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Why Onagawa Nuclear Power Station Survived the Tsunami

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the pure-driving-will dept.

Japan 148

Kyusaku Natsume writes "While the town of Onagawa, Miyagi Prefecture, was hit hard by the March 2011 tsunami, the nuclear plant it shares with the equally devastated city of Ishinomaki survived. The reason it did so is mostly down to the personal strength and tenacity of one Yanosuke Hirai, who passed away in 1986 and insisted that the plant should have been protected by a 14.8 m tall seawall. A great quote from the article: 'Corporate ethics and compliance may be similar, but their cores are different, from the perspective of corporate social responsibility, we cannot say that there is no need to question a company's actions just because they are not a crime under the law.'"

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Help needed (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39538491)

Dear Slashdot,

In an hope of developing an hardware that comes as fully open source and with an help file arranged in an hierarchy like a tree I am providing this information. The help file will contain all information regarding the project. It is important to me as I would like to buy an house with the profits. It would be a honor if you can spend a hour or less looking this message over and thinking about it.

The desire is to build an helicopter, but not just any helicopter, an helicopter that is open source! It might sound like an hopeless pipedream but I assure you this is not an hack and it will be successful. It is definitely not planned to be an hilarious failure. First we need to find an horizontal plane on which to fix an hydraulic pump. Without an horizontal surface the project will be an horrible failure. With an horsepower as great as an helicopter has, an horizontally mounted hydraulic pump is an absolute requirement. Anyone is welcome to give an hand is this project to provide ideas but I think that the pump is essential.

To start the project I need a few things:

First, I am looking for an hand in finding an hydraulic pump that is in an horizontal plane and wondered how many people have one.

Second, would it be a good idea to have an hang-glider attached to the bottom of the helicopter in case there is an horrible accident? An horrible accident could happen if the horizontal plane is out by as much and the width of an hair which would cause an hazardous situation that may require the pilot to abort. Without the hang-glider it may not be possible to avoid an harmful situation and it would certainly be an hazard. Having a hang-glider is surely an harmless addition even if it does not provide any pragmatic use (it would also be fun to fly.)

Pilots will of course be provided with an helmet. Even people riding an horse have to wear an helmet otherwise they might end up in an hospital after the horse tries to jump an hurdle and there is an hump where it lands! There is a honest desire to get this project off the ground so please discuss.

Yours Sincerely,

Fellow hacker

Re:Help needed (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39538525)

First, I am looking for an hand in finding an hydraulic pump that is in an horizontal plane and wondered how many people have one.

My wife and I have sex doggy style sometimes. Does that qualify as a horizontal pump?

Fuck you slasdot (-1, Troll)

ThurstonMoore (605470) | more than 2 years ago | (#39538715)

Fuck you and April 1st.

Re:Fuck you slasdot (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39538977)

Fuck niggers.

Re:Help needed (3, Funny)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 2 years ago | (#39538535)

Dear Fellow Hacker,

Unfortunately, I will be unable to provide the assistance you desire, as I have some serious concerns regarding the engineering work that has already been done on the project, and I doubt the current estimates provide an accurate foundation for future work.

Firstly, there is the estimate of "a hour or less" to read a Slashdot post. While I have spent an hour reading a comment before, it was the proofreading of my own essay-length point-by-point rebuttal. The referenced post is obviously not nearly long enough or detailed enough to require an hour to read, so I see this as an intentional over-estimate, seeking to receive a larger donation of time than is actually needed.

Second, you seem to have greatly underestimated the size of a hydraulic pump in comparison to a horizontal plane. You ask for "an hand in finding an hydraulic pump that is in an horizontal plane". A plane, being two-dimensional, has exactly zero thickness, which is not sufficient to hold even an atom of a hydraulic pump.

Finally, you appear to for the power requirements of a helicopter. Helicopters can of course be designed to have any amount of available power, but that is not my concern here. Rather, I question the efficiency of your design, as the engine will need extra power to compensate for the added weight of the extraneous "n"s that appear to be attached to your "a"s.

Yours sincerely,

Grammar Nazi

Re:Help needed (2)

mcneely.mike (927221) | more than 2 years ago | (#39540085)

Finally, you appear to for the power requirements of a helicopter.

Grammar Nazi

Finally, you appear to not be a grammar Nazi. ;-)

Re:Help needed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39538655)

"an" hand? "an" hang-glider? WTF?

Re:Help needed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39538765)

"an" hand? "an" hang-glider? WTF?

I make an humble apology. Of course it probably does not need an hyphen between hang and glider. Serves me right for not proofreading before I hit the submit button.

Re:Help needed (1, Informative)

giorgist (1208992) | more than 2 years ago | (#39538663)

Dear fellow hacker ... do you know how to make a Jesus nut ? Note: you can't use one out of your bicycle

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesus_nut

If not then all you will make is an amazing hand glider that can fly with a fridge loaded above it.

Legality (5, Insightful)

macraig (621737) | more than 2 years ago | (#39538527)

Laws and legal liability are a subset of social ethics. Just because you can do something legally isn't a vindication that you should do it.

Re:Legality (5, Insightful)

hey! (33014) | more than 2 years ago | (#39538545)

Laws and legal liability are a subset of social ethics. Just because you can do something legally isn't a vindication that you should do it.

Laws and legal liability *intersect* social ethics. There are cases where complying with law or regulations would be unethical.

Re:Legality (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 2 years ago | (#39538559)

Okay, granted... I was imagining the legal ideal. If we actually had that ideal we wouldn't need jury nullification.

Re:Legality (5, Informative)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 2 years ago | (#39538671)

Just to clarify a point here, because it's a pet peeve of mine...

Jury nullification is for when the law itself is unethical, not just when one application is unethical. If you have an ethical reason to break a law, that's mitigating circumstances, which can itself lead to a "not guilty" verdict, without bringing the issue of the law's legality into question (which almost always just makes a trial more complicated).

There are really rather few cases where nullification is a reasonable option, but the hivemind here seems to be obsessed with it as a panacea for unpopular laws.

Re:Legality (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 2 years ago | (#39538697)

E.g.: felony murder rule.

Re:Legality (5, Interesting)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 2 years ago | (#39538707)

JN _is_ a viable way to fight unjust laws. not just instances of injustice but whole laws.

we all know that getting laws passed (or even worse, revoked) is near impossible for regular people.

the JN option is essentially the only option we have left, as 'little people'. our power faded when corps took over making (and even sometimes enforcing) laws.

but if you are in the jury box, you DO have a way to say 'enough is enough' this is bullshit and this guy does not deserve X to happen to him. I simply don't give a shit about what law you claim he broke; sending him to prison is WRONG and I won't allow it'.

that's what JN is about. standing up for your view of ethics even in the face of 'establishment' saying otherwise.

Re:Legality (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39538739)

Jury nullificaton can most certainly be applied on an individual basis, and has throughout the history of juries. Check the history of the idea over at Wikipedia: judges have hated it since the first recorded application of the principle, and it's been a dangerous practice. But there are numerous cases of individual verdicts, rather than judgments of the law itself, where the law was overridden by the jury.

Like political assassination, it's an extreme solution to a terrible situation and one to be used with caution, lest it become used for senseless or wrongful acts in itself.

Re:Legality (1, Troll)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#39538985)

"Unpopular laws"? Nonsense.

The correct application of the jury nullification is any time when there is a conflict between the individual and the collective.

Any time at all when an individual is brought up on any charges by the Federal government jury nullification must be applied.

Re:Legality (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#39539119)

You aren't an Article 3, Section 2, kind of guy?

Re:Legality (3)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#39539291)

That's not a law based on which an individual will be put in front of a federal judge, do you even understand what it is?

Criminal laws are handled by States.

Re:Legality (1)

nothousebroken (2481470) | more than 2 years ago | (#39540427)

Not exclusively. There are lots of federal criminal statutes and federal criminal prosecutions.

Re:Legality (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#39540487)

Precisely. And all of them should be nullified.

Re:Legality (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 2 years ago | (#39539377)

The correct application of the jury nullification is any time when there is a conflict between the individual and the collective.

The collective is all the other individuals. You don't seem very keen on democracy.

Re:Legality (1, Insightful)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#39539577)

You are right, I am NOT keen on democracy. USA had it correct - it wasn't built as a democracy, it was built as a republic. Democracy always leads to tyranny, not to freedom.

It's very easy to have a majority to vote to trump the freedoms of the minority, and this eventually trumps freedoms of everybody, because it destroys the concept of freedom and gives tools to the government officials that they didn't have before that they use to take away freedoms from everybody.

But in the beginning the majority of the mob is used to steal these freedoms from the minority in order to open this door, at first it's done by promising the majority to use government force to steal something from the minority and give it to the majority.

Government is used as a legalised robbery mechanism, that's how the majority of the people in USA for example (over 50%) only contribute 3% of all income taxes, and minority contributes the rest.

Same with all other 'social' programs, including Medicare, SS, whatever. But this is just a gateway for the government to steal freedoms from everybody and apply this power against everybody (TSA, DHS, Patriot Act, NDAA with indefinite detentions, extrajudicial murder by the POTUS, destruction of money by the Fed, etc.)

I am NOT AT ALL keen on democracy, democracy never leads to more freedoms, only to tyranny, people knew this millennia ago [suite101.com] .

Re:Legality (5, Insightful)

iserlohn (49556) | more than 2 years ago | (#39539661)

Um.. did it ever cross you mind that the weathy has a responsibility to ensure that the society which is has benifitted from immensely is sustained?

There is a moral argument for providing a social safety net (and by extension a working universal healthcare system), and then there is a practical one - a country where the majority of it citizens is not able to sustain a minimium living standard will be prone to widespread civil unrest.

May I remind you that there were a time when government was small - social cohesion was usually maintained by force - and the living standards of the many were squalid. Are you seriously adovcating the return to those times (just so we can compete with China on cheap labor)?

Re:Legality (1, Interesting)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#39539707)

Um.. did it ever cross you mind that the weathy has a responsibility to ensure that the society which is has benifitted from immensely is sustained?

- what crossed my mind is that this is exactly the kind of thought process that destroys the society by taking away people's individual rights and killing off the economy.

There is a moral argument for providing a social safety net

- not by using majority to steal from minority. There is absolutely nothing moral or just about it.

May I remind you that there were a time when government was small - social cohesion was usually maintained by force - and the living standards of the many were squalid. Are you seriously adovcating the return to those times (just so we can compete with China on cheap labor)?

- May I remind you that there was time when USA had the most individual freedoms FROM government intervention (specifically between the Civil war and WWI) and that was the time when USA became the most productive country, becoming world's biggest creditor nation, exporting highest quality, affordable manufactured goods. All this, while increasing the strength of its own economy and making everybody who lived in it much wealthier (the dollar gained value by factor of 2, while USA still became the largest exporter of manufactured goods).

This was definitely prior to USA growing a huge government and destroying its economy and society in the process, while becoming world's greatest debtor nation not only on the planet at the time, but in history of humanity. USA is now bankrupt, only holding together by other nations providing it with the consumables that it eats without producing anything in return.

--

There is no such thing as 'responsibility' of the few to maintain standard of living for many, that's pure nonsense. Voluntarism is the key, but it only works in a free society, there is no voluntarism in a totalitarian regime. Again: democracy leads to tyranny, that's what you have now.

As to 'safety net' - the best safety net that the humanity has invented is a wealthy and a growing economy based on a free individual making voluntary decisions in a market that is not perverted by the government intervention. Sadly USA has lost this very simple knowledge, so now it's losing the economy that it developed in that system.

logical conclusion (5, Informative)

spineboy (22918) | more than 2 years ago | (#39539907)

Interesting argument, but it relies on a logical fallacy that implies our wealth is derived from being free, and not from being a growing industrialized nation. China might be an argument against your supposition.

  Other thought - while our country was "free" there were horrors, like rivers catching on fire from accumulated waste, and working situations like "the Jungle" by Upton Sinclair.

Our wealth is beng polarized by the new Oil Barrons, and wasteful wars, etc.

Re:logical conclusion (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#39540073)

Interesting argument, but it relies on a logical fallacy that implies our wealth is derived from being free, and not from being a growing industrialized nation.

- there is no logical fallacy, the wealth in USA was increased specifically because the country was free from government regulations and various taxes.

Out of 37 richest self-made people in USA, 27 were born prior to 1850. Only 3 were born in the 20th century - Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and Sam Walton.

1870 to 1913 time period increased overall wealth of all the people in USA comparatively more than any time before or after. This was done without most of what is called 'government' today, including most departments, agencies, income taxes, money printing (inflation), regulations, etc.

Over the 19th century the value of the USD went up by 100%, prices were falling throughout the century while competition was growing. The real middle class (small business owners and professionals) were created in that century. Many in the US mistakenly think of the 1950s as the time when the middle class was created, but that is absolutely false. That wasn't the time of middle class, it was time of lower class being in a position of relative monopoly on production, while other countries were in a post-war destruction and rebuilding period, USA didn't suffer destruction of any infrastructure. Of-course as the productive output grew, so did the government and it was taking on more and more powers and taking away more and more liberties.

Eventually they destroyed the money completely, defaulted on it in 1971 and investment capital started moving out, which is the consequence of people with investment capital not willing to see it being destroyed by the government created inflation.

Inflation hurts the lower classes the most, as they can't really shift their income and assets from dollar denominated into something else, like commodities or other currencies and businesses across the world.

Have you ever asked yourself this question: why are Americans NOT welcome in any of the foreign banks and for example why are they NOT allowed to invest into Myanmar's economy?

It's not because Myanmar is against it or foreign banks are against it in principle, it's because it is impossible to deal with Americans because of US federal government.

In fact Patriot Act became one of the biggest nails in the coffin of US citizens trying to diversify their investments out of USA (which everybody should do - diversify out of their own country, but especially those, whose country is actively destroying their own currency and economy).

As a side note Patriot Act successfully prevents any new investment businesses from appearing that can compete with the likes of JPM and GS, handing all of the potential investors only to the government approved 'investment' firms (which they are not).

Investors move their savings, investments, businesses out of USA and many European countries for a reason - the reason is that how abusive those regimes are and how much of their work/time/money/nerves is stolen from individual businessmen in those places.

Freedom is the absolute necessity for a thriving market economy, without freedom there is no market economy, and other types of economies cannot create and efficiently distribute anywhere near as much wealth as free market economies have shown to be able to.

China might be an argument against your supposition.

- China is the argument that proves my position.

Of-course China was a completely totalitarian dictatorship only 50 years ago, but now it is so free, that most businesses find it to be much easier to do business in China (with all the other problems that the country presents) than anywhere else in the world, and relatively low salaries are really not the main reason to go there.

The real reason is of-course much less regulations and much lower taxes. China doesn't have the ponzi scheme of SS, Medicare, it's not really fighting anybody in constant wars (well, nothing like Iraq, Afghanistan, etc).

--

Furthermore: States' rights does not immediately imply that whatever the federal gov't can't do is automatically allowed to the States, far from it. But at least it's easier to decide these things on state by state level. If there is one function that the federal gov't is really authorised to do in terms of interstate commerce it's ensuring that States do not create artificial barriers to entry, so a driver license is valid in all states, regardless of where it's acquired. Same should be enforced for all other types of licenses.

How about medical insurance? States shouldn't be able to deny their citizens to buy insurance across state lines. But federal gov't shouldn't be able to deny citizens of the country from buying health insurance from another country altogether, but by the federal law, foreign insurance providers cannot advertise their products in USA. Why shouldn't you be able to buy health insurance from a Singapore insurance provider?

Why shouldn't you be able to buy ANY product from ANYWHERE in the world? Same question of-course applies to all products, including labour.

Anyway, your ability to do business the way you see fit is your ability to take care of yourself and to improve the economy in totality. They only rules that should exist are the rules that are set by the free market, based on voluntary exchange and contract law.

Who is responsible for enforcing the contract law it doesn't really matter, it can be gov't or it can be private court/enforcement system. Free market of-course is not lawlessness, far from it. Free market needs rule of law, specifically rule of law ABOVE GOVERNMENT. Once this law is violated, the market is no longer free, and unfortunately that's what you have now (and most other places to different degree).

Note: I am not saying that China has perfect free market, I am saying that China has market that is freer than USA has it, and that's pretty unfortunate.

Other thought - while our country was "free" there were horrors, like rivers catching on fire from accumulated waste, and working situations like "the Jungle" by Upton Sinclair.

- this shit is done WITH government fully aware and covering the situation, specifically because government 'owns' property and assets and it shouldn't be allowed to, any asset/land it 'owns' is something that will be abused. Gov't is not an owner, that's why it will give a company a license to kill - 70Million USD liability cap for a deep sea oil drilling accident, how about that?

Any licenses, any 'public property', any liability cap, etc., all this is aimed at reducing individual freedoms and it leads to disasters, because it creates moral hazards. It's true for environment, banking system (FDIC), money (Fed and printing), bubbles (Fed + HUD + F&F + FHA + FDIC), etc. SS ponzi schemes that will eventually end of-course, but not as they end in private sector - with people recognising these for what they are and quitting, but because it's gov't enforced to keep going, the people will be forced to participate until the economy itself crashes because the dollar crashes.

Our wealth is beng polarized by the new Oil Barrons, and wasteful wars, etc.

- wars are a reflection of destruction of your individual freedoms. Without destroying your individual freedom they couldn't start these wars, the POTUS doesn't ask the Congress (the people) for the declaration anymore, there is no search for money anymore, no need to appropriate the funds (they just print), and besides, you have a standing army, which always leads to infinite conflicts.

As to 'oil barons', etc., it's all propaganda nonsense designed on purpose to take away your freedoms, by making you believe you are doing the right thing while you are giving up your freedoms, so that the government can overstep its authorisation and all the boundaries and destroy private property rights.

Re:logical conclusion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39540429)

Out of 37 richest self-made people in USA, 27 were born prior to 1850. Only 3 were born in the 20th century - Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and Sam Walton.

Yes, they were called 'robber barons', and I guarantee you if you were born prior to 1850, chances are you'd have had a far more miserable existence than today. Go read a history book, ffs.

Re:Legality (4, Insightful)

iserlohn (49556) | more than 2 years ago | (#39540039)

By your argument, Somalia must have the fastest growing economy on earth due to the lack of government intervention.

The industrialization of America is not the result of less government - (in those times America has similar amount of industrial regulation when compared to its contemporaries). It is because America at that time had lots of resources, including natural resources and labor that has not been fully developed into an industrial economy. Similar to how China is right now.

I hate to say this, but you're adding nothing to the argument. The thing we should be discussing is not whether to regulate - it is established beyond doubt in economics, especially after the events of 2007, that blind deregulation leads to extremely bad outcomes. What we need to determine is what to regulate and how to do it.

Your argument that because government regulation may lead to some bad outcomes some of the time, so shouldn't be doing it all of the time is a logical fallcy and doesn't hold water. BTW, the proper way of dealing with government tyranny is to ensure that the constitution of government is accountable to the people, not to destroy the mechanism of government.

Re:Legality (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#39540115)

By your argument, Somalia must have the fastest growing economy on earth due to the lack of government intervention.

- no, that's not my argument, that's a strawman.

Somalia is a consequence of a country that was destroyed by the former Communist regime and a resulting civil war (that's one way to end the totalitarian Communist rule). Of-course it wasn't much freer before the Communist rule as a British colony.

Somalia has multiple different forms of government right now, not 'anarchy' actually, as many believe, and in a sense they are more free (depending on the part of the land) than many people elsewhere. Somalia actually became one of the first countries in the world where people started using mobile phones as means of payment, that's because there was no government stifling innovation in various parts of the economy, including banking.

Somalia is a poor country of-course, but it cannot be used as an argument against libertarian idea, because it's a poor country that was devastated by decades of dictatorship under many different rulers. This argument has so much 'fail' in it, but it gets repeated by the uninformed, because they were told so by the other uninformed, etc.

As to the rest of your comment, I gave a much lengthier reply already. [slashdot.org]

Re:Legality (2)

iserlohn (49556) | more than 2 years ago | (#39540461)

Maybe you should heed your calling and build up Somolia into the world class economy that they deserve due to their superior libertarian ideals. May I be the first to wish you luck.

Your ability to see reality through libertarian-o-vision is truly amazing.

Re:Legality (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#39540497)

due to their superior libertarian ideals.

- more strawman.

Where is it written that Somalians have LIBERTARIAN IDEAS?

Are you high?

By the way, I AM interested in Somalia, looking to see if there is a way to invest in something there. I like investing into things when they are down.

Re:Legality (4, Insightful)

miro2 (222748) | more than 2 years ago | (#39540113)

May I remind you that there was time when USA had the most individual freedoms FROM government intervention (specifically between the Civil war and WWI)

I don't think that was exactly the most freedom-filled time for those of us who are not white, straight, men.

Re:Legality (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#39540127)

Even today blacks are only, what, 15% of population in USA?

In any case, by the time the Civil war ended you can't even make an argument that there was slavery involved in industrialisation, and in reality industrialisation didn't even happen in the Southern states, it started in the North if I am not completely mistaken.

As to 'straight' - this is not an argument at all.

Of-course I wouldn't have ratified the original Constitution as it didn't actually recognise people as equals under the law, so if I could be there and influence that outcome, there wouldn't have been a union until those problems would have been fixed.

I can't compromise on freedom, that's all.

Re:Legality (4, Insightful)

Jawnn (445279) | more than 2 years ago | (#39540367)

Um.. did it ever cross you mind that the weathy has a responsibility to ensure that the society which is has benifitted from immensely is sustained?

- what crossed my mind is that this is exactly the kind of thought process that destroys the society by taking away people's individual rights and killing off the economy.

The history of the United States would contradict your fairy-tale views. When the U.S. was it's most prosperous, when the standard of living for the average citizen was at it's absolute highest, the extremely wealthy were "suffering" tax rates far, far higher than at any time before or since.

Re:Legality (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#39540387)

The history of the United States would contradict your fairy-tale views. When the U.S. was it's most prosperous, when the standard of living for the average citizen was at it's absolute highest, the extremely wealthy were "suffering" tax rates far, far higher than at any time before or since.

- nonsense. That's the time after 1947, when gov't cut spending by 64% and taxes by 30%, which finally allowed the Great Depression to end, but that wasn't due to high taxes or anything of the sort, it was the consequence of USA having a near monopoly on production as the rest of the world was in shambles.

The real prosperity (not based on the unfortunate situation of the rest of the world) was achieved in USA in 19 century after the Civil war, when free market allowed maximum competition and turned the country into a manufacturing powerhouse, turning USA into a major (or biggest) creditor nation and exporter of hight quality manufactured goods.

Re:Legality (2)

Jawnn (445279) | more than 2 years ago | (#39540833)

Like I said, "fairy tale". Have a look at meaningful, real numbers. Things like the marginal tax rates and the median adjusted income, and then tell me that post WWII was so miserable, or that the 19th century was so wonderful. Or better yet, explain why the your unicorns and free market approach of the late 19th and early 20th centuries led to such a fucked up economy that it ended in The Great Depression?

Re:Legality (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#39540897)

I gave enough details on the Great Depression, with numbers, etc. [slashdot.org] It was caused by the federal reserve monetising UK debt, buying out bad debt UK owed to France (interestingly enough, it was bad debt to France that prompted Nixon to default on the gold dollar).

The Fed printed enough money from 1913 to 1920 that it caused the depression of 1921, which ended in about 2 years after Harding cut gov't spending by around 70% (real spending, not what they do today).

Nobody paid the marginal taxes in post war USA, there were enough loopholes to drive entire fortunes through them, nobody was dumb enough to pay taxes in those brackets, so the effective rate never went over 20%.

The fucked up economy you are observing today is a result of the government growth, predicated by the socialist agenda that allowed the government to sidestep the Constitution (all the social nets - bread and circuses) and obviously the Constitution was thrown out of the window.

Constitution is the law above the government, and once nobody gives a shit, the gov't can do whatever. This included every unconstitutional thing they could come up with, including illegal wars, SS, Medicare, all of the regulations that destroyed property rights (including the Civil Rights act of 1964, which in reality is an Entitlement and Obligations act, there is nothing about rights there that's positive, rights of private property owners were destroyed. This also includes everything: from EPA and FDA and HUD to dep't of energy, education, commerce, interior, FBI, Patriot Act, etc.)

The Great Depression started in 1925 with Fed starting to monetise bad UK debt, but it DID NOT have to be depression, it was Hoover with insane spending policies, trying to 'stave away' the recession and turning it into depression.

FDR, by the way, won the election by promising TO CUT HOOVER'S SPENDING.

Anyway, go do something useful and stop wasting my time.

Re:Legality (4, Informative)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#39540481)

Then you're a moron. Your points are contradicted by reality.

Individual rights cannot exist without collective rights for them to exist within. Anarchy has total freedom but no rights.

Social safety nets exist because all natural systems degenerate to the 80:20 rule and the 80:20 rule is neither efficient nor ethical.

The US has never been particularly productive, individual freedoms != individual rights (Americans really need to grasp this), and the time between the Civil War and WW1 is when it was guilty of most of the theft of technology from other nations, had one of the worst civil rights records and was most interested in financially backing tyrannies and dictatorships. It fought many wars in that time out of greed and perversion (not claiming more recent wars were better, merely those wars were cynical, self-serving and degenerate), xenophobia and religious extremism were rampant. The South, especially, became dangerously close to Failed Nation status out of its desire to circumvent individual rights in the name of individual freedom.

I regard the US as the worst possible example of progressive or rational thinking. The first President had it right - political parties are destructive monstrosities and liberty is no excuse for the destruction of society.

Re:Legality (0)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#39540557)

Then you're a moron. Your points are contradicted by reality.

- I would love to have you say that in person.

Individual rights cannot exist without collective rights for them to exist within. Anarchy has total freedom but no rights.

- individual rights are only a meaningful construct when they are applied in context of relation between individual and the collective.

USA was artificially created based on agreement that individuals had rights ( though I woudn't have ratified that document, as it didn't acknowledge that all people are equal in the eyes of the law and that race doesn't matter).

A RIGHT is a concept that only makes sense when we are talking about INDIVIDUAL having RIGHT not to be bothered by the COLLECTIVE, by the government without justification.

So government cannot steal individual's property, kill the individual, imprison him, etc., without due process (of-course your current administration argues that this doesn't apply anymore, that's the consequence of Democracy in action, as Democracy opened the original doors to all these rulers to throw away the law above them - the Constitution ).

Re:Legality (1)

Sabriel (134364) | more than 2 years ago | (#39540491)

Um.. did it ever cross you mind that the weathy has a responsibility to ensure that the society which is has benifitted from immensely is sustained?

- what crossed my mind is that this is exactly the kind of thought process that destroys the society by taking away people's individual rights and killing off the economy.

It seems to me the GP just described an aspect of what in medieval times was called "noblesse oblige", or in its modern form "with great power comes great responsibility", and you just said to hell with that. Did I misunderstand?

Re:Legality (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#39540525)

Any responsibility that you think you can place upon an individual to care for another individual by rule of law is unjust and immoral.

When did 'responsibility' become a synonym for 'oppression by the threat of government violence'?

Re:Legality (1)

Sabriel (134364) | more than 2 years ago | (#39540619)

Wouldn't that make all rules of law unjust and immoral?

Re:Legality (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#39540667)

How is that? Caring for another individual by threat of violence VS not HURTING other individual are different things.

We don't hurt each other (in most cases, hopefully), and it's not even because of laws, it's because of reciprocity, because in reality an open conflict among grown ups ends in serious injury or death.

Laws are really irrelevant, once somebody is killed as an example, the laws can only be used to punish after the fact, they can't undo the damage.

AFAIC most laws are ineffectual anyway, basically people either have it in them - to hurt others, or they don't. All that laws can do is punish them after the fact IF the perpetrator is caught.

But we are not talking about THAT, we are talking about forcing somebody to actively 'care' about another individual by threat of violence, not about preventing somebody from hurting another individual. So that has nothing to do with normal criminal law.

Re:Legality (5, Insightful)

Xyrus (755017) | more than 2 years ago | (#39540645)

- what crossed my mind is that this is exactly the kind of thought process that destroys the society by taking away people's individual rights and killing off the economy.

Your opinion is backed up by facts. Popular uprising and social unrest always results from the haves trampling the have-nots. You can either think ahead and plan for a sustainable system or you can pilfer by force through a robber-baron culture until people get pissed off enough to take to the streets.

not by using majority to steal from minority. There is absolutely nothing moral or just about it.

Nobody is stealing anything. It takes money to maintain a large nation, and it has to come from somewhere. You certainly aren't going to get it from the poor, which make up a surprisingly large percentage of this country.

Sounds to me like your perfectly happy letting the rich rape the poor though.

- May I remind you that there was time when USA had the most individual freedoms FROM government intervention (specifically between the Civil war and WWI) and that was the time when USA became the most productive country, becoming world's biggest creditor nation, exporting highest quality, affordable manufactured goods. All this, while increasing the strength of its own economy and making everybody who lived in it much wealthier (the dollar gained value by factor of 2, while USA still became the largest exporter of manufactured goods).

[citation needed]

Some of the worst economic crisis happened during that period, including recurring bank runs (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_recessions_in_the_United_States). What your describing happened after WW2, and that's because we were one of the places with an economy and manufacturing capability still intact after the war.

This was definitely prior to USA growing a huge government and destroying its economy and society in the process, while becoming world's greatest debtor nation not only on the planet at the time, but in history of humanity.

That's the fault of congress and the wealthy that fund and control them. In case you hadn't notice, there aren't exactly many poor people in positions of power so your "tyranny of the majority" argument has no basis. Th wealthy are in control of the nation, and it is the wealthy who will drive it into the ground for their own benefit.

USA is now bankrupt, only holding together by other nations providing it with the consumables that it eats without producing anything in return.

We are not bankrupt. You're opinion is that we are bankrupt, but by any legal definition we are far from being bankrupt.

And once again, you have only the wealthy to blame. They pushed to remove regulations and restrictions, and once they got what they wanted they shipped everything off overseas to increase profits, created entire markets on speculation, and trashed the economy and manufacturing in this country in the process. Sure, we can get those jobs back if we roll back labor laws to allow conditions like third world countries to occur here but I'm pretty sure that will result in some serious issues.

There is no such thing as 'responsibility' of the few to maintain standard of living for many, that's pure nonsense.

Well, at least not to a sociopath such as yourself.

Voluntarism is the key, but it only works in a free society, there is no voluntarism in a totalitarian regime.

Voluntarism doesn't work at large scales. Do you honestly think people will donate enough to offset the social safety nets in this country? Especially when almost all the wealth is controlled by a very tiny percent of the population? You're incredibly naive if you thinks so.

Again: democracy leads to tyranny, that's what you have now.

You really have no fucking idea what tyranny is. Grow up.

As to 'safety net' - the best safety net that the humanity has invented is a wealthy and a growing economy based on a free individual making voluntary decisions in a market that is not perverted by the government intervention.

Yeah, that worked out real well before. You know, there is a reason why history is taught in school. Money talks kid, and wealthy sociopaths don't give a shit about the rest of humanity. I would think that would be blindingly obvious.

Sadly USA has lost this very simple knowledge, so now it's losing the economy that it developed in that system.

You're in your own fantasy world kid.

Re:Legality (0)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#39540779)

Your opinion is backed up by facts.

- I know.

Popular uprising and social unrest always results from the haves trampling the have-nots.

- popular uprising and social unrest always results from certain people with some influence organising the unwashed masses around them as a tool to take over the current establishment, so that they can become the establishment. Obviously this requires some blood, all revolutions do.

Nobody is stealing anything. It takes money to maintain a large nation, and it has to come from somewhere.

- yes, it's theft. And no, it doesn't take that much money to maintain a working government system, what does take money is to use the government system as a source of income for the closest corporations/friends. Of-course the pretence that is used to steal at first is 'social net'.

Sounds to me like your perfectly happy letting the rich rape the poor though.

- no, it's you, who are ignorant enough not to understand that big government IS the system that rapes the poor and free market is the system that allows the poor to improve their standard of living with more competition, more efficient distribution of wealth.

As I mentioned, the USD increased in value by factor of 2 while prices were falling and USA had more competition in manufacturing and services than ever in 19th century. That was the century that CREATED the middle class, which didn't even exist as a concept prior to that time.

Some of the worst economic crisis happened during that period, including recurring bank runs

- bank runs are not a problem, they allow weeding out the bad banks, which is exactly what needs to happen.

Currently you won't have bank runs, because gov't will always print enough money to give it back to you (thus the joke of FDIC), but your money is worth less and less.

That's the fault of congress and the wealthy that fund and control them. In case you hadn't notice, there aren't exactly many poor people in positions of power so your "tyranny of the majority" argument has no basis. Th wealthy are in control of the nation, and it is the wealthy who will drive it into the ground for their own benefit.

- no.

It's the fault of the people who have been complicit with the government trampling over individual rights and freedoms because the people got the scraps off the table - the so called 'social net', etc., it's all scraps, while the real theft was happening. BUT it always takes PEOPLE to allow that.

We are not bankrupt. You're opinion is that we are bankrupt, but by any legal definition we are far from being bankrupt.

- it's not an opinion, it's a fact. USA is bankrupt, it can never repay its debts in real value. Worthless currency can be printed in any quantity, eventually this will crash the dollar completely (as if the loss of value from 1913, when 1 ounce of gold was 19 bucks and it's over 1650 now is not enough).

...wealthy to blame. They pushed to remove regulations and restrictions, ... shipped everything off overseas to increase profits, created entire markets on speculation, and trashed the economy and manufacturing in this country in the process.

- no, that's the government at work.

People don't move jobs for the hell of it, they do so because they see their money stolen and they see better conditions elsewhere, I encourage more people to do so, I did.

USA WILL have to become competitive again, of-course it will be forced to when the dollar crashes and nobody sells anything for it anymore (or it doesn't even have to crash fully, huge loss of value is good enough eventually for prices to skyrocket, and I see this in the very near future for USA, after all, now it's a net exporter of oil, is that a first in a century?)

Well, at least not to a sociopath such as yourself.

- people are not your slaves. They don't have to work for you to maintain your lifestyle just because you, the precious and unique snowflake, exist out there. You have to work to earn whatever you can and nobody is your slave.

The companies already give you more than you can pay for, at prices you can't afford, fuelled by the fact that other governments also steal from their own people and debase their own currency after USD.

Voluntarism doesn't work at large scales. Do you honestly think people will donate enough to offset the social safety nets in this country? Especially when almost all the wealth is controlled by a very tiny percent of the population? You're incredibly naive if you thinks so.

- the reason that the wealth is controlled by few hands is your government creating those conditions.

There used to be a real middle class in USA - with many small businesses, that's how people had their own destiny in their hands and weren't a drain on the economy and weren't depending on gov't and there were relatively few people who really were in dire need of assistance, and yes, when the market is free and there are no income taxes people have enough to donate. People always give when asked, but not when they don't have anything themselves.

Expecting a few percent of the people on top to feed the entire populations of countries is what I would call naive, especially if you really think that's sustainable.

You really have no fucking idea what tyranny is. Grow up.

- I was born in tyranny, more tyranny than you have lived in likely, but you are heading in that direction, you are more than half way there.

Yeah, that worked out real well before. You know, there is a reason why history is taught in school. Money talks kid, and wealthy sociopaths don't give a shit about the rest of humanity. I would think that would be blindingly obvious.

- yes, it worked really well, the free market economy actually allowed the people to become so productive, that they didn't even have to send their children to work, didn't even have to have dozen children as old-age insurance policy.

Wish I was a kid.

Cheers.

Re:Legality (2)

ultranova (717540) | more than 2 years ago | (#39540171)

You are right, I am NOT keen on democracy. USA had it correct - it wasn't built as a democracy, it was built as a republic.

"Republic" means a form of government that is controlled by its subjects. In other words, it's pretty much synonymous with democracy.

Also, the alternative to rule by many is rule by few, also known as dictatorship. Those aren't famous for maintaining people's freedoms either.

Democracy always leads to tyranny, not to freedom.

People keep on saying this, yet the only instances I know of where this actually happened were countries still unstable after a revolution, where democracy was killed before it could take root. Stabilized democracies seem remarkably resilient against would-be tyrants, even when said wannabes are backed by corporate overlords.

Care to give some examples?

Re:Legality (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#39540273)

"Republic" means a form of government that is controlled by its subjects. In other words, it's pretty much synonymous with democracy.

- be specific. It's a representative democracy, which is an attempt to prevent mobocracy, which always leads to tyranny.

Examples are plenty, if you are American, you are living in one. But as I said, I am not reinventing a bicycle here [suite101.com] .

Of-course unlike all other Republics before it, USA is quite unique in the artificial way that it started its existence. Roman Republic was created on the ruins of the overthrown monarchy, and it ended with Caesar, Sulla and later Pompey - dictators.

It takes a bit of time, but it looks like all republics turn into democracies and then dictatorships.

The height of economic development is achieved during the time the nation is a republic, then of-course, as the nation is very rich BECAUSE it is so free as a republic, that it develops huge appetite for various government programs - too many people are not actually producing anything of value, but they want their bread and circuses, and the politicos deliver.

Of-course this stuff doesn't come from vacuum, it's stolen from those, who actually produce, and it's given away to the mob (but probably mostly to preferred contractors in form of wars - military contracts), and the democracy lives this way until it exhausts the riches acquired by the republic.

Then, as the society collapses because the wealth is inevitably squandered, and the gov't inflates money because it can't really steal anything from anybody anymore, the people 'elect' a dictator (or one comes to power somehow), and that's the unfortunate cycle that gets repeated over and over.

Re:Legality (1)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#39540359)

"Always" is a big word, and one I suspect you do not comprehend. Indeed, by your very use of it here, you are stating you can mathematically prove your claim (since examples alone CANNOT be used to prove an "always") that there can NEVER exist a democracy that does not lead to tyranny. Unless you have the equations for Seldon's Psychohistory, I don't see how you could mathematically prove that. Ergo, your claim is arrogant and supported only by your worldview rather than by facts on the ground. Any such view is inherently blind, self-serving and depraved. It can be nothing else, regardless of any correctness contained within, as such correctness is by chance alone and not due to comprehension or understanding.

I argue that CORRECTLY-IMPLEMENTED* democracy cannot ever lead to tyranny, that America has become tyrannical precisely because it's a republic, and that systems theory should be a mandatory part of education since there are too many idiots in the world who cannot look past their own petty self-interests to understand what democracy actually IS.

*"Correctly-implemented" is partially defined in my journal, but for the idiots out there I'll summarize here. It has to start with Plato's requirements for a stable democracy (where Plato's educational requirement is considered not as a function of how much schools taught then but as a function of how much there is to know at any given point in time). However, since I hold that ALL aspects of society must progress IN NET at an equal rate, I extend Plato's requirement by saying that the political institutions must evolve in nature at no slower pace than either society or science, whichever is the FASTER of the two. Politics that is not evidence-based and rationally-driven is guaranteed to stagnate, and it is stagnation that causes corruption. NOTHING survives being stagnant for long, evolve or perish.

Re:Legality (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#39540425)

Oh, another one. We can use induction of-course by looking at the past, and if the performance of the past (and of the current) is any indication of the future, then this vicious cycle of: republic (which allows for most wealth to be created), democracy (which happens ONLY because there is all this wealth accumulated) and then tyranny (which happens because democracy / mobocracy is used by the politicos to gain most power by stealing and handing out bread, circuses and military contracts) will always be the resulting outcome of all future democracies, just like they were of all past democracies (the few that existed).

The ones that are still in existence today - well, we are looking at them becoming totalitarian dictatorships right at this very moment.

But I don't care to predict the far away future, I only care about this life time, so you can keep your pedantry in your basement.

I argue that CORRECTLY-IMPLEMENTED* democracy cannot ever lead to tyranny

- ha ha ha, and you will tell us all about how you'll implement this 'correctly', and you'll tell us all about how you'll change the character of the people NOT to want to live better than their neighbours by doing as little as possible actual production?

Yeah, we've seen this nonsense said over and over, by every revolutionary and every missionary of the world.

Re:Legality (1)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#39540553)

An element of a set cannot be extrapolated to infer the set. Induction is useless, particularly in your case as you're apparently incapable of comprehending what rules you can perform induction on, or how.

Your "logic" states nothing beyond your personal arrogance, it shows NOTHING. Democracy doesn't require wealth and CORRECTLY-IMPLEMENTED democracy has no mob rule, populist rule, etc. Those exist only in degenerate systems, where the Tea Party is a classic example of degeneracy in action. You show nothing in your claim, you certainly prove nothing.

But I don't care to predict the far away future, I only care about this life time, so you can keep your pedantry in your basement.

You're the one insisting on this "always" crap. "Always" IS a prediction of the far future. And every possible far future at that. "Always" is as absolute as it gets. "Always" means "For ALL X in Y, with no exceptions". Only a fool, a moron or a religious freak uses the word with the kind of abandon you do.

- ha ha ha, and you will tell us all about how you'll implement this 'correctly', and you'll tell us all about how you'll change the character of the people NOT to want to live better than their neighbours by doing as little as possible actual production?

"Always" requires you to prove no such element exists, or you cannot have an "always". I don't need to show how it will be implemented, to falsify an "always" I merely need to show that there exists an X in Y where your claim is wrong. I don't need to show anything beyond that, I only need to show your claim cannot be true.

If you like, I *CAN* show how such a thing would be implemented correctly, WITHOUT changing the character of people. No, revolutionaries and missionaries do not describe democracies. Indeed, they cannot. That I *can* prove mathematically.

Re:Legality (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#39540607)

An element of a set cannot be extrapolated to infer the set. Induction is useless, particularly in your case as you're apparently incapable of comprehending what rules you can perform induction on, or how.

- since when do I have to prove something about far away future, while we know the history and the current, and what does it matter if 1000 years in the future there will be some other form of democracy that may exist for a longer period of time?

How is it relevant?

It's irrelevant completely, but you obviously don't understand that.

emocracy doesn't require wealth and CORRECTLY-IMPLEMENTED d

- again, as all of the revolutionaries, the missionaries and all of the failed dictators of the past (and current and not too distant future), they have all talked about building the NEW man and the NEW society and to do that all they needed was just to change the nature of the individual, to give the individual a higher degree of consciousness, so that the individual would become part of the collective and throw away his own real desires and ambitions etc.

Well, I'll tell you something: sooner MY statement that all democracies lead to tyranny is correct, than your notion that you can change the character of the man and make him want less for himself and more for others for no other reason but to build this 'correct society' that you want to see.

I DO NOT want to see this 'correct society', and this is a good enough proof for me that you, and those like you will fail every time. I don't want equality, I don't want democracy, I want FREEDOM from people and this contrived idea that people can be all equal based on democratic rule IMPLIES that you will have to CHAIN me with the threat of government violence.

Your hands are just itching to put a thick metal chain on me and others, it's really interesting to observe (but very common).

Re:Legality (2)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#39539599)

Oh, by the way, while you are absolutely correct about my stance on democracy, that was not really the main point of the comment.

The main point was that at any time that federal government is one side of a legal issue and an individual on the other side, federal government must always lose, no exceptions.

There can be no case when it is correct or right or moral or just for the federal government to win any case at all when it concerns an individual.

States can deal with criminal and other laws where it concerns an individual, federal government must not even be allowed to deal with individuals, only with collective that are the States.

Re:Legality (1)

hamburger lady (218108) | more than 2 years ago | (#39540393)

so if the federal government asserts that they have the right to restrict citizens from owning nuclear bombs, you're going to say the feds must lose on that issue? nuclear non-proliferation is the job of the states?

what's your feeling on discipline in the armed forces? you think courts martial are unconstitutional because it's the feds vs an individual?

Re:Legality (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#39540505)

so if the federal government asserts that they have the right to restrict citizens from owning nuclear bombs, you're going to say the feds must lose on that issue? nuclear non-proliferation is the job of the states?

- yes.

what's your feeling on discipline in the armed forces? you think courts martial are unconstitutional because it's the feds vs an individual?

- I am against standing armies, especially on federal level. They are just a hair-trigger away from becoming tools of oppression.

Re:Legality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39538891)

Usually such cases are considered already at the legislation stage and the general principle of protecting (.. I have no idea how to translate it in English .. perhaps protecting "fundamental rights in the spirit and the letter of the law") provides the necessary framework, or alternatively the basic principles of valid legal sources and the hierarchy of them, for rationally selecting the right and ultimately legal course of action.

Re:Legality (4, Insightful)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 2 years ago | (#39538687)

it works the other way, too.

just because someone bought a law decrying X to be illegal does not mean its immoral to so X.

in fact, if the law is recent enough, likely THE LAW is unethical and the behavior perfectly fine. very likely, given our back-assward world we now live in.

Re:Legality (1)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#39540283)

Agreed. Common Law is perhaps the most useful subset of law, in this regard, in that it provides a framework for understanding (common law marriage, for example) but that's all it provides. Criminal and civil law are intended to draw absolute lines over which people should not cross, but they're now too complex to parse and contradictory, and are therefore useless in any practical sense as that framework.

But laws (even well-written ones) can only ever be a framework, a skeleton on which other things can hang. My personal world view is that politics then forms the deepest layer on top of that, an undercoat that cushions everything else. Ethics then forms the next layer and provides the true body, with morality then being the padding on top of ethics. In computing terms, laws would be the hardware, politics the firmware, ethics the OS and morality the userland libraries.

Huzzah! (3, Insightful)

tqk (413719) | more than 2 years ago | (#39538571)

... we cannot say that there is no need to question a company's actions just because they are not a crime under the law.

The spirit of the Samurai still lives. This is good. I'd thought MacArthur had bled that out of the Japanese.

Re:Huzzah! (3, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#39538613)

The spirit of the Samurai still lives. This is good. I'd thought MacArthur had bled that out of the Japanese.

Samurai were conservative engineers? Who knew? I thought they were a warrior race. Did they wear the Medieval Japanese equivalent of a pocket protector?

Re:Huzzah! (4, Insightful)

tqk (413719) | more than 2 years ago | (#39538759)

The spirit of the Samurai still lives. This is good. I'd thought MacArthur had bled that out of the Japanese.

Samurai were conservative engineers? Who knew? I thought they were a warrior race.

Wikipedia: "From the earliest times, the Samurai felt that the path of the warrior was one of honor, emphasizing duty to one's master, and loyalty unto death." That's what I was talking about. He didn't just "build to code." He built what he believed was necessary to satisfy the requirements of the situation. He was also proved right.

Re:Huzzah! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39540545)

Samurai Engineer: Always builds to code....of honor.

Re:Huzzah! (1)

tqk (413719) | more than 2 years ago | (#39540613)

That'd make a great .sig ...

Re:Huzzah! (1)

Jawnn (445279) | more than 2 years ago | (#39540389)

The spirit of the Samurai still lives. This is good. I'd thought MacArthur had bled that out of the Japanese.

Samurai were conservative engineers? Who knew? I thought they were a warrior race. Did they wear the Medieval Japanese equivalent of a pocket protector?

Actually, they were not a "race" at all. They were a warrior class, though in the case of the Samurai, "warrior" is a rather inadequate term to describe the those bound by Bushido.

Re:Huzzah! (4, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#39538767)

I'm not sure that's a 'Samurai' thing as much as a 'not a sociopath' thing...

when will we ever learn (5, Insightful)

wickerprints (1094741) | more than 2 years ago | (#39538651)

The right thing to do is not necessarily the profitable or expedient thing to do.

To quote Richard Feynman, "For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled." Engineering must NEVER have its integrity compromised by issues of money, politics, law, marketing, religion, bureaucracy, or superstition. History repeatedly teaches this to us and yet we still obstinately refuse to learn. And the result is that people are injured or killed.

Re:when will we ever learn (3)

giorgist (1208992) | more than 2 years ago | (#39538679)

Always relevant

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YlVDGmjz7eM

Re:when will we ever learn (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#39538787)

I think that Feynman, while he has a nice point, is really far too optimistic in saying that we 'refuse to learn'. There are, certainly, examples of engineering fuckups caused by genuine failures of understanding or lack of information; but there is also the common instance where the 'we' making the decision knows full well that they won't be the people who get injured or killed(or even subjected to civil or criminal liability) and so make the perfectly value-rational decision to go ahead and do it.

There are ignorance problems and there are malice problems(and, hovering somewhere between the two, there are the gamblers who take on risks that turn out to go badly)...

Re:when will we ever learn (5, Insightful)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 2 years ago | (#39539417)

or even subjected to civil or criminal liability

No, unlike software engineers, real engineers are legally accountable (at least in the west). If you sign off on a doggy bridge design and the bridge falls down, it will be shown (by other engineers) that you failed in your due dilligence, you will go to jail, you will never hold another engineering position on a western project. You will get sued in civil court, not just by the victims but also by the insurance companies that will have to pay to clean up your mess and build a new bridge.

Politicians have nowhere near this level of accountability. If they are warned about (say) levees but ignore the problem for decades. When they inevetibly break at the hieght of a king tide, it's called a "natural disaster", "a freak occurence" or if they're really nailed to the wall, "aging infrastructue".

Re:when will we ever learn (2)

TheTurtlesMoves (1442727) | more than 2 years ago | (#39539541)

Software engineers at least in my country are also liable, just like regular engineers. In fact they are regular engineers. Software developers not so much.

Re:when will we ever learn (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 2 years ago | (#39540519)

True, I should of used scare quotes to indicate that a lot of people with the HR title of "software engineer" are not engineers at all, they're software developers.

Re:when will we ever learn (2)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 2 years ago | (#39539805)

If you sign off on a doggy bridge design and the bridge falls down

The poor little pooches :(

Re:when will we ever learn (3, Insightful)

lennier1 (264730) | more than 2 years ago | (#39538831)

Better safety measures to protect their million/billion dollar assets are very much in their interest.

Re:when will we ever learn (4, Informative)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 2 years ago | (#39539339)

Better safety measures to protect their million/billion dollar assets are very much in their interest.

Two reasons why it is not:

1. Profits are higher 99% of the time, and when something goes wrong it wasn't their fault (big tsunami, rouge operator mistake etc). Ultimately someone has to decide to spend money on safety, and chances are that person won't be to blame if there is an accident but will get a bonus if the share price goes up so there is little incentive for them to chose the less profitable option.

2. The majority of the cost of an accident is born by the government anyway. The cost of insuring nuclear installations would make them uneconomical so the government has to do it. I don't have a figure for Japan to hand by in the UK the required insurance is £140m per site and in the US it is $10bn for the entire industry. Fukushima has already cost orders of magnitude more than that, and while TEPCO will eventually pick up some of that cost the majority is being met by the government.

Re:when will we ever learn (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 2 years ago | (#39539391)

rouge operator

You mean a communitst saboteur?

Re:when will we ever learn (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39540103)

rouge operator

You mean a communitst saboteur?

Or a cross-dressing spy.

Re:when will we ever learn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39540241)

No - it's a make-up artist.

Re:when will we ever learn (1)

Megane (129182) | more than 2 years ago | (#39540691)

rouge operator mistake

I'll bet he was red in the face after that mistake!

inb4 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39538665)

inb4 SlashdotTV becomes a giant rickroll

Civil Engineers (2)

tapspace (2368622) | more than 2 years ago | (#39538685)

As a computer engineer, I am always a little jealous of the "all in a days work" attitude of good civil engineers. This is a bit of a puff piece, but the unfortunate fact is, we, as engineers, often can't or at least don't anticipate all possible problems down the line. This is an amazing story of success, but it just underscores the fact that this is exception, not the rule. Regardless, technology keeps marching and we can only hope to get better and better, despite governments' inadequacies.

Re:Civil Engineers (3, Informative)

TheTurtlesMoves (1442727) | more than 2 years ago | (#39539565)

I wouldn't say its the exception. After all it not news when bridges don't fall down, or last longer than expected or [insert positive outcome here]. Its only news when something goes wrong. The bulk of our engineering works fine not only in design conditions, but well in many cases a little "off design".

Social Contracts (4, Insightful)

MrKaos (858439) | more than 2 years ago | (#39538723)

Too often, in corporations, we see that it is up to the individual making sacrifices to their career to make a company fulfil it's social contract to operate ethically to make profit.

I wonder if TEPCO will attempt to claim credit for something they didn't want to do.

Re:Social Contracts (5, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#39538777)

We at TEPCO are proud to retroactively congratulate any and all peons whose thankless personal sacrifices turned out to have been in our best interest. We would like to take a moment to encourage future sacrifices by employees on behalf of TEPCO.

While not everyone will have the honor of insisting on sound engineering at vulnerable nuclear facilities, we are sure that all of you can find a way to squeeze in some unpaid overtime or not seek reimbursement of job related expenses.

Re:Social Contracts (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39539243)

what's so sad about the whole fukushima mess and this article, is that the meltdown wasn't even caused by the tsunami - unit 1 (at least) was already melting down, out of control, and venting radioactive xenon, iodine and caesium before the tsunami even hit. the earthquake itself was enough to shear the reactor coolant pipes. even if the diesel generators weren't wiped out, the plant would have suffered the exact same fate.

but for all the apologists saying plants in the usa are safe, i wonder what they'll do when an earthquake knocks out cooling for a plant that's nearby themselves or their family. probably run for the hills i assume - any nuclear plant that's not 100% passively safe (that is, every plant on the face of the earth as of right now) should never have been built. then again, who cares what engineer's think about failsafes.

but we had to go with a reactor that could breed bomb-grade plutonium, instead of a passively safe plan like a thorium reactor. look where it's got us.

Malware (0)

humphrm (18130) | more than 2 years ago | (#39538735)

This story includes malware. Happy I have antivirus, and a system that can't run .exe's.

Re:Malware (0)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 2 years ago | (#39538845)

Oh my system can run .exes, but only under the yoke of virtualization :)

Re:Malware (1)

The Immutable (2459842) | more than 2 years ago | (#39539005)

I'm happy that you're happy that you get false positives.

A toast to Mr. Hirai (4, Insightful)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 2 years ago | (#39538837)

They should build a giant statue of Yanosuke Hirai as a reminder. My organization needs one also.

Re:A toast to Mr. Hirai (3, Informative)

Bayoudegradeable (1003768) | more than 2 years ago | (#39539897)

Hirai-sama Banzai! (No, no, no, this is not a war chant. It literally means, "Sir (give or take) Hirai, ten thousand generations!" May Hirai be remembered for ten thousand generations, indeed.

Corporate Social Responsibility (3, Insightful)

lkcl (517947) | more than 2 years ago | (#39539089)

If you've read Professor Yunus's Book, "Creating a World without Poverty" in which he describes the concept of "Social Business" as an alternative to pathological profit-maximisation, you will fully appreciate his interpretation of "Corporate Social Responsibility" being synonymous with "Corporate Financial *irresponsibility*".

the damage caused by allowing Corporations to get so out of control at a National (and an International) level should by now be quite obvious, with these kinds of examples such as Fukushima. there is an alternative pathogen which consumes all resources and maximises its own gain to the absolute exclusion of all other considerations: it's called Cancer. Profit-maximising Corporations are a Cancer and should be treated as a disease.

Re:Corporate Social Responsibility (2)

indymike (1604847) | more than 2 years ago | (#39539993)

Profit-maximising Corporations are a Cancer and should be treated as a disease. Yes, lets go back to the old system where the king was in charge and everyone else was peasants. Putting all that power in the government clearly resulted in more freedom, higher incomes and safer work environments for her subjects. BTW it doesn't matter if the king is a person, committee or computer. The concentration of power is the problem, not the king.

Re:Corporate Social Responsibility (1)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 2 years ago | (#39540087)

Not only that, but the lack of personal accountability.

Even Adam Smith, the corporatists darling (even though they ignore this part), railed against any form of limited liability.

Re:Corporate Social Responsibility (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 2 years ago | (#39540753)

Did you know that the limited liability corporation is a creation of government, not of private individuals?

Did you know that before there were LLC's, there were large businesses without the limited liability bonus?

Don't blame people for using what the government creates to their own benefit. If you disapprove of the LLC, point your anger at its source - the government that created it....

Re:Corporate Social Responsibility (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39540141)

Them: Do you believe in God?
Me: No.
Them: Then you believe in the Devil!

An excerpt from my experience as an 11-year, on a playground. Conviction is not reason. Viewing any given political or economic system as comprising two separate, irreconcilable poles - rarely accurate.

What about the people in the cities? (3, Insightful)

tp1024 (2409684) | more than 2 years ago | (#39539709)

While I'm far from disagreeing that nuclear power stations should be as safe as conceivably possible, what about the cities?

18 Cities were largely or completely destroyed by the tsunami (others merely to some small part). This is where people lived, this is where people died. Where is the scandal, where is the outrage about exposing some 500,000 to the risk of the on-rushing water? Where is the investigation why it could be that almost 20,000 people died?

There has been so much supposedly outraged talk about Fukushima Daiichi, about how anybody could expose the people to such risks, that it is grotesque that nobody is talking about the risk that was there, that was obvious, that killed people.

Re:What about the people in the cities? (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 2 years ago | (#39540169)

I wonder if building a seawall that big around entire cities is feasible, or environmentally sound.

Re:What about the people in the cities? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39540301)

It would be rejected by the same people it was to protect because what might protect me in the future will block my view and access to the beach today. Why would I want to drive to work everyday looking at an ugly gray wall destroying my self worth when I can see the inspirational sunrise on the ocean instead?

Can't blame everything on corporations and politicians.

Re:What about the people in the cities? (1)

tp1024 (2409684) | more than 2 years ago | (#39540687)

It is certainly much more environmentally sound than letting 20 million tons of debris be washed into the sea. Feasibility is not an issue at all. Just look at the piles of debris still on land that were piled up in a matter of months to make any sense of the chaos at all. Those are much larger in their volume than the walls that are needed.

Or compare it to large hydro dams - the material used in a single dam like the Itaipu is enough to protect dozens of cities. (This dam is 8km long and 200m high. It's more than ten times higher and thicker than a seawall would need to be.)

Re:What about the people in the cities? (1)

ultranova (717540) | more than 2 years ago | (#39540319)

There has been so much supposedly outraged talk about Fukushima Daiichi, about how anybody could expose the people to such risks, that it is grotesque that nobody is talking about the risk that was there, that was obvious, that killed people.

Those killed by a tsunami don't make for good propaganda for anti-nuclear lobby.

History (1)

sparkeyjames (264526) | more than 2 years ago | (#39539923)

If you do not learn from history you are doomed to repeat it's failures. Hirai new this
after he examined this historical tsunami data. Good on him for prevailing.

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