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Comment Re:Check out Modest Needs charity (Score 2) 618

Sounds a lot like the St. Vincent de Paul society. http://www.svdpusa.org/
They seem to have chapters at just about every Catholic church I have been to.
You go to the church asking for help, the put you in contact with St VdP and you explain your need to them.

From what I understand there is usually a home-visit checking for things like 'I can't pay my electric bill because I spent all my money on a new $500 TV'
Then they help you pay the bills you need help with.

Aside from checking for frivolous expenditures, the only requirement I am aware of is you need to go to the church which serves your geographic location(your parish). As far as I am aware there is no requirement related to your religion, but it would probably be a good idea to take down any symbols or decorations around your house that may leave a bad taste in the mouth of those coming to see if you would make responsible use of the money you are asking them for.

Comment Re:Spare $1,500/month for new immigrant won't work (Score 1) 618

Everyone with a salary or hourly wage is required to pay pay-roll taxes, and above a minimum threshold, income taxes as well.(billionaires included, but few of them have this sort of income)

There is also the Capital Gains tax(~15% I believe) on any income from investing back in the economy(this is where most billionaires get income)
In theory this is to encourage investments in the economy as that increases the GDP and helps there to be more for everyone.
This was more valid back when the stock-market had more to do with capitol investments in companies and less to do with High Frequency Trading.

Comment Re:They'll never be persuaded by facts. (Score 0) 303

You have a very simplistic view of anyone critical of mainstream climate change attitudes. If there's a common attribute to the critics I think it would be anti-alarmism.

Between politicians trying to take advantage of any alarm they can foster to push pet projects and technologies to reclaim land from the ocean that have been proven over hundreds of years(1/6 of the current Netherlands was swamp/ocean before they started building dikes hundreds of years ago, along with parts of San Francisco and many other places: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... ) I would agree that I am more anti-alarmist than anti-global warming. The only thing I know for certain about man-made climate change is that it has been so much of a political football that I am not in a position to be certain one way or the other.

Personally I support postponing the next glacial period, or possibly even ending the current ice age. Our current climate is really hard on plants and animals causing regular periods of dormancy/starvation for most of the planet(not counting the technologies humans have managed to leverage to mitigate those periods for ourselves and our animals).
If the melting of the ice-caps would flood large swaths of valuable land, then just build dikes, it has worked for hundreds of years, no reason for it to stop working now. (might be easier to build those dikes before the flooding instead of after, but either will work)

Comment Re:RNC? (Score 1) 133

Would Obama do the same thing if it was the Republican National Convention?

They probably did, but having proof that the RNC colluded to try and stop Trump would be such a non-event that it might even increase political stability.

Presumably the goal here is to cause instability by undermining the candidate that is being proclaimed as the likely next president by the major media outlets.
And if those claims turn out to be more wish than fact, it still servers to make politicians nervous.

Comment Re:No chance (Score 2) 267

If the USA is unable to stop it by conventional means, then absolutely, yes.

  That's exactly how deterrence works.

And the moment you show you're unable or unwilling to use it, all bets are off, everywhere, for every US ally. The threat becomes useless if you reach the point where you would use it, and you blink and back down instead. The USA would no longer be able to deter China from anything short of an invasion of the mainland USA - and even then, if you keep drawing lines in the sand and I keep crossing them, at what point do I start thinking you'll suddenly change just because I cross another one?

Like the US used nukes to defend the Ukraine just as we swore to do in exchange for them getting rid of their nuclear weapons?

I hope that deterrence is not broken unless and until we prove our willingness to use Nukes again, but I fear it may be.

Comment Re:And So It Begins... (Score 1) 220

Rush hours will likely be much less of a hassle because the SDC's will be able to handle the congestion much more efficiently and intelligently.

Only up to a certain point, and as politicians would rather spend money on themselves, this will just mean less road construction until things are at least as bad as they were under human control (probably worse, as the time-cost is not as severe when you can do other things during the trip, so less pressure will be brought to bear on fixing things).

Comment Re: End game? (Score 3, Interesting) 152

They no longer participate in society. No marriages. No offspring.

You think people are going to stop fucking because they are mad at politicians...? Or that people would cause their own economic downturn and willingly give up their jobs, and in turn food & shelter? Uhhh... No thanks.

Ever heard a phrase to the effect 'This is not a world I would want to bring a child into'?

Between abortions and contraceptives there is no need to stop having intercourse, just stop having babies. Without immigration, the population of 'first world' countries is already shrinking.

Also, the worse the economic climate, the more people will save their money against future problems. Not everyone, but those with discretionary income will be more inclined to save it up or put it somewhere safe as opposed to making more purchases or making riskier investments.

Have you heard the phrase 'jobless recovery' much in the last few years?

I doubt it is any sort of intentional protest, but if people do not have confidence in their leaders, they will tend to hold back.
(if you are stuck with the choice between Trump and Hillary, and the one you want least wins, will you celebrate by going out and buying a car?)

Comment Re:Size of the animal (Score 1) 209

Want to explain why mice or gerbils or hamsters don't live to be 100 then?

Smaller critters often have a very high metabolism and that wears out the heart and other organs quite fast.

A normal cat's heart rate is between 140 and 220 bpm Lifespan ~15 years
Dog: 60-140 beats/min Lifespan: 13y
Gerbil: 260-600 beats/min Lifespan: 2-3y
Mouse: 310-840 beats/min Lifespan: 12-36m
Hamster: 310-480 beats/min Lifespan: 18-36m
google(cat, dog),
http://www.peteducation.com/ar... (rodents)

You get a small critter with a slow metabolism and it should live for a very long time as it would have very little wear from either gravity or metabolism.
A good example of this might be the turtle:
Turtle: 25 beats/min Lifespan: 80y
80 years sounds like a pretty good lifespan for a critter with little or no modern health care...

Comment Re:That cuts both ways (Score 2) 92

Simple solution - socialise your healthcare.

Having seen how thoroughly the US government has botched other social programs, and the amount of bureaucratic over-head caused by every congressperson trying to get cut-outs for their donors(and occasionally for their voters), I cannot see US socialized medicine as a viable option.

Other countries have managed to do this with more or less success, but so long as the US government continues to treat its citizens as enemies, those citizens are unlikely to (and probably should not) trust that same government to have control over their health care.

Perhaps once politicians and bureaucrats have won the trust and support of the American people we can have a rational discussion about socialized medicine in the US, but most of them have not been working in that direction in a very long time...

Comment Re:How is this news for nerds? (Score 1) 1083

"That's not true for gay marriage, where literally nothing but the label on a line on a form changes."

Nothing but a label.

Fair enough, I have a couple more labels I would like to change:
owner/pet to spouse/spouse
no other changes needed.
This is an even better match because just as sodomy is/was illegal in many jurisdictions, bestiality is often illegal now.

And for some of those in the BDSM community:
Spouse/Spouse to owner/slave
or even
Spouse/Spouse to owner/pet

That is just as easy

You are not going to claim that a dog does not love their owner are you? Or an owner that claims to love their dog?

Comment Re:I can agree to that... (Score 4, Interesting) 176

"would have rivaled the old East German Stasi"

Are you kidding me? When was the last time you feared for your life because you said the president is doing a crappy job? How many of your relatives or friends have disappeared into the night?

Hear about what happened to political activists in Wisconsin when they went against the unions or supported those who did?


If something similar is going on today, it would be illegal for anyone to talk about it.
So unless you have personally tried to take political action against the President or other entrenched powers, what makes you think you would *not* be given cause to fear for your life and those of your loved ones should you do so?

Comment Re:I agree somewhat... (Score 1) 108

I agree with you, but not completely. For contrast, the Darpa grand challenge led to Google's self-driving car, which is poised to put 3 million truck drivers out of work.

You didn't reply to me, but I'll give it a shot...

Go back 115 years ago and look at how many jobs Horses had in the year 1900. They did everything from move people to haul stuff to ride into war. All those jobs sucked for horses.

Imagine the horses looked at cars and thought, "well, those cars might replace some of our jobs, but as we move into the city, there will be lots of people, so there will be plenty of new things for us to do.

As a human looking back past the year 2000, you know this is absurd, there are few jobs today that a horse can do that pays for its care and feed.

Horses didn't become unemployed because they became fat and lazy, they became unemployable. The horse population peaked around 100 years ago and it has been nothing but downhill since.

It won't happen next year, or even 5 years from now... but at some point... all those drivers, from taxis to trucks, will become unemployable through no fault of their own. They simply will not be able to compete with the cost of a robot.

3 million is a pretty small number, even just talking about jobs in the US.
In 2000 the US population was ~ 282.2 million(google search: united states population) and the workforce participation rate(percentage of 16+ with a job, not sure if it includes those on unemployment benefits, numbers from: http://data.bls.gov/pdq/Survey... ) in Jan was 67.3% giving 92.3 million not-working Americans.
In 2015 that goes to 320.9 million (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States) with a Jan participation rate of 62.9% giving 119.4 million not-working Americans, giving us 27.1 million more 'not working' Americans in 15 years, or about 1.8 million additional per year.
As such 3 million more 'unemployable' over a few years is not that big of a change.

While these numbers might seem alarming, you need only look further back to find that from ~1980 to ~2008 was historically high, and before the 60's it was actually below 60%.

Admittedly there is quite a difference between 'no longer needed'(truck drivers in 2025) and 'not available for employment'(1950's house-wife), as the latter increases the scarcity of labor and thus increases wages, while the other only increases the competition for the remaining available jobs, reducing the cost of labor.

Comment Re:I love KSP, but sometimes... (Score 1) 99

I have to admit the sheer complexity of the paid version is what's keeping me away from paying anything near full price. The demo was fairly simple - attach a stupid amount of boosters to a nose cone and hope for the best, but recently i've been watching lets plays and it seems to be far more complicated to do similar things and i'm just not sure i'll be on the right side of fun vs frustration.

I suppose it depends on how you play.
If you start out in career mode(restricted funds and parts) with hard settings(no revert to launch/hangar for when things go wrong) and just start experimenting, you may well get frustrated if you ignore the contracts(income source) and keep running out of funds.

On the other hand, if you start out with the sandbox mode(no limits on funds or parts) and get the feel of what works and what does not, you should enjoy the game much more.

Alternately you could start in science mode(unlimited funds, but you need to collect science to unlock advanced parts), to first learn the basics then add complexity as you add in new parts.

Also, there are quite a few players who have various tutorials and such on youtube and there should shortly be new ones for the new version. (search youtube for Scott Manley if you want to see plenty of tutorials from a seriously capable player)

If you enjoy fireworks, you may just find yourself making deliberately bad design decisions to see how spectacularly they blow up... (recommend you use sandbox mode for this)

Finally, if there is anything you do not care for or would like to change in the game, 'there's a mod for that.' Personally I like Kerbal Engineer Redux(gives you calculated thrust-to-weight and delta-v per stage both while building and while flying as well as many additional useful details like altitude above terrain and how much higher or lower you would need to be to do a vertical 'suicide burn' to get to 0 altitude and 0 vertical velocity at the same time), and Stage Recovery(in career mode it gives you a partial refund for parts that would survive landing when they leave the physics bubble)

Comment Re:If "yes," then it's not self-driving (Score 1) 362

To allow the driver to fully hand off control to the car, the car should be able to handle it all. The driver assist functions we have available on certain cars nowadays are a great start in working towards full control by the car: now the car will intervene in certain emergency situations, when that's all settled, we can think about giving off control of the rest of the ride as well. For fully automatic drive, the car should not rely on human intervention, ever.

I think it is perfectly reasonable for a self-driving car to (safely) pull over to the side of the road and come to a stop when there is a scenario which it is unable to handle on it's own.

Situations such as out of gas, major engine problems, tires no longer functioning properly, road closures with no available/allowed alternate route, or other 'I do not know what to do next, so I came to a stop in a reasonably safe location to ask for help' scenarios.

Admittedly you will want some way to verify that the shoulder is present when you do this, but other than that, stopping by the side of the road should be a valid failure mode.

Comment Re:It is unfair competition (Score 1) 204

I cant find any suggestions that people living in areas where the electricity is provided by a municipal monopoly are unhappy with the service or wish they had a commercial operator running things.

Even though I am not within the city limits and cannot vote on city matters, I am still required to use City of Austin electricity.
My last house was also outside the city limits but was not inside the boundaries of the City of Austin electricity.
When I could select my provider, my per-KWH cost of electricity was much lower.
Austin has a very strong green party lobby and a very progressive cost structure for electricity(first 500kwh are less than half the price of the second 500kwh and after that it climbs rapidly, not to mention various fees and such that are tacked on to fund various things I did not get to vote on)

As such I am subsidizing the nearby city of Austin with my power bill and paying for my MUD with my water bill.

I would be more than happy to go back to having a commercial electrical provider were it permitted in my area, my commercial provider was quite happy to adjust my billing cycle to allow me to pay all my bills when I want to, as opposed to City of Austin electric which has refused with some claim about my billing cycle being determined by when the readers are scheduled to be in my area and cannot be adjusted by so much as a single day.

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