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Comment: Re:School me on well water (Score 1) 283

I'm not offended. I'm just correcting what swb said. The reality is that most well water doesn't have to be filtered for safety. In some places you need a radon bubbler to get the radon out of it, but for the most part the stuff is fine. When I was on well water in southeastern Arizona, we definitely filtered it, because it had a high sulfur content and didn't taste very good, but it was fine to drink.

Comment: Re:Lives be damned (Score 1) 283

We put those congresscritters there. The fact that we were bought by bread and circuses does not mean that the people who gave us the bread and circuses are at fault. This is why I bother getting into these arguments. The only people who have any power to change this are we, the citizens. Sure, it sucks that [name your favorite despotic billionaire] is trying to buy the election, but what they are actually buying are are votes. We need to learn how to stop letting them buy our votes, or nothing will change.

Comment: Re:School me on well water (Score 1) 283

Um. Have you ever heard of "natural spring water?" Mostly a marketing ploy, but it's based on the idea that water filtered down through hundreds of feet of rock is amazingly pure and good. I have been living on well water for the past four years, and it's the best water I've ever had. There is no need to filter it, because mother nature already took care of that. The idea that I could be obligated to add expensive post-processing to my well in order to render unsafe water safe is deeply offensive. You are proposing that it should be okay for some corporation to come in and fuck something that was really great, and then I have to pay to unfuck it to the point where it is not great, but merely not as toxic.

Where I come from we call that shitting where you eat, and we consider people who do it lower than a snake's belly.

Comment: Re:Lives be damned (Score 5, Insightful) 283

Actually I would blame the regulator, and the regulations, and the congresscritters who voted for there not to be any. By the time the product reaches the final point of sale, we are powerless to discriminate between ethically-extracted and unethically-extracted fuels. The only way to get companies to behave ethically is to require that they behave ethically. This isn't because the people who run them are unethical bastards (maybe they are, maybe they aren't). It's because it's a commodity, and no producer can afford to do anything that costs more than what any other producer is doing, no matter how good their intentions.

To move the higher-priced ethically pure stuff to the customer the ethical producer would have to control the entire distribution chain, all the way to the customer. That's not as practical as it might sound. The major market for natural gas is in gas-fired generation, and those buyers then wholesale the electricity to the grid, and then we purchase it from our power company. So we are two or three steps removed from where we could vote with our wallet. We have no power to affect this market.

We customers of the grid are actually, a lot of us, paying a premium for clean power, but that power isn't coming from burning natural gas, because natural gas is not a clean source of power. So while we can reduce the total demand for natural gas, and we have, we aren't affecting the functioning of the natural gas market.

Because it's a commodity market, because producers really don't have any choice, the only way to make it possible for them to behave ethically is through regulation. Regulation prevents the race to the bottom: prevents the producers who would prefer to behave ethically from being forced to behave unethically in order to keep their prices at the same level as the producers who don't mind behaving unethically. This idea of just letting the market take care of it, and blaming the customer when they don't make choices they can't make, is futile and absurd.

Comment: Re:She has a point. (Score 1) 609

by mellon (#49602087) Attached to: My High School CS Homework Is the Centerfold

It's the face of a woman in a highly sexualized setting, arranged specifically to titillate. There's nothing wrong with this, and I agree that it's pretty mild compared to porn, but that's not the point. The point is that it presents a context in which hormone-fizzed young men (I've been there, I know!) will want to say something inappropriate, and some of them probably will. It doesn't make the young men bad people, but it can be pretty crappy for a young woman in that environment, and can even be unsafe for her, depending on the particular young men who happen to be in the class.

It should be dead obvious to any college instructor that this is inappropriate. She is absolutely right to call them out for it.

Comment: She has a point. (Score 1, Insightful) 609

by mellon (#49600643) Attached to: My High School CS Homework Is the Centerfold

The Lena Rossi image is famous, but tossing it into a CS class with a bunch of eighteen-year-old men is just asking for a hostile work environment for any women in the class. The really sad thing is that the instructor is so in love with the old photo that he (I'm guessing) couldn't anticipate the problem and didn't come up with a better photo to use. That particular image is so low-resolution and has such poor colors that using it as a standard for doing CS instruction in 2015 would be stupid even if it weren't a problem in any other sense.

Comment: Re:Progressive Fix 101 (Score 1) 622

by mellon (#49533393) Attached to: Cheap Gas Fuels Switch From Electric Cars To SUVs

This is because, speaking as a Vermonter, I see so many SUVs coming up with New York City plates and no mud, and then heading south again on Sunday with the same New York City plates and the same no mud. Of course there are people for whom full-time SUV ownership is a requirement, but a lot of people just do it because why not?

Comment: Re:Progressive Fix 101 (Score 2) 622

by mellon (#49529457) Attached to: Cheap Gas Fuels Switch From Electric Cars To SUVs

In my experience the main difference between a minivan and an SUV is that the minivan has more room for stuff, on the positive side, and a less rugged chassis (which is sometimes a negative). If I had to choose between the two, I'd pick the minivan because you can haul plywood in it, which you can't do in a typical SUV.

Comment: Re:Progressive Fix 101 (Score 1) 622

by mellon (#49529433) Attached to: Cheap Gas Fuels Switch From Electric Cars To SUVs

The point isn't to punish people for wanting what they want. It's fine for people to want what they want. The point is to avoid the tragedy of the commons. The tragedy of the commons is simply the fact that if everybody gets everything they want, you wind up with a mud patch in the center of town instead of a nice green lawn the kids can play on during town meetings. Nobody is willing to be the one who pulls back first, because that gives everyone else the advantage. Setting standards creates a level playing field, so that everybody gets some of what they want, but nobody gets so much that you wind up with a mud pit. It's not the only way to do it, but it's definitely a valid way.

The more I want to get something done, the less I call it work. -- Richard Bach, "Illusions"

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