I agree. And there's no evidence that it would be different under McCain or Romney or Clinton.
What's the point?
1. you use less parts and cheaper parts in the power supply.
2. you have fewer and shorter cables
3. you use 5V, 3.3V, regulators that are the right size for the job. this saves space and saves material
4. you get to choose where to put these regulators so that heat management can be more optimal
5. it's easier to integrate the 12v battery with the space saved
What will that question get for you? How about asking, "Will you take a stand with me against sexual harassment in the hacker sub-culture?"
We live in a broader culture where that kind of harassment and assault is illegal. The way the sub-culture is doesn't matter. Want to make a difference? Don't act that way or tolerate those who do.
The jobs that these people do is harmful to the economy.
I'm not saying that we shouldn't continue some of the programs that are currently administered by these departments. Some of them obviously should be continued (I believe that there is a place for government in funding science and research. There are, however, other things that the government shouldn't be operating. The network of weather satellites should be sold off to private interests and the government should put out contracts for gathering weather data. The data itself should be made available to the public by the government (and the right to do so should be enforced in contract terms) but there is no reason to have a bureau that operates these things.
EDU: The federal government has absolutely no concern with funding or regulating education at any level. It's not interstate commerce. It's not national security. It's just an excuse to medal and win political points with naive voters. It is each citizens own responsibility to pursue his own education. That's not a function of government, be it national, state or local. The only thing that the loans and the grants, the regulations and the national standards do is make the whole business more expensive to manage and operate and create opportunities for waste and abuse. Every major function of EDU is duplicated by or originated in private institutions already. We waste money paying people to work for a department whose only practical function is to make education more expensive and less accessible.
HUD: This is the analog of the department of education which primarily serves the interests of the real estate and construction industries.
Energy: This is a bureaucratic black hole into which we dump money for pet projects and graft. It exists to serve giant energy companies and the military-industrial-national-security leviathan.
Interior: Other than the national park service, the USGS, fish and wildlife, it's hard to say what useful work goes on here. Many of the regulatory services exist to serve entrenched interests. Some of them are doing absolutely no useful work (this is the department that rubber-stamps oil rigs, pipelines, etc. leading to such disasters as the recent gulf oil spill). I can pretty much guarantee that Indian affairs has no legitimate use. That's a function for the state department.
Commerce: This is where made-up government economic statistics originate. They also specialize in interfering with trade.
My initial reaction was to categorize your remark as meaningless noise due to the following scoring:
-1 Tone: Shouting, Belligerent, Rude
-1 Name Calling
-1 Making up a "fact"
However, I realized that this is about on par with the general level of "political" discourse in the U.S. So your post is now useful insofar as it is an example of how not to discuss an issue. Finally, I should note that there are no points given for minor creativity with phraseology such as "head-crushingly stupid". That stuff has no value when you're honestly trying to communicate to solve a problem or understand an issue. It only gets the attention of those who have no real interest in a legitimate discussion.
Please consider this before you make your next contribution to the topic. Otherwise, shut up. We can easily find meaningless, know-nothing shouting and banter on any of the scores of TV and news networks offered up by the mass media. The rest of us here would like to have an adult discussion.
There is a thing called an odometer. It's in every car. There's nothing wrong with requiring a car inspection every year and taxing mileage based on the odometer is a much cheaper and simpler and less intrusive way.
If they want to track you, they've already got your cell phone.
This GPS stuff is idiotic.
How about the government just stops using networks. It's not like they're doing anything productive right now anyhow.
In the united states there are several layers of laws that apply: International, Federal, State, County, City. Each layer is composed of written, common and case law. Additionally, there are at least four layers of regulation that can affect your actions as well religious and cultural norms. Just because the federal government isn't allowed to restrict some act, doesn't even come close to giving you the right to do it. In fact, if any one organizational layer was allowed to override all the others, we would live in a much less viable society.
Is it stupid because it's true and horrifyingly bad or stupid because it doesn't fit into your world of ignorance?
True cost of bailouts: over $12 Trillion.
Wall St. has the most highly privileged position of any industry in the world (including defense contractors and oil companies) and we all pay to keep them from being exposed to market forces of any real substance. They collectively have control over the mechanisms of corporate commerce and the whole money supply. You think that this conglomeration of power is somehow benign or beneficial to you?
Do you think that just because Wall St. is reporting good corporate profits and banks are lending a little money here and there that the real economy is somehow on track? Unemployment is still terribly high, taxes on most of us are higher than ever and climbing and so is public debt. Real incomes for most Americans and Europeans are falling or stagnant. Trillions of dollars were misspent on ridiculously overpriced housing and the asset base of the middle class has been eviscerated.
The sad thing is that most people are never going to wake up to the reality that taxes come in many forms. It's not just what you pay to the IRS and the states. You pay by inflation. You pay by being forced to buy myriad overpriced goods and services (healthcare, banking, insurance, food, energy, housing, drugs
So yeah, keep telling the rest of us how stupid we are for making the connections. Don't worry. The economy and government are big and complicated. Keep telling yourself that no one interest or group has enough leverage to push the whole thing in their favor, or that all the little levers pushed by the rich players aren't tilting the whole thing over into an unsustainable landslide that could, and probably will end in catastrophe.
Let me tell you that it's not some giant conspiracy. It's just some rich people looking to protect their assets. They push a little here, they get a little richer. They get more power to push a little harder and over the years, and the layers of corruption get deeper. The harbors of safety for the top players become institutionalized. Every generation of elites pushes a little harder to grow their fortunes and consolidate their advantages. Look at one of the symptoms: big complex tax codes. Another symptom: Banks too big to fail dictating their own regulations.
It doesn't require a huge amount of greed or evil by any one party. It's just the rich and powerful people saying to themselves, "I'm rich because I work hard and I'm smarter than most of these other people and I'm going to use my advantage to make sure I stay rich by screwing the rest of them over just a little." When that happens millions of times for a few hundred years, it leads to what we've got today. A million "just a little" things turn into a big burden for the folks who play by the rules that others make.
I broke down and bought a Mac Mini after about a month of unsuccessfully trying to get OSX Hackintoshed to be stable on my various PCs. I want to develop iPad/iPhone apps and thats really the only way to do it without some kind of compromise. Unfortunately, it now also costs $5 to buy XCode on the Mac App Store (previously a free download), unless you pay the $100/year for an IOS development license (which I'm not going to do until I'm ready to ship something). If $5 gets Apple to make XCode a more professional tool, I'm all for it, but I suspect this will not be the case. I also have doubts that Apple will completely wall-off the Mac. People get a lot of value from free utilities, etc., that they download from the web. Forcing all those utilities into the Mac App Store would also force the authors into proprietary models and probably into paying the $100/year dev license. In a lot of ways it would emaciate the Mac software "ecosystem" and end up deteriorating the value of the platform. I think Apple would be happy to just get fees for brokering almost all of the paid Mac apps by making the Mac App Store the avenue of choice for buying Mac software. I can also see how it might be good for developers of free apps. Download the free version on a website or pay $1 for the supported version via the M.A.S.
On the other hand, it's a much more reasonable price than, e.g., Visual Studio 2010 Pro ($650+). I just don't understand how Microsoft can swing from ~$250 for VS 2008 Standard and then $550 for the upgrade to 2010 or $650 for the full product. VS is much higher quality than XCode, but the pricing difference is outrageous. But, looking at Microsoft's whole lineup, nothing is priced reasonably. At least with Mac hardware, I'm getting something that is well-made and is priced in the ballpark of what's reasonable (Yes, I'm looking at you, Visio Pro 2010!). Enough bitching. Back to work.
Your clarification could use some corrections as well. AQ (terrorists herein described as AQ for purposes of simplification) was in Iraq for a time. The tide turned in the surge mainly due to the actions of the local militias. Granted, we bribed and strong-armed them onto action, but mainly they were getting really sick of the foreigners destroying their lives and afraid of the kind of indiscriminate killing that our surge numbers would produce. They drove out and killed most of the foreigners because they can tell the difference and we largely can't. Now they're having a quiet civil war that is just barely kept in check by our presence. The populace wants us out so they can move on with winning or losing and the politicians we've backed want us to stay so they don't get slaughtered by the next strong-man to emerge when we leave. What we can claim to have done is initiate a war based on false pretenses that attracted AQ there. Once there, we attacked terrorists and anyone else with a weapon in-hand. In the process, over a million locals have been killed (not just Iraqis, because a significant minority were foreigners) and the society has been pretty much turned inside-out. Hardly anyone would say that Iraq is more stable and less friendly to terrorism than before we invaded.
Afghanistan has hardly been a more successful campaign. It's now the number one opium growing region in the world. We and our proxies are in active negotiation to re-establish the Taliban as part of the power bloc controlling the region so that we may leave without looking like the cause of another civil war there, which will almost inevitably lead to regional powers that are friendly to AQ. I say region, because Afghanistan cannot properly be called a country in the way we think of it. It's a conglomeration of tribes that share some allegiance to regional authorities which sometimes broker relations with the outside world. We treat it as a state because we had to attack it and on a political level we have no understanding of a non-state entity.
Finally: Iran now has more influence over both of their neighbors than before. We did kill Bin Laden and a bunch of other terrorists. It has so far cost the lives of over 7,000 U.S. soldiers, 32,000 U.S. wounded, probably a million+ civilians and over a trillion dollars.
You mentioned that the airport security response is in the right direction, but largely bungled. I would argue that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are the same scenario. Response in the right direction but costing so many lives and dollars at a scale so large that we just don't comprehend the tragedy. Yes, we should attack and kill terrorists. We should support democracy over tyranny. The reality is that we support tyranny because it's easier to deal with one client than a few million who are not as easily bought-off. If we stop supporting dictators, a lot of the fuel for the fire of terrorism will be removed and we won't have to go to war in the process.
Schools should do what keeps them in business. If someone is going to pay them to subsidize expensive STEM education, that's what will keep them going, so they should run with that. Without subsidy, they should charge according to costs, since running the program at a loss makes no economic sense and will just lead to them closing their doors.
Why don't we have more US citizen STEM majors and STEM students going into industry? Because people who have citizenship and speak US English fluently are also likely to know the score: you make much more money working for financial manipulators than for productive industry. Foreigners often don't know the score, or they have a harder time swimming in the culture of the business sharks. They go to industry jobs because they are able to get them, don't know any better and anyway industry jobs are a huge improvement over the crap they put up with in the 3rd world. Then there's the people who just love doing it and wouldn't sacrifice their passion just for money. I guess. Those people are, as expected, pretty rare.
Want to make the US competitive, r.e. high tech industry? Want to avoid pitfalls like raising STEM education prices? Fix business climate. Let me say right now that it's just not going to happen before a truly major catastrophe hits us. Wall St. owns the gov't and hasn't suffered at all in comparison to the rest of the nation for the crisis they created. Anyhow, here's a short list of things to fix:
* Remove or short-circuit the political influence of the controlling elite. Their interests normally align well enough with society to allow them the privilege of their economic and political advantages. This is no longer the case. They're now eating our lunches so fast that the real economy is shrinking and they don't realize that they're going to eventually have things much harder when they aren't leeching off a fat and growing middle class but a poor and hollowed-out one.
* Stop externalizing all non-monetary costs. Foreign outsourcing is profitable for the elite and terrible for the society. Destroying the ecology by ruthlessly sucking out natural resources is fantastically profitable. So is keeping dehumanized workers hard under the thumb of management. This single item addresses so many problems that we face, it's not even funny. Almost all economics research should be directed at properly measuring the real costs and benefits of economic activity and giving us the tools to properly decide what to pursue.
* End corporate personhood. Corporations exist as vehicles for accumulations capital and resources to survive changes in management and ownership. The incentives for all parties involved is so far tilted to the short-term that it is really just a mandate to slash, burn, rape and pillage by any legal (or otherwise) means necessary. Personhood rewards this behavior with both unfair advantages and immortality.
* Adjunct the single corporate mandate of profit-seeking with the proper mandate that each corporation has a net benefit to society (including non-monetary costs).
* Demolish regulation and lawyer-strangulation in health-care and replace it with a highly visible system of certification. Make the patient pay for his services and let him decide what he's going to buy. Right now we're all forced to buy health care in the form of Cadillacs. Services have an enormous burden of administration and regulation. There are no health-care pintos. If the huge regulatory and insurance burden is removed and Sally the nurse can treat everyday injuries and colds out of her house or her van without two hired paperwork shufflers to make her legal, then her competition will reduce costs because the Caddy dealership doctors and hospitals will have to compete to survive. You really shouldn't be able to sue your caregivers. They're human and they're going to make mistakes. The key is to focus on making those mistakes both rare and less costly for you and for them. Modern medicine CAN do wonderful things but the expectation that we will receive 100% perfect care isn't ever going to be remotely possible. Forcing everyone to live in a regime of mistake = career-death makes the cost too high for all of us. We all hugely overpay because not everyone needs a Cadillac all of the time and we're all forced to buy them.
* The healthcare regulation thing is basically the same issue for myriad occupations and industries where the legal and regulatory barriers to entry have been erected so high that it blocks the participation of small business (agriculture, energy, telecom, etc). These regulations exist mainly for the purpose of shielding the big players from local competition and no longer serve to meaningfully protect the public. (Do you like paying $100+ for 1000 cable tv channels + internet and having almost no alternative? Do you like your cellphone provider? Do you know how expensive and hard it is to raise livestock and sell the meat at retail? Yet we have horrible service from our monopoly providers and unsafe food in our markets.)
To me, it just seems foolish to be upset or even concentrated on relatively small issues like the cost of STEM education rising when the bigger issues are the root causes and they touch so many more parts of our lives. So. I advise you to save your pennies and try your damnedest to convert them to something that will store real value. Like a cow, chickens and some decent farmland. Like beer brewing equipment. Like a good sewing machine. That stuff will feed you and put clothes on your back. We have concentrated so much power in so few hands. Even if they were genius, well-intentioned, altruistic hands the people at the top are going to make enough mistakes and fight amongst themselves and they're just not going to intentionally give up their own power and wealth so that the wisdom of the crowds can drive the invisible hand of the market to right the economy. No one person or small group can make a policy or run a bureaucracy that will perform better than the function of unbiased exchange among millions. There will be a monetary and economic collapse because too much actual wealth is being squandered on the whims of too few. They've tilted the economic table hard in their own direction and it distorts economics so badly that our systems are going to topple. The only way not to be caught in that disaster is to stop participating in it. Start participating in local and regional economies that aren't controlled and gamed by the elites. For now, it's likely to be a barter system. It may use an alternative currency. It may be a commune. Whatever happens, it's not going to be change within the existing system that fixes things.
Evolution causes mother nature to be very efficient in her selection of characteristics. It might just be that green is useful to plants because it is the right wavelength for efficient photosynthesis with the sun's light. It might be green because it's much easier for plants to make green chloroplasts than other colors or because green imparts enough energy without overheating the leaf structure or its easier for plants to repair green proteins than other colors. If you read up on it a bit, you find out that green does not really maximize energy production, but it's apparently optimal for most plants. However, there's plenty of earth plants that aren't green! Surprisingly there's few black plants. We think too often about optimizing a single parameter. Usually that parameter is short term cash flow. The natural world is a more-or-less true form of capitalism and it's brutal but it shows us that short-term gain isn't the only thing worth maximizing and in nature there's no way to externalize costs for the long-term. Those that do, don't survive.
Google's main task is to determine what pages best relate to a given set of key words and what ads best fit a given page. Since the service is so valuable, people are always trying to game it. If it wants to use genetic algorithms or some form of self-improvement on its search function, it's important to penalize algorithms which give the SEO gamers' pages too much weight in search results. That penalty would be measured by regret.
A corporation's only mandate is to make money. Microsoft doesn't poison wells or denude wetlands to make its money, but it's not estranged from all of the immoral-though-legal acts that every rich bastard makes use of to work the system. It's not a proud thing to be the most honest of all thieves.