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Comment Re:But if you have nothing to hide (Score 1) 403

The thing is, everyone has something to hide, either due to loss of status, embarrassment, or a whole host of other reasons. Lying is a common social interaction, and most people choose not to share every aspect of their lives, thoughts, feelings, et cetera with anyone who cares to ask. "That's none of your business" is a common phrase, as is lying to protect privacy. It also isn't enough for law enforcement to say, "We don't care about most stuff you would normally lie about." There is no way for an average citizen to enforce that contract. We shouldn't have to accept that as an argument, we have a constitution with explicit words to protect us from that.

Comment Re:False dichotomy (Score 1) 442

This article assumes a lot about private R&D, namely that it still exists. Searching private R&D trends on shows many studies on the effects of public policy on private R&D, and also shows a generally declining rate of private R&D over the past 30 years. I seem to recall a lot of tax cuts and incentive programs being implemented in that time, and yet companies still are increasingly not doing such research themselves. If private companies will not step up, then we are left with public entities such as NASA to pick up the slack.

Comment Re:nothing new under the sun (Score 1) 446

The main advantage of being married without children is that you get to average your incomes together. This makes getting married to someone with roughly equal salary less appealing, but the alternative opens up the door to alimony payments should things go south. Guess you get to pick your poison.

Comment Re:What's the problem? (Score 2) 339

Even the classic, "Does this dress make me fat" is, in the long run, better off for everyone if the simple unadulterated truth is used. It might hurt feelings in the short run, but in the long run, it will lead the dress-wearer to select more actually flattering clothing, which in turn would be actually appreciated by the admirer. At minimum, it would let both parties know more about the preferences of the other and may lead to more informed decisions. White lies are still lies and still lead to undesirable outcomes eventually.

Comment Re:Has anyone else noticed...? (Score 1) 409

It's true that government continues to give advice, and people continue to gain weight, but you know, the whole correlation != causation bit. At the same time that governments are giving advice, private companies have been actors as well. Marketing budgets have increased, quality of ingredients has decreased, farming practices have changed, and world population has gone up. All of these things express correlation, and each may be influential, but when looking for the root cause of a problem, it's better to come with an open mind than a specific agenda.

Comment Re:Water for people (Score 1) 599

Desalinization is an expensive process, and salt is a highly corrosive substance. According to Bloomberg, "Desalination plants on average use about 15,000 kilowatt-hours of power for every million gallons of fresh water that’s produced..." ( In the above scenario, you'd need 800 plants each providing 50 million gallons each using 15,000 KWh (15 MWh) per million gallons. 40,000m gallons * 15 MWh = 600 GWh of energy to produce. The largest nuclear plant in the country produces about 4 GWh energy ( So you're saying we should multiply the total fleet of nuclear plants (or another energy equivalent) by 2.5x nationally to provide water for California?

Comment Re:How Much? (Score 1) 263

In all fairness, I've worked for several large companies (started in telecommunications and now in education) and so far, all of them have used Microsoft Office as a general productivity suite for day-to-day business. I work in data analytics (mostly report writing, actually), but the number of times that a project is best completed using VBA in Excel, Access, PowerPoint or even Outlook makes understanding VB well enough to automate monthly or quarterly reports in a format that executives find comfortable to work with has kept me employed far more than the ability to write complex queries in SQL or full applications in C++.

Comment Map Editors (Score 1) 170

I know that a lot of my initial programming experience came from the Star Craft map editor. Event-oriented programming, nested logic loops, the use of counters in interesting methods, I think the basic map editors with limited tools provides a nice sandbox for learning algorithm design and logic modeling. Unfortunately, by the time Blizzard got to War Craft 3, the editor was as complex as most IDEs that I've worked with, so the barrier to entry seems much higher now.

Comment Re:Question on EROEI (Score 1) 256

Basically, historical rates of EROEI for petroleum has been around 150-200:1. As those rates are no longer available, more energy (directly translatable to money) is required to generate the same power that we had already been used to. The infrastructure that we already have assumes there will be ample surplus energy to maintain that infrastructure. As you start moving from 150:1 to the 20:1 or worse renewables, the surplus energy tends to fall. More of the energy that would have been put to productive use gets diverted to just maintaining the energy generation in the first place. You can build more windmills or solar panels or whatever, but ultimately, more labor hours and resources are still required to maintain that infrastructure. Most people have a problem with the price of gasoline running about $4/gallon in the U.S., but imagine when electric cars require $16/40 miles of travel due to the increased price of electricity. Now add the fact that all other infrastructure that we currently maintain with hidden costs (taxes, fees, etc) will require the same type of scaled increase in the cost of energy. It won't be pretty.

Comment Re:Can't even keep his own lies straight (Score 1) 525

I always find it amusing how large organizations, particularly governments, are so incompetent as to not be able to tie their own shoelaces, but at the same time, they are capable of the evil genius required to coordinate massive conspiracies when its convenient for them to have done so.

You don't have to know how the computer works, just how to work the computer.