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Comment How many wireless charging systems do we need? (Score 5, Insightful) 158

It would be nice if we could standardise this stuff. There are a few recharging matts* knocking around for sale at the moment, but all the systems are incompatible. Manufacturers won't build this into mobile phones etc. unless it's their own system or a standard.

Just when we're finally converging around USB as a standard charger, it looks like we're going to have half a dozen wireless charging systems (one for Fujitsu, one for Apple...).

*I do know that this isn't one of those, but it will still need infrastructure on the charged side.

Comment Re:God, god, god.... (Score 1) 1328

Indeed. It occurred to me recently that something has to either not make sense or directly contradict observed reality to count as faith. Saying "I believe the sky is blue" is not an act of faith, but saying "I believe in life after death" is. This is because we can all see the sky is blue*, but equally most of us can see that the dead stay pretty dead.

*I live in London, granted, but we have our days.

Comment Re:God = gravity, Gravity = God (Score 1) 1328

Gravity isn't required to love us or save us. Or to give a blind toss about our existence or be conscious in any sense.

Of course, arguably you could say the same thing about the concept of god, but that would a) dilute the word beyond meaning and b) neglect that "gravity" does not come with the same emotional baggage as "god".

Comment Re:Irrational Market Behavior (Score 1) 254

The real estate market is a very bad example, as it is easily one of the most distorted markets available. Consider that in the first quarter of 2010, Fannie Mae / Freddie Mac guaranteed 96.5% of new mortgages*, which is an indicator of state support of home ownership. Politically it's been a goal to extend home ownership, potentially beyond what is economically feasible.

In London, my home town, we have other problems, with restrictions on space, planning slowness, nimbyism from house owners, the large swathes of the city which are listed in some form or other, and the green belt effectively preventing any kind of free market. New entrants cannot easily enter the market for a variety of reasons, mostly artificial.

I'm not necessarily disagreeing with you, but if you look at the trading in futures or derivatives, they're much closer to a perfect market. And they still screw up because of "irrational exuberance".


Comment Re:UK data release vs US annual reports? (Score 3, Informative) 56

This is raw data, not a spending report. We also have spending reviews; before the general election they were on the HM Treasury Site but now they've been archived. Without the legal requirements for clarity associated with private sector financial reporting, civil servants are able to hide key data in impenetrable waffle. It is also a rather different kettle of fish to the US; our government is ludicrously centralised and almost all spending is from Whitehall. The report is thus so broad in scope as to almost be meaningless. It also makes wading through this raw transaction data much more daunting.

Comment Re:I Hate to Be the One to Point This Out (Score 4, Insightful) 604

There's not much Socialism of a form Marx would recognise in Europe. There's a lot more Social Democracy.

I also dislike this argument "Oh, but we've never had true Socialism, just every single time someone tried to establish it it led to military dictatorship and starvation". It has a faint ring of no true Scotsman to it.

Comment Re:I Hate to Be the One to Point This Out (Score 1) 604

You could do worse than look at Jared Diamond's Collapse; that has some good stuff regarding peak wood (though he doesn't label it as such).

...did research to point out the horrors that Capitalism wrought upon the environment.

Come to Europe, see the horrors Socialism has wrought on the environment. Look at Easter Island where an ism that no longer exists destroyed the ecosystem. I think, in the spirit of the sentiments expressed in your comment, it would be nice to leave the isms out of this.

Comment Re:Addicted. (Score 2, Interesting) 234

Quite. Here in the UK the convention is that no Parliament may be bound by its predecessors, with the actual effect that we can change our "constitution" with a simple majority vote in the Commons. Considering the power of the party whips, and the tendency to one-party rule, we do effectively have an elected dictator.

Less so this time round, with the coalition, but even they have shown they can change the constitution with a simple majority vote and are willing to do so without an explicit mandate.

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