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Comment: Re:Regulation is the enemy of free markets. (Score 3, Insightful) 52

Regulation is required for free markets. And example of a free market gone haywire due to lax or no regulation was the housing market. And without the FDA, you'd feel perfectly safe getting your prescriptions from Joe's Medical Stuff and Bait Store, right? Or maybe you wish to turn safety entirely over to the airlines so that an acceptable level of crashes that can be insured against would work for you. Your car company would never think to cut corners and get you killed dead because they could save on not installing proper safety equipment in their vehicles. Your bank account need not be insured by the FDIC because you mistakenly stuck your money in a bank whose owners absconded with your loot. The food you eat need not be inspected regularly to keep your death from being the result of bad processing. The guard rails on your way to work don't need any standard over keeping you from your freedom to plow straight down a ravine into that swiftly flowing river. The next hurricane won't bother you because you'll be safe in your house which didn't need to conform to hurricane building standards, also see earthquakes.

Your grandmother can come and live with you because of the nursing home fire which was caused because the owners didn't need to conform to fire protection standards. And, by the way, it wiped out the money she kept in her room which was destined for you in her will but which she didn't trust a bank to keep and hence kept it in large denomination bills which, tragically, met their end in the fire.

Need I continue?

Comment: Re:the endgame is ironic here (Score 1) 282

by gtall (#49520255) Attached to: Robot Workers' Real Draw: Reducing Dependence on Human Workers

I think you are close to my own view, many systems need a bit of hysteresis to function properly. Currently, the bean counters running companies have taken over. They understand little about what the company does and hence tend to run it at what they think is maximum efficiency...until the wheels fall off because they didn't properly invest for future growth, or created customer hate that built over time, or soiled the environment to the point government had to step in reel them back, caused a Great Recession or Depression, etc.

The other problem with running at maximum efficiency is that companies and economies are systems. Their day-to-day behavior does not explain what will happen during a shock. If your company cannot handle unforeseen circumstances because of running so close to the edge that it can fall over easily, then sooner or later it will fall over because external shocks tend to come. Frequently, they tend to come in clusters because of knockon effects. We build bridges, skyscrapers, etc. with the idea that there may be shocks, say earthquakes. Companies should have rainy day funds, not piss off all funds on stock buybacks for short term gain by the current crop of whack-a-mole company officers, etc. There needs to be some slack in the company as a buffer.

Comment: Re:Compensation delays? Hardly. (Score 5, Insightful) 67

by gtall (#49504011) Attached to: US Military To Recruit Civilian Cybersecurity Experts

The Seals are part of the Navy. And due to Sequestration, the Army will lose about 70,000 shortly.

The problem with accounting is indeed a problem. One doesn't not wave a magic wand and declare there to be accounting. DoD is vast, and they've never had a real audit. Their first real audit is coming due shortly, it took them years to prepare for it because new accounting systems had to be built to handle it.

And when it comes to money wasted, the biggest problem is Congress. DoD figures it has about 25% more physical plant than it needs, but it cannot cut it because it requires closing bases in congressional districts and Congress won't let them do that. They do go though a BRAC process about every 5 years and whack what they can, but Congress won't let them whack enough.

That said, the Air Force is easily the most stuck in the past. Their whizzy new planes are more or less overkill for Daesh. The A-10 is perfect for that, but the Air Force is tasked with countering China and Russia which have been putting money into advanced airplanes. Both have been putting new money into just about everything. This bodes trouble for the U.S. and the Biden Doctrine of bending over first, thinking if they see our a-holes, they'll realize we mean then no harm. So we get the Ukraine problem and China building a new island and new airstrip in the S. China Sea 1000 miles from any Chinese territory. The U.S. does nothing because the Biden Doctrine declares that if we smile a lot, the rest of the world will like U.S....unfortunately for the U.S., its allies that rely on it won't. So they too are starting to spend more on defense. The end result will be a lot of powder kegs splattered across the world that could go off for stupid reasons because men do stupid things. And that will force the U.S. defense budget higher in the long run, presuming the U.S. doesn't take one in the neck because it ignored an existential threat (N. Korea nuking LA, Iran nuking Washington (they are able to put satellites in space which you need to send one to Washington, etc.).

Comment: Re:They're called trees. (Score 4, Insightful) 128

by gtall (#49493321) Attached to: Breakthrough In Artificial Photosynthesis Captures CO2 In Acetate

That's not sophisticated enough. The problem is we're taking eons of sequestered carbon and dumping it into the atmosphere all at once. Trees only sequester carbon for about 100 before they're broken down into CO2 and other stuff again. Think of it as time dilated burning. And planting the world over with trees cannot possibly capture all the sequestered CO2 we're dumping.

Comment: Re:A first: We should follow Germany's lead (Score 1) 700

by gtall (#49478879) Attached to: 'We the People' Petition To Revoke Scientology's Tax Exempt Status

No, Scientology should not have tax exempt status because they produce no charity benefits to balance what some of their followers produce. The same cannot be said for the other religions. If it were up to me, you only get tax exemption based on the level of your charitable work, quantifiable charitable work that is. Getting tax exemption just because you have a religion is plain silly.

Comment: Re:How have we ruled out measurement or model erro (Score 1) 117

by gtall (#49477931) Attached to: Hubble and the VLT Uncover Evidence For Self-Interacting Dark Matter

Because to physicists who spend their time working this problem seem to agree that 1 is most likely. 3 is being attacked all the time with new theories but it is sort of an unlimited well of human imagination.

In my opinion, it is like the WTC "theories". They get started because some yokel cannot understand the official explanations when others seem as likely. However, if you pick up Popular Mechanics book "Debunking 9/11 Myths" (especially the newer addition), they pretty much destroy the reigning alternative alleged theories. Why should I accept the book's version? Because they worked with scientists, engineers, and demolition experts who concur on the official explanation. Why do I not accept the alternative theories? Because they have little scientific analysis backing them. So I bow to the physicists who work the dark matter issue as being the experts and in a much better position to judge because, as intelligent and wonderful as I believe myself to be, I don't have their expertise.

Comment: Re:Pretty safe bet this happens everywhere. (Score 1) 294

by gtall (#49477151) Attached to: Denver TSA Screeners Manipulated System In Order To Grope Men's Genitals

TSA agents are mirroring society. Does your workplace only hire saints:

Hiring Supervisor: We like your credentials, are you certified as being a saint?

Prospective Employee: Yep, see these affidavits, I'm considered quite holy.

HS: So you wouldn't do anything untoward toward customers?

PS: Of course not, I'd jeopardize my saint status, I like being holy.

HS: Okay, you are hired, but be good!!

The price one pays for pursuing any profession, or calling, is an intimate knowledge of its ugly side. -- James Baldwin