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Comment: "Mass" surveillance isn't always a bad thing (Score 1) 239

by macraig (#49023919) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Will It Take To End Mass Surveillance?

Mass surveillance isn't always a bad thing: it's only bad if the means to surveil is restricted to a privileged class. What if the mass surveillance is ubiquitous, where the means to surveil is available to anyone with motive? In such a modified world of mass surveillance, there are strong potential benefits that can emerge, not universally bad ones. We can already see some of the benefits of such a shift in the ability of citizens to use mobile devices to surveil public police misbehavior. Now imagine if that was the rule rather than an exception? What if all the data snarfed up by the NSA was available to anyone with the desire to sift through it?

Don't mindlessly try to end "mass" surveillance out of fear of the ruling class; instead change who has access to it. Ending mass surveillance entirely is the Luddite response to what is fundamentally a social problem.

Comment: Re:Unintended consequences (Score 1) 167

by macraig (#48421907) Attached to: Bicycle Bottle System Condenses Humidity From Air Into Drinkable Water

That's right, you can't, because nobody has objectively asked and tried to answer that question, not the inventors of such devices and not you. It's a question that ought to be answered BEFORE we add yet another variable to the climate system. not AFTER we have hundreds of thousands or millions of the devices in operation.

Comment: Unintended consequences (Score 0, Troll) 167

by macraig (#48420465) Attached to: Bicycle Bottle System Condenses Humidity From Air Into Drinkable Water

Just like most every other so-called green solution, this one has a not-so-rosy underbelly: what happens if this becomes a popular device and everyone is using them? What effect will that have on local and global climate to have so much ground-level moisture removed from the air? This is not unlike the underbelly of windmill farms that just happen to kill birds and bats and also alter the local climate by removing energy from the weather system.

Comment: Re:China is more capitalistic than the USA (Score 1) 73

by macraig (#48238699) Attached to: First Commercial Mission To the Moon Launched From China

That is certainly a significant part of it, an aspect I have observed and described in the past. There's more to it than just that. Socialism gets a bad rap because humans aren't yet evolved to make it naturally work voluntarily on a massive scale; it works well enough at an intimate village scale, but not for an entire nation. That it is voluntary is critical, because what's the point of an ethical economy if unethical force is required to establish and maintain it? That is why Communism fails miserably.

Comment: Re:China is more capitalistic than the USA (Score 5, Insightful) 73

by macraig (#48238537) Attached to: First Commercial Mission To the Moon Launched From China

You don't say overtly that it's a bad thing that the United States has socialistic constraints on its capitalistic economy... and it's not. Socialism - NOT Communism - done well is a far better economic system for advanced societies than capitalism. Better to call it mutualism or voluntary socialism. In the context of any advanced society pure capitalism can never be done well; it reaches a peak benefit - the United States has passed that point - and then begins to cause irreparable harm that leads to eventual economic and social collapse. It's a cyclic process that repeats as long as capitalism is the economic law of the jungle. We must evolve our species to more naturally cooperate rather than compete and combat.

Comment: Re:Couldn't possibly be roads? (Score 1) 70

by macraig (#48134185) Attached to: Antiperspirants Could Contribute to Particulate Pollution

I'm well aware that we're discussing silicon compounds. I didn't claim that silicon was being vaporized by tire friction; that's silly. However, is it possible that silicon compounds in the road surface that get pulverized finely enough might then become "aerosolized" and disperse in the atmosphere? That is the question I posed.

Comment: The "perfect" solar cell... (Score 2) 110

by macraig (#48051479) Attached to: MIT Study Outlines a 'Perfect' Solar Cell

... from whose perspective? At least one perspective holds that the perfect solar cell is one that doesn't even work, a thin strip of plastic made to look like a solar cell that costs a helluva lot less than the real thing:

Today I was walking home from an errand to a store.I saw the remains of a “Dual Power Calculator” in the gutter; it had an intact solar cell in the top.“Cool!”, I thought; “I’m going to rescue that solar cell for some DIY thing.”I grabbed the top part and tossed it in my bag.

When I got home, I dismantled it to remove the “solar cell”.I discovered that it was a fake, a thin strip of plastic separate from the body made to look like a solar cell.

WTF....

The next person to mention spaghetti stacks to me is going to have his head knocked off. -- Bill Conrad

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