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Comment Stop or Go? (Score 1, Interesting) 365

It's underwhelming to slowly, ambiguously plan for maybe going to an unspecified asteroid someday. There won't be much excitement from the general public for such a plan, especially with the way it's been marketed so far. Say "in 10 years we'll have people on the way to Mars [or to a lesser extent, the Moon] to build a permanent base" and it becomes a different story.

We're in a budget crisis right now though, with fundamental moral, legal and philosophical disputes over the proper role of the US government. We already have a majority of the states openly challenging federal authority, and the federal government openly scoffing at the idea that there are limits to its lawful power. (Pelosi: "Are you serious?!") It's hard to justify any new government programs while that dispute is unresolved, even as relatively small as the funding would be. Figure out first whether it's okay to have a self-proclaimed "radical communist" serving as a White House adviser, for instance, before deciding relatively minor things like whether to increase one agency's funding. Otherwise we'll just be arguing past each other from completely different premises.

I'm definitely not taking the common position, "Let's solve our problems on Earth before we go to space." This is more like, "Let's figure out what we're trying to accomplish before we set out."

Comment The Doctrine of Fascism (Score 2) 133

Check out the essay "The Doctrine of Fascism", attributed to him. Its roots are really in the philosophy of Hobbes, Rousseau, Hegel, and even Plato. Mussolini's main idea was that fascism is anti-individualist, and that all people should see themselves as incomplete beings whose lives only have meaning and value in service to the all-powerful State. That's not really a corporatist viewpoint. Re: Net censorship, a fascist viewpoint would be that your individual desire to see porn, bomb-making instructions, copyrighted material, or sites about democracy is absolutely meaningless before the State's collective desire to shut you up and make you obey. Not to say that the ISPs are innocent here, but it's not because they own the government.

Comment Efficiency (Score 2) 377

Expansion on the parent comment: any claim about "tripling the efficiency of current engines" ought to set off alarm bells, because there are strict theoretical limits on the efficiency of any engine. Yes, switching to a different basic design (such as Diesel vs. the more common Otto cycle) can give you a better possible rating, as can changing the temperatures involved, but you're still likely to hit theoretical limits that are far below what you might think of as "perfect efficiency", ie. pure conversion of the fuel's chemical energy into motion.

Comment Mod Article "Troll" (Score 2) 945

The entire article is a troll's post. "The Republicans are lying, they're badly misinformed, and we the enlightened have the correct answer and must re-educate them." Then the commenters jump on and say, "Why yes! I understand the Republican position -- it's because they're anarchists who love anything done by a big corporation, and it's on this basis that I judge everything they say!" If you want to have a serious debate about Net neutrality, this kind of article isn't the way to do it. Then again, the actual politicians these days have been dismissing the ruling party's critics as stupid, ignorant, and irrational -- in nearly that exact language -- so it's no surprise that their supporters would also talk that way.

Comment Plusgood Groupthink! (Score -1, Troll) 1352

Survey-makers, your groupthink is plusgood! Having already decided that Fox News is a terrible thing (and that that's why people watch it more than rival networks), you made the double error of asking rigged questions and then inferring a cause-and-effect relationship. Good job at reinforcing your own beliefs.

"63 percent of Fox viewers believe Obama was not born in the US (or that it is unclear)." And having decided that there's absolutely no ambiguity (perhaps you've seen the original, more-closely-guarded-than-military-secrets BC rather than the summary?), you decided that anyone who questions the official story is "uninformed". You could probably do the same thing with global warming too, or the assertion that the Constitution's "commerce clause" means Congress can force people to buy things. In other words, your ideal citizen doesn't question the official story of things.

Think that this study will be used to push for forcible shutting down of this opposition network, Chavez-style, as various people on the socialist left have actually grumbled about? Or just used for traditional media to console themselves with?

Comment Wireless Modem Problems (Score 1) 53

I don't think wireless modem problems in general should surprise anyone. I'm using a Verizon USB device right now, and while it usually works all right, it has random weird misbehavior like claiming to be connected yet being unable to do anything, or claiming an "invalid username and password" when no new user info has been entered. Probably just standard hardware quirkiness.

Comment Unity (Score 1) 179

I've got an eeePC netbook with WinXP, and am not impressed by this Unity interface being offered. The description of it looks like Ubuntu's trying to be as much like Apple as possible. "We made the desktop look like someone spilled colorful pills all over it and hid everything but your favorite "apps", which we want you to get from our walled garden. We put everything into a "Me Menu" which you probably can't even rename, and you can, like, totally use Twitter and Facebook because everybody who's anybody uses those."

I might try the Aurora version if it ever actually comes out. Since I'd be investigating Ubuntu without a strong reason to do so, I'd need some hand-holding to avoid exhausting my patience. Haven't yet seen an edition that has a big default button saying "click here for a tutorial about where everything is and how to do stuff". And is there a way to dual-install in such a way that I don't need to wait an extra beat or use a menu when turning the computer on, to pick an OS?

Comment Insightful? Really? (Score 1) 1193

Actually, the bottom half or so of the US population pays no federal income taxes, and the top 1%, 5% etc. pays a hugely disproportionate share. Want to see the guys dodging taxes relative to the amount of money they make? It's huge corporations like Google that give loads of money to the Democratic Party, as Google did.

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