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Comment Re:OMG (Score 1) 160

There is a limit to how much plants and algae can survive with existing nutrients, plus we've been killing them. Not to mention some stuff falls to the ground or the ocean bottom, never to return its oxygen again. Not everything rots.I imagine complex life having arisen and expanded even before we were around might have had something to do with it as well. Lots of animals eat plants.

Comment political motive vs. profit motive (Score 4, Interesting) 112

from the ./ summary:

Each country builds and maintains its own infrastructure for connecting citizens to the wider internet. The decision to expand and maintain the infrastructure in one region and not another is up to those in power. And therein lies the problem: Ethnic and religious minorities who are excluded from their country's political process may also be systematically excluded from the global internet.

Advocacy of individual economic freedom is often criticized because, among the many possible exercises of that freedom, is radical capitalism: the single-minded pursuit of profits over all other social concerns. Yet, a dedication to monetary profit alone in such conditions as described in the linked study would be preferable to the actual circumstance: a dedication to denying an oppressed group a vital service. Certainly there is much to be made by selling these groups internet service and someone is forgoing profits by not making those sales. More accurately, someone is compelled by government to forgo profits.

If all you want to do is make big profits, by definition you do not want to limit those profits by declining sales to politically unpopular groups.

The economist Milton Friedman said, "Human freedom and economic freedom work together." I disagree because that understates the connectedness of those freedoms; the two are one-in-the-same.

   

Comment We Risk Programming Inequality into Our DNA? (Score 4, Interesting) 367

from the ./ summary:

We Risk Programming Inequality into Our DNA ...With gene editing, this may be possible. Scientists are pioneering the ability to tweak our DNA to wipe out disease and maybe even allow us to choose desirable traits in our unborn children, like height or intelligence.

That is a rather stupid take on the issue for at least two reasons:

First, the situation at present is that humans already have unequal genetic gifts. Genetic engineering will enable us to help those who are deficient, to aid those (or the children of those) who suffer from from lousy genetic makeup. Think of it as eugenics done right; We do not exterminate or sterilize the genetically deficient, instead we enhance the genes of their offspring and let them carry on. That would increase, not decrease equality.

Second, we should be concerned with improved well-being of society as a whole, instead of (as appears the poster to be) obsessed with a perverse desire to make everyone equal. Making just only one person in the world better off is always a Pareto improvement but can either increase or decrease equality.

     

Comment make the punishment fit the crime (Score 5, Insightful) 124

So a few months ago, because I could not find the information anywhere on the entire internet, I did a back-of-the-envelope calculation to estimate how much more polluted the air in the U.S. is as a result of the VW emissions cheat. The answer is that the air is about zero percent more polluted because of that cheat.

The reason for that is that baseline emissions of diesel exhaust pollutants in the U.S. is so enormous. Commercial diesel tractor trailers emit pollutants at a much higher rate than do VW cars because the engines are so much larger and consume fuel at higher rates. The trucks run many more miles per years than the cars. There are many more diesel trucks than diesel cars. (There a lot of trucks and VW diesel cars are not huge sellers in the U.S.) So the net percentage increase in pollution because of that cheat calculates out to about zero.

VW is worth a lot of money and has not much political clout in the U.S. so this turned into feeding frenzy for lawyers. Penalties of this size are entirely unjustified by the degree of harm.

There should be a price for polluting, based strictly on the types and volumes of pollutants, and it should be applied to all, regardless of the type of vehicle or its nation of origin, or its owner. The right solution here is to tax vehicle exhaust emissions at a single universal rate and let manufacturers and buyers decide what to make and what to buy.

What we have instead is sanctioned pillaging.

 

Comment think of the children... (Score 1) 760

However, seven states who implemented drug testing for tax benefit program recipients spent $1 million on drug testing from the inception of their programs through 2014. But the average rate of drug use among those recipients has been far below the national average -- around 1% overall, compared with 9.4% in the general population

People who grow marijuana and smoke it should be prohibited from receiving government aid, but if you can not get a job because you are a chronically lazy, chain-smoking obese alcoholic with a porn addiction and a gambling compulsion then you are welcome to government handouts. What kind of incentive is that?

Conditioning government aid on actual need would be more appealing if the people devising policy were not imbeciles.

They could start by weighing fat people before giving them food stamps (SNAP). Your income is seized, under threat of prosecution, fines and imprisonment, to fund other people making themselves unhealthily fat. Your income is seized, under threat of prosecution, fines and imprisonment to pay for "free" health care required for medical treatments incurred from that obesity. "Your tax dollars go to save the lives of staving orphans" has more appeal when you are actually paying to save the lives of starving orphans and not buy groceries for that lardass blocking the aisle at the grocery on her i-am-to-fat-to-walk scooter with a cartload of donuts and steak, and then pay her medical bills.

Comment Lynch will indict (Score 2, Insightful) 742

"[Assange] doesn't think it will happen under Attorney General Loretta Lynch. "

Obama will not do anything to damage Hillary's chances of winning the election but there will be a limit to how much of a corrupt jackass Obama is willing to make himself look like to help here out. We already know, based on evidence released publicly, that Hillary is guilty and a crazy liar, so if Obama's justice department does not indict he goes down in history as the U.S. President more corrupt than Nixon.

A prediction: Obama has Lynch slow-walk the decision to indict until after Hillary is elected in November 2016, they they indict her. After Hillary takes office in January 2017, she pardons herself.

Comment P.T. Barnum in a Steve Jobs Turtleneck (Score 1) 65

Now, finally, the fraud of Elizabeth Holmes will be revealed. She can deny all she likes but she has known about this from the beginning.

Someone recently called her "P.T. Barnum in a Steve Jobs Turtleneck," but that comparison is unfair to Barnum. Barnum promoted a product which is legitimately intangible: entertainment. Holmes is also promoting something intangible, but which actually needs to exist and work to have value: blood tests.

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