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Comment Re:What if? (Score 0) 450

What if we had a reuseable spacecraft with a large enough...snip...Wouldn't something like that be dead handy?

Assuming that this is a disguised lament over the retirement of the shuttles: With both a calculated and displayed failure rate of over 2%, I'd have to agree. Keeping a shuttle around for neato stuff like this would end up with some astrofolks being "handily dead".

Comment Magellan, Drake, Armstrong, ________ (Score 1) 29

Magellan & co. went around the world in 1519. Around 60 years later, Drake made the 2nd trip.

Magellan did it to be "first" to find the western route to the Spice Islands (and profits). Drake did it more for nationalism (and profits).

Note that even though the first trip made enough money to pay for the project, there was still a 2-3 generation time lag before it was done again.

Similarities come to mind when considering that the US landed on the moon 60 years ago. We went to the moon to be "first", and for nationalism (and profits? not so much, directly).

It seems that if history is an example, the second set of folks to the moon will be because of nationalism (and profits), and it won't be the same folks who went the first time.

This can be looked at a couple of ways:

1) We're a dead, decaying society, spiraling to oblivion, and won't ever get anyone anywhere, anyhow, anyways.

2) Been there, done that. See you on Mars!

Comment Re:give him community service (Score 1) 388

I'd like to see this work, but I think this has been tried before. Google something like "industrial revolution poorhouses debtor prisons".

Actually, some of these things were good ideas at the time to solve some of the same problems. Once institutionalized, though, you had all kinds of abuses from people, companies, and governments taking advantage of the situation.

Our current system of incarceration is our current attempt at a solution. Now it's being privatized. Now companies & communities depend on this for their livelihood.

History is re-entrant.

Comment Re:Cue the hatred of hip hop artists (Score 1) 92

Whitey wrap from a Beowolf cluster of Zappas...

Dreamed I was an eskimo
Frozen wind began to blow
Under my boots and around my toes
The frost that bit the ground below
It was a hundred degrees below zero...

And my mama cried
And my mama cried
Nanook, a-no-no
Nanook, a-no-no
Don't be a naughty eskimo
Save your money, don't go to the show

Well I turned around and I said oh, oh oh
Well I turned around and I said oh, oh oh
Well I turned around and I said ho, ho
And the northern lights commenced to glow
And she said, with a tear in her eye
Watch out where the huskies go, and don't you eat that yellow snow
Watch out where the huskies go, and don't you eat that yellow snow

Comment Re:Rapping and Jazz improvisation are not creative (Score 1) 92

...Creativity has nothing to do with it. Neither does jazz improvisation, which is not creative but the result of grueling hours of muscle memory and transposing keys and rhythms of the basic melody...

...Creativity is the spark, the idea of something, mixed with grueling hours of revisions, refinements, editing, and so on. It is mostly hard, laborious work.

First you say something is not creative, but the result of "grueling hours". Then you go on to say that once you take a "spark" and mix it with "grueling hours", now you got creativity. Somehow you don't believe that creative musicians have any sparks?

Comment Re:Excellent (Score 1) 1576

Excellent comment, thanks. I too have wondered about the conventional wisdom today of FPTP voting. And my thoughts were along the lines that you have detailed. I haven't come to any conclusions.

One thing I've noticed: People like races. They'll race anything and anybody. Even watching cars or critters go around in a circle can be exciting, and vast fortunes attend to these events. All to see who's going to win.

So perhaps FPTP voting, winner takes all, applies to some human or cultural characteristic.

Comment Re:Libertarianism Is A Dream (Score 1) 503

"When I asked how would things like fire departments and libraries run in a libertarian country they could never tell me "

Odd, I can. Subscription fees. You join the fire department association, and if you have a fire they come. If you don't belong and you have a fire, they don't come. Well, not for you, but they may show up to make sure your fire does not spread to your neighbor's place if he has joined the association.

Is this a perfect system? No. I actually prefer the current system paid for with property taxes. But the other system could work reasonably well, and be free of government compulsions.

This method has been tried before and was found wanting.

The Roman Republic had a similar system. At the time, f'rinstance, the top Scrooge McDuck, Crassus, setup associations. If there was a fire, his brigades would show up and put it out if you were paid-up. If not, well, if you wanted to save your stuff, why, all you had to do is sell your property to Crassus for pennies on the dollar, and your stuff is saved! And you got a bit of money out of the deal! This was helpful in paying the rent on your former property.

Some also discovered that a bit of judicious arson was also great for business.

Comment Re:Yeah! (Score 1) 319

I expect that at some point we might learn that the government distortions of markets is not something to be done so willy-nilly, regardless of the 'good intentions' its sold to us with.

Yep, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

On the other hand, sulphur emissions and acid rain is not so much of a problem today, due to cap n trade. Apparently that kind of thing works sometimes.

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