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Comment Re:Bull (Score 1) 738

I completely agree that science and technology always has been and always will be the solution. Waste will be reduced, alternative energy sources will be tapped more efficiently, and rare materials recycled more thoroughly. Hopefully we'll get there without too much pain, though I'm more than a little worried.

Shipping people off to off-Earth colonies, however, are not going to be a solution (and I'm skeptical about using extra-planetary resources). The human population is currently measured in billions and annual growth in the high tens of millions. Somehow I doubt ships of emigrants will be measured in those units in any even slightly-relevant timeframe. We may populate other planets, but not by launching ships carrying a billion people. Emigration from Earth will not put a dent in the world population. I'd count on a transferral of consciousness into computers long before I counted on mass emigration.

Comment Re:Bull (Score 1) 738

I think he might be using the term 'most people' as an ironic understatement. That is the definition. 'Most people'==everybody who uses the term correctly. And we use that definition/term because it's quite useful in modelling. Production/utilization of coal/oil/uranium/water/etc. accelerates for some time, peaks, and then drops. These commodities are finite and are not durable good. The oil is input to the economy, not capital like a factory. If we slow the building of factories, the economy continues to grow, so long as we don't decommission any. If we slow the input of oil/coal/uranium/water/whatever (because we hit peak production and have to shift to marginal sources), we need to substitute something else (or increase efficiency at a faster rate than input drops) or the economy will slow (and demand for alternatives will rise--tell me this isn't useless to know).

Actually, your point about nuclear demonstrates a small error in the above definition. 'Peak' refers more to the peak of production potential (or something along those lines). We could be producing less nuclear fuel by choice, but not because the speed at which nuclear fuel can be mined and refined has declined.

Comment Re:Finders Keepers? (Score 1) 851

You must be someone with a huge amount of capital and/or someone who runs a large corporation if you feel you actually have recourse to change laws.

A huge amount of capital helps chiefly because it lets you convince people to agree with you and act on it. Is your position that I should be able to change laws without anyone else agreeing with my view? 'Cause that seems to be what you're implicitly suggesting and, for what it's worth, that sort of government is called a dictatorship.

(And, no, politicians can't be "bought" by lobbyists because the politicians are taking bribes for themselves--it's because politicians are taking money that can be used to convince people to re-elect the politician. It's always about convincing other people. Money just helps spread the message.)

Comment Re:Mixed messages (Score 1) 527

I never really knew people to be pot smokers. I didn't go to parties in high school or college, or hang out with my peers much at all. So while I'm sure I knew a lot of people who smoked pot, the first person I knew as a heavy pot user was a guy I knew online who, upon starting pot use, became a stereotypical stoner. He'd been occasionally annoying, but a reasonably interesting person, but after starting using pot, that pretty much was the only thing he wanted to talk about, plus the occasional conspiracy/rant. (As I said, I only knew him online, but I had a friend who knew him well in real life and she confirms my perceptions.)

Later, though, I moved into a student co-op at UT-Austin. Suddenly I'm hanging out with college students outside of class and a number of them smoked pot frequently--some every day. Completely different results! These people were very smart, responsible, academically successful students, mostly upper-division and several of them in grad school. They didn't go to class high (except maybe the theatre grad student, but that's art), they didn't sit around staring at their fingers (usually it was hard to tell that they were high), and they had aspirations beyond smoking pot. And they're not just thinking about their aspirations. Pot smokers I knew who have graduated went on to work for a law firm (and then came back for grad school), went to grad school for engineering a Berkeley (despite job offers from an engineering firm where he had interned), or work in their field. They're useful, contributing members of society who happen to smoke pot in their off time.

So, yes, my perception of pot smokers has shifted from 'kind of dumb' (when I didn't know any people as pot smokers) to 'pot user often equals stoner = useless person' to 'not significantly more likely to be useless than anyone else'.

(Of course, my sample population is biased. There are co-ops where the culture was very much one of useless stoners. I got one where the culture favored being motivated, responsible, hard-working, and intelligent.)

Comment Re:That's the wrong question (Score 1) 359

Using a bank, using a debit card, using a credit card, and banking over the internet all represent some levels of risk, but we use them because it's easier.

Debit and credit cards have considerably less risk than the alternative. If your cash is lost/stolen, it's gone. If your credit card or debit card is lost/stolen, you lose a little time dealing with the issue, but you face no financial liability.

Comment Let's pretend Slashdotters are clueless (Score 1) 274

root (also known as superuser)

On a largely Linux-focues tech news site you just defined 'root'. Why not also define '32-bit compatibility mode', 'Linux', 'kernel', '64-bit', 'privileges', 'web server', 'call', 'emulation layer', 'Syscall table'.

Protip: We're nerds. Write for your audience. If I don't understand a term, I can look it up. I'd prefer to have to do that than have random definitions stuck in the summary.

Comment Re:Prophecy (Score 1) 764

Demand stays the same. Quantity demanded goes down.

This sounds like nit-picky semantics, but it's an important distinction. When we say 'demand is lower' it comes across as saying lower equivalent supply hasn't hurt people--there's X less supply and people want X less, so it's okay. It does hurt, though--they want the oil just as much as before, they just can't have it.

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"The greatest warriors are the ones who fight for peace." -- Holly Near