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Comment Re:Since all money is fiat, why have taxes at all? (Score 5, Informative) 176

Correct, money has no intrinsic economic value. Just like gold, silver and diamonds. The economic value any of these things have is the value that people, as a whole, give to them.

we usually use them all (money, gold, etc) as place holders for exchange of goods, services or labour.

Note: Gold and silver do have some intrinsic value in electronic circuitry, diamonds as industrial abrasives. However, this value is small compared to their main use is as objects of art, decoration and as place holders of economic value.

Comment Re: "other people" (Score 5, Insightful) 508

No, at least not all of them.

Some people are immuno-comprimised. This would be people like infants, the elderly, children with diseases like leukaemia, adults undergoing cancer treatment, or people who have received life saving organ transplants and must take drugs that suppress their immune systems (for the rest of their lives). These people's lives depend on the rest of us doing the right thing and getting vaccinated so deadly diseases cannot take hold in the population and then find a path to the chronically ill.

I just think that it is amazing that we have developed a vaccine that can prevent a type of cancer! It's really unclear how many lives can be saved by gardisil because cervical cancer is kind of a secondary effect of long term HPV infection, but just think about it. In the future, what other cancers be preventable with a few shots in childhood? Prevention is such a better option than treatment. Both of my children have been vaccinated against HPV (male and female). We have a chance to strike a blow against a troublesome disease, HPV, and a secondary deadly disease, cervical cancer. This is truly like the fight against polio, or mercury exposure. It can make a much better life for future generations.

Comment Re:And since our Legilators Rarely Read the Bills. (Score 1) 166

It wouldn't have been useful here. The line item veto was extremely limited:

``Sec. 1021. > (a) In General.--Notwithstanding the provisions of parts A and B, and subject to the provisions of this part, the President may, with respect to any bill or joint resolution that has been signed into law pursuant to Article I, section 7, of the Constitution of the United States, cancel in whole-- ``(1) any dollar amount of discretionary budget authority; ``(2) any item of new direct spending; or ``(3) any limited tax benefit;"

So a section of the law that authorizes allows or requires activity, but does not fund it is not covered by the old line item veto. The president also had to show that the veto would directly reduce the deficit, not hurt national interests and not impair any government functions.

It was one of those laws that politicians are very fond of passing. They can talk up how great they are for passing it and giving the government the tools to save the country from whatever crisis, fear or worry they are pumping up to get votes out of people, while still being almost completely useless in reality.

Comment Re:MS uses what works (Score 3, Insightful) 282

No reason, other than Microsoft's own policy of 'Eating Its own dog food'.

This policy was in place in order to force Microsoft to develop its own solutions from within its own software, in order to force their own software to become continually better and better.

Of course Microsoft doesn't build their own chairs and desks for their offices, so where do you draw the line between the dog food policy and using other's products for solutions instead of their own? Office furniture is a no-brainer, Microsoft has no dog food to eat. Enterprise level RDBMS data bases would be another, as SQL Server is not really in the same class as Oracle or DB2. Linux, however is different. Linux is a general use OS for Intel (and other) based computers. Windows is a general use OS for Intel based computers. This is a pretty significant cross over. Anything Linux can do, Windows should be able to do. Not improving Windows to be able to match or beat Linux at something is definitely choosing to eat someone else's dog food.

It may show that Microsoft is shedding some of their traditional 'rules' in order to transform the company and create a new Microsoft.

Comment Re:Theory (Score 4, Insightful) 591

It is both a theory and a fact.

We see species change over time in the real world. That observed phenomenon is called evolution, and it is a fact.

There is a theory in biology to explain the phenomenon that is observed in nature. That is called the theory of evolution. Over time, the theory has changed as it is modified to be in compliance with all observed facts (this is not the theory 'evolving'). As more factual evidence is uncovered the theory is checked against the evidence. The theory is either found to be in compliance with the evidence, or changed to be in compliance with the observed facts. Often, the observed facts must also be tested to be found factual as well.

As an example, think of the moon. The moon exists. It is observed in nature. Theory A) states that the moon formed from cheese after a cow jumped into space. Theory B) states that the moon is a rocky body formed in the same way as other rocky bodies in the solar system. The theory that is kept is the one that is in best compliance with the observed facts.

Evolution is both a theory and a fact. It is the name of a phenomenon observed in nature, and the name of the theory of how that phenomenon functions. Does this help?

Comment Re:Theory (Score 4, Informative) 591

Even better, in English, would be to describe it as the the survival of the species that fit best in their environment.

In English the word 'fit' can also be used to describe a level of strength, as in 'I work out to stay fit.'. Darwinian 'fitness' has to do with fitting into the environment better than others you compete with. Sometimes you can be fittest by being weaker, slower and less aggressive than others.

Comment Re:Social mobility was killed, but not this way (Score 1) 1032

The subsidies existed before the pipeline. I went to school in the 80's and am a contemporary of the author. I was in New Mexico, but the Alaskan windfall profits tax was in place and was paying tuition for some of the petroleum engineers studying along side me. If a comparable degree was not offered in Alaska, Alaskan residents would still get support for going to school out of state back then.

After the 1980's, oil prices fell in the 90's as well ($25 -$35 per barrel), and the money was tight. Oil was pretty much below $35 per barrel until 2004.

$75 to $100 per barrel is the exception, not the rule.

Comment Re:Social mobility was killed, but not this way (Score 2) 1032

I'm not disagreeing with what you are saying and it may just be a typo on your part, but I'm sure what a 'liberal' college is.

I've never heard of that before. It may be that you mean a 'liberal arts' college. The word 'liberal' in liberal arts has a meaning like in the sentence 'Spread the mayonnaise liberally over the the bread when making a sandwich.' It has nothing to do with the 'liberal' and 'conservative' terms you often hear misused on talk radio and in politics.

The point of a liberal arts college is to teach students in any major a wide range of subjects. Subjects used to be called 'arts', even subjects like math, science and engineering are considered different arts. In this way an english major would have to take so much math, chemistry, geology, philosophy, history, economics and other subjects not directly related their own major in order to graduate. The point is to turn out well educated individuals who have a wide range of learned knowledge covering a lot of ground, like the mayo spread liberally on the sandwich bread.

When I got a BS in physics at a liberal arts university, it meant that besides science and math, I also had to take english classes, history classes, an art class (I chose great books), a finance class, an economics class and multiple scientific classes that were not physics. I was supposed to leave the university knowing more than just equations. I found that it was also a welcome break to have at least one non-technical class each semester.

It may be that people majoring in subjects like philosophy and art history are not being required to take a truly liberal education at these schools and are being allowed to skip calculus, finance, economics and other subjects that should be required of any liberal arts degree.That would not qualify as being a wide ranging (liberal) education and would, to my point of view at least, require the university to stop proclaiming itself a liberal arts school.

Of course none of this means very much in this particular case, as the author failed to graduate. It may be that they were required to take some of the more useful courses and never completed them. The article is very short on facts.

One solution the author didn't consider was moving to Alaska before starting college. Alaska taxes oil profits and gives residents tuition credit. It may be too socialist for many Americans to choose a solution like that, but it would have made this one person's life much better and have gotten them out of their particular debt issues.

Comment Re: News for nerds (Score 5, Interesting) 866

This agrees with military research that shows religious believers tend to make better officers. Atheists and humanists have a more difficult time ordering others to their deaths, or directing the killing of other humans. Religious believers handle these tasks better because they have coping mechanisms they can use to justify these actions in the name of a higher power. 'Communist' societies (they were all usually dictatorships and not communist) substituted a belief in the party or the state instead of appealing to 'olde tyme' religion, but the result was the same: You are carrying out [God|The State|The Party]'s will, and so your actions are morally justified.

When this life is all you have and all you believe in, it becomes very precious and harder to justify destroying life. If, on the other hand, you are convinced that there is paradise waiting for you beyond this life there are all sorts of nasty actions you can justify.

I really suggest reading Victor Frankl's 'Man's Search for Meaning'. I don't agree with Frankl's later philosophies, but this is a meaningful look into the depths of atrocities that humans can inflict on other humans. Frankl's work helped explain how attitude and belief helped him and others survive Auschwitz. It doesn't directly deal in this subject, but is an amazing account that highlights both the good and the bad outcome of strong beliefs.

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