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Comment You Can't Teach Those Who Don't Want to Learn (Score 1) 945

Teaching the right about what Net Neutrality means is pointless. Conservatives don't make decisions based on facts. They make decisions based on their guts. And there's considerable behavioral research that indicates that when confronted with the fact that their existing views are contradicted by actual facts, those holding the views will actually become more convinced of their erroneous viewpoints (see climate change, Obama's birth, health care death panels, WMDs in Iraq, etc.) . So, in reality, the best thing you could do is just ignore them, and hope that their opposition remains at a relatively low energy intensity.

This is a sad statement about human nature, but if liberals and intellectuals don't come to terms with this simple reality, they will continue to be frustrated by the knuckle draggers among us.

Comment We Actually Have Data People (Score 1) 551

Why is it that conservatives and libertarians can never seem to draw from actual empirical evidence, and insist on clinging to unproven philosophy?

The hell with Adam Smith. Look at this issue in practice.

I live in Seattle proper, where we have a publicly-run utility company. We have the lowest electricity rates in the nation, and solid reliability. Sure, some of that has to do with natural resources in the area, but Seattle's suburbs have those same advantages. You literally go outside Seattle's city limits, and you have to buy electricity from Puget Sound Energy, whose rates are significantly higher, and whose service is worse. The public utility beats the private one hands-down.

For the other side of the coin, look at California's recent experiment with electricity deregulation. Enron jumped right in and screwed everyone over. The little detail of the market makers is always conveniently ignored by conservative theory. The entire west coast suffered because of California's naivete.

Electricity in this country is not expensive. It's cheap. Period. Americans just feel that God has given them the right to boundless consumption, so as long as energy isn't free, they whine like little babies.

Comment Re:Our advise is to place your funds somewhere saf (Score 1) 467

I'm not a fool, but I do still do business with BofA. Since you're apparently hip on using insults to get your point across, I don't feel bad calling you naive. Your little vote-with-your-dollars speech is quaint, but it completely ignores the fact that there is no "vote" to be counted.

There is no alternative here. All the banks are engaged in this bullshit. The state banks, too. Credit unions. Want to keep your money in some alternate investment? Great, you can be fucked over by companies like Vanguard or TDAmeritrade.

You also don't have a vote in the sense that these financial services companies don't need customers to be profitable. In fact, they're learning that it's sort of easier without the customers. Banks can stop managing other people's money, and get low-interest loans from the Federal Reserve, which they invest in commodities, stocks, or some other investment that is being propped up by the international finance cartel. So, taking your $100k out of the bank will make no difference to them.

What about just not investing in anything? Great ... do that, and your money will disappear before your eyes. Have you ever asked yourself why inflation doesn't average 0%, over long periods of time? Why does it always seem to be above zero? It's because that's the finance cartel's way of ensuring that you use their services, in one form or another. Over time, you'll still usually lose money, in real dollar terms. But, less than you would if you just kept your cash under the mattress.

(Please, no idiotic replies about how some stock index has outpaced inflation over time ... if you believe the validity of either of those published numbers, then you're a lost cause).

So, until you realize that our societal tolerance of these finance leeches has led us to a position where we're essentially powerless to do anything, your market-based democracy is going to be utterly pointless.

Comment Re:Subjective perspective exaggerated (Score 2) 279

Brilliant. Let's all rely on nuclear energy, which, if it were the primary replacement for fossil fuels, would run out even faster than oil.

It's nice that France uses nuclear, and it is nominally carbon-neutral, but you cannot solve the climate change problem with nuclear power. Nuclear fuel is hard to make, and the raw materials needed to make it won't even last one human lifetime if we use it at the rate we use fossil fuels. At best, nuclear power is a transition technology that can help us get from where we are now, to an ultimately sustainable future energy mix. That's it.

Regarding the fact that there have been doomsayers before, and we haven't all perished yet: are you kidding me? That's like saying that you heard a couple guys in blue shirts make a prediction once, and they were wrong, so you're not listening to any more predictions from guys in blue shirts. Not to mention the fact that world resource consumption has only continued to go up with time. Unless you're arguing that the earth's resources are not actually finite, then that means that on average, today's resource "doomsayers" are speaking from an even stronger position that those from the 90s, 80s, 70s, etc. What about that is difficult to comprehend?

Are we living in the movie Idiocracy, where morons can make patently irrational suggestions like this, and get modded up to 5?

Comment Re:Yeah (Score 1) 186

Jesus, get over yourself already. Everything can't be represented as a 1 or 0. There are degress of everything. Just because you give a rip about the environment doesn't mean you have to kill yourself, and everyone else, who has ever consumed anything. Do you really have such a poor grasp of complexity that you can only see things as black and white?

The attempt at mangling logic in your last paragraph is pathetic. I happen to have made the decision not to have kids, and world overpopulation is definitely one factor that lead me to that decision. This isn't illogical, and is undeserving of your childish "WTF?". I do care about "our descendents". The apparent difference between me and you is that I don't refuse to include other people's offspring in the category of "our descendents". If I only gave a damn about people who were direct descendents of myself, then I agree that it would be illogical to refuse to procreate in order to make life better for my future (non-existant) descendents. But, here's the kicker ... despite the fact that you are clearly a selfish clown, I actually care about the well-being of the spawn you produce.

Hence, I care what we do to our planet today, even when it happens to conflict with my own immediate self-interests. You can decline to think this way if you like, but don't bash those of us who are responsible enough to think more than a generation into the future.

Comment Not to mention what's making us fat... (Score 1) 285

The weight of passengers is just one issue. The bigger issue is why we're getting fat. Because we stuff our faces with crap made out of high fructose corn syrup, and ungodly amounts of meat. The amount of greenhouse gas pollution created by raising livestock in this country is approximately the same as what's produced by all transportation put together! (almost 1/5th of the total)

Not the portion of transportation costs associated with our extra girth ... the whole thing!

Comment Re:The religion is now official (Score 1) 1657

It's not a religion if it's based on evidence. Proper religions ask you to believe in magic, and offer no actual evidence, requiring you to rely on faith. Climate change doesn't require your faith. Maybe you're lazy, and have chosen not to research the facts for yourself, but that doesn't make it a faith issue. If you gave a damn, you could get a science degree, and read the literature. There is no analogous action you could take to satisfy yourself that a god actually exists. Thus, not religion. Pick a different slur to mask the fact that you just don't want to be told that anything you're doing has adverse consequences for humanity.

Comment Re:Conditions Apply (Score 1) 635

This is the most braindead argument, and it continues to be left untouched. What world do you guys live in where solar power generates so much energy that we can't use it all on-demand? Storage is a non-issue, until solar produces a large chunk of our power. As grids get more interconnected, it becomes even less of a problem, with a larger user base spreading out the demand.

Any reasonable scenario being floated involves slowly ramping up solar power. It doesn't have to generate 100% of the power for the largest consumers of electricity in the world (USA) to be viable. A future energy mix probably involves 3 to 5 major technologies for creating electricity, each with different power generation profiles.

When people want to run cars on batteries, you neanderthals cry that it's useless, because the electricity will still come from dirty sources. When people want to add solar power, you cry that there's not enough batteries to buffer the output. Please unwrap your mind from around the mental axle you have driven through your own skulls.

Comment Re:Bosses earn too much (Score 1) 1018

Your comment is insightful only if you're talking about the economy, minus the financial sector. In the rest of the economy, I mainly agree with you. Not in finance, which is what this article was about. In finance, as other posters have noted, there is no real risk for the leaders of the companies. You get to practice what would be considered fraud in any other industry, with the complicity of the federal government (slash Federal Reserve, which can't really be considered part of the gov't). The details of how to collect the money really can be left to idiots when the world's most powerful organizations conspire to prop up your business (e.g. Fed guaranteeing inflation to force people to keep money in banks, regulators allowing the creation of money out of thin air, despite the US constitution clearly putting that power in the hands of congress, propping up of the stock market through multiple members of the "plunge protection team", massive tax incentives that make earning your income off of investing cheaper than having a role in the productive economy, etc, etc).

Comment Re:Store in a water tower (Score 2, Insightful) 506

Nuclear power is nothing but a band-aid. It is not a viable long-term solution. If the world replaced all its coal or oil with nuclear power (as some smaller countries like France have come close to doing), the supply of nuclear fuel would run out even more quickly than the known reserves of oil would.

Do not confuse "non-greenhouse-gas-producing" with "sustainable". Nuclear power doesn't create CO2 as a significant by-product, but it is not sustainable. It can help us generate the energy we need to build sustainable infrastructure, but it is not sustainable itself.

Wind power is sustainable, for as long as we have a sun and an atmosphere. This surge "problem" is a joke, solvable in a handful of different ways. The level of debate is merely indicative of the fact that most slashdotters are not mechanical/civil engineers.

Comment Re:Hmmph. (Score 1, Troll) 511

Teaching happens when people are willing to be taught. More or less, school children and college kids are willing to be taught. Adults in the US are not willing to be taught, and any attempt to do so is met with cries of "condescension", "elitism", and other smarty-pants types of accusations.

Scientists and engineers assuming people who don't understand their work are idiots isn't a mistake. You make the mistake of thinking that the lack of public understanding of science is what causes us to think that people are idiots. In reality, it's largely because people are such idiots that they have so little chance of understanding science. In a country where 85% of people believe in a god, I'm afraid there's very little hope for any rational paradigm taking hold.

If you think the majority of non-scientists and engineers in the US are not idiots, then you've got an overly rosy outlook on society.

Comment Re:Science? What for? (Score 1) 618

Seriously. Asserting that the US is falling behind in science due to a lack of job opportunities is to focus on the symptom and miss the cause. Religion is the reason we as a society don't prioritize science in the classroom, or in the economy.

When you believe a magical super-natural being created everything, why learn about evolution, or astronomy, or disease, or electronics? They're all just the way this mythical God choose to present his work. We don't need to solve any of our problems because the bad stuff that happens is just God testing us, or the beginning of a glorious end of the world. We don't need to learn about science, or anything else really, because the only important stuff got nicely written down for us on a stone tablet, and delivered by Moses.

The USA is not a democracy, or a representative republic. It's a theocracy. We are a Christian cult, and that's why there's a science gap. It's the same with Islamic nations ... different mythology ... same suppression of science.

Comment Re:Bullshit (Score 1) 446

Nice theory, but it's bollocks in practice. Sure, some liquidity is a good thing, but if you're arguing that we need more (or even as much as we have now) machine trading, then you must think more liquidity is beneficial in any quantity. High-frequency automated trading now represents more volume than the rest of the trading on the NYSE.

Take a simple example. Housing is a much less liquid market. There is some speculation in housing, but much less so than the stock market. There are bureaucratic hurdles to purchasing real estate, and holding it has costs (property taxes, upkeep, etc.). Both housing and the stock market have lost about 25% of their value since the peak in the US. However, the change in housing prices have been much more orderly, compared to the vastly more liquid stock market.

Thus, your unfounded assertion that more liquidity produces more stability has been debunked.

Comment Re:Bullshit (Score 1) 446

Nice rant, free market zealout. I'm always extremely skeptical of fanatics who claim that unless their idealistic system is followed to perfection, it won't work at all, and it's the fault of the people who kept it from being implemented to its maximum possible extent.

Listen, any reasonable person should be able to recognize that Free Market is not a boolean concept. There's a spectrum of "free-ness". Our current system could be freer, but it could also be a lot less so. If you're saying that it has to be purely free, with no constraints, then you're arguing for an impractical solution. A system that can't tolerate some deviations from the ideal is crap.

When I first started hearing about XP (extreme programming), I was confronted with this same nonsense. If you don't follow all Ten Commandments, it won't work, and you can just forget it. That's the first sign of a poorly-conceived system.

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