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Comment: Re:The fossil fuel "subsidies" are a lie. (Score 1) 341

by jwhitener (#46784475) Attached to: Climate Scientist: Climate Engineering Might Be the Answer To Warming

Seriously: all but an irrelevant fraction of the "subsidies" amount to "we don't believe fossil fuels are being taxed punitively enough, therefore the absence of those punitive taxes means they are receiving a subsidy".

If I gave your family, and only your family, a special federal tax break, isn't that exactly the same as giving you money?

One of the subsidies that "these people" want to end, is a special 2-3 billion dollar tax break, just for oil companies and just for preparing drilling sites. It was an incentive to get more oil in production...100 years ago. That tax break has outlived its purpose and has nothing to do with wanting to apply "punitive taxes" to oil.

Comment: Re:Nuclear? (Score 1) 432

by jwhitener (#46784365) Attached to: UN: Renewables, Nuclear Must Triple To Save Climate

I like nuclear power, but the grid can be stable with mostly renewables. I don't know about Germany's plans in details, but if they didn't include energy storage (pumped hydro, batteries, etc..) as part of the plan, of course they would hit a wall with how much sun/wind they can use at any particular time.

Get a grip. Without nuclear, there's no hope to solve climate change

Very true, if we do not invest in any energy storage.

Comment: Re:The most useful "skill" in a postapocalyptic wo (Score 1) 733

by jwhitener (#46783015) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Are You Apocalypse-Useful?

Without constant supply chains from Farm to Walmart, the groceries would be gone in a week. Maybe two weeks max. Having a supply of fruit/veg seeds, a rifle, a fishing pole/net, and a little bit of survival knowledge would be very useful by week 3.

The only way that you'd have years of groceries left to loot is if something like The Walking Dead happened where 99% of humanity was killed quickly.

Comment: Re:What a strange discussion (Score 1) 857

First, have your nation start making 15-20 Trillion dollars per year. Then watch it change as the lobbyists and media groups pour into your country, influencing politics, media, and policy.

Huge amounts of income inequality seem to result in only those with huge amounts of money being able to effectively buy messaging for elections, and then buy policy, and then finally buy media ownership.

Comment: Re:Why so much resistance to climate science? (Score 1) 857

Because embracing anthropic climate change involves drastic controls on emissions, manufacturing, and energy generation (specifically coal) as well as being an excuse to raise a variety of taxes on an already strained economy. If something's going to hit them in the pocket people are going to want a lot of good reasons to pay up.


There is not other way to make the changes than DRASTICALLY, right? There is no way we could, say, phase in changes over 30-50 years, right?

There is so much resistance, because the pro-oil side is highly organized lobbying machine, with tendrils in the majority of the nation's media, blogs, politicians, and "think tanks". The only reason most people buy into the whole "DRASTIC CHANGE" notion is because of the repeated, consistent, messaging coming from the oil lobby/think tanks/"news".

There are lots of people who have thought about how to make this energy change fairly painless. Like this:

As long as we continue to buy into the notion that we will face DRASTIC CHANGE if we attempt to reduce CO2, nothing will every change.

Comment: Re:Deniers (Score 1) 857

We absolutely, positively need petroleum right now in order to exist. Without it, we'd have to fall back to an 1800's agrarian existence

Sure. Right now today. But what about 10 years from now if we make an effort to change? The problem is, no one is starting to change. No politician has created a national plan with milestones. And Deniers keep throwing up their hands and saying, "it is impossible to get off petrol".

Right now, techniques exist to apply nitrogen to crops without being petroleum based, and it is cheaper than conventional nitrogen. I know, because I sell it. It also provides disease resistance, increased soil carbon, and is 100% nitrogen neutral. The product is a living organism that sucks nitrogen out of the air and fixes it to the roots of a plant.

Right now, battery technology exists that could power a tractor or combine. Or if not 100% electric now (or in 10 years time), at least Hybrid Farms could continue to use petroleum products in reduced amounts. Besides, the VAST majority of the petroleum c02 pollution is from commuter cars.

best methods to obtain petroleum based products, fracking, to keep costs down so we have enough research money to throw into things

Yeah, because the profits of the oil and natural gas companies is being used to drive green research, or the cost savings in my personal electric bill is being channeled into green energy research... The two are not linked.

There are a lot of very painless transition plans to move off oil. Like this one Winning the Oil Endgame . The problem isn't that it is impossible, the problem is that we are not starting at all.

Comment: Re:Not words... Context. (Score 1) 512

by jwhitener (#46644665) Attached to: Why <em>Darmok</em> Is a Good <em>Star Trek: TNG</em> Episode

Yeah, it is pretty obvious that a realistic scientific explanation about how a computer could rapidly (say months of absorbing language and cultural data from the aliens, while being hand tuned) would be very boring for most TV shows to portray.

I actually appreciate shows that don't bother, like Stargate SG1. Everyone spoke English, with no explanation. Worked for me.

Comment: Re:Customers may benefit... maybe (Score 1) 455

by jwhitener (#46644437) Attached to: Wal-Mart Sues Visa For $5 Billion For Rigging Card Swipe Fees

Raising the minimum wage would result in more automation, more outsourcing, and higher unemployment.

Not according to the cities and states that have elected to raise the wage because they got tired of waiting for it to happen at a federal level.

Do you have any studies that show raising the minimum wage causes higher unemployment? The articles I've found online either show no correlation or show the opposite: raising the base pay puts more money in people's pockets. Restaurants, movies theaters, etc.., the very places that often employ minimum wage workers, are also the places that many minimum wage workers spend disposable income. Basically, the service industry, the vast majority of the minimum wage jobs, is stimulated by a higher minimum wage.

Comment: Re:The double standard at work (Score 1) 824

by jwhitener (#46644103) Attached to: Some Mozilla Employees Demand New CEO Step Down

Equal treatment under the law is very much a rights issue.

Consider: only white people get food stamps. Sure, that is "just a benefit, nothing more, nothing less", but it is obviously racist.

At one point in our history, many states forbid black white marriages. And sure, that marriage certificate was "just a benefit", but that situation is obviously one about Civil Rights.

The Polygamy argument is just silly. It is the slippery slope argument that most far right conservatives start with, and it usually ends with them mentioning something about bestiality. However, the slope really doesn't exist. Polygamy has historically been shown to be a bad idea. And one that is nearly always about the exploitation of women. The split second that women get close to equal power in a society, polygamy vanishes. If polygamy is a non-starter, the slope doesn't exist.

Marriage has always been about two people creating a partnership, which creates stability and benefits society. As our society has changed, grown, and matured, we've decided to code into law protections against discrimination. At first, they were obvious ones, like race, religion, etc.. The latest one happens to be sexual orientation. It just takes time for a new civil rights protection to seep into all the aspects of society that people use to inform their worldviews, like churches for instance.

Comment: Re:First amendment only applies to our friends (Score 1) 824

by jwhitener (#46643947) Attached to: Some Mozilla Employees Demand New CEO Step Down

That means that you consider a majority of Americans to be said "bad people".

There was a point in time in the US when the majority of people were bad people when it came to equal rights for Black Americans. At what point in time the majority became the minority is up for debate. However, that is precisely the reason why historically civil rights issues are not decided by popular vote.

Comment: Re:No (Score 1) 824

by jwhitener (#46643761) Attached to: Some Mozilla Employees Demand New CEO Step Down

Many of those employment discrimination laws are based on what society considers to be legitimate factors (race, religion, etc..).

No matter if a belief is based in religion, if it is bigoted, or racist, or illegal, it would not be covered under employment discrimination laws.

I can certainly decide not to hire someone if they are a card carrying member of the KKK, and face no legal challenges. The question here, is whether history will decide that being against marriage equality was bigotry or not. I suspect that history books will look back at this period of time and label people against equal treatment as no different than the people who opposed black/white marriages.

Comment: Re: That logic totally holds up (Score 1) 824

by jwhitener (#46643477) Attached to: Some Mozilla Employees Demand New CEO Step Down

However if those beliefs are based on their religion, then forcing that person to leave the company is in essence forcing the person to leave because of their religion.

Religions do not get carte blanche protections for their conclusions and actions. There are many religious people who have reached conclusions about things that a jury/judge would not allow. It doesn't matter what system of belief or logic created an idea, if that idea is illegal.

non-bigoted reasons

more concerned about judicial activism (their words) than in discriminating against gays

Civil rights have never been a matter of public opinion. See the civil rights movement. That is also not a sign of being non-bigoted. It is more a sign of being ignorant of the Bill of Rights, Constitution, and the history of Civil Rights.

who felt that civil unions were a good solution but who did not think that redefining the word "marriage" was the right way

Unequal treatment based on a person's natural attributes (race, orientation, etc..) is pretty close to the definition of bigotry.

And finally there were others who just want to see gay marriage be on the ballot rather than be decided by a judge.

See Civil Rights above.

Comment: Re:Not necessarily hate (Score 1) 1482

by jwhitener (#46635305) Attached to: OKCupid Warns Off Mozilla Firefox Users Over Gay Rights

The problem is, we don't have a universally accepted theory about what makes a given law just or unjust to impose on those citizens who don't like it. We all have some laws that strike us as oppressive.

In the case of civil rights / bill of rights stuff, we sure do have a ton of historical law that helps us define what makes something a right. You can basically summarize it, that everyone is allowed to be completely free to do anything... except when it adversely harms another. The whole, "your right to swing your fist ends at the point of my nose" argument.

Some see this CEO's advocacy of Prop 8 as oppression. Many Christians see their being forced to support gay marriages

In that light, it would require Christians to argue how the 'fist' of gay marriage is impacting their nose. Because if you cannot prove you are being harmed, you cannot deny someone a right just for the heck of it.

Machines certainly can solve problems, store information, correlate, and play games -- but not with pleasure. -- Leo Rosten