incredible Farnsworth claim

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MSimon
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Post by MSimon »

dashxdr,

I used to be a Libertarian for a long time (about 15 years - I voted for Ron Paul - once). I know all the arguments. I'm not impressed any more.

It reminds me of Congressional rules of military procurement. The rules raise the costs by 50% to 100% all to cut corruption from 5% to 2 1/2%. We wind up spending $20 to save $1.

I'm willing to live with some corruption. The cost of no corruption is too high.

The hatred of corruption is just another form of envy IMO. I try to limit my attitude to dislike and non-participation. I probably have my price. Unfortunately no one has found it yet.

Sure America is a second class nation. That it is why when people find their own societies unacceptable they see the US as their #1 preferred destination. It always comes down to - compared to what reality? As opposed to some imagined utopia.

Why are the neocons (me) intent on attacking Iran? They are trouble makers. That is why. I believe attacking them is a good idea.

pour l'encourager les autres

Once upon a time I wanted a perfect world. Now I'm willing to settle for a slightly better one.

As to liberty Dollars. Why not just trade gold and silver? No need to issue metals backed notes. There are precious metals trading shops in almost every city with populations above 100,000. You want gold buy it. You need something sell it. And what if the people issuing such notes succumb to corruption? What makes you believe they are any more honest than the Federal Reserve? Since corruption is rife and all.

All that stuff does not excite me the way it once did. I prefer devoting myself to something I can actually accomplish. Like engineering fusion reactors.

Iraq: You obviously don't understand US foreign policy since the end of WW2. Pacify an area that is causing trouble using military means and economic redevelopment. Station troops there to prevent reoccurrences. It is a policy that has served us well. It makes the world more peaceful. It spreads American culture. A lot of Americans get trained in other cultures and languages. You see we learned through WW2 that adopting a different policy in post WW1 the costs were too high. On top of that since Iraq is sovereign we will stay as log as we are wanted and leave when they ask. Americans are the guarantors of peace in the world. A job we took over from the Brits when they lost their nerve.

This might help your understanding:

http://powerandcontrol.blogspot.com/200 ... -fall.html
Decline and Fall

http://powerandcontrol.blogspot.com/200 ... n-row.html
Desolation Row
Engineering is the art of making what you want from what you can get at a profit.

jmc
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Post by jmc »

I personally believe it is not possible to suppress a technology that has proved itself capable of instantaneously yielding high profits. You will always find some entrepreneur somewhere who is willing to fund it along with a tenacious group willing to promote it.

What is possible is that a promising concept that still has plenty of bugs in it and requires large quantities of investment may not be pursued because it doesn't fit into existing programmes, while existing programmes get continued funding because the capital and skills have already been assembled even if flaws have come to light that they are no longer as promising as they were once thought to be.

That's technological inertia, not some kind of active all encompassing malevolent attempt to suppress progress.

Most of these technology supression myths are about promising technologies that had glitches that caused them to be abandoned, perhaps prematurely, as a result of lack of funding from existing investors and the inability to pursuade them to shell out more money. Maybe you get the odd incident such as oil companies buying a patent for a high performance battery and not using it, but they are not all powerful, they are not all-encompassing and they cannot halt progress in its path.

Take electric vehicles, in the 1900's electric cars could go 200 miles in between charges, there was a period where the land speed record was held by electric cars, what happened there? Conspiracy? Technology supression? More like ultra cheap oil and high costs for electricity generation. So gasoline cars took off. Then California passes a clean air bill and General Motors thinks there's a guaranteed market for electric cars so it develops the EV1, then the bill is cancelled (probably as a result of polirtical pressure from oil companies) the market is no longer guaranteed and GM abandon the programme. Because they don't want to pay for maintanance and replacement of future parts they undiplomatically scrap the cars.

But now oil prices are so high nothing can stop these vehicles from making a come back. Just look EVs up on the internet there are companies everywhere developing them and no oil company can stop them!

tonybarry
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Post by tonybarry »

MSimon wrote:Once upon a time I wanted a perfect world. Now I'm willing to settle for a slightly better one.
Couldn't have said it better myself. I may be a closet romantic, but I'm a card-carrying pragmatist everywhere else.

Regards
Tony Barry

dashxdr
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Post by dashxdr »

MSimon wrote:Once upon a time I wanted a perfect world. Now I'm willing to settle for a slightly better one.
Hmmm. Except that for the past 20 years, each year brings us lower real incomes, higher prices for everything, declining standard of living, reduced freedom, more government intervention, more US involvement in world affairs.

Lately we're embroiled in a disasterous policy in Iraq, those in power are doing everything they can to start a conflict in Iran -- and they're not above using nuclear weapons there.

Budget deficits? Astronomical. Cost in human lives? Priceless.

Pragmatists. Another word might be defeatists.

It's ok though. The net result of all this is that the US Empire will cease to exist. The BRIC nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China) are the new up and coming ones. Growth in their exports to each other is surging, on the order of 40% annually. Their infrastructure growth is spectacular. Their resource requirements are growing in a big way. The US is...caught in a police action that is bankrupting the nation. We can't afford all the wars we're in, all the endless social programs, all the graft, all the pork. We can't afford the War On Drugs, or the War On Terror. Really these are a War On Middle Class.

The US dollar will shortly cease to be the world's reserve currency. Then look out! Oil will skyrocket, for us, priced in dollars. The dollar will lose a great part of its value very shortly. This is great for people in debt, which is just about everyone, the US itself. We might even get hyperinflation, ala Zimbabwe or Weimar republic.

All empires end. All paper currencies end. We've had a longer run than most. But enough's enough.

Here's an interesting article by Stephen Lendman about the Iran situation:

http://www.marketoracle.co.uk/Article4712.html

And here's an interesting artcile by Richard C Cook about the state of the union.

http://www.marketoracle.co.uk/Article4710.html

Actually, I'm the real pragmatist here. The USA is toast. That's the new reality. I'm prepared. Are you?

-Dave

tonybarry
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Post by tonybarry »

dashxdr wrote:Pragmatists. Another word might be defeatists.
(snip)
Actually, I'm the real pragmatist here. The USA is toast. That's the new reality. I'm prepared. Are you?

-Dave
Hmmm. Are you saying you're a real defeatist?

Regards,
Tony Barry

dashxdr
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Post by dashxdr »

tonybarry wrote:Hmmm. Are you saying you're a real defeatist?
I'm saying it's best to deal with reality and don't bury your head in the sand.

Fact: The USA is bankrupt.

Fact: The USA empire is heading for disaster.

These are good things -- particularly the second one. The world is finished with empires. And corruption? It is like a parasite that eventually kills the host organism.

There's no point in preserving the US Federal government or the Federal Reserve. Either they together take steps to avoid collapse of the USA, or they don't. But in either case, just look out for #1. Try not to get crushed in the meantime.

I sense here not a pragmatic attitude, but instead a denial-of-reality attitude. And it might be a cover for a defeatist attitude. You feel powerless to do anything, so you retreat into denial -- a nice, warm, cozy place.

In practical terms perhaps you have a good point. If you have no wealth to protect maybe it doesn't matter. But if you do have wealth to protect, you had better take some interest in the situation in the world.

-Dave

TallDave
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Post by TallDave »

Think of the massive special interest that would very much suffer if something as simple as Farnsworth's fusor actually worked.
You're looking at it from the wrong angle. Think how rich the first guy to commercialize the tech would be. If it worked, someone in the know would have made himself a multi-billionaire by now.

Capitalism keeps making life better and better for people precisely because it relies on such selfishness.

TallDave
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Post by TallDave »

Fact: The USA is bankrupt. Fact: The USA empire is heading for disaster.
Flatly ridiculous. The USA is richer than ever, and there is no U.S. empire, just a group of liberal democracies happily sheltering in the strong arms of Uncle Sam. Is Japan or South Korea a tributary that's going to "rebel" against its "imperial overlords?" Of course not.

Odd sort of empire that takes no land, demands no tribute, and fights only to protect the freedoms of "vassals."
Except that for the past 20 years, each year brings us lower real incomes, higher prices for everything, declining standard of living
None of those things are true. Living standards and per capita incomes are the highest they've ever been, and goods are cheaper than ever before (the recent "crisis" in food prices brings them only back to mid-1990 levels).

http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/income/h ... p01ar.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GvvuHREm5jg

http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/income/h ... tate3.html

Some will argue these things are in decline because household income has declined over certain periods of time (but are still up overall), but that's a red herring because households have fewer people than in the past, as more people can afford their own homes (which are also larger than ever before).

http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/income/histinc/f05.html

http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/income/medhhinc.html

The average American house size has more than doubled since the 1950s; it now stands at 2,349 square feet.

http://mustv.com/templates/story/story. ... Id=5525283


And of course, the advance of technology means you can buy/use things that barely existed or were greatly inferior 20 years ago (the Internet, flat-screen TVs, tiny cheap cellphones, PCs, DVDs, etc).
Lately we're embroiled in a disasterous policy in Iraq, those in power are doing everything they can to start a conflict in Iran
Disastrous for who? Iraqi GDP has doubled, a hostile, repressive regime that killed 2 million has been dismantled, and Iraqis have the freedom to vote, form independent political parties and media, buy cars and generators and cellphones, etc. The monthly death tolls in Iraq since the invasion have never approached the average of the Hussein regime. And America can easily afford the intervention in Iraq -- we are spending less on military as a % of GDP than we were in the 1980s.

And if the current admin wanted a war in Iran they would have it already; if anything they've shown incredible restraint. The Iranians have killed hundreds of American soldiers with EFPs. It would be the work of a week or two to bomb their military to smithereens.

MSimon
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Post by MSimon »

Hmmm. Except that for the past 20 years, each year brings us lower real incomes, higher prices for everything, declining standard of living, reduced freedom, more government intervention, more US involvement in world affairs.
I'm living on about 15K a year.

I have a Cray 1 on my desk top. An Auto. Central air. Central heat. Two telephone lines. The equivalent of a 6 T1 pipe for my internet. Running hot and cold water (the water heater went out recently for a few days and I can't tell you how much I missed hot showers and the ability to clean dishes with ease), flush toilets, piped in fuel, a refrigerator, access to just about any information on a subject I could want at home, mail delivery in seconds, a public library to access any widely published book in the world, personal access to the best minds in the world, etc. etc. etc.

I'm rich beyond the wildest imagination of Kings in 1850 and you are trying to tell me my standard of living is in decline? Are you nuts?
Engineering is the art of making what you want from what you can get at a profit.

TallDave
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Post by TallDave »

I'm rich beyond the wildest imagination of Kings in 1850
It's funny, we think nothing of the fact that thousands of people will work for years, spending hundreds of millions of dollars, to produce an hour or two of entertainment for us.

Ancient kings, eat your hearts out.

Jccarlton
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Post by Jccarlton »

dashxdr wrote:Examples of corruption and bad allocation of funds:

1) LIGO -- why keep funding this thing? It proved general relativity is wrong -- no gravity waves were ever detected. Instead, they want another $200M+ to make it more sensitive. By gosh, we'll find those gravity waves yet! Pass me another filet mignon and a margarita, dear!

2) Hubble Space Telescope. What did it cost, a billion dollars? And it was lofted with a faulty lens. OK, all that money went into the software, testing, new technology. Why not just slap another one together? 1 billion dollars for the first one, and if you want a second one, it's another billion? No way. The second one should cost well under $50M -- the R&D is done. Instead, NASA charged $200M+ or whatever to design a fix for the one Hubble.
#Much of the cost in the Hubble is the main mirror and the effort it takes to polish a large mirror to the perfection needed. Unfortunately for Perkin Elmer and NASA the mirror was polished incredibly accurately with very close measurements, on earth. When the Hubble was sent to orbit, well the mirror flexed just slightly because there was no longer a gravitational force on the mirror. Fortunately spherical aberations can be corrected with optics downstream and the telescope worked just fine for other things until the new cameras and optics could be installed. Long term that mistake has actually been beneficial because it introduced the habit of constantly upgrading and extending the Hubble's life with new cameras and battery packs.#
3) Iraq. Why are we there again? Why can't we leave?

4) Iran. Why are the neocons so hell bent on attacking Iran again?
#Because Iran is run by a screaming nutjob who may soon have access to things that screaming nutjobs should not be allowed to play with and no other means of detering said nutjob has worked.
5) Bear Stearns. Why did the Federal Reserve bail them out again, and enable JP Morgan to buy them up?
6) No child left behind, our crappy public schools, ever encroaching federal government.

7) RealID act. Identity papers, please!

8) Federal government raid on "Liberty Dollars" which were currency notes actually backed by something real -- specifically silver, copper, gold. The federal government was protecting us from...what? A solid currency?
9) Social Security, Medicaire -- both bankrupt, and getting deeper into debt.

On and on and on.

But it's ok, the USA is a great country. By definition.

-Dave
I
1)#I don't know about LIGO in particular, but experiments like this frequently produce surprises, especailly when you are trying to break new ground find something that is very difficult to find, like gravity waves. From what LIGO's website said they were using interferometers to measure less than the diameter of a proton which means extreme measures to kill vibration, as I know from experience, having contracted for an interferometer company.#
2)#Much of the cost in the Hubble is the main mirror and the effort it takes to polish a large mirror to the perfection needed. Unfortunately for Perkin Elmer and NASA the mirror was polished incredibly accurately with very close measurements, on earth. When the Hubble was sent to orbit, well the mirror flexed just slightly because there was no longer a gravitational force on the mirror. Fortunately spherical aberations can be corrected with optics downstream and the telescope worked just fine for other things until the new cameras and optics could be installed. Long term that mistake has actually been beneficial because it introduced the habit of constantly upgrading and extending the Hubble's life with new cameras and battery packs.#

3)#We are in Iraq because its easier to kill Jihadis on the streets of Sadr City than it is on the streets of NYC.#

4)#Because Iran is run by a screaming nutjob who may soon have access to things that screaming nutjobs should not be allowed to play with and no other means of deterring said nutjob has worked.

5)#Because Bear Stearn had too much bad paper and not enough cash. The Bear Stearns fiasco was a sellout, not a bailout and the Bear Stearns shareholders lost a bundle. Sometimes you have to triage in financial crisis and kill the losers.#

6)#Welcome to Liberal Fascism and big government. When you want government to solve all the problems this is what you get.#

7)#As nearly as I can tell Real ID involved standardizing procedures for driver's licenses. I'm not sure what the big issue about trying to eliminate driver's license fraud is but I imagine the ACLU has one.

9)#This has been building for 20 years at least and probably goes back to the beginning of the program when the actuaries told FDR that the program would go broke in 1980. Thanks to the baby booM it didn't, but this was coming and it hasn't helped that when one party makes repeated suggestions to fix the problems they get cast as some sort of villain.#

#As for the various fusion programs the people involved were and are not corrupt. They really believe in what they are doing. That is the problem. It would be cheaper to pay them off than to continue to run some of these programs. But these people have staked their entire lives on their pet projects and they know how to game the system. The way things are funded means that an official at one of the big DOE labs has too justify themselves every year, but doesn't actually have to accomplish anything that year. If you work in that environment for very long you learn how to be flexible, how to delay, how to overcome your frustrations and how above all not to be to successful too fast, because doing that can have other labs and scientists jealous of your triumphs and budget. I've seen it happen, but its politics, not corruption.

olivier
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Post by olivier »

dashxdr wrote:Sure, there's corruption, but it's ok as long as it's out in the open?

The point of corruption is that the corrupt seek to game the system for their own benefit, not our benefit. So if there is corruption, necessarily there must be a price to pay. What's the price? Suppressed technology. Look no further than how hard it is to get funding for polywell research.
I won't tell you how much corruption there really is in the US, but your discussion reminds me of a book I read recently: "La société de défiance", i.e. "The Society of Distrust", by Y. Algan and P. Cahuc. The authors show how the level of trust between individuals in a society correlates with the employment rate and per capita income. They use a 1999 International Social Survey Program, the raw data of which are available on the web (http://www.issp.org).
As an example, I built this little histogram from their data, showing how people feel about the level of corruption in their country :
Image
As you may see, the US are not doing too bad...

djolds1
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Post by djolds1 »

dashxdr wrote:I'm saying it's best to deal with reality and don't bury your head in the sand.

Fact: The USA is bankrupt.

Fact: The USA empire is heading for disaster.
ROFLMAO.

By what metrics?

Morally bankrupt? Puhleez. Financially bankrupt? We're FAR from that point.

The US is not an empire. It is at best the seed of empire, and the population is resisting it. They don't want the responsibility of being official uber-authority of the West. Unofficial primus inter pares with defiance by segments works just fine.
dashxdr wrote:These are good things -- particularly the second one. The world is finished with empires. And corruption? It is like a parasite that eventually kills the host organism.
Again, ROFLMAO.

The world is finished with empires???

Empires are an eternal constant of civilized humanity. The only way to be finished with empires is to revert to hunter-gatherer social organization. Tribes of no larger than 150 people max.

If anything, the advance of information technology and surveillance society will make preponderant governmental control of the lives of its citizens that much easier. The Tony Stark Iron Man gauntlet inside the velvet glove.
dashxdr wrote:There's no point in preserving the US Federal government or the Federal Reserve. Either they together take steps to avoid collapse of the USA, or they don't. But in either case, just look out for #1. Try not to get crushed in the meantime.
Even assuming you're correct, that only means that another state steps forward as hegemon. World rules of commerce and acceptable conduct dictated by China, or an EU that gets its act together and organizes as an effective quasi-state?

Power expands. It can collapse into anarchy for a time, but its resurgence is virtually a law of nature. And power always centralizes to an oligarchy; see Michel's Iron Law of Oligarchy.

Libertopias, particularly anarcho-capitalist libertopias, are exercises in self-delusion. The notional private security companies that provide law enforcement functions have no reason to obey the dictates of judges/arbitrators. Eventually one company becomes premier and forges the others into a regime with a monopoly on force. And from there, welcome back to the state. Simple self-interest. The security company boyos want the biggest share of the pie they can get, and have the means to secure it. To make the AnCap Libertopias work you'd need to use advancing neuro-technology to brainwash your entire population into obedience to the dogma. And that sort of defeats the purpose of libertarianism, yes?

Besides, any ideology which can justify the debt-slavery of children is immoral on its face.

Duane
Last edited by djolds1 on Sat May 17, 2008 10:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
Vae Victis

djolds1
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Post by djolds1 »

MSimon wrote:I'm rich beyond the wildest imagination of Kings in 1850 and you are trying to tell me my standard of living is in decline? Are you nuts?
No, you're not. You have more tech-toys. You are NOT living the life of power and privilege that being in the top tier of elite brings. Having people truckle to you is the chief advantage of power. Access to the finest luxuries. Tech-toys are nice, but they are not the true rewards of power.

People don't compare themselves to the Kings of 1450. They compare themselves to the last generation. IIRC the median income of the lower half of the population has declined in PPP terms since 1980. The Gini has increased in the US since 1980. Greater relative difference between elite and commoner wealth. Higher Ginis are not good, they indicate a trend toward oligarchy, which is inimical to liberty in a mass democracy state.

1980s finance economics didn't spread the wealth so much as intensify it in house. The rich got richer, poor and middle class wealth and wages were stagnant or slightly declined in PPP terms. See wealth condensation. The entire import more than we export "service economy" game underway since 1980 is now starting to come to an end globally. This was inevitable, as the "everybody exports to the US" globalization model was unsustainable, and the question was when would the bubble burst.

Protectionism and regional trade blocs are coming back to the fore. Doesn't mean the world is coming to an end, doesn't mean the US economy and state will collapse and North America will enter a Mad Max justice by Thunderdome stage. But it does mean that long delayed economic pain and adjustment of the services and industrial balances are on the way. We're likely to see extensive reregulation of the financial sectors, and the return of industry to the US or near abroad (NAFTA Bloc).
Vae Victis

djolds1
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Post by djolds1 »

olivier wrote: As an example, I built this little histogram from their data, showing how people feel about the level of corruption in their country :
Image
As you may see, the US are not doing too bad...
Pareto distribution. Standard power law of economics and a d*mn lot of natural emergent systems. Its a law of nature.

Duane
Vae Victis

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