Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 Internet speed test! ×
User Journal

Journal Journal: New Democrats? Not likely 4

Well, 4 years ago, I voted for Kerry (a first for me as I never voted for a Dem candidate before). This election, I pulled a nearly straight ticket Dem (a few libertarians, but mostly Dem's) with NO republicans. And why did I do it? Because I was hoping that there would be a difference. Now, near as I can tell, there is no difference.

The big issues that killed the republicans were
  1. Total failure in the Iraq war combined with continuing lies.
  2. Near total failure in the terrorists war (different than the Iraq).
  3. Obscene Deficits.
  4. Corruption that is more akin to a 3rd world country than a superpower.
  5. A total failure in morals and ethics.

And what are the Dem's talking about doing about this? Nothing. Nada. Zip.

Nowhere do I hear of them pushing a balanced budget amendment. You would think that if they were worried about deficits, that they would be pushing an amendment.

Or that they would be re-doing the lobbying/election funding process. But not a peep. In fact, here in Colorado, we passed an anti-corruption bill that prevents ex-congressman from lobbying for several years and prevents them from taking more than $50 in "gifts". nearly all of the Republicans howled in fear and hatred of it(very much expected). But most surprising was that a large number of Dem's joined that howling. I think that this will take Joel Hefley's ideas to stop all of this. Too bad that they republicans ran out their last ethical member on a railroad.

As to the war, well, the Dem's backed the backer committee as well as it appears that they will be backing Gates for Secretary of War. And who is Gates as well as who is in the committee? All the same ppl who participated in the October surprise AND the Iran-contra affair. Basically, they are all criminals who have learned that you can screw over the nation AND get away with it. It would appear that we are still doing the same antics of the 80's. I only hope that this time we put a all of them in Levinworth.

And as to ethics and morals, well, let's hope that the corrupt DOJ and DHS will be spying on all the Dems and will stop them before they become as bad as republicans.

User Journal

Journal Journal: America's needed auto solution

America (and the west for that matter) is in a pickle over oil. Why? Because we depend on it. Yet, there is only several dependencies.

  1. Electricity consumption. This is easily replaceable by Nukes, Alternatives and even Coal. IOW, oil is not really needed for this.
  2. Home heating. Again, we have alternatives for home heating by the use of ground based heat pumps (great for cooling too), natural gas, solar, and even electricity.
  3. Chemical production. This is not the mainstay of oil, but there are no alternatives. In this case, it would be in the interest of the west (as well as most of the rest of the world) to have the price of oil plummet because it is used for only chemical production.
  4. Finally, transportation. This is our Achilles heal.

Transportation is our weakness. At this time, America (and even more so, canada) is spread all over. Worse, we have a minimal infrastructure to support an alternative transportation. In Europe, the companies are intermixed with homes. Many people either walk or take the bus. Big difference. We need an easy alternative to the car, but the entire infrastructure is geared around wheeled vehicles. So what can be done different? Simple; do not depend on a oil based automobile.

Our real problem is that Detroit (and Europe with Japan) is building oil based automobiles. Even the new hybrids are being built all around an oil economy. What is needed for them to survive is a hybrid that works along the lines of train; vehicles with electric motors, a small bank of batteries (enough for say 5-20 miles), and then a empty engine bay. The bay could then hold a number of different energy. The first item in there should be an E85 compliant gas generator. Why? because then it can burn either gas or ethanol mix. The nice thing about that is that for a plain car the generator will need to be on the order of 20K or better. That means that a car can then power a house during an electrical outage (think hurricane, earthquake, or tornado outages) or at a job site (such as construction).
Of course, One might be more batteries. In particular, this would be attractive to somebody who does not drive but say 30-50 miles one way in a day i.e. a house wife or a city person. This person could then recharge at home or at work.
Finally, another might be a fuel cell as these come on-line. So what is the real advantage? Society would not have to undergo massive change to accommodate switching to different energy. All in all, only the refuel point would have issues. But this would mean that we could easily switch to what ever is the cheapest to run.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Bush's Immigration "solution"

While I have not gone over 100% of Bush's work (or for that matter, the senates or houses), I am concerned by what is happening.

The real problem is that illegal immigration to USA is rarely a freedom/citizenship issue, but generally one of economics. Most of these ppl come here to make money for a time and then leave after 10-20 years (i.e. once they have enough to be comfortable). This will not be solvable via a legal game. It is only solvable via economic solution (think in terms of the drug war). Bush's (and the others) solutions show that there are other interests here rather than solving the real problems.

One of the first issues is that as long as a person can make lots more money here, then they will flow here. So we really have only 2 solutions. Create higher paying jobs there, or decrease the jobs here (with decreasing pay).
NAFTA is a good starting point for increasing jobs there, but it would be useful to see mexico push venture capital and education.
Now, as to creating a disincentive here, that would mean removing jobs as well as lowering the pay. The only way to lower the job count will be to automate the jobs that are being done. That would mean farming, construction, restaurant, and janitorial. If our gov. put in the money that they are looking into spending on a fence solution, into developing robot tech., then we would see the low-end jobs go away. Interestingly, each industry is rather easy to automate and then market to businesses. One good place would be to automate restaurants and then start selling it to resort restaurants. Think of ski industries which have large crush loads iff the snow is good. But will have very light loads if the snow appears to be bad, or better in other places. Ski resorts restaurants would gladly automate if the robots will actually do the job. Each major industry would automate if the cost of hiring illegals is higher than the costs of the robots.

Another issue is that the admin (and congress) have the choice of allowing illegals or not. For those that are pushing us to allow illegals, they all say that the person had to commit no felony. But there are more problems. In particular, they should speak english. They are in our country. If they have not bothered to learn, then why should we bother with them. Also, if they worked here, then they should have paid taxes. If they counted on the employer to pay, then the employer should be listed and we should dtermine who was not paying taxes. One of them, should have to deal with the consequences of tax evasion, which should be jail time and penalities.

Another problem with Bush's solution is his use of computerized ID. The idea is that somebody tells the employer that they are immigrant and then show their computer card. From there, the card is checked in a central DB along with a fingerprint. Ok. No problem. Right? Wrong. With just this approach, all the person has to do, is say that they are a legal citizen and produce a fake license. IOW, it is the same situation that we have now. Unless the gov. is planning to have ALL of us useing this, which is almost certainly the case. W. is using this as a prelude to having a federal issued ID for all citizens. To really make this work, we will need to be fingerprinted and DNAed (because fingerprints can be faked). Basically, he is backdooring his federal ID which he could not push on us in straight forward fashion. Sig Heil! Bush.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Tackling the oil issue.

Throughout most of the world, oil/gas is expensive. Every so often, we go through these oil spikes that make a lot of money for OPEC and those that service them. But the question is, how is America (and western countries in general) going to stop being hit by these?

Well, the Republicans will tell you that the way out of all this, is to depend on capitalism. As a good Libertarian, I agree in principal. But the problem is that oil is not under free economic policies. Basically, the bulk of the worlds oil is controlled by just a few entities (OPEC and Russia). OPEC is made up of small countries, but they mostly act in unison. So between the 2 of them and the companies that service the industry (companies such as enron and halliburton being good examples), we literally have a monopoly. It is in their best interest to keep the rates just below what the world will tolerate and then slowly keep raising it. And that is what they currently do. IOW, free enterprise is not in play here.

OTH, the Democrats will now try to legislate the issue. That is, they will either insist on raising the fleet MPG average, or they will ask for subsidies for some pet project (which is not much different for republicans/neo-cons of today). This has already shown that if the republicans get control back, they will simply roll back the changes. Notice where Carter's energy changes and Clinton's electric car efforts are? All ditched. Interestingly, Carter's main work was on alternative esp. solar and wind which are finally paying dividends. In addition, while W. pushes subsidized oil and hydrogen, it is the hybrid car with increased battery size that is making an impact.

So, is there an alternative? Yes. We need to understand that we are in the situation we are because we are so heavily entrenched into oil. So we need to change that. One of the bigger issues is that autmobilies hang around for ages. So the cars that middle class bought when gas was relatively cheap, will filter down to the poor. Since automobiles are long-term issues, then oil needs to be a long term issue.
  1. We need to roll back the oil production taxbreaks that has been given. Basically, we are subsidizing keeping our country reliant on oil. Big mistake from a debt and policy POV.
  2. W. actually did major cuts into NREL. The money needs to be restored and focus changed slightly; Basically, we should be researching not energy generation, but energy storage. Alternative energy is awesome, but its generation is rarely consistant. Demand is so varied, that if we can store during the off times, and use it during the peak demands cheaply, then all come out ahead. In addition, a storage system would allow for localized distribution.
  3. We need to kill off the fleet average mpg requirements. They serve no purpose and only allow the auto companies the opportunity to point to "doing enough". Yet, they are dragging their feet. It really causes them to shoot for the minimum, which is a mistake. If GM wants to create 5 mpg hummers, then let them. Look at where they are today vs. Toyota/Honda who build high MPG cars.
  4. Finally, we need customers to buy cars KNOWING that gas will go up. Reagan and W. came in preaching cheap oil. That is a mistake. Since oil is a monopoly, it should be taxed. Basically, we should create a progressive tax on Gas that is known ahead of time. Say every 6 months for the next 2 years, gas tax will go up .25. After that for another 2 years, it will rise .50 / gal / 6 months. That means in 4 years, gas will go up by $4/gal. Now, that sounds harsh. And if you are driving a 5 mpg hummer, it is harsh. Of course, if you are driving a 60 mpg hummer, you really do not mind. This will enocurage those that tend to make long range decision (typically high/middle class) to buy more fuel efficient cars or switch. Why? Because they will not want to be tapped for the gas, and they know that the 5 mpg car WILL depreciate fast. Nobody will want to buy it.

The last item is a real hard thing. First it goes against my beliefs. Second, it will be next to impossible to get it passed. After all, JC and Poppa Bush paid with their jobs for doing what was in national interest. Finally, asking citizens to accept a tax that will grow is unheard of and will be judged Unamerican. Yet, we need a way to encourage LONG range choices to be made.

User Journal

Journal Journal: The long-term view of Illegal Immigration in the USA and EU

I have been giving some thought to what some of the US leaders have been saying about immigration (esp. illegal immigration). If you ignore the racial rantings of such idiots as Tom Tancredo (sadly, he is my district representative), there is an interesting angle that many Americans have not thought about.

Basically, the illegals do come here and they take the low-end jobs that regular Americans do not want. Considering that these ppl do not bleed the system (no welfare, no medical, no retirement, etc), but instead contribute to it (almost all pay taxes), it would seem to be fine(IOW, they contribute more than they take out).

But the real problem is that by having these illegals come here, it discourages us from moving forward. If they were not here, then farmers would be paying much more for workers. Likewise, we would see dishwashers, construction workers, lawn workers, etc. get paid a great deal more. In doing so, it would encourage robotics for these low-end menial jobs.

A good example is that at the Colorado Ski resorts, we need seasonal workers. But they may get lower hours if snow is bad and skiiers are cancelling.

OTOH, if a fast or medium food restaurant were to use robotics for dishwashing, and cooking, then it would be lower costs overall. More importantly, it would allow the wait staff to focus on the customer rather than dealing with the back area.

Another example is that the farmers here are not roboticizing the work when they could afford it. Now, it is much harder to do so, and instead most will start parting their farms to big businesses or selling their water to cities.

Japan has the right idea WRT to doing robotics on the moon and esp. on mars. The ability to have 24 construction and exploration going on would be useful. Because they invest in science and R&D as a nation, there system will go futher down the road.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Alternative Energy and storage of power

I have been a big fan of alternative energy. It was obvious back in the 60's and 70's, that we would be where we are today. We have disagreement over wether pollution is causing problems (global heating, ozone hole, etc). Likewise, arguments locally about if we are currently fighting our war for Oil/Gas or for our Freedom. The main thing that would help, would be to make our country less dependant on other countries. That basically means the Middle East (for oil) and China (for production).

To minimize or remove oil dependancy, we will have to turn to alternative energy sources. That would basically come down to two main forms: electrical generation and Hydrogen production.

Personally, I believe that GM will see to it that H2 production will occur if they get their hywire to production. But it will be slow and spotty. Most likely, it will also be expensive as the producers will most likely be Oil/Gas companies that do not wish to change. In addition, the mechanics will not want to work on this for some time, even though it should be much easier to do.

So we are back looking at electrical generation. Most forms (wind and solar) are intermitent. This will require supplementing either with centralized generation or with some form of storage. Currently we use mostly centralized generation and minimal amounts of storage. Either way is very expensive.

But the one thing that seems to elude most people in the field is that you will not make wholesale conversion to different sources, storage, and useage in one clean sweep. To do so, would require huge changes in a system that does not reward big changes. So we have some alternative production today, but would like more. This requires boosting Normal generation or Storage.

Electrical storage must happen if alternatives are to take off. By de-centralizing storage, we would also be able to store energy for helping during the day, but also during times of crisis. Three good examples come to mind.

  • 9/11
  • The recent power outage
  • Isabel.

In all three cases, Local area energy storage(LAES) would ahve enabled local supplements will the main units and lines were out. These would also allow for night time generation rather than building new plants.

An interesting one is the Sterling engine using high-temperature salts being developed by Beoing. It should be possible to build small units about an acre that would store energy for the local area. By then encouraging the creation of small companies (perhaps co-ops), we create a decentralized approach to energy storage. This prepares for the future use of alternatives as well as helps during times of crisis.

Slashdot Top Deals

The IBM purchase of ROLM gives new meaning to the term "twisted pair". -- Howard Anderson, "Yankee Group"