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Comment Re:Who the fuck is Alliance for Generational Equit (Score 1) 372

Indeed who the h*ll you they?

If you look at the website, available funding information, domain registration and anything at all about them you find that they have worked hard from the beginning to be completely obscure about who and what they are.

A look at the AGE website's "solutions outside of political parties and ideological partisanship" you find that their proposed solutions to health care costs are

  • "tort reform" - freeing medical corporations from worrying about being penalized for bad practices and actions. This policy is beloved by the right despite, a) lawsuits costs are only 2% of America's helath care bill, and b) being show to be ineffective in saving costs where it has already been in place for a decade (Texas). Corporatists just hate accountability.
  • Continue banning any drug imports. Those lower cost Canadian drugs are killers I tell you!
  • Do no, repeat NOT, reduce the payment rate of Medicare Part D that pays drug companies whatever they ask for.
  • But don't increase funding for the State Children’s Insurance Program, (SCHIP)!

Their Big Idea on energy costs? Not clear - it is simply to endorse whatever Matt Salmon (R-AZ) is proposing.

How to jump start the Jobs Crisis? Get this - expand the H-1 Visa Program and import more skilled foreign workers.

I could go on, but this "non-political": agenda is identical to those of the Chamber of Commerce, ALEC, and the numerous mouthpiece organizations of the Koch family, of which this clearly is one.

Oh, and about that study. What academic department and institution did it come from? Why the Economics Department of George Mason University.

The very department that has received $30 million from Charles Koch over the years, honoring him with a Doctorate in return, and hosts the Mercatus Center - an 'institute' with staff personally approved by Charles Koch and funded by him.

Check it out for youself

Astro-Turf by the truck load.

Comment Geotagging as an Invasion of Privacy (Score 1) 976

Geotagging law-abiding lindividuals in anything other than an opt-in/easy-opt-out arrangement should be considered a straight-up invasion of privacy. We do have privacy laws, and privacy standards in legal precedents and this would seem to already run afoul of them. If not, then some speedy legislation to clarify that it is should be enacted.

Even for people with criminal records though, there needs to be limits on geo-tagging. With the world's highest percentage of incarcerated people. the U.S. needs to be able to allow former criminals to reintegrate productively in society. This must be handled case-by-case of course, but former criminals have rights as well.

Comment Re:thats what you get for being stupid (Score 2) 173

It was the bank's fault that people took out mortgages they couldn't afford!

You mean this in some foolish sarcastic fashion I take it - but that is exactly correct.

The job of a loan originator ("bank") to make sure that a loan that is issued is sound - that experience and financial data show it is very likely to be repaid, and that the chance that it won't be is sufficiently well characterized that it can be covered by private mortgage insurance. That is what loan originators do. If they do not do that then they are likely engaged in some form of fraud (i.e. repackaging bad loans as top quality investment vehicles).

Comment Re:Prestressed concrete performs better under tens (Score 1) 322

... I read that when Hadrian ordered the construction of the current version of the Pantheon, the Roman engineers were faced with difficulty designing a dome that would not collapse under its own weight (again, tensile forces and concrete are not friends). The Romans overcame this by reducing the density of the concrete in the dome by using pumice in the aggregate and reducing the thickness of the concrete as the dome progressed....

That is not the only interesting weight reducing methods they used. They also used a form of hollow core composite construction - embedding hollow clay pots in the wall to reduce its density, and the done itself is a ribbed structure, with vertical and horizontal ribs framing those "decorative" (but highly functional) square indentations in the inner surface.

Some speculate that scale and partial full scale engineering models were used to perfect the design and construction techniques.

Comment Re:Prior art (Score 4, Informative) 322

Turns out its not the ash that mattered.

Its just the composition of the particular variety of ash they had on hand. Volcanic ash differs in various volcanic regions. Further, seawater was also key. You don't find much of that in the middle of continents.

This wasn't ancient knowledge at work at all. It was simply an accident of geography.

Is it really any different from the fact that availability of raw materials in any region is an accident of geography?

If you read TFA you will see that:

A) the Romans were well aware which ashes were the best for this purpose. Vitruvius and Pliny wrote about it. It is not as if they were mystified why this hydraulic cement was turning out so well. Sure they didn't understand the chemistry, but they tried many ashes and knew the ones that had special properties.

B) The researchers found this concrete in 11 harbors around the Mediterranean. This means the Roman were exporting their special ash to where it was needed for harbor construction.

Sounds like ancient knowledge to me. (Otherwise you are going to have to hold that none of the material production skills before modern times were really ancient knowledge.)

Comment Re:why dont cars have 100MPH bumpers (Score 1) 139

Weather related fatalities would be a more apt standard of comparison, don't you think?

Tornadoes come in number one as the cause of weather-related death over the last 10 years. And Oklahoma's tornado fatality rate is the highest in the country, three times the national average.

Comment Re:Will Tesla buy them? (Score 2) 193

Why would he bother? He has a successful company, why would he want to buy a company that burned through that much money with no noticeable product."

Let's see: according TFA -
"...about 1,000 Better Place cars are on the roads ..." and
"Sunday’s announcement left many questions unanswered, especially what will happen to its cars and charging stations. Better Place has also installed a network of stations in Denmark and has operations in Australia, the Netherlands, China, Hawaii and Japan."
And according to Wikipedia: "By mid September 2012, there were 21 operational battery-swap stations open to the public in Israel".

That may not be excessively impressive, but 1000 cars in operation, 21 charging stations in Israel, and others in six other nations is not "no noticeable product."

Comment Because U.S. Submarine Building is Problem Free? (Score 1) 326

Although the Sea Wolf submarine project did not have this particular problem (insufficient buoyancy requiring retrofitting) - it did have the problem of starting the construction of the submarine before the design work was finished, which then delayed the project and drove up costs as the builder waited on the designers to finish their work. The cost increase for the Sea Wolf was 45%. And it is not as if the U.S. had limited experience in building submarines.

The Spanish program was projected as costing 550 million Euros per sub, if they can fix the buoyancy problem by lengthening the sub by less than 30 meters (very likely) then they will be doing better than the Sea Wolf program.

BTW - another to describe the situation is that once all of the specs were completed, the Spanish Navy discovered that it needed a bigger sub than originally planned. Many U.S. defense programs have had similar experiences. Not as scandalous sounding though.

Comment Re:How do you know that? (Score 2) 167

...

Sorry ... hundred thousands of dead people in the decades AFTER the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and AFTER Chernobyl say something different.

...

Yes, they say they don't exist.

Please provide a citation to an actual scientific study supporting these claims. You can't. There aren't any. This is just urban folklore.

The total number of deaths attributable to the atomic bombings, but occurring after October 1945 (when the last of the acutely injured perished) is no more than about 4000 people. Nearly all were individuals that received high levels of radiation exposure close to the bomb hypocenters.

Comment Re:Don't tax the companies! (Score 1) 716

No. Companies are allowed to keep reasonable financial reserves, but the billions that Apple and other companies keep are anything but reasonable reserves, and are unprecedented. This was worked out decades ago, but they stopped enforcing it.

Amen to this. Apple is currently engaged in the largest stock buy-back in history, $60 billion so far.

In essence, with its immense cash reserves, which instead of tangibly building the business in some way, or increasing the compensation of its foreign workforce, or making its product more affordable, it is benefiting those holding tons of stock options (the execs), who will only pay low, low capital gains taxes on the wealth being transferred to them risk free.

Comment Re:You pay corporate taxes, not the corporation (Score 1) 716

Please remember, corporations don't have their own money, every penny they have comes from consumers.

If you raise corporate taxes, prices increase...

Because currently Apple is selling their products to us as cheaply as they can (as a public service?), and have razor thin profit margins?

The non-contract-subsidized price of an iPhone 64B is $900 (you can get it discounted to $850). The cost of parts for that phone is about $188, cost of labor $8, Apple mark-up $700 or so.

With a 350% mark-up the price of Apple products have virtually nothing to do with their costs of manufacture or doing business. They are charging every penny that they think the market will bear. In other words they are already squeezing every dollar out of the consumer that they can. If they have to pay a little more taxes on their profits, it will come out of their margin.

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