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Comment Re:Quoted from TFA (Score 5, Interesting) 200

Yeah, it's hard to see why the article frames this as an indictment of NASA's bureaucracy, given the article explicitly says a senator from Mississippi explicitly forbid them from stopping construction. This is just another reflection of how money is more important than reason in Congress these days.

Comment Re:Please, just stop... (Score 1) 204

While I agree that the language comes of as over the top, the purpose of it is to convey the real risk of cyberterrorism to folks who don't have the time or inclination to fully understand the issue. I've been told by a friend at DHS that China has several hundred thousand people working full time on accessing sensitive data in the US (which includes government, military, private sector, and international NGO's). Even simple espionage can put human rights workers, intelligence agents, and military personnel at risk. Stolen data can also hurt our competitive edge, hypothetically, and yes some infrastructure systems are connected to the internet, and stolen schematics, building plans, personnel data, etc. could theoretically be used for a terrorist attack. While it's unlikely that China would want to do something like that, I don't think its a risk that the security establishment would want to take.

Comment Re:Technically... (Score 1) 1277

Your point about the definition of Republic is a good one, because people often forget that we only started directly electing representatives to the U.S. Senate in 1913. Before then, Senators were chosen by each state's legislature. So we use to have a non-democratic upper chamber, and a democratic lower chamber, yet still be a Republic.

Comment Re:Yes, the Dept. of Interior is corrupt (Score 1) 407

I don't get this argument. Isn't the same thing true for most of the private sector? In most cases, people get paid a salary, and the company's money isn't their money either, it belongs to the owner or shareholders. So corporate workers and government workers are the same in most cases, in the sense that their only incentive for working hard is to keep their jobs, and perhaps get a promotion.

It's true that there may be less incentive for the top-level folks, although in some ways they are incentivized by the fact that, if their particular bureaucracy screws up or fails in some way, there may be a public outcry for their resignation, or perhaps they'll get voted out of office depending on position.

Comment Re:Not news (Score 1) 484

Actually, the government is the only thing keep corporations in check. That's because government control is not the only way that organizations can influence individuals, economic control is another method. Just look back at American history, and you'll see what happens when the government fails to regulate corporations (and work environments in general). We used to have almost no labor laws, where workers were forced to work 12-15 hour work days, seven days a week, in dangerous and difficult work environments. They would hire private detectives to defame, threaten, or kill union organizers. Regulation on what went into products was non-existent, as were environmental controls. All of these things have a real impact on people's lives, health, and individual freedom. Those who don't have independent wealth must have a job in order to survive, and in any economy that is not fully controlled by government (i.e. almost all today), businesses will grow and consolidate until they have a monopoly over a given sector of the economy, unless government provides some sort of check. This includes the labor force, so just finding a different job with better working conditions is not always an option. To say that individual freedom would be maximized only if the government was greatly curtailed, and corporate power greatly enhanced, can only result from ignorance of history. I'm not one for the overthrow of capitalism or anything, but reasonable limits on corporate power I think is just common sense. I do agree that public influence over government is seriously lacking and needs to be addressed, however.

Comment Re:I agree (Score 2, Insightful) 484

Could you provide a citation for this? Not that I think you're wrong, necessarily, but that seems to be a bit on the extreme end. Why would any staffer work longer than one term, if that were the case? I could believe that some staffers make that much straight off the job, but I would doubt that most do. If it is true, I would like to be able to back it up with evidence!

Comment Re:Or not (Score 1) 1136

I don't think that's accurate, I've definitely heard the argument that global warming could make winters more severe before this year (don't have any citations of the top of my head). Regardless, its not that complicated to understand. A higher global temperature means a more energetic climate, and warmer seas. Warmer seas means more evaporation, which means more water vapor and more snow/rain across the board. Local-level variations will either amplify or hinder this effect, so local weather variability will remain as unpredictable as always. But over time, the trends will move towards warmer climate, more precipitation, more storms, less ice, higher sea levels.

Comment Re:Science or Religion? (Score 1) 1136

Nowhere does it say that Antarctic measurements make up 1/3 of the report, rather that measurements from Antarctic research stations are one of three sources they relied upon. Even in your own quote, you correctly say that they used more than a thousand meteorological stations from around the world, in addition to (likely) numerous sea-surface temperature measurements. The number of measurements from Antarctica were probably far fewer than the other measurements, and were certainly weighted accordingly in any case. Additionally, I think measurements in Antarctica are especially useful for determining trends in global temperature, although I am not a scientist and so I'm not sure why. Neither are you of course, so why do you think you can attack rigorously collected scientific data and studies based on random discrepancies that you don't understand? This is as transparent as you can get, the data is publicly available and the tools are publicly available, so ask one of the (supposedly) many scientists who question global warming to run their own analysis so they can prove the data was tampered with, if they can.

Comment Re:Good ideas. (Score 1) 519

Alright, if you don't care about humanity as a species, what about life in general? So far we have no concrete evidence that life exists extraterrestrially, and as far as we know it could be unique to our planet. Even if its not unique to our planet, its quite possible that life is very rare, and very differentiated between its different origins (to the point where our particular flavor of life is unique). Aren't we, as the only species currently capable of doing so, obligated to attempt to protect life as we know it from destruction, however unlikely that possibility is in the near term?

Comment Re:For specific applications, YES! (Remote Militar (Score 1) 512

I think invulnerable may be a bit of a stretch. While it would certainly be more than trivial to actually blow up the space-based solar panel, anyone with sufficient explosives or rockets could attack the receiving antenna as easily as any other ground based target. And since using these would result in a greater concentration of energy generation (one receiver versus many generators spread out), this could cause significant disruption to military activities, not to mention domestic power supply if an attack occurred at home.

Comment Re:Don't do anything (Score 1) 541

I don't think the poster was in any way saying American values are intrinsically better than anyone else's. If you read his post, he was simply saying that enabling the communications of a people, rather than invasion, is consistent with American values, not that Iranians should share American values. In any case, I think we need to remain as uninvolved as possible given our history of meddling with Iran, if we don't want to unify Iranians in opposition to US. Statements of support is one thing, technological assistance to a (near) rebellion is something else.

Comment Re:Eh sonny? (Score 1) 541

The point wasn't that every user should have to troubleshoot all their own problems themselves, but that they don't even have a clue about how any of the high-tech tools they depend on day in and day out work. Not that we need to know how to repair an auto engine, or fix a broken clock, but most folks can change a tire or maybe even the engine oil, and they have a basic understanding of how clocks work. The baseline level of knowledge users have regarding high tech devices is much lower than any other category of tools we use on a regular basis, and their importance (or at least our dependence) is rapidly exceeding other tools as well.

Comment Re:I'm so sick of the American Congress (Score 1) 236

The inflation rate has actually been much more stable since we weakened the gold standard during the world wars and the depression, and eliminated it in 1971. ( Actually, fiat currency was instituted specifically to allow the government to better respond to economic recessions and depression. When on a gold standard, it is very difficult to react to a recession through monetary policy, but with fiat currency the government can increase the money supply in order to counteract a decrease in consumer spending. Certainly care has to be taken to prevent excessive inflation, but that is a easier problem than heading off a recession or depression.

Comment Re:Could this do it? (Score 1) 291

Actually, the article sited a standard CD price of 8.98, so 2000 albums would actually net you about $7,184, certainly not enough for a year. Someone could sustain themselves on 10,000 sales a year, which isn't impossible if you're decently successful (for an indie band). That also doesn't include t-shirts and other merchandising, performances, and sponsorships (if you're lucky). Then again, you and the band would have to split that money, so hopefully you all live under the same roof :)

Comment Re:Twitter has economic value? (Score 1) 124

While the company may not have anywhere near that amount in revenue currently, that does not mean it doesn't have value. I'm sure Facebook's intention was to integrate Twitter with its existing ad platform, which could bring in a large amount of revenue considering the size of Twitter's user base. Its about potential value, not necessarily intrinsic value.

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