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Comment Re:It was bound to happen (Score 2) 198

Yes, we get that Bitcoin is potentially useful for tax evasion. Can you spell out why that is socially desirable?

Tax evasion isn't what's "socially acceptable". Unrestricted trade is. The United States has become the 300 pound gorilla in the room, telling telecommunication companies to sign secret agreements to tap all their lines, even when they aren't in the US. They freeze accounts of political enemies. And that's not even touching on all the trade restrictions from patent and copyright law, etc.

A currency controlled by no government is immune to all of these problems, and while tax evasion is a side effect of this, it is by no means the only selling point.

People do bargain directly with each other now. The government isn't involved in that. But if good or services are sold, that transaction tends to be subject to taxes, although not always. And that does ignore the underground economy that tends to involve cash transactions.

The IRS called, something about you being very wrong. The IRS also taxes barter trade. You think just because you don't use cash the IRS doesn't want its share? That's adorable.

Comment Re:29 years old (Score 4, Insightful) 432

You're a kid, kid. You're my kids' age, and I was five years older than you when I had kids. I'm twice as old as you; compared to you I've lived two whole lifetimes so far. Having served 4 years in the USAF before school I was just getting my Bachelor's at your age.

My daughter's your age, and in college.

You're just getting started.

I do understand your thinking, however -- I was your age once. When I got out of the service, having gone to Thailand, I thought I'd lived more than most 70 year olds.

I was wrong. So are you.

Comment Re:The America I believed in never existed (Score 1) 343

Do I really need to say anything more?

Yes. To say it's "not without precident" is just wrong. It's a stupid thing to say, and you should feel bad for saying it.We're in the information age, not some pre-industrial, largely agricultural-based society. It'd be like saying "Ghenghis Khan once gave an order to intercept carrier pidgeons of his enemies, so it's not without precident." And in terms of the amount of difference between the two societies... pre-industrial America was closer to Ghenghis Khan's world than ours is today.

And what's this crap about "the america you believed in", anyway? You think because a few government agencies decide to abuse their power the entire country is hopelessly broken and we should just give up and say the american dream is dead? What kind of bullshit self-defeatist attitude is that?

Our founding fathers said the price of freedom is eternal vigilance, which is a far different attitude than "Hey, I can't get the bottle of ketchup open, I guess I'll just have to starve now." Please! If the america you "believe in" is to exist, it's going to take more than just wishing really hard.

Comment Re:Pilot error? (Score 0) 506

Autoland systems were developed in the 40s and perfected in the 60s by the Brits.

Yeah, and it wasn't until the 90s that passenger jets started rolling off the lines with them; And at that, it requires certain equipment that not all airports have to function -- and it is very expensive, so a lot of airlines, especially budget airlines, don't have category 3 landing systems... all of which is indicated in the wiki article you posted.

At least here in the United States, there aren't many CAT-III equipped aircraft -- and I'm not aware of any major passenger airline in the United States that make this standard equipment -- it's only purchased and used on very select routes due to the cost. i'm sorry for making the typo 'aircraft', when I meant 'airline', but the idea that planes today usually fly themselves is laughable.

Comment Re:Pilot error? (Score 0) 506

Flight engineer? Good luck finding one. Even FedEx and UPS got rid of theirs on their DC-10s by converting them to MD-10s.

Although, for some aircraft, there is no flight engineer position as that position is increasingly being replaced by sophisticated electronics.

You must have missed it when I said it the first time. I've gone ahead and bolded the relevant part of the OP for you. But kudos for managing to restate the obvious...

Comment Re:Pilot error? (Score -1) 506

Most passenger jets can (category 3) auto-land these days. It is frequently used.

It is only supposed to be used during low visibility conditions; It slows down the number of landings over a given time frame up to 50%. This is not "frequent" by any definition. This landing, like the majority of passenger-jet landings, would have been done by a human assisted by ILS.

Comment Re:Pilot error? (Score -1, Troll) 506

Well, that's your problem, then, since autoland has been around for a while and I have been through a zero visibility autoland landing all the way down to the runway. On exiting the plane, I've asked the first officer...

You're not a pilot, you're a passenger, and an arrogant one at that. The "auto landing" they were referring to was probably the ILS -- it's a beacon that is positioned at the start of the runway and allows for instrument landings. Every landing is an "auto" landing on a passenger craft because they're flying instrument flight rules.

They do not just push a button in the cockpit and then nip off for a bit of tea while the plane magically lands.

Comment Re:Pilot error? (Score 1, Informative) 506

I'll be willing to bet a Bitcoin that the pilot was trying to land the airplane instead of just letting the computer do it.

You obviously don't know much about aviation safety and procedures then. The most dangerous parts of flight are (as with any mechanical device) during changes of state. For a plane, the most severe emergencies happen during take off, and landing. "auto pilot" is typically only used once the plane reaches target altitude, and its primary function is to make minute and rapid corrections to the flight profile to enhance stability (passenger comfort) and reduce drag (improve fuel efficiency). It is not used during take off or landing, and although either could be handled by computer, I'm not aware of any passenger aircraft that has such a fly by wire system. All of them are on the drawing board.

Planes are not landed by computer; they are landed by human beings. Typically three of them -- the pilot, copilot, and flight engineer. Although, for some aircraft, there is no flight engineer position as that position is increasingly being replaced by sophisticated electronics. The reason for two pilots is in case one of them becomes incapacitated. This is actually an infrequent occurrance -- it's all too easy to become disoriented, especially during a night flight with turbulence. Considerable training is given to identifying these situations and providing smooth hand-off of control. Although injurous to one's pride, a captain should never feel obligated to continue flight operations if he feels disoriented or uncomfortable -- and airlines should never punish a pilot for indicating such incapacitation at any point during the flight to the crew. Sorry, getting preachy... I'll shut up now. ;)

Comment Re:No Cartwheeling (Score 4, Insightful) 506

certainly did NOT cartwheel or bits would be scattered down the runway. It seems that all passengers and crew have been accounted for with no fatalities.

The term "cartwheel" has different meanings to different people. Unfortunately, just like with the Boston Bombing, CNN rushed a story out without getting its facts straight, though at least this time it was somewhat more substantial than pure speculation.

At this time, it appears the plane's air speed was too low on final approach, and the pilot may have over-corrected by throttling up and then (mistakenly) putting the nose further up as a panic measure; This resulted in a severe tail strike on the sea wall, and the plane would have become aerodynamically unstable immediately after.

Typically in these scenarios, the plane (appears) to shoot upwards briefly due to the sudden change in weight distribution, and comes down on angled heavily to one side (having lost any ability to control lateral movement). The wing will typically sheer off, as they're actually designed to break away from the fuselage in such an event, and the plane will roll onto its roof then (if speed is high enough) or the nose will take a digger, break off, and the whole thing will flip in the air and then promptly "face plant" in the dirt in one piece.

Either way, the plane did exactly what it was designed to do -- separate the flammables from the fuselage where the passengers were, and maintain integrity until all motion stops. The emergency crew's prompt response is what saved everyone's lives -- most people don't die due to the impact or fire, but rather smoke inhalation.

This is a text-book crash landing, and the investigation will now focus on whether a mechanical fault caused the plane to lose speed at the last moment (bird strike on engine is common), or whether the pilot neglected to flare correctly. Judging by the debris, it looks like it would have been a steep descent with flare at the end -- which results in a faster landing and is preferred at high-volume airports, over a shallower approach, with less flare. If the pilot is inexperienced, distracted, or any number of a dozen other things go wrong (one plane crash I know of was due to a circuit breaker trip-out which meant the captain did not have 'stick shake' or stall alarm warnings in this exact scenario) -- there's very little time to react, and even going to full power take off speed will not prevent disaster due to the steep descent angle, lack of altitude, and lack of speed.

Any airplane pilot knows the key to a successful crash landing is speed and altitude -- they add precious seconds to react to an emergency. This plane had neither.

Comment Re:Expected (Score 4, Insightful) 191

Globalism. This is what happens when it's cheaper to move automotive manufacturing overseas only to be compounded further by the unions

Okay. Pardon the french, but I'm gonna have to ask you to take a step back, and literally go fuck yourself. Every major industrialized country except the United States has a labor party, and strong unions. The wealth gap in every other G20 country is significantly less than here in the United States. If your argument had even the slightest rootings in reality, the story would be very different. Unions had nothing to do with this; Rapid deregulation brokered by large corporations and a cozy relationship with Congress did. Unions have exactly dick to do with this -- it's just propaganda pushed out by Fox News and rabid conservatives who think profits are people too. Unions act as an economic stabilization force -- they cool the fluxuations in unemployment, wages, etc. Even Adam Smith in Wealth of Nations said Unions were a necessary part of a capitalist economy -- and he said the same about health care and unemployment insurance. He then went on to provide examples of how the long term growth of an economy improves with such policies; But they are usually not implimented because of short term focus on profit. He also advised governments to step in and create public works projects during periods of higher unemployment, back-filling the natural boot/bust cycle of capitalism, and then increasing taxation during periods of economic prosperity as an investment into the next cycle.

As much as many conservatives think they have a handle on what capitalism really is and what's best for it, they have a remarkable lack of education on the positions of its strongest supporters. It's unfortunate, really; If they weren't so fiscally irresponsible with their short term thinking and focusing on things like reducing government spending during a recession, etc., we wouldn't be stuck in these "stagflation" situations where inflation rises but unemployment remains constant. Such an (unpredicted) economic stall-out was first observed during the Reagan administration courtesy of "trickle down" economics. Its successor has resulted in the longest period of elevated unemployment in American history. And none of this has dick to do with Unions.

It's one giant death spiral that was enviable.

The death spiral isn't actually a spiral so much as a cycle. Deregulation leads to market crashes, which lead to regulation, which lead to market crashes, which lead to deregulation... Capitalism itself is fundamentally and systemically unstable, especially in its pure form. This is why almost every major world economy is a hybrid of socialist and capitalist policy, and any divisions between the two are largely arbitrary and based more on the political beer googles of the person assigning labels than what the economy is in actuality.

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