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Comment: Re:Renewable versus fossil - where is nuclear? (Score 1) 271 271

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) 354 354

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) 354 354

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.

Comment: Re:Drone It (Score 1) 531 531

I honestly don't think a real "organized" war of that kind is likely to ever happen again. We have long since passed the point where the major actors are just too big and powerful to risk war with eachother, so they engage in little more than proxy wars against eachother's minor interests.

I would love for that to be true. But I'm reminded of a maxim of Napoleon, "To have good soldiers, a nation must always be at war." Substantial military advantage will accrue to countries which fight on a regular basis. And if that advantage becomes great enough, then we may well see the real "organized" war of which you speak.

Comment: Re:How do we know we've only discovered 1% of NEAs (Score 1) 40 40

The distribution of asteroids that we can detect follow a power law: for a given cross-sectional area, the number is crudely inversely proportional. This not only holds for the biggest ones which we can observe in telescopes, but also meteorite impacts with the Earth and Moon. So we have estimates of asteroid populations by size from the largest to well below the minimum size which can cause harm to us on Earth.

Comment: Re:Renewable versus fossil - where is nuclear? (Score 1) 271 271

Regulation means not only having the rules on paper, but having the executive framework to make sure they are implemented in practice. If they aren't then the industry is unregulated.

And it's worth noting by this weak standard, both accidents you mention were regulated. I find it interesting how canned this response is. It reminds me of the blowhards stating within a few days of Fukushima that the accident was due to the incompetence of the operators rather than the obvious magnitude 9 earthquake and its consequences without knowing anything about the situation.

Regulation doesn't magically provide perfect protection against nuclear accidents especially when as in today's world you don't have a lot of experience with nuclear accidents because they don't happen that often. A fundamental lesson of these accidents is that you often have to learn by failure what works and what doesn't work.

Comment: Re:Renewable versus fossil - where is nuclear? (Score 1) 271 271

Neither which was a failure of regulation, let us note.

Actually both were, unless you're imagining 'regulation' to be only some rules written on a piece of paper, in which case you're just another slashdot fool. Which would also explain your ignorant comment above nicely.

I merely made a correct observation. Though I do have to agree that if it can't be written down on paper, it's probably not regulation.

Comment: Re:What an opportunity! (Score 1) 354 354

The historical evidence shows that Austerity causes demand contraction and often demand spiral, it has never in global history solved a budget crisis.

That's like claiming emergency rooms are responsible for vehicular deaths just because so many people die there. No one goes through a crash bout of austerity because they're doing well just as no one goes to an emergency room unless they have substantial problems.

The Euro eliminated currency barriers to unequal trade relationships which substantially hurt the Greece economy.

In other words, Greece fucked around for a couple of decades rather than deal with the above problem. Now they're paying the consequences.

The time to implement austerity and similar measures would have been two decades ago. It's not like the "unequal trade relationship" showed up yesterday.

And austerity does work. The Scandinavian countries successfully practice austerity right now. When you control spending over generations rather than only when your creditors force you to, you can have a much better society.

Debts on a national level will only rise as long as there is demand for that debt and confidence in it, or banks out to make money by selling people shit and betting against it.

It's worth noting here that Greece lied about its financial health for a time (and may still be lying, not like I care). So some of that debt was picked up under false pretenses.

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