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Comment Re:China asserting its new powers (Score 1) 132 132

while Trump yammers about Mexico. I see so much about Trump in the news while this island building has been major activity for some time, all part of plan to "extend" territorial boundaries of China. Glad to know we got our priorities properly set.

I'm no fan of Trump (that's an understatement), but Mexico is an existential problem for American ideas. We see that Mexicans who come here and vote, and their children who vote, tend to vote for the same kinds of policies that have made an economic and political catastrophe of every attempt at democracy in South America, Central America, and Mexico (with or without American involvement). We've seen from the example of American Indians that failing to have and enforce an immigration policy is a recipe for disaster.

China is a threat, but a longer term threat. If we fail to keep our nation strong we'll be overpowered by China no matter whether we confront China now or later.

Comment Re:How durable are these islands? (Score 1) 132 132

IANACE* If they build a runway on the reef I assume they would put something more durable under the pavement than sand. Wouldn't they need to at least run some steel posts into the reef below? A category 5 direct hit hurricane would probably take out most buildings, but if you know the hurricane is coming you can evacuate the planes, ships and people before it arrives. The really expensive stuff (the runway) would survive. The buildings could be replaced quickly (it's a military base not a luxury hotel so spartan accommodations would be fine).

*I am not a civil engineer.

Comment Re:Seems like a piece is missing (Score 1) 132 132

This is what's absurd. China's claim if you look at the dashed line is obviously exaggerated and that part of the ocean is obviously not Chinese. It's nowhere close to China and the dotted lines are well within the normal territorial waters of other countries. It's like some general took a crayon and with a shaky hand drew it out and said "this remote and distant ocean is now ours". Columbus style in other words.

Next up, they'll claim that Vietnam and the Phillipines are Chinese territories, and have always been Chinese territories.

Yep, They did that with Taiwan. When America helped for a pro-China candidate to win the presidential election in Taiwan and China was able to start getting a lot of concessions, they moved on to the 9-dash line. Once we appease them with that they'll expand their claims. I understand they have even made a few comments about Okinawa.

Comment Re:better give China teh Gay, stat! (Score 1) 132 132

That's what really worries me. Without prospects for marriage, what are billions of horny Chinamen going to do to vent their frustration?

Um, marry someone who is not Chinese? It already happens in Vietnam and Thailand. Some even marry white American girls after moving to the US [pauses for the sound of conservative Americans' heads exploding].

Why would conservative American heads explode?

You're right about Vietnam and Thailand though. Those countries are already exporting wives to Taiwan to the point where a huge fraction of recent marriages in Taiwan involve at least one foreigner. Once China becomes wealthy and that wealth is widely distributed (if they can make that happen) I'm sure they'll start importing women from southeast Asia. They'll likely increase their imports from Russia too.

As for Chinese marrying Americans - for some reason there seems to be a lot of racial preferences among American women that keep that from happening in large numbers. I remember reading a study that men are generally willing to date women of any race but that women tend to have a strong preference for marrying within their race - the big exception being women of Asian ancestry who are frequently willing to marry white men. So you tend to see a lot of AF/WM couples but very few WF/AM couples. But hopefully women will stop being so racially biased and we'll see more interracial marriages in the future. Perhaps as more Chinese men get rich while females will be more open to dating them.

Comment Re:Chinese economy on the verge of collapse? (Score 1) 132 132

My suspicion is that China's island-building brinkmanship is intended simply to stoke the fires of nationalism while the Chinese economy teeters on the verge of collapse. What better way to mis-direct the discontent at home than perceived enemies abroad (us against the world or at least our nearby neighbors)? That or the Party is making the landgrab while it still.

I think a lot of it is simply nationalism. We've seen it before where a country that feels it is naturally better than everyone else but has been unfairly held down suddenly gets its act together and starts becoming powerful and wants to take its 'rightful place' as the boss. Yes the leadership is stoking nationalist fires, but much of the leadership is also burning with nationalism and nationalist ambitions.

Comment Re:Chinese economy on the verge of collapse? (Score 1) 132 132

If I were prone to dark speculation, I would think about the ChiCom leaders with an overabundance of men in the population (resulting from preferential male births). They have 50 million more men than women. That's a frustrated powder keg that must dealt with; one way to reduce that population is a land war.

On the other hand a huge portion of those men are only-childs, and even only-grand-childs. Getting a lot of them killed would create another group of people who are plenty pissed off and have nothing to lose.

Comment Re:Good (Score 1, Insightful) 459 459

The most dangerous thing that could come out of that part of the world is a united empire run by religious fanatics or whose government is influenced enough by fanaticism that it looks away while people within the empire use its resources to cause inflame hatred and commit terrorism. Allowing ISIS to gain control of Iraq and Syria would be less dangerous to America than allowing Iran to gain control of Iraq and Syria because in the first case you have two nations who balance each other instead of one much larger nation trying to unify itself behind a shared hatred.

Iran is already making war against America both directly and by proxy. Does this deal do anything to end that state of war? Does this deal do anything to prevent Iran from gaining domination in Iraq and Syria? Or does it just prevent America and allies from stopping them?

Comment Re:TNSTAAFL (Score 1) 272 272

I can see how a government run utility that provides a basic commodity that doesn't ever change could be well run. The technology is well understood and doesn't need to change much. It either works or it doesn't and when it doesn't everyone complains to their government reps.

is broadband like that? If we turn it over to the government will we be happy if it is exactly the same 40 years from now (well perhaps a little less down time)?

Cars are provided by several different companies. In the last 40 years there have been tremendous improvements in safety, efficiency, and comfort. Roads on the other hand are supply by the government. Any improvements there?

I'm old enough to remember the explosion of new services that suddenly became available when Bell was split up.

A private company in a competitive environment has to constantly improve to stay in the market. A monopoly doesn't. A nationalized industry doesn't. A government agency or industry may happen to get good leaders and do well, but if they don't there isn't much pressure to change.

Consider electricity. The uses for electricity have exploded over the last 30 years. The ways it is used, the types of devices, the electronics, the cars, etc. etc. But most places are supplied with electricity by a monopoly or some sort of government run group. Have you seen any modifications in the electricity industry to better supply the new uses of electricity? Any innovations or new ideas for how electricity is delivered to the home to make it more useful and convenient?

If an industry by it's nature is going to be a monopoly then it may make sense to nationalize it. But doing so carries a heavy price in stagnation that must be considered. For the moment most people do have choices. There are cable, fios, cell-tower and/or satellite available to many people. I suspect most people have at least two of those options in their area. A lot of local towns need to figure out how to get out of local monopolies they foolishly (or corruptly) granted, but there is no need to nationalize this stuff and end innovation.

Comment Re:Schools that ban game consoles see better resul (Score 3, Insightful) 113 113

When I was a kid we weren't allowed to bring basketballs to school. Nor were we allowed to bring walkie-talkies. We couldn't bring treadmills to use during class. A distraction is a distraction. How can anyone be surprised that banning them improves academic performance. The only thing surprising is that they weren't banned a decade ago.

Comment Re:Reproducing should not get special tax treatmen (Score 1) 616 616

Exactly, and if the government is going to require everyone to get something, they should fund it either by providing it or by reimbursing the cost.

In fact I actually went to a private school for good parts of my education and I can assure you that my parents did not get a tax break.

I'm all for school choice vounchers. I my ideal world your parents wouldn't have gotten a tax break; they would have been given a voucher for purchasing an education, and that voucher would have only been used at places that don't charge a penny more (i.e. schools couldn't charge the voucher prices +$1000 per semester).

FORTRAN is for pipe stress freaks and crystallography weenies.