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Comment Re:This has happened before. Humanity excelled. (Score 1) 211

The thing we need to remember is that this has happened before, during the so-called "Medieval Warm Period". This global rise in temperatures happened between 950 AD and 1250 AD

From that wikipedia page (with some emphasis from me):

the warmest period of the last 2,000 years prior to the 20th century in the Northern Hemisphere very likely occurred between 950 and 1100. Proxy records show peak warmth occurred at different times for different regions, indicating that the Medieval Warm Period was not a time of globally uniform change. Temperatures in some regions matched or exceeded recent temperatures in these regions, but globally the Medieval Warm Period was cooler than recent global temperatures.

So, one, it wasn't warmer then than it is now, and two, it was not global.

Comment Re: Oh well (Score 1) 211

What it all really lays bare is the pure greed and nihilism of the capitalist system, oh, and the complete idiocy of morons on the Internet who follow them.

Fixed that for you.

And no, this is not a call for communism, it's just an observation that (unchecked, free-market) capitalism seems almost inherently designed to cause this type of greed and nihilism (not to mention an ever-increasing wealth gap).

Comment Re: So, the gist of it is... (Score 2) 233

Republic, not democracy.

Those terms are not mutually exclusive. The US is a federal presidential constitutional republic, but that does not mean it isn't also a democracy - i.e. a government by the people, exercised either directly or through elected representatives.

There are precious few direct democracies in the world, Switzerland perhaps counts since they do tend to have nation-wide votes on issues more often than other countries, but most western countries- including the US - are representative democracies. Apart from that they can be monarchies (UK, Sweden), republics (US, France), or some other form of state; but they are all of them democracies.

Comment Re: Rockets are too expensive (Score 1) 355

There are any number of places here on Earth -- e.g. the deep sea floor -- where we could stuff a handful of people underground many orders of magnitude more cheaply and very likely more profitably.

The average depth of both the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans is roughly 4 km. At that depth, the pressure difference to a 1-atmosphere habitat is about 400 atmospheres. Compare that to the moon, where the difference is merely 1 atmosphere of pressure.

There have been many more people on the moon than have been down on the deep sea floor. Twelve people have walked (and some even drove cars) on the moon, but only three people have ever been down to the bottom of the Marianas trench (and none of those ever exited their vehicle).

In short, exploring and living in the depths of the sea is magnitudes harder (and therefore expensive) than exploring and living on the moon due to pressure differentials alone.

Comment Re:Rose tinted glasses (Score 1) 516

That's impossible. You'll always end up with people who want to own their own means of production, and you'll need to oppress them.

Communism entails common ownership of the means of production - meaning those people already do own their own means of production. Only if you take that away from them and give it to the state, like in Marxist-Leninist "communism", you need to oppress those people. Hence why some people think Marxism-Leninism as practised in the USSR, or Maoism as practised in the PRC isn't communism at all, but the aforementioned state capitalism.

Comment Re:Rose tinted glasses (Score 1) 516

They had a communist party, whose goal was to achieve communism, but they were fully aware they hadn't gotten there yet.

I don't know that their goal ever was to achieve communism; they may have said that they were, but they were de facto implementing state capitalism.

There was a brief period after the Russian revolution when there was true socialism striving for communism, but then the Bolsheviks took power and re-branded themselves as the Communist Party, and it was pretty much straight state capitalism from there on out.

"Such a condition of affairs may be called state capitalism, but it would be fantastic to consider it in any sense Communistic...Soviet Russia, it must now be obvious, is an absolute despotism politically and the crassest form of state capitalism economically"
  - Emma Goldman, There Is No Communism in Russia, 1935

Their propaganda was very effective in disguising their state capitalism as communism though - to their own people, but obviously it was quite effective on the US populace as well. It doesn't help that people in the US keep mixing up communism and socialism as one and the same either (and both being somehow bad).

The USSR-style "communism" (i.e. state capitalism) was bad, yes. Socialism in and of itself isn't necessarily bad, nor is communism (if it is implemented as communism and not corrupted into state capitalism or despotism or some other perversion), and socialist democracies, like most of the EU states, aren't bad places to live at all. There are indeed some quite good arguments that US-style capitalism is actually worse than European-style socialist democracy in many ways, but perhaps that is best left for another discussion - it tends to rile up the Americans :)

Comment Re:Giaa to the rescue! (Score 5, Informative) 136

Volcanoes [...] let out more greenhouse gases than all human created machinery - from cars to planes to everything that emits carbon dioxide

Eh, no: "Volcanoes emit around 0.3 billion tonnes of CO2 per year. This is about 1% of human CO2 emissions which is around 29 billion tonnes per year."

Comment Re:It would still be better than the alternatives (Score 1) 609

Anarchy. Nice concept, but rather hard to achieve in practice, even more so the larger the society it needs to encompass.

Don't get me wrong, the ideal society in my eyes would be a communistic anarchy, but I have little hope it will ever come to pass. Perhaps once we have fusion power and multiple-material 3D printing all over the world it could work, but that's likely to be long after I'm gone. Oh, and we probably need to go through some kind of revolution - or more likely catastrophe - for everyone to give up the current system as bad and some kind of revelation for people to see that communistic anarchy would be good. But it would be great to live in such a society.

I'm not holding my breath that I ever will.

Submission + - SpaceX Successfully Lands A Falcon 9 Rocket At Sea For The Third Time (theverge.com)

An anonymous reader writes: SpaceX has successfully landed the first stage of its Falcon 9 rocket on a drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean for the third time in a row. The Verge reports: "It was the third time in a row the company has landed a rocket booster at sea, and the fourth time overall. The landing occurred a few minutes before the second stage of the Falcon 9 delivered the THAICOM-8 satellite to space, where it will make its way to geostationary geostationary transfer orbit (GTO). GTO is a high-elliptical orbit that is popular for satellites, sitting more than 20,000 miles above the Earth. The 3,100-kilogram satellite will spend 15 years improving television and data signals across Southeast Asia."

Comment Re:*TRIGGERED* (Score 2) 571

Actually most automated voices are female because a female voice is easier to hear against background noise.


Early human factors research in aircraft and other domains indicated that female voices were more authoritative to male pilots and crew members and were more likely to get their attention. Much of this research was based on pilot experiences, particularly in combat situations, where the pilots were being guided by female air traffic controllers. They reported being able to most easily pick out the female voice from amid the flurry of radio chatter.

More recent research, however, carried out since more females have been employed as pilots and air traffic controllers, indicates that the original popular hypothesis may be unreliable. General human factors wisdom now indicates largely that, either due to current culture or changing attitudes, an automated female voice is no more or less effective than a male voice.

Edworthy and colleagues in 2003, based at Plymouth University in UK, for example, found that both acoustic and non-acoustic differences between male and female speakers were negligible. Therefore, they recommended, the choice of speaker should depend on the overlap of noise and speech spectra. Female voices did, however, appear to have an advantage in that they could portray a greater range of urgencies because of their usually higher pitch and pitch range. They reported an experiment showing that knowledge about the sex of a speaker has no effect on judgments of perceived urgency, with acoustic variables accounting for such differences.

Arrabito in 2009, however, at Defence Research and Development Canada in Toronto, found that with simulated cockpit background radio traffic, a male voice rather than a female voice, in a monotone or urgent annunciaton style, resulted in the largest proportion of correct and fastest identification response times to verbal warnings, regardless of the gender of the listener.


Comment Re:They can't afford it (Score 1) 412

you want to dramatically expand government expenses and raise taxes?

[citation needed]

Most of the people advocating UBI point to the fact that the gains from reducing the bureaucracy concerning welfare to approximately zero means a dramatically reduced governmental expense, not an increase.

Whether taxes would need to be raised or not depends on many factors, not the least of which is how large the UBI needs to be. Some sectors could see raised taxes, some could see lowered.

Comment Re:And... (Score 1) 139

“This song is Copyrighted in U.S., under Seal of Copyright # 154085, for a period of 28 years, and anybody caught singin it without our permission, will be mighty good friends of ourn, cause we don’t give a dern. Publish it. Write it. Sing it. Swing to it. Yodel it. We wrote it, that’s all we wanted to do.”
- Woody Guthrie, typescript to "This Land Is Your Land"

Also, perhaps not so incidentally "The melody came from a tune that A.P. Carter had found and recorded with Sarah and Maybelle Carter prior to 1934 and was not original to Guthrie." (Wikipedia)

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