100 posts • joined Friday 18th February 2011 18:07 GMT
It's the philosophy, stupid.
Does anyone believe that George W. Bush could have come up with the software necessary to do the job that the NSA requires? No? How about Barack Obama? Any takers? If so, I have a very nice bridge in New Orleans for sale. It is the spitting image of the Brooklyn Bridge--rust and all. I am not a fan of Julian Assange, nor am I a fan of our beknighted government. Our governments are made up of perfect blackguards like Eric Schmidt et al. It is not the people in the public eye that we need to worry about. It is the people on the periphery like Hillary Clinton's intimate advisor, Huma Abedin, that we should be wary of. The world is going to hell in a hand basket carried by our elected sociopaths such as Dick Cheyney, not the hapless boobs who are only nominally in charge.
...Amazon is about to become the next NSA, am I reading this right? What if they decide to allow the IRS access everything the NSA knows about America's citezenry? Disaster, right? Wrong? Anyone?
Re: Land of the Free?
RE:"It's been going on, in one form or another, for at least 30 years. It really isn't news. And the UK has similar systems in place, it's not just the USA treating her people like criminals.
This does not excuse our government's behavior one whit. As an American, I am furious.
Re: This is..
Quoting the article: "The results mostly suggest favorable psychological characteristics of BDSM practitioners compared with the control group; BDSM practitioners were less neurotic, more extroverted, more open to new experiences, more conscientious, less rejection sensitive, had higher subjective well-being, yet were less agreeable."
This defines the political class quite nicely I should think. Most politicians in the United States are definitely socio-pathic.
So where is this wonderous stuff?
I have been hearing about graphene and how it will work wonders for so long now that I have turned skeptical of the claims being made about it. Why doesn't some stop looking at what it can do and start trying to find a way to produce it? It is time to put up or shut up!
Gasses are just gasses.
What matters is how much water vapour there is and how much sunlight is reaching the ground. As a star gets older, it gets bigger and hotter. There is nothing we can do about that. When we burn hydrocarbons for fuel, we add tons of water vapor to the atmosphere. The tonnage of water vapour from burning hydrocarbons is far greater than the tonnage of carbon dioxide. Water vapour, just in case you are still among the mislead, is a far better "greehhouse gas" than carbon dioxide. Also, all that waste heat must go somewhere and there is nothing that we can do about that. Even if we converted to all nuclear power today, we would still be confronted with the problem of waste heat. More importantly, when we build roads, buildings and parking lots, we change the albedo of Earth and it soaks up much more sunlight than it ever did before. You don't really hear anyone arguing for fewer and poorer roads, now do you? There are costs involved with improving things and guess what? We in the west will have fewer people to pick up that tab. Our populations, and those of Russia and Japan or in decline. So is the population of Brazil. It has started to decline as well.
So, ignoring the problem might well be the best solution. The climate will stabalize because we are about to consume far less in the way of resources and that includes energy.
Cellular Telephones Have Changed Everything.
Now that we can both compute at home and communicate from home on a real time basis, why should we bother with traveling at all? Why should the accounting staff be required to show up at our offices? Ninety-nine percent of purchasing is done over the telephone. Why not all of it? Granted, there are some jobs that require the physical presence of the employee and cannot be done any other way. Maintenance and construction are two such fields, but even the construction companies should not be requiring their entire accounting departments to come in to work. There simply is no good reason for such travel by so many people. So far, companies have not even looked at this issue with any real interest. We are still living in the past and using outdated methods to get the same work done. We should be taking full advantage of our machinery and software, not merely partial advantage of it.
Re: Apple pay income tax?
Obliging everyone to pay their own taxes by writing a check every three months or every week or even each month would work wonders for our tax system. Then everyone would understand how much they are paying in taxes first hand, rather than having the blow softened by their employers paying it for them.
Immoral tax avoidance?
There is no such thing. Apple could rightly be accused of many things, but not this one. It is the United States Government at fault on this one.
Digital Currencies in General.
How do bit coins serve as a store of value? If computers have taught us anything it is that there are people out there smart enough to rip you off on just about anything you are able to put on a computer(s). A currency that will serve as a store of value is clearly of great importance. So, again I ask. Where's the store of value in bit coins? I think that I will stick to the growing majority and put all my faith in a commodity based currency such as copper, bronze or silver. Gold is too narrowly traded to be reliable.
Re: pointless stupidity
Even worse, water vapour is at least twice as efficient as carbon dioxide is when it comes to capturing heat. IPCC ignores water vapour as though it is little or no consequence, but they shouldn't be. We produce tons upon tons of additional water vapour along with carbon dioxide whenever we burn fossil fuels. Waste heat production along with the release of addtional water vapour are more likely to be responsible for climate change than carbon dioxide--that is assuming that humanity is the culprit. I am not convinced that we are. What the Germans are attempting to accomplish with this Rube Goldberg grade contraption is contrary to the laws of thermodynamics. Not only will it prove to be insupportably expensive, it will dump even more waste heat no top of the already vast quantities of waste heat we dump into the atmosphere at present. Not only that, it will be perceived as a solution to the "carbon dioxide" problem and will result in much larger releases of water vapour into the atmosphere, and as I have pointed out, water vapour is a much more efficient green house gas.
Re: Why is this a problem?
Viva, Harry Harrison!
No need for missiles...
...when they could ship the bloody things anywhere in the world in a cargo container. One should remember that the DPRK is not actually a government. It is a band of pirates. They would be hugely delighted to hold your lives hostage from afar.
President Obama just approved of EPA rules that sharply limit soot production by those evil oil companies with their fetid boilers and heaters. The fact that it will drive the cost of gasoline and deisel is seen as a bonus by the Obama Regime. But, I have to ask. How in the world did we get by without all this stuff? I mean, sure, they have a lot of trouble with coal ash in Beijing, but not anywhere in the United States has it been that bad for decades--not even in Los Angeles. The tricky part of nuisance law is knowning when to quit before the law itself becomes an onerous nuisance.
Is building a suit or capsule or something with which he hopes to emulate Felix Baumgartner. It will use rockets to boost him up into space whereupon he will then return in his suit that will have built in heat shielding. His proposals can be listened to here, provide you can pickup on podcasts.
Re: @Billy Catringer - Ikea Selling food - Innovation?
Bear in mind that I have never been to India, but I think it must have everything to do with innovation--in India.
Re: Too Big to Fail.
You would have to ask President Obama that question to get the real truth. I know why George W. Bush did what he did--it was all about the Benjamins for him. The US dollar, in a roundabout way, has been backed by Saudi OIl since Tricky Dick took us off the gold standard. Despite the Bushbaby's fawning, that has stopped rather abruptly. The Chinese are using their numbers to supplant us in that part of the world. We have put our currency printers on overtime while the Chinese have been buying gold. Shameful, ain't it?
Re: Why are here
True, but then the Capitalists are obliged to give you a job and none of them are allowed to use force against you so that you must buy from them. The Politicians, on the other hand, are not quite that gray. They are basically just blackguards.
Re: Asymmetric Warfare
Oh, talk about the grass being greener in the other guy's yard! You'd be surprised wha they are tolerating in Florida as I sit here and write this. We put up with a lot of it here in Texas. I shudder to think of what it must be liike in Chicago where only the criminals and the cops are allowed to have guns.
Re: Nice try Tim
Yes, I am sure that most of us understand the arithmetic involved--but it is a case of lies, damned lies and statistics, isn't it? We are near or just past the peak oil according to that Malthusian's charts, are we not? But, look! We have discovered how to fracture shale to produce untold trillions of tonnes olf methane. Hallelujah! Once we get close to running out of that resource, guess what? We will almost certainly find a substitute. Meanwhile, our numbers are on the decrease. Virtually all of the population growht in the United States is from immigration. Italy is having a population crisis. They are not replacing their numbers, neither is Japan. This is true of almost every industrialized nation on Earth. By the time we start aiming for power satellites in high orbit, we will have a stable population world wide. That is if the Environmentalists don't push us off the edge with their water-headed policies. I would not bet against them succeeding.
Re: Ikea Selling food - Innovation?
Because low cost food will draw a crowd. While members of the crowd are eating, guess what else they are doing? They are looking at the furniture Ikea sells. Ikea should approach the local food vendors for the food. Then they woould likely have less trouble.
Too Big to Fail.
Oh, and Tim should have asked "Will the Americans be allowed to frak?" That issue is still very much in doubt. I am certian that the Canadians, the Aussies and everyone else that is able and has the appropriate geological formations under their lands will frak, but probably not us--not so long as President Obama is in office.
Bear in mind that I am not among those that fears global warming. I am more inclined to believe that Presidnt Obama dislikes the United States and the United Kingdom for being "colonial" powers. I have read that his mother inculcated this fact in him when he was learning to read. As he sees it, we have a great deal to answer for and must be made to answer for it, never mind that the people responsible for that misbehavior are long dead or powerless. Otherwise, why wouuld he go to a country like Brazil and encoruage them to drill for oil offshore during the ongoing crisis in the Gulf of Mexico? Whjy did he bow to the king of Saudi Arabia? Yes, I did vote for him. That should tell you what I thought of Mitt Romney.
Re: Well, I'd suggest that rebuilding from WW2 helped a lot of that growth into the 60s
The Marshall Plan helped Europeans a great deal more than it did the United States. Granted, had you folks taken full advantage of the Marshall Plan, you would have been light years ahead of us, but then you did not so we are now where we are. The United States is once again falling further and further behind while our socialist neighbors move on ahead. Why? For pretty much the same reasons Mister Worstall pointed out in this article.
Re: But do we actually need all this progress?
We were not ready to fight because we did not want to fight. I know that is hard to believe at this point in time--post Iraq War, but it was so prior to WWII. Pearl Harbor forced us to change our minds on that topic. That event made us rather paranoid. Just as that paranoia was beginning to die down, Al Quaida inflicted the World Trade Center Atrocity on us.
I hate Osama bin Laden as much for causing us to beocme hyper-paranoid again as for the two beautiful buildings full of people he tore down with two of our beautiful airliners full of people. I find myself gritting my teeth every time I think about it. What if they had managed to smuggle in small nuclear weapons? What if they do manage to smuggle in small nuclear weapons? What then? It is not paranoia if they really are out to get you.
Re: But do we actually need all this progress?
RE:This comes to the fore whenever the US economy is struggling a bit and there is a lot of foreign competition. It has to be remembered, for instance, that in both WW1 and WW2 the US delayed entering the war partly because US business wanted to be on the winning side, and in WW2 because they saw an opportunity to let Germany destroy the British Empire and allow the US to pick up the pieces.
And then the USA came along and resuced you all from your folly? Tired of hearing that one are you? You should remember that the United States is not solely made up of British expatriats. We have and had, German expatriates, Irish expatriates, Scottish expatriates and a great many Italian expatriates, French expatriates, not to mention millions of blacks who were, originally, displaced from their homelands by you Brits and the Europeans. We were reluctant to enter the World Wars, yes, but not for the reasons you have been led to believe. We, as a nation, were Eurosceptics before the word ''eurosceptic came into common useage.
We still are rather Eurosceptic, unless you count Albert Gore and Friends.
I hate to burst your bubble, John, but we are in for a round of inflation the likes of which has not been seen since Jimmy Carter was president. Everything they teach about economics in school today is blatantly wrong. Don't buy gold, buy something useful like copper pipe. The price on copper items will shoot up about as fast as the price of gold and sliver, but the governments will not be able to force you to sell it to them at their price the way FDR did back in the 1930's. You want to know what is going on today? It's pre-world war II happening all over again. Hit the history books. They are an eye-opener.
Re: Doesn't add up; still won't work...
Japan is about to suffer from hyperinflation. Friedman and Keynes were both wrong. The Austiran School will soon be proved correct.
You are kidding, right? Most climatologists will not admit that there is serious trouble with the gathered data and the stations used to gather that data. So what if my station is mounted right over the exhaust fan of a big air conditioner? So what if it is surrouned by pavement. All of that comes out in the wash, right?
There were no proper market economies prior to 1971 and there are none now. All economies prior to 1971 were still recovering from WWII and prior to that, we were all recovering from WWI. War necessarily distorts economic conditions. It is difficult to carry on trade while people are intent on killing one another instead of trading with one another. The only country you could conceivably say was a "proper" market economy was the Republic of Venice. It lasted longer than the Roman Empire did. However, once the Venetians began to debase their currency, it was all downhill until Napolean came along and conquered them. Debased currencies = debased societies.
RE:"The fact that the US doesn't heavily tax...investments in technological improvements."
In other words, we Americans have been subsidizing, by default not by design, European and British energy taxes with effectively higher cost per gallon of fuel.
It was John Maynard-Keynes and yes, he sat in two chairs at the same time having at least twice as much ass as anyone else.
Re: Times are a changin'!
Tricky Dick (Richard Nixon) imposed wage and price controls for a while once inflation hit a scary four precent per annum. Guess what happened? No one could buy fertilizer any more. There were also other shortages and overages, but fertilizer is the one I am most familiar with because my grandad and I had just put in a new hay meadow and could not find fertilizer for it. We finally resorted to the black market paying almost twice the official price for the stuff.
I don't think that our government has learned anything from its past mistakes. Otherwise, it would not be committed to a fiat currency as I sit here writing this.
Times are a changin'!
The state of Texas is churning out construction permits for new chemical plants hand over fist. Many here are predicting a construction boom similar to the one we had during the Ford-Carter years. Why? Because interest rates are at the lowest they have been since the 1930's. If the EPA refrains from getting involved in this boom, and it might well do so w/Obama at the helm, we are going to see an abrupt rise in wages and demand for both goods and labor. Know what that will result in? That's right, Carter Era inflation--probably worse. So far, the banks have not been lening money out because they do not see any quailified borrowers, but it is hard to say that about Big Oil and Big Chemical. In fact, they must already be lending it to those companies because the compaines are applying for construction permits.
I am retired already, so none of this actually matters to me save that runaway inflation is in the offing. My proposed cure? Purchase copper pipe. The US government has shown a nasty inclination to confiscate precious metals. They can gobble up platinum, gold and probably sllver, but they will play hob gather up all the copper.
Re: Allowing the market to deal with power stations
Right in the middle of that crisis, California turned down the opportunity to build 17 co-generation plants that my employer had won the bids on. Why? The environment! They have not built a new refinery in California since before the seventies, yet California has more automobile owners than any other state. Now they are whining about gasoline prices after inisting on unique, one-of-a-kind blends for each area of California. Can you say silly? I can.
It is very difficult to understand what China is in political terms until you start thinking of it as an Oligrachy that hides behinds Marxist/Maoist sloganeering. Economically, China is fascist in nature. Now, I am standing by to be accused of racism.
The United States owes the following sums to the described entities below. Notice that China is the third largest holder of US debt., and that the US Social Security System is the single largest holder of US Debt.
Starting at the bottom:
Taiwan: 184.4 x 10^9
Carribean Banks: 224.8 x 10^9
Brazil: 237.4 x 10^9
Insurance Co.'s: 253.7 x 10^9
Oil Expoorters: 254.5 x 10^9
Depsitory Institutions: 286.3 x 10^9
US Medicare Trust Fund: 324.6 x 10^9
State & Local Government: 444.6 x 10^9
Mutual Funds: 797.9 x 10^9
(Public and Private) 903.4 x 10^9
Japan 1,083.0 x 10^9
Savings Bonds 1,102.0 x 10^9
China 1,169.0 x 10^9
(The Fed) 1,659.0 x 10^9
US Social Security
Trust Fund 2,670.0 x 10^9
Total we owe to ourselves = 7,104 x 10^9
Total we owe to China = 1,169 x 10^9
The United States owes much more to itself than it does China, right at six times as much.
All of these numbers came from CNBC's website:
Who stole the video?
I followed this <a href="http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/07/22/skylon_engine_tests_farnborough/">link</a>, but alas, no video.
When I look at these figures, I realize that the legendary Top Guns are going to be looking for other work very soon. It would be much preferable to being shot down by UAV or worse, an Autonomous Aerial Vehicle, such as an advanced type of Globalhawk.
Not only is it now possible to build aircraft that can fly themselves better than humans can operate them, they can hold up better to the forces encountered during aerial combat for longer. All the UAV/AAV needs to do is to stay in a performance envelope that causes its human opponent to succumb. You cannot do anything useful while you are unconscious, but the ruthless machine goes right on flying--and shooting.
Check out what just happened to Nautilus Minerals. They were in the middle of a project to mine the bottom of the Bismark Sea. Gold and copper deposits there are so rich that it is hard to believe, but their partner, Papua New Guinea, refused to pay for their half of the undersea equipment. The green-meanies have accused them of messing up the water, even though they have yet to put a damned thing into the ocean. There is a nearby underwater volcano responisble for the cloudy water, but try telling an ill-educated Papuin that after he or she has already been frightened ot his/her wits by a slavering environmentalist.
Nautilus Minerals is going through a hard earned disintengration phase that might well drag on for a decade. There was a lot of money and engineering effort tied up in that concept, but it will come to naught. There are only so many places left on Earth to mine. The only other options are to go above the Earth's atmosphere, or die. LIfe without any further mining will become absolutely impossible. Growth? Fugiddaboutit!
Re: Spaaaace dream
Yep! That's the dream all right. Water is needed for cooling more than it is for propellent and human consumption. CNC machining uses lots of water for cooling and the carrying away of chips and filings. Smelting uses a great deal of water for three things; as a reagent ; as a coolent and as separation medium. Even if we do it all with computer and tele-operated machines, water will be very much in demand. I am betting, by the way, that when it _is_ done, it will be done with machines. Human occupation of space is easier than the human occupation of the deep oceans, but it is only slightly less expensive thanks to what it costs to put a human in space.
Re: This is assuming the products are the same
It was not actually gold, it was aluminum. It was gold colored because an extralayer of plastic film was laid over the aluminum.
Re: Uhm... No.
And it turned out in _Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy_ that just such a thing is what got the Earth populated with all the mediocraties.
Loved Douglas Adams. Bless him, where ever he is.
Re: Rare Earth metals?
Rare earht metals are not especially rare; they are extremely difficult to separate and refine. The only reason that there is a shortage of them at this time is because China got into the business of producing these misnamed "rare" earth metals, and then decided to curb output once they had driven all the other refiners out of the market. The reason China curbed output is because they realized that they were doing great harm to their environmennt with their cheap and sloppy refiining practices. It is not the scarcety of the rare earths that is the problem here, it is the chemical processes necessary to produce them. Western producers were trapped between market forces and environmental regulations. I am guessing that they will do what every other self-respecting capitalist cocern does whenever it is in a bind and turn to the sundry western governments with their hands out for subisidies and special treatment under the law. In fairness, there is little else they can do.
I suspect , for starters at least, that most of these types of materials will be exported from Earth. Only if suitable deposits of them are found in space will that flow be reversed., and then only because less environmental damage will ensue from their production in the vast reaches of space will make their production cheaper.
While Apple is clearly in for a bruising and a sail trimming, Samsung is an outright monopoly in South Korea. I canna see any good guys in tha particular donneybrook.
Re: A lot of this will become reserve & deposit fodder
I agree with you on most of this stuff, but I seriously doubt that any attempt at isolating terrestrial markets from space markets will have any success over the long haul. Where ever people go, they tend to trade. The more valuable the commodity, the harder it is for govenrments to place limits on the trade in it.
Re: Use it instead of aluminium
Platinum is hard to find any and everywhere you look for it. The atomic weight of aluminium is so close to 27 that it is not worht fussing about. The atomic weight of platinum is 195, which means that platinum is roughly seven times more massive than aluminum. So, if you have a situation wherein you are wont to store something and move it, aluminum is still your best material. Platinum should be reserved for the more corrosoive substances, like flourine gas.
Re: Yet again - science story in bizarre mishmash of units
As I write this, gold is selling for something like 43 euros per gram or, if you prefer to use a larger unit, 43000 euros per kilogram. Platinum is selling for somewhat less at about 40 euros per gram.
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