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Comment: 100 years, not 1 sick cow. Flowers more dangerous (Score 1) 305

by raymorris (#46798205) Attached to: Beer Price Crisis On the Horizon

It's been done for over 100 years, millions of head of cattle fed, and not one has gotten sick. In the same time period, tens of thousands of cattle have gotten sick from grazing on the wrong type of wildflower. Technically, there is some minute risk, but it's a lot less risky than flowers.

Something tells me you are entirely unfamiliar with agriculture. Go spend 10 minutes in any kind of ag facility and then tell me what the FDA should be doing is jacking around with something that's proven safe. You might become a vegetarian for a while after you see your foods rolling around in it's own poop, but you'll definitely realize that feeding human-grade grain to cattle is NOT what anyone should be worried about.

Comment: No, just no (Score 1) 163

by rsilvergun (#46798069) Attached to: Russia Writes Off 90 Percent of North Korea Debt
I hardly know where to begin, but I'll say this:

If socialist policies don't fix everything, we'll try again. And again. We'll pay attention to what we did right, and what we did wrong. We'll do better. We'll make progress. That's why we're called 'progressives'.

What we will _not_ do is stick our heads in the sand and pretend some mythical 'invisible hand' is going to make it all better. Name me one complex problem that was made better by doing nothing about it?

Comment: Re:I'm not worried about poor students (Score 1) 262

by rsilvergun (#46797705) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Hungry Students, How Common?
The University's are in the process of being privatized here. A few Venture Capitalists noticed our Federal Gov't would give guaranteed loans out to any school with accreditation. So they bought up a bunch of old Secretary Schools that has accreditation from the 40s and 50s and used those to get loans for students to go to their diploma mills.

Meanwhile we've got a political movement to lower taxes while keeping spending constant so that our country goes massively in debt. The debt isn't really a problem (we owe it to ourselves) but it frightens people. After 30 years we have people exploiting that fear to get cuts in education in the name of saving money. The whole scheme is called "Starve the Beast" and was thought up by our Republican and Libertarian parties. The result is most of our subsidies for state education have been cut.

Comment: Maybe it's the weightlessness (Score 1) 45

Your having been to space is no guarantee that you're not crap-on-the-floor looney.

I would have thought that we've learned better than to pay too much attention to former astronauts. They might well be right about the asteroids, but I still think we should go ahead and get a second opinion on this.

Comment: most engineers aren't PEs, not excluding anyone (Score 1) 155

by raymorris (#46797529) Attached to: The Design Flaw That Almost Wiped Out an NYC Skyscraper

Most engineering graduates aren't PEs - you don't need the credential to work as an engineer. It indicates a certain level of professionalism, so people can choose to hire a PE. Of course in some life-safety situations there might be a regulation saying you can't do X (build a highway bridge) until a PE signs off the design.

It's not like a union where it's illegal to hire people that have identical qualifications. It pretty much just defines the label "Professional Engineer" to mean someone who has passed the test etc. to show they are qualified. If you want to hire an untested engineer, you're free to do so, and most people do exactly that.

* I'm not currently a PE, nor an expert in the field, so I may be mistaken about something in this post and I welcome any corrections.

Comment: Re:Interstate Commerce Clause (Score 1) 305

by AthanasiusKircher (#46797493) Attached to: Beer Price Crisis On the Horizon

So, for example, in Wickard v. Filburn the Supreme Court didn't say "we're going to change the meaning of the constitution and make a new law and allow Congress to regulate this thing that was previously illegal", they instead said. "You know what, Congressional regulation of this thing is *already* legal. We know that people are arguing that the Constitution says they can't, but we've looked at it and discovered that it really doesn't say that, and *never did*."

This is all a nice story, but the boat had already sailed before Wickard. Wickard was just the place where federal power effectively was freed from all reasonable limits. To find the real source of the issue in this thread, you'd have to back up 4 or 5 years, to the "switch in time that saved nine," i.e., the place where FDR was fed up with the Supremes saying that expansions of federal power were unconstitutional (as they pretty much did for the first 150 years or so of the Constitution's existence). So, FDR threatened to enlarge the court by packing it with his cronies (since the size of the Supreme Court isn't actually mentioned in the Constitution).

Magically, the Supreme Court then started approving of expansions of federal power.

So, in Wickard, it was more like: "The meaning of the Constitution changed a few years ago, because otherwise the Executive Branch was threatening to take over the Judicial Branch, so this thing is now legal... and we discovered that we could reinterpret words in the Constitution so that the enumerated powers clause now has no meaning."

We are not a purely common law system -- there is a Constitution that sets limits on the direction that legal precedent can take. But that system broke in the 1930s (though it had broken down in various places before then too, the late 30s ruling culminating Wickard was the largest shift).

Comment: I'd love to talk to you in more detail (Score 1) 155

by raymorris (#46797491) Attached to: The Design Flaw That Almost Wiped Out an NYC Skyscraper

I called the Texas licensing board asking how this is supposed to work and the person who answered pretty much said "yeah, you're screwed, unless you've been working as some other type of engineer".

I'd really like to talk to you about just how you went about getting licensed, and under what conditions you'd sign off on someone else. If you're nearby, maybe I can buy you lunch sometime. I can be reached at deepmagicbeginshere AT gmail.

Comment: Re:A rising tide (Score 1) 209

by rsilvergun (#46797131) Attached to: California Utility May Replace IT Workers with H-1B Workers
Positive Sum Gaming would work if the rich didn't gain when you lose. But they do. They gain power. See here.. Adaption is a slow, painful process. When the industrial revolution hit in the mid 1700s millions were impoverished by automation before the economy caught up in the 1800s. 60+ years of misery. We've seen it happen, I don't see any good reason we should let it happen again just to preserve a misguided notion of "freedom" at all costs.

You're also assuming we have to have 80% of humanity living in abject poverty. But is that really true? Are we as a people so weak that we can't feed or cloth one another? We already know the answer is no. We already produce enough food to feed everyone on the planet, we just need people willing to say it's OK for people to have food, even if they didn't work themselves to death to get it.

Comment: you missed the point (Score 1) 305

by raymorris (#46796935) Attached to: Beer Price Crisis On the Horizon

If a someone burns a gallon of 90% gas, 10% ethanol, they've only burned 0.9 gallons of gas. Yay, less gas burned! That's the win.

However, people don't drive 1 gallon to work, they drive X miles to get to work. Since the blend has lower mpg, more of it is burned on the same trip. For easy math, let's look at a 33 mile trip, in a car that gets 33 mpg on gas. Using 100% gas, that trip will burn 1 gallon of gas. That's a key number:

33 mile trip = 1 gallon of pure gas

With the blend, the mpg will be about 10% lower, or 30 mpg. Therefore, it will take 1.1 gallons of blend to make the trip.

33 mile trip = 1.1 gallon of blend

Let's divide that blend into its components:

33 mile trip = 1 gallon of gas + 0.1 gallon of ethanol

So what have we saved. In the first instance, we burned one gallon of gas. In the second instance, we burned one gallon of gas, plus .1 gallon of ethanol. We've saved nothing. We have, however, increased the cost of food by wastefully burning corn that could have been eaten.

Comment: and we did, 1,800 years before widespread use (Score 4, Informative) 305

by raymorris (#46796841) Attached to: Beer Price Crisis On the Horizon

> By your reasoning, we had been using asbestos for 4500 years, so surely if there was something inherently unsafe about it, we would have known about it 4400 years ago.

Asbestos was a curiosity until about 1900, when it started to be used a lot. Pliny wrote about the dangers of it 1800 years earlier, in 80 AD. Other people probably knew about the danger earlier, but Pliny's writings are the oldest we still have available for reading on the subject.

Comment: I'm not worried about poor students (Score 2, Interesting) 262

by rsilvergun (#46796811) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Hungry Students, How Common?
right now. But wages have been in decline for 30 years. A little mis management is one thing (Mitt Rhomney was famously so broke at one point he had to sell the stocks his dad gave him to make ends meet :P ), but we're getting to the point where it's impossible to "work your way through college".

For one thing, when we say "Wages Adjusted for Inflation" we mean inflation as a whole, but the cost of food and shelter (what college kids spend most of their money on, jokes about Ramen & Natty Lite aside) have gone up much faster than inflation. The sort of job you can hold while in College is gonna pay $8-$15 an hour depending on where you live. I know ppl at that income level working part time because the economy sucks and they made mistakes. They're not making it, and somehow I doubt the added expense/stress of school would help them, especially after they graduate with $150k in loans... If you're one of those super humans that doesn't need sleep and can go to class and the work 8 hours then spend 8 hours doing homework you might make it. Everyone else will just drop out. The consoles tell you this when you apply, and a lot of the big majors (Math, CS, MIS, Medical) won't take you if you're working full time.

What sucks is we're so much more productive, you'd think we'd be working less. But why the hell would we give anything to anyone if they didn't "work" for it?

Porsche: there simply is no substitute. -- Risky Business