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Comment: Oh, really? (Score 4, Insightful) 147 147

"his actions spurred a necessary debate" that prompted President Obama and Congress to change policies

So, which policies did they actually change? And were any of the changes for the better?

Frankly, I can't think of any off the top of my head....

Comment: Re:BS (Score 2) 410 410


Umm, then why do they need to borrow more money?

Or are you talking "current accounts are balanced"? Which is to say, except for paying interest on your bonds/T-bills/whatever, your budget is balanced.

Note that if you're making enough money to pay the bills, EXCEPT for the interest on your credit cards and mortgage, you're not really living with a "balanced" budget.

And if you really have a balanced budget, you really shouldn't be needing to borrow money, nor should you have a hard time paying back your existing loans....

Comment: Re:Citizen of Belgium here (Score 1) 1266 1266

??? Unemployment is at an all time low

Official unemployment figures don't include "people who have left the workforce". Which means "people who have stopped looking for jobs" and "people who have been unemployed too long".

It would be better if they gave us the total number of people employed/unemployed, but that might suggest that things aren't going swimmingly.

Comment: Re:Good (Score 1) 1266 1266

I imagine that if Greece today were running the trade surplus that Germany was running at the time of the London Agreements, there'd be no problem with forgiving their debts.

Alas, there's no real indication that Greece will ever be able to fix their little problem. If every penny they owed were forgiven tomorrow, they'd be back in trouble in twenty years....

Comment: Re: The reason is more simple (Score 1) 662 662

Why do you live an hour away from where you have to commute 5 days a week? that's just wasteful in every sense.

Because it's less hassle/cost to drive an hour each way than to sell my house and move if I get a new job an hour away?

Or are you suggesting I should bite the bullet, make the move, then tell my wife that HER job now requires an hour commute?

Comment: Re:I seriously would like to know (Score 4, Informative) 47 47

It's sad that we can't even get a rocket to reliably deliver cargo to the International Space Station -- It's upsetting and depressing!

You'd almost think from reading this that the Russians could reliably deliver cargo to ISS...

Which might suggest that you're aware of the failure of the Dragon at the end of last month and the failure of Cygnus nine months ago, but unaware that in April the Russian resupply mission to ISS failed.

You also appear to be unaware that this was the second Russian failure to resupply the ISS (the first was in 2011).

For what it's worth, the EU and Japan haven't failed an ISS resupply mission yet. Of course, between them they've done about 10% of the ISS resupply flights.

On the other hand, NASA is the only agency that hasn't managed an ISS resupply mission at all. The US resupply missions have all been CRS (SpaceX and Cygnus)....

Comment: Re:Not blue eyed ... (Score 1) 233 233

Well we did have many centuries of land and sea transportation before oil. Admittedly the long range transportation usually involved more important stuff.

Not so much as you might think. Often, you wanted to move some very valuable but small cargo from here to the far end of nowhere, so you filled your cargo hold with...stuff. Not particularly valuable, but might as well carry it since it'll make a bit of money, and otherwise you're travelling nearly empty.

This applied even more when you paid for the trip on one leg, so carry anything at all on the other. For instance, there was a period during the San Fransisco Gold Rush (1849) when laundry was shipped from San Fran to Honolulu to be cleaned and returned on the next ship....

Comment: Re:I don't think it's so much speculation (Score 1) 662 662

You mean, as compared to inflation? Because the minimum wage hasn't kept up with inflation in over twenty years, and more and more people are living on it.

Yes, I mean as compared to inflation. No opinions as to how many people are living at minimum wage, since I've never bothered to research that. But, as I said, MEDIAN HOUSEHOLD INCOME has been pretty close to constant for the last half century.

A quick googling shows that the current minimum wage is about 92% of the 1960 minimum wage when adjusted for inflation. And while it has fluctuated a bit over time, it's been pretty close to constant for the last 20 years (we're at about 99.5% of the minimum wage in 1990, adjusted for inflation).

Note that we're about due for an increase in minimum wage. We tend to bump it up every five to eight years (presumably mostly depending on the needs of the current crop of pols to get reelected, and it's been six years now....

Comment: Re:The reason is more simple (Score 1) 662 662

These incentives are helping to encourage a new industry that is generating new jobs, and putting food on people's tables.

At the expense of old industries, and old jobs disappearing, and leaving formerly employed people wondering how to put food on their tables.

Unless the "new industry" in question increases TOTAL demand for the category of things it represents (autos in this case), all it does is move jobs from that factory over there to this one over here.

In other words, every EV sold is one less gas burner sold. So it IS a zero-sum game.

Of course, there may be reasons to want more EVs on the streets. I have no real problem with that. But that doesn't, in and of itself, imply a net gain in the economy, in jobs, in tax revenue, in anything else - just a change....

Comment: Re:My concerns (Score 1) 662 662

A centralised generating station is much more efficient than lots of gas engines that are about 30% efficient.

Hmm, looking on the (US government) Energy Information Administration website, I find that in 2013, a coal fired power plant averaged about 33.8% efficient. A little better than a gas engine, but nothing to get all that excited about.

Now, if you were getting your electricity from nuclear, we'd be, if you'll pardon the expression, cooking with gas....

Comment: Re:Road trips. (Score 1) 662 662

and today around 85% of all USians live and work within urban/suburban/exurban agglomerations

I live in a suburban town. I commute 40 miles each way to work. My wife commutes 30 or so each way. In the opposite direction.

So, two EV's, one with 100 mile range, one with 150. Or so. I like to have enough cushion that a sidetrip to lunch doesn't leave me unable to reach home....

Comment: Re:The reason is more simple (Score 0) 662 662

Internal combustion folks (heh!) will NEVER ever like EVs. You can say EVs are three times more efficient, or that the byproducts are easily dealt with -- it doesn't matter. The guys have a Mechanical Engineering diploma... in their minds, fsck electricity!

When I can make a 500+ mile trip in a single day in an electric, I'll replace my gas cars.

When I can buy a decent electric (100 or so mile range, room for three people in reasonable comfort, can manage interstate speeds reliably) for 20K or so, I'll replace all but one of my gas cars.

That price point means a used electric. With a good battery still. Not too many of those available just yet.

Note that my current vehicles are all paid for. Only thing I'm spending on cars is gas, insurance, and maintenance. So, the "car payment+gas" is more than "car payment+electricity" argument is a waste of breath....

Hacking's just another word for nothing left to kludge.