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Comments

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A Look At Orion's Launch Abort System

WindBourne Re: Would this kind of system have saved Challenge (43 comments)

The real problem is the idea of combining humans and cargo. They really need to be on separate flights. The shuttle should never have happened. Likewise, orion on the SLS with mission cargo will be a disaster in the making.

2 days ago
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Worcester Mass. City Council Votes To Keep Comcast From Entering the Area

WindBourne Approach Google or WOW (232 comments)

Seriously, this town should approach Google or WOW and push to have one of them come in.

about a week ago
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Battery Breakthrough: Researchers Claim 70% Charge In 2 Minutes, 20-Year Life

WindBourne Yeah, but very likely no (395 comments)

NTU is the same university that had a capacitor that would change the world.
And that was 3 years ago.

My bet is that nothing comes from this.

about a week ago
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Wind Power Is Cheaper Than Coal, Leaked Report Shows

WindBourne Wind has been cheaper than Coal in USA.... (610 comments)

for sometime as well. The problem is that in America, it is only cheaper than Nat Gas in a FEW areas. Otherwise, Nat Gas is actually cheaper than most wind. However, it is expected that Nat Gas will hit 5/MMBTU in the coming year, at which point, Wind is cheaper than nat gas.

What is really needed is CHEAP storage. For example, EOS energy is cheap cheap storage. We utilities to expand this, and at the same time, move to microgrids, rather than 3 large grids in America.

about two weeks ago
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The Cult of Elon Musk Shines With Steve Jobs' Aura

WindBourne Re: More like Steve Wozniak with charisma (181 comments)

Woz and Allen. Both of those men actually made things. I view musk in the same vein as Allen or any of our previous aviation experts.

about two weeks ago
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The Cult of Elon Musk Shines With Steve Jobs' Aura

WindBourne Re: Mars is rubbish (181 comments)

Good lord. Between you far left weenies, combined with far right ( who in 1940's would be called NAZIs, correctly ), you are destroying america, if not the west.

about two weeks ago
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The Cult of Elon Musk Shines With Steve Jobs' Aura

WindBourne Re: Never made an honest dime (181 comments)

You are right. It is not all musk. All of these companies count on top ppl. But, the original design of f9 was musk. Likewise, he is responsible for a number of manufacturing designs and innovations. Likewise, he has surrounded himself by engineers and in general, gotten rid of MBA's, who have become the bane of american businesses.

about two weeks ago
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The Cult of Elon Musk Shines With Steve Jobs' Aura

WindBourne Re: Obama's done more than Elon musk (181 comments)

Actually, it was o that pushed that reg over the objections from the neo-cons/tea*. They were/are opposed to that reg as obamacare.

about two weeks ago
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The Cult of Elon Musk Shines With Steve Jobs' Aura

WindBourne Re: Obama's done more than Elon musk (181 comments)

Noah, All of the major car companies are banding together to do fuel cells that use hydrogen derived from Nat gas.
When gen 3 hits the market in about 3 years, few will want to buy a fuel cell car. As it is, the only reason why leaf and volt outsell model s is not because those owners do not want Tesla. It is simply because they can not afford it. Gen 3 will force all major car companies to switch to electric, rather than loose major shares to Tesla.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Would You Build a Home Network To Fully Utilize Google Fiber?

WindBourne Re:Wire adds value to your house (279 comments)

You got it MOSTLY right.
The one thing that I will add to this, is with the massive amounts of security break-ins, wired will take on a preference over wireless.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Would You Build a Home Network To Fully Utilize Google Fiber?

WindBourne easy to run cat 6 around the house (279 comments)

Seriously, it is a lot easier to run cat 6 around a house.
First off, you have to be living in KC. That means that you have a basement. That means that you can run cat 6 into the first floor trivially. The hard part is dealing with the upstairs.
Depending on the builder, you likely have a tunnel that goes from the basement to the attic, or you might have 1-2 2 or 3" conduits going from the basement up to the attic. You can simply run a single line up there and then put in place a switch, while you splay out to the various runs from the attic.
If you do not have the easy access, then hire somebody to run a cat 6 inside of a conduit from the basement to the attic on the outside of the house. Do it in a corner, next to a downspout, etc. Then paint the conduit.

Also do yourself a favor and run a line to the outside. Ideally, it will be trivial to disconnect (or more likely connect). I ran line up from the basement up to the dining area which the deck is outside of. Inside, I put this in a single gang box, with 2 quickports RJ-45s. The bottom one goes to the basement/network switch. The upper jack goes to an outside jack. When I want the outside, I simply plug in a small 4" connector. Otherwise, it leaves me an inside connection (useful for winter).

about two weeks ago
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US Says It Can Hack Foreign Servers Without Warrants

WindBourne Re: American Exceptionalism (335 comments)

You are right that no laws were broken. OTOH, it can be considered acts of war when it moves from spying to direct attacks on systems.

about two weeks ago
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Former Infosys Recruiter Says He Was Told Not To Hire US Workers

WindBourne Skip H1-Bs (293 comments)

Look, if America needs the help, then they should be getting a green card, not a temp visa. As such, we need to solve the illegal issue along with a real deal on visas. We should drop the H1-Bs, and instead, put national needs at the front of the line. That means that if an AMERICAN company is unable to hire somebody local, then THEY can get more green carded legal immigrants.

And no, foreign companies should not be allowed to bring ppl in from overseas to do the work.

about two weeks ago
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Former Infosys Recruiter Says He Was Told Not To Hire US Workers

WindBourne Actually, no (293 comments)

These companies do NOT get X dollars / hr. They typically, get % of your hourly. That means that the more that you get paid, the more that they make.
So, what is the driving force here? To drive the technology back to their nation.

about two weeks ago
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Former Infosys Recruiter Says He Was Told Not To Hire US Workers

WindBourne Re:How times have changed (293 comments)

This is not about hiring by race. If you are white, but Indian, you will be picked up by infosys, tata, etc.
This is about taking the technology back to your own nation.

about two weeks ago
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Former Infosys Recruiter Says He Was Told Not To Hire US Workers

WindBourne Block infosys (293 comments)

Seriously, the right message is to block infosys from working with American companies for at least 10 years.

To be fair, this is not just infosys that does this. So does tata and many many other companies. The reason is simple. They are NOT global in nature. They are all national, and simply want to bring the work back to their nation. The problem is that American Executives that are MBA's are in this for short-term gains. As such, it behooves them to continue to offshore, while also selling off the company bit-by-bit. GE, IBM, Boeing, etc are all good examples of companies being ran by MBAs that are destroying American companies, while screaming that this is about globalism.
After all, if it was TRULY globalism, then American and other western companies would be allowed into nations like China and India with our goods. But that is not the case.

about two weeks ago
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Antarctic Ice Loss Big Enough To Cause Measurable Shift In Earth's Gravity

WindBourne how soon for a major earthquake? (232 comments)

Seriously, just like China's massive earthquake caused by their dams and reservoirs, the loss of land ice will very likely cause a major Antarctica earthquake. Upon happening, that will likely crack open a number of glaciers.

about three weeks ago
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Obama Presses China On Global Warming

WindBourne Re:Good point about gas. (261 comments)

I agree with much of what you say. Nat gas is CHEAP, and that is what made this happen. O had NOTHING to do with shutting down a SINGLE coal plant up to this point. Interestingly, W's regs on stopping mercury emissions by 2016, has accounted for shutting down more than 1/3 of these coal plants.
If EPS's new regs go in effect, then yes, more coal plants WILL close down, but more importantly, no more new coal plants will be built (that is NOT a bad thing).
I agree with you about nukes. Obama has it right when he says, that our energy policy needs to be ALL OF THE ABOVE. While I am opposed to burning coal directly, I think that we should fund coal=>methane, and sell it to our western allies.
Likewise, we need to help move our commercial vehicles to nat gas serial hybrids and passenger cars to electric.
And while I like wind, solar, etc. we need more sources. That needs to include Nukes.
Oddly, all of the far left screams about nukes and storage and yet, we have the ability to burn this up CHEAPLY AND SAFELY.

So frustrating that the far right and left are destroying America.

about a month ago

Submissions

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Branson wants to work with USA on IFR

WindBourne WindBourne writes  |  more than 2 years ago

WindBourne (631190) writes "British entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson has written to President Barack Obama seeking help commercializing an alternative type of nuclear reactor known as an Integral Fast Reactor. This contrast with Bill Gates who is approaching China to share American technology with them."
Link to Original Source
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China 'has up to 3,000 nuclear weapons hidden in t

WindBourne WindBourne writes  |  more than 2 years ago

WindBourne (631190) writes "China may be using thousands of miles of underground tunnels to hide a nuclear missile arsenal that is far bigger than current estimates, according to researchers.


They spent three years translating secret military documents, scouring the internet and studying satellite images for clues – and concluded that China may have as many as 3,000 missiles, compared with general estimates of between 80 and 400."

Link to Original Source
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China says Space Weapons are inevitable.

WindBourne WindBourne writes  |  more than 4 years ago

WindBourne (631190) writes "According to China's air force top commander Xu Qiliang, As far as the revolution in military affairs is concerned, the competition between military forces is moving towards outer space... this is a historical inevitability and a development that cannot be turned back. The PLA air force must establish in a timely manner the concepts of space security, space interests and space development. We must build an outer space force that conforms with the needs of our nation's development (and) the demands of the development of the space age."
This comes with China having announced last year a soon to be coming new series of military only space stations, as well as develops and test a satellite killer."

Link to Original Source
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Bigelow Aerospace pushes "Orion Lite" conc

WindBourne WindBourne writes  |  more than 5 years ago

WindBourne (631190) writes "The print issue of Space News this week has an interesting article about a proposal that Bigelow Aerospace has presented to the Augustine panel. They propose that a simplified "stripped down" version of the Orion capsule could be developed and flown on an Atlas V by 2013. Of course, the real question is, no matter what Augustine picks, what will Obama and Congress fund?"
Link to Original Source
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Orion to shrink in crew size

WindBourne WindBourne writes  |  more than 5 years ago

WindBourne (631190) writes "Due to Ares I's payload limits, it appears that Orion is about to reduce to a crew of 4 rather than 6 for LEO. Nothing is being said about Moon access which was expected to be 4. Even though the ISS is about to jump to 6 crewmen, this will have no impact since it is expected that Soyuz will be there as well. But will it have an impact on Congress's mind set? With yesterday's news about Ares V slipping, is this the opening that Direct is looking for?"
Link to Original Source
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Cap and Trade or VAT

WindBourne WindBourne writes  |  more than 5 years ago

WindBourne (631190) writes "Regardless if you believe in Global Warming or Not, it appears that the US is about to join the rest of the west in combating CO2 output. At this time, Obama and the Dem's are pushing cap and trade. This approach was developed by Bush I as a means of dealing with SINGLE point of pollution emissions. That approach makes sense for a LIMITED number of emitters. But CO2 is dominantly from our autos, power plants, and manufacturing. In addition, China has moved to be the largest emitter of CO2 (as well as pollutions). This is in large part due to companies moving manufacturing bases there, while the Chinese gov has ignored the pollution problems. Since Kyoto, China has promised to address CO2 if US joined in.
Now, china has changed its tune. In particular, it is claiming that it and other developing countries should not have to control CO2 for anything that is to be exported, while insisting that they west, particularly the US, uphold the current Kyoto. Of course, under cap and trade that will encourage more commerce to shift elsewhere, while ignoring the real issue; solving the CO2, and perhaps pollution issues.
Since Kyoto, the nations involved have been shown to be cheating at all aspects of it. Basically, all the participating countries have tried to argue that their cap is much higher, so that it does not harm their industry. IOW, it should be seen that Cap/Trade does not really cut production since all knows that it will in fact, put the country at a disadvantage. It seems that the ONLY way to do this, is to shift the Kyoto protocols from cap/trade to a time incrementally increasing VAT on all goods (those produced locally as well as imported) applied based on where the good came from and how much emissions from there (ideally, including pollution). That would give an advantage to countries such as Japan and France who have moved heavily towards nuke power and encourage AE. In addition, it would encourage ALL countries to lower emissions.
My question is, does something like this violate trade agreements? This is not a tariff, but a VAT that would be applied on all goods. Why do many of the Kyoto protocol countries, and now the US, seem to be preferring the cap/trade over a VAT (or a "sin" tax)? This appears to be the only way to level the playing field and get all nations to solve this problem."
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China's new military space stations coming soon

WindBourne WindBourne writes  |  more than 5 years ago

WindBourne (631190) writes "China will be launching 2 news space stations this next year. One is for their civil program as ran by the military, while the second is openly for the military. It appears that their will be multiples of the military version to be launched in 2010. It appears that they are developing the same U.S. Air Force Manned Orbiting Laboratory (MOL) that was canceled in 1969. In addition, it appears that China is accelerating their timelines on a number of the earlier space announcements."
Link to Original Source
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Google and others are investing in geo-thermal

WindBourne WindBourne writes  |  more than 6 years ago

WindBourne (631190) writes "While Pickens, anschutz and others are investing billions pretty much into Wind energy, Google, Paul Allen, Kleiner Perkins, and others are investing into geo-thermal power. In particular, 2 new start-ups in AltaRock for EGS (fracturing deep rocks and sending water through the cracks to be heated) and Potter Drilling for new deep drilling rigs, and a small grant to Southern Methodist University Geothermal Lab for mapping heat. Just google's investment alone is more money into geo-thermal than USA feds has invested in geo-thermal. Various European countries have several small RD operations while Australia is building a 1/2 GW plant. Unlike Wind and Solar PV, geo-thermal is capable of being a base power plant. That is it can run 24x7. Solar thermal is the only other main Alternative systems that can run as base load power( with cheap salt thermal storage ). Solar thermal has 10's of gigawatts expected to come on line over the next 4-8 years.
It appears that a number of companies want to make money by producing lots of much cheaper cleaner energy."

Link to Original Source
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second COTs selection to be delayed?

WindBourne WindBourne writes  |  more than 6 years ago

WindBourne (631190) writes "Rocketplane Kistler threatened NASA or pay them another 10 million or else they would involve Congress. Apparently, the house of rep. are now involved and telling NASA to not chose the next selection until the issue with kistler is resolved. In addition, they are calling for Government Accountability Office to investigate the situation. Finally, the reps are calling for the COTS to be cut by 1/3 and provides only 160M, of the requested 263M. So, the question is, will kistler be able to get by with this blackmail? Will a very real attempt to replace the shuttle be scuttled by the US congress?"
Link to Original Source
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WindBourne WindBourne writes  |  more than 7 years ago

WindBourne (631190) writes "Here is an excellent story about Elon Musk and watching his 2'nd launch. Elon Musk is betting his 2x fortunes for the chance to put mankind into orbit CHEAP. Even now, his timing could not be better. It appears that America will be without a man-rated launcher (again) for at least several years. Spacex could be the only American player during that time. If so, then he will be launching not just people to the ISS, but to multiple Bigelow space ships and doing cargo. But then again, with another failure or 2, he may end up broker than he was at age 12. Now the question is, will he also be able to build a launcher that is cheaper and bigger than the planned ares V due out in a decade?"
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WindBourne WindBourne writes  |  more than 7 years ago

WindBourne (631190) writes "Paul Allen has a long history of being the true dare devil with regards to being on the ground floor of businesses. Now, in spite of Paul's funding of the winning X-Prize, it would appear that Bill Gates may actually beat Paul Allen into space. Of course, one possible side effect would be that Gates would get into the space race, perhaps funding some of the current attempts such as t/space or even a lunar base."
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WindBourne WindBourne writes  |  more than 7 years ago

WindBourne (631190) writes "Apparently, Elon Musk is going to sell Electric cars to the middle class masses, not just the wealthy.Musk's Tesla Motors, based out of San Carlos, California, will use the plant to produce its "WhiteStar" car — a four door, five passenger sports sedan which is 100 percent electric. I will be be nice to see this encourage GM/Ford/Toyota/Honda/etc to get the true hybrids and electrics out the door sooner, rather than later."

Journals

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New Democrats? Not likely

WindBourne WindBourne writes  |  more than 7 years ago Well, 4 years ago, I voted for Kerry (a first for me as I never voted for a Dem candidate before). This election, I pulled a nearly straight ticket Dem (a few libertarians, but mostly Dem's) with NO republicans. And why did I do it? Because I was hoping that there would be a difference. Now, near as I can tell, there is no difference.

The big issues that killed the republicans were

  1. Total failure in the Iraq war combined with continuing lies.
  2. Near total failure in the terrorists war (different than the Iraq).
  3. Obscene Deficits.
  4. Corruption that is more akin to a 3rd world country than a superpower.
  5. A total failure in morals and ethics.

.
And what are the Dem's talking about doing about this? Nothing. Nada. Zip.

Nowhere do I hear of them pushing a balanced budget amendment. You would think that if they were worried about deficits, that they would be pushing an amendment.

Or that they would be re-doing the lobbying/election funding process. But not a peep. In fact, here in Colorado, we passed an anti-corruption bill that prevents ex-congressman from lobbying for several years and prevents them from taking more than $50 in "gifts". nearly all of the Republicans howled in fear and hatred of it(very much expected). But most surprising was that a large number of Dem's joined that howling. I think that this will take Joel Hefley's ideas to stop all of this. Too bad that they republicans ran out their last ethical member on a railroad.

As to the war, well, the Dem's backed the backer committee as well as it appears that they will be backing Gates for Secretary of War. And who is Gates as well as who is in the committee? All the same ppl who participated in the October surprise AND the Iran-contra affair. Basically, they are all criminals who have learned that you can screw over the nation AND get away with it. It would appear that we are still doing the same antics of the 80's. I only hope that this time we put a all of them in Levinworth.

And as to ethics and morals, well, let's hope that the corrupt DOJ and DHS will be spying on all the Dems and will stop them before they become as bad as republicans.

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America's needed auto solution

WindBourne WindBourne writes  |  more than 8 years ago

America (and the west for that matter) is in a pickle over oil. Why? Because we depend on it. Yet, there is only several dependencies.

  1. Electricity consumption. This is easily replaceable by Nukes, Alternatives and even Coal. IOW, oil is not really needed for this.
  2. Home heating. Again, we have alternatives for home heating by the use of ground based heat pumps (great for cooling too), natural gas, solar, and even electricity.
  3. Chemical production. This is not the mainstay of oil, but there are no alternatives. In this case, it would be in the interest of the west (as well as most of the rest of the world) to have the price of oil plummet because it is used for only chemical production.
  4. Finally, transportation. This is our Achilles heal.

Transportation is our weakness. At this time, America (and even more so, canada) is spread all over. Worse, we have a minimal infrastructure to support an alternative transportation. In Europe, the companies are intermixed with homes. Many people either walk or take the bus. Big difference. We need an easy alternative to the car, but the entire infrastructure is geared around wheeled vehicles. So what can be done different? Simple; do not depend on a oil based automobile.

Our real problem is that Detroit (and Europe with Japan) is building oil based automobiles. Even the new hybrids are being built all around an oil economy. What is needed for them to survive is a hybrid that works along the lines of train; vehicles with electric motors, a small bank of batteries (enough for say 5-20 miles), and then a empty engine bay. The bay could then hold a number of different energy. The first item in there should be an E85 compliant gas generator. Why? because then it can burn either gas or ethanol mix. The nice thing about that is that for a plain car the generator will need to be on the order of 20K or better. That means that a car can then power a house during an electrical outage (think hurricane, earthquake, or tornado outages) or at a job site (such as construction).
Of course, One might be more batteries. In particular, this would be attractive to somebody who does not drive but say 30-50 miles one way in a day i.e. a house wife or a city person. This person could then recharge at home or at work.
Finally, another might be a fuel cell as these come on-line. So what is the real advantage? Society would not have to undergo massive change to accommodate switching to different energy. All in all, only the refuel point would have issues. But this would mean that we could easily switch to what ever is the cheapest to run.

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Bush's Immigration "solution"

WindBourne WindBourne writes  |  more than 8 years ago

While I have not gone over 100% of Bush's work (or for that matter, the senates or houses), I am concerned by what is happening.

The real problem is that illegal immigration to USA is rarely a freedom/citizenship issue, but generally one of economics. Most of these ppl come here to make money for a time and then leave after 10-20 years (i.e. once they have enough to be comfortable). This will not be solvable via a legal game. It is only solvable via economic solution (think in terms of the drug war). Bush's (and the others) solutions show that there are other interests here rather than solving the real problems.

One of the first issues is that as long as a person can make lots more money here, then they will flow here. So we really have only 2 solutions. Create higher paying jobs there, or decrease the jobs here (with decreasing pay).
NAFTA is a good starting point for increasing jobs there, but it would be useful to see mexico push venture capital and education.
Now, as to creating a disincentive here, that would mean removing jobs as well as lowering the pay. The only way to lower the job count will be to automate the jobs that are being done. That would mean farming, construction, restaurant, and janitorial. If our gov. put in the money that they are looking into spending on a fence solution, into developing robot tech., then we would see the low-end jobs go away. Interestingly, each industry is rather easy to automate and then market to businesses. One good place would be to automate restaurants and then start selling it to resort restaurants. Think of ski industries which have large crush loads iff the snow is good. But will have very light loads if the snow appears to be bad, or better in other places. Ski resorts restaurants would gladly automate if the robots will actually do the job. Each major industry would automate if the cost of hiring illegals is higher than the costs of the robots.

Another issue is that the admin (and congress) have the choice of allowing illegals or not. For those that are pushing us to allow illegals, they all say that the person had to commit no felony. But there are more problems. In particular, they should speak english. They are in our country. If they have not bothered to learn, then why should we bother with them. Also, if they worked here, then they should have paid taxes. If they counted on the employer to pay, then the employer should be listed and we should dtermine who was not paying taxes. One of them, should have to deal with the consequences of tax evasion, which should be jail time and penalities.

Another problem with Bush's solution is his use of computerized ID. The idea is that somebody tells the employer that they are immigrant and then show their computer card. From there, the card is checked in a central DB along with a fingerprint. Ok. No problem. Right? Wrong. With just this approach, all the person has to do, is say that they are a legal citizen and produce a fake license. IOW, it is the same situation that we have now. Unless the gov. is planning to have ALL of us useing this, which is almost certainly the case. W. is using this as a prelude to having a federal issued ID for all citizens. To really make this work, we will need to be fingerprinted and DNAed (because fingerprints can be faked). Basically, he is backdooring his federal ID which he could not push on us in straight forward fashion. Sig Heil! Bush.

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Tackling the oil issue.

WindBourne WindBourne writes  |  more than 8 years ago Throughout most of the world, oil/gas is expensive. Every so often, we go through these oil spikes that make a lot of money for OPEC and those that service them. But the question is, how is America (and western countries in general) going to stop being hit by these?

Well, the Republicans will tell you that the way out of all this, is to depend on capitalism. As a good Libertarian, I agree in principal. But the problem is that oil is not under free economic policies. Basically, the bulk of the worlds oil is controlled by just a few entities (OPEC and Russia). OPEC is made up of small countries, but they mostly act in unison. So between the 2 of them and the companies that service the industry (companies such as enron and halliburton being good examples), we literally have a monopoly. It is in their best interest to keep the rates just below what the world will tolerate and then slowly keep raising it. And that is what they currently do. IOW, free enterprise is not in play here.

OTH, the Democrats will now try to legislate the issue. That is, they will either insist on raising the fleet MPG average, or they will ask for subsidies for some pet project (which is not much different for republicans/neo-cons of today). This has already shown that if the republicans get control back, they will simply roll back the changes. Notice where Carter's energy changes and Clinton's electric car efforts are? All ditched. Interestingly, Carter's main work was on alternative esp. solar and wind which are finally paying dividends. In addition, while W. pushes subsidized oil and hydrogen, it is the hybrid car with increased battery size that is making an impact.

So, is there an alternative? Yes. We need to understand that we are in the situation we are because we are so heavily entrenched into oil. So we need to change that. One of the bigger issues is that autmobilies hang around for ages. So the cars that middle class bought when gas was relatively cheap, will filter down to the poor. Since automobiles are long-term issues, then oil needs to be a long term issue.

  1. We need to roll back the oil production taxbreaks that has been given. Basically, we are subsidizing keeping our country reliant on oil. Big mistake from a debt and policy POV.
  2. W. actually did major cuts into NREL. The money needs to be restored and focus changed slightly; Basically, we should be researching not energy generation, but energy storage. Alternative energy is awesome, but its generation is rarely consistant. Demand is so varied, that if we can store during the off times, and use it during the peak demands cheaply, then all come out ahead. In addition, a storage system would allow for localized distribution.
  3. We need to kill off the fleet average mpg requirements. They serve no purpose and only allow the auto companies the opportunity to point to "doing enough". Yet, they are dragging their feet. It really causes them to shoot for the minimum, which is a mistake. If GM wants to create 5 mpg hummers, then let them. Look at where they are today vs. Toyota/Honda who build high MPG cars.
  4. Finally, we need customers to buy cars KNOWING that gas will go up. Reagan and W. came in preaching cheap oil. That is a mistake. Since oil is a monopoly, it should be taxed. Basically, we should create a progressive tax on Gas that is known ahead of time. Say every 6 months for the next 2 years, gas tax will go up .25. After that for another 2 years, it will rise .50 / gal / 6 months. That means in 4 years, gas will go up by $4/gal. Now, that sounds harsh. And if you are driving a 5 mpg hummer, it is harsh. Of course, if you are driving a 60 mpg hummer, you really do not mind. This will enocurage those that tend to make long range decision (typically high/middle class) to buy more fuel efficient cars or switch. Why? Because they will not want to be tapped for the gas, and they know that the 5 mpg car WILL depreciate fast. Nobody will want to buy it.

The last item is a real hard thing. First it goes against my beliefs. Second, it will be next to impossible to get it passed. After all, JC and Poppa Bush paid with their jobs for doing what was in national interest. Finally, asking citizens to accept a tax that will grow is unheard of and will be judged Unamerican. Yet, we need a way to encourage LONG range choices to be made.

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The long-term view of Illegal Immigration in the USA and EU

WindBourne WindBourne writes  |  more than 9 years ago

I have been giving some thought to what some of the US leaders have been saying about immigration (esp. illegal immigration). If you ignore the racial rantings of such idiots as Tom Tancredo (sadly, he is my district representative), there is an interesting angle that many Americans have not thought about.

Basically, the illegals do come here and they take the low-end jobs that regular Americans do not want. Considering that these ppl do not bleed the system (no welfare, no medical, no retirement, etc), but instead contribute to it (almost all pay taxes), it would seem to be fine(IOW, they contribute more than they take out).

But the real problem is that by having these illegals come here, it discourages us from moving forward. If they were not here, then farmers would be paying much more for workers. Likewise, we would see dishwashers, construction workers, lawn workers, etc. get paid a great deal more. In doing so, it would encourage robotics for these low-end menial jobs.

A good example is that at the Colorado Ski resorts, we need seasonal workers. But they may get lower hours if snow is bad and skiiers are cancelling.

OTOH, if a fast or medium food restaurant were to use robotics for dishwashing, and cooking, then it would be lower costs overall. More importantly, it would allow the wait staff to focus on the customer rather than dealing with the back area.

Another example is that the farmers here are not roboticizing the work when they could afford it. Now, it is much harder to do so, and instead most will start parting their farms to big businesses or selling their water to cities.

Japan has the right idea WRT to doing robotics on the moon and esp. on mars. The ability to have 24 construction and exploration going on would be useful. Because they invest in science and R&D as a nation, there system will go futher down the road.

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Alternative Energy and storage of power

WindBourne WindBourne writes  |  more than 11 years ago

I have been a big fan of alternative energy. It was obvious back in the 60's and 70's, that we would be where we are today. We have disagreement over wether pollution is causing problems (global heating, ozone hole, etc). Likewise, arguments locally about if we are currently fighting our war for Oil/Gas or for our Freedom. The main thing that would help, would be to make our country less dependant on other countries. That basically means the Middle East (for oil) and China (for production).

To minimize or remove oil dependancy, we will have to turn to alternative energy sources. That would basically come down to two main forms: electrical generation and Hydrogen production.

Personally, I believe that GM will see to it that H2 production will occur if they get their hywire to production. But it will be slow and spotty. Most likely, it will also be expensive as the producers will most likely be Oil/Gas companies that do not wish to change. In addition, the mechanics will not want to work on this for some time, even though it should be much easier to do.

So we are back looking at electrical generation. Most forms (wind and solar) are intermitent. This will require supplementing either with centralized generation or with some form of storage. Currently we use mostly centralized generation and minimal amounts of storage. Either way is very expensive.

But the one thing that seems to elude most people in the field is that you will not make wholesale conversion to different sources, storage, and useage in one clean sweep. To do so, would require huge changes in a system that does not reward big changes. So we have some alternative production today, but would like more. This requires boosting Normal generation or Storage.

Electrical storage must happen if alternatives are to take off. By de-centralizing storage, we would also be able to store energy for helping during the day, but also during times of crisis. Three good examples come to mind.

  • 9/11
  • The recent power outage
  • Isabel.

In all three cases, Local area energy storage(LAES) would ahve enabled local supplements will the main units and lines were out. These would also allow for night time generation rather than building new plants.

An interesting one is the Sterling engine using high-temperature salts being developed by Beoing. It should be possible to build small units about an acre that would store energy for the local area. By then encouraging the creation of small companies (perhaps co-ops), we create a decentralized approach to energy storage. This prepares for the future use of alternatives as well as helps during times of crisis.

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