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Comment Re:100% Enforcement Is Not a Problem (Score 1) 506

People seem to hit a psychological limit around 75. The posted speeds on most of the highways west of Denver are usually 70-75 and funnily enough most of the traffic moves along slower than that.

It's a shame. I've been driving very aggressively for four years, going well over the limit a lot of the time, and I've never hit anybod. Or really come close to hitting anybody, unless you count all the doofuses in Suburban Assault Vehicles turning in front of me on snowy days... jackasses. To me, driving is like a real fun game with potentially lethal consequences. If I don't push myself to drive as hard as I can, I get bored and find it harder to notice everything happening on the road (like looking carefully for a 4-way stop sign mostly hidden by a low-hanging tree branch). Or worse, I get bored and start playing with the radio.

On the 65mph-limited interstates here, people seem to get nervous around 70. I usually cruise at 75 if it's busy. I've cruised at 100 and that's about when I start to get nervous. But I know my car's tires can handle the speed and I make sure I'm not endangering anyone else (no cars in sight, passengers consent to speed).

Comment Re:Bad pun (Score 1) 315

If they did find a way to alter people to no longer be receptive to THC and other similar substances, and also completely allergic to nicotine then we would have something that could let us get rid of all smokers. Let it be distributed through a virus like the flu virus and we can be pretty sure to get rid of all potheads and smokers.

I hate liberty, too! As long as we've got distribution methods for viruses set up, let's distribute another one that makes everyone's penises fall off. We can combine it with a program to store everyone's sperm in sperm banks. Then, if a couple wants to procreate, they can withdraw sperm and fertilize with artificial insemination.

The lack of penises would really clamp down on vile, pleasure-seeking sex that no one has a right to practice (last I checked it wasn't in the bill of rights). And there would be fewer rapes, too! Anyone who opposes this idea is addicted to sex, a rapist, or probably both.

Comment Re:No (Score 1) 1070

Over population is definitely something that we need to be concerned with. But in practice that problem tends to take care of itself when the population gets adequate, food, education and support in old age. Few people genuinely want to have more than 3 kids, the number is small enough that if a few people choose to have more it's probably not even worth worrying about.

This. I would like to add some data here to back this up. Word birth rates are falling in developed an developing countries. It's not "Children of Men" by any means, but I feel it makes concerns about over-population moot. http://www.independent.org/images/events/crichton/image016.jpg Notice the vertical line drawn at the release of The Population Bomb, an archetypal book about overpopulation.

Offtopic (or maybe it's not; I heard the word "sustainability" in the article's title, and that's a word on the EPA's bingo sheet), but I just had a thought. If we accept as given that man-made C02 will lead to runaway heating scenarios in the future, then why does it seem that our *only idea* to fight this is to scrap the massive capital cots of our carbon economy with something "green" (that, and less noticeable measures, like banning CFCs). If our 20-odd years of climate research study doesn't have enough of a complete view of the Earth's climate to be able to come up with some less painful, less expensive, and more elegant way of avoid possible climate change disaster cases than gutting our way of industrial life, I have trouble believing they really understand the climate to any useful degree. I thought scientists were supposed to be about individual pursuits, ingenuity and and building on/discrediting your colleagues, especially when one's colleagues (not necessary climate scientists) spend a disturbing about of time polling each other to find how many "believers" and "deniers" there are.

Comment Re:Instead of complaints, we need answers (Score 1) 338

You are seeking personal liberty by dismantling the social structures that limit the ability of the extremely wealthy from taking your liberty for profit ... The government needs to be BETTER, not larger or smaller. ... I agree with many libertarian ideals, but the agenda should not be to dismantle the government.

I feel that's a glib description of what Libertarians and libertarian-leaning people have in mind. Don't attack labels or even people - attack specific ideas. You say you agree with many libertarian ideals, so we probably have more in common than we know.

Going back to the "robber-baron" topic discussed by you and the AC... today's "robber-baron" is the multinational conglomerate corporation. PepsiCo... Apple... WalMart... Berkshire Hathaway... basically any Fortune megacorp. Which system of government do you feel would be easier for the megacorps to influence at the cost of the American people's liberty? A single government entity with jurisdiction over all the land, or 50 smaller entities concerned only with their own land? A corporation that wants to engage in regulatory capture wants a government with a pyramid-shaped corporate structure to match its own. Forcing a national corporation to comply with a different set of regulations for every state in which it operates places a huge tax on it that it cannot simply lobby away. Okay, so maybe it can, but the lobbying would be about 50 times more complicated, and it would likely still have to fragment its supply chain and business offices to comply with state-by-state differences with respect to things like banned materials. Decentralized government favors smaller, localized corporations more effectively and permanently than any decree from some bureaucrat's office in DC. I think this is approximately how many people arrive independently at the conclusion that smaller, locally-limited government leads to better overall government with near certainty.

You mentioned that we don't need more or less regulation, just *better* regulation, and I agree with you, but how do we achieve better regulation with a strong centralized government? Be ensuring that "only the right people" are placed in charge of the inevitably massive social machinery? And what do you do when a malicious person eventually gets control of the levers of power? Raise a stir among the 300+ million people who have the authority to reign him/her in? What are the chances that the electorate will even find out about it amidst the million-and-one other things the monolithic government is doing? Our federal government long ago exceeded any kind of human scale, it is not managed by people as originally intended but by institutions like the Aspen Institute, massive corporations, and its own bureaucracies. To take one example, there is no one human being who knows the entire US Tax Code. Does raising money for a government really need to be *that* complicated? Rule by institutions is poisonous to personal liberty; it shifts control of decision-making away from individuals and towards conference rooms full of career politicians and K Street lobbyists who all used to be drinking buddies at Yale and Harvard.

Today, a national government (and a matching national corporate culture nuking and paving regional tastes and values... "I'm lovin' it") has us thinking of ourselves as "Americans" concerned with national matters, and not just "Iowans" or "Californians" concerned with our own matters. Evolution takes place faster in small populations. With centralization, we are all but surrendering ourselves to an indefinite status quo of homogeneity. With a strong centralized government, if you're in the 49% minority on an issue that's important to you, your *only option* is to get hundreds of millions of like-minded people behind you. Good luck. Sure, you can always move to another country, but world superpowers have a way of imposing their laws on other countries. With a decentralized government, if one state goes sour, its people can move out and deprive the state of tax revenue and members of US Congress, starving the dread state of victims, decreasing any influence it might hold over the nation, and eventually causing it to collapse on itself. I think that's the whole idea the anonymous coward was trying to convey to you with his link to the Myth of The Robber-Barons - we need to be prepared to let bad institutions (corporations, governments, whatever) die a lonely death instead of using other (fallible) institutions to regulate them into eternity.

I submit to you that it's impossible to know or care very much about people who don't live in the same area as you, and that this sharply limits the virtues of strong national governments. For example, I've lived in Iowa my whole life and I've never met anyone from New Mexico. A strong central government gives me a say in New Mexico's government, but how can my ability to govern New Mexico even come close to that of a New Mexico resident? I feel like it's impossible to justify a strong central government's inherent flaws without accepting as given that most people just aren't capable of ruling themselves, and that they require a professional national managerial class to place them in one big playpen to better ensure they don't misbehave. I'm guessing (hoping) you'll disagree with that, and I'd be interested in reading your rebuttal.

This argument is getting long-winded, so I'll try to sum up my frustration with centralization in four words: "Too big to fail."

Comment Re:not sure who they represent (Score 1) 385

I doubt you could find a single piece of government spending that the entire tax base supports. So just because you object to how your money is spent doesn't mean you should have any control over it - if you did, it would be impossible for government to exist at all.

It would be impossible for a top-heavy centralized federal government run by a professional managerial class to exist, no doubt. But what about a decentralized government with a bias for decision-making in the other direction? One that lets the individual decide for himself... if not the individual then his town, if not the town then the county, if not the county then the state, etc.

Being forced to live in a pluralistic society sucks. Decentralization of decision-making is the best antidote I can think of.

Comment Re:As a US citizen (Score 1) 212

but can you also decline to get a Social Security number?

No.

are you able to conduct a normal life (ie, keep a job, buy a home, etc) without one?

No.

It seems to me your SS number serves the same role as other countries' national IDs, except with none of the safety checks they usually have.

This is 100% correct right now, however, it is a recent development. People these days use SSNs excessively; they were only designed 80 years ago to be used for income/social security tax collection and for receiving social security benefits. Nowadays you're asked for your SSN if you try to order cable TV. *facepalm*

Comment Re:Not at all (Score 1) 99

Before this deal if you tried to propose network neutrality rules, all the ISPs were against it with a united front. Now, if Comcast already has to follow the rules, why shouldn't they take the position that their competitors should have to as well? They certainly don't want a situation where AT&T can block or delay NBC content in favor of AT&T's "preferred" partners or whatever, or charge NBC for access to AT&T customers.

(emphasis mine)

I think the problem is that it's very common for a broadband provider to hold a legal local monopoly - an ISP will get right-of-way and monopoly status, provided it doesn't piss off the city council bad enough to give the special deal to another telco/cableco. I remember I once found a map of the continental United States separated into broadband ISP coverage zones. There was *very* little overlap between competing providers; like children selling lemonade on the street, they know it's in their best interest to avoid competition by staying far apart.

When there's no real possibility of competition between hybrid television companies and ISPs, I think two things will inevitably result. One, the ISP will never give up the fight for its ability to filter/block/throttle/take kickbacks/etc, because the ISP knows that if it is in the legal right to do so, there is no financial reason for them *not to*. Two, the ISP will not be concerned either way with the restrictions imposed on their competition - the competition operates in a separate market.

Comment Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (Score 1) 369

CoD: Modern Warfare 2 is a pretty good example of consolitis, though certainly not as bad as Black Ops.

When MWF2 came out there were a lot of complaints from PC gamers about the lack of a console, the lack of dedicated server support, inability to change field of view from default, etc.

As a PC Call of Duty fan, imagine my surprise and joy when I stumbled upon AlterIW, a community hacking project that fixes all that. To add insult to injury, the hack is designed to slipsteam into a SKiDROW torrent of the game.

Comment Re:Science Classes != Science (Score 1) 726

Mod parent up; parent is right, I was wrong. I was misremembering a text I read a while ago where actually Collins said his family was (emphasis on first word) "nominally christian".

I think Collins' effectively agnostic upbringing makes his conversion to evangelism even more startling, since that means that Richard-Dawkins-types can't just say, "Well, of course he's a christian, he was brainwashed from the beginning."

Comment Re:Well, that'll be helpful (Score 1) 377

(More interestingly, prior to the Civil War, for what heights were known, a man was more likely to be elected if he was not the tallest candidate. Perhaps that was because the electorate was not as superficial in that era. Interesting pattern given the demographic changes to enfranchisement over time, but I am not prepared to draw conclusions without further research.)

(emphasis mine)

Changing voter demographics is certainly one possible cause, but my money is on compulsory public schooling. "Public school" -- the anti-democratic environment where students were and are continuously and publicly ranked based on how well they obey the teacher (usually the tallest person in the room) -- was just getting started in Mass. and NY before the Civil War began. I'm terrible with dates in history, but if memory serves me it was right around the time of the Civil War when public school graduates constituted a majority of the electorate.

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