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Comment Capital is king (Score 1) 1145

The problem with this old-fashioned notion of capitalism is that it works only if value-creation comes from labor: you buy leather and make shoes, then sell them. You have a profit motive to make shoes, and if you work hard making shoes, you get money.

The problem is that the economy has been shifting for a long time away from that. If I have capital, I can buy a robot to make the shoes for me. If robot maintenance is cheap, then I can create value for almost nothing. Then I earn a lot of money, for doing nothing other than investing my capital. So, my ex-employees starve. (And then I have no one to sell shoes to! Oh no! Recession!)

Large pots of capital are growing larger, which centralizes wealth. We need a way of spreading this wealth around so that everyone can live. There are lots of ways to do the taking (capital gains, inheritance taxes, etc etc) and lots of ways of spreading it around (food stamps, social security, etc etc). UBI proposal is one of the latter, but it's important in the magnitude that it suggest is neccessary.

Comment Re:Apples-Oranges (Score 1) 760

This debate isn't relevant.

The new law simply stipulates:
  - If you have capital gains, you can pay taxes at the full income tax rate, OR
  - you can get drug tested. If you pass, you can have the lower rate.

Low capital gains taxes require others to make up their share of your taxes (or suffer the reduced services). We simply choose not to offer such benefits to someone undeserving... using exactly the same criteria as for poverty benefits.

Of course it won't happen in reality, but I think ti's sound.

Comment Yes - 2500 F (Score 1) 1144

A very interesting technology choice is a this: get a very large, very hot ceramic container and put all the guns in it. Then melt them.

Responses to the inevitable:
- Of course you can't get rid of all guns, but you can make them much harder to obtain.. and make it so people can be arrested simply for attempting to obtain them or cary them.
    - This is proven by other countries, which have much lower rates of gun ownership, and fewer deaths in both single murders and multiple murders.
    - There are more privately-owned guns in the US than any other country in the world.
- Of course there are other ways to kill people. Yet automatic weapons remain the choice of tool for mass killings. Probably because it's the best.
- No, guns do not reduce crime
- No, you will never be a hero with your gun.

One source, amongst many:

Comment Ok, Slashdot... (Score 1) 327

You do realize that H1-B visas are probably a pretty minor thing in the grand scope? Maybe there might be more important or pressing concerns in presidential hopefuls than how they come down on visas for the tech industry?

Cuz that was the first thing on your mind when you heard this announcement?

Comment Re:Newsflash (Score 1) 795

No. The problems you get are like Syria.

I'm not making that up. Syria's base agriculture has been hit by bad weather (i.e. consistent with climate change) for years, which led to a depressed economy amongst the rural class, which was one of the underpinnings of the unrest there.

Climate change means bad crops in some places. Those places need resources others are unwiling to give. That's a recipe for war.

War and famine are also good recipes for refugees.

Rising sea levels means more flooding, more storm damage. Everyone remember Katrina? Image that number of displaced people, but happening every few months.

Meanwhile, the 'end modern civilization' line is untested. I'm sorry, but what's your evidence that going through a change of technology causes such problems?

Comment Cost and risk (Score 1) 485

There are two problems with nuclear power: waste and disaster risk.

The solution to both is careful controls, high engineering standards, strong oversight, and expensive maintenance. Those cost money. The Fukushima reactors were built to much higher standards than most US reactors, but still suffered a catastrophe. You can't reduce the risk to zero, but you have to be willing to pay to mitigate those risks.

To the extent people are willing to pay for those things, I support nuclear power... which means that practically I'm highly skeptical about it in the US.

Comment Re:Difficulty? (Score 1) 908

I don't see how changing to stats would change this substantially. As the original poster stated, a stats course that covers more than "average" is going to be just as difficult for students as algebra, if not more so.

The problem here seems to be insufficient resources for teaching, not the curriculum.

To be honest, I don't think any of this material is really hard; anyone should be able to master it, given sufficient support and motivation. The latter two are always the problem though.

Comment Re:"Belief" in Evolution required for Gravity Wave (Score 4, Insightful) 385

Right. You either accept evidence and rational thought as your foundation for how the universe really operates, or you are fundamentally in an inconsistent position.

If you decide that evolution 'just doesn't make sense to you', and is therefore false, then you should probably say the same about quantum mechanics... and by extension, you should not believe in the operation of a transistor, and by extension not believe in your own cell phone

Hypocrisy of this kind is very common, largely because people don't connect the dots.. but the dots are connected. To do otherwise is to be like a person who uses Galileo and Newton's theories about motion to predict where a cannonball will land, but denies heliocentrism.

Comment Let's make a movie called "Baseball"! (Score 3, Insightful) 167

It's roughly the same dumb premise. If you asked a movie company to make a fictional movie about baseball, it would be a complete disaster. Lots of good films about baseball players, or baseball teams. But not about baseball in general. "Let's capture all of baseball in this film." It would be nuts.

Same thing here. "D&D" is just a framework in which fantasies are played out. Most are fun to engage with, but ultimately have very boring narratives to an external audience.

Gotta make the movie about something smaller.

Comment Re:Scaremongering. (Score 2) 156

Yes, exactly.

The thing you're probably not aware of is that cosmic rays can be very high energy - recorded cosmic ray interactions have single-particle energies many magnitudes larger than the most powerful accelerators ever constructed. (I think the biggest recorded is around 3 Joules of energy in a single proton.) The LHC collision energies are comparable to a very common set of interactions from cosmic rays. And there's lots of cosmic rays, and they've been colliding with the earth for millennia without turning us into a black hole. Right now the number of interactions in the LHC per second is far less than the rate in the atmosphere.

Comment Re:Scaremongering. (Score 5, Informative) 156

Not true. The collision energies in the sun are on the order of a few MeV - there's lots of them, but none at the TeV scale.

However, you're right it's scaremongering: cosmic rays interact in the atmosphere at LHC energies all the time: same kinds of particles, same energy (and higher!) at a rate that's much higher than the LHC collisions, once you add up the entire globe. If high-energy p-p collisions caused a problem, the earth would have blown up long ago. Or Jupiter. Or all of the stars in the universe.

So, it's pretty safe to assume that the LHC isn't doing anything that can possibly hurt us; it's going on already. (It's just not going on in the middle of a high-resolution particle tracker.)

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