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Comment Re:Bad Patent (Score 1) 211

It's possible you're right. Inuitively, one would think that removing a possible incentive for spending a lot of money in R&D would reduce money spent there (which, in general, probably reduces results). There are things in this world that it takes a lot of money to find out. Generally, that means a profit motive (which might not exist if you can't necessarily capitalize on your own discoveries), or government funding (which makes sense for things like medical research, but not necessarily for things that are less essential, like consumer luxuries). I really don't think that if you remove that motivation, the amount of results would be the same. But if you happen to have any hard evidence (both of us are making claims derived from reasoning and extrapolation), I'd be interested to see it.

Comment Bad Patent (Score 2) 211

The purpose of patents is to ensure that people can spend a lot of money on research, with some kind of general guarantee that it can pay off for them. Making support struts thinner at the point of contact doesn't really strike me as something that resulted from a protracted compaign of research, but rather an isolated flash of insight. Those flashes of insight aren't irrelevant; they're important to making things move forward. But they don't need to be patented; people will have them anyway. In order to encourage the progress of science and the useful arts, I think one really only needs to protect the things that require a great deal of effort to discover.

Comment Re:There's this little problem with Ender's Game (Score 1) 1054

I agree to a certain extent; we need to be careful what we portray as normal, because people will see it that way if it approaches saturation. But I feel the particular act in Ender's game we're talking about really wasn't seen that way. It wasn't something that happened regularly at Battle School, and I seem to recall it being very clear that Ender had done something wrong, and there were very particular reasons as to why he wasn't being punished (though my memory of the book is getting rather old).

Comment Re:There's this little problem with Ender's Game (Score 4, Insightful) 1054

Card is certainly unsavory, but I am curious why you think it shouldn't be promoted as a young adult book. Many of those books involve violence, often without consequences (e.g The Lottery short story). I personally think that scene makes a great discussion point; people should understand why Ender wasn't punished, and that could frame an interesting ethical discussion. I think the target audience for Ender's Game is old enough that they can understand that not everything that happens (in a book or reality) is just.

Comment Re:wait (Score 1) 138

I'm not fan of a regulation-free environment, but what the hell does that have to do with this situation? The linked article talks about how the Yakuza are tightly linked and will likely be brought in on a contract. How is that at all a conflict between regulation and the market? I suppose one can say, in the general sense, that the concentration of wealth in the hands of crooked individuals allows them to use dirty tricks to expand that power, but the only kind of government regulation that could address that would be some kind of cap on wealth.

Comment More mdsolar pseudo-factual trolling (Score 5, Insightful) 138

From the first article linked, there is a single informant that claims nuclear material was aboard a scuttled ship. The article as linked provides no further information, but mere allegation is sufficient for mdsolar to blame nuclear power.

In the actual article, one will note that there is no actual speculation about the Yakuza having any ill-intent. Indeed, it seems to be a general article about how the Yakuza win contracts in construction and cleanup. And after a massive earthquake and tsunami, there's lots of cleanup to be done.

As an interesting aside, he article claims that the Yakuza get 3% of the total construction in Japan. I see no reason to suspect that wouldn't include projects related to all forms of energy. I trust mdsolar would agree with my "Japanese solar power in bed with organized crime" headline.

There are legitimate gripes about nuclear power. Indeed, the numbers I've seen suggest operating costs that aren't substantially below any other forms of energy. But the sort of fear campaign spread by mdsolar (someone who himself stands to profit from such fears, see his profile for links) is unacceptable.

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