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Comment Re:Computer rendering required? (Score 1) 284

Don't get me wrong, it's a major pain to memorize thousands of characters. But in the language the system is native to (Chinese), it's not as bad as all that. Chinese characters do encode a lot of phonetic information -- it's just suggestive rather than definitive. On the other hand, they encode a *lot* more information about meaning/sense (and even etymology in some cases) than words written in a purely phonetic system.

In Japanese, well, it was probably a misguided decision to import that particular foreign writing system, but you go to literacy with the tools you have, not the tools you wish you had. Unless you're Korea, and then you independently invent the world's most brilliantly designed alphabet... and *still* use some Chinese characters anyway.

Comment Re:Computer rendering required? (Score 1) 284

is having your language based on a character set that requires computer rendering for most people to be able to communicate clearly somewhat asinine?

It would be... if it were actually true.
Kanji aren't some mystical thing that can never be written or recognized by hand. The official list of what kids are required to learn in high school just left out some characters because they were supposed to be "too hard". (Protip: they aren't. It's not some extraordinary superhuman feat to remember how to draw twenty little lines.) The electronics mean they can stop whining about it a bit.

No disrespect to those that practice the art of cartography

...I believe you may mean "calligraphy" here, as map-making doesn't seem at all relevant to the rest of your comment.

Comment Re:Broken? More like fixed. (Score 1) 773

Historically, this has been done via re-distributive taxation: subsidizing federally "friendly" states with funds taxed from the "unfriendly" ones.

This is factually untrue. The more pro-Federal government, liberal/"blue" states tend to pay more in federal taxes than they receive in federal funds; anti-government, "red" states receive more federal money than they pay in taxes. See e.g. here; I'm not immediately finding more recent figures, however.

Comment Re:Broken? More like fixed. (Score 2, Insightful) 773

If we have to do that as a private business, what makes government any different?

The fact that it's a government.
See the "Paradox of Thrift" and here generally.

I don't agree with all the bailouts that have been done lately, but there are two points here. First, these bailouts are necessary because the markets were insufficiently regulated. They got out of control, and as a result burned not only the bad people, but the good ones too. The bailing-out of Wall Street was (at some level) necessary, even if it was horrifically poorly structured, because otherwise the further spread of the collapse would have crushed your business, just like everyone else's. Google "counterparty risk" sometime.

We can't run a government based exactly on the Constitution for the same reason we can't build all computers off the model of a 1965 IBM mainframe spec -- government, as a technology, has evolved way beyond where it was 250 years ago. And mostly for the better (though manifestly not for the perfect).

Comment Re:Broken? More like fixed. (Score 1) 773

Each state is a reasonable size for local government

Somebody hasn't looked at a map lately.
State sizes and borders are primarily determined by historical artifact. They are in no sense of self-governable size. Even some Eastern states, like New York, have population disparities that make them almost ungovernable.

Moreover, modern governments' main function is to ensure the steady and effective progress of the economy. (That's a descriptive statement, not a prescriptive one). Without individual currencies, states could not accomplish this goal effectively (see Greece), but you couldn't have a much more minarchist central government while still avoiding disastrous panics, such as were commonplace before the New Deal and the regulatory regime put in place at that time. (Our recent troubles are largely due to the fact that the government is too small in its regulatory actions). But, if states actually had their own currencies, the Union would probably cease to function; even the Founders knew that (though they were writing the Constitution at the very dawn of the birth of modern economics).

Comment Re:Old News (Score 1) 636

Also, let's not lose sight of a key issue here:
If it looks like you're doing twice the speed limit, odds are pretty good you were speeding. Speaking as someone with a general mistrust of authority and who has been investigated for a serious crime under false pretences, I am perfectly content for police to enforce just laws against people who violate them.

Comment Re:GPS (Score 1) 636

My guess is it falls under the category of "attempting not to get disbarred for offering advice in a jurisdiction where he is not licensed to practice" or some such.

Also, remember, if he's *your* attorney from the Internet, and you lose your case, it hurts his win-loss record, and then he might not make the All-Star Litigation this year.

Submission + - BP knows better than University Scientists (onlineathens.com)

An anonymous reader writes: UGA and USF scientists have reported finding oil not only on the surface of the gulf, but also drifting far below the surface in long plumes. BP officials, however, adamantly deny the plumes' existence, insisting that "the oil is on the surface." One of the plumes, according to scientists, is 22 miles long and six miles wide. Could we be witnessing the beginning of the death of the Gulf of Mexico?

Comment Re:Let Them (Score 1) 1123

I'm confused. Are you endorsing this?

In a democratic system, the people in whom trust is placed, ultimately, are intended to be the citizens. Not the cops, not the congresscritters, not the president, not the corporations, but the collective will of the population, who should be informed of the effectiveness of the people carrying out its will, and exercise recall power over them.

Or in other words, we should trust the cops because we've got our eyes on them. I don't subscribe to this faith-based government...

Comment Re:Pure theater (Score 1) 235

Regarding importing oil from Titan:
While we are set to run out of oil here pretty fast, it would be a really colossally [pun averted] bad idea to bring a huge source of hydrocarbons here and burn it. We're liable enough to kill ourselves off burning our own hydrocarbons, let alone a whole new space-rock of them.

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