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Comment Re:Medical... (Score 5, Insightful) 727

It is a medical device which means that it is subject to insane levels of litigation. Mostly you are probably paying for insurance.

It is a medical device which means that it is subject to insane markups. Mostly they are probably paid for by insurance, so there is little attention paid to cost by consumers.

There, I fixed that for you.

Comment Re:I'm not suprised (Score 1) 870

Can you see why the slope is slippery though? I was careful not to poo-poo all cosmetic surgery since reconstructive surgery lives there. How do you define the cutoff for therapy that requires bureaucratic approval? What criteria puts a certain element of care on the list of conditional taboos? Are these boards of doctors elected? Appointed? Accountable to whom?

Again, I agree with your premise. Healthcare is a human right. But what you are describing sounds a lot more to me like the scare scenarios sown by the right than a solution to the problem.

Comment Re:I'm not suprised (Score 1) 870

Your false assumption is that cost is absolute. In your theoretical free market utopia, having more money to go around would only mean everything costs more. Value is always relative. That's why real estate prices got so inflated as loans got cheaper and easier to get.

I say your free market utopia is only theoretical because as soon as you introduce currency, defense, courts, and laws, you've added a governmental set of controls and eliminated the purity of a truly "free market". Your ideal of zero governmental interference is only sustainable with barter economies in communities within Dunbar's number. Same goes for true communism. You can't have a social economy with a group larger than about 150 people.

If you try to have currency, defense, courts, and laws without any controls on the markets they inevitably and acutely affect, you wind up with cannibalistic feedbacks far worse than we are seeing today. Think Mad Max.

You claim that GPS, communications satellites, and Tang were inevitable products of any free market. Alternate universe assertions? Easy indeed.

Comment Re:I'm not suprised (Score 1) 870

Now, I'm a progressive, and I want national health 'insurance', although I'd really like it if we just stopped all the stupidity of 'insurance' and just provided everything for free, which would be cheaper than keeping track of it. People aren't running around getting unneeded medical care.

I agree with you, except for the part about people running around getting unneeded care. I see Botox, fake boobs, really white teeth, hair transplants, lasik, et cetera as unneeded. Maybe you don't classify them as "healthcare", but I don't want the greater good to be defined to include permanent make-up or aging debutantes. You also have the tricky situation with abortion and discontinuing care for patients in a persistent vegetative state. I'm just saying it isn't so cut-and-dry.

Comment Re:I'm not suprised (Score 1) 870

Sure, space exploration is technologically interesting, but if it's actually worthwhile to people, it will be done by a free market. Note the recent progress in private space travel. If people want it, it will happen. On a personal level, if you want it, help fund it.

The recent progress in private space travel would never have happened without half a century of massive investment by governments around the world. Any space entrepreneur will quickly acknowledge that. Some worthwhile endeavors simply carry too much risk for all but the richest private entities, and then they would have to be interested in taking that risk. If Warren Buffett or Bill Gates isn't a space nut, then we'd never escape the pull of Earth's gravity in your world. We also wouldn't have communications satellites, GPS, or Tang.

Comment Re:I'm not suprised (Score 1) 870

The one overriding responsibility of the government is national security. All other expenditures are non compulsory and most likely past their Constitutional mandate. Ironically, this ONE government mandate to secure our borders is contracted to most of Industry. Why can't more of government bureaucracy do the same?

There is more to National Securityâ than guns and bombs and ordinance delivery platforms. The Interstate Highway System was a defense project. The Internet was a defense project. The next such project needs to completely rebuild our power grid. We saw a few years back in the Northeast how easy it would be to completely cripple our country with a single point of power failure. Image if it had been done as a part of a coordinated attack! We need to do the same thing with our data infrastructure, which isn't reaching half our population today. Real security is broader than the DoD and the military. Education, energy, commerce, and healthcare are all critical to a strong national defense.

Comment Re:I'm not suprised (Score 1) 870

Obama's presidency is going to be very FDRish. Lots of big 'public works' projects to keep the voting masses coming back, but in terms of actual forward thinking, very little. Well, actually, if you are into the government getting bigger, you won't be disappointed.

(Man, I'm gonna get modded into oblivion for this!)

The US wouldn't have any infrastructure to speak of without the public works projects of the FDR era and the "defense project" of the Interstate Highway System under Eisenhower. We need the investment in our physical plant anyway- ask commuters in the Twin Cities if they are satisfied with the condition of their bridges. The jobs created by public works are gravy. How are public works projects enlarging the government anyway? All the work will be done by private contractors who will hire more labor to do the work.

I think everyone can agree our national power grid is inadequate and that we lag far behind our peers in the world when it comes to data infrastructure reaching all our citizens. An information economy won't wok if half the population can't handle the currency. Are these not pressing problems that deserve some attention? Maybe existing subsidies for dead-end energy would be better spent on projects that have a real future and protect our national self-interest.

I don't think this is Obama trying to nix NASA, this is Obama doing blanket due diligence to send a message to every federal agency that there are not more free rides, everyone has to pull their weight. This is what he said he'd do during the campaign. We owe a lot to the space program and it continues to do critical work, but in a time of economic crisis maybe we need to suspend non-essential and long-view programs while we stabilize our national economic position. Otherwise, we really are Rome.

Comment My penance (Score 1) 603

sounds like you are qualified to answer this then:

aren't a lot of broadcasts now done just in hidef (ie football) and then shown either as hidef or downconverted for regular broadcast? I'm assuming this is why a)the graphics are always in stupid places for wide screen tv and b)many of the regular broadcasts look better than they used to.

Yes, sports and live events in particular get that treatment since they typically have their graphics on the fly and need to be able to be down-converted on their way through master control. If you keep all your graphics more than 13% of the way in from each side of a 16:9 image, you can do a center cut to down-convert for 4:3 SD. This is why the graphics all seem so biased to the middle of the HD feed. And I'm so very sorry to piss off the Blu-Rayistas of Slashdot! I never said it was bad format or that you should get the DVD instead of the BD of any given content. I just wanted to comment that a good scaler can fool a lot more than your average mouth-breathing consumer. That's what I get for making sweeping generalizations!

Comment Re:It would be more interesting if... (Score 5, Interesting) 603

I'm a broadcast engineer, and when we brought in a Teranex VC100 (broadcast version of the HQV chipset) to test how it compared to real HD we were stunned to discover that even our snobbiest and best-trained eyes could hardly tell the difference between upscaled anamorphic 480i and true 1080i. The testing was performed on a $60K Sony BVM series HD broadcast monitor. Granted, it was not trying to make 1080p and both were 29.97 fps, but the results were still very impressive. We were hoping to see it fail so we could justify a bunch of HD equipment, but the Teranex did too good a job. There is a consumer version of this chip- the Realta HQV. Higher-end home theater gear uses it to scale HDMI up to 1080p. Upconvert a 16:9 DVD with an HQV device, and you get 99% of the quality of Blu-Ray.

Comment Re:Two words (Score 2, Insightful) 3709

Let's give the guy some room to see what a Democratic president with Democratic congress can do for four years.

I can think of very few things that frighten me more.

You mean like a GOP stranglehold on the entire federal government for four years? We had that from 2002-2006 and look what happened. The GOP owned the House, Senate, Executive, and the SCOTUS during that time. What did they do with it? They took unprecedented steps to marginalize the opposition and completely mismanaged the country to the point that for two straight elections the electorate has roundly turned them out on their asses.

I seriously doubt the Democrats will immediately forget what happens to a party that thinks it has just attained "permanent majority" and runs roughshod over the country.

At least, I hope so.

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