No rights are absolute. All run up against limits.

Agreed. But generally one's "right not to be killed" is not limited except under really dire circumstances.

It's possible to believe that a fetus has a strong right to live, and the woman has a stronger right to not be pregnant under some circumstances.
[snip]
I don't hold that position, but it seems plenty consistent to me.

Well, it's only consistent because you introduced a "magical" right that achieves your desired goal. Suppose I wanted to justify the murder of a mother-in-law. Now, of course "it's possible to believe that" a mother-in-law "has a strong right to live," but perhaps it's also "possible to believe that... a woman has a stronger right not to be" a daughter-in-law "under some circumstances."

Thus, a woman has a magical justification to murder her mother-in-law, and it's "plenty consistent" because I created a new "right not to have a mother-in-law" that proves my point.

To get to the heart of the matter, your argument overlooks the entire justification for the pro-life argument in the first place, namely that the "right to live" of the fetus trumps the mother's right of choice. Supposedly (if you believe this), the "sanctity of human life" does not allow the fetus's right to be overturned.

But you're proposing a special exemption to deny a "person" (according to the pro-life side) a fundamental right to live, which comes about not because of anything the fetus did nor the mother did, but rather what a third party did. We used to have justice systems in the world that would punish sons for the crimes of their fathers, but such systems have generally been abolished in the civilized world -- however, you propose to reinstate it.

Let's put this in another way to make the supposition clear. Suppose the child in question is not a fetus but rather a 10-year-old. Suppose the father rapes the mother when the child is 10. The mother is disgusted every time she looks at her child, because it is a perpetual reminder of the evilness of the father who raped her. Should the mother be able to kill her 10-year-old because of the ongoing psychological damage inflicted upon her by being reminded in her offspring of the connection to the father?

I doubt very few people would agree to such a rationalization of murder. Yet those who declare abortion should be banned (which generally requires recognizing some sort of fundamental "right to live" of a fetus) but allow exceptions in cases like incest or murder are making a similar argument.

Either the fetus has a right to live which trumps the mother's right to choose, or the fetus is not granted that right and can be aborted on a mother's whim. The prior action of a third party (father or otherwise) should not be able to trump a person's right not to be killed. Personally, I think those who argue for such exemptions but claim to be "pro-llife" are either being disingenuous and trying to appear less extreme than they really are, or they don't REALLY believe in the assumption of the fetus's "right to live."

(P.S. Not that it should matter in evaluating my argument, but I'm NOT "pro-life.")

Comment Re:Essentially a dupe from 3 months ago (Score 1) 98

That sounds like an invitation for corruption. A few large companies manage to take control of the FCC (or whatever), who then sets regulations that only large companies can follow. Or a similar problem.
It is enough to check if the cable has been certified by Underwriters Laboratories or something similar.

Comment Re:Don't take out on the human callers (Score 1) 218

Ok, then compare them to Jehova's Witnesses or the bum trying to sell you some ancient newspaper he found. Not illegal. But annoying as all hell.

And of those three, the ONLY one actually worthy of a nanosecond of my time is the bum, for he alone has the chance to not be responsible for the situation he is in.

Comment Re:What a bunch of jerks (Score 1) 413

Of course a vast majority of private companies are willing to throw money at any conservative group who will take it if it will get them taxed and / or regulated less. Both sides of the economic political spectrum have their major backers and there is a shit ton of money in the right's

That's not really true. Big companies always hedge their bets by contributing to both sides. The large ones actually like more regulation because it stifles the competition and helps them retain their market share. Corporations like being partners with government, and avoid candidates that eschew corporate influence in crafting regulation. Commerce of every kind is so heavily regulated these days, that companies lobby for specific forms of regulation that provide them a competitive edge. They rarely if ever lobby to reduce regulation. And they already have so many tax loopholes in the thousands of pages of tax code they just hire accountants to avoid taxation, using foreign subsidiaries if necessary.

Comment Re:Better transistors? (Score 1) 245

People may have restated it in many silly ways, but what they actually mean is "Computers become twice as good every 18 months or so." Whether it's multiple cores, or faster clock speeds, or better RAM throughput, that's still what it amounts to: twice as good computers.

I think that's pretty much failed, then, for general purpose computers. At one time, I actually used to upgrade about every 18 months, and would see a really nice boost in performance. That's not so much the case anymore, it takes more like 3-4 years.

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