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Comment Re:Nothing to see here. (Score 1) 118

I don't think he meant a 'big-government project'; just a 'big project for the government'. There have been some very embarrassing very big IT project failures for the UK government in recent years - the NHS records system for one, as well as a few DWP and CSA projects. These have resulted in £bn write-offs.

I don't know whether in each case the project goals were just too ambitious, or whether the projects were incompetently planned or managed (probably all of the above), but there seems to be systematic failure when it comes to large IT projects procured by government bodies in the UK and elsewhere.

I'd like to know if there are there any examples, worldwide, of large (say >$400m) government IT projects that are completed and have been widely judged a success. If so, what made them different?

Comment Re:Gun control however... (Score 2) 856

Yeah, I was mainly pointing out the absurdity of the logic behind his assertion that Australia is an island and therefore its laws couldn't work in the USA.

My problem with his 'NYC cowardice philosophy' line is not that he thinks New Yorkers are cowards; rather that the philosophy as he explained it is the kind of North vs South, Coastal vs Heartland, Red vs Blue, Freedom-loving American Patriot vs Freedom-hating Liberal Commie, divisory gut-reaction that seems to cause huge groups of people who never leave their tribal bubble to think there are only two sides to an issue like this: keep things exactly the way they are or lose our freedom.

And on your last point - even assuming criminals would be more likely to use a gun during an armed robbery (highly debatable), what would be the net effect of such a law on the number of armed robberies that took place; and more widely, the total number of gun-related deaths across the nation?

Comment Re:Gun control however... (Score 2, Insightful) 856 using this common frickin' sense of yours, you're saying it's easy to enforce gun laws in Australia because it's an island (which, by the way, has ~80% the land area of the US), but their laws wouldn't work in the US because of all the boats and light aircraft that can make it across US land borders? Or perhaps all those Australian criminals decided to stop being criminals once the gun law was passed?

And to top off your post with 'NYers are cowards', the real world would be a better place if people like you spent some time outside the insular, self-affirming little world you live in.

Comment Re:Not news (Score 1) 263

["Big" government has no moral or ethical a hammer]? +5 Insightful?? This is social politeness gone mad....

And are you saying that the limit of each individual patient's wallet is a better arbiter of whether sufficient treatment has been given than a human being balancing the finite resources of the system with health equality as a guiding principle?

Comment Re:Our best hope? Please. (Score 1) 462

I don't think your figure of 50:50 is right - e.g. for a Mercedes Benz E220 2.1L Diesel, the CO2equivalent emissions are split: 82% in-use, 18% production. Even a Prius has a split of 71% in-use, 26% production (3% disposal), so your energy use figure of 50% production 50% in use (even if it's close to accurate) masks the actual environmental impact.

Reference document: LowCVP / Ricardo Report on Life Cycle Emissions of Passenger Cars - see p46.

Incidentally, I agree EVs aren't quite there yet, but as more plug-in hybrids make their way to market, and fuel prices continue to rise, I think a lot more people will consider them as a viable option for use in and around cities.

Comment Re:It's not TOO LATE; it's never TOO LATE (Score 1) 462

Except that the data shows there's a time lag between adding CO2 to the atmosphere and an increase in atmospheric temperature, ocean pH etc. By the time the effects of ocean acidification and temperature rise become a serious problem, we may well have locked ourselves into making thousands of species extinct, with untold consequences to the ecosystems that depend on them (see coral reefs for example). Ecosystems are fragile things - sure, they'll find a balance one way or another, but that 'other' way is likely to be a whole lot less beautiful, complex and interesting, and sure as shit won't take long-term human welbeing into account.

I think the reaction against some of the climate change 'deniers' posting on this thread (throwing insults at them and implying they're uneducated) is largely because of their refusal to even consider the risk that the scientific consensus might be right. Even if they have some doubt about the cause or scale of the problem, if after taking a rational look at the data and reading arguments from both sides of the debate, they still think there's no risk of serious climate problems, or nothing we can do about it, then their level of education should rightly be called into question.

Comment Re:Midazolam (Score 1) 135

Even if you're going to get 'routine' major surgery with general anaesthetic you should insist on a spinal block for pain. The anaesthetic blocks out frontal lobe consciousness and some memory formation, but other parts of the brain are going, "holy fuck, I'm being sawn in half!" which leads to major brain trauma and long-lasting problems.

Fortunately for those of us who've undergone major leg surgery with general anesthetic, I don't think there's much evidence out there of the occurrence of "major brain trauma and long-lasting problems" from not having also had a spinal block. I'd be interested to read any actual evidence you can provide to support your statement.

Comment Re:Like Henry Ford said... (Score 1) 226

The current state of the system in California is a good present-day example, where the people vote simultaneously for lower taxes and more expensive public services. There was a really good 'Special Report' on this in The Economist sometime last year, beginning with: The People's Will.

Quite long, but worth popping a Ritalin(TM) to read:

California’s democracy is not at all like America’s, as conceived by founders such as James Madison. The federal constitution is based on checks and balances within and among three and only three branches of government—executive, legislative and judicial. That is because Madison feared that popular “passions” would undo the republic, that majorities might “tyrannise” minorities, and that “minority factions” (ie, special interests) would take over the system. America’s was therefore to be a representative, not a direct, democracy. “Pure democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention,” Madison wrote, “and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.”

Comment Re:New medium awaiting new aesthetics and explorat (Score 1) 220

Scene: Hank's Guitar Shop

Hank: "Hi, can I help you?"
Customer: "Hey, yeah, I'm looking for an electric guitar - I'm sort of a prosumer."
Hank: "Yeah, I can see that......please get out of my shop...."

Seriously though, when shopping for cameras, I've found the term 'prosumer', to be a useful term describing exactly what uglyduckling describes above.

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