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Comment: Re:To America? Yes. To the GOP? No. (Score 1) 247

by physicsdot (#48471369) Attached to: Does Being First Still Matter In America?
Why the rage? You could do a little reading and find out for yourself.
Here are some ideas from me - some stats, some anecdotes.
1. Scientific output in the US is stagnant compared with China. For example, between 2010 and 2013 the US published approx, 560k articles each year. China rose from 335k to 426k. I often hear Americans say "Quality, not quantity." But again, no one had to say that 10 years ago... (see ref1)
2. The US standard of living has fallen below that of many other countries (see ref2). Again, many Americans deny this, or simply don't believe it. This is part of the problem. For example, this post (ref3) was rated 5:Insightful: "Government has a very limited range of things that they do as well or better than the public at large (war/defense, money, basic law enforcement, etc) - governmental action beyond that range invariably becomes incompetent, expensive, dangerous, or worse." Given that the poster is comparing Sweden with the US, this is laughable.
3. You can't put a person in space anymore.
4. You have people living on the street who aren't drug affected or mentally unstable. You know, like young, sane healthy families living out of their car. If you can't or won't fix that, you shouldn't have much confidence for larger problems.
5. Among the many Americans I've met (and they were all friendly decent people), there was a strong feeling that their country was the envy of the world. This is simply not the case. Here are two anecdotes that may have wider applicability. If you were to offer an academic the choice between a US or EU passport, what do you think they would choose? Among the people I know, about 3/4 would go with the EU passport. But then I mainly know academics. Which brings me to another point. Within academia, the US is still considered the default centre of the world - but only just. But that has definitely changed in the last 20 years. 20 years ago, the status location for an international conference was the states. That is no longer the case. Many universities now prefer to hold conferences in the EU, and I've spoken to many scientists who now skip some minor conferences when they are held in the US, simply because they are in the US. This would, you assume, be bad for their careers, but two of them are leaders in their field. I'd say this is bad for the states.

(some refs) ref1: http://www.scimagojr.com/count...
ref2: http://www.oecdbetterlifeindex...
ref3: http://games.slashdot.org/comm...

Comment: Re:To America? Yes. To the GOP? No. (Score 3, Insightful) 247

by physicsdot (#48431115) Attached to: Does Being First Still Matter In America?
Looking at the big picture - 50 years ago no American had to say "Looking at the big picture." I think we are seeing many little signs that the US is losing its importance - even though at the moment it is still the dominant superpower. As to why - who knows. But the completely uncritical way that most citizens of that country can't see any problems is part of the problem. I'm not saying the USA are bad guys, but come on - *look* at what you wrote: "It's way past time for the US to limit it's international involvement and really start serving their own needs with no apologies and let everyone else fend for themselves." If you really feel that the USA isn't serving their own needs on the international arena, you need to read history more.

Comment: Re:It helps to actually use the thing. (Score 2, Interesting) 296

by physicsdot (#48217851) Attached to: How Sony, Intel, and Unix Made Apple's Mac a PC Competitor
I just don't think you're right. I remember as developer about 10 years ago we were given $5000 every two years to buy whatever computer system we wanted. Nearly everyone bought Dell laptops - they had the best power/$ ratio, and when you have a company of 20 developers, 10 of whom are making that decision each year, it is pretty apparent what best laptop to buy was. I've left, but maintained touch with them. When I walk in to their offices now, it is 15" macbook pros that I see everywhere. I just find it unlikely that these guys, who now have 15+ years experience in the industry, have swallowed the Kool-Aid.

Comment: Re: Equal rights (Score 1) 832

by physicsdot (#43616027) Attached to: So What If Yahoo's New Dads Get Less Leave Than Moms?
Good advice - but probably not well-intentioned. But it's a balance - stay living in a shitty, anti-intellectual, country or take the massive upheaval of moving to Sweden, finding a place in a new society, learning the language, getting a visa etc. The barriers to entry are very high - but there is no doubt that as a place to live, work and raise a family Sweden shits on the states.

Comment: Something less than theatre... (Score 1) 427

by physicsdot (#43363309) Attached to: TSA Log Shows Passengers Say the Darndest Things

After learning that his luggage had made a flight that he missed, a Las Vegas (LAS) passenger told the gate agent: "Imagine there was a bomb in my bag. I'm not on plane, and it would explode."

I could write why TSA's response to this comment as a threat is patently stupid - but to do so demeans us all. You guys are paying people to detain anyone who utters the word "bomb" - in any context.

Comment: Re:He seems to confuse the purpose of copyright (Score 1) 543

by physicsdot (#38647836) Attached to: Pirate Party Leader: Copyright Laws Ridiculous
And you wrongly are implying that therefore piracy of material is acceptable. If an artist, for whatever reason, decides to make money from selling copies of their work - then you, if you enjoy that work, have an obligation to help support them. That is the social contract you enter into when you gain the benefits of someone else's time.

Comment: Re:How about we start believing in Human Change? (Score 1) 695

by physicsdot (#38043230) Attached to: What is Your position on Climate Change?

But I'm not ready to deeply cut back on my standard of living and when push comes to shove, so is very few others either.

The above post provides a really clear picture of the problem: that rational, decent people are still short sighted enough so that if left alone they will lead the world to ruin

Comment: Re:I learned the value of money by paying as I wen (Score 1) 1797

by physicsdot (#37829030) Attached to: Ron Paul Wants To End the Federal Student Loan Program
Man - I feel so bad for you guys, that is really hard. I think the free market supporters should look outside their country and see what other people are doing. Think of Australia as being half between you guys and some government run Scandinavian country. We pay higher taxes, but our education is much cheaper - many students work to help pay their way through uni, but they don't work as hard as you poor bastards. I look at the quality of life here, job oppotunities, tax payer funded Heath care, longer life expectancies - and I suspect it is government policies, such as higher taxes and stronger regulation. I really respect the Americian ethos of independence and hard work, but my guess is that your free market policies are making things harder than they need be.

"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." -- Albert Einstein