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Comment Re:But... (Score 1) 237

The figures were for the Netherlands. By the way, the use of diesel is being discouraged here for a while now;l the tax on the fuel is low so as not to ruin farmers and truckers who depend on it, but the high road tax on non-business diesel vehicles makes them an unattractive choice for anyone not driving a ridiculous amount of kilometers every year.

Fireplaces are mostly being used as "decorative heating", not to actually heat the house all day, so the cost of the wood isn't a big factor. I pay €9 for a a bag of wood that lasts 2 evenings. The fact that fireplaces are only used to bring some cheer in winter, I sooner expect the government to ban their use than to subsidise better ones.

Comment Re:But... (Score 2) 237

If things keep getting worse? Perhaps in developing countries. But such smog already was a common occurrence in large European cities in the early 20th century, and in some cities as early as the 1700s. This was mostly due to burning wood or coal for heating and cooking. The switch to natural gas for heating along with improvements in IC engine technology, and a shift from diesel to petrol (except some countries like France where diesel is still very popular), have made the air here a lot cleaner since the '60s. Things have gotten a lot better, and they are still improving.

People still keep going on about cars and pollution, but in truth it's a small contributor these days, especially to particulate matter. Last figures for PM2.5 particulate emissions in NL show a only 5% contribution from cars (not including trucks). In contrast, container vessels contribute 17%, and a whopping 26% comes from fireplaces. Not surprising then that people already managed to work up a smog in pre-industrial times.

If you want to help the environment and prevent smog, stop worrying about public transport, ditch your diesel and buy a modern car (in NL, maybe we ought to ditch the luxury tax on new cars that in some cases exceeds the factory price). And stop using the damn fireplace, or get an efficient closed fireplace or stove.

Comment Indulgences (Score 5, Insightful) 175

And we're focusing on creating new energy from renewable sources, so we only buy from projects that are funded by our purchases.

What exactly does that mean? Buying green power isn't really all that green: the renewable power you are consuming is power that is not going to be consumed by someone else. To be really green you need to work towards significantly increasing green energy [\production, not consumption. True, what they do does increase demand which may help drive investments in renewables. But I'd be more impressed if they would actually generate most of the power they need themselves. At the scale they use it, that should be economically feasible too.

Comment Re:Mandate reporting when antibiotics are prescrib (Score 1) 75

Yes. But we need to be aware that man is not the only source of antibiotics. They naturally occur. We get a good lot of them from plants and bacteria, starting of course with penicilin which we got from mold, and which was already present on salted food and damp environments. What we did was to make antibiotics present in organisms other than their natural sources.

Comment Everything Old is New Again (Score 2) 75

The Andromeda Strain was published in 1969.

The United States has some disease reporting, it started at least 75 years ago before the antibiotic bubble. This CDC Report summarizes the present state of disease reporting, in two pages. We need higher standards of reporting and legal penalties for failure to report.

Submission + - How to View the SpaceX Falcon 9 Return to Flight at Vandenberg Air Force Base (

Bruce Perens writes: Silicon Valley folks should, sometime, take the opportunity to view a launch at Vandenberg Air Force Base. Lompoc is 4-5 hours from the Bay, 2.5 hours from LA if there's ever no traffic. An upcoming SpaceX launch is notable because it's their return to flight, months after their last attempt blew up on the pad during a pre-launch test. Read how to view the launch.

Comment Re: Less politics (Score 1) 110

Eich resigned because of external pressure on the Mozilla organization. I hear that one of the lobbying activities against him was when the dating site "OK Cupid" started informing Firefox users who accessed the site of Eich's activities and that they should download a browser made by people who don't nominate someone with gender discrimination issues to be their CEO. At the time, 8% of OK Cupid customers were there to arrange same-gender meetings.

They felt he was the public face of the company.

Russ Nelson published a piece on what he theorized was the economic motivation of Blacks to be lazy, and was booted off of the Open Source Initiative board. He wasn't thinking about how it would be perceived. A modified version of the piece is still online, but not the version that got him in trouble. In general, executives are seen as the public faces of their organizations even in the case of Nelson, who was not the chairman of the board, but was simply a member of the executive board. In Nelson's case, it wasn't that he made publicity appearances and press releases, it was that he was one of the people with the power to direct the company (and thus a more real face of the company than soneone who just does PR), and folks did not trust that someone who wrote what he did would behave as they would like in that position.

Comment Re:What's the big deal? (Score 2, Insightful) 250

Playboy departed the nude photo market due to the vast and unending supply of photos and video of all manner of naked people doing sexual things which one can access via the Internet.

However, one can make a case that a good deal of the past content of Playboy was about objectifying women and to some extent the publication still is about that.

It was a dumb decision. Several people just weren't thinking. They're embarrassed now. They learned, and won't do it again.

Comment Re: Less politics (Score 1) 110

It was only 1967 when the United States Supreme Court decided Loving v. Virginia, a miscegenation case. Preventing blacks and whites from marrying, as the State of Virginia (and many others) did with laws on its books until it was forced to remove them in 1967, is an issue of racism, nothing else. One doesn't have to be thin skinned to be disgusted by racism.

Why should I feel any different about gender discrminiation? Texas had a law on the book making homosexual relations illegal in 1998, and two men were arrested for it and similarly to Loving, helped to strike it down in the courts. Marriage discrimination is yet another legal wall erected by the prejudiced. Doesn't take a thin skin at all to oppose it and its supporters.

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