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Comment Re:Star Trek is political fantasy (Score 1) 359

I agree that how one arrives at the social and economic structure of Star Trek is left to the imagination, but some of the presumably enabling elements, namely, the technology, are shown front-and-center. What will happen when everyone has access to a replicator that can make all the necessities of life - food, shelter, clothing - in as much abundance as anyone would ever need?

Men will still compete for the sexiest women (of which there will still be a limited supply). Women will still compete for the sexiest men (of which there will still be a limited supply).

And as always, people will compete for luxury items. We do see on Star Trek that people don't simply get everything they want. You want to be captain of a starship? Do you just replicate one for free?

Comment Re:Star Trek is political fantasy (Score 1) 359

You seem very concerned that "The capitalist myth about the origin of money has done a lot of damage". I'm not sure why it matters to anyone whether money originated from people recording debts or from people bartering. Either way a medium of exchange was very useful. A medium of exchange is useful whether you are a capitalist or not. Even Russia and China while killing capitalists and millions of other people for the sake of communism still used the ruble and the renminbi. And money goes way back in time. When you talk about capitalism creating myths, do you mean 3000 years ago? I've never studied history but I do know the use of shekels goes at least that far.

But all that is beside the point. People are naturally selfish, greedy, and power-hungry. Whether it is sheep, money, cars, rank, influence, or whatever, people by nature seek advantage over each other. Creating a large-scale society of diverse peoples while ignoring those human traits simply doesn't work. In Star Trek Roddenberry claims to that humans solved those issues, but never says how.

Comment Re:Star Trek is political fantasy (Score 1) 359

We could talk the same way about money and greed, which seems your concern. The capitalist myth about the origin of money has done a lot of damage; in most "primitive" cultures, we don't tend to observe people bargaining in barter systems... instead, they tend to be built on elaborate systems of gift-giving and indebtedness. The natural human proclivity in many cultures has been to aid neighbors when needed, because the assumption in primitive societies is that "we all need to stick together," since otherwise you'll likely die of starvation or by wild animals or by neighboring tribes or whatever.

Are you talking about people within a single clan/village, or people within a large federation of villages? While a small communist society is certainly do-able, especially when everyone is pretty closely related, the willingness to sacrifice one's own desires for the good of the group tends to drop off pretty quickly when people are being asked to sacrifice for strangers and especially for strangers who are different.
I think pretty much every nuclear family is best run as a communist dictatorship (with two power-sharing dictators). But the solution doesn't scale easily.

Comment Re:Star Trek is political fantasy (Score 1) 359

You are begging the question there. Is it really human nature to want to amass personal wealth?

It is human nature to want to amass the resources to help you get laid and help your offspring do the same. This means not just wealth but also power.

Even today, many people have moved past that and prefer to be comfortable and happy rather than miserable but with a pile of gold. Anyway, the Federation offers citizens something much better than personal wealth, which isn't even that meaningful when poverty was eliminated long ago and replicators/holodecks can cater to almost every desire and whim. The Federation offers people the chance to do what they want, with the amount of commitment they want. If my needs were more than catered for and I could work on whatever I wanted to, I wouldn't care about wealth.

Even if everyone has enough wealth to live comfortably, guys are going to struggle to get more wealth so they can impress the girls. If you live in a town where few guys have a care, you can be hot stuff owning an old Honda Civic. But if every guy has one then you'll want a Lexus or a Camero to make you hotter. Even in Star Trek there is not an infinit supply of women.

A large happy prosperous communist society?

Well, most of the best places to live in the world are socialist. Sweden and other northern European countries are very far to the left of the US and yet have a better quality of life, less poverty and more happiness. It seems to be the way the human race is heading as most societies become more socialist as they develop.

The good old few mono-ethnic examples made up of small norther European countries - quite the opposite of the Federation which is multi-ethnic, multi-species and huge.

Comment Star Trek is political fantasy (Score 5, Interesting) 359

In Star Trek we see good government in the form of the Federation. Promotions are by merit. Large undertakings are done for the betterment of the entire Federation. But we never see how that is achieved. How is the leadership of the Federation selected? How incentives in place to prevent corruption, to prevent factionalism, to prevent special interests from gaining too much power? Why doesn't a Ferengi of questionable character ever become the leader and make himself a dictator? Roddenberry just wished those problems away! We see from most Star Fleet officers a certain desire to serve and to better themselves (there is the famous episode where Picard claims that people are no longer motivated by money). If that isn't limited to Star Fleet, then how are people's human instincts suppressed? Is it indoctrination when they're children? Drugs? Medical procedures? Again Roddenberry just wishes for it and it's there! Of course as a work of fiction, that's what we expect. Faster than light travel? Maybe some future technology will make it possible. A large happy prosperous communist society? Maybe some future technology will make it work. We suspend our disbelief so we can enjoy the story. That's why it's called 'fiction'.

Comment What? (Score 1) 102

I tried reading the article; it was pretty long and dense while failing to provide a tl';dr. Is he saying he's created yet another language that is Turing Equivalent? Is he saying he has creaeted a language that simulates physics by simulating fundamental behaviors? What is the accomplishment here?

Comment Re:More taxes, spying, and problem-causing. B Clin (Score 1) 168

At one time "Starve the Beast" (don't provide money for the government to spend and thus force it to shrink) was a theory one could argue was worth trying. However over the years liberals have responded with "Starve the Children" (take the money from our children by borrowing it so that our children will have to pay off the debt). As such Starve the Beast is a failed technique and should be abandoned because it cannot work in the face of Starve the Children.

Comment Re:Next up: bathroom laws (Score 1) 168

Why is filling the vacancy a problem? The Supreme Court is perfectly capable of functioning with 8 members. In fact I would argue that it functions better with 8 members because why should they be dictating their personal feelings as public policy to the rest of us when they can't get a majority to do so. When their persona feelings are split evenly they simply shouldn't rule. With 8 members that is a possible outcome.

Comment Re:Next up: bathroom laws (Score 1) 168

Republican voters agree with you. They're sick of the leadership of the Republican congress refusing to fight Obama by using the power-of-the-purse that the Constitution gave them. That's why their so anti-establishment this election season. The sad part is that so many turned to that liberal Trump instead of the conservative Cruz.

Comment Re:Waste of time (Score 1) 168

Ironically it is the do-nothing-so-we-can't-be-blamed-and-can-win-more-seats attitude that is costing Republicans so dearly this cycle. People sent Republicans to office to lower spending and increase freedom. They didn't do it and go blown out in the 2006 elections when many Republican voters stayed home rather than vote for the big-spending Republicans. Obama's socialist promises scared them back to the voting booth and a lot of tea-partiers (the low spending pro-freedom kind of that time, not the weirdo flaking kind that has taken over the movement) provided the momentum for the party - only to find themselves by blocked by party leaders like McConnell and Boehner who didn't want to do anything that the press wouldn't like but instead wanted to show they could "govern". So we've had year after year of the Republican refusing to fight for any budget changes conservatives want and even sniping at conservative Republicans who are willing to do so (like Cruz, who Boehner recently compared to Lucifer). Now there are so many conservatives sick of the establishment and so unwilling to believe their promises that a shyster called Trump is wrecking the Rupublican Party.

If Republicans had done like you suggest and fought for laws rolling back the scope of government they would be more hated by the Democrats and their media, but they would be in a lot better shape to win this election.

Comment Re:Why the fuck is this on Slashdot?! (Score 1) 168

I'll call and raise you...

"Two of the major problems that bison face today are the genetic bottleneck and lack of genetic diversity that has been caused by the very small number of bison that survived their near extinction event. A third genetic problem is the entry of genes from domestic cattle into the bison population, through hybridization."

Questions? Ideas? Solutions? More bitching about it?

Breed them with nukes from space. It's the only way to be sure.

Other than that I got nothin'.

Comment Re:More taxes, spying, and problem-causing. B Clin (Score 1) 168

While his opponents wasted a lot of our tax dollars in a stupid chase trying to find somethinganything to pin on him, he just managed to keep the train on the rails.

They didn't waste near as much as would have been wasted had a few more bills been passed. It's probably a good thing they used their time on investigations rather than on legislating or worse yet - compromising.

A compromise in DC is when the Tax and Spend crowd gets together with the Don't Tax and Don't Spend crowd and they agree to Don't Tax but Spend Anyway. I would rather have no compromise than that compromise.

Comment What bickering (Score 1) 168

At a time of political gridlock and partisan bickering, lawmakers agree on an official national mammal.

bicker - v. argue about petty and trivial matters.

What bickering. By agreeing on a national mammal it seems they demonstrate they are perfectly capable of agreeing on petty and trivial matters. It's the big stuff - whether the budget should grow a little to fast or way to fast, whether our freedoms should be nearly eliminated or merely greatly reduced, whether we should become like Mexico through native stupidity or by importing large numbers of Mexicans (and later giving them the vote) etc. that they argue over. Those aren't trivial matters.

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