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Comment: Get the basics right first (Score 1) 361

If we can't even manage to do the easy things, like limiting human population growth, re-wilding, going after polluters and corporate liability-dumpers, switching away from fossil fuels, etc etc etc, what chance are we gonna have to to do **HARD** stuff, like modifying the weather??

Geoengineering, like CCS, is bullshit trotted out by pro-business 'conservatives' to claim that even if climate change *IS* humanity's fault, then we have an excuse to do nothing, because our grandkids will take care of the problem.

I wouldn't expect anything less from greedy, clueless, Me-generation conservatives, to be honest.

Comment: Better idea (Score 1) 235

by benjfowler (#48432497) Attached to: Russia May Be Planning National Space Station To Replace ISS

If the Russians want to ditch their share of the Station, why not invite the Chinese to come and take over the Russian segment, hand them all the technology, give them manned spaceflight experience, and then build an ISS2, partnering with the Chinese. Putin+cronies will be cured of their delusions soon enough...

The future belongs to rising countries like China, not with decaying has-beens like Putin's Russia.

Comment: Bizarre (Score 0) 334

by benjfowler (#48340009) Attached to: Americans Rejoice At Lower Gas Prices

So much for the idea of "making hay while the sun shines" /s

Perhaps all the morons buying hummers and F-150s need reminding that the people selling us all this cheap oil are NOT our friends, and are sure as hell not doing it out of the kindness of their hearts. The Saudis are bottoming-out the price of oil to punish marginal north American oil producers, and the Russians, not because they want to give Joe Sixpack a break.

I'd like to see us putting in punishingly-high tariffs in place against Muslim and Russian oil. More tax revenue to tackle deficits, pressure people to switch to alternatives, help shale oil producers, AND punish our enemies. Win-win-win-win situation.

Comment: Yikes (Score 1) 228

by benjfowler (#48309751) Attached to: New GCHQ Chief Says Social Media Aids Terrorists

As an anti-libertarian, I'll have a bob each way by saying that while we must accept that after September 11, "business as usual" isn't going to fly (if you'll pardon the pun), this is a pretty poor start from a man who ought to know better.

Absolute privacy ain't gonna happen in this day and age, but Mr Hannigan needs to make it clear they will be held thoroughly accountable by the people they're meant to be serving. To do otherwise would shred any remaining legitimacy they have.

Comment: Re:Dupes (Score 1) 739

by benjfowler (#48288925) Attached to: Statisticians Study Who Was Helped Most By Obamacare

Redistribution makes sense, up to a point. Most countries in the OECD do better than the US on most important measures on quality of life, and do it far more efficiently. Probably because there is a pragmatic understanding around the world that there are times where open markets make most sense, and there are times when markets don't make sense -- and some kind of redistribution is required. For instance, the British healthcare system shits all over the American system in every conceivable way (except for really, really high-end, experimental stuff -- and I'm sure I could get it in Harley Street anyway).

I blame the American tendency towards a blinkered belief that markets can never, ever fail, and that government, as a manifestation of the collective will of the people, can never do anything right -- an extremist POV everywhere else.

Comment: Re:No big issue (Score 0) 146

by benjfowler (#48288831) Attached to: A Mysterious Piece of Russian Space Junk Does Maneuvers

Concur. The notion that the US always loses wars is bullshit. Typically they achieve their military objectives in days, if not hours. And the casulties they take while doing so, are unbelievably low by historical standards. There is simply no comparison. If the Americans want to smash you, you're toast, no matter who you are.

Where these things are lost, is where politics gets involved: the utter catastrophe of the occupation in Iraq was brought to us by the utterly useless, moron American Right (mostly followers of Leo Strauss, who are criminally stupid, yet fancy themselves as philosopher-kings) and its lackeys, namely, Paul Bremer (who should be stabbed in the head because of his sheer stupidity -- EVERYTHING that right-wingers touched in Iraq turned to shit.)

Given the terrible leadership we see in the West these days, it's nothing compared to the joke the Russians must endure now. Everyone thinks that Putin is some kind of insane strategic genius and that he's playing chess while us stupid imperialists are playing checkers. See the state of their economy to decide for yourself whether or not this is actually true. At least when our moron leaders screw up, we can blame ourselves for electing them. The Russians, with their laughable Potemkin democracy, don't even get that.

Comment: No big issue (Score -1, Troll) 146

by benjfowler (#48287983) Attached to: A Mysterious Piece of Russian Space Junk Does Maneuvers

It's just that Russia are eating Western dust, and have been doing so for ages. They've probably cobbled together a total POS and launched it, just to show the world they can 'compete' in high-tech with the likes of the (extraordinarily capable) X-37b.

Putin is just being a dickhead, and in this case, wasting money showboating. Just a high-tech analog of the usual publicity stunt of getting topless and blasting small furry animals. Nothing new there.

Ever notice that even the busiest people are never too busy to tell you just how busy they are?