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Comment Re:IF ONLY ... !! (Score 1) 771

Actually one of the Bush's started that, Obama is just continuing and expanding it. All of the other people I listed would have kept it too. Its probably the only tool that can attack Al Qaeda affiliates around the globe without the quagmires involved in invading countries to root them out.

I don't think drone wars are the worst thing happening right now, they are the least bad alternative to fighting Al Qaeda affiliates. The two down sides are A) killing innocent bystanders which radicalizes all their friends and family B) it can be over used to kill people who probably shouldn't be killed. Since its such an easy way to fight a war chances are everyone will be doing it soon and it things are going to get really messy. Read Suarez, Kill Decision

Comment Re:IF ONLY ... !! (Score 5, Insightful) 771

You think Romney or Hillary Clinton or any of the Bushes would have done anything different? Only candidates that would would try to put an end to the corruption and abuse of power in the American system these days would be Ron or Rand Paul. They will never get elected because all the powers that be fear and hate them. If, by some fluke, they did get elected by the actual American voters, inspite of the negative media bombardment aimed at them, they would be assassinated in months.

Comment Re:Slashdot naivete (Score 1) 531

As far recording goes within their respective countries it sound like the NSA and China are probably on par. China is censoring much more heavily and probably acting on the traffic with a heavier hand than the NSA.

NSA almost certainly dwarfs China in recording global fiber optic traffic. First a lot of it flows through the U.S. and second the NSA has cuts deals with governments and telecoms all over the world to get more access. China is probably trying to play catch especially through Huawei, and subsidizing telecom in places like Africa, but I wager they are far behind the NSA.

Not sure why the world trusted the U.S. government, tech and telecom companies with so much, while they feared China, since the NSA's voracious appetite for information has been no secret for a long time. Maybe it was just the U.S. pioneered the Internet and it was so cool, so everyone forgot you can't trust the U.S. with your comm traffic.

Comment Re:Slashdot naivete (Score 4, Insightful) 531

Bruce Sterling had some great lines in his recent piece The Ecuadorian Library

On the role of the FISA court in controlling the NSA:

"It's like a cardboard steering wheel in the cockpit of a Predator drone"

Most people don't realize the FISA court is appointed entirely by one person, the chief justice of the Supreme Court, John Roberts. Its a bizarre anomaly, a critical protector of the American Constitution completely controlled by a single person. If he or one of his successors goes bad, the Constitution can be eviscerated overnight and since its completely secret we probably wouldn't even know it.

Comment Re:who pays for maintenance? (Score 1) 366


In the "Jungle" animals are pretty much born on a level playing field. Only thing you have going for you is if you are born or raised to be stronger, smarter, faster or to work harder.

It was the creation of political structures, money and inheritence that led to the massive inequality endemic in and unique to the human race. This allows clearly inferior individuals to triumph over their superiors because they "were born with it" or actually inherited their wealth and power from their ancestors or caste.

Trust fund babies would most probably die a horrible death if they were actually living in the "Jungle".

Their might be some concept of inheritence in the animal kingdom, I'm thinking among insects who are builders like ants and bees, but its just really not very common.

Comment Re:Slashdot naivete (Score 5, Insightful) 531

Yes everybody does it but the NSA has taken it to a level completely unprecedented thanks to the vast troves of information flowing through the worlds fiber optics now and the fact they have tapped nearly all of it.

The real problems start when governments start spying on its own citizens, with no limits, and with modern technology. Its now possible to spy on just about everything everyone does, email, phone, social networks, credit card purchases, what books you read, how much electricity you use, where you go and to keep that information indefinitely. Its quite possible they can use the now ubiquitous camera's and microphones we all carry all the time to listen to and watch everything targetted people are doing.

It is now possible to use this information along with machine learning to automatically spot people who have almost any kind of interest, habit, bias or political leaning. You just need to compose the right query.

When does it get really bad. When the NSA, or someone with access to the NSA firehose, starts spying on the all the politicians, journalists and judges that form the government that is supposed to oversee them. Once you have dirt on all of them you control them. Once you control them the checks and balances essential to a democracy are completely gone.

You will quickly find yourself in a totalitarian state, something the U.S. and U.K. have been rushing towards at breakneck speed since 9/11. Only thing stopping it is if the people with all this power engage in self restraint. Chances are some of the powers that be, have been and will be haven't and wont.

Comment Re:Wha if (Score 1) 140

Its pretty simple, individuals should be able to contribute to the candidates of their choice with caps. Elections should be running on small money, not big money.

If people are part of a larger organization encouraging them to contribute in a certain way that is no ones business as long as its the individual making the contribution and not the organization.

If an organization is collecting funds via dues, corporate profits or anything else and spending that money in a coordinated fashion to buy political influence it shouldn't be allowed. Nor should organizations be allowed to spend unlimited funds running ads on TV's designed to influence policy, candidates and elections.

Public funding of campaigns could fix the problem in some respects but how you decide gets funded and who doesn't and giving money to crackpots who have no popular support, and will never acquires it, isn't a good idea.

Of course the bigger issue is we need to have people running for office who don't suck and that appears to be increasingly problematic these days.

The thing you are trying to accomplish is for everyone to have a reasonably even chance of influencing the democratic process. When a tiny affluent minority, whatever their agenda, can buy disproportionate influece your democracy is, for all practical purposes, gone. This is pretty much where the U.S. sits today.

Comment Re:In which direction? (Score 1) 66

That is an extremely convenient cop out. NASA simply hasn't delivered on anything worth funding for a really long time. Success would breed support.

Ares was a deeply flawed in concept, design and construction and it cost a fortune to accomplish next to nothing. Why would anyone continue that farce when SpaceX and Falcon are developing far better launchers and capsules far faster and for much less money.

NASA simply can't do anything without squandering money. They sent a team to SpaceX to study how they were accomplishing so much with so little. The fact that NASA would send a team out to study this is disturbing in itself. One answer is stop using theirh entrenched contractors, (i.e. Lockheed and Boeing) who are milking every contract for every dollar they can.

NASA, Boeing and Lockheed are probably delighted when when one program is cancelled and replaced with another because they never have to deliver anything that works and the pay is the same.

Comment Re:keynesian science (Score 1) 66

What a crock. The NASA manned space program has been squandering money to no good end since Apollo was cancelled. If all the money squandered on the shuttle and ISS, to no good end, had been spent wisely and efficiently we would be on Mars now.

Danger isn't the important thing. What matters is if you are accomplishing something worth the risk and the money. NASA simply hasn't accomplished anything in manned space flight for 40 years.

Do you even believe this stuff you are shoveling?

Comment Re:In which direction? (Score 1) 66

Rovers and orbiters are built by JPL. JPL is NASA in name only. It was created in1936, long before NASA.

After giving JPL well deserved tribute for their planetary missions, they also deserve tribute for surviving, staying relevent and doing great work in spite of NASA.

Hubble was OK after a disasterous start. NASA does deserve priase for it along with the other great observatories.

Those programs don't really explain away the fact that the centerpeice of the organization and the one that sucks up most of the money, manned space exploration, is a complete disaster. At some point you need to ask, "What have you done lately"?

Comment Re:Really? (Score 1) 421

I figured that out one day and assumed anybody who ever looked at a gaussian curve of IQ thought the same thing. Draw a line down the middle. The half on the left are not even of average intelligence.

Now make a small circle on the right most bit. You are here. Next time you think "Fuck, is everyone stupid?!?" remember this.

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