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Study Finds US Is an Oligarchy, Not a Democracy

smugfunt Re:Back to One Man, One Vote (803 comments)

Right now, we're moving ever closer to merchantilism and "One Dollar, One Vote"

No-one, not even dumb Americans, would fall for that. Fortunately, some genii at Chicago have come up with a saleable alternative:
Quadratic Voting

2 days ago
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Student Records Kids Who Bully Him, Then Gets Threatened With Wiretapping Charge

smugfunt Re:Rewarding the bullies... (790 comments)

2)Parental issues, usually their parents are drunks, or pay zero attention to them.

Yup, or the wrong kind of attention. In primary school I once walked home with a kid with nascent bullying tendencies (I was much bigger than him). As he walked in his back door I heard his mother launch into a rabid sweary tirade at him for no reason I could see. So he was being bullied at home and just doing the same thing at school.

2 days ago
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Federal Bill Would Criminalize Revenge Porn Websites

smugfunt Re:Freedom of Speech? (328 comments)

a fifth to quarter of the posters are borderline sociopaths

That would be consistent with the population at large; 20% authoritarian followers, 5% social dominators according to Altemeyer.

about two weeks ago
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Book Review: Money: The Unauthorized Biography

smugfunt Re:Money: Two Kinds (91 comments)

Commodity money can also change in value when the supply of (or demand for) the commodity changes. This can be naturally arbitrary, or due to market manipulation by large holders. If the commodity cannot be produced fast enough to match wealth creation there will be deflation. The gold standard era was not devoid of economic crises. The tally-stick era was much more stable, probably due to the broader range of commodities it employed and the lack of fractional reserve shenanigans.

Fiat money should be adjusted to keep prices stable, without worrying about an underlying thing. This does mean it is open to adjustment for other reasons. Good governance is the answer to that. How to get it is left as an exercise for the reader :-)

Not read von Mises directly, but I know he is of the Austrian School. Anyone who is hostile to the very idea of government will dislike fiat money. Personally, I prefer to be ruled by an accountable government than by a private bank, or worse.

about three weeks ago
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Book Review: Money: The Unauthorized Biography

smugfunt Money: Two Kinds (91 comments)

There are (at least) two kinds of money, and they work differently.

Commodity money is based on some thing which is in limited supply. We don't use this anymore.

Fiat money is created by the Government out of nothing. It gets it into circulation by Government spending. It gets it out of circulation by taxing. People use it because they have to pay taxes in it. If the total amount of wealth is increasing the Government must run a deficit or there will be deflation. If it runs a surplus there will be inflation and recession.

See MMT for more info.

Part of our economic problems come from people (including policy makers) being stuck in commodity money mind-sets when we are using a different kind of money entirely. Currently there is a deficit and a recession because the deficit isn't big enough and there is too much tax! There are structural reasons too, like the Government spending on the wrong things.

about three weeks ago
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Russian Army Spetsnaz Units Arrested Operating In Ukraine

smugfunt Re:This is a propaganda war first of all (623 comments)

Your article almost entirely supports my position. That quote is a simplification of a confused SIGINT train. The NV boats were certainly chasing the Maddox away from Hon Me (which two days earlier had suffered attacks from SV commandos). The Maddox fired warning shots. The NV boats returned fire. One machine gun bullet hit the Maddox. The detailed account by the NSA makes no mention of torpedoes being loosed.

NSA Report:

the Maddox was not on a purely passive mission. U.S. intercept sites in the area were alerted to the real reason for the Desoto missions, which was to stimulate and record North Vietnamese [REDACTED] reactions in support of the U.S. SIGINT effort.

stimulate == provoke

That report is quite unequivocal: the second "attack" did not happen.

You said:

Just that one [first] attack by the North Vietnamese would have been sufficient as a casus belli.

Neither LBJ nor McNamara thought so, despite the fact that that was exactly what they were looking for.

about a month ago
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Russian Army Spetsnaz Units Arrested Operating In Ukraine

smugfunt Re:This is a propaganda war first of all (623 comments)

Well, like you I wasn't there. My summary of events is taken from the conclusions of the NSA according to the Wikipedia page.
As to where the Maddox was:

The Maddox when confronted, was approaching Hon Me Island, three to four miles (6 km) inside the twelve-mile (19 km) limit claimed by North Vietnam. This territorial limit was unrecognized by the United States.

about 1 month ago
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Russian Army Spetsnaz Units Arrested Operating In Ukraine

smugfunt Re:This is a propaganda war first of all (623 comments)

Problem?
A US warship entered NV waters, fired on NV ships and managed to provoke a response.
Two days later another provocation by the US Navy resulted in a battle with... no-one.
This was the excuse for launching the Vietnam war.

about 1 month ago
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Transhumanist Children's Book Argues, "Death Is Wrong"

smugfunt Re:Old age and death phobia (334 comments)

Ever heard of god?

Yeah, he's supposed to be Santa Claus's dad, or something.

about a month ago
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Transhumanist Children's Book Argues, "Death Is Wrong"

smugfunt Re:Old age and death phobia (334 comments)

Interesting how the 'science' people believe in non-determinism.
cognitive dissonance much?

Ever heard of quantum mechanics?

about a month ago
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Transhumanist Children's Book Argues, "Death Is Wrong"

smugfunt Re:Old age and death phobia (334 comments)

I have an aunt about to hit 99....

Her life is in pain....

The fact of the matter is that nature cannot be beat.

If functional immortality is achieved it will by way of rejuvenation. No-one is interested in an eternity of infirmity. The laws of physics do not prohibit it, provided there is a source of energy available to combat entropy with. Any other hand-waving about 'nature' is cryptoreligiocrap.

The meaning of our lives is to reproduce.

To what end? To perpetuate the cycle of meaningless? Can any meaning emerge from that? More cryptoreligiocrap.

about a month ago
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Venezuelan Regime Censoring Twitter

smugfunt Re:Can't say I didn't see this one coming. (152 comments)

anybody who still thinks that restricting imports through tariffs and other measures is a good idea for the sake of improving domestic job creation...

It seems to have worked for the USA for the last hundred years. It won't work for everyone of course, but Venezuela might be big enough to pull it off (if done skilfully...)

about 2 months ago
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Para Bellum Labs Will Attempt To Make the RNC a Political-Analytics Player

smugfunt Re:Waste of Time (212 comments)

It is usually not worthwhile to think about political groupings on a 1 dimensional axis.

I agree, though I favour the Eysenck chart, which seems to be the uncredited basis of the Political Compass.

I more or less agree with your liberal/conservative definitions except what you call a liberal is what I would call a radical. Equality of opportunity is a radical idea which conservatives are not at all concerned with. Equality of outcome is a conservative bugbear, liberals and radicals hope to limit disparity, they don't expect to eliminate it. Elimination is an authoritarian idea :-)

All mainstream American politics is in the conservative/authoritarian quadrant. I am in the opposite radical/liberal quadrant, along with anarchists, democratic socialists, greens, Ghandi, Mandela, etc.

about 2 months ago
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Para Bellum Labs Will Attempt To Make the RNC a Political-Analytics Player

smugfunt Re:Waste of Time (212 comments)

ask people what they agree/disagree with, republican _positions_ do pretty well.

Many Republican positions are what I would regard as American positions. Mom and Apple Pie. Their problem is people don't believe they really mean it.

liberty advocates, and social conservatives

It's interesting to me that you lump these two together as if they are close cousins. To me they are opposites:
liberty advocate == liberal
social conservative == authoritarian
As a non-American this confusion seems to me to be behind much of the futility of US political discourse. As with most political confusions there are those who actively promote it.

about 2 months ago
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Insight On FBI Hacking Ops

smugfunt Re:Axis of evil, again (137 comments)

Forcing God's Hand
Pat Robertson

Actually working to immanentize the eschaton is supposed to be unChristian, according to most denominations. But there is a significant Dispensationalist movement in the US that can hardly contain its glee when US or Israeli actions seem to fulfill one of their prophecies.

Muslims, you may not be aware, believe Jesus is the second most important prophet and also revere all the Old Testament fortune-tellers.

about 4 months ago
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Insight On FBI Hacking Ops

smugfunt Re:Axis of evil, again (137 comments)

The scary part we should note is that some of these people think if they help the world go into chaos, it will hasten the return or appearance sort of like forcing the second coming of Jesus.

Interestingly, they believe that Jesus himself will return to aid the 12th Imam (aka the Mahdi) at the Final Battle. So the Iranians are working towards exactly the same goal as the Americans. That's the scary part.

about 4 months ago
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Geeks For Monarchy: The Rise of the Neoreactionaries

smugfunt Re:You jest (730 comments)

the majority of Christians tend to agree on what is in and what is out as far as classifying someone as Christian.

I had an interesting chat with a Mennonite once. He was from a group newly arrived here in Belize from the US. I quickly ascertained that he had very sketchy knowledge of the differences between various Christian denominations. Then I asked if his group had any links with the long-standing Mennonite communities here and he said 'No, they are not even Christians.'
My Methodist parents did not view Mormons as proper Christians, but at least there are some actual doctrinal differences there.

about 5 months ago
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Can the US Be Weaned Off Ethanol?

smugfunt Re:corn vs algae (330 comments)

The process you describe is the traditional approach and it is a problem.

Having done considerable googling on the subject I have come up with a potential alternative:
Remove most of the water with a hydrocyclone.
Crack the cell walls with ultrasonics and/or microwaves.
Transesterify the still-wet goop with super-critical methanol.
Recover the excess methanol with a flash drum.
Separate the biodiesel, glycerol, remaining water and algae residue with another hydrocyclone and settling tanks and filters.
None of this is very energy intensive and is conducive to a continuous process.

All the elements are known to work (though not necessarily with algae) but as far as I know no-one has put them all together. I'd like to see someone try it, so it is my gift to you Slashdotters!

Another important element seems to be coming along nicely: efficient conversion of glycerol to methanol. Turn the main by-product into a feedstock.

The potential of algae is much greater than the hurdles, I think.

about 5 months ago
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Can the US Be Weaned Off Ethanol?

smugfunt Environmentalists? (330 comments)

complaints from advocates of ethanol, including some environmentalists

There are environmentalists advocating ethanol fuel from corn?
If they are referring to the Renewable Fuels Association they've made a mistake.

about 5 months ago

Submissions

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Afghan School "Poison Attacks" Probably Mass Hysteria - WHO

smugfunt smugfunt writes  |  about 2 years ago

smugfunt (8972) writes "A number of incidents at schools in Afghanistan, especially girl's schools, have been attributed to poisoning by the Taliban. The World Health Organization has investigated 32 of them but found no poison. "Mass Psychological Illness is the most probable cause," they conclude, the Telegraph reports.
The Taliban has consistently denied poisoning schools and have even consented to allow the education of girls in a deal with the government which allows significant Taliban control over the curriculum."

Link to Original Source

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