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Comment: I don't think Socialism is the controlling factor (Score 1) 591

...if it is, it's more a symptom than cause.
I believe it's societies in which the economically optimal behavior is cheating.

In Socialist East Germany as many have posted here anecdotally, the system was so broken that cheating - going outside the formal rules of the system - was the only way to get many basic and preferred needs met.

This is endemic to CORRUPT societies, not just socialist ones.

For cheating to be optimal, you have to have two elements:
- a system that gives people motivation to break the rules AND (importantly)
- an alternative - a black market, corrupt officials, etc - that is workable.

I'd argue that *any* overbureaucratic society will eventually reach this point.
Capitalism - insofar as it mitigates the issue - allows people to DIRECTLY follow their self-interest, without having to 'cheat' around the system.
I'd argue that the conflicted desire of the US populace for ever-greater safety-nets and protection by the government (and thus control) will likewise ever-more incentivize cheating in precisely the same way.

Comment: Clever, but overly complex (Score 1) 52

by argStyopa (#47499511) Attached to: Researchers Create Origami Wheels That Can Change Size

First, the main factor in a wheel, above all, is durability. A wheel that fails cannot perform its basic function. I'm not convinced that this wheel structure - while certainly clever -

After all, couldn't you get the EXACT same effect with an even greater range of variation (as well as an inherently simpler, more fault-tolerant and easily repairable design, as well as a principle that scales up or down in sturdiness simply and intuitively?) from an umbrella mechanism?

Comment: Re:Let me see if I can explain. (Score 1) 362

by argStyopa (#47481999) Attached to: Sexual Harassment Is Common In Scientific Fieldwork

Why should women be entitled to some sort of special conext?

Anyone - male or female - that ISN'T aware of their physical vulnerabilities and working to minimize them where easily possible is simply a Darwin-incident waiting to be resolved.

I'm a 6'4", 300lb male that lives in a wealthy exurb of a low crime state in the midwestern USA. I'm honestly about as safe as a human can be on this planet. NEVERTHELESS: If I am walking alone, particularly at night, I'm *always" aware of my vulnerability. I look into elevators before I get in. I always lock doors. I always at least glance into the back of my car before getting in.

To blithely assume the world is a safe place is demonstrably stupid. 99% of the time, you'll probably be right. 1% of the time tragically wrong. EITHER: plan for it, or accept that you haven't planned for it and live with the consequences.

Comment: Re:Pwned (Score 1) 288

by argStyopa (#47481923) Attached to: Australia Repeals Carbon Tax

Funny, I don't see a single "Mining Company" casting a vote.

If you disagree with this, don't be a pussy: put the blame where it belongs, on the voters in Australia.

And if you dismiss them as simply easily-led sheep whose votes can be bought...well, unless one is blindly biased, one would recognize that's possible on either side of the issue, in equal proportion.

Comment: Re:Dissappointed (Score 1, Insightful) 288

by argStyopa (#47481883) Attached to: Australia Repeals Carbon Tax

"I'm so sick of being told that because one party has a majority at one election they have 'a mandate' "

Then move to a non democratic country that adheres to your beliefs, or take one over and be as despotic as you want (all for good reasons, of course - right?).

Personally, I'm sick of people not understanding that democracy doesn't mean "we always do what I want". It's the collective will of the governed. You can campaign, lobby, harangue, whinge, whatever you want to do to convince people your point of view is right, but sometimes you'll be in the minority and you just have to fucking accept it. It won't always be right, it won't always even be GOOD, but ultimately majority-rule is the only morally-defensible form of government for the long term.

There IS a thing called the tyranny of the minority, you know, and if you have a single shred of non-partisan logic, you'll understand why that's more dangerous than the tyranny of the majority.

Comment: Context and language (Score 1) 751

by argStyopa (#47476811) Attached to: Malaysian Passenger Plane Reportedly Shot Down Over Ukraine

I haven't seen a single thing to draw the conclusion that it was 'shot down' yet? Has anyone?

Yes, it was flying over a war zone. But this is above the envelope for a shoulder-launched missile, and even if the rebels have actual AA installations from their Russian patrons, why would they waste a shot on something cruising in a straight line at 10km high? It's not like Ukrainian bombers are flying B-17 attack profiles.

Ukraine says 'terrorist action'.
Malaysian Airlines says it 'lost contact'.
Wreckage has been found.

But again: I haven't yet seen anything that clearly says it was SHOT down.

Comment: Let me see if I can explain. (Score 0) 362

by argStyopa (#47471215) Attached to: Sexual Harassment Is Common In Scientific Fieldwork

Let's say, for example, you're walking around with a $100,000 in a briefcase that says "MONEY".

You decide to carry this briefcase with you into some remote wilderness, far from civilization, the law, and witnesses. You travel alone, or with people you don't know.

When you do this, most people will not steal from you. Most people are decent.
However, there are bad people in the world. They will want to steal this money from you.

This should not happen, and it is horrible if it does. They are criminals, and all decent people believe they should be punished severely. But even if they are put to death, that doesn't change the fact that they took your money.

The world doesn't conform to our wishes. Sometimes we just have to recognize that certain things are true and either avoid them or accept that sometimes bad things happen. The obviously sad bit is that women - in this analogy - can't really set the briefcase down.

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