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Comment Re:RAH had this in the 50's (Score 1) 235

Every dollar spent on space exploration has come back to us tenfold. No other investment in history can make such a boast. Most of your "better ideas" have in fact proven to be losers over time, especially direct economic aid to poorer nations. You talk about setting aside emotional commitments and embracing rationality. Practice what you preach, shut up and multiply.

Comment Re:RAH had this in the 50's (Score 4, Insightful) 235

Space exploration and colonization are hopeless fantasies. Nobody in their right mind is going to spend insane fortunes to explore and colonize the most inhospitable places there are, for no apparent benefit.

Hopeless or not, we have to do it. Right now all of humanity is in a single interconnected biosphere, that is one rich crazy dickhead away from becoming uninhabitable. How many people are out there right now claiming that we can do anything we want to the Earth and humanity can never become extinct, because God? We need to get sustainable populations off of this planet and somewhere they can survive for when the inevitable happens and one of those mouth-breathing morons hits the wrong button somewhere and releases super-Ebola into the atmosphere or something.

Comment Re:Dont worry, they will just take it from somewhe (Score 1) 330

You could have just said "republicans," and we would have understood.

Not all Republicans are ignorant jackasses. Some just don't care about anything other than lowering their own taxes at any cost. Some have bought into the delusion of upward mobility that this country still peddles, despite all the mounting evidence that the difference between rungs in the social ladder are greater than any time in the past 100 years. And some are actually very nice people, but continue voting for Republicans for reasons of social inertia or the sunk cost fallacy, effectively rendering them ineffectual sockpuppets for the ignorant jackasses.

Democrats are slightly, slightly better, but really until someone succeeds in removing the massive amounts of outside money necessary to run for national elected office you'll never see anyone in the House or Senate who actually represents the people who supposedly elected them into office.

Comment Re:Dont worry, they will just take it from somewhe (Score 5, Informative) 330

They have been taking water from somewhere for a long time, cant they just take more of someone else' water in order to live in a desert?

Hey, the USA is a large and sparsely populated country.... How about you try living in some of the more habitable areas?

Nobody lives in the California Desert. Well, okay, we do have a decent retirement community out in Palm Springs, but the parts that most people settled on were temperate grasslands, forests, and wetlands (the Central Valley was an inland sea for much of the year before we dammed it all up).

The real problems are:

1) Irresponsible farming by agribusinesses. This one here is the biggie, but is really hard to control because the biggest agribusinesses have so much political clout, both here and in Washington.

2) 150 years of politics. For well over a century, the saying has gone, "Liquor is for drinking; water is for fighting." There are a byzantine set of local, regional, statewide, interstate, and international laws governing how water is used everywhere in the state, most of it based on environmental studies decades or centuries out of date, and none of it changes quickly.

3) Wetland destruction. For a long, long time nobody understood the value of wetlands in water table control, flood prevention, and ecosystem management, and so much of it was filled in and paved over in the last 100 years. This has proven to be a huge mistake, one that will take decades and billions of dollars to fix, and isn't helped by ignorant jackasses who insist that environmental concerns don't exist, that scientists are hucksters, and that God will provide everything we could ever want, forever.

4) Climate change. The theory is nearly 200 years old; the lab-scale proof is over 150 years old; definitive proof it's happening out in the environment is over 50 years old. It's happening, right now, and given politics and the endless prattle of ignorant jackasses it doesn't look like it's going to be slowing down any time soon.

Did you notice what's not on that list? Cities. All of the urban and suburban development in California accounts for less than 10% of the state's annual water usage (the vast, vast majority is used for agriculture), and the number is dropping every year, as more efficiency and water recycling programs come online.

Comment Re:"Michigan, give us your water!" (Score 4, Insightful) 330

Those wetlands you're disparaging are flood control systems. Those wetlands keep the rain from flowing straight out into the ocean; part of the reason we're in this mess now is that we've spent the last 100 years plowing them into the ground and pouring concrete over them (see: LA river).

Comment Big Mistake (Score 3, Insightful) 33

And thus does Intel make the same mistake that hundreds of companies around the world have made before it: putting intellectual property in physical reach of the Chinese government. Fast forward five years and I'm almost certain we'll see Foxconn or some other Chinese company with ties to the Chinese government have a series of "research breakthroughs" that mysteriously parallel the exact technologies that Intel brought to its own plant, which is once again down for "inspection".

It's not like this sort of thing hasn't happened already.

Comment Re:Sanity (Score 1) 349

I think that those returning from a problem region should be handled appropriately for their level of risk.

Just helped to put up tents and buildings to house future ebola cases with no direct contact? How about we give them some symptom education, a hotline number, a thermometer, and send them on their merry way with a daily phone-call to verify everything is going fine.

You directly helped actively infected patients in the last 21 days? How about we require you to finish out that 21 days under home isolation with daily check-ups.

And you were doing so well until the end, too.

The science tells us that ebola doesn't spread until the patient starts showing symptoms. Once you start going beyond the science to indulge in paranoid fantasies you're leaving the realm of behavior that should be expected of reasonable adults.

Quarantining people for no reason is exactly equivalent to locking someone up for up to three weeks for no reason at all, and what's worse is that you're doing it to people who are selflessly risking their lives to help total strangers in a country they would never go to otherwise. These are heroes, and should be given a hero's welcome, not told to lock themselves in a room for three weeks and think about what they've done for a world that neither cares about nor fully understands what they've done.

Comment Re:This is huge (Score 1) 308

It also makes the crops less nutritionally useful, so you have to eat more empty calories to get the essential vitamins and minerals to keep from getting malnutrition. This leads to higher rates of obesity, heart disease, etc.

The simple fact is that there really is no upside to high CO2 in the atmosphere, for anyone.

Comment Re:"CipherShed" (Score 1) 270

At least choose a suffix other than "shed" Maybe "vault" for "CypherVault" or "StoreVault"

The Latin word for "padlock" is "sera" "CypherSera"? "SeraCypher"? Bet nobody's squatting that.

"Cipher" comes from the medieval Latin "cifra" Maybe "BitCifra"? "CifraStore"?

Comment Re:So, such rules are bad for keeping people worki (Score 1) 327

Well, another way to look at it is Californians have calculated the real cost.

You're suggesting that dozens of European and Asian countries where semiconductor manufacturing is growing are all run by morons, while California's ridiculous cast of politicians has figured out things perfectly?

Yes, and it's obvious that they have. The Los Angeles basin has gone from one of the most polluted regions in the world to relatively clean in 30 years, saving residents billions in health care costs. This is despite the basin being probably one of the worst places to build a city in terms of air quality: LA is basically a giant bowl that gets far less wind on any given day than most other similar cities. Compare to other cities around the world where pollution is a large and growing problem. Around here the only real remaining problem is the port, because we still have to cater to every other states' and countries' dirty, inefficient, leaky ships and trucks, and the water, because water politics have 150 years of bureaucracy weighing them down, and there remains a lot of complicated, expensive work to do to keep out gigantic ag industry satisfied.

About the only reason you'd want a FAB plant in your state that wasn't willing or able to comply with California's environmental laws is if you want to be able to boast about how you 'created more jobs' in the leadup to the next election, and didn't give a shit what the real cost to the state would be over the next 30 years.

You're suggesting that California politicians are acting out of concern over the fiscal health of the state 30 years from now? I haven't heard anything more ridiculous than that in a long time.

California politicians didn't have anything to do with the law; it was voter-initiated. The politicians are still as short-sighted as ever; they're the ones who negotiated the union contracts at around the same time that back-loaded so much in retirement benefits 30 years down the line without allocating any money to pay for it that the state nearly went bankrupt a few years ago. Voter initiatives cause a lot of headaches, especially for politicians who have to live with them, but it's largely because of that initiative system that California can boast that it's doing really well for itself, despite getting screwed by our conservative national government (the state only gets back about 50 cents in benefits and funding for every dollar paid in federal taxes; if the state seceded from the US we'd pay off our debts in a few years, but then the rest of the country would go bankrupt in about the same amount of time so nobody really wants that to happen.)

You've been Berkeley'ed!