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Comment Re:Now lets see. (Score 3, Interesting) 1043

You might be interested in reading "American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America", by Colin Woodard. The author argues that there are 11 distinct cultures in North America, which don't align neatly with state (or even national) boundaries, and that US politics is primarily a competition between two shifting coalitions of these 11 cultures, coalitions anchored in the Yankee culture (Democrats) and the Deep South culture (Republicans). One value that both of those cultures hold in common is authoritarianism, though of very different forms.

Yankeedom is built around and values a communitarian form of authoritarianism, derived largely from its Puritanical heritage. Even though the religious aspects of Yankee Puritanism have gone away, they've been replaced by a secular form of the same thing, which is the notion that while it's critical that the people as a whole have "independence", meaning they can form their own assemblies and regulate themselves, the individual should willingly subjugate his or her own will to that of the community. In Puritan days, this was severe; almost any form of disagreement with the community's religious and social values resulted in severe punishment. Individual freedom was not valued, and tolerance for alternative views was extremely low. Also, Yankeedom reveres education, and therefore the fruits of education, including progressiveness.

The Deep South is built around and values a hierarchical form of very strict authoritarianism, derived from that region's slaveholding culture, which enabled it to establish an essentially feudal model of lordly manors occupied by elegant idlers, supported by masses of lower classes. The southern planters placed tremendous value on "liberty" but it was the old Greek and Roman notion of liberty, which is available only to those at the top. The south took the "lower classes" notion a bit further than feudal lords with their serfs, but the southern class-based society wasn't just "planters" and "slaves", there was also a large underclass of what we might now call white trash, which was also expected to be subservient. What's perhaps odd about the old Deep Southern notions of hierarchy is that they were so deeply embedded in the society that although the underclasses chafed a bit, they also grew to expect a strong hierarchy and to respect their aristocratic leaders.

So, the two core cultures around which our political battles revolve are both authoritarians. Their allied cultures are less authoritarian, but it's the core cultures that hold the whip hand. In particular the left coast is very big on individual freedom and self-realization, but also has its roots in Yankeedom, including the trust in education and progress, which makes is a natural ally of the Yankee culture even though they disagree on individual freedom. Similarly, the far west culture is very libertarian but allies with the deep south because of its opposition to Yankeedom, rather than because it likes the southern authoritarianism.

Anyway, that's a flavor of what's in the book. You probably won't agree with all of it (I don't), but a lot of it makes a great deal of sense and I found that it really illuminates my understanding of the major political dynamics in the US, and has helped me understand why there is this strong streak of authoritarianism in a country that purportedly values freedom and independence.

Submission + - NASA eyes $10 Quintillion asteroid (usatoday.com)

kugo2006 writes: NASA announced a plan to research 16 Psyche, an asteroid potentially as large as Mars and primarily composed of Iron and Nickel. The rock is unique in that it has an exposed core, likely a result of a series of collisions, according to Lindy Elkins-Tanton, Psyche's principal investigator. The mission's spacecraft would launch in 2023 and arrive in 2030.

Comment Justifying assasination? (Score 1) 178

Tump with getting elected without the popular vote + stating negative comments towards nearly anyone who didn't fully indorse him (people, corporations and countries) + have a reputation as a a bully and in general everything wrong with America.

So, if he is whacked today before taking office (and Obama appoints the next President, as CNN helpfully advised us will happen), you'll be relieved and think — perhaps even state — the murderer has done all of a us a favor?

Comment "Quiet title action" (Score 4, Interesting) 54

The previous story about Zuckerberg's lawsuit caused me to do a little research. I have never thought much of the man, but there's really nothing wrong with the court action he's taken in Hawaii. What he's doing is a an "action to quiet title". Basically, he has already purchased the plots of land in question, from the majority owners. The problem is that the title to this land is unclear, because there are also many minority owners, most of whom really have no idea they own anything.

An action to quiet title is a court proceeding used to deal with such fuzzy ownership situations, to clarify them so that clear and unambiguous ownership can be established. It involves a process to find and identify owners so they can be negotiated with, or in the event they can't be found to legally remove their ownership to clear up the title. That last bit is unfortunate, but there's really no other way in cases where the ownership in question goes back many generations and has never been documented. The alternative is to leave the legal ownership of the property in limbo. I guess Zuck could do that, but if I were in his shoes I wouldn't want that... and I know because I am more or less in his shoes.

My wife inherited some property from her father. We have a "quit claim" deed that legally transfers the property to us, and my father-in-law had a quit claim deed from the previous owner, and so on back several steps. In our case, all of this was documented and recorded with the county (which is *not* the case with Zuckerberg's land -- so we have a much better position). Our problem is twofold: First, quit claim deeds are not warranty deeds, which means that while they're legal, they are only evidence of ownership, not a guarantee of ownership. Second, the legal description of the property boundaries was changed a few decades ago, and it's not completely clear if the new description actually matches the old one.

In our case, odds are very good that a title company can simply research the past sequence of titles, verify that everything is good, and issue us a warranty deed which guarantees our ownership. BUT there is a possibility that the research may find that there is additional cloudiness in the ownership, in which case we'll have to file an action to quiet title to flush out any other claims to the land and, if they can't be found within a certain time period (a year, I think?), to get a court ruling that we unambiguously hold title to the land.

This is a pretty common thing, and it's really not at all abusive.

Comment Re:Sad (Score 1) 342

3D shot/rendered correctly does add to the enjoyment of a film for many people.

Not me. I've seen a fair number of 3D movies in theaters, but I really prefer 2D. 3D doesn't add anything for me. I can appreciate the work and effort it takes to do it well, and to make it "natural", and on good equipment that outputs enough light it doesn't do any harm to the visuals... but it doesn't add to the story, and doesn't really improve the visuals. Beautiful cinematography is good either way, and nearly a century of practice has taught cinematographers (and photographers) how to depict great depth on a flat screen. Not that the human eye has any parallax-derived depth perception beyond a few dozen feet anyway.

So, what does 3D do? It requires me to wear glasses over my glasses, and it costs more. I suppose some people must like it or theaters wouldn't be able to charge a premium for it, but I pick the 2D showing unless there isn't one available at a convenient time.

Submission + - Atomic clocks on 9 of 72 European GPS satellites have failed (yahoo.com)

schwit1 writes: The atomic clocks on 9 of the 72 European Galileo GPS satellites, designed to compete with the American, Russian, and Chinese GPS satellites, have failed.

No satellite has been declared “out” as a result of the glitch. “However, we are not blind If this failure has some systematic reason we have to be careful” not to place more flawed clocks in space, [ESA director general Jan Woerner] said.

Each Galileo satellite has four ultra-accurate atomic timekeepers — two that use rubidium and two hydrogen maser. Three rubidium and six hydrogen maser clocks are not working, with one satellite sporting two failed timekeepers. Each orbiter needs just one working clock for the satnav to work — the rest are spares.

The question now, Woerner said, is “should we postpone the next launch until we find the root cause?”

That they are even considering further launches with so many failures of the same units seems absurd. They have a systemic problem, and should fix it before risking further launches.

Comment Re:Bogus priorities (Score 1) 307

I was referring to anti-discrimination laws.

I ask you once again for a citation... Which law is it, which specifically makes it illegal for White men to be paid more?

Anti-discrimination laws make it illegal for race to be a consideration, when making hiring or compensation decisions. As long as you don't do that, your Whites may still end up paid better. Yes, some Social Justice busy-bodies would take such statistics and claim them to be evidence of racism. They do make a lot of noise, and the current boss of the Labor Department (one more day, baby!) seems to share their persuasion, but there is no evidence supporting that position. Neither of:

  • Whites are paid more; nor
  • Blacks are incarcerated more;

are in themselves proof of racism.

if you employ a woman of child bearing age

TFA is about race. Try to keep up.

How do you form such a strong opinion and not know even the most basic facts about the subject?!

Comment Re: There are legitimate use-cases... (Score 2) 59

An online connected system is much more at risk than one needing an inside manual hand

Is it? Why? I can imagine a number of scenarios, when it may be easier to corrupt a human being, than to break the security software and/or encryption keys...

Mission critical should be air-gapped so that the risks can be reduced.

Iran's nuclear centrifuges were air-gapped. It did not save them... Worse, it may have made the break-in easier, while making its detection and cleanup harder.

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