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Comment Re:Carter was a great President! (Score 1) 236

Those were different hostages. The Iran-Contra thing was to get 7 or 8 hostages held by Iranian backed terrorists in Lebanon freed. That was a couple of years later.

The Original Iranian hostage release was negotiated as part of the Algiers Accords signed by the US and Iran on January 19th, 1980. Those original hostages were released the next day January 20th. The 20th also happened to be the day Reagan was sworn into office.

Freeing the hostages was the last substantial act of the Carter Presidency, but Reagan gets all the credit.

Comment Re:Carter was a great President! (Score 1) 236

The original Iranian hostages were released on January 20th, 1981 the day after the new Iranian revolutionary government and The USA signed the Algiers accords. The Algiers agreement negotiated the hostage release, and set more details on the international embargo against Iran. The accords were signed on January 19th, 1981. Previous deals attempted earlier during the hostage crisis had never completed, dragging out the stand off.

It was the Carter administration's last act to secure the release of the American hostages, by dealing with the Iranian revolutionaries.

January 20th, 1980 was also the day that Ronald Reagan was sworn into office. There have always been rumours that Republican appointed officials in the US State department and intelligence agencies had dealings with the Iranians to make sure that the hostage crisis would continue to plague the Carter administration. Although the later Iran-Contra affair did show that the Reagan administration did have contacts within the Iranian revolution that they were dealing with, there has never been any proof of delaying the original hostage crisis so the Republicans would benefit in the 1980 election. There certainly wasn't any need for it. The economy continued to be terrible during the Carter administration as it was in the Nixon/Ford. It took almost no effort to beat Carter. Carter had a difficult time re-gaining the nomination within his own party.

Comment Re:Carter was a great President! (Score 3, Informative) 236

Thanks, I didn't mean to imply that but the way I wrote it sure does.

Probably better to say that when Reagan made a deal with terrorists over the hostages held in Lebanon, having said those words with his icy stare previously, the Iranians knew he was a liar.

The Iranian hostages were released in on January 20th, 1981 (the day Reagan was inaugurated) because the US and Iran had negotiated the release and signed the Algiers Accords of January 19th, 1981. Part of the Algiers accords had the Iranian revolutionary government releasing the hostages as part of its terms. It was the Carter administration that secured the release of the hostages as the last act of the Carter administration, bringing and end to the crisis that plagued his term in office. Carter had promised to bring them home, by any means. That would include dealing with the terrorists. The US was first referred to as the great satan, Iblis. Severeal western leaders, including Regan, have been compared to Iblis as well. The Iran Contra affair came to public attention in 1986, Reagan's second term. However, the actual events trade deals and shipments took place over several years during the first and second terms.

Comment Re:Carter was a great President! (Score 1) 236

My guess is that after the assassination attempt in 1981 on President Reagan, his dementia symptoms accelerated. I don't think he was really all there for about 6 of the 8 years in office. He wasn't really some great leader ordering these things. Lots of bad actors in the Nixon-like neo-conservative right wing of the administration had always played these kinds of games in the third world.

Plenty of this stuff kind of happened under Kennedy and Johnson as well.

I think Reagan, was less aware of some of the bad actions people working for him were engaged in. And, when these things came to light during his second term, he took full responsibility because it happened on his watch. His administration fought the investigations, destroyed and withheld evidence. If the Democrats in Congress had attempted to impeach him, it would have been much bigger than Clinton and Lewinsky. The democrats knew how the game was played (again Kennedy and Johnson did not have clean records in the third world), and members of Congress weren't as short sighted as the politicians today, just thinking of the next election.

Comment Re:Carter was a great President! (Score 4, Insightful) 236

That is the image that Ronald "we will not deal with terrorists" Reagan projected.

The truth is that President Reagan and his staff cut a deal with the Iranian terrorists. In order to negotiate the release of American hostages held by Lebanese terrorists who were backed by Iran, Reagan was willing to sell the Iranian terrorists arms so they could spread terrorism and threaten more people. These arms weren't shipped directly from the USA to Iranian terrorists. That would have been illegal. Reagan's team worked out a deal where the arms were sold through third parties to the Iranians.

Not satisfied with just supporting and spreading Iranian terrorism, Reagan's team wanted to also support a bunch of narco-terrorists, called the Contras. Monetary and material support for the Contras was prohibited by law. The Republican administration didn't like the left leaning Sandinista government of Nicaragua and wanted to support a right wing revolution so a puppet government could be installed. Similar to the support for the Shah's puppet government in Iran that lead the Iranian people to hate America so much.

American intelligence officials syphoned some of the money made selling arms to Iranian terrorists, to the drug trafficking Contras in Nicaragua who opposed the left leaning government there. The Republicans called these drug trafficking scum 'Freedom Fighters'.

The Iranian revolutionary terrorists were completely aware of the arms deal Reagan had made with them, although the American people were not.

So when the Iranians saw President Reagan give the icy stare and say those scary words, the Iranians were in no way frightened. The Iranians knew Reagan was a liar with no morals. A man who would sell out his own principles in order to gain power and high office. They labelled him "The Great Satan" because of his skill at lying.

The American people were unaware of the deal that Reagan had made to give arms and money to the Iranian terrorists, and were unaware that the freedom fighters were really drug traffickers sending poison to the streets of America and spreading terrorism throughout Central America. The American people saw Reagan as a tough guy who would never deal with terrorists and never waiver on truth, justice and the American way.

So once you read up on the Iran Contra affair, you will realise that the tough talk and that icy stare threatening the Iranian terrorists was one of Ronald Reagan's best acting jobs.

Comment Re:ALIENS. (Score 1) 220

If the gravity waves were travelling faster than the speed of light, we would not have detected them. We wouldn't be here to detect them because gravity waves propagating through spacetime faster than the speed of light would mean that the universe doesn't work and that would be the end of everything. I suggest Misner, Thorne and Wheeler, an appropriately weighty tome, for more information on the nature of space time.

whenever I have trouble sleeping, this book, saved from my graduate school days always does the trick. Much better than counting sheep.

Comment Re:Red X? (Score 3, Insightful) 564

The opposite, I think. The MS lawyers would have tried to stop this. This will absolutely lead to a class action lawsuit, and probably a shareholder lawsuit as well. Even if Microsoft wins the lawsuits, it will cost them tens of Millions, at a minimum.

I think the lawyers would have tried like hell to stop this, so they must have been over-ruled. However much MS is expecting to make from user data over the next few years must be estimated to be vastly greater than they are expecting to pay out in lawsuits over this upgrade tactic.

Now this could be good or bad. If the people at MS who estimated how great a market share Windows phones would have, or how much Windows 8 would be loved did the estimation, MS has just destroyed its own future. They would have projected that the money to be made by mining and selling data from Windows 10 users would have made $ trillions, when it will actually be worth a few $ thousand. If actual actuaries and accountants with a realistic view of the world did the estimation and were able to still over-rule the lawyers, MS is going to be selling their windows 10 users down the river to make a ton of money, be prepared to be assaulted by advertising.

Comment Re:And the election was handed to Hillary Clinton (Score 3, Interesting) 605

She won't need a pardon.

The office that has the final decision on what state department information is or is not classified is the secretary of state who, at the time, was Hillary Rodham Clinton. I know this almost sounds like Nixon's reasoning 'If the President does it, it's not illegal', but not quite.

As long as Hillary didn't send anything that could be truly treasonous (like sending terrorists secret pass codes to sneak into government facilities and blow them up), she can just declare that the information in her emails was not classified at the time she sent it, and 'poof' it's not classified. Since the executive branch has consolidated so much power to itself and its cabinets throughout the 20th and 21st century, there is not really much that congress can do about this except whine and pout.

The only solution is for we, the people, to re-allign the power balance between the branches by electing congressmen and senators who will do their jobs and lead the country. The houses of congress should be our governmental leadership. The president should really be considered more like the head butler, the chief public servant.

We have made our presidents into de facto kings, when we should be treating them as hired help. Respect them, treat them well, but remember that they work for us.

Comment Re:Too many close calls (Score 1) 349

It is not anthropic like, it is purely anthropic influences that prevented these incidents from escalating into war.

Think about what the word 'anthropic' actually means, and it becomes obvious. Just as described in the article:

"The officer watching the system, Stanislav Petrov, had also designed the system, and he decided that any real NATO first-strike would involve hundreds of I.C.B.M.s. Therefore, he resolved the computers must be malfunctioning. He did not fire a response."

A human made a decision that avoided escalation. A human. That means there were anthropic(human) forces at work! Most people don't want to die needlessly. Sure there are religious nut-jobs that are begging to die and want to take others with them, but religious thinking allows them to devalue the anthropic, the human, by making the divine more valuable than the mundane.

Comment Re:Question for you... (Score 1) 149

Thanks,

I'll look into it. It seems like it would take a lot of energy input to do that, which is kind of my point. As long as petroleum is plentiful we will continue to use it. We have already reached the point where we are turning to more and more expensive extraction techniques. The big benefit to petroleum is that the process of storing the energy in petroleum didn't cost us much as it took place naturally over many aeons. We get to release that energy.

If the choice is between manufacturing petroleum and generating electricity, I think wind, hydro and solar are going to win out on efficiency. We're still not past 'peak oil' yet, but if oil were limitless, we wouldn't be messing around with tar sands or having to do liquid or steam well injection to get the stuff out.

I don't know how long oil will remain our main source of energy, but I would rather be ready with the alternatives and ready to make money off of them, than scrambling to buy the alternatives from others.

Comment Question for you... (Score 3, Insightful) 149

Are you intentionally comparing apples to oranges, or was it a typo? You say you can get 10 KWh of storage or about 2500 kWh of petrol for around $1200. Are you including the cost of storing the petrol? Are you including the cost, and loss of energy, when converting the petrol to electricity? The cost of obtaining, extraction, shipping and refining petroleum is already in the price and taxes (for the most part not including the military cost to keep the oil flowing).

I'm not arguing with you that the energy density of petrol is very high, and other forms of storage are often not as efficient. Are you also considering the highly inefficient nature of creating petroleum in the first place? It took hundreds of millions of years for the petroleum to form. You're taking advantage, and rightfully so, of a very long and inefficient process that produced a very dense energy storage product.

We can manufacture batteries for storage from raw materials relatively efficiently. We cannot manufacture petroleum efficiently from raw materials and there is a limited supply available to us. We can manufacture alcohol, methane and plant based oils as energy storage from raw materials (with the help of plants, yeast and bacteria and animal waste). These are not as energy dense as petroleum, but they cost much less to manufacture than petroleum.

I'm not a petroleum engineer, but I'm familiar with the industry and I can find no process known for manufacturing petroleum products from raw materials. You can find processes for converting one form of fossil fuel from another (ie petrol from coal) or for extracting petroleum from tar sands. None of these processes actually create petroleum from raw materials.

We will run out. As petroleum becomes more scarce, the costs will increase. You can lead humanity into the future, or you can cling to the past. Investing in renewable energy and robust electrical storage infrastructure is not opposition to using petroleum, but it does lessen dependence on one source for power. This would make a future more resilient to wild swings in oil prices and shortages of oil. It is especially important to a place like Hawaii, as so much of their energy is imported, and yet they have abundant sun and wind.

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