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Study Finds US Is an Oligarchy, Not a Democracy

bussdriver Re:Carter (771 comments)

I would agree; however, Carter did come out from nowhere and upset all the wrong people. Lucky for him he wasn't powerful enough to do much against the rotten system because he would have ended up like JFK (and if you believe in magic bullets just stop now and go back to reality TV.)

I think Carter was decent and I think he was of the same character then as he is today but put in an impossible situation. Eisenhower was much earlier and his "Industrial Military Complex" was unstoppable.

Carter is how the last President should look. When the system falls apart, it is going to not look good for everybody involved in it whether or not they helped or harmed demise. Rome's fall involved a lot of assassinations and failures as the corrupt system fought to maintain the status quo. It is far easier than trying to make a broken system work while controlling it enough so nothing might actually change.

While the public fights "culture wars," essentially fighting over which brand of cigarette is better, both sides get cancer.

yesterday
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Study Finds US Is an Oligarchy, Not a Democracy

bussdriver Carter (771 comments)

Carter was the last President; after him, it has been a complete sham. One reason he had it so bad is because he went up stream against a system that was near death.

You only have power in a corrupt system as long as you go with the flow; it's empty power but it is enough to still attract tools. Like a C or B movie villain's 2nd in command, the second he falls out of line all that power does nothing to stop a dramatic (and cliche) example from being made of them.

2 days ago
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Study Finds US Is an Oligarchy, Not a Democracy

bussdriver DUH. (771 comments)

Nobody means literal democracy when they refer to it. They almost always mean the kind of thing we used to have in the USA.

Oligarchy- DUH.

Only good part is those of us who get to say "I told you so" over and over as more people wake up. (It loses it's fun by the time it gets popular.)

2 days ago
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52 Million Photos In FBI's Face Recognition Database By Next Year

bussdriver But it won't happen to me... (108 comments)

You might think it won't happen to you but it only takes a few decades for things to go horribly horribly wrong (see German history...Nazi...) You might think your modern citizens are somehow wiser or smarter or more evolved-- well, maybe so (debatable) but the techniques used HAVE evolved.

People escaped, people resisted, and underground networks were extremely important in winning WW2. Will such things even be possible in the future? If your nation has the system already active and in place, it is just another weapon which can be turned against you in the worst of situations. People probably can't imagine the creative abuses that can be done now and will become possible.

Chaos and insecurity must be tolerated -- you'll never get completely safe and the risk of it going bad is so great long term it is an extremely foolish move to box people in. People are so easy to scare and so extremely cowardly - some fear is ok but a lot of it these days it is BS and people need to "grow a pair". Perhaps if everybody had to spend a few years commuting by bicycle to work among the traffic they'd learn to manage some risk.

Go ahead and buy many guns....useless move. does not prevent anything and it can't resist much either.

2 days ago
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Mr. Schmidt Goes To Washington: A Look Inside Google's Lobbying Behemoth

bussdriver Re:power honeypot (114 comments)

There are these things called cars, they let people travel between cities and this is especially easy in a metro area made up of suburbs. Walmart can do just fine with no citizens in my town supporting them. Frankly, I think the majority were against Walmart because it is trashy and while they may go there they don't want one in their backyard. Not that the reason matters-- most people didn't want it and their liberty (government in this case) was taken from them. Sadly, most people will not think beyond their own selfish and short term interests which is why Walmart and China can destroy the economy here - it's no more their fault than it is a drug dealer's fault his clients slowly die or overdose.

Crony capitalism happens when citizens neglect their civic duty. It is true that a democratic system is going to create majorities who look out for their own interests but that is not crony capitalism... which requires "cronies" it does produce somewhat similar situations where you have for example, senators fighting for the F-22 because of the economic hit to their state. They are doing their jobs in that case and the majority of their state is probably along with them and the crony... It's not simplistically crony capitalism, it is also democracy. A functioning system would make it impossible to wield unwarranted power. Two pro F-22 senators will lose such a fight... unless the crony / corp is too big and can undermine democracy-- 100% of a single state's people would still be a minority at a national level. Again back to the point, a functioning system MUST limit and somewhat balance power. city, state, fed, etc. If the majority wants it, it is not cronyism. duh.

Me a control freak? huh... You must be much further towards anarchism than I am. Perhaps you should go to politicalcompass.org and see where you rank. I'm quite far from authoritarian. This is like arguing with Anarchists. You should try that sometime... I have... except you will probably be right at home with them.

YOU can move to another country. It is not much worse than having to move between cities or states. Not that the world has many places left out of the reach of the expanding US backed policies / laws... I suppose... you could be reacting to finally learning the evils of the American Empire which is causing a natural over reaction fueling your anti-authority positions; ironically, fighting for the cronies who've hijacked the system... when it's a strong system that is necessary to reign them in.

As far as being a quitter. sometimes, yes that is the right choice. Other times it is too important to let 1-2 jerks ruin it for everybody else.

2 days ago
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Mr. Schmidt Goes To Washington: A Look Inside Google's Lobbying Behemoth

bussdriver Re:power honeypot (114 comments)

I only have local gov experience. It doesn't take much money before the game is all about power. I don't assume that all the wealthy are distracted by the money game; some realize it's just a means to power and power is what they really are addicted to. Luckily, it seems that many are stuck on their money addiction or things would be so much worse than they are. Bigger government isn't much different than little government; similar organizational problems and human nature - I doubt you have significantly more insight.

Public funding of the press: A flawed society will produce flawed results no matter how perfect the system is - it runs on human power. Public funding of the press is not a big problem. If you can't do it right then you are already SOL. Funding the press today in the USA isn't going to save this sinking ship. It is too late. This is how democracies die, they are slowly undermined and people don't notice problems until things are too far gone... so patches appease them and prolong the inevitable fall into despotism in the cycle of life for all democracies. My point is, the founders were wise to fund the press with no strings attached and to separate it as much as they could from government power. Today we have a completely separate press that is still a corrupt lapdog, so arguing that complete separation works should feel really foolish. Citing already failed societies as an example of why something doesn't work is a poor argument. Well, Linux really sucks -- because on my old computer it crashes all the time.... (never mind that nothing runs well on it because it's practically dead.)

Walmart - my city didn't want one; it was our right to not want them. My city fought them and LOST because ultimately it came down to a lawsuit that we would likely win AFTER bankrupting the city. The point is you don't have real freedom if you can be squished at will. No, Walmart doesn't have more rights than the citizens of my city.

I am a participant, an active responsible citizen and any civil society has a government by which the citizens' collective power is manifest. We the people give the government it's power; and that applies to all kinds - the oppressive tyrants only rule at the submission of their citizens (until they rise up - the power always is theirs.) If people do not participate and good people don't get involved then ONLY the self-motivated parties seeking power will run the show. My theory is that the more successful the democracy the shorter lived it will be until it starts into despotism; a happy content citizenry is not vigilant. Politics is not pleasant. never will be. reality sucks; so suck it up stop escaping to the TV people!

Surely you must have volunteered or been part of things where nobody cared to be in charge except the jerk everybody hated because they were a control freak? Next time others having learned their lesson step up. Same kind of thing but a smaller scale. Often, if it's not bad enough people will just tolerate the bad situation because to unseat the jerk is more effort than it would have to stepped up in the 1st place.

3 days ago
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Will This Flying Car Get Crowdfunded?

bussdriver Flying madness continues... (157 comments)

Ok, you get all the issues resolved. Then comes the physics and economics... so you get your Mr. Fusion to power all these flying cars from bits of trash thrown into the affordable reaction chamber, then you have to find a way to transform all that waste heat the things are going to give off in huge amounts times the number of cars. Remember, nothing is going to be 100% efficient and anything using propellers... Then you have the majority of horizontal movement energy wasted because after 60mph most of that is put into pushing against the wind...

All this so you can save some money and time on roads? It takes almost nothing by comparison to roll you around on the ground at slower speeds. We have troubles funding the cheap individual vehicles today... or at least people complain a whole lot about the costs and it's not so bad that we are driving at half speed to save on gas which costs less than bottled water.... but the energy costs for flying are just much greater.

Insurance... imagine the insurance... and all the GM recalls not performed...because the death toll doesn't cost them enough $ (and the likely continuation of tort reform means they can afford even more damage.)

3 days ago
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Mr. Schmidt Goes To Washington: A Look Inside Google's Lobbying Behemoth

bussdriver Re:power honeypot (114 comments)

Until you realize the error of your beliefs, you will just be another tool. Do some thinking and stop adhering to a simplistic religious world view (unsurprisingly one which is promoted by the power elite.)

A functional democracy will reflect the flaws of it's people; as Franklin said, all democracies fall into despotism. It is not an eternal system, it is bound to fail and have to be rebuilt because it runs on humans. Nothing you do can create a perfect system as long as it runs on humans. Sure, someday a computer could take over and then it would be "perfect" and everlasting but humans don't like being dictated to for that long... even if the outcome is as close to utopia as possible. Humans require struggle and will create one if need be (unless you can create a "Brave New World" of distraction and avoidance. Then only a small % will revolt and the computer can then breed those people out.)

It is true that power has migrated towards the top; but that is only a problem with corruption which in turn is the peoples' collective fault. You can't fix things by rebooting to more localized power because the flaws that led to this remain and will just continue. Power mad people will by their nature migrate power to themselves. In addition, it doesn't matter a whole lot if my state or federal government goes too far; it still impacts me the same (other than it being easier to relocate to another state than another country; moving isn't that easy.) I for one, was never a big fan of the change to have the public elect Senators. They should have remained appointed by state legislators; the argument was that it was less corrupt to have the public do it... well, if states were so easily corrupted... all the popular vote did was to delay the spread of corruption (and in some ways increase it by making the fed less responsive to the states.)

What I thought was the obvious conclusion to my statement is that we need a salary cap and severe limits on corporate power. Your local government if you didn't realize it yet, is at the mercy of every rich person or large corporation; your state government is easily overpowered by a national corp and not hard to corrupt by local state businesses. If you want local government, you need limit the size of the threats opposing them. Today, our "all powerful" federal government has been lost to multinational private entities; it wasn't even powerful enough to maintain integrity - and the public not competent enough to defend it... You must not know much about your local gov, same issues go on there and just because they are small targets doesn't mean they are anymore immune. When Walmart wants something your city will lose; until that time you can go ahead and feel that it works better. Naturally, being smaller, they are not targeted as much... give them more power... then they would be bigger targets AND weaker.

The 4th branch, the press, was publicly funded with 3% of the GDP and afforded a semi-non profit status up to the civil war. Some minor changes would be needed today but the founding path was the correct one.

3 days ago
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Mr. Schmidt Goes To Washington: A Look Inside Google's Lobbying Behemoth

bussdriver power honeypot (114 comments)

No, removing power from the democracy is only empowering the same anti-democratic forces that always seek greater power. They will seek power by any means available to them; take away law and order and they'll become war lords. Anything that limits their means to power is going to have to be more powerful than they are; therefore, it'll become a target for acquisition or undermining. Minimal regulations still require a government powerful enough to enforce them and therefore an equally tempting target for the power mad. You CANT avoid the problem by weakening government; any functioning government will be powerful enough to be the primary target for corrupting forces.

The only solution is to separate powers and limit them to the extent they are stuck in a permanent battle that is evenly matched. This is the basic concept upon which the constitution of the US was created as well as most other constitutions. The flaws and failures come from not properly balancing and separating the powers at play. The obvious flaw in the US system is that it only has 3 branches it limits and it was outside factors that overpowered and functionally destroyed the democracy. Sure, it will be just fine as a republic all the way into oligarchy, plutocracy, fascism and/or dictatorship... but the democracy aspect; the most important part, is dying off.

4 days ago
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New Service Lets You Hitch a Ride With Private Planes For Cost of Tank of Gas

bussdriver Re:Having a private pilots license (269 comments)

Are you joking?

200+ million Americans drive somewhere - DAILY. look it up.
Flying? I bet it is around 200,000 per day.

That is 1000 times more people fly. Concept doesn't sound big enough.... In better words: 199,800,000 Americans drive more than fly every day.

Miles traveled is a bad metric for comparison; hours traveling would be better. but my point is that car accidents are minor because few result in death. Something like 5+ million accidents and only 40,000 are fatal. I wish more things were that safe... cancer... 50% ...fatal cancer... 25% (men)

about a week ago
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New Service Lets You Hitch a Ride With Private Planes For Cost of Tank of Gas

bussdriver Re:Having a private pilots license (269 comments)

You say that as if it was easy. Try having a 3rd party online service handle the gas cost splitting and drawing the scrutiny of the FAA towards the online service. Something I'd not want to happen to me personally even if I'm not doing anything wrong. (especially if it's informal and we round numbers etc. some stickler could make that a pain.) Plus if the 3rd party online service includes fees for the service I'm sure some lawyer can make an issue out of it no longer being strictly fuel. (but if the pilot doesn't get paid extra it should be ok.) Some people break rules; if you have communications between people on such a service would the FAA want to monitor it to catch people breaking the rules? We know it happens somewhere sometimes but how much?? xmas gift... larger than usual... card... "thanks for the lift"...

Ultralites are for crazy people; why have an age limit or license? it'll help the gene-pool.

I like the idea of the service. I still think there are organizations that will oppose it even if it doesn't pose a realistic threat.
Taxi's would be hurt but they'd not die from ride sharing apps either (they might finally get with it and serve you better instead of make you wait so a Taxi far away can get their share of customers instead of the one a block away.)

about a week ago
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New Service Lets You Hitch a Ride With Private Planes For Cost of Tank of Gas

bussdriver Re:Having a private pilots license (269 comments)

Well, I wasn't intending to talk about MORE flying. I'm not one who supports heavy flying and don't think there should ever be flying cars either. (By the time any such thing is realistic-- if it would ever be-- robots should be doing it all for us. Unless energy is free, land transport is a cheaper use of energy.)

The point is, flying is really dangerous stuff. This is why so much care and precaution is taken and I think the pilot's exam includes enough complexity to double as an IQ test as well. As you likely have noticed, we let any moron drive a car. If we were as strict with cars they would be much safer. Regulation makes flying as safe as it is - but IT IS extremely dangerous by nature. Hell, before requiring checklists the pros made errors and the accident levels dropped 30-40% lower after adding them! No, we'd not have that impact with car checklists; it seems silly to consider it... that is because cars are simple.

In the air, plenty of things can go wrong. If something does, a landing will be attempted if at all possible-- in which case that crash will be during landing.

They've been working on new traffic control since I was a teen. It never moves forward; I don't know why... We could have computers take it all over today with probably fewer problems but then we'd wipe out a lot of jobs...

about two weeks ago
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New Service Lets You Hitch a Ride With Private Planes For Cost of Tank of Gas

bussdriver Having a private pilots license (269 comments)

Cars are forgiving, the sky is NOT. If as many people flew small planes as people drive it would not be as safe in terms of fatalities. It is true when you compare apples to oranges driving is more dangerous; but if you want to even get close to a fair comparison you would compare jets to buses and you'd compare fatalities and injuries separately... since car accidents are far less likely to result in fatalities.

The FAA has strong rules about flying others around and the FAA never changes the regulations, they only add, never remove. The exchange of money at all for any connected reason is going to cause trouble.

Besides, if you thought the taxi lobby was a problem for ride sharing; you'd never even dare to mess with the airline industrial complex (which is so heavily subsidized, it is more of a scam than a market.)

about two weeks ago
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If Ridesharing Is Banned, What About Ride-Trading?

bussdriver Re:Racketering (353 comments)

It is not racketeering when the government does it. By definition! Now if the racketeers corrupt the government to do their bidding it is still not racketeering, it's bribery corruption etc. by racketeers.

about two weeks ago
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WSJ: Prepare To Hang Up the Phone — Forever

bussdriver No. they are not lead acid batteries (449 comments)

They use Edison Nickelâ"iron batteries. Easily a 50 year life but can work for a 100 years. Depends upon the load how long they run without power - but they are cheap as hell to maintain and you can't run them to death like lead acid; they take abuse and keep going.

about three weeks ago
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Security Evaluation of the Tesla Model S

bussdriver Is it THAT bad? (93 comments)

How does one steal these cars? Is anybody even trying and succeeding at stealing them yet?

Ok, so you take the quite likely insured car... How do you get away? Drive like mad for... 300 miles then wait for many many hours to recharge? (NO, instant battery swap requires ID, quickcharger stations talk to the computer probably ID the car too, slow charging is the probably the only secure way and that takes TIME.) Naturally all this is after you rip out wherever their cell modem's antennae is.

They don't need much service, Tesla does it cheap if you do. The parts are custom to the car and not really usable outside Tesla, so what market is there for parting it out from a chop shop?

The cars are loaded with tracking and IDs that all need to be removed. securely. How would you sell a hot Tesla? Do they even have used Tesla being sold at dealerships? oh, yeah, the dealerships HATE Tesla and are working to ban them state by state. How do you sell it? Some ignorant pawn shop owner?

How about running the battery DEAD remotely and damage the car? Oh, Tesla gets informed and a tech stops bye and saves the car for you... which has been reported as happening already (not from a hacker but from it getting too close to dead.)

about three weeks ago
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Geologists Warned of Washington State Mudslides For Decades

bussdriver 2) term limits. NO. (230 comments)

When you are LUCKY enough to have a great leader who remains honest despite the pressures of the office and successfully navigates the inevitable compromising positions, you should KEEP them as long as possible! Get them body guards to protect against "accidents" too!

IT IS RARE TO FIND HONEST LEADERS; you can't replace them. More games of musical chairs played by crooks does not produce better results. Therefore, I am against term limits. I'm still for assuming politicians are guilty until proven innocent but I would rather not implement that precept with a zero-tolerance policy like term limits. think about it. term limits are zero tolerance thoughtlessness. I'm fine with changing the legal process so they are guilty until proven innocent (since that precept is the basis for term limits, separation of powers, etc.) but a rigid zero thought rule without any process for thinking; nope. Think about it, if they must prove their innocents-- maybe they'll put a webcam on their head 24/7 to protect themselves... and if anybody needs to lose ALL privacy it's the politicians... It's not like the NSA isn't blackmailing them already (notice how nobody will ever really touch the NSA.)

about three weeks ago
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5.1 Earthquake Hits California

bussdriver Re:Earth Quakes Might become the least of. (114 comments)

Neutron bombs make other materials become radioactive and the bomb itself is supposed to have a dirty result in a much smaller area.

It's relatively clean compared to one of the worst things invented but it is not really clean. We will know for sure when all this positive hype gets somebody to use it and then the real world results will slowly come out (whether or not the gov knows in detail about it does not matter, they'll claim ignorance for anything bad that results and rationalize justifications.)

about three weeks ago
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More Than 1 In 4 Car Crashes Involve Cellphone Use

bussdriver Passengers ARE THERE TOO (367 comments)

Many magic tricks work based upon how predictably easy it is to distract humans.

Passengers are also paying some attention and CAN more than compensate for the distraction they create. (NOTE: I used the word "can.")

It only takes an instant of looking at the wrong place to miss the magic trick. Same with driving except the result is not enjoyable.

Many of the stereo systems I've seen are a disaster, you could die just trying to change the station and when new they have too much of a learning curve - plus all those blinking lights designed to SELL it like a bait for a fish.

I've missed many accidents over the years and I had a mix of Cell phone, Brats, and airhead teenage boys almost get me. The phone being the only one where it's 100% the user's fault for putting others at risk. They should be punished for reckless endangerment because that is exactly what it is! brats need driving around and teen boys can't help themselves but a cell user could WAIT like everybody used to do not that long ago.

about three weeks ago
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Taxis By Algorithm: Streamlining City Transport With Graph Theory

bussdriver Solution (72 comments)

Split all the fairs evenly to all drivers - since fairs are decided by millage anyway it shouldn't be a big deal... unless they figure it out and realize fewer miles are being driven with a efficient system. If they don't charge for the distance to the pick up, then that factor would be a lower overhead cost and save them money.

Tips. Well, that is not actually randomly distributed so I could see complaints about not getting more time around certain areas at certain times. They won't ever agree to pool tips.

How about you just save up as a company and replace all the humans with robots in a decade.

about three weeks ago

Submissions

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Making graphene supercapacitors with a DVD writer

bussdriver bussdriver writes  |  more than 2 years ago

bussdriver (620565) writes "Researchers at UCLA found an easy cheap way to produce a graphene sheets by 'printing' them using a DVD Lightscribe laser on a coated CD or DVD. They then demonstrated a DIY super capacitor powering a LED.

A video demo by the professor on youtube and a short description is available here. The paper is on an
evil paywall Journal"

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