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Comment Re:My wife has facebook (Score 4, Interesting) 227

I'm in the same boat. I'm pro-choice, and I don't care about marriage one way or the other (really, I think adults should just be left to make whatever contracts they want with each other). I want the US to have the strongest military in the world (I served in it), but I don't think we need to truck it all over the place, fighting other people's fights. I think we should help poor people, but I think that our definition of "poor" is not precise and our implementation is faulty, so we end up spending hundreds of billions on the wrong people - I think we spent close to a trillion dollars in 2011 on means-tested benefits - while some people are still having to skip meals. I firmly believe we can do a better job helping the truly needy, while spending a lot less.

I want us to be fiscally responsible - maybe deficit spending works to stimulate the economy, and maybe it doesn't; I lean towards the opinion that economic activity is a chaotically complex system and we're kidding ourselves if we think we know with certainty what levers to pull, and what the second and third-order effects will be. But no matter what, at some point we have to pay back this massive chunk of debt, and we can't ignore it and hope that "growth" will save us. I could go on... .

Maybe it's that we all feel the need to defend the party we vote for, and to tear down the opposition (whether it's just one party, or multiple). To paraphrase Tyler Durden, you are not the party you voted for. Maybe we all just need to step back and form some opinions of our own that may or may not perfectly align with a particular ideology or party platform.

Comment Re:three words, one hyphen: (Score 1) 549

Wrong answer - Medicare. See, when your primary consumer is the government, you're going to just end up getting more and more expensive stuff, because there's nobody asking for cheaper solutions. Sure, they may be trying to cut costs, but there's nobody really clamoring for cheaper. They're just going to try to bargain for whatever the industry serves up as "the best," which also happens to be the most expensive, cutting edge version of whatever they sell. This is, in fact, the reason that medical technology in general is getting more expensive, while all other consumer goods are getting cheaper. Need more proof? Look at televisions. You can always spend thousands of dollars on a television - you've always been able to, in fact, even when that three thousand dollar TV was a 720p 32-inch flatscreen. Now, the three thousand dollar TV is, I don't know, a 60" LCD with 3D. But you can also always spend a few hundred bucks and get a pretty decent TV. And that few hundred bucks is always buying you a better and better TV. That's because there's *demand* for the less-than-cutting-edge products. When there isn't that demand, all you'll get are the cutting-edge products, which will be more and more expensive. This is what you get when you're regulated out of beign able to provide surely less effective, but more economical choices. I can already hear the nerf-world argument: "But this is *medical* stuff, and lives are on the line, so we always want the best, cutting edge technology!' Sure, and as long as you cling to that argument, please don't complain about ever-increasing health care costs, or blame the eeevil corporations for (gasp!) giving you exactly what you're asking for.

Comment Re:The Americans are tampering with our internet! (Score 3, Interesting) 274

Sure - there are plenty of political agitators in the US, all over the political spectrum. The funniest thing with respect to this article is that whatever agitation the Chinese are complaining about is probably laughable compared to the scrutiny and venom to which *our* elected government is subjected from Rush, Beck, HuffPo, Daily Kos, Air America, etc. Seriously, who would *want* to be president of this angry-ass country?

(That said, I respectfully note both parent and GP 4-digit IDs and defer to your old-timey judgement) :)

Comment Re:I'm sorry but... (Score 5, Funny) 699

but she did feel safe thanks to the lack of warning on the google directions.

I totally sympathize with her. I was looking up walking directions from Seattle to Brisbane, Australia and when the Google Maps turn #10 ended up being "Kayak across the Pacific Ocean," for 2,756 miles at first I was like, "No way I can kayak that far." But then I realized that Google Maps wouldn't tell me to do something that wasn't perfectly safe so I went ahead and did it.

Sooo... Long story short, do you think Omaha Steaks delivers to GPS coordinates in the ocean? Also, do they carry sunblock?

--Sent from my Blackberry wireless device

Comment Re:free but not cheap (Score 1) 332

A service on the other hand, is entirely under the control of a third party and can change at their whim.

When you enter into a service contract where you're obligated to pay nothing, you're more willing to accept very permissive "change-at-the-provider's-whim" stipulations than if you were actually paying for some value.

This article is entirely about a service that started off working, and then the company providing it stopped providing it to the one particular user with no explanation as to why.

...which would be an actual issue if the guy had actually entered a contract where Google wasn't allowed to do that. He didn't. Why are we shocked when free services aren't as well supported as paid ones? How do you expect Google to pay for the electricity to their datacenters? (other than ad revenue ;)

Comment Time to stop relying on public education... (Score 1) 895

The fact that there are alternate "liberal" and "conservative" versions of certain subjects demonstrates that those subjects should no longer fall under the purview of an organization whose goal is to establish commonly agreed-upon standards for what every kid needs to learn. Since we clearly can't agree on which version is right, there are two alternatives:
  1. Let parents decide, individually, what sort of biased version of certain subjects their kids will learn.
  2. Leave the decision up to politically-motivated, impersonal boards to fight over the bias to which all kids will be exposed.

I don't know about you, but I'm not so insecure about my particular biases that I think everyone should be forced to be exposed to them. So I guess the real question is, how do you cull out the bias-laden subjects? Maybe you can't - I mean, you could even make arguments that math can be taught with a political slant. So maybe the right answer is to scale back the scope of boards of education to establishing quality gates for education, rather than mandating the manner in which the education is delivered.

Comment Re:he should think this through (Score 1) 631

Now, 60 similar cases nationwide claim that the standard design of table saws, unchanged for decades, is defective. In addition, they claim manufacturers are negligent in failing to adopt a flesh-detecting technology like SawStop's

This is a weird situation. I can see the logic behind holding a company responsible if they ignored a law requiring certain safety standards or procedures. I can also understand holding a company responsible if they did not provide or adhere to widely-accepted industry-standard safety feature or procedure.

But in this case, the legislative branch (via the patent though I guess, technically, via the USPTO) created a negative incentive for adopting the technology in question. And now the judicial branch has, de facto, created a severe penalty for *not* adopting it. These are two external, artificial market forces that are in direct opposition to one another.

I mean, not to get all Adam Smithy or anything, but consider the situation where the patent is allowed to persist, *and* the precedent of the lawsuit is followed by more similar absurd lottery-payout lawsuits. Now that it's effectively infeasible to *not* use SawStop(TM) due to the risk of getting sued for a hojillion dollars, table saw manufacturers that can't afford the patent royalties and, who up until this landmark legal decision, were able to provide perfectly good table saws to their customers, go out of business. Table saw manufacturers who can afford to pay for "SawStop" stay afloat, but with increased costs, and make and therefore sell less saws. This results in a decrease in the supply of table saws, which results in an increase in the price of table saws. Which results in an increase in the price of things that require the use of table saws (such as houses).

Whatever. My point is that if something's so important that a court would find a company negligent for not using it, then there should be a law *requiring* that all companies use it. A corollary is that if Widget X or Procedure Y falls into this category, then there should be no artificial manipulation of the market price (a patent is such an artificial manipulation) so that we, as a society, can produce the optimal amounts of things that use those widgets and/or procedures.

Comment Re:Echoes of B5's "Night Watch" for IT? (Score 5, Insightful) 211

Just out of curiosity, when *are* you going to start holding Obama accountable for the state of things? It sounds to me like you've set up a perfect moving-goalpost situation where "badness" == "Bush's Legacy" whenever it's convenient.

I'm definitely not a big fan of Republicans and their degenerate relationship with religious folks these days, but is it really productive to mask the bad behavior of one political party by blaming it on another?

Comment Re:Here is a solution to cell phone madness (Score 0, Troll) 319

Then they should also reject the arrangements currently in place for fire fighting, public education and Medicare/Medicaid etc. In our movement, we do not compel anyone to join. What we do, is to offer choice.

Great idea! This year when I file my taxes, I'll just check the, "No thank you, I would not like to pay taxes for Medicare or Public Education!" boxes!

Actually, this is great argument to present to confused people who seem to think that taxes are some sort of donation that everyone should be happy to pay rather than a forcible confiscation of your hard-earned money. If you really *are* for "freedom" and "choice," then why don't we just allow people to voluntarily pay taxes only for the pieces of government that they actually support? That would include things like funding wars, etc.

Now *that* would be freedom.

Comment Re:Hypocritical (Score 1) 686

Actually there are programs to encourage men to go into nursing. Men don't though, do you know why? Same reason women don't get into computer science: cultural conditioning.

Isn't "cultural conditioning," just another way of saying "how to raise your kids?" So what are the types of conditioning that are personally acceptable to you?

Comment Re:laughable (Score 1) 647

The problem is that property is not pulled out of vacuum, it's created out of natural resources depriving others of said resources.

At this point, on this planet, just about everything that can be owned already *is* owned. So the exchange of property (i.e., matter) for money (i.e., time) and vice-versa works within that system according to the rules that emerge from natural rights.

If by "natural resources," you mean stuff that somebody already owns (e.g., land, minerals they've mined, etc.), and that ownership is legally recognized by some contemporary government, but you have some sort of cosmic-fairness-based argument why they *shouldn't* own it, objections about how they historically came to own it, or ideas about how we ought to provide some sort of reparations for the wrongs that came along with that initial establishment of ownership, then please just stop here - I don't care to have that argument. We had our "Wild West" days of expansion and acquisition, and I wouldn't disagree that many people were wronged in that time. But the sad fact is that, no matter how you personally feel about it, those things *are* owned, and in just about every nation there's a framework that both supports the legitimacy of the current owners. That argument is focused on the redistribution of current ownership based on past grievances, not a real critique of property rights.

However, I agree that there's a problem if by "natural resources" you mean "stuff that nobody owns yet." That's an interesting issue - given, at this point that would almost have to be something extra-planetary. The right to property can't exist unless there's a government that can effectively prevent others from depriving you of property by force or fraud. While we're done with the Wild West days on this planet, there's a whole universe out there that isn't under lock and key by any planetary government.

So the question is, can we somehow devise a system under which the next phase of expansion and acquisition is done in a more orderly and just fashion than the last one?

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