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Comment: Re:Does *any* industry start a new union anymore? (Score 2) 761

Maybe, just maybe, you're confusing cause and effect there? Government workers aren't mistreated quite as much as, say, people working in an Amazon warehouse because they are unionised. Among other things, obviously: the government has a harder time mistreating people because there is some sort of political and democratic oversight. For the same reason, the government can't appear to be suppressing worker organisation. And of course government workers are usually more highly trained and less replaceable than warehouse workers.

For the record I have no idea if parent's assertion that government workers in the US are strongly unionised and my assertion that they're less mistreated bears any resemblance to reality.

Comment: Re:Unions are archaic (Score 3, Insightful) 761

Facilitating communication is, at best, a secondary (if necessary) function of unions. Unions serve as collective bargaining platforms to somewhat level an otherwise inherently unbalanced power relationship. I don't know about the specific unions you're talking about, and I don't care. There are many kinds of unions, and they don't share many attributes regarding their internal structure. I do know that fundamentally nothing has changed regarding the imbalance of power.

Unions may be archaic, but so is human society.

Comment: Re:Disgousting behaviour (Score 3, Interesting) 560

So, this is the poll you're referring to:

The actual wording in the poll is (in English, who knows what the poll said in Arabic, etc): "Suicide bombing/other violence against civilians is justified to defend Islam from its enemies..." (and then select one of Often, Sometimes, Rarely, Never, Don't know)

It's fairly bizarre to conflate suicide bombing specifically with an abstract range of things, violence against civilians. Violence against civilians could mean all kinds of things to different people, it's quite vague. The wording implies that only suicide attacks against civilians are relevant, not (military) suicide attacks against non-civilian targets, another thing to misunderstand.

Civilians itself is the key word, I guess, our assumption would be that violence against civilians is not permitted almost per definition, civilians being exactly those people who are not to be targeted. But clearly, Western armed forces have had a pretty tough time figuring out who is a civilian and who isn't in recent conflicts -- usually erring on the side of calling somebody an armed insurgent. We just define our problem away.

Next, the question whether an attack is justified. Under Protocol I of the Geneva Convention (caveat IANAL!), killing civilians can be legal in certain circumstances, you just have to try to avoid it, or not know about it (despite due diligence), etc etc. Calling that a justification of an attack on civilians is a bit twisted, but it's a legal framework. And of course it happens all the time, legally, and without any serious repercussions. The US hasn't ratified Protocol I, BTW. To be fair, the wording of "against" civilians sort of implies an attack where the civilian casualties are the objective, and not just involved. But that's a fairly fine point to make, people are being asked to answer a poll, not write a paper.

Defend is another fun word to toss in there, as I assume many subjects wouldn't consider your average terror attack an example of "defense". Or maybe they do, whatever, we don't know, it's pointless to argue about it.

Defending Islam strikes us as odd, because that ain't a country, but first of all the question/sentence was written by Pew, subjects were not given a choice of slightly rephrasing it (I guess their best option to deal with a false premise is DK or possibly no answer); second of all defending Islam isn't any stranger than defending freedom or the free trade and if anything it's less strange than fighting a war on terror or on drugs.

The final "its enemies" ties the whole thing up neatly, going back both to the point about who's a civilian and who's not and to the point about defense.

There'd be more to say, but I am all out of words.

Comment: Re:You continue to claim you understand? (Score 0) 470

by moonbender (#41360667) Attached to: iPhone 5 GeekBench Results

Posts like these are why I mostly stopped reading Slashdot after a decade or so. I can take the trolls. I don't care about dupes or bad summaries or even off-topic stuff, I come here for the discussion. But when even the people who seem to have something worthwhile to say continue to make an ass out of themselves on formal grounds, there is just not much signal left in the noise.

Comment: Re:Your are missing the point (Score 2) 333

by moonbender (#41277475) Attached to: When a Primary Source Isn't Good Enough: Wikipedia

The best method we have for judging whose truth is the right one is observation and logic.

Yes, but how do we establish whether a certain observation was made or whether certain logic is sound? Or, from another perspective, given a situation where different people communicate different truths, how do we deal with this situation? These things matter when you make decisions as a group. But I guess that's politics, not science -- point taken.

But still... I guess you could take the position that the hive mind is better than any individual at making the kinds of factual determinations we're talking about, so even if you come to a different conclusion, it's safer to bet on society than on yourself. Not that I'm saying this is the right decision for every person in every situation (since there wouldn't be any progress in this case).

Comment: Re:Imaginary Numbers (Score 1) 245

by moonbender (#41039029) Attached to: US Carbon Emissions Hit 20-Year Low

How would you honestly come by such a figure, when there are myriad sources that can cause health issues (including people who smoke!)?

Well, we're not talking about any pollutant here, just greenhouse gases, and mostly CO2 when we're talking about energy.

I agree that it's not straightforward to establish a cost figure. So I guess one way to do it is set a goal of total emissions, run a few models to establish a tax amount that'd get you close according to those models and then run it in the real world and adjust in both directions appropriately. I guess you'd ease society into it by lowballing the tax and gradually increasing it until it you get to your intended goal.

I wouldn't want immediately toxic emissions to be handled in the same way because I don't want an individual plant to emit those at will and only subject to financial limits. But CO2 seems more like a finite resource than a toxic emissions.

Comment: Re:No OS support. (Score 1) 565

by moonbender (#40267177) Attached to: Where Are All the High-Resolution Desktop Displays?

A dead pixel on a high-res display is not as big an issue as on a low-res one, and a dead pixel on a high-dpi display is a smaller issue, still. Almost nobody is going to notice an individual dead pixel on a 250+ ppi display. A stuck-white pixel might be more noticable, not sure how easy they are to see if they're really tiny.

Comment: Re:As we move into Memorial Day and Americans reme (Score 2) 225

by moonbender (#40134567) Attached to: Remembering America's Fresh Water Submarines

And the fact that you eat "beef" and "veal" instead of Cu and Cealf is an artifact of the French conquest of England. Not sure what any of this has got to do with the military threat any country or group of people poses to another in modern times, though. "Skirt" is an artifact of the Scandinavian people invading England -- better watch out for those Norwegians, I hear they're still on a spree of rape and pillaging through Central Europe!

Comment: Re:I laught at the western countries when I look (Score 4, Insightful) 209

by moonbender (#40128013) Attached to: Pollution From Asia Affects US Climate

I think the hope is that pollution standards will (continue to?) rise along with living standards in Asia, and at that point the West will already have developed certain practices and technologies that the newly developed countries can adopt. E.g. the price of PV panels has dropped significantly in the past years (along with the energy required to build them), fueled by an increase in demand in the Western countries. If it drops a bit more, it'll be cost effective enough to at least be a part of the strategy dealing with the rapidly increasing energy needs of the Asian countries. That's just the general argument and you don't need to "believe" in PV power generation to buy the argument itself.

Of course that's just one part of it, there's also the fact that despite much better environmental regulations, our per-capita emissions are still much worse (even you don't consider "exported" emissions via product manufacturing) and of course the fact that we've been emitting for a much longer time than the newly developed countries[0]. Those are moral arguments, the first one is more utilitarian -- e.g. even if you don't think per-capita emissions should be the important figure, the argument holds water.

[0] We have been emitting since the industrial revolution, that is. I wonder, though, considering the growth of both population and world economy -- 28% of the human hours lived were lived in the 20th century and, incredibly, "over 23% of all the goods and services made since 1AD were produced from 2001 to 2010" --, if the (CO2) emissions of the past 10 or 20 years don't exceed all emissions made prior to that.

Comment: Re:What's the problem with building self-sustainin (Score 0) 248

by moonbender (#40108105) Attached to: Neil Armstrong Gives Rare Interview

Could you get any melodramatic? Sounds like it should be a speech in Top Gun.

It has nothing to do with risk aversion to do and everything with there being few compelling reasons to build a moon base apart from chauvinism. I can't speak for the reasons for going 40 years ago, but I suspect chauvinism and grandstanding was a big part of it back then, too. I guess that's what you call desire/ambition/duty/honor/competitiveness.

And to the people trumpeting the "trickle down" research benefits from doing bizarre prestige projects like this -- that's a moderately reasonable argument, but one that can be made for any project of such magnitude. Once you're willing to accept that the end goal of the project is less important than the research it generates, a virtually unlimited number of projects start to be reasonable. Make a national effort to dig the deepest hole, ever, and you'll get some actual useful research out of it.

If you argue in terms of trickle down research and not on the practical merits of the project itself, you have to argue why the project has the most promising trickle down research. I.e. why would a moon base result in more useful research than digging a deep hole; and not just that, why would it result in more useful research than all the other conceivable ultimately pointless projects. Not to mention all those huge-scale projects which do have merit and which would all result in useful "trickle down" research as well. E.g. ultra high speed passenger trains along the coasts, all kinds of medical research projects, energy research. I'm sure the national highway system -- a project of epic scale and of immediate utility -- had some useful research coming out of it, despite not being particularly high tech.

Comment: Re:Even worse (Score 1) 474

by moonbender (#39578941) Attached to: Arizona Attempts To Make Trolling Illegal

I tried to find references for those quotes.

#1: I couldn't find evidence that Carter said that. Morgan Freeman apparently did say something like it (but I couldn't find a verbatim quote).

#2: Okay I couldn't bother trying to look up "guy replying to my facebook".

#3: Couldn't find anyone who said that, the parent comment is the top Google result and the only one vaguely related.

#4: Couldn't find anything related without quotes, with quotes the parent comment is the only result.

"One Architecture, One OS" also translates as "One Egg, One Basket".