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Comment Re:Good luck w/ regards to pricing (Score 4, Informative) 93

Yes, it is slow. When I have used it, it gave me slightly better than dial-up speeds and, on occasion, I would lose connectivity for a few minutes. Basically, good enough for email and light surfing. I also downloaded a few PDFs.

On the other hand, I am sitting 7 miles in the air, moving at several hundred miles an hour and able to access the Internet! Sure, it isn't a great connection, but I'm 7 miles in the air - so I think it's pretty sweet.

Comment Re:No (Score 3, Insightful) 729

Huh? Where is this happening? Maybe private sector teachers, but deficiently not public sector ones.

Here is a link that has real numbers for layoffs. It says there have been 150,000 public teacher layoffs due to the recession. It also mentions Bureau of Labor Statistics which says 33,500 teachers were hit by layoffs since September. (Article was written in June.)

So, you may not have noticed it happening - but it is. Also, and this is a guess, it is affecting lower income schools since higher income schools generally have parents that are able to complain, hire lawyers, call their city/state/federal representatives, etc. So, if your kids go to a "good school" they might have kept their teacher numbers by shifting the burdens to schools that aren't performing.

Also, talking to teachers that I know, finding a teaching job is next to impossible right now. So, it might be less about layoffs than not filling positions as people retire/leave the field/whatever.

Comment Re:But the real question is... (Score 1) 769

Sorry - I didn't realize you assumed a reality where corruption and mismanagement were unheard of in a giant project. The reason I called it $100+ billion is we are dealing with transforming miles of coastline. And not just the coastline - but 1-2 miles inland for the infrastructure. Have you even looked at the scale of the port facilities in and around New Orleans? The project would be an order of magnitude bigger than the Big Dig and I scaled appropriately - from real-world numbers.

Yes - all at the same time. Bare - not much grows there so it's a lot of surface rock. However, it isn't perfectly smooth, so you get large areas of shallow march in the depressions. I also like the hand-waving "we'll drain it!" Draining thousands of square miles and making it ready for farming may be beyond our ability. Look how hard it was to dig the Panama Canal. Or, watch a documentary on building the oil industry in Alaska. Making a single road to the fields was a nightmare and you want to transform the entire landscape.

You are also off by orders of magnitude for your migration stats. Moving within a city, or even the next city over is not a migration. According to this article 2 million left California over 10 years. That's 200k/year and California has 12% of the US population. So we get 1.8 million as a rough estimate - far below your tens of millions.

Urban decay has not been successfully ignored. It is being ignored - and forcing cities to consider bankruptcy. I'm sure all the people who will lose their jobs or get pay cuts won't successfully ignore the problem.

Good luck with your hand-waving away of big problems - I hope you live somewhere away from the coast and pack heat to protect what's yours from those who don't have anything and are starving. (Also: Read up on the Dust Bowl - it caused hundreds of thousands of people to move and was one of the most horrible times in our nation's history.)

Comment Re:But the real question is... (Score 1) 769

I imagine we could do it for tens to hundreds of millions of dollars. You vastly overstate the cost.

The planned expansion of the port is going to cost over $1 billion - and that's after $500 million in expansion less than 10 years ago. The only thing I can think of that might approach the scope of a new port is the Big Dig project - and that cost $14 billion. However, it didn't involve transforming several miles of coastline. I recommend you do some research on the cost of huge projects (highways are a good start) - you seem to be orders of magnitude off in your estimate.

The tundra is bare, rocky and marshy - not exactly great farming. As for the forest - that's the same strategy as Brazil is using: Cut down a bunch of forest. Farm it. Use up the land. Repeat. It doesn't work because the soil is crap, and you have to keep destroying forest - kind of like army ants on the move - destroy everything and move on.

A person changing location is called moving. A 100,000 people moving is a migration. Even 100,000 people moving around isn't a big deal as long as it evens out somewhat. i.e. - 20k move to NY and 20k move from NY, etc. However, when they move in one direction it is a problem - check out the social conflicts Houston had/has with the Katrina refugees.

And hollow centers are a huge problem that are causing cities to go broke. Abandoned neighborhoods still need their sewers and water pipes maintained because they connect to other sewers and water pipes. However, there are no tax revenues to help pay for it. That's why Detroit is buying these areas and demolishing them. So, while the population gets to ignore the problem - city officials can't. The problem hasn't magically been solved - it's been ignored.

Comment Re:But the real question is... (Score 1) 769

The problem is we are talking a time period of decades - not centuries. That's the core of the problem. If it were taking centuries, we probably wouldn't have noticed. Also, while the land is worth less it is hardly worthless. How much is the Port of New Orleans worth? It is the largest in the country based on volume. Now, how do we move that? We can't just create a good port without hundreds of billions in investment and maintenance (dredging and the like).

Even if you were correct here - I can tell you know nothing about farming because this is basic agronomy. You need a balance between temperature, hours of sunlight and solar intensity to get optimal growing and without the right mix, some plants won't grow at all. That's why greenhouses need to use artificial light to grow crops out of season.

Keep track of your grocery bill - we are experiencing a drought this year and can expect food prices to jump 20-30%. How do you think sustained lower production is going to affect prices?

Buy land? What land are you going to find? The best land is already being cultivated and won't be for sale - prices are already ridiculously high. (Farmers generally farm because they want to - not because they'll get rich. With prices in Iowa right now, even a small farmer can cash out for $2+ million.) The "newly available" land won't have the rich soil necessary to produce good crops - there hasn't been the centuries of biomass to build up the soil.

In practice, we have done those things. It generally involved large numbers of people dying in the migration. (You have died of dysentry.) Oh - and people killing whoever they found who was already there. Except in today's world the natives are armed with the same weapons.

Honestly - I wish humanity would deal with the problem smoothly like you are predicting. However, given how people are treating refugees and immigrants around the world seem to indicate it won't go smoothly. Do you want a refugee camp for people from the coast in your town? Even if you do - how much are you willing to pay to support it?

Comment Re:But the real question is... (Score 2) 769

Let's follow your logic.

If a home breaks (or gets submerged) we'll build another one. Okay - how much is Miami worth? Or New Orleans? Let's say we need 1 million new homes - at $150k each that will be $150 billion. Now we also need the infrastructure - roads, schools, power lines, gas lines, highways, etc. Let's call that another $150 billion. Now we'll need the factories, buildings, strip malls and all the other places for these people to work. Call it another $150 billion. So, to ballpark it, we need $500 billion to create a new city of 4-5 million people. (4 million is the estimate for number of people displaced from rising sea levels.)

As for farming, you really don't understand the specifics of food production. Plants need certain amounts of heat and sunlight. Unfortunately, as places further north warm up, it doesn't mean we can suddenly grow "southern" crops - the length of day isn't right. Sure - they will probably grow, but the yield will be much lower for a decade or two until seed companies can hammer out the right genetics. (If they can.) Which means - lower food production. This also ignores the differences in soil and everything else that have established where we grow certain plants.

It's true there are other things that make up society - and those won't go away. Unfortunately, no one is going to want to share their rich, fertile land with people who were displaced by rising sea levels which means eminent domain claims will be tied up in the courts for years. Plus, most towns don't like large numbers of "outsiders", so look for increased enforcement of laws regarding homeless people. No one is out to get the homeless - until they are in your neighborhood.

Oh - to answer your original question: Where is the proof that infrastructure is brittle? Take a look at rolling blackouts, gridlock during rush hour, failing railroad lines and the volatility of gas prices. That's your proof. With good infrastructure those would be eliminated. (Gas prices spike every year when refineries have to perform maintenance or switch what they produce.)

The real problem with your argument can be traced to the basic principle: In theory, theory and practice are the same thing. In practice - they aren't. In this case - in theory we could just rebuild everything but, in practice, there are a million things that will go wrong.

Comment Re:Compared to a movie night... (Score 1) 301

Actually, the payout is around 2/3 of the total amount, so around $400 million. That's $133 million each. After federal taxes, they are looking at $85 million. State taxes will vary. Lawyers are very cheap at this scale - a $2000/hr lawyer means 500 hours before you hit $1 million - and that's a LOT of paperwork.

Comment Re:Fun science experiment you can do at home (Score 1) 1367

Now, repeat your experiment using salt water in your measuring cup, instead of fresh water, and float fresh water ice cubes in it. That will more accurately model reality and that's REAL science, my friend.

Note: What do you think will happen when the fresh water melting lowers the density of the liquid (fresh water is less dense than salt water) but the overall mass remains constant?

Comment Re:Ready, set, go! (Score 1) 60

Personally, I prefer using a little bit of it for both.

In case you haven't noticed, the world is a messed up place. If we, as a country, don't have the ability to kill people efficiently, and in large numbers, we likely wouldn't exist as a country. Someone else, willing to spend money on killing people, would come in and take over.

As for welfare - I like the sig for "shutdown -p now" - "I like paying taxes. With them I buy civilization." I'm not saying that we should support a professional welfare class, but we should make sure everyone has BASIC needs so they don't decide to start mugging people and robbing houses to avoid starvation..


Submission + - Dragon Age DRM Servers Down 1

Bender0x7D1 writes: It seems BioWare is having server issues, leaving them unable to authorize downloadable content to their Dragon Age players. According to their forum players have been unable to access their content since Friday, and it may not be resolved for another day. Players are understandably upset about the issue, but are even more upset that there is no official comment by BioWare forcing them to rely on other players for information.

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The trouble with opportunity is that it always comes disguised as hard work. -- Herbert V. Prochnow