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Safety Review Finds Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Site Was Technically Sound

tnk1 Re:Majority leaders home district (159 comments)

Okay. Idiocracy is a movie. A funny one, with something valid to say, but a movie. If the world got to the point where it even resembled that, civilization would have already completely collapsed or it would be subsisting on automation that the previous generations built. In either case, you have bigger problems than some radioactive waste leaking a little in Nevada.

Much of Nevada is a marginal place for humans to live to begin with. If there was a catastrophe that eliminated a lot of people, those people wouldn't go living in Nevada near the nuclear waste site. They'd move to the places it was easier to live. Just like before the Black Death in Europe, the development of marginal lands only continued profitably (or at all) while there was high population, and thus demand. Kill off a third of the population, and they stopped developing marginal areas and depopulated them.

The real risk of the waste site is increased expansion of human civilization which puts a lot of humans near the site. This isn't like Chernobyl or Fukushima where fire and explosions are spreading the material. We're talking more about material leaching into groundwater and things like that. A terrible thing to happen, to be sure, but not exactly a problem if no one is living there.

Compare this to your Roundup example, and it is apples and oranges. Herbicidal treatments will be applied to locations where weeds need to be killed for food production. That is a much more serious threat compared to some nuclear waste stored in casks under a salt dome in the middle of nowhere.

yesterday
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Safety Review Finds Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Site Was Technically Sound

tnk1 Re:Majority leaders home district (159 comments)

Yes, we spent more money. However, understand that the anti-nuclear message causing the anti-power issue was a tactic, not the end goal. The end goal was simply unrest in the West which would affect the West's ability to compete with the Soviet bloc in nuclear armaments. So our money pointed back at them would not have directly counteracted against their propaganda that turned into anti-nuclear NIMBY protests because we used different tactics.

No one in the USSR would have cared if we sent an anti-nuclear message to them, because they controlled their population to the extent that there would be no actual protest. The West is vulnerable to that because we have the freedom to accept NIMBY-ism. The only people who had the ability to say "not in my backyard" in the USSR would have been the Party leaders, and they were likely already covered.

So, we didn't encourage them to not use nuclear power, because it would not have had the effect we wanted. Our propaganda was to show the people of the USSR that we were prosperous and non-threatening, while being able to defend ourselves if needed. The best way to do that was free information, blue jeans and rock and roll, not countering anti-nuclear propaganda.

yesterday
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FCC Officially Approves Change In the Definition of Broadband

tnk1 Re: What are the practical results of this? (420 comments)

Do you truly believe that the Democrats are not supported by their own set of heavy hitters? They're all rich, and they're all on the side of the rich.

The Democrats are frequently able to outspend the Republicans. Do you really believe this is due to more grannies spending 100 bucks individually? Please.

The Democratic Party is simply supported by different industries and different interests with different rich people. They have slightly better spin for "progressives" because they're better at the bread and circuses.

Both parties are rotten to the core. The Democrats are no more able to convince me that they are for the little guy or the "middle class" than I actually believe the Republicans are for the Moral Majority.

They all work for lobbyists. Period. Some of that is our fault, but that fault is also a flaw in large democracies. You can control people by feeding them certain information that reinforces their existing views. The interests deliver the voting blocs, the rich fund the interests and the campaigns, and the voters do what they are expected to do. And this is 100% legitimate democracy. No actual corruption required.

This is because the government is large, and getting larger. As it assumes more and more responsibility, it becomes more and more remote from the voter.

Literally, the existence of successful lobbyists shows starkly how the government should be. Those interests succeed because they work on the model that the government *should* work on. They are specialized, they know their specific subject matter, and they know what laws they want passed. The only problem is that they are bought and paid for businesses, trusts and rich donors, they are not a responsible body. Instead of directly legislating, they have to now work to subvert the process of the existing legislature to get things done.

Break up the government, elect people specifically based on the subjects that they have experience with and shrink the size of the electorate that each representative is responsible for. Turn special interests into groups that are representative, not of money, but of votes. After all, that's all they really do now anyway, only for hire.

Democracy is a tactic to legitimize governments, its not a path to a "correct" answer. That's why it can ignore science and math to come to its answers. You want something to be done about global warming? Sure you may need to involve the government, but not for everything. Don't ask for the government to subsidize your pet interest, subsidize your interest yourself and demand that your special interest use its money for something other than buying politicians.

yesterday
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Justice Department: Default Encryption Has Created a 'Zone of Lawlessness'

tnk1 Re:Jealous much? (422 comments)

Ness didn't have to hack Capone's PC.

Legwork worked in the 1940s because the criminals were on the same level. Your mobsters were generally within reach because to remain in control, they had to remain in communication range, which was usually in person.

Today, criminals can sit in Afghanistan and manage loose groupings of local networks very effectively. Drug cartels operate from Mexico. Criminals have the same capabilities that states had in the 1940s. Did we expect legwork to break codes? There is always legwork involved, but we were using SIGINT to get good information even then.

And bear in mind that we used to have the option of the wiretap, even in the days of Capone. Useless now with encrypted communications.

yesterday
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US Air Force Selects Boeing 747-8 To Replace Air Force One

tnk1 Re:No it isn't (290 comments)

I don't think any other country is unduly concerned about us not opening up bids on a project like AF1. It's one or two planes. The symbolic value of the plane is significant, and honestly, isn't really what is beggaring the country.

No foreign corporation is going to seriously complain that they didn't get to build the one plane for the head of state for another country over a local builder.

The symbolic requirement isn't good enough to force the rest of the government to buy all Boeing, but unless the 747-8 was a complete pile of shit or twice the price of the comparable Airbus model, that one plane is not really a big deal.

yesterday
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US Air Force Selects Boeing 747-8 To Replace Air Force One

tnk1 Re:track record (290 comments)

"Because America" is a legitimate requirement for a Presidential aircraft. The President and what he uses is a powerful statement about the strength of US industry. That's why Queen Elizabeth II has a Bentley, and the French President is driven around in a Peugeot or a Citroën.

It is legitimate for politicians to have political reasoning behind the selection of their conveyances. I'd be surprised that they'd even consider Airbus for AF1, even if it was cheaper or slightly better.

yesterday
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Justice Department: Default Encryption Has Created a 'Zone of Lawlessness'

tnk1 Re:Jealous much? (422 comments)

Yeah, except that doesn't work well for a service. If they have people abusing it, they fire them, and/or prosecute them. And that is what needs discussion.

Its more like if an adult got some DWIs and they took their license away. Yeah, they can't be trusted with a car, but they still need to get to work because it isn't a matter of not getting their allowance money, they need to do their job to support their family and even their job place will suffer if they can't work.

In that case, the solution is public transit, or taxis, or someone driving them. Or in lesser cases, they still let you drive with an interlock device.

You really can't just say the law enforcement can't do something like this and take it away for awhile. Otherwise, you can't enforce laws and regulations. And when that happens, people get hurt, physically and financially. They either need it or not. If they need it, they can abuse it just as well later as they can now. We need a real solution other than taking it away.

2 days ago
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Justice Department: Default Encryption Has Created a 'Zone of Lawlessness'

tnk1 Re:Jealous much? (422 comments)

I don't think that this has to be a FUD scenario. I think law enforcement has a job to do, and they get to use certain tools to do it. If one of those tools becomes ineffective, then they have more trouble doing their job. Then they will complain because they are still expected to do their jobs.

We can certainly look at it from the approach of seeing all of the ways that power can be abused, but we have to balance that by pretending that there is a non-corrupt cop out there who needs to build a case against someone who they legitimately believe to be guilty of a crime. What happens if pervasive encryption now permits that criminal to get away with something that could have been detected by a properly executed wiretap in the past?

I'm not saying that we take away encryption, but pointing out the problem and looking for a solution is not FUD, its a legitimate concern that needs discussion. You can't just tell the cops, "you can't tap us anymore? Too bad, so sad," unless you also accept the relative step down in their ability to prosecute certain crimes.

2 days ago
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Justice Department: Default Encryption Has Created a 'Zone of Lawlessness'

tnk1 Re:Sucks to be law enforcement in a Republic (422 comments)

The Founding Fathers individually had different views.

John Adams and Thomas Jefferson would not have agreed on this, for instance.

The Bill of Rights was a compromise requirement attached to the initial Constitution. The original Constitution has no such rights in it, although the amendments were added so immediately afterward that the Constitution proper has no historical significance on its own except to show that not everyone in the Convention was as concerned about those rights as others were.

2 days ago
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Justice Department: Default Encryption Has Created a 'Zone of Lawlessness'

tnk1 Re:Some Nobody On Earth: Who Started? (422 comments)

Sympathy for authorities, if something like that has ever happened, is an oscillation rather than something lost permanently.

This tends to change based on perceived need for more control to protect against threats. If we all feel in danger, we'll go along with, or even celebrate certain activities that might be considered to be unacceptable at some other time. If we feel safe, then the imposition of authority on people will chafe, because it is intrusive and there is no counteracting threat to make it necessary.

2 days ago
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"Mammoth Snow Storm" Underwhelms

tnk1 Re:jessh (396 comments)

You can't reduce risk to zero. And I think that's the major problem with how we think of things. Instead of taking some common sense improvements incrementally these days, we go overboard. If the risk aversion outpaces our advancement in processes and tech, then we start suffering opportunity costs when we keep trying to remove risk.

If you can use a VPN to do your work, by all means, do it at home. If you're a garbage collector... the more time you can't work, the less you get done. And the more trash piles up. You want to protect those workers, but if you start becoming overprotective, shit starts piling up. Literally.

3 days ago
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"Mammoth Snow Storm" Underwhelms

tnk1 Re:jessh (396 comments)

Only if you're talking about office drones. There are a lot of those in a city, to be sure, but many people in a service economy need to go to a workplace.

Fact is, there are a great deal of people who lose out when they aren't able to go to work. There are even IT types who need still need to visit data centers on occasion.

And perhaps compared to the past, we have fewer manufacturing jobs, but we still do have those too. Again, worked at by people who probably need the money.

3 days ago
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Valve's Economist Yanis Varoufakis Appointed Greece's Finance Minister

tnk1 Re:This doesn't sound... sound (327 comments)

I do understand the problem of a limited money supply, but I don't think they're seriously considering leaving the euro, so talking about an independent monetary policy is pointless. They need to bring in more money, and while they maintain the euro, they either need to borrow or somehow change monetary policy related to the euro to suit them. Borrowing still seems more likely than a change in Eurozone monetary policy.

3 days ago
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Valve's Economist Yanis Varoufakis Appointed Greece's Finance Minister

tnk1 Re: This doesn't sound... sound (327 comments)

That consideration is a factor, but governments tend to be long lasting entities, so they could certainly eventually pay off the debt, if they shrunk or even deferred payments for awhile. Something is usually better than nothing for a vendor, as long as the cost of administering the debt is less than what they bring in.

The best thing for Greece to do financially is to restore solvency. Austerity may not be the best solution, but it is certainly on the right track. Defaults or borrow and spend can work, but *only* if they take the short term windfall and do something useful with it. Otherwise, they've trashed their financial future.

Unfortunately, financial solvency doesn't provide for retirement for people directly, although for any realistic social insurance program, you need to have long term financial stability and capacity. That means that even though austerity may actually work, there is clearly not the will to see it through.

It may be a good idea for Greece to default and deal with it, but that will end their ability to get anything like good loans in the near future. And I don't think the extra money from no longer paying on the debt will fix the quality of life problems that the people in Greece have right now.

3 days ago
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FCC Fines Verizon For Failing To Investigate Rural Phone Problems

tnk1 Re:HOAs (94 comments)

Don't really care what you think of HOAs. Not incredibly fond of them myself and I am on the board of one.

Point is, there are enforcement options that are more than just fines. They can work, if they apply the correct sort of pressure. Example being: I can't always force you to pay your dues, but I sure as heck don't have to let you use common area resources that those dues directly support. That might include a privilege you care about.

Same goes for government and utilities.

3 days ago
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Comcast Ghost-Writes Politician's Letters To Support Time Warner Mega-Merger

tnk1 Re:Money *needs* to be removed from Politics ... (180 comments)

That is the crux of the issue. You can spend 1 trillion dollars on a campaign and that doesn't mean I'll vote for that candidate.

The real problem is that it *does* work for larger blocs of voters. But the money is only the means of taking advantage of that flaw, not actually a corruption of democracy or free speech.

Citizens United has zero impact on who I will vote for. In fact, it has zero impact on anyone who has a well formed political position that they have researched. However, we know that money means that people who get to vote, but who get their "facts" from TV ads, will be affected. This is unfortunate, but not the fault of free speech. It is a flaw of our democracy (and possibly every realistic democracy based in the current era).

3 days ago
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Comcast Ghost-Writes Politician's Letters To Support Time Warner Mega-Merger

tnk1 Re:Money *needs* to be removed from Politics ... (180 comments)

You can't really say this isn't democracy, when the democracy is actually functioning more or less as designed.

Granted, there are different forms of democracy, but good luck finding one where someone isn't in power who doesn't represent the people exactly.

Democracy is useful only for legitimacy of government, not for coming up with right answers. If you want a *better* government, democracy may be some small part of it, but there is nothing about true democracy that prevents it from supporting an elected oligarchy. And that elected oligarchy, if the actual cheating and forced votes are kept to a minimum, is as much a democratic system as one that elects a great leadership team.

There is no system in existence that prevents the intelligent, the rich or the ambitious from obtaining power. There is only, perhaps, a system that is able to direct that influence to ends that are less bad than others.

3 days ago
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Valve's Economist Yanis Varoufakis Appointed Greece's Finance Minister

tnk1 Re:This doesn't sound... sound (327 comments)

Don't get me wrong. Borrowing and spending is a totally legitimate way of dealing with the issue... if you can do it without doing long term damage to your economy with it.

Economics comes down to hard and fast numbers for some things, but it is just as much based on the mood of the people and how and where they spend their money. If you can make them more optimistic, you can pull out of it, if your fundamentals are not completely devastated.

3 days ago
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FCC Fines Verizon For Failing To Investigate Rural Phone Problems

tnk1 Re:So what next? (94 comments)

They are still required to act on it. There is usually an order to remedy the solution along with any fine. If they don't act they would face the same fines.

The real question is the second one you asked. If they can pay 5 mil a year and it costs 10 mil to fix the issues, then I'll take the fine every time.

If there was personal executive responsibility, then if I fail to execute the task, and then I get arrested for persisting... then 10 mil of Verizon's money is less important than staying out of jail. There is the other option that Verizon could be disqualified from things that give them the potential for much higher profits later. Otherwise, its all about the fines.

When someone doesn't pay their dues for our HOA, we don't just fine them or send them to collections. We revoke their visitor parking passes and their pool rights. We also slap liens on their property. Even that is usually not enough to get people to pay, but it may be enough to get them to increase the priority of who they pay first. Point being that there are things the FCC may or may not be able to do, but if they go to court they might be able to get other remedies.

Now, if the FCC does *not* have the ability to apply other remedies... then Verizon will just pay the bill and keep on keeping on.

3 days ago

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