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Comment Do we really? (Score 1) 382

We need carbon based fuel in the now.

Don't know about you, but gas is under $2/gallon where I'm at. Natural gas is holding steady over the last 5 years. Hard to justify any desperate we-need-it-right-now measure.

Let's produce it here. Make jobs here.

The Keystone pipeline takes oil from Alberta, Canada and moves it to Port Arthur for sale and shipment. Apart from building the thing, how would this make jobs here?

Global warming is a far more pressing problem. We don't need more oil, we need less. Any money put to this pipeline would pay far greater dividends in renewable energy sources. Wind, solar, tidal, hydroelectric. Oil was great in its day, but just like coal - it's rapidly becoming unnecessary.

Comment Which makes more sense? (Score 2) 382

Even if all electricity were to come directly from coal, which do you think would add more pollutants to the atmosphere? A million cars, each with a little dinky catalytic converter on them, or a few coal plants with gigantic industrial scrubbers that are not limited by size/space/weight constraints?

Comment Re:Bull shit (Score 1) 171

so proposing that they could do that but then that he won't have signal when he gets there is ludicrous.

Depending on the work crew to have the same repeater that you need is what is ludicrous. Roughly a 1 in 3 chance - and that's assuming that they'd even be bothered... I've never been asked to hang a repeater and I suspect it is not a very common practice. He's not supplying his crews with phones and he's sure as hell not giving them all $300+ repeaters just to save $30/month on a phone bill. Payback period of 30 months or so is not very cost-effective.

Further, work crews working in areas without electricity use air or electrical tools powered by a portable generator.

They often use batteries now. If they do have a generator, there isn't exactly a ton of surplus sockets, it's on-and-off, and a terrible source for sensitive electronics.

(work crews have comm, but Bob doesn't have comm when he visits work crews).

I never said his crews had communications, and if they do it's because they have Verizon or are stepping outside to make calls. He needs to be continuously reachable, not them.

You also still haven't addressed how repeaters would solve his rural/industrial coverage problem when he's on the road or between sites.

Comment Re: I'm sure he had nothing to hide (Score 1) 890

Kosovo is an independent country the same way Abchasia is an independent country - in name only. It is a puppet state controlled by Albanian mafia.

I disagree with this, and I suspect that a detailed discussion of the matter would take us far afield and be unlikely to resolve much.

This is also not correct - for example more soldiers participating in the Crimean war were killed by cholera than by weapons. Typhus was rampant among soldiers during the WW1. The use of antibiotics made wounds far less likely to be deadly and so did blood transfusions that were perfected by the 1960ies.

Antibiotics and blood transfusions are relevant improvements. But the death toll totals hold even when one isn't counting deaths from diseases such as cholera.

As for the Taiping rebellion - true, I guess I am too eurocentric. But there was a reason that WW1 was supposed to be the war to end all wars - never before Europe has been that ravaged and only WW2 topped that, so the wars in Yugoslavia or all the conflicts which resulted from the breakup of the USSR were small potatoes in comparison because of the far smaller scale.

But as a percentage basis of total population at the time, WW1 wasn't that much larger than previous European wars. Around 5 million people died in the Thirty Years war when there were around 600 million people alive. By WW1, there were around 1.6 billion people, and around 20 million people died. So by that standard, WW1 was only about 50% worse than the Thirty Years war.

(Incidentally, Blindsight is an awesome book and that's a great sig.)

Submission + - Aguments for the regualtion of SETI, and METI (Messaging ETI).

RockDoctor writes: John Gertz has been "an active leader in the field of SETI" for many years at the SETI Institute and Foundation for Investment in Research on SETI.

He makes some sober, and frankly dull points on the legal/ policy front ( though the prospect of "the Aliens" having First Contact with ISIS or Kim Jong Un is ... unsettling). However, he also discusses more interesting options.

This author has argued elsewhere that the artificial signal that we first detect may more likely derive from within our own Solar System than from a source outside of it.

Hows that?

Given the widespread of times and possible locations of the origin of life, Gertz thinks that it is plausible that an ETI seeded the galaxy with passive probes that would wait (in shelter) for development of (technological) life within their area, and then initiate communications. If, for our putative ETs, interstellar travel proved impossible for some reason, they might at least have contact with later intelligences by scattering probes around the galaxy which every so-often would "wake up", sample their area for interesting signals, and go back to sleep again for a few generations.

All very "Monolith" (Arthur C. Clarke SF story, later made into several films). But what if a probe hibernating around Sedna were to wake up to I love Lucy? It's response (indeed, it's body) could on the way today, and arrive next week at a DPRK listening post — who choose to reply in secret. To what effect? What could the nuclear power of DPRK do with an alien version of Encyclopedia Galactica 54321 — in comparison to our Encyclopedia 2000?

Gertz raises some probably important policy points, but some really fascinating ideas.

Comment Re: I'm sure he had nothing to hide (Score 1) 890

Kosovo is an independent country. China continues to have serious problems with Tibet (and the situation there has been a part of of some ongoing issues- for example it was part of why the US decided not to include China in the ISS in the 1990s). But your basic point does have some merit; it isn't like the Russian situation is the only example of this sort of thing and many have not been reverted. But every time this happens, there's a damage to this taboo which is by and large strong.

The part with fewer people dying is only true because WW1 and WW2 set the "standards" so ridiculously high. Well, that and better medical support. Compared to the 19th century wars the second half of the 20th century is pretty much competitive.

Improved medical care has mattered certainly, but that's much more in the last 30 or so years (and is partially responsible also for the decrease in homicide rates). But that's relatively recent; modern emergency medicine did improve after World War II, but the casualty death rate during the Korean War and Vietnam were both close to that of World War II. It is only in the last 20 years that the emergency medicine has improved so much as to really make a substantial difference there, and even then it isn't large enough to explain the entire effect. And the idea that the world wars were so ridiculously high isn't accurate. The Taiping Rebellion and the Manchu conquest of China both had higher total death tolls than World War I for example, even as the world population was much smaller (and in fact they occurred in relatively narrow geographic areas). There's an excellent book which discusses many of these issues (although he doesn't give as much attention to the improved medical care as I would have liked)- "The Better Angels of Our Nature" by Steven Pinker.

Comment Re:Bull shit (Score 1) 171

The stated problem

That was only half of the stated problem. The other was coverage in remote areas.

But I'll try again to help you understand why plugging in an adapter wouldn't be practical. For his work crews, sure, maybe one of the guys could bother the homeowner with a doo-dad. For his work crews, the guys frankly don't need to be using their phones very much - they are on the clock. But for "Bob", he's popping in to the various crews over the course of the day. He needs to be reachable by clients at all times, and he isn't going to set up hot spots at every little stop. He doesn't even have electricity available at every job site. Even if he never went to rural areas to pick up supplies, losing his phone signal would not be acceptable.

Comment Re: I'm sure he had nothing to hide (Score 1) 890

The claim isn't that there are no wars, but that there have been few large scale wars. In general, even as the population has gone up, the total number of war casualties has been low, and as a percentage basis, the fraction of people dying in war has gone down. See e.g. http://www.politifact.com/punditfact/statements/2014/jul/21/stu-burguiere/fewer-wars-fewer-people-dying-wars-now-quite-some/. And yes, the claim isn't that there have been no annexations, and yes, every one of those is problematic. The particular problem here is the revanchist aspect- the justifying of annexation by claims that territory was historically one's own or has people in one's own ethnic group, which only applies to some of those. Note by the way that for multiple of your examples, the country attempting annexation doesn't currently have control. For example, East Timor is independent.

Comment Re: I'm sure he had nothing to hide (Score 4, Insightful) 890

The difference is how recent the event is. And that's important. A major reason the last 50 years have been relatively peaceful is that post World War II a general norm has been established that taking territory based on revanchist claims is not acceptable. The events by Russia seriously undermine that norm.

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