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NASA-Funded Study Investigates Collapse of Industrial Civilization

felrom Re:Article is Short Sighted (401 comments)

Sure there are other possibilities. We're not constrained to only two states: those of an out of control central bureaucracy, or anarchy.

The chief problem we have is people surrendering their power to the government where one of two things then happens: the government abuses that power (ie, recent scandals and abuses at the NSA, CIA, BATFE, IRS, etc), or companies come in and bribe/lobby to gain control of that power and abuse it (ie, the revolving door of executives to administrators, regulatory capture, favorable rules from regulatory agencies; the FCC, EPA, and DOEnergy are big offenders of this type).

If you want to prevent that, you have to stop giving powers to the government. To make an extreme example, let's talk about the IRS targeting of conservative political groups in 2011-2012. How would this have been preventable? Don't have such a labyrinthine tax code that required jumping through flaming hoops. Without a monstrous tax code, there would be no bureaucrats to selectively apply it in order to abuse their enemies.

I don't want to sound flippant, but if you read the constitution you'll see what a limited government looks like. Sadly, two centuries of perversion of the document have brought us where we are today. Congress has surrendered its duty to legislate and instead delegated it to over a million bureaucrats who make rules without votes. The 16th and 17th amendments stripped a lot of the protections we had against an ever-growing and out of control centralized government. The destruction of the commerce clause in Wickard V. Filburn has caused inestimable damage all on its own.

The bigger the government, the smaller the citizen. ; )

about a month ago

NASA-Funded Study Investigates Collapse of Industrial Civilization

felrom Re:Article is Short Sighted (401 comments)

1. Implement policies that any Econ 101 student can tell will exacerbate income inequality.
2. Tell people that the income inequality you've created will destroy society.
3. Get people to beg you to fix it.

The government has become a feedback loop unto itself, fooling people into giving it ever more power to fix the disasters it caused when it used the last round of powers people gave it.

about a month ago

NASA-Funded Study Investigates Collapse of Industrial Civilization

felrom Re:NASA 1946 - 2011 (401 comments)


NASA lives on, reaching out to Muslims to make them feel better about themselves, and doing pseudo social science research!

We can't have NASA be the bastion of national pride and accomplishment that it once was. It's now just another government jobs program intended to promote the government.

about a month ago

Facebook Wants To Block Illegal Gun Sales

felrom Re:..or without a background check? (310 comments)

You are required to keep a record of the transaction with the serial number. If the weapon you sold were used in a crime later, it will be traced back to you. The original retail sale is on record, that person (if not you) will then produce the name of the person he sold it to, which is either you or will lead to you via reiterating the same process. If you cannot produce the weapon or produce a receipt showing who you sold it to, then you're in trouble. But until and unless there is a criminal investigation to justify the intrusion, that information is no one's business.

What state do you live in where that is the law?

In Texas, your only responsibility when conducting a private firearm sale is that you must not have any reason to believe that the buyer is a prohibited person. You don't need to know their name, record anything, get a signature, or any of this.

I've sold in this manner the one time I was seeking to get rid of two handguns I no longer wanted. I took them to the gun show, and before I even got into the convention center a guy approached me and asked what I had in the cases. He looked them over. We haggled on a price for about 2 minutes. I asked if he was a prohibited person, to which he responded no. We exchanged goods and parted ways. The whole transaction took less than 5 minutes. 100% legal.

Heck, even assuming he was the head of a drug cartel, what *I* did was still 100% legal.

As far as what happens if those guns are ever used in a crime: I was the original retail purchaser of them, so the ATF will trace the guns back to me, and probably look and see that I live in a normal middle class neighbor hood in a low crime area, have a nice paying job, no debt, and haven't even had a traffic ticket in 13 years. If they even bother to contact me, I'll give them whatever details I remember about the guy I sold the guns to, and that'll be it.

There's no requirement that I have a record of who I sold to.

about a month and a half ago

US War Machine Downsizing?

felrom Re:Where are the ennemies (506 comments)

Southeast Asia.

China just launched its second aircraft carrier. India just launched its first, is building two more, and is buying 120 Rafales. South Korea is buying Apaches and F-15s (or maybe F-35s). Malaysia and Thailand want to buy AH-1Zs. Thailand is also modernizing its current fleet of western fighter planes. Japan just launched its first helicopter attack ship, is buying V-22s, and is no longer keeping up the pretense of only having a defensive force. The Philippines is begging us to come back and reopen a base in their country. The Norks are rattling the sabers as usual. Taiwan has some truly revolutionary anti-ship missiles. Vietnam is in the process of fielding 6 new submarines. Indonesia is in the middle of a large new naval buildup. In 2012, Singapore spent 24% of its national budget on its military.

The entirety of southeast Asia is in the midst of an arms race the likes of which hasn't been seen since the European interwar period. And similar to that same period, we're cutting our military budget and shrinking the forces, even in the face of what's brewing among our allies.

Is doing that right? Wrong? Who knows? I can't see the future. History tells us it's foolish. Maybe this time will be different.

about 2 months ago

Financing College With a Tax On All Graduates

felrom When you tax something, you get less of it. (597 comments)

It's why the government taxes cigarettes, alcohol, and machine guns: because they want less of those things.

If you start taxing college, you'll get fewer people going to college, and fewer people who went will work as hard as they would have otherwise. If you want to fix college tuition problems, then stop underwriting loans with tax dollars. Let private investors determine the proper risk of each student based on GPA, SAT, and the field they want to study.

It's such a daftly basic concept of economics, that it's depressing to see so many smart people trip over their own feet trying to explain why it shouldn't apply. You can rationalize to yourself why this is different all you want, but as Feynman said, "Nature cannot be fooled."

about 2 months ago

How Chris Christie Could Use the NSA Playbook

felrom Re:beacon of freedom (266 comments)

It is really telling that the ATF gave over 2500 guns to Mexican drug cartels, and no one from the ATF, DOJ, or Obama Administration is sitting in jail.
It is really telling that the IRS targeted political opponents during an election year, and no one from the IRS, DOT, or Obama Administration is sitting in jail.
It is really telling that Obama campaign donors at Solyndra got $500,000,000 of tax payer money, promptly went bankrupt, and no one from the DOE is sitting in jail.
It is really telling that the Fed prints $75,000,000,000 a month, totaling over $4,000,000,000,000 in the last 5 years, and no one from the fed is sitting in jail.
It is really telling that the president himself breaks the PPACA on a daily basis by announcing parts he will be temporarily or permanently not enforcing, and he's not sitting in jail.

The level of law breaking that goes on in the government today is so great that the telling thing is not that a governor illegally closed a bridge as political retribution against a rival. The telling thing will be when we actually put a government official in a jail cell for breaking the law. At best, people who have been responsible for crimes on behalf of the government get fired. Sometimes they're just reassigned or have to move offices. More often, nothing at all happens.

about 3 months ago

How Chris Christie Could Use the NSA Playbook

felrom No need to use the NSA's playbook... (266 comments)

...use the president's instead.

Call the lane closures a "fake controversy."
Refuse to let your aides testify, and when they're forced to, have them lie and/or plead the fifth.
Bury any inconvenient evidence under executive privilege.

Christie already used Obama's first and most common strategy: claiming ignorance. His only mistakes are not have an adoring press that is willing to unquestioningly parrot his talking points as the truth, and he doesn't control the federal DOJ and have the power to make it completely look the other way.

There's no honest person who can be outraged at Christie's politically motivated law breaking, and content with the last 5 years of the same, time and again, from the president. In a just America, these two men would share a jail cell.

about 3 months ago

Federal Judge Rules Chicago's Ban On Licensed Gun Dealers Unconstitutional

felrom Re:Took them long enough... (934 comments)

His mistake was saying "Illinois" instead of "Chicago." Similarly, "California" instead of "Los Angeles."

Chicago's murder rate was 15.4 / 100,000 last year.
Los Angelos' murder rate was 6.6 / 100,000 last year.
Washington DC's murder rate 16.0 / 100,000 last year.
The US average was 4.7, for a recent year (not sure which).

These are murder rates, not firearm specific murder rates.

Substantively, what he said was true: a couple of gun control utopias make give us the vast majority of our murders. Technically, what he said was wrong because he adlibbed and choose his geography poorly.

about 3 months ago

Federal Judge Rules Chicago's Ban On Licensed Gun Dealers Unconstitutional

felrom Re:Took them long enough... (934 comments)

Maybe Chicago needs to mandate gun safes then.

One of the main issues of the Heller decision was whether the government could mandate that you store your guns in a way that makes them not easily accessible for self defense. The Supreme Court ruled that they could not.

about 3 months ago

US Coast Guard Ship To Attempt Rescue of 2 Icebreakers In Antarctica

felrom This whole incident... (382 comments)

of people setting out to the pole at summer, to highlight the damage wrought by global warming, and then getting stuck in the ice, and then their rescuers getting stuck in the ice... it really feels as if over-the-top global warming alarmism has jumped the shark. Right here. And all excuses about how the ice is always still thick this time of year, or it's really just unlucky winds that blew it around the ship, those don't matter. People see global warming fear mongers, trapped in ice, in the summer, in the Antarctic, and their rescuers threatened by the same ice.

We'll look back in 20 years and say, "Remember when that ship got stuck in the ice on their journey to drum up fear about receding ice?"

Hell, I remember when I was in grade school in the '90s, and we were constantly told of the horrors of the hole on the ozone layer that was going to burn us to death, and the rain forests that would be 100% destroyed by 1995, suffocating all the aerobic life of the earth due to lack of oxygen. There's something in the human brain very susceptible to environmental alarmism, and it takes a really magnificent demonstration of stupidity every generation or so to snap people out of it. This is it!

about 3 months ago

US Customs Destroys Virtuoso's Flutes Because They Were "Agricultural Items"

felrom Re:You want more and bigger government? This is it (894 comments)

You make the false assumption that we either have to give all our power to the government or to "big business." I advocate neither of those. Reclaim your power as an individual; that's the only place that power comes from to start with.

about 3 months ago

US Customs Destroys Virtuoso's Flutes Because They Were "Agricultural Items"

felrom You want more and bigger government? This is it! (894 comments)

The next time you're rooting for another new government program that you hope will allow you to shed some more of your personal responsibility, remember this story. When you keep supporting politicians and policies aimed only at growing the size and power of the government, you end up with stories like this, and like the NSA spying, and like the roadside gloveless anal cavity searches, and crashed MRAPs on the I-10.

If you want the madness to stop, you have to start taking responsibility for yourself, and telling the government that you've finally decided that you know how to live your life and take care of yourself better than the government does.

about 3 months ago

Hearing Shows How 'Military-Style' Raid On Calif. Power Station Spooks U.S.

felrom Re:gun owner logic (396 comments)

If there is a "gun violence" problem, and you remove the guns, you'll still be left with a violence problem. Violence and "gun violence" are symptoms. The sicknesses that cause them are poverty, lack of education, inequality (real or perceived), unemployment, etc. Treat the sicknesses that cause violence and the violence will go away.

about 4 months ago

Mikhail Kalashnikov: Inventor of AK-47 Dies At 94

felrom Re:rant from a gun nut (283 comments)

Try as you might, your attempt to come across as a "gun person" fails miserably.

AR15s make wonderful hunting weapons. Many companies make AR15s with specific features chosen for hunting. Here are a couple:
Typically they include a flattop upper receiver, a low profile gas block, skeletonized stocks, and a free-float hand guard.

The standard .223 round is more than sufficient for North American animals up to moose-size when using the proper loading: a 75grain BTHP. And many ammunition manufacturers offer .223 loadings specifically for hunting with an AR15. This is one of many fine examples:

Additionally, anyone with more than a passing knowledge of guns and AR15s would know that the platform does not only come in .223. In the last 5 years there has been a surge in popularity of upper receivers chambered in calibers such as 6.5 Grendal, 6.8 SPC and 300 Blackout. Additionally, the venerable .308 has been an option for AR-style guns for almost 50 years. While not being a necessity for using an AR15 to hunt with, these other optional calibers provide longer range hunting options.

But if you still believe that it's impossible to hunt with an AR15, please, whatever you do, don't tell the hundreds of people who posted pictures of their hunting ARs along with trophies in these two threads:
They would be devastated to find out that what they were doing was impossible.

As far as target shooting goes, the annual National Matches, held at Camp Perry, Ohio every summer since 1907, and widely seen as the Olympics of the shooting sports world, uses.... you guessed it: AR15s. And it's not hard to understand why: they're light weight, ergonomic, light recoiling, and cheap to train with (compared to other competition rifles).

And your claim that an AR15 is worse at self defense than all other things you think it's bad at.... get real! Nearly every SWAT team in the US, and NATO-allied special forces group in the world has moved to the AR platform, and those guys have the money and latitude to choose anything they want. After a brief love affair with various pistol-caliber carbines and bullpups in the late 90's and early 00's, they have almost all gone to the AR15.

There are plenty of semi automatic rifles that are much better suited for civilians - and even military use too but they're too expensive for outfitting an army.

The US Army could replace all of its rifles for the cost of about a dozen F-35s. Cost is not an issue that would hold the army back if there were a better rifle available.

The only reason they are so expensive now is because of the demand from stupid people who think Obama is going to ban them.

AR15s are cheaper today than they have ever been. There are over 100 companies in the US producing them, and a nice mid-grade AR can be had for under $600 today.

The next time you want to appear to be an expert on guns, and then denounce the most popular, most capable, most flexible gun ever made, for reasons that don't stand up to even casual examination, stick to the comment sections at Mother Jones or DU, where at least people like me will be banned for dissenting instead of being able to set things straight. Never thought I'd see Mobys on /.

about 4 months ago

Putting a Panic Button In Smartphone Users' Hands

felrom What's the point? (175 comments)

I'm getting beaten. *Press panic button* *Wait 10 -15 minutes for the police to arrive.*

The police are there to write reports and do light investigation. They are not, and never were, a rapid response force, ready at a moment's notice to alleviate your panic.

The suggestion of panic buttons on phones is not only not helpful, it sends the problem further in the wrong direction. Some people will reason that since their phone has a panic button, they can take risks they might otherwise not.

about 4 months ago

US Treasury Completes Bailout of General Motors

felrom Re:Not just $10.5 billion.... (425 comments)

Some amount of those 1M jobs would have very quickly been picked back up by other car manufacturers buying GM's assets (from GM or its creditors) and hiring people to make cars that the economy would have still demanded. How many? Neither of us can say, but to say that 1M jobs would have been LOST, as in gone and never returning, is disingenuous.

Besides, 1M jobs (again, wrongfully assuming they would have all disappeared for good) would still just be a drop in the bucket next to the skyrocketing U6 numbers for the last 5 years. Put in that context especially, $70B was a steep price to pay.

about 4 months ago

US Treasury Completes Bailout of General Motors

felrom Not just $10.5 billion.... (425 comments)

The government previously forgave $15.4 billion in loans to GM: http://www.reuters.com/article/2009/05/19/gm-bankruptcyplan-idUSN1943363120090519

In addition, the government would extend a credit line to the new company and forgive the bulk of the $15.4 billion in emergency loans that the U.S. has already provided to GM, the source said.

The government also made a "special ruling" for companies receiving bailout money... http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052748704462704575590642149103202

It [GM] won't have to pay $45.4 billion in taxes on future profits.

Not only is the taxpayer out over $70 billion to bail out GM, but the original bond holders who were illegally robbed are still waiting for their money too.

about 4 months ago

Affordable 3D Metal Printer Developed Based on RepRap

felrom Re:3D printed guns. (199 comments)

The demonization has been going on for a while. Here's an article from almost a year ago: http://www.forbes.com/sites/andygreenberg/2013/01/18/meet-steve-israel-the-congressman-who-wants-to-ban-3d-printable-guns-qa/

Steve Israel wants to ban your access to 3d printers, and he's using guns as a way to get the camel's nose under the tent. Here are some particularly telling quotes from the interview in the story linked above:

What we’re trying to do is make it clear that if you choose to construct a weapon or weapon component using a 3D printer, and it’s homemade, you’ll be subject to penalties.

Catch that? If you're a business, doing it for commercial gain, then he thinks it's okay. If you're the little guy, doing it as a hobby, then simply doing it even if no one ever gets hurt will get you sent to jail.

Steve Israel: But if you’re going to download a blueprint for a plastic weapon that can be brought onto an airplane, there’s a penalty to be paid.

Interviewer: Just for downloading it?

Steve Israel: No, no, for actually manufacturing it. And we’re not even going after manufacturers, either, but lone wolves, individuals.

Again there, if you're a business he's fine. If you're an individual, it's banned. He even slips and admits he want to criminalize the sharing of the information.

So we’re talking to stakeholders, and working to create a distinction between that lone wolf and legitimate manufacturers of plastic clips.

Make no mistake: the forces working to ban private ownership of 3d printers are already moving against you. The bogey man of undetectable guns is simply a convenient way to get people on board with the first step of restriction. Once that's in place another big-business congressman will come back and say, "Poor GM is losing money because it can't sell overpriced factory parts because people are just printing them. Ban all private 3d printer ownership!"

The only thing in question is how many people will be fooled and take up the torch and pitchfork against 3d printed guns, not realizing that they're working against their own desire to have privately owned 3d printing technology. As is commonly the case, the fight for gun rights is only a microcosm in the larger fight for natural and civil rights. You want 3d printers? You're going to have to fight to protect 3d printed guns. You want marijuana legalized? You're going to have to fight for private ownership of machine guns. You want to continue to be free from poll taxes? You're going to have to support repealing the NFA.

Issues of law and politics don't each exist in separate vacuums.

about 4 months ago

US Issues 30-Year Eagle-Killing Permits To Wind Industry

felrom Re:Holy Biased Presentation Batman! (466 comments)

Bravo! You've hit the nail on the head with respect to the difference between "environmentalism" and "conservationism."

If people want to have rich enjoyable lives while protecting the planet, then they need to subscribe to conservationism. Use the planet's resources responsibly and leave as much or more for our kids as we had.

If people want to do everything possible to prevent any changes to the planet whatsoever, even at the expense of (other) people's quality of life, then by all means please carry on with the insane environmentalism of today's greenies and the EPA.

about 4 months ago


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