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Comment Re:Unions (Score 1) 567

Instead of spending millions lobbying why don't the unions start worker-owned companies? Because they can't cease making demands of "capitalists" anymore than a flea can jump off a plump dog

Maybe because the corporate structures provided are totally inadequate to the point of seeming to discourage that form of organisation?

True story: About 20 years ago, my business partner and I tried to set up such a business in Washington State. We looked at the state-provided structure (called a T-corp) and learned that it required every person who had ever worked for the company at any point in time to be compensated from equity for life. There was no way to buy out former employees! We ended up forming an S-corp with funky by-laws, but most people don't have the education and resources to figure things like that out.

Comment Re:Insecurity culture.... (Score 1) 567

It's enabled managers to avoid that unfortunate human trait of compassion, feeing them to make hard nosed business decisions where employees are just another resource. The reason Japanese companies last so long is that the managers, no matter how high up, feel personally responsible when they have to make people redundant, like it's a personal failure and something they should apologise for. In the west they feel the opposite - it's a triumph, money was saved and the business streamlined, and they deserve a fat bonus.

Part of the empathy gap (at least in ANZAC cultures) is caused by massive wage inequality compared to European/Japanese cultures. In a country like the US with a population of ~300M, the "1%" constitute a group of about 3M. At this scale, they clearly should have no difficulty surrounding themselves with people in similar circumstances, and in practice wage (and wealth) inequality can create serious barriers (often actual walls) between them and the rest of the society. Such segregation is documented to reduce empathy. Moreover, reducing such segregation requires active choice, which in turn depends on the empathy that you are trying to create! So the only way to create greater inter-class empathy appears to be to force the wealthy to associate with the rest of society. And the only way I know of to do that is seriously high taxation rates (either of income, or property or both) that cannot be avoided by moving to Texas or the Cayman Islands.

Comment Re:Actually, you CAN'T do that (Score 1) 65

"You can't ever get two quarks very far apart. That property arises because the gluon, the force carrier for the strong force, has a strong charge of it's own. "

If you tried to separate "it" from "is", will the force generate new apostrophes?

Pedantry AND wit - what is /. coming to?

Comment Re:Can the brain live without the body? (Score 1) 60

In the movie The Matrix, people who died in the perceived reality died "in real life" even though their bodies had no physical trauma. "The body cannot live without the mind." was the explanation for this given in the movie.

I really wonder if the brain could live without the body. It seems to me this is far more difficult than simply keeping a person healthy without gravity: the body provides the brain with nutrition, sensory input, oxygen and CO2 removal, chemical input like hormones, etc., removal of wastes, fine temperature control, osmotic balance, and probably a lot more I have not mentioned. It seems easier to me to supply a body with gravity in space than to supply a brain with all of that.

Oh, and the brain would still need to be pressurized in space, as well as all the fluid input, so it's not clear you'd save a lot on cabin pressure.

This artificial distinction between the brain and the body is a favourite trope of computer nerds, but really, there is no boundary between the body and the brain (except in the minds of people who are used to well-designed hardware interfaces.) In order to convince a brain that it is in a body, you need a lot of simulation inputs, including some very complex chemistry. The simplest and most compact machinery we have for providing this is... a human body!

Comment Re:you underestimate Al Gore (Score 1) 248

He's got a T-Rex size carbon footprint as shown here:

Um, dateline 2006? I know this is slashdot and old new is good news, but do you have anything from this decade? IIRC, he's made a few serious changes to his house since then. Not that I'm a big fan of carbon offsets, but still, the world changes around you. And just because you don't like the messenger is no reason to ignore the message (which is pretty well documented.)

Comment Re:Corruption? In Russia? (Score 2) 94

You don't like the numbers that have been published but have no facts to support what you would rather believe so you attack the reputation of the source of the numbers as your fallback. Have you considered pursuing a career as a lawyer or politician? You would fit right in.

My point is that you have no facts either, just the rantings of one of the most corrupt politicians in the House (which is ironic, given that we are talking about corruption...) You did not provide any sources for Mr. Issa's claim - and neither did the Post article you cited. In fact, the same article provided another (unsourced) number that was less than half what Mr. Issa claims.

Moreover, the article you linked was not written by the Post itself, but by some "senior principal analyst" at a company that specialises in government contracting! Do you think that maybe claiming that their competitors are missing billions of dollars in "waste, fraud and abuse" might just be a marketing ploy?

Comment Re:Corruption? In Russia? (Score 1) 94

I would love to see your evidence of this as the GAO would be out of a job if they left that much waste.

Have you heard of this thing called a search engine? You should try it.

Here is just one article that came up as the first result on Google: Federal government continues to lose billions to waste, fraud and abuse

If you have any more questions you can ask Darrell Issa who chairs the House Oversight Committee whose committee was investigating said fraud and reported the numbers given.

I have serious doubts that Darrell "Benghazi!!!!" Issa would know corruption if it bit him in the nether regions. And before you go all partisan on me, you should note that the list of dishonorable mentions on the same page is balanced between the parties.

Comment Re:Huh? (Score 1) 278

doesn't conservation of matter pretty much guarantee everything is just recycled?

* internet advises people to drink 2-3 L of fluids per day.
* 365 days per year, 70 year lifespan -> 70k liters -> 70 m^3 over lifetime.
* 7b ppl alive today. Everybody alive today will drink 500 m^3 of fluids.
* the handwavey estimate is that half of the people who have ever lived are alive today. if this is true, then the entire human species has drunk 1000 m^3 of water.
* the volume of the ocean is 1.3 10^9 km^3 -> 1.3 10^18 m^3.

so even if no water has been recycled, there are a billion trillion liters of water in the oceans that have never been drunk by humans.

I think your math is rather off...

7e9 x 70m^3 ~= 500e9 m^3 x 2 = 1e12 m^3

But yes, that is still a tiny fraction of 1.3e18 m^3.

"Once they go up, who cares where they come down? That's not my department." -- Werner von Braun