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MARS, Inc: We Are Running Out of Chocolate

GPS Pilot Cocoa Reserves (323 comments)

Dude, didn't you know about the Strategic Cocoa Reserves... underground salt domes in Texas and Louisiana that store about 112 million cubic meters of beans?

about a month ago
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Americans Rejoice At Lower Gas Prices

GPS Pilot Hope you're right (334 comments)

Iranians don't want nukes to attack their neighbors, they want them as a defensive deterrent.

Your faith in the rationality of this Great-Satan-rhetoric-spewing, eschatology-minded, 12th-imam-loving nation is greater than mine.

The guys who cooperated, and gave up their nuke programs (Saddam Hussein, Muammar Qaddafi), are dead.

I recall Gaddafi voluntarily handing over materiel, and being much more cooperative with UN weapons inspectors than Hussein. He should have been rewarded with, perhaps, a quiet asylum villa where he could have lived out his retirement. Not this: "The video appears to picture Gaddafi being poked or stabbed in the rear 'with some kind of stick or knife' or possibly a bayonet".

about a month and a half ago
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Americans Rejoice At Lower Gas Prices

GPS Pilot Ukraine is ruing the day... (334 comments)

Good point, you're talking about the "Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances" in which "Ukraine gave up the world's third largest nuclear weapons stockpile." Ukraine is ruing the day it was suckered into those "Security Assurances."

about a month and a half ago
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Americans Rejoice At Lower Gas Prices

GPS Pilot Re:A killer attitude (334 comments)

The 250,000+ deaths mentioned in the article are not due to heat getting cut. It's due to people with weak immune systems (mostly elderly) trying to economize by setting their thermostats low, which makes them marginally more susceptible to influenza and other illnesses.

Lower energy prices --> less incentive to economize. An old person dying of a preventable seasonal illness isn't as newsworthy as other types of deaths, but yes it still counts as a tragic human death.

While I was vacationing in the UK, I was surprised to see the resort meter my suite's energy usage, and charge me for it when I checked out. Of course hardcore environmentalists love those kind of policies. (I didn't mind so much... aside from the slight hassle, I guess it's better than assessing an average charge to wasteful and thrifty people alike.) But for immune-compromised tenants, it does give them an incentive to place themselves at marginally greater risk of dying.

about a month and a half ago
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Americans Rejoice At Lower Gas Prices

GPS Pilot The point is... (334 comments)

Your assumption that I sometimes buy new cars in incorrect. Cars depreciate about as fast as PCs, and I take great satisfaction knowing that someone else ate that depreciation.

But whether I buy new or used is irrelevant to the point I was trying to make. If it's logical for people to buy a more fuel-efficient vehicle when the price of fuel increases (and it is), it is also logical -- not a lack of willpower or other character flaw -- for people to buy a less fuel-efficient vehicle when the price of fuel decreases. Anthony Perl can't have it both ways.

about a month and a half ago
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Americans Rejoice At Lower Gas Prices

GPS Pilot Re:A killer attitude (334 comments)

Of course inexpensive energy didn't fix all of society. But it did a lot of social good, and I'm glad you somewhat acknowledge that now.

I'm not opposed to "inexpensive energy" but to subsidize fossil fuels for those who can easily afford it

You seem to have a lot in common with the article I linked. Note the story about the millionaire who protested the fact that the UK government subsidizes his fuel bill.

about a month and a half ago
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Americans Rejoice At Lower Gas Prices

GPS Pilot Re:Bizarre (334 comments)

Nobody fears a nuclear Iran more than the Saudis, not even the Israelis.

Is that a rational fear; is an Iranian nuke more likely to be detonated in Riyadh than Tel Aviv? (Or, given that Iran is the biggest state sponsor of terror, transferred to a terrorist cell that floats it on a small boat into New York Harbor?)

about a month and a half ago
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Americans Rejoice At Lower Gas Prices

GPS Pilot Insulting my willpower (334 comments)

Whenever I buy a car, I build a spreadsheet to compare Total Cost of Ownership for several different models. One of the inputs, of course, is the price of fuel.

If that variable goes up, I am steered toward a more fuel-efficient vehicle, and according to Anthony Perl, I "have the willpower to stick with the program." But apparently I should banish that factor from my spreadsheet if the price of fuel goes down, lest I be steered toward a less fuel-efficient vehicle, and become guilty of a huge characater flaw.

I mean, an addiction to large overpriced SUVs that never touch dirt or mud is clearly an addiction spiraling out of control that we should probably earmark billions in taxpayer money.

You're being sarcastic, but Dubya took real action toward that end.

about a month and a half ago
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Silk Road 2.0 Seized By FBI, Alleged Founder Arrested In San Francisco

GPS Pilot Re:Pot erased an average of 8 IQ points (219 comments)

That's an excellent question.

Thanks

How about exhaustion from work? Let's ban overtime, and limit daily hours to 4 while we're at it.

In fact, legislators have already dealt with this. The law limits the standard workweek to 40 hours (even shorter in France), working overtime is something that's pretty heavily regulated, and child labor laws prohibit all work for kids under 14.

When adults work and earn income, there is less of a need for kids to work and earn income, but the opposite dynamic exists for controlled substances: when adults gain easier access to them, minors also gain easier access to them. (For most of the people who voted for Amendment 64 here in Colorado, that was an unintended consequence; but for some it was very intended -- "power to the babystoners!") Thanks for making points that support my position.

Where do you draw the line?

I thought I had made clear that permanent loss of an average of 8 IQ points is too high a price to pay for the freedom to get stoned (a freedom that people who have their sobriety don't even miss). Now I ask again, where do you draw the line?

about a month and a half ago
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Silk Road 2.0 Seized By FBI, Alleged Founder Arrested In San Francisco

GPS Pilot Re:Pot erased an average of 8 IQ points (219 comments)

STFU, no one is talking about legalizing pot for minors

LOL, I'm in Colorado where voters decided to legalize pot in 2013 -- nominally only for adults -- and as a result use among minors has increased dramatically. That's one of the reasons Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) called the decision "reckless."

about a month and a half ago
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Silk Road 2.0 Seized By FBI, Alleged Founder Arrested In San Francisco

GPS Pilot Re:Pot erased an average of 8 IQ points (219 comments)

Outlawing pot doesn't reduce pot use? LOL, I'm in Colorado where voters decided to legalize pot in 2013, and as a result pot use has increased dramatically. Now if you had said outlawing pot does not eliminate pot use, I would of course agree with you. But if the goal is merely to "reduce," the law certainly can and has accomplished that.

Outlawing things because we disapprove of them is a stark miss-use of the legislative process. Pass laws because the actual consequences of the law will make the community better off, not because you want to signal disapproval.

I thought that's what I was advocating. People walking around with an average of 8 IQ points missing makes the community worse off, especially because it makes them more likely to need public assistance. Whether I "approve" of having one's brain in that condition is irrelevant.

about a month and a half ago
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We Are Running Out of Sand

GPS Pilot Rising sea level does NOT cause net loss of beach (264 comments)

Look. Sea level has risen about 400 feet since the end of the last ice age. So if rising sea level causes net loss of beaches, that 400-ft increase would have had a far more devastating effect than the puny rise we've experienced in the last 50 years (about 7 cm). When are people going to stop falling for this AGW fear mongering?

By the way, every species that's alive today, including polar bears, survived that 400-ft sea level increase.

And every species that's alive today has survived dozens of glacial/interglacial alternations (i.e, the coming and going of dozens of ice ages).

about a month and a half ago
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Silk Road 2.0 Seized By FBI, Alleged Founder Arrested In San Francisco

GPS Pilot Brilliant! (219 comments)

The way to have less crime, is to criminalize fewer things.

Brilliant! We could have less bank-robbery crime by decriminalizing bank robbery. We could have less illegal wiretapping by decriminalizing illegal wiretapping. Those pesky KKK lynchings? Decriminalize them.

Maybe you meant to say, "I wish things that I personally don't have a problem with would be decriminalized."

about a month and a half ago
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Silk Road 2.0 Seized By FBI, Alleged Founder Arrested In San Francisco

GPS Pilot Pot erased an average of 8 IQ points (219 comments)

Pot erased an average of 8 IQ points. And IQ points are becoming a more valuable commodity, as technology eliminates more and more jobs that used to employ unskilled labor.

So the question is, where do you draw the line -- how many IQ points must a substance erase before you're in favor of banning its use -- 30? 80?

about a month and a half ago
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Silicon Valley Swings To Republicans

GPS Pilot Ok, by the numbers... (485 comments)

The "U3" unemployment rate is downright deceitful; it excludes people who are no longer applying for jobs because they've become discouraged by endless rejections (regardless of whether they became discouraged 2 weeks ago, or 5 years ago). Naturally, U3 is the measure most commonly reported in the mainstream media. As the U3 rate regularly ticks downward because more and more workers become discouraged, it has become rote for the media to release celebratory articles. But more people seem to be waking up to the fact that movements of this number are meaningless outside of the context that explains why it moved.

A true measure of economic health -- which genuinely reflects whether the demand for labor is vigorous or soft -- is the Labor Force Participation Rate (LFPR). It has just fallen to a the lowest value in 36 years. You specifically asked about current prosperity as compared to 10 years ago. You can go here to see a chart showing it's taken a nose dive since 10 years ago: http://static3.businessinsider...

Note that the current LFPR is even worse than it was when the so-called "Misery Index" was at its all-time high (June 1980). And the LFPR is nothing like it was during the boom years of the Clinton Administration.

Our current "booming stock market" is solely a function of the Fed artificially holding interest rates near zero. I.e., the places where "sensible" people traditionally invested money, such as a bank certificate of deposit, are currently not an option unless you're willing to settle for a return that's near zero. (Actually, those near-zero returns are negative, when adjusted for inflation.) That certainly explains why people are pouring a large portion of their savings into the stock market, does it not?

And since you're interested in genuine numbers, I trust you will stop saying that "tens of thousands" died in recent wars. The genuine numbers of combat deaths are: Afghanistan, 1,742; Iraq, 3,527. You have to go back to Vietnam to find a figure in the tens of thousands (47,424).

Has this helped?

about a month and a half ago
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Statisticians Study Who Was Helped Most By Obamacare

GPS Pilot Not different, not unusual (739 comments)

This particular income redistribution plan is only different in that income is redistributed to the poor instead of the rich.

In that respect, it's not at all different from Medicaid, food stamps, etc.

the law has done something rather unusual in the American economy this century: It has pushed back against inequality, essentially redistributing income

That's not at all unusual this century. In this century, Social Security is redistributing income from workers to non-workers at a faster rate than in the previous century. In addition, Lyndon Johnson's "Great Society" programs are now redistributing income to the poor at a faster rate than they did in the 20th century.

about 2 months ago
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Elon Musk Warns Against Unleashing Artificial Intelligence "Demon"

GPS Pilot Bring on the insurance optimization algorithm (583 comments)

how about an insurance optimization algorithm that denies coverage or treatment, sometimes fatally?

Right now, humans make the decisions about what treatments will be denied. That is true in government-run healthcare programs as well as in private health insurance companies. As long as resources continue to be finite, it's a truism that some treatments must be denied. (That is, it will forever be a truism that some treatments must be denied.)

(Ideological tangent: if multiple private insurers compete with each other on the basis of how few treatments they deny, and you can switch to insurer B if you feel insurer A is being too stingy, you're in a good system. If you're covered by a single government-run monopoly and there's nowhere else to turn when their inefficient bureaucracy consumes many of the dollars that should be going toward your treatment, you're in a bad system.)

But in either system, an algorithm could potentially make fairer, more objective decisions than human decisionmakers can.

about 2 months ago
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Elon Musk Warns Against Unleashing Artificial Intelligence "Demon"

GPS Pilot Please engage brain (583 comments)

Such a large percentage of our economy is based around energy being limited and expensive that if we found a cheap, environmentally friendly, and sustainable way of producing vast amounts of energy, our economy wouldn't be able to deal with it.

There's so much wrong with your comment, I hardly know where to begin.

In our current economy, energy is vastly more plentiful and inexpensive than it was 50, 100, or 300 years ago. And that's one of the main reasons the economy is much bigger than it was 50, 100, or 300 years ago, and the standard of living of the average human is much higher than it was 50, 100, or 300 years ago.

about 2 months ago

Submissions

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More details about Mars mystery rock

GPS Pilot GPS Pilot writes  |  about a year ago

GPS Pilot (3683) writes "Previous reports said the rock that suddenly appeared out of nowhere was merely 'the size of a jelly doughnut.' Now, a color image shows additional reasons for this metaphor: 'It's white around the outside, in the middle there's kind of a low spot that's dark red,' said lead scientist Steve Squyres. In the image, the object does stick out like a sore thumb amidst the surrounding orange rocks and soil. Its composition is 'like nothing we've ever seen before. It's very high in sulfur, it's very high in magnesium, it's got twice as much manganese as we've ever seen in anything on Mars.' If it's just a random rock that had been kicked into position by one of the rover's wheels, chances are it would not be 'like nothing we've ever seen before.'"
Link to Original Source
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Autonomously-driven car transports Congressman

GPS Pilot GPS Pilot writes  |  about a year ago

GPS Pilot (3683) writes "The chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee just took a ride in Carnegie Mellon University's autonomously-driven Cadillac — a nice step forward for acceptance and awareness of this technology."
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Independent replication of BlackLight Power energy

GPS Pilot GPS Pilot writes  |  more than 6 years ago

novel_compound writes "Faculty memebers at Rowan University have independently replicated the remarkable energy source invented by BlackLight Power, Inc. Their report confirms that this process causes hydrogen to release 100 times more energy than ordinary combustion."
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Greenpeace founder promotes nuclear energy, again

GPS Pilot GPS Pilot writes  |  more than 6 years ago

GPS Pilot (3683) writes "Patrick Moore is promoting nuclear energy again.

The only viable solution is to build hundreds of nuclear power plants over the next century, Moore told the Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday. There isn't enough potential for wind, solar, hydroelectric, and geothermal or other renewable energy sources, he said."
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Roll your own pivoting display?

GPS Pilot GPS Pilot writes  |  more than 6 years ago

GPS Pilot (3683) writes "A monitor with 16:9 aspect ratio is perfect for watching DVDs, but perfectly wrong for word processing and coding. What's the best way to get the best of both worlds: should I pay a premium for a display that has a 90 degree pivoting feature built-in (such as the HP LP2465), or is there a good aftermarket VESA mount desktop stand that can turn any LCD into a pivoting display? And how well do various OSes support pivoting displays? (I'm most interested in OS X.)"
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Fifth fundamental force of nature: antigravity?

GPS Pilot GPS Pilot writes  |  more than 7 years ago

GPS Pilot (3683) writes "Dr. Randell Mills has just posted a paper in which 'We report the experimental confirmation of 15 predicted hyperbolic-electron states that are observed forced away from the Earth with an acceleration that is over twelve orders of magnitude greater than that of gravity, as predicted.'

In other words, a fifth fundamental force of nature, which amounts to a very powerful form of antigravity.

He performed the experiment with an off-the-shelf electron gun."

Link to Original Source

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