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Comment Re:Employment is not the goal (Score 4, Interesting) 364

One of the biggest reasons coal mining jobs are a memory is that the management long ago figured out how much cheaper it is to just hire a handful of people to plant explosives and blow up the whole damn mountain. Who's going to make them hire people to go down into some mines instead of leaving them sitting in a rotting Appalachian cottage drinking water tainted by the slurry? That's what it would take to try to force the clock back, and then, you burn the fuel, have the coal miner's lung, the health care costs, the mercury and lead pollution, and it's going to run out anyway because it takes hundreds of millions of years in a world where fungi haven't yet evolved to consume fallen wood to make all that coal.

But of course, we can keep talking about how inefficient it is to change up a new, rapidly improving technology that's actually beating coal on purely economic costs in more and more of the world.

Damn, remember when this site loved disruptive new technologies that mess with some suit's profit margins? What's the RIAA doing these days?

Comment Re:Full employment for .... (Score 3, Funny) 364

It would be a damn shame if we had to employ window washers. What about all this military we've got for fighting the next oil war? There's still some dictator ready to go rogue next to a major oilfield somewhere, right? What will Haliburton do if it can't pocket some of the trillions the government will spend to give Exxon a crack at another nation's resources? Where will Blackwater types be if not shooting up the locals? Where will we get all our refugees to blame for everything?

Shoot, if it's going to be solar panels and windmills and tidal power, how are you going to tell Johnny with a squeegee he can't have a prosthetic leg and Veteran's Health Authority healthcare?

Such a fine few people are making money off of all this, too!

Comment Been doing this for two years (Score 1) 250

The health issues of eating crap food often found near office locations and drinking out of a Keurig, the traffic snarls and their toll on time and energy and air quality, the need to focus on work without the bellowing of the frat-boy sales associates the next cubicle over really did it for me. I manage my own workspace to my own particular needs, and it makes an enormous difference. I took a pay cut to do it, but I don't self-medicate with remedies and expensive splurges. Work isn't disrupted if I need to work on a project out in the country. Life is far simpler and more flexible.

In order to pull this off, I needed to choose a wireless hotspot, I needed to adapt my systems so that updates made a minimal impact on my capped connections. Significant impressions from this - Windows 10 can die in a fire, Fedora 25 tweaked repository configurations and delta RPMs is rocking this crucial aspect of remote work. I got really good at making, backing up, and syncing virtual machines between my desktop, my work-issued laptop, my beater travel laptop, because when I'm remote my own competency to make a fully secured work-ready platform on time is far superior to any results of bugging the home office.

Comment What's missing (Score 1) 497

I wish this effort all the best, but I think we're going to find that life without stable ecosystems or a magnetosphere is not going to be easy. We take much for granted here on Earth, and though the technology may allow us to land some people there, I predict that living healthy lives with a stable local food supply is going to take a lot more than the rocket scientists are counting on. Biochemistry and ecology have vastly more complex open systems to deal with, but that's what we come from.

Better send automated manufacturing there and let the robots get some things right first before the colonists land.

Comment Re:THATS IT! (Score 1) 163

There's no reason we can't have a transparent, well-monitored paper ballot. With all the issues that have surfaced, I think that's our best option. The average poll-worker does not have the technical expertise to maintain security on a computerized system, and the real experts have demonstrated so many flaws in widely-used voting machines that they should be scuttled.

Comment Meanwhile, on my day-to-day workstation (Score 1) 515

Though I've tried other desktops, KDE 5 is what I keep coming back to. Sometimes Unity and Gnome feel more streamlined, but KDE's configurability is just too awesome. I can define keyboard shortcuts that apply across its applications. I can define not online virtual desktop screens but activities which affect the power usage profile. I can tailor window behavior, laptop lid, and network profiles with comfort. It's my working and browsing environment on a day-to-day basis and has been for years. I use it on top of Fedora and love it - other OS's are only for specialty uses like gaming and music/audio.

Somehow, the idea that it's not fashionable enough for a clickbait article seems just silly.

Comment There's an open source project for this (Score 1) 639

This is the sort of thing that prompted Open Source Ecology's open-source hardware - the vital machines of civilization, built from collaboratively updated open source blueprints, made to a modular design from off-the-shelf parts. Know FreeCAD? Welding? You can make a tractor. I've seen one of the initial prototypes, and it was doing the job.

Their current push is open-source homebuilding, but it builds on all of the machines they've made.

In my estimation, this is one of the most important open source projects of all time. This stuff is maintainable and built without planned obsolescence. We need that kind of freedom at the base of civilization.

Comment Re:Inflation, anyone? (Score 1) 1052

Not only inflation, but without curbs on predatory lending, payday loan shops are going to clean this out of disadvantaged people really fast.

I'm in favor of universal basic services - can we agree that nobody should starve when robots do most of the work better than we do? Then let there be staple food and a shelter, however humble. Utah has found out that this is way cheaper than criminalizing poverty and homelessness and jamming up the court system with people who couldn't find a decent place to sleep.

We still have six homes standing empty for every homeless person in the USA, because banks made a mess of the market and even the record of ownership. The banks get to borrow money from the US government at lower interest rates than they get loaning it to the government. They get a protected cartel in the form of a Federal Reserve that moves trillions. We can afford basic services, and in fact, we can't afford to keep our population scrambling in survival mode instead of getting educated enough to do something actually meaningful. Entrepreneurship shouldn't be just for yuppie kids who can bum their starting funds off of mom and dad.

Comment Creationism with computer science (Score 1) 951

This has all the same flaws as creationism or rapture theory in the church. Hand-waving the complexity of the world we're in and putting it up to a hypothetical universe the simulation is running in simply kicks the can down the road. There's no evidence for it, just an argument from incredulity at the nature of the world we actually interact with. A universe with a civilization advanced enough to simulate ours doesn't make the questions go away, or simplify them one bit.

Further, squandering the energy reserves of a civilization to simulate another civilization and universe to this level doesn't seem something a civilization could get away with doing for millenia. Ours sure isn't.

Same old myths, just somebody has a computer on their desk instead of a bronze age text. Humans don't change much.

Comment Re:Solution (Score 1) 414

It'd better be land nobody particularly rich wants. They don't even have to use eminent domain. A bought official can raise property taxes, find a way to make a neighbor complain about your "eyesore" house, or harass you about all that self-sufficiency you've got instead of a well-manicured lawn. Better not get in the way of a pipeline either! All of these are ways property owners have lost their land.

People keep trying to retreat into their own domicile, and that only works temporarily for some of them. The system is designed to keep you to the grind for almost nothing so major shareholders can profit and governments collect more taxes from people without clout. Running off to your own small patch of "I've got mine" does nothing to solve an unjust social order, IMHO.

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"The fundamental principle of science, the definition almost, is this: the sole test of the validity of any idea is experiment." -- Richard P. Feynman