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Comment Re:Tell me when the subsidie run out (Score 1) 687

The taxes on refineries especially account for nearly 1 dollar on the cost of gasoline in the US. Think about that the next time you go to the gas station and buy gas.

That doesn't even begin to pay for the external costs of petroleum use. The tax ought to be tripled.

Comment Re:NO NO NO (Score 4, Interesting) 687

Funny, my province's power is entirely supplied by a government-owned corporation, which hits about 98% renewable energy generation, has among the lowest energy prices in the world, and has still produced a consistent profit in the billions for decades. Doesn't seem to be failing to me.

Comment Re:What a Wonderful Job - for robots (Score 1) 193

Amazon kills competition. Great!
People have to find new jobs.
Robots work for Amazon.
Man, that really sucks. . . .

Amazon used to be a hand-picking operation, where computers told the people what to do. Then Amazon bought Kiva Robotics, which was already handling about 10% of online orders with their mobile robots. Those new Amazon warehouses have lots of mobile robots and very few people. "15 minutes from click to ship."

As for jobs making the robots, Kiva Systems has only 250 employees. A few robot factories, a modest number of huge automated warehouses, and maybe half of the whole retail sector disappears.

It's even fuel efficient. The biggest energy consumption in groceries is the trip by the two-ton SUV to the grocery store to move 20 pounds of products.

Comment Picking good produce (Score 1) 193

I've always been skeptical of other people picking out my groceries. On the other hand, I must admit that (at least in its Seattle delivery area) Amazon Fresh does an impressive job of delivering decent produce.

You think that happens by accident? It's done by machine vision. Fruit and vegetable processing plants have automated sorting machines on their production lines. Even peas can be individually inspected. That video is worth watching. A huge stream of peas feeds through the machine at high speed, and the peas are inspected with cameras and lasers in flight as they come off a wide, fast conveyor belt. Air jets turn on for milliseconds to knock the rejects into the reject bin, and only good peas make it to the output conveyor. A hundred humans couldn't sort peas that fast.

Comment Online groceries are standard in the UK (Score 1) 193

I live in the suburbs of London. I've been doing my supermarket shopping online for the past ten years. Not having to go to Tesco on a Saturday afternoon and overcome the urge to stab every fucker I see there in the face is worth every penny of the (typically) £5 delivery fee.

New York is a plausible place to do this, as it has the density of population. Might have a harder time in the 'burbs.

Comment Re:It was a myth (Score 1) 986

There are indeed shades of grey. But a constitutional republic is not a "shade" of a democratic system. Majority rule is two retarded wolves and an intelligent sheep voting on what's for dinner. A constitutional republic is someone else looking at all three, consulting a set of hard limits neither the sheep or wolves have any direct control over, and making sure that dinner consists of bread and water.

Comment Not a democracy (Score 1) 986

FFS. The USA was designed as a constitutional republic. Not a democracy. Which is the only reason we ever had a chance. A democracy is one of the most failure-prone systems out there; majority rule is two retarded wolves and an intelligent sheep voting on what's for dinner. And no, choosing representatives doesn't make a society a democracy any more than choosing a dictator does.

Other than that, yes. Great intentions, just as you say; yet these have resolved today in an almost complete and total failure to hit those lofty mark(s.)

Comment Who we are (Score 1) 986

The principles that underly the actual USA, specifically the constitution (as written, not as "interpreted"), are the foremost in the world by quite a distance -- they do the best job of balancing individual rights without falling overboard and choking off individual freedoms. Not perfect (oh, would I love to rewrite some of it), but still the best to date. Comparable efforts make serious mistakes, particularly in the areas of suppressing speech and giving cover to superstition. The ideal here in the USA was a profoundly well thought out constitutional republic, given the time frame the ideas were laid out in.

However, those principles are now only a vague memory in the actual day to day operation of the US legal and social systems. So while one might admire the foundation, the intent, and even the attempts of many individuals within the context of what one could simply call 'The USA", it's a huge mistake to take those high points as a legitimate description of who and what we are today: A corporate oligarchy, wildly out of the citizen's control, engaged in wholesale deception to keep it that way. Today, we have embraced some of the most repulsive things we used to say we stood against. From torture to surveillance to pervasive, systemized political corruption to massive, for-profit imprisonment, the USA at this time is no more than a caricature of its founding ideals.

Speaking to the younger generation (yeah, I'm getting old, and this is my lawn), I'm sorry, very sorry in fact, but you're well and truly fucked.

Comment Re:I'll go ahead and say it (Score 1) 200

are you actually that eager to carve up other people into spare parts? Do you want to live in a society that does that?

I must say, I am shocked at the number of people posting here who support China's policy. Is there a sudden flood of postings from Texas high-school students, or something? I haven't seen this much sociopathy on display since someone tried to defend the execution of Islamic apostates a few months ago.

Every time one of these arguments comes up, I end up even more firmly convinced that we should abolish the death penalty without exception. I'd rather let mass murderers die of a ripe old age (in a small, windowless cell without books or TV, of course) than indulge the bloodlust of some of our upstanding citizens.

Comment Re:Everyone a donor (Score 3, Insightful) 200

China's policy *starts* once a prisoner is already on death row... they're genotyped, then kept alive until recipients are found for their organs. The system mostly works well, because it eliminates the rush to perform a transplant on short notice and the dependency on local availability. They can schedule the execution, harvesting, and transplant well in advance, and have everyone in place & ready to go before the prisoner gets executed... The *real* ethical problem

Holy shit, you think the fact that the victims may not actually deserve their fate is the only ethical problem? How about keeping people alive in detention indefinitely with the promise that eventually, one day, they'll be killed for their organs? That's fucking goulish, and far crueler than simply executing them immediately.

Comment Re:Everyone a donor (Score 2) 200

So instead, we only have to worry about hospitals purposely letting you die so they can harvest your organs. If you object, please tell me how this can be avoided.

In the US, if a doctor deliberately lets you die so the hospital can harvest your organ, we call that "malpractice" and quite possibly "murder", and there are legal remedies for both of those offenses. In China, if the government executes someone and harvests his organs, it's called "preserving social stability", and there is no legal remedy because the state makes its own rules, and is notorious for locking up people who complain.

Comment Re:They genuinely want to hear from us ... (Score 1) 183

... the NSA just found out about the hundred flowers campaign, ...

We now have well over 100 flowers blooming in our (average-size, suburban) yard. Should be be worried that the NSA are monitoring our gardening?

But the daylilies are nearly done; I've started to cut down the not-very-attractive stems that they've left behind. I wonder if the NSA has recorded this behavior. We were also wishing we'd kept records of when our various perennials bloomed, so we could see what effect the climate change has had on our yard. Maybe we should ask the NSA for that information.

(And firefox doesn't recognize "daylilies" as an English word. I did a quick google check, and even when I asked for "day-lily", most of the hits had it as one word with no space or hyphen. Most of the technical botanical pages spell it as one word. I guess we still have a long way to go before our vaunted natural-language software can even handle something as simple as dictionary lookup. ;-)

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