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Comment Re:Rose tinted glasses (Score 1) 512

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) 512

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)

Comment Re:Metric Conversions? (Score 2) 123

Yes. Why are you mixing metric (meters, kilogram) with Imperial units (hour)? Shouldn't you be using a base 10 system for keeping time if you're going to be a pompous ass?

The hour isn't an Imperial unit.

It isn't metric either, but it is among the non-SI units mentioned in the SI. The second, along with the other units in the GP, is not only metric but also part of the SI system that most of the world uses these days.

How's that for pompous? ;)

Comment Re:The point of nukes (Score 1) 230

There was for example little or no "collateral damage" when we bombed Japan, or for that matter Dresden.

There was huge amounts of what we today call collateral damage, but back then they didn't use the term "collateral damage".

It was more or less seen as inevitable that there would be civilian losses and damage to civilian infrastructure even if the intended target was military (as it almost invariably was, with some notable exceptions - the Blitz for example specifically targeted civilians and civilian infrastructure).

It wasn't until the 1991 Gulf War "collateral damage" started to get used as "unintended civilian losses".


Capitalism allows the unrestricted exchange of things, including those things necessary for human life, between human beings. That statement can be made of no other economic system.

I beg to differ. Any number of economic systems allow for unrestricted exchange of things between human beings; capitalism is hardly unique in that aspect.

Capitalism is more inherently humane than any other system.

A system where both the means of production and the end product of labour is torn from the worker's hands and given to the company owner to distribute as he sees fit can never be called humane; it is more akin to slavery than anything else, especially when the system rewards the company owner for distributing as little as possible back to the worker.

Corporations - those with publicly held stock (ownership) - are a method for funding large activities and protecting those among the owners who have no control over the corporation's actions.

Why would anyone without control over a corporation's actions ever be allowed to call themselves "owner" of that corporation? They're financiers, money-lenders. This notion that they're somehow entitled to an ever-increasing return on their investment is one of the more troubling aspects of capitalism, since it allows money to generate more money without anything other than more money actually being produced.

Those who run corporations can and have been sent to prison for illegal activities.

I don't think I argued this doesn't happen - although it probably happens far, far less than it should. But then again, who makes the laws? In many places, it's the same people that run the corporations. Indirectly, of course, through lobbying, campaign financing, and just plain old good-old-boys networking.

"State Capitalism" is an oxymoron..

You could at least have googled it. It's not like I came up with the term here and now.

A state monopoly on business prevents the freedom that must necessarily coexist with capitalism.

While I don't disagree that a state monopoly on business prevents freedom, it is because capitalism by its very nature prevents individual freedom. As a wage labourer, you have no true freedom; you're only free to go from one (hopefully gilded) cage to the next, from one master to another, always a slave. We can't all be bosses.

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