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Comment Re: A long time coming... (Score 1) 364 364

Because no matter how shit a giant crab tastes, it will always be expensive.

You're talking about what I like to call a "face place," where the product or service on offer is face rather than an actual product or service. Such places are common throughout Asia, especially in far-east Asia, where Chinese influence is more pronounced.

And so it is with steel. They don't care about whether American or Chinese steel is better, they just think they are paying through the arse for your parts, they better be getting the expensive stuff.

In this case, I think you may be reading too much into the tea leaves. Rather than favoring "exotic, expensive" foreign steel for venal reasons, I'd wager they are more concerned with the ability of their native steel-making capacity to keep up with demand.

Comment Re:A long time coming... (Score 1) 364 364

And this contradicts my point... how?

For decades, a LOT of money has been flowing into China, and they have spent most of it on infrastructure and gold bullion, of which they are purported to have several thousand tons on reserve (we're talking physical gold, not some kind of stock).

They are certainly not communist, but they are authoritarian (which is what I assume you really mean), and as I've just described, they've been playing a pretty good game at amassing capital in recent years. And there are plenty of Chinese billionaires and millionaires who've been snapping up ritzy real estate in the West, who could liquidate those assets to stay afloat in this current crisis.

To claim that China is "communist" is ludicrous. You apparently either don't know what the word means, or you don't know much about modern China.

Comment Re:A long time coming... (Score 2) 364 364

It's been a few years since I searched this on the 'net, but now there is an answer:

"May you live in interesting times" is an English expression purported to be a translation of a traditional Chinese curse. Despite being so common in English as to be known as "the Chinese curse", the saying is apocryphal, and no actual Chinese source has ever been produced.

Comment Re:A long time coming... (Score 4, Insightful) 364 364

Gov't "nationalizes" the building and gives away the apartments to peasants...? If you're the gov't, you don't care if some investor loses his shirt, you want useful stuff that you can give to the masses to keep them from overthrowing you.

The Chinese gov't doesn't define "assets" the same way as a Western banker would.

Comment Re:A long time coming... (Score 1) 364 364

The banks may not have collateral, but the country overall has a lot of assets, such as empty apartment buildings, etc., which the gov't could simply nationalize. They are also sitting on at least a thousand tons of gold (nobody knows for sure), which could come in handy at a time like this.

I would call that an up-side.

Comment Re:A long time coming... (Score 5, Informative) 364 364

On the up-side, the gov't has been pouring tons of money into infrastructure (partly fueling the bubble), and they still control their own currency. So they have some room to maneuver. And with a technocratic, authoritarian gov't, they have some leeway to take drastic measure that would be difficult if not impossible in a democracy. It will be interesting* to see how this plays out in the coming days and weeks.

* BTW, about that Chinese curse "May you live in interesting times," after decades in Asia, I have yet to find a native speaker who can tell me the original Chinese. So it seems this curse is apocryphal, most likely invented by a Westerner as a joke.

Comment Re:It's called Rocket Science for a reason ... (Score 2) 316 316

The cameras pulled back to show the launch facility, which was not of interest as the failure occurred at altitude.

Well, what else are you going to show, if you've lost your video feed from the vehicle and the tracking camera shows nothing but blue sky? Patch-in a feed from Sesame Street?

My concern is, how long is this going to put SpaceX out of commission? How many months (or years) will it take to track down the source of this failure and bring the Falcon family of rockets back online?

Comment Re:Water for people (Score 1) 599 599

Desalination produces water for hundreds of times the cost that farmers are charged for the water they squander.

Then clearly the "market" is not performing well here. Whether that is due to over-regulation or unfettered monopolies is a separate issue, the question is, how can we make the market reflect the true cost of water? And how can we find cost-effective solutions to the water problem?

In a nutshell: raise the price of almonds.

If everybody paid an extra nickel for their snack-pack of mixed nuts at the pub, farmers could invest more in their water handling infrastructure, such as terracing the landscape to retain rain water and allow it to slowly soak into the ground. There are lots of tricks like this in the field of permaculture which is the art and science of sculpting and tweaking the ecosystem to become inherently over-productive. (If you are lucky enough to live near a mature permaculture "food forest", you only spend a few hours a week on subsistence, and most of that time is just gathering the harvest.) Suffice to say, most of California's drought problems could be greatly alleviated by better management.

As for the cost of desalination... why is it so damned expensive? According to my Boy Scout Handbook, a few sheets of plastic and a couple of pots and/or cups is enough to distill fresh water on the open sea, so surely with space-age materials and techniques we ought to be able to engineer a high-volume "passive solar" desalination design that can be replicated with backyard tools in third-world countries.

What if California spent 0.2% of its budget on passive desalination plants for the next ten years? How much of a dent would that make?

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