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Comment Re:Rose tinted glasses (Score 2) 421

When does revolution happen? Not because of politics; it is because of economics. When your future looks less rosy than it used to (relative perspective not absolute), then you want to change something and that means throw the bums out--regardless of who the bums are. Revolution happens _via_ politics just like all things social.

Best recent example is the Arab spring. Those protests were "against the dictator" (who else) but they weren't "because" of the dictators who had been in power for decades. It was because of the global recession.

Comment Re:Nature finds a way. (Score 1) 301

Jurassic Park probably worked better because females are XX so there is no possible chance of males being accidentally created (although there are instances of self-impregnation).

The problem I see with trying to ensure only males show up is that they are XY which means there is an X chromosome that might be able to "easily" become an XX.

Comment Re:Can't patent this (Score 1) 142

Conversely, if I let the cops take my phone and then later it detonates inside the police station, then it has become a terrorist IED. And I have become a terrorist instead of a private citizen wishing to maintain privacy.

I could easily see folks setting a timer if they don't log in every day or week and given any bureaucracy (unavoidable when tracking items) and given on-going current investigations, the phone isn't going to be examined withn 72 hours.

Comment The failure of libertarianism (Score 1) 108

A free market isn't free. If we want a free market to persist thru generations, we need to outlaw monopolies and make sure the playing field is level for everyone. For those who wish to do their own analysis of how economies actually work, here's a koan to cogitate on.

Either billionaires produce a robust economy OR billionaires are a product of a robust economy.

The Libertarians had this idea that we could all buy insurance to protect each other, but they didn't actually explain how we can guarantee the insurance company stays in business AND stays profitable AND meets its obligations.

Myth #2. Rich people don't build factories because they are rich. Rich people build factories in order to sell stuff in a market. You cannot force the creation of a market by allowing the majority of the money the economy produces go to people who are already so rich they have no need to buy anything else. In terms of economists, you can't push on a string.

Example #3. How can we invest in America? If private roads were as profitable as the Libertarians believed, corporations would be building them and making money hand over fist. Since private companies cannot make roads and bridges profitable, how does a community invest in itself? America in the 1950s had a 90% tax rate.

Comment You first programming language (Score 1) 312

If you've never programmed before, the first thing I'd recommend is learning html and write a basic web page. Play around with the formatting and css. None of that is programming but if you can't do that sort of stuff, you can't program. If you can do that sort of stuff, you'll enjoy doing it, especially the immediate response.

Then build some javascript functions to run in your web page. That's actual honest-to-god programming and you can easily find tutorials on html, css and javascript. Once you've got yourself started on that, then you might want to look at learning a "real" language like C or C++ or Java but there are reasons you'd use one and not the other and those are why folks study computer science, not programming languages.

By the way, everybody hates javascript, but everyone uses it because it works. In fact, the latest open source web stack is built entirely in javascript.

Comment Re: "...continue to be utilized by a small..." (Score 1) 168

Same old same old. I call it the usenet phenomenon because that's where I first noticed it. Any group that had been together for more than 3 years was extremely cliquish and derogatory. That happened later on with wikipedia and many of the other hangout areas. And it doesn't have anything to do with computers. It's a mean girls phenomenon that happens anyplace lots of conversations are going on and certain folks take charge. In economics, a similar phenomenon is called "regulatory capture." The only people that know anything about the business are people actually in the business.

On trolled-up sites like IMDB, Usenet and /., the only folks who get all the inside jokes and will tolerate the foul language and idiotic comments are long-term users and their antics and pointlessness turn off newbies so the site becomes incestual. mooooooooooooooooooo

Comment Re:Sure. (Score 1) 115

Opium has been illegal for thousands of years so "obviously" that's a solved problem (sarcasm).

Read a history of opium and it's an expensive drug to produce by hand without technology. The reason it's been around for so long is because it actually works on many used-to-be-common diseases such as TB. With the rise of new anitbiotic-resistant superbugs, perhaps a resurgence in opium is to be expected.

On a political note, I wonder how much money Afghanistan could make if opium were legal and they were allowed to grow it there instead of having Tasmania be the only place they grow legal opium poppies.

Comment Re:The point (Score 1) 532

Most of the laws against _smoking_ are for the folks who don't use tobacco. Waiters, co-workers, kids on playgrounds, shoppers entering stores. Granted, the high cost of cigarettes is aimed directly at smokers, but not the laws that regulate smoking in public around other people. Non-smokers have rights too.

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