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Comment Re:Comes from watching too much TV (Score 1) 183

London, in the blitz. Hell of of England for the whole war.

String, paper, cloth, tape, elastic, rubber, you name it. Shops were either blown to bits or had limited stock and high prices. There are no rubber plantations in the UK, and the only metals in quantity are tin, iron and lead. A very long list of other commodities had to be imported, and homeowners were encouraged to turn in frying pans to make aeroplanes from.

If you can still find someone alive in a big city from then, like my dear Mum, they will remember.

It is a very useful exercise to study Britain during WW2, it helps explain how easily shortges come about and how they can be dealt with.

Comment Re:Lessig? (Score 1) 393

"It's reasonable for an artist to expect to be able to profit from their work for a period of time."

You need to demonstrate then that it is essential for copyright to exist in order for this to happen.

There's a strong case that simply being first-to-market and being known as the genuine article is enough to make a profit, albeit a smaller one.

Comment Re:Meh I figure were doomed. (Score 1) 409

there's bigger problems than this.

With agriculture you need sun, water, and a range of different nutrients.

Limits to nitrogen, OR sun, OR potassium or whatever constrain your maximum possible yield.

Our current global society is similar; restrict inputs of Aluminium, or copper, or water, or food, or oil, or any one of a number of inputs and we see a constraint on outputs.

Some of these are finite, and cannot be reclaimed, such as oil; many metals can be reclaimed, but only to a certain % without large energy inputs; and some are just too rare to provide for everyone, such as Indium and Tantalum.

Some are completely renewable, but empty, like many fisheries; Others are not industrial inputs but still have commercial worth; like carribean reefs.

Some are entirely artificial and abstracted from primary inputs, but nonetheless form constraints on growth; the power grid is a good example of this.

As population and consumption of stuff per head both rise, and the remaining stocks of usable resources shrink, there comes a crossover point, causing price spikes and demand destruction.

With food and medicine, demand destruction menas people are priced out; switching from beef to beans, or beans to grains, or grains to death.

Take the time to understand this, then choose a resource. Fresh water is a good one as it's easily understood. Choose a nation, or a US state, and look at how their water resources are going.

For example, Beijing, the city, slips lower each year as the aquifer it is above is emptied. The rivers there don't run any more, they had to fill one specially for the Olympic canoeing.

Our current agricultural system uses large industrial inputs to produce massive yields. Oil and gas are used as chemical inputs to herbicides, pesticides and fertilisers, not just for fuel.

Our current economic system implicitly requires abundant cheap food. If we do encounter constraints on industrial phosphorous, still mined from bat guano and hard to reclaim after use, what happens to our food production?

We are hitting limits to resources in a number of areas, and they are starting to constrain economic growth. Financial promises made by people under historical assumptions aren't being kept.

When everyone's babbling about the sub-prime crisis and toxic debt, seek to answer the question:

"Why couldn't people afford to repay their mortgages in the first place?"

It's not _only_ because they were made out to people who would never be able to repay, it's also because of rising food, fuel and other prices, sparked by bumping up against physical constraints in the environment.

The sooner this is measured, acknowledged and publically discussed, the sooner we can take a rational approach to choosing what to do with the remainder.

In the meantime, remember that every chopper in the air filming a car chase for the news is one less medical chopper saving lives a few decades from now.

Comment Re:Moving beyond "work" (Score 1) 1316

Absolutely. I almost mentioned this in my post, but you're right in principle.

I don't think that robots are the way forward though, I think it's more a case of shifting lifestlyes to consume 50% less, then excising 50% of the economy (advertising, hairdressing, personal shoppers, dog walkers, financial services...) then working only 3 days a week to produce what we do need.

Logistically it can be done, socially and politically is challenging to say the least.

I don't think that robots are going to change the hours we work; it's not as though trucks meant drivers drive less hours per week than cart drivers, nor do office workers get siestas now that computers make them mor productive.

Under the current system, we must run the economy at full capacity and grow it. All your robots will do is potentially increase capacity, not reduce work hours.

You have the right ideas but your technophilia clouds your view. For people to be allocated resources by those who control the resources requires a motive, and farmers with combine harvesters don't continue to pay the labourers that they would otherwise employ, do they?

Add peak oil to mix and it seems that we are indeed headed for significant change.

Comment What school forgot to teach (Score 1) 1316

As usual I think you are all wrong. You're observing some of the additional causes but missing the main point.

Of course people who are brought up with special high self-esteem are going to value themselves highly, that's what we wanted. That's not a problem, that's a plus.

The missing part is an understanding of the world. Where all the consumer stuff comes from and why; How money (not wealth) is created and destroyed, who pulls the strings and what their interests are.

Especially absent in an American education appears to be any real historical study, apart from the myth-like legends of the 'forefathers' who founded the 'free homeland'.

If students were provided with an education that placed the US consumptive lifestlye firmly in the correct contexts, especially

geographic (relative populations, global resource & waste flows)
cultural (crediting various people for thier achievements, and acknowledging the weaknesses in the US approach)

then they'd have a better idea of what was going on around them and why.

The overall undercurrent of "U-S-A!", fear and brutal violence that pervades the culture stands not as a replacement to an understanding of the human condition (which isn't so hard imho) but as a deliberately imposed barrier (cf. "The Power of Nightmares"), which stands only because of ignorance.

The other disturbing facet of US life (for me) is that somehow the people who fought a war to establish their own government, by them and of them and for them, now laugh at it and deride it at any opportunity.

I find this absolutely intolerable when the public service at large is the only institution which provides services to the people with no hidden agenda; it's not for profit, or converts, or good PR.

The idea that something is 'good enough for government work' implies that the government has and should have the worst, lowest quality standards in the entire society, which is outrageous.

You have a group of capitalist crony liars who actively undermined or destroyed all the useful institutions and purged the service of the best staff, raided the treasury and handed it to private companies, then you all think the government / public service is crappy. This is called "blaming the victim".

It seems to me that the responses here are an expression of the
US Machismo "every man for himself" attitude as you all laugh and sneer at the poor kids, who after all are only asking for a slice of the pie society (not just their parents) promised them, before it's all gone.

"The American way of life is not negotiable". Raised to swear allegience to the flag in sacred rituals, taught to revere passed presidents as almost superhuman, of course they will trust what they are told!

Honestly, you people always miss the wood for the trees. Remember the five whys of requirements solicitaion?

"The kids are greedy"

"Because they were told 'Greed is Good'."


"Because the CEA recommended a growth model in 1946"

"Because the 'powers that be' wanted enough money to maintain WWII forces even after the war (guns or butter)"

"Because they wanted to be able to use military force anywhere in the world at short notice"

"Because greedy, evil men always seek to expand their control for its own sake".

Teach the kids in primary school about the nature of the greedy evil men around them, instead of xenophobic bullshit and they will understand the modern workplace a lot better.

Comment Re:Um, what? (Score 1) 492

"We build machines so that the machines can do our labor for us."

Something went wrong here; If this was true wouldn't high unemployment figures be a good thing?

Have we actually got more time for having fun than we did under the feudal system? If you work it all out, the answer is no.

Comment Re:Proportionality, lack thereof (Score 1) 290

"I find this to be a really hard place for ISPs. On one hand, they do have to worry about copyright infringement. It happens, ok, and it's illegal, and no matter what grassroots movements are out there, if a corporation doesn't abide by the laws of the country, ridiculous laws or not, they will have some major problems in that country."

You are really really wrong!

ISPs do NOT have to worry about copyright infringement, except as prescribed by law, and I don't think there is one in Canada yet that applies to ISPs. They might have to wrry about bandwidth consumption or the effects of piracy on thier attempts to sell media or their relations with rights-holding companies, but there has not yet been an ISP convicted of illegal activity based on the downloading of copyright by their users, nor is there a law currently in place holding them responsible,

There is no law involved in this story, just a telco offering to do this 3 strikes thing.

The illegality of copyright infringement is, as far as i know, still a civil matter, like defamation, not a criminal matter. In no way is the ISP breaking the law, any more than a New York cabbie is when you catch a ride with weed in your pocket, or the Telco is when you make bomb threats by phone, and these are criminal offences, not civil!

I will argue for the right of illegal activity. Absolutely. As an individual posessing free will to harm the interests of other entities in a manner which leaves me open to civil prosecution. Until casual piracy is a criminal offence, meaning the RIAA comes under DOJ (or equivalent) juristiction, then neither the legislators nor the ISP has any role in getting involved.

When every car is mandated by law that it can't exceed the top speed limit in the state in which it is registered, then we can talk about people retaining rights to illegal activity. If there is no public road where it is legal to go 65mph, why should you retain the right to own a car that can? This is much more clear-cut case than the online traffic debate, and yet you'd have a lot of trouble getting traction.

Does an ISP have an obligation to stop people using other people's patents online? Should an ISP be obliged to stop users from sending email which causes others harm and distress?

Why should copyright infringement be any different?

Think about the implications of what you propose.

Lastly, you claim:

"If a corporation doesn't abide by the laws of the country, ridiculous laws or not, they will have some major problems in that country"

OK, which corporation? Which country? When?

Here's a hundred from the USA. All convicted of crimes during the 1990's. All fined.

So that's a massive 2 billion US Dollars, maybe that's a major problem, but it's for 100 different corps over ten years, so it's only 2 million per corp per year.

This list includes Pfizer, ADM and Exxon, so it's not as though these types of fines are 'major problems'.

None were dissolved, or nationalised, or put on an official offenders watch list. No parole rules were enforced, and none we suspended from doing business for even a day.

How much in subsidies was dished out to the corporate sector in the 90's? How much to these companies alone? How much to Pfizer, ADM and Exxon alone? Enron broke lots of laws, but that's not why they went bust.

It's all a sham, a game buddy, it's not one law for them and another for us; it's laws for us written by them!

Comment Re:Get a PC (Score 1) 1182

It's also hard to imagine why anyone wants more than 1,000 games. A million? Who needs a million games? At 12 hours full-time per day with no changeover time and only 5 minutes per games that's 20 years. Having a million games available is useless, might as well brag about having 54 thousand plates in your kitchen. It's too damn many!

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