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How the World's Agricultural Boom Has Changed CO2 Cycles

silentcoder Re:Gay Sex! Agenda 21. (185 comments)

And Paul Krugman's PHD in economics qualifies him to say he knows better than you - and he is the one whom I was just citing.

And no, there isn't 51% conservatives in America, in fact you're a minority - which is why you struggle to win presidential elections.
You need to factor voter-turnout in. Several studies concluded that voter turnout among conservatives is over 80%, among liberals it is around 50% and thats in presidential elections where turnout is highest. In things like mid-terms, it's much lower.
More-over liberal voter turnout goes down MORE in things like midterms because very few liberals are retirees, indeed a large number of them are the very people who are affected by voter-suppression laws or simply such low-income earners that they literally CAN'T go vote because taking the time off work means starving that day.

If the USA made elections public holidays like every other civilized country on earth - the republicans would never win another election.

13 hours ago
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How the World's Agricultural Boom Has Changed CO2 Cycles

silentcoder Re:Gay Sex! Agenda 21. (185 comments)

Now go ask an actual economist about the Weimar republic and they will tell you that not in Weimar nor anywhere else in HISTORY has spending in a recession EVER caused hyperinflation.
What DOES cause hyperinflation is severe social upheaval. Weimar republic had just come out of a massive civil war. Zimbabwe - just came out of massive unrest. Rome in Nero's time: just concluded a massive war while dealing with a famine caused by bad weather.

Spending in a recession does not, by itself, cause hyperinflation - I'm not saying it CAN'T but we have mathematical methods to work out how much you OUGHT to spend to get the results without causing problems.

Now consider that the MOST common cause of hyperinflation has nothing to do with monetary policy at all ! It's social inequality ! Yes, some of the worst cases of hyperinflation were caused by severe social inequality. A prime example would be the destruction of the Spanish economy right at the height of Spanish power.
The conquistadors were using slave labor and getting very, very rich in the New World- coming back and spending their fortunes the way sailors do - in giant short-bursts far apart.
So traders raised their prices to meet this high demand, which benefitted traders, and so OTHER traders raised prices since THOSE traders could afford it.
Very soon - traders and conquistadors were making fortunes, while everybody else were poor, but the prices were being set by the rich minority - pricing everything out of reach of almost the entire population.
A loaf of bread came to be about a week's average wages !
That's when the Spanish economy entirely collapsed because do you know what happens when people who work hard all week can't afford enough food for a week ? They stop working. What's the point of working hard if you aren't EVEN able to meet your basic needs ?It makes no economic sense. The opportunity cost of going to work is higher than the value of your wages.

yesterday
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How the World's Agricultural Boom Has Changed CO2 Cycles

silentcoder Re:Gay Sex! Agenda 21. (185 comments)

The thing is - you can't act as if all costs are equal. At least you recognize that NEITHER side have actually done a balanced budget so you're not one of those who thinks Obama is a big spender (when in actual fact his deficit run-up is the lowest since Nixon) with a completely one-sided view.

But as I said, all costs aren't equal. Progressives are hugely in favour of cutting military spending - a LOT.
And that could solve the problem easily - without actually putting America at any risk. America right now has a military spending 13 times bigger than the next biggest, and 6 times bigger than the entire rest of the world COMBINED.
Nobody needs that.
Just the part of the military budget that goes to contractors - that's not barracks or feeding soldiers or even bullets and guns, just the part that's spent on contractors is 700 billion a year.
The total budget for social security is 70 billion.
One welfare-ish program, is about one TENTH of one part of the military budget.
Cut the military budget in half, you can have the same number of soldiers and the same level of military prowes (do you really think it makes a difference whether you buy 11 new aircraft carriers a year or 5 - when almost nobody else has even one ?) while at the same time paying for every welfare and safety net program you need without running up a deficit.
You may EVEN be able to do it without actually making the rich pay taxes (though you SHOULD anyway because nobody should get the benefits of living in a country without contributing to it's upkeep).

But show me one conservative who would even consider that ...

Now here's the real problem - America doesn't have a liberal party in government. The greens are liberal but they aren't on the hill, the democrats sure aren't progressive or liberal, they are center-right, the reps are just batshit insane.
The real problem America faces is that the 60% progressives in the population have no party actually representing them, Liberals don't vote democrat because democrats are liberal, they vote democrat because center-right is better than batshit insane.

And just how center right ? Compare actual policy and the following presidents were ALL more leftwing than Barack Obama:
Millard Filmore (refused to grant Utah statehood until governor Brigham Young created a welfare system).
Richard Nixon - created the EPA, supported welfare reform.
Ronald Reagan - argued for matching the capital gains tax to the income tax (basically he was trying to pass the Buffet rule 3 decades before Buffet was). Ran up a massive deficit.
Truman - tried to pass universal healthcare (and single-payer at that - which is a hell of a lot more liberal than Obama's version which made everybody a customer of an insurance company).
Gerald Ford - tried to pass Nixon's healthcare reforms but wasn't in power long enough to succeed.
Rooseveldt - the one who sent in the army to protect UNIONS from corporate thuggery and called for a second bill of rights that could have come right out of a democratic socialist country like Denmark.
Eisenhower - by a huge margin.

And ultimately - this is the wrong time for your suggestion. Despite what Austrian economists say - there's a reason they are a tiny fringe group in economics who get laughed at a lot. A recession, by definition, is CAUSED by a LACK of spending. Nobody spends, means nobody else has INCOME - so THEY don't spend either.
The only way OUT of a recession is for SOMEBODY to start spending - a LOT. And the only actor who can do that is the government.
Every government that tried austerity made their recessions worse, MUCH worse. The biggest economic problem in the USA today is that your government is underspending, massively. The stimulus package was no more than 40% of what economists were recommending.

2 days ago
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How the World's Agricultural Boom Has Changed CO2 Cycles

silentcoder Re:Gay Sex! Agenda 21. (185 comments)

Actually the typo was "aren't" instead of "are".
The goods at Wallmart are NOT cheaper than anywhere else, they cost the same or perhaps even MORE than elsewhere.
You just don't realise you're paying the difference because what Wallmart has done is to outsource most of their wagebil onto the wellfare system. By allowing Walmart to pay slave wages you aren't saving money on goods - you're just paying that money to the same people walmart would have paid it to - only you're doing it through the government instead of through walmart.
In the end - you're still the one paying it though and the only people who gain from this are the executives of walmart because on THEIR balance sheet a major cost has been removed.
The cost still exists - they've just externalized it onto to their customers through the tax system.
Externalities are ALWAYS market failures, they are one of the defining types of market failure. The market cannot accurately price things when part of the costs have been externalized which leads to inefficient economic outcomes.

3 days ago
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How the World's Agricultural Boom Has Changed CO2 Cycles

silentcoder Re:Corn Subsidies (185 comments)

Okay... I didn't think I would need to spell this out - but a core part of the theory of evolution is the process of natural selection and the drivers of natural selection - which is scarcity and competition for resources.
Without scarcity, there's no competition and the species stagnates. Species at the top of the food chain can go millions of years without branching or any visible alteration.
According to fossils the Ceolacanths and great whites are identical to the ones that shared the oceans with ichthyosaurs - but both were in states of abundance.
If they evolved at all it was only things like their immune system - their physical structure untouched.

Where Malthusian dynamics aren't present - natural selection doesn't happen since there's nothing to select.
This doesn't mean (or say anything about) other forms of selection such a human-controlled breeding programs, but those didn't even come into existence until the last few thousand years. They aren't responsible for more than a tiny fraction of the earth's diversity - the force that did nearly all of it was competition due to scarcity as a result of Malthus.

Now that doesn't mean Malthus was perfect, I don't think anybody today thinks he was entirely right actually. At the time the ONLY mathematical series KNOWN was linear and exponential so he used those to explain the clear pattern he saw, that species always outbreed their foodsources (which of course ultimately restores the balance when food becomes scarce enough that most of the eaters die - and now the food can recover again).
Today's versions use much more complicated mathematical series which were unknown in the 19th century, but the basic principle remains entirely intact among biologists.

3 days ago
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How the World's Agricultural Boom Has Changed CO2 Cycles

silentcoder Re:Gay Sex! Agenda 21. (185 comments)

Because rightwingers are too stupid to figure out that if you allow companies to outsource most of their wagebill to the taxpayer then you are getting cheaper goods DESPITE the goods having a lower sticker-price. You're just paying the difference via a rather inefficient middle-man called the government.

4 days ago
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How the World's Agricultural Boom Has Changed CO2 Cycles

silentcoder Re:Corn Subsidies (185 comments)

Throw away Malthus - you have to give up the theory of evolution.

Darwin cites Malthus repeatedly in his books and for very good reason: without Malthus, there can't BE evolution.

4 days ago
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How the World's Agricultural Boom Has Changed CO2 Cycles

silentcoder Re: Corn Subsidies (185 comments)

Aaah the wonder of conjecture - it's so easy to be right when you don't have to check your facts.
Of course in reality, every study done has found that policies like that actually REDUCE the number of children poor people have and increases the age at which they have them.
This may seem counterintuitive to you (since you think with typical right-wing blinkers on) but it's been confirmed in study after study all around the world, including here in my home country of South Africa - recipients of child-grants and social grants have FEWER children, LATER in life and only 25% of the odds of falling pregnant before completing high-school compared to people of the same income who are not receiving those funds.

Why ? Because it allows young girls to upset the usual social dynamics - they aren't dependent on men to survive, so they don't need to offer sex for food. When you take away the power of unscrupulous men to take advantage of women sexually, they gain a LOT more control over their lives and the number one way men take advantage of women sexually is economically. Give young women access to enough money to guarantee survival (especially before they finish their education and have a shot at a decent job) - and you remove the sugardaddy problem.

There is some evidence that this is also a great way to reduce HIV infection rates, though in fairness, there are also some studies that cast doubt on this.
See the nice thing about being a leftist is - we use science rather than dogma to inform our policies and that means it's perfectly okay to say "We don't know" or "we could be wrong about this - the evidence isn't conclusive yet" - something markedly absent on the right (which is why the science-hating bible-thumpers are all on the same side as you).

4 days ago
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How the World's Agricultural Boom Has Changed CO2 Cycles

silentcoder Re:The power of modeling ? (185 comments)

And it's a proven model ! The Vatican used it for centuries !

4 days ago
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How the World's Agricultural Boom Has Changed CO2 Cycles

silentcoder Re:Problem? (185 comments)

That's a very significant assumption.
Different plants have very different growth and death rates. Aggriculture tends to plant vast areas with very similar vegetation, while natural ecologies tend to have a much more mixed vegetation (grass and trees and flowers of all sorts).
So certainly it can be assumed that farm-lands would have a different CO2 impact compared to natural vegetation.

It can get even further than that: the number one cause of deforestation in the Amazon these days is chopping down the forest to open grazing land for cattle, that is - replacing tropical rainforest tree coverage over vast areas with grass for cattle. Surely you aren't suggesting that the CO2 usage and patterns of grasslands are the same as that of tropical rainforest are you ?

4 days ago
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Computer Scientists Ask Supreme Court To Rule APIs Can't Be Copyrighted

silentcoder Re: APIs can be creative works; we need another pl (260 comments)

Actually fashion designs aren't copyrightable anywhere and US government doesn't have the authority to change that. They are excluded from copyright along with recipes and a few other things considered necessities of living by the Berne Convention of which the US is a signatory. Changing a law in contravention to a treaty the us has signed is very often unconstitutional. Even if they did get around that if the us abandoned Berne so would everybody else and you can bet your arse the MPAA will never let that happen.

about three weeks ago
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Undersized Grouper Case Lands In Supreme Court

silentcoder Re:If they're going literal.... (251 comments)

Honestly - I can still partially forgive those, it's specialized technical knowledge. In theory those who would regulate something should damn well get educated about it first, but people outside those fields usually won't have a complete understanding of them.

I get more upset by the ones who want to regulate things like sex and female reproductive issues while having absolutely no idea what they are talking about. Todd Aiken who seems to think that falopian tubes can tell whether a woman consented or not, or the congresswoman who thought a rape-kit is something that emergency rooms use to undo the act of rape !
Apparently she has never read a news story, or watched a crime show.

Not knowing specialized technical information is forgivable (at least - if your NOT actively regulating it) but not knowing basic general knowledge about something you hold that much opinion about - that's unforgiveable, especially in those who have the power to propose their opinions as laws.

about three weeks ago
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Net Neutrality Alone Won't Solve ISP Throttling Abuse, Here's Why

silentcoder Re:latency doesn't matter for video, bw, jitter do (200 comments)

>ssh/telnet are quite usable at >1000ms latency,
Only if you type at less than one character per second... sheez.

I've worked on systems with that kind of latency, and it was a horrible nightmare.
To the point where I would open a text editor and type out commands there, then copy and paste them into the session rather than having characters show up well after they were typed and only being able to spot a typo several characters later (when it would take another second per character to navigate back and correct it).

about three weeks ago
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Undersized Grouper Case Lands In Supreme Court

silentcoder Re:If they're going literal.... (251 comments)

>It is true that only the best and brightest make it to congress

How did you manage to type that with a straight face ?
Or were you being sarcastic ?

#confused.

about three weeks ago
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Undersized Grouper Case Lands In Supreme Court

silentcoder Re:If they're going literal.... (251 comments)

There is only one question the court will actually ask: "Is the fishermen incorporated".
If they are - the conservative judges will find in their favor, if they aren't they won't.

about three weeks ago
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The Plane Crash That Gave Us GPS

silentcoder Re:If only that were enough... (236 comments)

Stark ?
Captain Rodgers ?

Is there some sort of system in the US military for accelerated promotion if your name sounds like a Marvel Comics character with a military backstory ?

about three weeks ago
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Ferguson No-Fly Zone Revealed As Anti-Media Tactic

silentcoder Re:Political science (265 comments)

Most democracies outside the US handles it by having at least one check/balance that is NOT elected and thus not subject to the same corruptive influences as the elected parts of government - while simultaneously having no power of their own to make laws, only the power to scrap laws the elected part wrote (thus limiting the effects of their different corruptive influences).
In England and Canada the Queen is theoretically doing that job (though in practise she hasn't vetoed a law in decades so it's pure theory). England also has the house of Lords doing the same job though.
In the US the supreme court is also doing that job - but the problem there is that supreme court judges are appointed by the president and so presidents tend to stuff the court with judges who'll rubberstamp their ideas. The same problem crept in when England started allowing the PM to grant lordships.

Ideally however access to this particular check should be through a means over which the elected government has zero influence. Like the House of Lords in the days when only born aristocrats could get in.
South Africa comes close with our system for the constitutional court - the president cannot appoint judges to it, he can make nominations when a seat opens up but the other judges choose from the nominees. This is an improvement over the US supreme court system - though it's definitely still not ideal.

In the end though - democracy by itself has corruptive influences. To get elected you need to campaign, that means getting rich donors on your side, that means selling out.
It's still better than any other way we have to appoint a government though.
But in theory the balance should include somebody who isn't elected in order to keep the campaign donors from being the real power.

about three weeks ago
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Statisticians Study Who Was Helped Most By Obamacare

silentcoder Re:You shouldn't need insurance for most things (739 comments)

Last month, after careful saving, I bought an xbox one. A luxury for sure but I bought it cash and I had saved up for it.
The next day I hit a pothole and destroyed two tyres on my car. With a six month old child - I don't dare buy anything but the best tyres.

Full set of new tyres was actually more expensive than the xbox one - which by South African standards costs about a quarter of my monthly income as a high earning programmer.

That was my savings gone... then I got sick. Thank bloody goodness we have sane medical insurance regulation system so I didn't need cash to go to the doctor and get medicine because really bad luck in the same month as a rare big purchase and then getting sick is something nobody could plan for - and even the relatively healthy can't control that.

about a month ago
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Imagining the Future History of Climate Change

silentcoder Re: Riiiiiight, because that's what this issue... (495 comments)

The interesting thing is that I tend to think that that very political pressure is the only reason not to. NASA made raw radio telescope data available to the public and as a result at least one amateur programmer discovered some previously unknown exo planets with his home data parser. But there is no major political debates around astronomy.
It would be better if there wasn't around any science. The only valid debate around science is other science.
We have a massive cause/effect evidence set here with an effect we do not want. Politicians can and should debate which if any policies would best help alter the cause but they have no place in a debate about the validity of the theory. At least not unless they are prepared to do so scientifically.
Instead we have Republican senators declaring the science "dubious" while failing to offer a shred of scientific support for that declaration.
I don't blame scientists for getting annoyed by that. Nobody likes their field of professional expertise impugned by somebody who is utterly ignorant about it.

about a month ago
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Imagining the Future History of Climate Change

silentcoder Re: Riiiiiight, because that's what this issue... (495 comments)

What he wanted was private communications among researchers not research relevant data.
He filed two suits one was thrown out of court because the grant was federal not state and so the state taxes weren't involved.
The other was thrown out since he failed to provide any just cause for suspecting that all that private communication might contain anything relevant to the validity of the research.
The case was a flagrant attempt by a rightwing politician to try and bully a university not to study something he dissaproved off and the courts agreed with my assessment.

about a month ago

Submissions

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Lucasfilm threatens company for making lasers.

silentcoder silentcoder writes  |  more than 4 years ago

silentcoder (1241496) writes "Lucasfilm has sent a cease and desist letter to the poducers of a powerful hand-held laser device meant primarily for industrial work claiming it resembles the lightsabers from the copyrighted Star Wars films too much. The manufactuers, Hong-Kong based Wicked Lasers, deny any correlation between their product and the lightsabers in the films. An interesting side question arises however: can a company owning the idea for a fictional technology later prevent somebody from creating a real product even if is directly inspired ? Would Steven Spielberg be able to stop anybody from making a time-machine in an automobile? Will Lucasfilm be going after the Martin Aircraft Company next because Boba Fett had a jetpack ?"
Link to Original Source
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New dinosaur species discovered in South Africa

silentcoder silentcoder writes  |  about 5 years ago

silentcoder (1241496) writes "Scientists at Johannesburg's University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa today announced the discover of a previously unknown species of dinosaur. The new species was named Aardonyx Celestae from the Afrikaans word for "earth" and the Greek for claw,. Earthclaw which is particularly interesting as it provides a crucial link between the early dinosaurs and the later giant Sauropods was discovered during a routine dig on a farm the northern FreeState (South-Africa's most central province). Two other species were discovered on the same site, but their announcement will only happen later after further laboratory testing has been done."
Link to Original Source
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The first Kongoni Screenshots ever

silentcoder silentcoder writes  |  more than 5 years ago

silentcoder writes "With their first public release just days away, the kongoni project a GNU/Linux distribution originated in Africa and designed to be a fully-free desktop-friendly system on a BSD-like architecture lead developer A.J. Venter has released a full set of screenshots showing the "baseline" release in action. The baseline is intended to provide common platform for the further development of the system and as such represents a new approach to the development of a community distribution. It allows all potential contributors to work on a common installable platform without huge investments in server and bandwidth infrastructure.

The official release anouncement is expected within days."

Link to Original Source
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KDE releases version 4.1.1

silentcoder silentcoder writes  |  more than 6 years ago

silentcoder writes "The KDE project announced the first major update to KDE4.1 today. Version 4.1.1's changelog is largely focussed on performance improvements and bugfixes. The desktop shell, plasma, had numerous improvements in this regard which should be the most immediately user-visible.

With each KDE4 release the project seems to be edging closer to true next-generation desktop that was promised and despite the initial 4.0 controversy is becoming ever more widely adoptable. The particular focus on performance improvements are especially telling of a renewed commitment to giving users what they want."

Link to Original Source
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Office2007 fails ISO 29500 compliancy tests.

silentcoder silentcoder writes  |  more than 6 years ago

silentcoder writes "Groklaw picked up the story that OOXML documents created with Office 2007 do not actually conform to the OOXML standard as it was approved for ISO 29500. After a much criticized voting process, extensively discussed on /. and elsewhere one major point seems to have been overlooked by the ISO members: the fast track process is only for standards that are already implemented. Since Office 2007 is not in fact capable of creating OOXML documents that conform to the published standard where is this implementation ?
Much more details on the nature of the failures, who did the tests and it's further meaning for the industry (right back to square one: playing catch-up forever) in the article."

Link to Original Source

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