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Comment: Re:The Navy sucks at negotiating (Score 2) 42

by fnj (#48673557) Attached to: US Navy Sells 'Top Gun' Aircraft Carrier For One Penny

But why isn't the Navy doing this themselves? Surely they have the manpower & capability and there must be huge sections that can easily be re-used.

Hah! The Navy has no manpower any more; certainly not for construction and demolition. The Navy doesn't build aircraft carriers; why should they dismantle them? Everything that is done except direct warfighting and readiness for warfighting is farmed out.

On August 14 1945, the Navy had in active service 23 battleships, 28 fleet carriers, 71 escort carriers, 72 cruisers, 377 destroyers, 361 frigates, and 232 subs: a total of 6786 ships, including auxiliaries. The total personnel strength was 3.4 million. Uniformed personnel cooked the meals, drove the trucks, loaded ammunition and fueled the ships, etc.

On September 30 2006, the Navy had 0 battleships, 12 carriers, 27 cruisers, 54 destroyers, 35 frigates, and 74 subs: a total of 318 ships including auxiliaries. The total personnel strength was 0.35 million. Meals, truck driving, loading and fueling, etc, are all performed by hired service companies - just like for the Army and doubtless the Air Force (not entirely sure about the Marines, but probably them too).

The size has shrunk considerably since 2006. This despite having twice the national population to draw upon. The Navy can barely man its ships, let alone sparing "manpower" for non-essential tasks. And just like the merchant marine, knowledge, specialties, and capabilities have been cut way back. There are no more hundreds of sailors manning the engine rooms in large ships. The engines are automated.

Comment: Re:Who will get (Score 4, Interesting) 359

by fnj (#48656631) Attached to: North Korean Internet Is Down

Absolutely correct. Blacks are statistically several times more likely to be shot by police than are whites. Concerning ages 15-19, the ratio is about 20 times more likely. But what you conveniently overlook is that blacks are FAR more likely to be murdered by other blacks than by police (many of which are themselves black). We are talking many scores of times more likely.

Could it just POSSIBLY be that blacks are far more likely than whites to be engaged in street activities that are begging to attract police attention? And that, once confronted, just maybe they might be far more threatening - as in, likely to whip out a handgun or rush the officer?

Hey, it's just a question, though I strongly suspect what the answer is. And yes, it leads directly to other questions about disadvantaged groups and vicious circles of crime and despair.

One of the most impressive dramas I ever saw dealing with blacks, antagonism between blacks and cops, and disillusionment of black cops was an episode of Dragnet from 1968 or 1969 showing the situation after the assassination of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. It showed the raw hurt and grievances, but also it ended on a positive and uplifting note that mirrors my own hopes. On the other hand, every single one of the issues presented remains absolutely topical to this day. You take the afros and 60s cars out of that episode and it could have been made yesterday.

Comment: Re:Who will get (Score 3, Interesting) 359

by fnj (#48656439) Attached to: North Korean Internet Is Down

It kind of begs the question about what the US is still doing in South Korea anyhow. South Korea is a rich country. They can afford their own defense

So is Germany, and the US has 39,000 troops there. So is Japan, and the US has 50,000 troops there. Hell, there are 11,000 US troops in Italy.

So there are 29,000 US troops in South Korea, which unlike those countries named above has a border with a fully militarized raving psychotic insane evil totalitarian state who viciously threatens South Korea constantly. The capital of South Korea, with a population of 10 million, lies only 50 km from the border and could be overrun and decimated within hours, regardless of whether or not the psychotics ultimately win the conflict.

Is any of this difficult to understand?

Comment: Re:Ubuntu 12.04 LTS = No Skype for me (Score 1) 99

by fnj (#48611481) Attached to: Skype Unveils Preview of Live English-To-Spanish Translator

To me the point is that Microsoft's support for linux is laughably bad. You don't design a linux app so it won't compile/run on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS until at least 2017. Ubuntu is one of the, if not THE, most widespread desktop linux distros. Amd you don't design a linux app so it won't compile/run on RHEL 6 until at least 2021 (RHEL 6 is one of the, if not THE, most widespread enterprise workstation linux distros).

You don't jump on the latest APIs because they are new and shiny. Not if you know what you are doing, and you care about supporting the operating systems people USE.

Linux distros don't "support" apps. Apps support linux distros.

Comment: Re:And now for the real story (Score 1) 266

by fnj (#48594585) Attached to: Judge Rules Drug Maker Cannot Halt Sales of Alzheimer's Medicine

Really, you don't think that is reaching pretty far? I hardly think an Alzheimer patient can be trusted to properly medicate himself, whether it is once a day or 2-3 times a day. Big deal. Either way, he needs a care giver, the absence of which is simple neglect. The difference in resources between taking 10 seconds once a day, or 2-3 times a day to medicate the patient is very slight.

Comment: Absolutely mystified (Score 2) 266

by fnj (#48594553) Attached to: Judge Rules Drug Maker Cannot Halt Sales of Alzheimer's Medicine

I freely admit to being absolutely mystified how the social compact of a supposedly enlightened civilization does not include basic nutrition, shelter, schooling and health care for all without direct charge. I am serious. I don't get it. With regard to the topic, this should include medical research including development of drugs, absent repulsive features such as some getting rich off the misfortunes of others.

If you don't think society, with today's robotics, can afford to provide basic nutrition, shelter, schooling and health care for all without crass commercialism and people falling through the cracks, IMO you are an idiot; an ass. I say this as a believer in TRUE free enterprise (not necessarily corporatism with all the sickening corruption that goes with it). I just think these three necessities trump everything else, and a society is not worth having if it spurns providing them.

Please note, when I say basic, I mean basic. The nutrition would be in the form of cost free provision of healthy but plain foods PICKED FOR the user and SERVED TO him. Shelter would be in the form of shared communal or semi-communal barracks. The health care would be limited to necessities for health. There would be no limit for what is truly needed, including dental and vision, but no pampering. If you want contact lenses instead of glasses, cosmetic surgery, sex change BULLSHIT, go ahead and pay for that shit yourself, but fuck you if you expect the pampering. If you want TV, cell phone, car and other pure luxuries, you pay. For free you would get lending libraries and communal computers.

If you raise specific objections, for example the living spaces would not be respected because they are free, and people would let them become decrepit, there are ways to deal with this. I won't belabor the details here; I think it is fairly obvious given any serious thought given to the matter.

You can be goddam sure there would still be a sizable worth ethic for those who desire more than the basics. Probably as much as, or more than, there is in the USA today. As it is, with provision of raw money to the "needy", some get to enjoy luxuries without working for them, while others fall through the cracks completely.

I don't really think this makes me a "communist". "From each according to his ability" is pretty obsolete given the state of robotics today. And if you want o cede "to each according to his needs" to the communists, tell me why. I certainly don't see why the rest of us should cede the high moral ground.

"When the going gets tough, the tough get empirical." -- Jon Carroll