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Comment: Re:Right, I didn't say that, I keep saying the opp (Score 1) 406

by shutdown -p now (#48945207) Attached to: Most Americans Support Government Action On Climate Change

We spent around $100 million per year to reduce drunk driving, and that saved 10,000 lives per year.

Can you give a reference to the source for this?

(I'm not disputing your assessment; just want to throw it all up in Excel sheet to see how much we could save per year if we diverted all military spending on Iraq+Afghanistan on social programs like that.)

Comment: Re:better than rushing steaming piles of shit. (Score 1) 169

The first time I've read the series, I waded through God Emperor, and got completely bogged down on Heretics. After that, I had re-read the first three books several times, but each time I tried to go further I'd immediately remember why I stopped last time ...

Fast forward ten years, and I tried re-reading the whole thing again - and found that I actually enjoyed it. I still like the earlier books more, and the later ones are definitely harder and a slower read, but they no longer bore me.

Perhaps it just takes a certain amount of life experiences to appreciate them?

Comment: Re: What are the practical results of this? (Score 1) 427

by shutdown -p now (#48944281) Attached to: FCC Officially Approves Change In the Definition of Broadband

Nearly every citizen of every state has an identification card of some kind. A simple law stating that each state's Department of Motor Vehicles must provide an ID card would cover the rest. Or that welfare cards must have photos and citizenship status.

Yes, it would. But then conservatives would be all up in arms about the evil gubmint forcing them to have IDs, which, as we all know, is a hallmark of totalitarian regimes and therefore will never fly in the good old U.S. of A.

Comment: Re: This doesn't sound... sound (Score 1) 327

forced to do their own austerity

At some point, isn't the question here whether the size of their existing debt is basically large enough? i.e. their choice is between austerity necessary to paying it off, vs austerity to dig themselves out of the hole that they'll get into by defaulting and not being able to lend more money... but which way is better for them depends on how much they owe right now, no?

Comment: Re:This doesn't sound... sound (Score 1) 327

Austrians and praxeology is the contrary to what OP advocates - instead of trying to make economics into a proper science (which is eminently doable, since it concerns with events manifesting themselves in a physical world, which is governed by laws of nature), they embrace this whole idiotic "observations don't matter so long as I can construct a neat model in my head" thing. Since constructing models in one's head is inevitably based on one's (subjective) premises, and since praxeology denies the normal scientific method of testing those models on real data, it's basically all just mental masturbation, and is one of the worst economic schools in terms of practical results. Really, the only good thing about them is that they're honest about the fact that they're quacks.

Comment: Re:What are the practical results of this? (Score 1) 427

by shutdown -p now (#48937643) Attached to: FCC Officially Approves Change In the Definition of Broadband

You do realize that the Citizen's United case was specifically about a group of people trying to get around the "1 normal voter, 10 bucks" problem by aggregating many normal voters into many bucks, don't you?

Except that is not a way to get around that problem. In the end, you still get several million voters, with their pooled dollars, competing against a single guy with his millions of dollars.

And, ironically, even then, the single guy wins.

You're also implying that that billionaire is actually buying votes with his $100 million. In truth, his one vote counts just the same as my one vote and your one vote and everyone else's one vote.

His vote counts the same, yes. But by spending that money on, say, political advertising (including indirect one, such as most of the politicized tripe on Fox News or MSNBC), he effectively buys other people's votes by drowning out objective information in the channels that they have.

And then on top of that he goes and buys the politicians that those people elect, rendering their votes pretty much meaningless, since the person they elected doesn't actually represent them anymore.

Requiring ID is the obvious solution. The same kind of ID that every citizen of many other countries is required to carry to get government services of any kind, and even many private services.

The reason why voter ID in US is contentious is not because it's somehow offensive or sacrilegious by itself, but because all implementations of it impose additional burdens on the voters that are either straight-up unconstitutional (e.g. non-free IDs, which is effectively a poll tax), or place the burden of obtaining the ID and proving one's identity for that purpose so high that many people are effectively disenfranchised, and that number is more than an order of magnitude higher than voting violations that IDs fix.

In other countries it's generally not an issue because they have mandatory state-issued IDs for everyone, free, and the only thing that you need to do to obtain a new one is present the old one. In US, though, the same system would be immediately shot down, especially by conservatives, as government being too intrusive (ironic, given that pretty much everyone already has an SSN...).

So it could be done, but the existing proposals are deficient, and better proposals that wouldn't be are non-viable for political reasons.

Comment: Re:What are the practical results of this? (Score 1) 427

by shutdown -p now (#48937605) Attached to: FCC Officially Approves Change In the Definition of Broadband

You have very eloquently demonstrated how "if you don't vote for my bastard, the other bastard wins!" logic works to maintain the two-party system.

So long as you keep voting for the lesser of two evils, you'll be stuck with evil. Worse yet, there isn't even a guarantee that it'll be the same level of evil - it may well be gradually worsening with every electoral cycle, and only be relatively better (as far as you're concerned) than the other option. So long as both slide down, the system stands.

Comment: Re:track record (Score 3, Informative) 291

by shutdown -p now (#48937507) Attached to: US Air Force Selects Boeing 747-8 To Replace Air Force One

The Soviet Union adopted with the AK-74 in 1974

He was speaking about AK-74M, which was adopted in early 1990s.

But anyway, even if you look at AK-74, it was already in many ways outdated back when it was introduced. Only two locking lugs, and not in a barrel extension, craptastic safety, slow iron sights, a large open gap in the receiver when bolt is closed permitting dust and dirt in, very inconvenient optics quick mount on the side rail (on AK-74M with its folding stock, if you use the rail, you can't fold the stock - WTF?) etc. Also pretty heavy in its basic configuration, and even heavier with optics because of that aforementioned side rail necessitating heavy mounts.

A good example of a modern AK-derived design is SIG SG 550. Same basic action, but it uses modern layout, modern ergonomics, and is much more accurate and flexible while being every bit as reliable.

and most Eastern European and former Soviet Republics use it today.

Most Soviet republics - true, but which of them are "allies"?

Most Eastern European states - not really true anymore, and wasn't really true even when USSR was still there. The only two I can think of that still use AK chambered in 5.45 round are Bulgaria and Romania (and for Romania it's not AK-74, but their own independently developed variant), and both are looking at options to migrate to, generally in 5.56 for NATO conformance. Poland uses the 5.56 Beryl, also not derived from AK-74, and significantly improved compared to the latter. All ex-Yugoslavian states either still use the original AK chambered in 7.62, or else have migrated to something in 5.56 (e.g. FN F2000 for Slovenia or VHS in Croatia). Czechs and Slovaks have both used their indigenous Vz.58 until recently, and are now switching to CZ-805. Hungarians use their own FEG AK variant, also in 7.62. Albanians use the original AKM. Did I forget anyone?

The only nation states I know of that still use the old AK-47 are in the Middle East, Africa, and Southeast Asia (including, I think, India). The big advantage of the AK-47 is that it is cheap enough to hand out like candy to guerrilla fighters, and it's reliable enough to still work after years of little to no maintenance (though it's effectiveness drops quite a lot when doing so).

Well, you kinda lump them together - it's not like there are a few nations in Middle East or Africa, and a great many of them use AK. But, as noted, in Europe, you're looking at least at Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia, Albania and Hungary. And if you look at who else uses AK-derived guns chambered in 7.62x39, you'll have to also add Czech Republic and Slovakia (tho not for long) and Finland.

FWIW, I don't see the point of differentiation. AK-74 is only marginally different from AKM in matters other than caliber (and muzzle brake, but that can be easily retrofitted). All ergos are the same, reliability is the same, and all deficiencies are also the same.

In any case, I don't see why anyone in a sane mind would adopt AK-74M as a new service rifle in 2015. There are far better options available for anyone not sorely short on cash and not running a guerrilla army.

I mean, sure, you could take AK-74 and modernize it - make the receiver cover non-detachable so that a rail can be put on top, replace handguards with rails or something else allowing different mounts, replace leaf sight with a peep, replace the safety with a switch that can be manipulated by a thumb, replace the stock with folding and length-adjustable one that also has a cheek riser for better weld.

Russians did just that in their own modernization program, and the result is now known as AK-12 and is undergoing trials. Though it has a bunch of other changes (like lightened bolt) that are suspect wrt reliability, especially given the results of the trials so far.

But then again, unless you're short on cash, you could just get SG 551, which was designed with all those things in mind from ground up.

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