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Comment Re: Great! (Score 1) 24

You really need to be less of an absolutist

See, my perspective is that you absolutely should have the choice to use PayPal or Square or what have you, if you choose to. You ... absolutely think they should be shut down? In what way am I over-reacting to someone who thinks that Twitter should go away? Why not simply offer a better choice, or at least ignore the thing they don't like? The world view that calls for the destruction of businesses that whiners resent or wish were different is a fundamental problem with our current culture. So yes, it's worth reacting, and pointing out the baseline trollishness of such perspectives. Because the little baby tyrants that live inside people who think like that are poisonous to everyone. "I don't like that thing! I hope it dies!"

No, I'm not confused. But I see that you're trying very hard to avoid the big picture.

Comment Re:Great! (Score 2) 24

Hopefully they never come back up! It would be great to live in a world with the above gone.

Right! Because we sure wouldn't want small businesses to be able to do business using a payment mechanism they choose to use, or people to conveniently communicate from their phones using a service they choose to use, or listen to music from a source they choose to use. Definitely, all such things should be destroyed. What the hell is wrong with you?

Comment Re:Nuclear research needed! (Score 4, Interesting) 158

Your "easily" is still considerably more difficult than producing weapons grade materials the old fashioned way, so how does it matter? The fuel salt in a molten salt reactor is the safest place for any materials that pose a proliferation threat. It is both thermally and radiologically very hot, and confined to a chemical processing hot cell or the reactor itself, which makes it rather difficult to walk off with. Little of the thorium ends up as Np-237 in the first place, and it doesn't stop there--the reactor will turn it into Pu-238 and so on.

The standard LFTR design does not have the facilities to separate the Np-237 which comes out of the fuel salt with along with UF6, and goes right back into the core. A thermal breeder using the thorium fuel cycle has a very small margin for neutron loss, and if the fissile is diverted, the reactor will stop. Extra care will need to be taken with machines configured to produce Pu-238, but even that poses a significant challenge for diversion, and similarly will not go unnoticed.

Furthermore, this is the machine which is capable of making every nation on earth energy independent, and ending essentially all resource conflict. Once a nation has that, there is little motivation to produce bombs and risk losing it. There is also the fact that reactors provide the only means of destroying weapons grade materials, and provide abundant energy as a byproduct. Obstructing nuclear energy prevents that from ever happening, and will pose a substantially greater risk.

Comment Re:Trending Now... Forgotten Tomorrow (Score 1) 173

That's an interesting question. After Obama won, there were campaigns in Latin America running (and winning) under the slogan "Si Se Puede", yes we can. So it is definitely true that an American president can influence the region without even trying (or knowing it).

My feeling is the opposite, though. Latin America has the kind of "strong man" government. For centuries, the leader has been a strong person, who can enforce his will. Chavez and Castro fit perfectly this role: the primary difference they hope to portray is that they are exercising their strength to help the people (rather than the rich and themselves). And actually, all the very popular presidents in Latin America that I can think of portrayed themselves as using their strength to help the common people.

So, will Trump be push people to the left, or to the right? I think we can agree that Trump will be perceived as a strong man (whether he actually is or not, that's irrelevant). So part of it will be how he pushes his wall deal, and immigration, and trade deals. Will people in latin america realize he is just trying to help Americans? Will they feel like he gave them a fair deal? Will they feel he respects them? Those are the kinds of questions to answer.

The other side of the coin is in Latin America itself. The wave seems to be going against leftism (that's such a stupid fuzzy term), with Argentina swinging right, and with Brazil swinging right, and Venezuela falling to pieces. A lot of the wave that rose during the Bush administration was pushed by Venezuela, supported with their oil money.

So in the end, while Trump would have some influence on the region if he became president, everything will be viewed from the lens of local politics, and the trends already happening in the region will be the primary determiners.

btw Ecuador has kind of an unusual relationship with the US because it uses US dollars. I was in El Salvador when they switched to dollars, and it completely drove the leftists insane.

Comment Re:Hollywood loves reboots (Score 1) 176

Netflix is a channel.

Hulu is a channel.

Channels are merely distributors. Wholesalers. Once (and for OTA channels still) defined by their broadcast spectrum, now some defined by their URL. OTA (ATSC) channels, limited by technological constraints to around 8 per broadcaster.

Not much has changed really, though Netflix works like your on-demand cable service, just TCP/IP instead of QAM, and you really didn't care.

Comment Re:You are wrong. Elon is right. (Score 1) 234

Toyota took some supersize lumps a few years ago when their sedans were suspected of uncontrollable runaway acceleration, leading to deadly crashes. They were hammered daily for many months as their engineers desperately looked for why their vehicles, particularly the favorite Camry, would suffer these episodes. I never saw the chief of Toyota accusing the press of bad reporting. Elon is likely trying to create a diversion to distract people noticing that it is quite a colossal challenge to scale up from manufacturing a few thousand vehicles per year to 500k by 2018.

Comment Re:Think I've heard this one before (Score 1) 234

If nuclear policy had favored the sane approach, opposition would have had much less to work with. Scaling up a submarine reactor was a terrible idea, and the accident scenarios that have since played out were forewarned. When the inventor of the technology is firmly opposed, and advancing another option, a sensible person might give it some thought. Instead they fired Alvin Weinberg, for daring to voice safety concerns. Fortunately, even if nuclear technology is 50 years behind, it is still the most capable low-carbon energy source, and also the one with the greatest realizable potential for improvement.

While nuclear started off on the wrong foot, the larger problem was that it was facing very powerful entrenched interests. Along with the obvious measures to shape public opinion and policy, they also sponsored the dishonest "research" that formed the basis of nuclear regulation which persists today. They even funded early “environmental” organizations, to embed an anti-nuclear tenet at the core of “green” values, which sadly still takes precedence over decarbonization.

Driverless cars will face much less opposition though, since they are competing with people and displacing jobs. Great for owners of large businesses involving transportation and such. Good for everyone else too, but the ever increasing scarcity of productive jobs needs addressing. The gains of productivity should benefit everyone, not just a handful of owners. It is also crucial to keep in mind that while energy is the foundation of all prosperity, it will never again be a high-margin product and so offers little incentive to invest in production of it. That also needs to change, even if it means diverting a massive chunk of the defense budget to building reactors. Interestingly, that would be a much better return on investment for national security as well.

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