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Comment: Re:we should not leave the Germains unsupevised (Score 1) 152

by trenien (#40306227) Attached to: How Technology Promotes World Peace
I have to disagree here.

Most European nations do have their own military and France - and Great Britain, to a somewhat lesser extent - do pull their own weight.

Don't confuse imperialism with a benevolent will to protect people : whatever the US military does is first and foremost to further the interest of the US itself (be it through control of specific regions, or simply an increase of budget going toward it). The only difference with previous Imperialist powers is that they have to be somewhat more discreet about it, so the average American can still believe the "we're the good guys" mantra.

Comment: Re:Rich people are most dependent on government (Score 1) 626

Well, that last quote is my point, exactly. How can you have a strong external armed force without a significant amount of taxes, subsidiary to military industry (because otherwise you're not independant, and your military might means nothing)? And of course, you need a significant amount of government to manage all of that

This goes against libertarian professed ideals and pretty much shows how internally inconsistant that standpoint is (except if you just want the Law of the Jungle, where might makes right): or you go right back to Ferguson analysis, with the "elite" free to do as they please - as they're the real creators, operating in a void where only their minds shine (I'm splicing Rand in here) - and the rable having lost any other ability than to work like drones, pay up when necessary, shut up and be happy about it.

At least Ferguson had the courtesy to lament this situation and to insist that such a separation was only the result of the way advanced society works. Heinlein, following Rand, believes that some simply are gifted and should lord over the rest (through being rich without contributing anything back in modern society). That's why I call it drivel : nobody works in a vacuum. If you want quotes, here's one:

If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants, by Newton.

Comment: Re:Rich people are most dependent on government (Score 1) 626

Oh dear.

Let's see, where to begin with... Ok, first of all, let me say I aknowledge Heinlein as one of the great SF writers, along the lines of Asimov or Clarke. I also do agree with most of his view on personal freedom (although incest?..)

That said, a great political philosopher he wasn't. Among other inconsistencies, taking on the one hand the libertarian drivel you've quoted here (it could copypasted from Rand), and the fact he was in favor of a strong, military, central government tells me that he either didn't think further than knee-jerk reaction, or he was a conservative who wrote things he didn't believe in to sell books.

And geez, quoting "Time Enough for Love"? One of his most ridiculous books with him, through his main character, rambling on and on about things he had no real clue about (mainly, expanded sexual promiscuity). You'd have been better off quoting from "Friday" or "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" (the Professor's speech to the Lunar assembly comes to mind)

Comment: Re:Rich people are most dependent on government (Score 1) 626

Well, that's sound very much like Adam Ferguson's Essay.

From that point of view, beware of slipping down the path of XVIII century's concept of stages of civilization.

On my part, I would say wealth comes from the people, but it's only under a specific number of circumstances that it isn't sucked away by a small minority. The difference is that if you accept Ferguson's point of view, you accept that only the wealthy and privileged - the "better sort", to quote Madison - are real citizens. All the others simply are tools to be used, although they should be taken care of.

The point is, saying that wealth comes from the government is mistaking the source and the controler : case in point, most western societies where, to various degrees, the government has been used by a few to siphon off wealth. Make no mistake, I'm not saying that governments are evil and all that libertarian crap. But the idea of the balance of power clearly mostly has failed; since in the end a government is the ultimate power over a specific land, it also is the ultimate recourse of the people, so they MUST keep its workings under a very tight rein and they musn't believe anybody is, at any point in time, a saint who will do what is good for the others at their own expense.

That means, getting back to the actual problem of that company, if the locals have any way to say or do something about it (which I doubt, even in Northern European countries), they'd make that company keep paying its taxes where it ought to. Unfortunately, the way Europe works right now (encouraging a race to the bottom) means they probably are pretty much screwed.

Comment: Too Bad for Humanity as a Whole... (Score 4, Interesting) 303

by trenien (#40209655) Attached to: The Real-Life Doogie Howser
Am I the only one who thinks that such a genius is bound to make major leaps in whatever field he invests himself in?

As such, the path he has chosen is good news for diseased children. However, humanity as a species isn't affected by those personnal tragedies he decided to focus on. On the other hand, there's a number of subjects in physics, genetics or even medecine that could have had a much wider impact.

Yes, I'm aware such a way of thinking classifies into the cold-hearted bastards category.


MIT Unveils Portable, Solar-Powered Water Desalination System 117

Posted by Soulskill
from the water-the-chances dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Field and Space Robotic Laboratory has designed a new solar-powered water desalination system to provide drinking water to disaster zones and disadvantaged parts of the planet. Desalination systems often require a lot of energy and a large infrastructure to support them, but MIT's compact system is able to cope due to its ingenious design. The system's photovoltaic panel is able to generate power for the pump, which in turn pushes undrinkable seawater through a permeable membrane. MIT's prototype can reportedly produce 80 gallons of drinking water per day, depending on weather conditions."

When You Really, Really Want to Upgrade a Tiny Notebook 104

Posted by timothy
from the faint-of-heart-attack dept.
Benz145 writes "The famous Sony VAIO UX UMPC may have been cancelled a few years back by Sony, but the community at Micro PC Talk won't let it die. Modder Anh has carefully removed the relatively slow 1.33Ghz Core Solo CPU and installed a much faster Intel Core 2 Duo U7700 (a process which involves reballing the entire CPU). On top of this, he managed to install an incredibly small 4-port USB hub into the unit which allowed for the further instillation of a Huawei E172 modem for 3G data/voice/SMS, a GPS receiver, and a Pinnacle HD TV receiver. All of this was done without modifying the device's tiny external case. Great high-res pictures of the motherboard with the modded hardware can be seen through the link."

Study Finds Most Would Become Supervillians If Given Powers 419

Posted by samzenpus
from the super-power-corrupts dept.
It probably comes as no surprise, but researchers have found that most of us would gladly put on a mask and fight do-gooders if given super powers. From the article: "But power also acts like strong cologne that affects both the wearer and those within smelling distance, Galinsky noted. The person gains an enhanced sense of their importance, and other people may regard them with greater respect as well as extend leniency toward their actions. That combination makes for an easy slide into corruption."
The Military

Military Personnel Weigh In On Being Taliban In Medal of Honor 171

Posted by Soulskill
from the identity-conflict dept.
SSDNINJA writes "This is a feature from gamrFeed that interviews nine US service members about playing as the Taliban in the upcoming Medal of Honor. One soldier states that games like MoH and Call of Duty are 'profiteering from war.' Another says, 'Honestly, I don't really see what the whole fuss is about. It's a game, and just like in Call of Duty, you don't really care about what side you're taking, just as long as you win. I don't think anyone cares if you're part of the Rangers or Spetznaz, as long as you win.' An excellent and interesting read."

Comment: Re:every modulation method can be 'net-connected (Score 2, Insightful) 282

by trenien (#32754008) Attached to: France Says D-Star Ham Radio Mode Is Illegal
Basically, I'd say this is part of the current attempt to control any and all ways to access the internet.

Heard yesterday on the most important French national radio network, from the mouth of one person in the government, something that essentially was :"Internet is a lawless place, but fortunately we're in the process of doing something about it".

All of this, of course, to satisfy the very much entrenched IP interests.

Comment: Re:Disturbing? (Score 1) 215

by trenien (#32275968) Attached to: Nine Chip Makers Fined $400M In EU For Price Fixing

Nations like the US and EU

One mistake, there. The EU is not a nation.

Contrary to what may happen in the US, their rulings in such cases are completely driven by ideology (or personnal benefit which doesn't appear to the case here).

You can see this mix of the two driving forces: "competition must be upheld at all cost", and "private property is the most sacred right there is"

End result? The guilty companies are slammed with a penalty which probably amounts to less than what breaking the law allowed to rake in, and the only one who will really be hurt are the one who were screwed in the first place: the final consumer.

"Show business is just like high school, except you get paid." - Martin Mull