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Comment: Re:imperial = fagot (Score 3, Interesting) 134 134

As an American who routinely has to use feet, inches, fractions of an inch, square feet, square inches, cubic feet, gallons, lbs force, lbs mass, ounces mass, watts, kilowatts, horsepower, btuh, boiler horsepower, square feet EDR, psi, feet of water, inches of water, inches of mercury, mm of mercury, atmospheres, etc., converting back and forth within the customary US units is a pain in the ass, no matter what you say. Converting to metric, doing the math, then converting back can sometimes be easier.

Comment: Re:Phase out fossil-fueled power plants by midcent (Score 3, Informative) 308 308

You are correct, except in your definition of a Ponzi scheme. Simply paying people out of current receipts is not a Ponzi scheme. A Ponzi scheme involves creating the illusion of high returns on investment by paying out the capital from new investors and calling it profit on the old investments while claiming that all of the original investments are still there. The difference is that Social Security does not claim you have any capital invested nor that you are making any profit - it has always been portrayed as paying current retirees from a tax on current workers (albeit, with some money put aside to smooth out the highs and lows caused by the employment and retirement numbers). The numbers can deceive people about the federal budget deficit, but it is not a Ponzi scheme by Social Security.

Comment: Re:Phase out fossil-fueled power plants by midcent (Score 3, Insightful) 308 308

Of course that should all still be dwarfed by the social security budget, and in that, not just social security to elderly.

Actually, until very recently, the Social Security budget was running in the black and contributing to the ability of the US government to spend. Unfortunately, all of the Social Security surplus was invested, in accordance with the law, in US Treasury bonds, and those debts were not counted as part of the federal budget deficits. So the problem is not in the Social Security budget, per se, but in Congress having already spent all of the Social Security surpluses of the past.

Comment: Re:Oh no... you mean... (Score 1) 292 292

It wasn't some media poll leading up to the election. It was election-day results from the eastern states, where the polls had already closed, and exit-polls from the western states, where polls were still open. Many people decided not vote after work since Reagan had already been declared the victor before their polling places closed.
Actual election results come in a lot faster now than they did in the '50s.

Comment: Re:This makes me feel safe (Score 1) 357 357

What a lot of attempts could do is drain the budget of the TSA and of airlines: overwhelming the staff with hundreds or thousands of false positives over a day or a week would cost the TSA and the airlines many millions of dollars

And, yet, my company is involved in upgrades to a few (checked) baggage screening systems where one item of contention is the new EDS (Explosion Detection System) design criteria that have more than double the number of alarms requiring rifling throu - - I mean, requiring manual screening of the luggage. (This is a problem because it requires at least double the number of workers and workstations, and they won't really fit in the existing space available.)
Anyway, thousands of false positives a day is already par for the course in busy airports.

I never cheated an honest man, only rascals. They wanted something for nothing. I gave them nothing for something. -- Joseph "Yellow Kid" Weil

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