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Comment Re:Basic Scrutiny (Score 2) 891

3. It can not replace current Welfare systems and still requires those same programs.

This one just isn't true. The whole point of a basic income is that it would completely replace welfare, social security, food stamps, and disability in one fell swoop. Why would you keep those programs if a basic income provides them with similar amounts of money? And if it doesn't, how can it actually be considered a survivable basic income?

While I am in favour, in principle at least, of UBI the GP does raise a good point on the issue of disability benefits. Whilst UBI will cover the basic neccessities of living an individual's disability might impose additional requirements beyond those basics, which will have a financial cost. Without a disability allowance, one above and beyond UBI, some disabled people will not be able to survive.

However, the fact that there are some concerns with the 'edge cases', and some uncertainty and disagreement as to how they will be addressed, isn't an argument against the system as a whole.

Comment Re:China should have been allowed to join the ISS (Score 1) 265

Have you read that document in its entirety?

I consider myself a fairly laid back person, liberal (in a more original sense than is perhaps used today), with a strong live and let live attitude towards life, and yet I can't bring myself to see eye to eye with some of the articles and the overall wording of that declaration.

While it is undoubtedly a 'good thing' (TM) I suspect you have to live with unicorns and smoke rainbows to fully jive with what it says...

Comment Re:Gee (Score 5, Insightful) 313

I tend to agree that the 'real' money, or rather the 'real' profit, is made by capitalising on tiny fluctuations in the share price over periods of less than a second. Tiny amounts of profit, times lots and lots of transactions, on a continuous basis = huge profits.

However, it doesn't add liquidity in any meaningful fashion, and it doesn't provide any benefit to the corporation whose shares are being traded or to a wider society. It is, purely and simply, economic parasitism.

The simple solution is a miniscule transaction tax on every share, either purchased or sold (your pick, my preference would be those sold, with the exception of the share offerings made by the company selling its shares for the first time - resales / reissues, after share buy backs would incur the tax).

With this system, since the purchaser doesn't face increased costs there's no practical reason for any reduction in available liquidity, and it effectively destroys the system that allows the parasites to exist, by adding proportionally significant costs to their existance, while adding, proportionally, no significant increase in cost to long term share investors.

The only remaining question in my mind would be whether to make the tax a flat, albeit very small, rate, which would affect the sales of lower value stocks slightly more than higher value ones (if only because of investor perception based primarily on lifetime percentage growth figures), or a variable rate tax based on the price of the shares in question, which, while removing this perceptual disparity, would slightly limit the effectiveness and removing all the parasites from the system.

I'd be happy to leave wiser minds than mine that decision though... if only governments (or even the exchanges themselves) had the courage to implement the system in the first place.

Comment Re:Don't agree with the conclusion .... (Score 1) 235

It is precisely because of (most of) the reasons you give that raising gasoline prices is the optimal solution to the problem.

High fuel prices mean people drive less. Full Stop. Ergo pollution, of all kinds, drops. In addition higher fuel prices discourages urban sprawl, encouraging people to live closer to where they work, in cities, where they use less land, more efficiently, own less, which in turn requires less production, which once more means less pollution is created..

At the end of the day, the solution is not intended to enable us all to have and eat as much cake as we want, whenever we want, it is intended to limit our consumption to sustainable levels. This requires a(n uncomfortable) change in our lifestyles. Denying this delays the necessary adjustment(s), and, barring any future tech which automagically makes the problems go away, will inevitably exacerbate the eventual pain - albeit maybe shift that pain down a generation or two.

Understand I'm not trying to have a go at you personally, or in fact anyone in particular. The sad fact is that mass transit is not a viable option once you get outside city limits, both in terms of the financials or the pollution it creates. Unfortunately the 'American Dream' of life in suburbia, with a large house and yard, a dual car garage, all the mod cons is not, currently, a sustainable lifestyle. Switching to electric cars will not change that, as it does nothing to discourage the sprawl, with the infrastructural necessities that entails. Gains in efficiency will not change that, as they are swallowed by a chain of rebound effects - essentially the more you save from efficiency the more you can buy, so the more you (and everyone else in the supply chain) use.

I know this is an unpopular viewpoint. I suspect I will receive some scathing replies. Another sad fact is that that doesn't change the facts...

Comment Re:EVERY TIME A GW ADVOCATE (Score 1) 680

Every time a global warming advocate exclaims "Weather isn't Climate" a moron is born.

Whilst I appreciate, and agree with, your point that some climate change advocates are equally as guilty at conflating weather and climate as some deniers, I do not appreciate being likened to a moron for calling someone out on it.

Sorry, can you STFU with that line. We understand it far better than you all, who use every weather incident as an argument to your case.

No, I will continue to call people when they use fallacious reasoning. I'm not at all convinced you "understand it far better than us all", because if you did we wouldn't be having this argument. And, no, I do not use individual weather incidents as arguments for 'my' case. By all means disagree with my stance, debate the specifics of what I've written, but don't pretend I've said something then argue against your own imaginings as though it were me.

And the irony, is that I see this argument pitched repeatedly, when a skeptic or critic hasn't even made a claim about weather. You want a reason why people disbelieve, it's because of idiots like you who always retort "Weather isn't Climate" ...

And the irony is, he did make claims about the weather, conflating it with climate. As for the reasons for 'their' disbelief, if it is really just because of a fit of pique then I pity them. I'm going to guess however that it's not quite that simple. 'They' are still mistaken in their beliefs, but it's hopefully an error that observation, education, and time (hopefully not too much of it) will correct.

but then ignore the fact that well gee....critics are blasted repeatedly everytime weather occurs. Too many hurricanes, too few hurricanes, too much snow, too little snow, too much rain, not enough rain, heck.....I even heard the lack of sunspots was do to global warming.

Like I said, there are people on both sides of the debate who use ridiculous arguments. It's a good thing to call them out for using them, and correct them on the specifics of what they said wrong and, if possible permanently correct their misapprehensions too, so they no longer continue to spout crap. Honestly, if someone said to me that "lack of sunspots was do (sic) to global warming" I'd have laughed so hard I'd have cried - and yes it would be very hard indeed not to ridicule any 'intellect' capable of coming up with such a notion.

At worst, Global Warming wipes out humanity, frankly, this would be a good thing for the planet.

How very mature of you! And, actually, at worst global warming will wipe out over 99% of all species currently living on this planet, including humanity, and permanently change the equilibrium point for planetary temperatures. In all likelihood (>99.99%) this won't happen in our lifetimes, or that of our children, or even our grandchildren, should we have any, but that doesn't mean it's not a valid concern. As much as I despair of some people, even though there are some people I actively do not like, wishing for the end of civilisation strikes me as a tad overkill...

Comment Re:This isn't really that hard to understand (Score 1) 680

Face it; climate science is *hard*. So difficult, in fact, that the weather forecasters still get it wrong.

I know I have replied to you before, saying much the same thing as I'm going to say again now. Maybe it will make no difference, but I can hope...

Climate is not the weather. Weather forecasting is not climate prediction.

Weather systems are inherently chaotic, never completely predictable, which is why weather forecasts can appear so horribly wrong. For example, if heavy rain is predicted at a certain populated coastal location but the weather system dumps its load 50 miles offshore it certainly appears as though the forecasters made a huge error, and people see and remember that mistake. The fact that the weather system had been building over a course of fifteen hundred miles, and, in a sense, the prediction was therefore only out by a matter of a few percent doesn't even register.

I have used the example of rolling dice previously. The weather is a single roll. Even if your die is somewhat skewed there is still a significant chance that any particular observed roll will differ from a prediction of that roll. The climate is the average of all those rolls (weather events), and any predictions made regarding it will be far more accurate in the sense of having a smaller difference between the observed value and the predicted value. In other words, even if you can't trust the weather forecast to any great degree, you can place a far greater degree of trust in climate forecasts.

Understanding the science is restricted to the few who have made it their lives to understand it, and of course who knows how biased they are. You'll never sell the general public that way.

No. You have to make the issues smaller and localized. Personable.

Understanding the science, the basic science, is easy, and in no way restricted to people who have devoted their lives to it - this is one of the beauties of education. The problem is misinformation and disinformation, and that on a massive scale. Well, actually that's not 'the' problem, but it's one of the larger ones, along with greed and apathy among other things.

Global Warming is the tragedy of the commons all over again, but this time writ on a planetary scale. This is not a problem that can be addressed locally, but it is a problem that needs addressing. And sooner (preferably some years ago, but ho hum...) rather than later because, specific 'threats' of doom aside, if we leave it much later it really will be too late if we want to maintain anything vaguely resembling our current standard of living.

Comment Re:This isn't really that hard to understand (Score 1) 680

This is a pretty insightful, yet very worrying, comment.

I recently finished The Conundrum by David Owen, and in it he gives the following figures (albeit quoted from someone else's paper, but, since I've returned the book to the library I'm afraid I no longer remember who the original study was by):

We, as in mankind in totality, currently consumes energy at a 'rate' of 16 trillion watts (16 terawatts).

Limiting atmospheric CO2 to 450 ppm will require freezing this energy consumption and converting all bar 20% of it to energy from carbon neutral sources. This conversion will require building (for example - we can dicker about what proportions of these various carbon neutral sources suit our preferences another time):

100 square meters of solar cells, 50 square meters of solar thermal reflectors, and one Olympic size swimming pool’s volume of g’engineered algae for biofuels every second for the next 25 years, and

1 three hundred foot diameter wind turbine every five minutes, and 1 one hundred megawatt geothermal powered steam turbine every eight hours, and 1 three gigawatt nuclear power plant every week, also all for the next 25 years.

The sheer scale of the problem boggles my mind! It is absolutely no wonder many people would prefer to bury their heads in the sand. But, it is precisely because of this scale that governments need to address the issue. Action on an individual level, however admirable it might be, is simply not sufficient, far from it - and, as you'll see if you read the book, might actually be exacerbating the problem.

On that note, while I can't say I agree with everything he says within the book it is a very very good and thought provoking read, and I'd really recommend it for anyone who's not prone to fits of despair / nihilism.

Comment How does "Joe" know? (Score 1) 149

Let's take a relatively smart, but also relatively ignorant, common man whose router, pvr, smart tv, etc have been compromised.

And if one or some of one's devices are partly responsible for this:

How would he know?

What steps can he take to find out if he's part of the problem?

And, perhaps as importantly, if he finds out he is, what can he do* to fix the problem and prevent it happening again?

There's no prize for good advice, but a detailed and thorough answer would be of use I'm sure :-).

*Yep, I can think of a few things: reset / re-flash / update; use a border firewall; ... but, if your devices have been 'pwned' before, if they're inherently vulnerable, what then?

Comment Re:Nope (Score 1) 284

The obvious answer to this would be children. Not every time, sure, most of the time all they end up with is something equally as complex as themselves, but, given that life seems to have evolved into some very complex forms from some very simple ones, I'm somewhat puzzled by your obtuseness.

In a different vein, as to whether a computer or a computer network, or a city is currently more or less complex than an individual person is debatable but, given enough time, it's a debate that's only going to have one conclusion.

Comment Re:Nope (Score 1) 284

Sault's law says a thing cannot make an artifact as complex as itself.

I've never heard of this law, but in a sense it sounds legitimate. It misses one rather significant point though...

I am not alone. Two people working together can achieve more than two people working alone, and, moreover, by working together they can achieve things that are simply not possible by two people working alone. And this scales, i.e. three people working together can achieve more that two people, and so on. The same applies to the machines that we make - in essence it only takes two machines working together to be able to make a machine more complex than either one of the originals.

it is unlikely any civilization would get even close to simulating the universe it lives in.

Without any supporting arguments this is a very 'interesting' position to hold. Respectfully, I disagree. I rather suspect that once a civilisation reaches a certain level of technical expertise it is an almost forgone conclusion that they will get around to, and reasonably close to*, simulating the universe.

*For certain values of reasonably and dependent upon the starting conditions the simulator chooses to input.

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