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Comment Re:I say cut the F-35 (Score 1) 484

You're reading into things which aren't there.

The national road network of any country needs to be - essentially - totally rebuilt every 50 years or so. It's basically a continuous process, and when you stop doing it for cost savings it gets more expensive later and you begin to pay for the costs due to slow traffic. Late deliveries or more expense in trucking has an economic effect, not to mention negative consequences for those behind poor quality roads. The same is true of bridges: you are basically rebuilding them every N years in terms of maintenance, and the US has reached the point now where a huge number of them really are going to need to be torn down because it'll be cheaper to rebuild them then certify the existing ones as structurally sound.

High speed rail has been on the books since the 80s - look it up. There's a bunch of major links and extensions which have been evaluated, re-evaluated and are still evaluated because it turns out every time you propose better transportation the same ideas which were good before that you didn't do are still actually really good.

My problem is you are operating on -- seemingly -- no information, but are feeling incredibly shore that these are "pet projects" and would be wasteful spending. It's akin to the senator who decided to get in a huff about volcano monitoring as a waste of money, 2 weeks before a volcano in Alaska exploded.

Comment Re:That's an interesting figure (Score 1) 178

I'm well aware (am Australian, also a huge supporter of it).

What I meant by copper was hooking up apartment buildings where you have old apartments with internal phone lines from a central switch. The current best-practice for those is to use the existing phone copper as ethernet and link fiber to the central switch, then use short-run ethernet for the internal wiring. That means with current technology you can do about 100 mbps easy on what's there, and it's a strata issue to upgrade the internals with Cat6 or better later.

Every new development has been fiber to the apartment for ages.

Comment Re:Cool! (Score 1) 178

'Done right' is not the same as 'fiber everywhere'.

As always, it's more complicated then that. Fiber everywhere your digging up, sure. Fiber to all the 4G access points (they are almost certainly already done). But many places are better served by existing copper for the last mile. Many others are better served by wireless data.

Simple minded, single mode solutions to complicated problems. That always turns out well.

And comments sections are not the place to comprehensively outline them. I will say though that planning to reuse the existing copper is always the wrong answer. It means you have two supply chains you have to maintain and degrading copper infrastructure.

If the last mile can't be economically connected to fiber, the correct answer is to look at stationary wireless since it almost certainly isn't really economic to keep them connected to copper either, especially considering the disparity in maintenance costs.

Comment Re:That's an interesting figure (Score 1) 178

http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=population+of+france+vs+australia

Perhaps having 3x the number of people will make up for that? That means Aus only has 1/3 of the fibre to run, even if they are each, on average, longer.

Population density I imagine. The big cost is labor - the more density you have, the more you get done while paying the workmen in the street pretty much the same amount of money.

Last I remember the plan to do apartment buildings in a lot of places is to simply co-opt the existing telephone copper in the walls and use it for 100mbit ethernet and run a few fiber trunks into the basement.

Comment Re:well, this is good news (Score 1) 178

Okay.

There is not one square inch where one cannot purchase broadband in the United States. 100% of the US is covered by one broadband provider or another. Every address, every plot of land, every square inch.

Anyone in the US who wants to purchase broadband can do so.

No they can't. There are plenty of people, especially in rural areas, who can't purchase broadband and it depends on your definition of "broadband". More then enough companies regard 256 kbit ADSL as "broadband".

Comment Re:Cool! (Score 1) 178

The logic goes beyond that though, otherwise extremely socialist countries would be better off - which they aren't. For it to work, the government has to spend the money in fashions that are economically efficient (Pareto Efficient) - which they usually don't. But to be fair to your argument, at least broadband access is a form of capital whereas the US stimulus package was pretty much pissed away...

In terms of infrastructure, the internet is hardly a bad investment in the current economic climate though. With all the focus on tech startups and the small internet businesses it's fairly easy to argue it's a good long-term enabling investment if it's done right (which means fiber everywhere).

Comment Re:Cool! (Score 1) 178

Then explain me why France is the 2nd destination in Europe for foreign investments.

Second largest economy in Eurozone finds itself at the #2 spot in the volume of money handled. News at 11....

Meaning there's nothing really wrong?

Not strictly true but if things are as expected then you have to work a lot harder to show the doom and gloom the OP so freely claims.

Comment Re:Vague and Misleading (Score 1) 484

What is the point of a carrier fleet if you need bases on the ground in Africa?

There's no advanced AA and also no real standing armies to fight. Drones which can loiter will rule the day, and strike missions could be run from carriers easily since they're not going to need the fuel for combat manoeuvering against non-existent air defenses.

Comment Re:No bias at all... (Score 1) 484

Not really valid though: it would likely still be cost-effective to develop replacements for the old components with current technology, and probably a lot cheaper then it was originally. Airplanes don't sit around and age - you overhaul them constantly anyway and the principles of aviation haven't changed that much.

The A-10 is the most egrerious thing being replaced: it does it's job extremely well, and is notable because it does exactly what the US military needs for it's current operations (and likely future as well). Upgrading that package with new avionics, maybe investing in looking at some design changes for new planes, would be cheaper and more effective.

Comment Re:I say cut the F-35 (Score 4, Insightful) 484

Except for NASA, infrastructure spending is almost always positive returns. It generally creates local jobs - and can usually provide long term stability depending on the size of the project - and the flow on effects of road, rail and internet access can be directly correlated to economic activity. I really struggle to see how "functional road and rail" is a pet project. It's a staple of civilization. Places without functional road and rail are 3rd world countries.

Speaking of NASA: it's not like fundamental R&D is a bad idea either. Again, it creates jobs and attracts talent - it means your universities and high-tech industries are engaged in cutting-edge work and develop and retain institutional knowledge and make other projects cheaper. The US is going to really suffer over the next two decades because it's allowed pretty much all it's major physics projects to be superceded by Europe. There's no replacement for the Tevatron at Fermilab and the consequence of that is that the US may lose the ability to even build particle accelerators in the next few years as all the people who know how you do that move on to other things or to facilities which do. The US is also cutting fusion funding with the exception of ITER - and may cut that - which is a huge strategic mistake for fairly obvious reasons.

This isn't stuff you can just write down and forget about - if you want to be at the forefront (which, when you do depend on a technologically advanced military, is kind of important) - then you need to have people active and working on those types of advanced projects - you need students in the same laboratories as the professors.

Comment Re:I say cut the F-35 (Score 3, Interesting) 484

Also eliminating laws which require contracts to go to the lowest bidder. Removing discretion in procurement is as bad as having no oversight at all - it means the people making the decisions have no leeway when they see a bid they know can't quite work out, even if it would be very hard to prove why conclusively.

There was an example of this a while ago, where a bid to provide ammunition to the US army was made fraudulently, was incredibly low, and wound up killing a bunch of people when the guy who put it in's factory that was repackaging old Chinese bullets to the US army blew up in the middle of the town, killing 30 or so workers.

http://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/firing-blanks-afghanistan

Comment Re:I say cut the F-35 (Score 1) 484

SS was predicated on productivity and thus tax revenues increasing year to year, which is not an unreasonable assumption since that's the overriding goal of the entire federal government's economic apparatus.

Of course, it doesn't work if you let the wealth stratify and migrate off-shore, since you can't tax the rich nearly as much - proportionally - as you can everyone else (i.e. people who earn wages and salaries, not dividends).

It also doesn't work if the fund is constantly borrowed from for endeavours which do not increase productivity or provide a positive return (wars, tax cuts etc.)

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