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Comment: Re:That's still exactly what it was (Score 1) 63 63

Sadly, in more and more parts of it, it's becoming illegal to collect it. And mind you, I'm not talking about diverting seasonal drainage, I'm talking about collecting rainfall from your roof, let alone from a structure purpose-built for collecting water like you commonly see in areas with high rainfall and low government interference.

That's a far cry from a hydraulic empire since first, there would be no central control over water and it's trivial in the cases you mention to circumvent any such authority.

Comment: Re:That's still exactly what it was (Score 1) 63 63

Oil is the big one right now, but water is showing all signs of being the next.

No, it isn't. Water falls out of the sky in most of the world. And farmers, the largest consumers of water can in most parts of the world considerably reduce their water consumption with some simple approaches should that ever become important enough to do so.

Comment: Re:David Cameron is actually a genuine idiot (Score 1) 254 254

I don't think you understand the tragedy of the commons from your interpretation of it there. What you are describing is straightforward fraud, and it's much more easily dealt with than by saying "well sorry, nobody can have anything".

Fraud when used to overconsume a public good is a manifestation (and a very common one at that) of tragedy of the commons.

and it's much more easily dealt with than by saying "well sorry, nobody can have anything".

Sure, we'll just make more rules and increase our surveillance of everyone. And sometimes we won't actually do anything to diminish the fraud, because the point of creating the public good was to enable the fraud. One ends up with a lot of theater and a diminishment of human freedom as a result.

For example, I believe that's what US defense procurement is about these days. They make a great show of accounting for screws and a remarkably poor one of accounting for the effectiveness of the resulting military systems. Using substandard screws is abhorrent while building a few hundred planes for a good part of a trillion dollars that are terrible for the roles they are used in is just fine.

Comment: Re:David Cameron is actually a genuine idiot (Score 0) 254 254

Just wow, socialism does not advocate panopticon surveillance, infact I don't think socialism has anything to say about matters relating to observation of the population.

While sure, it's true that some flavors of socialism don't, it's worth noting that public surveillance is a natural consequence of the creation of public goods. For example, are you going to take my word for it that I'm actually five hundred people, all drawing a public pension and all using up expensive health care at my personal health care facility which strangely enough has an abandoned parking lot as address and only employs a few dozen members of me.

To prevent such fraudulent overconsumption of public welfare-related public goods (a standard tragedy of the commons situation BTW), by necessity, they need to know that the application is a real human and relevant data to that applicant. The more services and goods provided, be it welfare or some other things, the more surveillance of its citizens needs to be done merely to protect the viability of what is provided.

Not only does this directly encourage more surveillance of a populace inching towards total surveillance, it also creates ammunition for a future tyranny. Health care records which can be used to prevent abuse of public health care can also be used in combination with other data to create a more complete understanding of would-be rebels and their associates in a society.

Comment: Re:It's that time... (Score 2) 318 318

The entire point of asimovs multi book sagas about the 3 laws is... they don't work, can't work, and are a really bad idea.

Actually, the laws did work and by the end of the series had worked too well, to the point that robots had not only removed themselves from human society in order to protect humans, but it is implied that they also had removed any other potential intelligences (in the whole galaxy!) that they had deemed non-human as well.

Comment: Re:Renewable versus fossil - where is nuclear? (Score 1) 287 287

the former did not take the right steps, or ask for help when they needed it; and the latter did not design for adequate backup power during expected emergencies like the quake.

It's easy to criticize in hindsight. I found their response to the disaster more than adequate. Similarly, now that we know there's a problem, it would be inexcusable to do that. But not prior.

And we know that you haven't read a lot about the accident, and you don't have a background that can help you make sense of what you read.

I've been right more often than people like you have. For example, you make above the classic conflation of hindsight with foresight. That demonstrates profound ignorance of how we learn stuff that we haven't done very often like operating nuclear reactors in times of disaster.

In summary, go to edx or coursera and learn something before you make white noise on subjects you know nothing about.

Why don't you do that yourself and show me how it's done? Who knows, maybe you'll learn something.

Comment: Re: What an opportunity! (Score 1) 358 358

Somehow you've managed to miss the austere in austerity. The trait of great self-denial (especially refraining from worldly pleasures). Not only that, you've manage to ignore the role of income.

Income is a hard problem to control. Spending is an easy problem to control. If spending were the most important part of income, then Greece would have never gotten into trouble in the first place.

And "austerity" is not being used in the meaning above. It's painfully obvious that Greece isn't embracing any sort of self-denial, but is rather being subject to fiscal discipline by external pressure.

Comment: Re:Renewable versus fossil - where is nuclear? (Score 1) 287 287

The Three Gorges dam uses up a bit more than 1000 sq km of land due to its reservoir. That's about the area exclusion zone from Fukushima (which I gather is a bit smaller, maybe 600-800 sq km), but considerably smaller than the current exclusion zone around Chernobyl which is around 2600 sq km. In other words, one of the larger dams (by reservoir size) uses up more than a quarter of the land set aside after the only two significant nuclear power accidents (in terms of radiation released to the outside world).

And dam failures kill more people than radiation poisoning from nuclear accidents does.

Comment: Re:Those outside of Greece will have an impact (Score 1) 358 358

Now, let's look at public debt as percentage of GDP:

USA: 72.5%
UK: 90.0%
France: 89.9%
Greece: 161.3%
Netherlands: 68.7%
Canada: 84.1%
Switzerland: 52.4%
Germany: 79.9%

One of these is not like the others. One can warble on about "neoconservative economic pseudo-science", but Greece fucked up badly and now it's paying for it. Meanwhile, Scandinavian countries did not, and they don't have to undergo such things.

Comment: Re: What an opportunity! (Score 1) 358 358

So what? Expecting idiots to agree with me would be like expecting it to rain only on Tuesdays. I see, for example, that the author completely ignores the most important factor in why these countries are able to keep their social programs intact. Namely, their governments don't have extremely high levels of public debt.

The difference between Finland and Greece, for example, is that Finland owes a factor of four less as a fraction of its GDP. The other Scandinavian countries do even better.

Bottom line is that if you want pretty social programs or anything else on the public dollar, you need to control spending and borrowing. That's austerity in a nutshell. I find it bizarre that the countries which best exemplify this maxim are the ones being presented as a demonstration of why austerity supposedly doesn't work.

In practice, failures in system development, like unemployment in Russia, happens a lot despite official propaganda to the contrary. -- Paul Licker