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Comment: Re:Bold statements about other countries' politics (Score 1) 155

by goodmanj (#49607359) Attached to: Statues of Assange, Snowden and Manning Go Up In Berlin

You're missing the point. I'm not trying to defend what the US has done here, nor am I trying to equate German political scandals with American ones -- and the fact that I can't find an equivalent German scandal says a lot of good things about Germany. But celebrating the failures of somebody else's country is pretty close to what the Germans call schaedenfreude, and what Americans call "a dick move". Let Americans put up their own Snowden statues.

Comment: Bold statements about other countries' politics (Score 1) 155

by goodmanj (#49606581) Attached to: Statues of Assange, Snowden and Manning Go Up In Berlin

Dear Germany: you get no points for putting up statues to controversial dissidents from other peoples' countries. You're clearly trying to make a bold political statement here, but to do that you need to take a stand against members of your own nation. Put up a statue to the folks who prosecuted the Christian Democratic Union's campaign donations scandal in 1999, or Kathrin Oertel, the leader of an anti-islamic nationalist group who recently resigned and recanted, and *then* you can pat yourselves on the back.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C...
http://www.washingtonpost.com/...

Comment: Buy your own ad. (Score 1) 216

by goodmanj (#49575349) Attached to: How Google Searches Are Promoting Genocide Denial

Dear Armenian folks: while I sympathize with the history of your people, picking a fight with an algorithm is probably not a good use of your time. Everyone knows that Google's search content reflects the views of the wider Internet, and their sponsored links reflect the views of the people who pay them. You might be better off buying your own sponsored link on Google to combat the offensive one.

Comment: Community (Score 1) 167

The liberal arts college I teach at is a little further along in this process. What matters most is community. You need to focus less on physical hardware, and more on finding faculty (and don't forget staff!) with hands-on skills, getting them committed to the space, and sucking in a critical mass of students to make it self-sustaining.

The fact that you were asked to do this by the administration is not a good sign.

And re putting it in your library: talk to your HVAC guys. Ventilation and noise are serious issues.

Comment: Re:With the best will in the world... (Score 1) 481

Almost everyone on the planet would be driving an EV at today's energy densities if one factor was significantly improved, but that factor isn't energy density. It's cost per kilowatt hour.

Fair point, but now do the energy density math for an electric powered passenger jet. Because I want to live in a renewable-powered world where I can fly to Europe if I have to. (I don't expect it to be cheap...)

Comment: Re:With the best will in the world... (Score 1) 481

Audi's statement is correct in every way that matters. Hydrocarbon synthesis is also going to create a complicated blend of molecules of various lengths, which would be distilled and cracked to create a substance with properties as similar to ordinary diesel as possible, to ensure compatibility with existing engines.

It might not be exactly the same mix of dodecane to naphthalene to whatever, but it'd be close enough.

Comment: Re:With the best will in the world... (Score 5, Interesting) 481

You're right that we don't have enough renewable energy yet to make this a useful technology. But hopefully that day is coming.

Re synthetic diesel, it's like I've always said: screw the "hydrogen economy", hydrogen is cryogenic, low-density, and difficult to work with. You'd be better off joining those hydrogens to some nice stable carbon atoms to create a storable, pumpable, relatively safe room-temperature liquid fuel.

Is it more efficient than just using the electricity to charge up batteries in an electric car for example?

Maybe, maybe not, but I guarantee you it has a higher energy density than batteries, which is super important for vehicle applications.

Comment: I don't know what it is but I know what it costs (Score 1) 678

by goodmanj (#49513697) Attached to: William Shatner Proposes $30 Billion Water Pipeline To California

Just for future reference, if you find yourself in a position of authority and someone comes to you with a solution to your pressing problem, and he doesn't know exactly what the solution is or how to make it happen, but he knows exactly how much it costs? You throw that guy out on the street, because that guy is at best a con artist, at worst utterly clueless. (Yes, in that order.)

Comment: Re:Don't establish a precedent. (Score 1) 700

by goodmanj (#49479607) Attached to: 'We the People' Petition To Revoke Scientology's Tax Exempt Status

The argument is that religious institutions are nonprofit charities whose goal is to serve the community rather than themselves, and that society benefits more by promoting these institutions than it would gain by taxing them.

Now, you can poke all kinds of holes in this argument for everything from Scientology to Catholicism to Jim and Tammy Bakker, but the fact is that the religious folks who came up with this argument and the religious folks who support it today aren't going to listen to you.

Comment: Don't establish a precedent. (Score 1) 700

by goodmanj (#49478965) Attached to: 'We the People' Petition To Revoke Scientology's Tax Exempt Status

If you do this, you'll establish a precedent saying that picking which religions deserve tax-exempt status is acceptable, and then the nightmare begins. Some will say the Catholic church should be non-exempt due to its handling of the pedophile priest scandal. The half of the Presbyterian church that opposes gay marriage will try to non-exempt the half that accepts it, and vice versa. Every religious controversy will lead to a demand to effectively de-churchify a denomination, and the federal government will be the final arbiter of who gets to be a church, in clear violation of the Establishment clause.

So if the scientologists can't be tax-exempt, nobody gets to be exempt. I know Slashdot is full of atheists (I'm one), so maybe a lot of us like this idea. But any politician who proposes it will be demonized by every priest, minister, rabbi, and imam in the country. If you think they believe atheists are assholes now, wait till we try to tax their faiths.

You've got to pick your battles, and this is a bad one. You can't carve this one sect out of the herd of religions without culling the whole herd, and you do not want to be face-to-face with a horde of enraged cattle with pointy horns.

Comment: Re:Libertarianism, the new face of the GOP? (Score 1) 441

by goodmanj (#49471605) Attached to: Republicans Introduce a Bill To Overturn Net Neutrality

That article is factually wrong about the order of events. Competing electrical firms collapsed into single monopolies *first*, and government came in to prevent the monopoly from running roughshod over the customer *second*.

The libertarian in this video at least gets the history right:
http://www.libertarianism.org/...

She phrases it as a grand bargain between government and the monopoly, in which the monopoly is protected in exchange for stability and reasonable prices. Which it is, but what matters to our discussion is that it's a grand bargain that was struck after the monopoly was fait accompli.

Comment: Re:Libertarianism, the new face of the GOP? (Score 1) 441

by goodmanj (#49471305) Attached to: Republicans Introduce a Bill To Overturn Net Neutrality

It's not a natural monopoly ISPs are not allowed to run fiber on the telephone poles

Oh, I see the problem. You think local government owns the telephone poles. Nope. The *electric power company* (or sometimes the phone company) owns the poles.

It's not the gubmint, it's a single private company with the power to control who gets to compete, because it owns the poles and there's no room on the street to put in more.

The two most beautiful words in the English language are "Cheque Enclosed." -- Dorothy Parker

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