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Comment Re:Wait, what? (Score 1) 346

And now I work in the private sector again....

Because they went bust and quit government-ing, so you had to? ("Went out of business" just sounded wrong.)

Ha ha. Just kidding. That almost never happens.

Well, a few cities in California.

And Ferguson, MO was headed that way, when traffic ticket revenue took a nosedive for entirely non-mysterious reasons. Fortunately for Mayor Knowles and his buddies, the idiot voters recently out-voted the non-idiot voters, and some new taxes were imposed.

Comment Re:China please (Score 1) 159

Not even in the 20th century.

It's easy to see the parallels between, say, Iraq and Rwanda and Yugoslavia, if you look at each country as one created by colonial powers without regard to the languages and religions and ethnicities of the people there.

After the colonial powers withdrew, conflicts suppressed by the colonizers or their puppet governments eventually or immediately occurred, and you see the civil wars and/or genocides.

"Nation-building" can be a horrific waste.

Comment Or maybe we're just the ones with enough metals (Score 1) 250

Decades ago in a piece in _Analog_ someone (Ben Bova?) made a case for the lack of contact being a lack of metals.

Metals are necessary for technology (as we know it). And technology (as we know it) is necessary to become space-faring. Planets around older stars are less apt to have metals. There won't be any ancient species with interstellar travel until species around the newer stars develop it.

When an ancient species travels to contact a newer one, we might be the ancient ones. Or we'll contact an even more ancient species that lacks the metals for travel.

Been a few years since then, and it's likely discoveries have invalidated that argument. (Those pesky astronomers keep learning new things. "Science marches on.")

Anyone here been keeping up, and care to post about this notion?

Comment Prediction Category 2: too far to test (Score 1) 108

as early as 2090

There seem to be two categories of climate change prediction: too soon to matter ("It's not climate, it's weather"), and too late to test ("as early as 2090").

There is another category: "long enough to be about climate rather than weather, and wrong", but we don't hear about those much.

Comment Re:Since neither is getting elected (Score 1) 264

That's not my experience.

On the issues that matter most to me, the candidates of Democrats and the Republicans are more like each other on the issues than either is like me. I'm in the end zone and they're standing next to each other on the fifty-yard line.

I'm going vote for someone who's in the end-zone near me, or even someone 10 or 20 yards away, before I'd vote for either of those two lunatics.

Just like 4 years ago. And 4 years before that. And 4 years before that. And ...

Comment Sorry, no (Score 1) 519

Economies are just a collection of processes that convert raw materials and labour into useful goods and services.

Bzzt! Thank you for playing.

They're a lot more than that. For one thing, there are people involved.

People who have things they want, to varying degrees. People who have things they are willing and able to do, to varying degrees.

Economies -- at least, the better ones, allow people who have things they are willing and able to do to get things and things they want done, to whatever degree they choose, if they can find a willing person or group of people, directly or indirectly.

Linear programming is not some brand new thing, unavailable to the technocrats who ran the Soviet Union, and East Germany, or to the ones who run Cuba tidat.

The Internet is a wonderful place, full of information and insights and lessons from the past.

There's no need to reinvent the wheel. And certainly no need to re-invent the square wheel.

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