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Comment Re:Not this shit again (Score 1) 754

Did you miss the part where the Industrial Revolution created huge unrest that was finally quelled by acceding to the demands of the freshly minted labour unions, social philosophers and practical statesmen who were tired of constant revolutions by the terminally poor and exploited?

We're on our way to another one. We can either try to learn from the past and ease the transition, or just say fuck it and see if we can reproduce a few Dickens and Hugo novels.

Comment Re:Does it matter? (Score 5, Insightful) 745

The US' average education has been going downhill steadily in the last two decades or so. Post-high-school education is becoming damn near unaffordable to all but the wealthy, and even basic "participate in the world" type skills are getting worse.

Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, Google, etc., etc. are all American companies

Steve Jobs and Bill Gates had upper-class parents. Zuckerberg was able to afford going to Harvard, Brin was born in Russia and Page was the son to a famous computer scientist. All you're showing right now is that the upper echelons of American society are going to be fine, and 1st generation immigrants are doing well too.

the Internet was created in America, not to mention the personal computer, integrated circuits and transistors. Or GPS, or air travel, or (going back a bit) the light bulb and audio recording.

All of which happened at least 40 years ago.

Most of the things that make the world the way it is today come from America.

Not really. Most of what makes the world what it is today came from somewhere else. Paper, rockets, computing and sewers came from somewhere else. We've had a brief supremacy spell after WW2 until about the early nineties. After that, it's been steadily downhill. We're still ahead of everyone else, but this is exactly like a racer thinking he's going to win a race after losing a wheel: he might still be ahead now, but that's not going to last very long.

And I see this type of short-sighted - actually, less than short-sighted; it is nothing but a snapshot analysis - far too often from Americans. Gloating that their GDP is still tops, that their per capita income is still tops, that they still dominate certain industries... without realizing that the gap is shrinking fast, and that the fundamentals are all wrong.

Comment Re:As a student in Guilford County.. (Score 1) 177

Why does everyone seem to think that a school spending $200 per student / per year for a piece of equipment is a "bad thing"? I'm not saying there aren't other higher priorities for the school budget, what I'm saying is that if education was funded properly in the first place $200/yr/student would not be seen as a "waste" by a reasonable person. It's only seen as an extravagance because they are given fuck all money for anything else, including well educated teachers!!!!

Today's internet is a great way to teach kids how to learn for themselves, it's a natural human skill that should be rewarded/encouraged in children and continuously sharpened in adulthood. Adults only need to steer a child's natural curiosity and offer guidance on how to "look up" a new subject of interest. The internet is conceptually no different to the way my parent's/teacher's told to me to "look it up" in the dictionary, the atlas, or the "family encyclopaedia" back when I grew up in the 60's. Of course, the internet is cheaper, has a broader range of content, is more relevant, more up to date, more detailed, and more convenient than any encyclopaedia. In fact it comes much closer to the "sum of mankind's knowledge" than any bricks and mortar library ever built or dreamt of, why wouldn't you want every student to have unfettered access 24x7?

As an example of that, my 4yo granddaughter has a habit of getting up at 4.30am, sneaking into mum and dad's room to retrieve mum's ipad, then retreating back to her own room to browse youtube videos. That might not sound an 'educational activity' but she is doing what a 4yo does best, feeding her insatiable curiosity.

Comment Re:that's Obama's choice (Score 1) 193

Eye of the beholder, irrelevant to the question.

Not at all. Submitting a budget that has no chance of passing means the president dropped the ball.

The question is about the budgetary process. You're again conflating the process with the content. Nice try, but still irrelevant. You also missed the part where it is the official mission of the House majority party to oppose and denigrate every action the president takes. Even if it is something they were advocating days earlier. At that point, blaming the president for his budget not getting approved is merely advocating that the House controls the executive. I'm sure you agree that that is bad news when your team doesn't control the House anymore.

Obama has decided again and again to push through decisions against Republican objection, with the justification that his win entitles him to that. Well, he is learning that that's not the way it works.

And the House majority is learning that trying to push through the repeal of Obamacare by not agreeing to fund it is understood by everyone do be an endrun around the legislative process.

Absolutely. Question: what's a sensible budget? ... I'll settle for "a balanced budget."

A balanced budget without tax increases.

Says you. Furthermore, it again has nothing to do with the budget process.

No, only if the country ends up at the brink of default due to a breakdown in negotiations.

Negotiations require two parties. I'm just wondering why you think the current president needs to follow the wishes of a small faction in the majority party of the House of Representatives, whose reach doesn't even extend into the other chamber of Congress. That wouldn't happen to be because that small faction happens to be your home team, would it? No, I'm sure it's because you always oppose all tax increases. Including those that happened in the previous 2 decades.

Comment Re:that's Obama's choice (Score 1) 193

Yes, they were late

Yep.

and were a joke at that

Eye of the beholder, irrelevant to the question.

And since Obama seems to have very particular ideas of what the budget should be like, it's his job to articulate them clearly

Sure.

and come up with a budget that satisfies both him and the House.

Impossible. The Republican-led has made the decision to obstruct and chastise the president for every decision made. If he would propose a budget that had been secretly worked on by the Heritage foundation, Republican leaders would still blame it for putting the US on the road to socialism. See only commentaries made by House leadership on his decisions to visit Germany and what to do with Libya. In both situations, Republican leaders displayed remarkable cases of amnesia about what they had asked him to do previously. Nifty because in the case of visits to Germany, he was chastised when he went, and then chastised when he didn't go. In the case of Libya, he was first chastised for not acting, then chastised for acting. It was hilarious to see McCain twist when told that he was criticizing the President for doing what McCain himself had asked the President to do just earlier.

Furthermore, when Obama was a senator, he himself considered getting a balanced and sensible budget the responsibility of the president. We should hold him to that now that he is president.

Absolutely. Question: what's a sensible budget? Trick question: the country is far too divided to come up with an answer that will please everybody. I'll settle for "a balanced budget."

Finally, I'm just wondering: do you judge every president by whether he has presented a timely budget? Feel free to check out this list here if you have trouble answering that question: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R43163.pdf

Comment Re:We've already lost ... (Score 1) 130

I think you two are missing each other's point. Yes, the universe doesn't care what some particular think tanks puts out. However, a certain subgroup of the Great Apes family cares a great deal.

You can't just put out propaganda - at some point, the universe is just going to shit stomp everything. You can't just put out our best understanding of the universe - at some point, a certain subset of great apes with a lot of reptilian brain matter left over are going to have to be moved to action.

Unfortunately, to actually advance - and in this case, save - civilization, you need to be both right and a great orator. I know few people who are (and don't count myself among them).

Comment Re:Liberal strategy (Score 1) 1144

There is apparently a notable body of scholarly work that argues presidential democracies are uniquely unstable compared to parliamentary ones: http://www.amazon.com/The-Failure-Presidential-Democracy-Perspectives/dp/0801846404

Westminster-style parliamentary democracy has stood the test of time pretty well, and been implemented successfully all over the world. American-style presidential democracy has barely worked in the US and never worked well anywhere else.

This is deeply unfortunate, as it means the issuer of the world's reserve currency is likely to become increasingly unstable and ungovernable in the coming decades. If the Democrats hold the line in the current crisis, and the Tea Party are sent packing in the next round of Republican primaries, there may be some breathing room, though, and I have a certain level of trust in the "genius of the people" in the United States to, as Churchill said, "do the right thing after they have exhausted all other alternatives."

Comment Re:My company changed software too (Score 3, Interesting) 101

To some extent. They're going to disappear in small mom and pop shops, but they're going to grow in the service providers.

What you're seeing is a shift in the type of tools being maintained in companies, the types of skills needed to maintain them, and the companies where specific skills are needed. It's not going to be IT staff anymore, it's going to be tool admins and maintainers. It's not going to be IT helpdesk anymore, it's going to be department help desk. It's not going to be Woolworth IT anymore, it's going to be Google IT.

As always, if you're in IT, keep your skills up-to-date, stay up-to-date on business trends, and be ready to adapt at the drop of a hat. Or look for a job in a different field.

Comment Re:that's Obama's choice (Score 1) 193

Dates of presidential budget submissions: http://www.bbg.gov/about-the-agency/research-reports/budget-submissions/

Furthermore, from your own link: "When newly elected President Richard Nixon began to refuse to spend funds that the Congress had allocated, Congress adopted a more formal means by which to challenge him. The Congressional Budget Act of 1974 created the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and directed more control of the budget to it and away from the President's Office of Management and Budget (OMB). "

The submission by the president of a budget to Congress has become much less important than what Congress decides to do with the budget.

In the meantime, I'll take my own advice and shut the fuck up about the budget process until I've read more.

Comment Re:There always has been water flow under the ice (Score 4, Informative) 130

15 years of no warming despite CO2 emissions continuing

Convenient use of a record high as your starting point. Care to redo your calculations with any other window? Maybe, say, a 20 year window? Or even a 10 year window? What about a 12 year window?

greatly increased Arctic Ice coverage,

[Citation needed] and [Confusing a rebound from a historic low to slightly less historic lows with an increase over average].

increasing Antarctic ice thickness

[Confusing weather with climate] and [Lack of understanding of ice formation]

increasing Antarctic sea ice coverage

[Cherry-picking specific regional ice data points] and [Mistaking surface for volume].

no observed retreat in Himalayan glaciers

[More reading needed]. See also http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v4/n3/abs/ngeo1068.html

I'm just the guy who has been making physical chemistry arguments that show that CO2 has no net effect on the heat capacity of the atmosphere for the last few years

... which has nothing to do with the problem of CO2 trapping IR, or with why the atmosphere is heating up.

arguing instead that what warming we saw was from increased water vapor emissions, which maintain a tight equilibria with their rate of emissions

Water vapor cannot drive long-term heating. A single cold-spell will remove water vapor from the air, which will reduce temperatures, which will remove more water from the air.... Water vapor is the result of warming, not a forcing.

thus the lost decade global growth lead to a lost decade of warming

The global economy was working in overdrive until 2000-2001, and again from 2005 to 2008. Your own data calls you a liar.

bringing AGW idiots to take because they are ignoring the real threat from CO2--ocean acidification and the collapse of already overstressed fisheries.

I'm glad you'll find that all kinds of scientists, but especially marine biologists and oceanographers would love your help in spreading message. Care to sign up maybe with an organization like NOAA or the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute?

But hey, let's all ignore physics

Says the guy who mistakes anecdotes for data, cherry-picks his time frames, misunderstands the overall and problem and thinks that he has a better understanding of physics than Physicists.

Tell you what, write a paper about your insights, and if you're right, the Nobel prize in a few areas is yours. How is that for an incentive to go show up all the AGW believers? You'll be right up there with Galileo, Kopernicus, Pasteur, and a few other up-enders of the consensus.

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