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Comment: Re:Tolls? (Score 1) 822

by Dzimas (#49736899) Attached to: Oregon Testing Pay-Per-Mile Driving Fee To Replace Gas Tax

All taxes are regressive. This is just another example of regressive tax ideas from the left, trying to even out the playing field.

Um. What? Left wing politicians tend to find regressive taxation *less* desirable because it results in low to middle income earners paying disproportionately more of their earnings.

Comment: Not the best solution (Score 1) 99

by Smauler (#49644159) Attached to: Amazon's Delivery Drones Will Be Able To Track Your Location

Having something delivered to where you are is often the least useful place for it to be. If you cycle to work, you don't want your car exhaust to be delivered there. Ideally, you'd probably want it to be delivered to the garage you're going to get it fitted at.

Some people also don't like some stuff being delivered at work.

Comment: Re:And Cuba will be fucked ... (Score 3, Insightful) 84

by Dzimas (#49638221) Attached to: Export Ban Drives Cuba To Non-US Analytics Software To Boost Tourism

Your perspective is completely wrong. Cuba isn't Disneyland, it's a country with a population of over 11 million people. Tourism is currently a significant source of income for many on the island, and even professionals with university educations are drawn to the resorts out of necessity - I know an air traffic controller who works full-time in Varadero and conducts private tours on the side to earn much needed money. He's one of the lucky ones.

Cuba needs industry and business. The country introduced reforms a few years ago to encourage small private enterprises, but access to capital and markets has kept people from being able to take advantage of those changes. As it stands, there is foreign oil investment from companies like China's Greatwall and Canada's Sherritt, but the nation's basic infrastructure is in crisis; a lot of the infrastructure was obviously built under the guidance of Soviet engineers -- concrete apartment buildings dot the outskirts of Havana that are familiar to anyone who has visited Vilnius or St Petersburg. The electrical poles are a classic Soviet concrete design, as are the 1970s and 1980s era bus shelters. Even shop doors cause me to do a double take, because they're right out of my 1990 memories from the Baltic states.

But anyway, I digress. What Cubans need is access to capital and encouragement to start small diversified businesses that extend the economy beyond rum, cigars and tacky booze holiday tourism. They also need access to the US market in a manner that isn't exploitative (American companies that see the island as a cheap labour source for large manufacturing facilities would not be beneficial, because the wealth would flow out of the country, as an example).

Comment: Re:Local recycling is dependent on a local market (Score 1) 78

by Smauler (#49541799) Attached to: Africa E-Waste Dump Continues Hyperbole War

But transporting it is expensive, so much so that it can be cheaper to produce new glass from sand.

Producing glass from sand isn't much more difficult than producing glass from glass. That's the main reason glass recycling isn't that useful.

Aluminium is much easier to produce from aluminium than from bauxite.

Comment: Re:Inevitable (Score 1) 194

by Dzimas (#49531415) Attached to: Yahoo Called Its Layoffs a "Remix." Don't Do That.

And Walmart is laying off people because of "plumbing issues". Yeah, right.

The employees are being flushed. Seems clear and direct enough.

Would be amusing to see what would happen if every Walmart in America tried to unionize. They can't all experience plumbing issues, because there'd be nothing left except some confused buyers and warehouse staff. Oh, and a few hundred thousand shipping containers filled to the brim with Dora the Explorer dolls and Hello Kitty t-shirts.

Comment: Re:Good for her! (Score 1) 143

by Smauler (#49515941) Attached to: Astronaut Snaps Epic <em>Star Trek</em> Selfie In Space

The Borg's adaptability always sucked. The entire notion that once you understand something you can counteract and adapt to it is bogus.

We've had big lumps of metal fired by explosives for over 500 years, and even now, after half a millennium of amazing technological advancement, if you're in the way of a big lump of metal fired by an explosive the only thing that is going to save you is a bigger lump of metal between you and it.

Getting better big lumps of metal to fire first and stopping the enemy from firing big lumps of metal at you in the first place is the only real countermeasure.

All that being said, I agree with you about the Borg queen and the Borg ideal.

Comment: Re:Help me out here a little... (Score 1) 533

by Smauler (#49509573) Attached to: Utilities Battle Homeowners Over Solar Power

Germany's wind turbines ran into this problem when it was warm and windy all over Europe for a couple of weeks a couple of winters back. They ended up paying other companies to take their produced energy; that was obviously deemed cheaper than just turning them all off and starting them again.

I'd guess that solar's easier to turn off though, at least on a small scale - you just cover it up.

Comment: Re: They're called trees. (Score 1) 128

by Smauler (#49495925) Attached to: Breakthrough In Artificial Photosynthesis Captures CO2 In Acetate

You've got to take it on a species-by-species basis. Take, for example, Sequoia Sempervirens. Right up until the trees fall down because they outgrow their root systems, older trees put on more mass and thus fix more CO2 than the same area filled to capacity with younger trees.

Then they die, and decompose, releasing nearly all that CO2 back into the atmosphere.

Even trees which aren't getting taller are often getting thicker, so the question for a given species is whether younger or older members put on more mass for a given area. Virtually all of the non-water mass of all vegetation is carbon, and nearly all of the carbon of all vegetation (even relatively high soil carbon users like corn) comes from the air.

Yes, trees that are growing do take carbon out of the atmosphere. After they die, it gets released back. Hence mature forests are essentially carbon neutral.

Now, if we did something else with the dead wood, such as burning it instead of coal, or using it as a building material, it would be a net positive (perhaps not ultimately with the latter - nearly all wood rots eventually). Many species and ecosystems, however, are dependent upon rotting trees; removing them could have adverse effects on the ecosystem.

Comment: Re:Why a single place? (Score 1) 167

by Smauler (#49494373) Attached to: Scientists Close To Solving the Mystery of Where Dogs Came From

Whilst technically true, your statement is also misleading (if you meant to imply foxes are more closely related to cats than they are to dogs). Wolves, jackals, dogs and foxes are all Canids. Foxes are also more closely related to seals, otters, skunks, weasels, red pandas, bears and walruses than they are to cats (the Caniformia suborder contains all these, felines are in a different suborder).

You may be thinking of Hyenas, which are more closely related to cats than dogs.

Comment: Re:masdf (Score 1) 297

by Smauler (#49453183) Attached to: Would-Be Bomber Arrested In Kansas; Planned Suicide Attack on Ft. Riley

cold fjord : What is your evidence that he had mental problems? He certainly had different values, but that isn't the same as being mentally ill. If anything your claim of "obvious mental problems" and that they "decided to make of show out of it for their own propaganda machine" indicates you probably don't understand what was happening.

cold fjord : So yes, it appears he may be mentally ill.

Stop trying to dispute facts that people state that disagree with your worldview without having even done very simple research, please. Please, just stop.

You can fool all the people all of the time if the advertising is right and the budget is big enough. -- Joseph E. Levine