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Comment Re:Very brief summary / Obligatory XKCD (Score 1) 244

That's a good point about capitalism vs communism motivation.

I still think it is a relevant comparison, in the sense that if someone can agree Apollo was the right bet (especially in light of your point), fusion research investment is at least as good of a bet. And the nice thing is we can work with the international community to share the burden.

America could earn some pride back if it spent less money on world policing and more on forward progress.

Comment Re:Very brief summary / Obligatory XKCD (Score 1) 244

"If" as in "If you had a real argument I'd like to hear it." Your post could be applied to any situation, just replace the names and numbers.

A simple comparison to the Apollo program satisfies me: fusion power is an equal scale investment, with equal scale societal achievement, higher long-term benefits to humanity, and with experts' opinions suggesting comparatively low risk. If we thought Apollo was a good bet at the time, this one's even better.

Comment Most of you are misdiagnosing... (Score 1) 461

As far as I can tell, the news here is simply that "China is developing". The number of degrees being awarded in the US per capita is not changing significantly:

(graph 3)

While when you look at the 2nd graph, you see how China's numbers are shooting up nicely. Given the population of China, and it's culture's relative favoritism of engineering and medicine over arts and humanities--bolstered by a generally high value placed on education (compared to US)--one might expect to see a developed China produces on the order of 10 times the engineering degrees of the US.

Comment Re:stupidity (Score 1) 115

Yeah, it upsets me that the seeming majority of people actually equate those. I think the problem arises from "intelligence" being vaguely defined in common usage. Does intelligence imply abstract reasoning? Creativity? Simply being quick with arithmetic? We could really use a bunch of new words to cover the differences between these abilities, which are all intellectual, but vastly different.

Comment Re:Headline Is So Very Wrong (Score 1) 1193

Ah, so then what happens with small businesses, where the owner or few owners buy things for the "company" and end up just using the stuff for themselves? Perhaps it would just be a matter of type of good. If a company is buying consumer goods they would pay tax, while if they buy barrels of chemicals, they don't.

Comment Re:Headline Is So Very Wrong (Score 1) 1193

Interesting, well that's good to know at least. The only other problem I could think of was making sure the sales tax wasn't regressive (taxing the poor more). But that is likely solved by making enough essential (non-luxury) goods tax-free.

Out of curiosity, do corporations then pay tax on sales between each other?

Comment Re:Headline Is So Very Wrong (Score 1) 1193

I could see the response to a federal sales tax being the drive to a cash-based market where things are off the books. You either pay a big markup, or if you pay cash then you get the better deal because the seller doesn't record the transaction. It happens where I live all the time. If you were up against paying 20% sales tax, the incentive would be pretty big.

Comment Re:Does it still exist? (Score 3, Informative) 196

You might be tickled to learn that there are some (wild-ish) theories that posit "every mathematical abstraction exists", as in, for every concept you can derive from mathematics, it actually exists "somewhere". Look at "mathematical multiverse" here http://space.mit.edu/home/tegmark/crazy.html And Tegmark is not actually a crackpot, just fanciful. :)

Comment Re:Ridiculous (Score 1) 738

Right, when making these estimates you have to really calculate the total amount of land required to support a person. Living space is one, but you need to feed, educate, entertain and etc. These considerations are noticeably absent from many of these off-the-cuff estimates. Food is a big one. Googling will give you an estimate of at least an acre per person, in order to maintain a Western diet (namely meat). At the bare minimum it is 1/8 of an acre, and then it's pretty much just grains.

Comment Re:oh darn (Score 1) 522

But it's without foundation to bring up the "lots of women want to do it" argument.

He didn't say anything about how many woman want to do it, just that there are obviously some. Don't argue against something no one is trying to defend. It's a valid point that, for every woman who would like this avenue of work, legalization would be helping someone.

Regardless, in the case of people who are prostituting themselves to make ends meet, without "choice", it seems to me that legalization would be a better scenario, since the working conditions (medical checkups, personal security) would be improved.

Life in the state of nature is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. - Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan