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Comment: Re:more leisure time for humans! (Score 1) 526

by bigpat (#47409379) Attached to: Foxconn Replacing Workers With Robots

There is nothing natural about a free market capitalist society allowing itself to be transformed from a society with more equitable distribution of capital into a society where very few people control most of the wealth and people are not really free to exchange goods, services and capital.

This is happening as the result of government regulations and because of public policies and not simply some sort of passive "deregulation" where the government steps back and does nothing. The government isn't deregulating. We have as much regulation as ever, it is just violently skewed towards protecting the vast and unbridled wealth of the rich while not diligently making sure that those without wealth have a level playing field in a free market.

Comment: Re:It's working so well in Venezuela (Score 1) 526

by bigpat (#47409101) Attached to: Foxconn Replacing Workers With Robots

If people continue to breed as they currently do, we're going to be just fine.

That would be true only if current population levels are actually sustainable over a longer term and depends on what your definition of "just fine" is. The evidence so far is mixed. Yes, we have apparently been able to feed almost everyone and there is some additional arable land that could be put into production, but not too much more land, especially given the pressures of development for housing, industry and transportation. And we have seen some pretty massive wars and genocides in the last hundred years which are at least partly the result of temporary or perceived resource scarcity. Japan wanted to control its oil supply in World War II and Germany wanted to directly control its oil, coal and food supplies. Other wars have been about oil. The Rwandan Genocide certainly had a component that was caused by resource scarcity.

So far with a human population in the billions "just fine" has meant periodic wars and genocides which kill millions and millions of people.

I don't think "just fine" means what you think it means and we would be really much better off if we had worldwide birthrates somewhat below replacement population. When it comes to population and natural resource utilization you never want to think about getting anywhere close to 100% capacity. You should always aim for excess production capacity to account for natural disasters and wars.

Comment: Re:Electrostatic Inertial Confinement Fusion (Score 1) 225

by bigpat (#47378897) Attached to: Senate Budgetmakers Move To End US Participation In ITER

Solar, wind and hydro combined could easily replace all generation.

I think you and I have different definitions of "easily". Even with subsidies and a substantial government policy push the percentage of electricity generation by renewables has gone from 9% in 2008 to just under 13% in 2013. Even assuming that it would be a good thing... which I don't think we should assume that a 100% build out of solar and wind would be without great environmental costs, then we are talking about it taking the rest of the century to build out solar and wind infrastructure at this rate.

So, if you take Global Climate Change seriously. And I do. You have to include nuclear fission in the near term of 20 to 30 years if you are going to tackle CO2 emissions. Natural Gas is certainly better than oil and especially better than coal, so that is going to help, but we need nuclear to address the need to substantially cut CO2 sooner rather than later.

And even then we are only talking about mitigating Global Warming's effects on sea level rise... we are probably going to get a 1 to 3 meter rise by 2100 or 2200 that is going to happen even if we do succeed in making the switch away from fossil fuels eventually.

Doubling or tripling our nuclear power output in the next 30 years would be the only possible way to really limit the damage of sea level rise to something manageable with sea walls and minor dislocations.

Comment: Re:Electrostatic Inertial Confinement Fusion (Score 2) 225

by bigpat (#47376351) Attached to: Senate Budgetmakers Move To End US Participation In ITER

Yes, but it is not either or, we should be pursuing all types of potentially promising research and development towards nuclear fusion or even safer and more sustainable nuclear fusion. We should be spending ten or twenty Billion dollars per year and not just $150 million.

And we should actually be building up to industrial scale some of the more promising nuclear fission designs that we have now. Solar and Wind are not likely going to be able to account for even the majority of our energy needs so we need nuclear fission or preferably nuclear fusion to provide for our industrial scale needs.

Comment: Re:Sunken cost fallacy (Score 1) 225

by bigpat (#47376201) Attached to: Senate Budgetmakers Move To End US Participation In ITER
With the government it is the opposite... The Senate is probably looking to kill the project because they are afraid it might actually work. Working fusion power would usher in a new age of plentiful energy and boundless economic opportunities and freedom.... politicians need a little scarcity to keep people in line and make sure they stay on top. Better to be the king of hell on earth than just another angel in heaven...

Comment: Re:"any communications about its targets as well" (Score 1) 242

by bigpat (#47361457) Attached to: Court Allowed NSA To Spy On All But 4 Countries
On the cynical use of intelligence reciprocity with the UK to obtain sigint within the US I agree that is a clear violation of the constitution. A violation of the constitution by proxy is still a violation. But I think there has to be a legal ability for the US to monitor actual foreign communications, especially when there are active conflicts or real military and terrorist threats abroad. And I believe that the Federal Courts have usually upheld the ability of the US to ease drop on communications abroad... and I am not talking about just the secret and completely unaccountable FISA court which should be abolished... I am talking about real Federal Courts which have non-secret trials.

Comment: Re:"any communications about its targets as well" (Score 1) 242

by bigpat (#47361077) Attached to: Court Allowed NSA To Spy On All But 4 Countries

Yet we have a whole war going on in Afghanistan by applying American laws on foreign citizens.

By your definition the US has no need of its extradition treaties since American laws don't apply to "non-citizens".

That is a stretch argument. I didn't say that US Laws don't apply to non-citizens when they commit certain crimes, I was talking about Constitutional protections which restrain government action here in the US, but should only restrain US action if there is a treaty or other law restraining US action abroad.

Comment: "any communications about its targets as well" (Score 1) 242

by bigpat (#47360065) Attached to: Court Allowed NSA To Spy On All But 4 Countries

The summary sounds more broad than just spying on foreign governments in foreign lands if it involves US companies and any communications "about" its "targets". That language would allow keyword interception of all communications about a particular government or about the "IMF" or talking about the "World Bank". Literally those are the types of keywords they would enter in to the program to return all the results. What it allows is actually very useful... like gauging the sentiment of a population for its government or for international institutions by analyzing the context of the communications and coming up with some Big Data analysis. People could then use that data to exploit underlying divisions or to target factions and exploit individuals.

As I have said before, I don't believe the US constitution applies outside the borders of this country for non-citizens... so it isn't the same level of constitutional crisis that we have here at home with a widespread, ongoing and wholesale violation of the fourth amendment threatening the very fabric of our society.

However, our leaders should be working towards bilateral international treaties with friendly, democratic republic and free countries around the world to not engage in or at least limit this type of spying.

Comment: Re: Libertarian nirvana (Score 1) 534

After reading the Wikipedia entry for "Anarcho Capitalism" I am pretty sure that it isn't really a thing. Really. It is just putting together two opposite meaning words to mess with people. Libertarianism fundamentally believes in government which is the opposite of anarchy.

Comment: Re:Libertarian nirvana (Score 1) 534

The purest form of libertarianism is anarchy, so a group of people can form a corporation and protect their collective property and wealth using force, as they see fit.

Not so. Libertarianism isn't about creating an anarchy, it is about creating and perfecting a constitutional republic based on Liberty. Libertarianism is about a free society under the rule of law which recognizes that the use of force by government is evil, but that it is still sometimes necessary in defense of that Liberty.

So put simply the difference is that libertarians seek to minimize the use of force by a government (or any collective association), while anarchists seek to eliminate the use of force by a government completely.

And what you describe isn't even anarchy which would be about having no enforceable rules. What you describe is simply creating a new government but calling it a corporation instead. As soon as you are talking about forming a corporation or association or any group of people with collective rules which can be enforced by the use of force, then you are not talking about anarchy.

Libertarianism is about some minimum set of laws which are meant to uphold individual freedom that a government may need to use force to enforce. The term "free market" refers to a market that operates by a set of rules which are collectively enforced through some government entity. The exercise of those rules and code of conduct are what make a market free or not.

So things like: you may not steel or commit theft through fraud, or threaten force to coerce someone into trading goods or services at a price that is not agreed upon fairly, those would all be legitimate things for a government to use force to counterbalance or try to prevent or punish.

Libertarianism is about minimizing the use of force by government to when it is absolutely necessary not eliminating it and certainly not privatizing the use of coercive force. Individual and collective self defense is part of living in a free society, but so is a well regulated free market which is a function of government. Without a set of enforced rules, you can have a market, but it most likely won't be a free market.

Police and common defense are usually cited by libertarians as the only legitimate functions of government power, so it is hard to see how anyone would be mistaken in believing that libertarian ideology is about creating an anarchy or would seek to allow the creation of private police forces outside the rule of law.

Comment: Re:Libertarian nirvana (Score 1) 534

Libertarianism is not anarchism. The maintenance of personal Liberty and a free market relies on a government which uses its force to protect that liberty and freedom. Libertarianism is not about going to an extreme that eliminates government, it is about an minimization of the use of force in society which we can work towards.

There is a huge difference between seeking to minimize government and the use of force in society and anarchists who seek no government. Equating the two does a terrible disservice to a rational debate.

Gosh that takes me back... or is it forward? That's the trouble with time travel, you never can tell." -- Doctor Who, "Androids of Tara"