To me, the quality of life is far more important than the length of time I get to live. Unfortunately, not taking antibiotics, not taking anti-cancer drugs, etc - as a form of suicide, it sucks. The big problem is not death, it's pain. Nobody wants to suffer a horrible, slow death, which is what you can expect if you die from cancer and numerous other diseases.
Some people get lucky and die from a heart attack in their sleep. But you can't count on that.
Few (if any) countries in the world make it easy or even legal to commit suicide. The drugs that would make it possible are hard to obtain, and becoming harder. It used to be that people would off themselves with sleeping pills. Back in the old days, the drug of choice was barbiturates (ie Marilyn Monroe). These are no longer prescribed, and that is intentional. The type of sleeping pills now prescribed are either benzodiazepines (ie Valium) or Z-drugs (ie Ambien). These drugs are designed so that you need a huge amount (like several hundred) for a fatal overdose, and even if you manage to swallow so many, there is a good chance you'll throw them up, meaning you'll wake up the next day with a massive hangover, but not dead.
What is a cancer victim to do? In the USA, it's way easier to obtain guns than drugs. And so guns have become the main vehicle of deliverance in America. That is extremely messy, to say the least. There are, of course, botched attempts, where the patient only succeeds in causing severe wounds and thus suffers even more pain.
As a society, we don't seem ready to accept that assisted suicide is humane. Dr Jack Kevorkian devoted his life to trying to assist terminally ill cancer patients commit suicide, and it landed him in jail. There is a good movie about him:
You'd expect this kind of thing in a corrupt third world country. Maybe Zimbabwe or Uzbekistan. But this is the USA. You know, self-appointed "leader of the free world." A "land of milk and honey." A "paradise on Earth" (oh, wait, I think North Korea has that title trademarked).
It's official - the USA has finally crossed the line to become a third world country. A banana republic, without the bananas.
I know I harp on nuclear energy, but I just never see any mention in these articles about how they intend to power these interplanetary rockets and Mars colonies.
It will require nuclear power. Without it, manned space flight beyond the moon is out. However, these days it just isn't fashionable to be pro-nuclear, even when we're talking about Mars.
Fossil fuel on a planet with no oxygen in the atmosphere is useless, since it won't burn. And the possibility of finding fossil fuel on Mars is slim, though I won't dismiss it completely. The thin atmosphere makes Martin wind power equally useless. It is sunny on Mars, but that's not sufficient to generate enough heat to survive night time temperatures of minus 100 degrees Celsius. No hope for hydro-power or geothermal either. A Martian colony powered by solar and wind is going to be a graveyard, populated with colonists frozen to death.
So if Elon Musk is serious, he ought to be talking about this. I hope he doesn't think that the colony can be powered by his lithium-ion batteries, recharged with a long extension cord from earth.
Dashcams should be required in all police cars, on the cop's body, and especially on their tasers.
If a cop disables a cam, that should be grounds for instant termination of their employment. If a person is arrested and the video and/or audio was somehow "lost" or deleted, then the charges against that individual should be automatically dismissed.
Only if this happens can we keep the police state at bay.
Will these cams cost too much? Funny, that question never gets asked when the US government hands out tanks and machine guns to small town cops. How many cams can you buy for the cost of a tank?
Nuclear rockets - I mentioned this before in a discussion we had about Mars. In a nutshell, my argument is that we need to have them or else it's unlikely that any astronauts will survive even a one-way journey to Mars.
NASA actually developed a nuclear powered rocket (named Nerva) in the 1960s, and ground testing proved that it worked. But it's funds were axed by the Nixon administration, which was not particularly friendly to the space program. So Nerva never flew:
A nuclear-powered rocket would allow astronauts to reach Mars months earlier. Less time spent in space means less exposure to radiation. Surviving on the surface of Mars would also be challenging, but it may be possible. Burying a house in the Martian soil will give the residents good protection from radiation. It's possible to grow crops on Mars, but only indoors with heating. There is water on Mars, but it has to be made by melting ice. That all takes energy.
It will require a nuclear reactor to keep astronauts alive on Mars. Without it, they would freeze to death. Wind power is a non-starter, as the atmosphere is too thin. Solar power is feasible during the day, but could not produce sufficient heat to survive the night. Fossil fuels are unlikely to exist on Mars, and even if they did you could not burn them in the CO2 atmosphere.
I know that a lot of environmentalists get upset every time the word "nuclear" is mentioned, but fact is you'd pretty much need some sort of nuclear reactor to keep humans alive in space, or on the Martian surface. It's one thing to power a small robot (which can endure temperature extremes, and doesn't need air, food or water). It's quite another to operate a life support system.
If humans made it to the surface of Mars and want to set up a colony, they would need fuel to stay alive for any length of time. Drilling for fossil fuels is not likely to be successful, but if indeed there is oil and natural gas on Mars, it wouldn't be very useful since the atmosphere lacks oxygen to burn it. Wind power on Mars...unfortunately, the thin atmosphere means that a 100 mph wind packs less energy than a one mph wind on Earth. Solar is the only option besides nuclear, but keeping humans alive during the extreme cold Martian night (Antarctic-like temperatures, or worse) will require an awful lot of energy storage. If we can't get that to work in Antarctica, I don't see how we would on Mars.
Radiation occasionally bathes the surface of Mars, but it comes from solar storms at unpredictable times. Not really a source of energy, and in fact a hazard. Colonists will have to look for uranium or thorium if the colony is to survive long-term independent from supplies from Earth.
If a crew makes it to Mars, they might survive the cold and radiation, but they might not survive the Greenpeace protesters.
Well, I just did a bunch of research on the Internet, and I learned that "they" are spraying chemtrails from civilian aircraft. The chemtrails consist of tiny nanorobots which we inhale. They flow through your blood stream and get into your brain, then take over. By doing this, "they" control our thoughts.
Fortunately, I also learned on the Internet that you can buy various devices to protect yourself. There are machines which can blast the nanorobots out of the sky, or filter them out of your blood. Or best of all, you can take over the nanorobots and send a reverse signal so that you can control "them."
And don't get me started on how you can buy a device to communicate with aliens living right here on earth that you can't see or hear normally because they live in the 8th dimension. Of course, if you can't afford such a device, you could instead visit Sedona, Arizona, where there are numerous wormholes that access to the 8th dimension, not to mention the 5th, 6th and 7th.
I didn't realize that plastic beads were being put in soap, but that is insane. Certainly, it should be banned worldwide. The supposed benefit of having the beads I would guess is to have them act as an exfoliant. I can't think of any other reason why you'd want it. But there are plenty of other substances that can do the job without screwing up the environment.
For more than a century, there's been a soap on the market called "Lava" which contains pumice, or powdered volcanic rock:
If you want something milder and don't mind rolling your own soap, this site lists all kinds of natural exfoliant materials, such as crushed almonds, coffee grounds, walnut shells, loofah, oatmeal, poppy seeds, jojoba beads, tapioca etc:
Just wait until Big Corp starts lobbying for extending America's business model patents and copyrights to the moon and Mars. Viewing a crater of the moon through a telescope? You need a license! Writing a short story or a song about a mission to Mars? Hah, someone's got a patent on that! Want to flash a "moon" at somebody - heh, it's trademarked! You have to pay for play.
I wouldn't get too excited about Microsoft Research making their papers publicly available. Maybe I'll be surprised, but I would bet that Microsoft hasn't done any research of significance. Well OK, maybe legal research, like looking for innovative new ways to corrupt patent law and drive start-ups into bankruptcy - they've broken new ground there. It certainly was creative the way they funded the SCO UNIX lawsuits, and continue to fund patent-troll Intellectual Ventures. The amazing methods Microsoft uses to extort license fees from Android vendors ought to win them a Nobel prize.
I would certainly agree that if Google does business in the UK, then UK courts should have jurisdiction over any of the company's activities there. Google's lawyers were definitely reaching if they thought this tactic would work.
That having been said, the case against Google seems like utter nonsense. If anyone feels that targeting advertising is a violation of their privacy, then they shouldn't use Google, or Yahoo, or Bing, or most search engines.
Google makes its money from advertising - that's hardly a secret. Should Google be a charity? If so, then who is going to pay for their servers? Seems like a lot of people have a real sense of entitlement.
Late last month, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office denied an application to register a trademark for "Redskins Hog Rinds," a product wholly unrelated to the Washington football team. The USPTO's reasoning for refusing the trademark is simple: It's offensive.
I agree entirely with the USPTO - the term "hog rinds" is offensive. As a long time supporter of boar rights, I think it's high time that we banished the racist term hog which has many negative connotations, as does the equally offensive word pig.
If this group of whistleblowers wants to get an audience with Obama, first they need to get jobs as Wall Street bankers. Then donate a few million dollars for his presidential library. Then they will not only get an audience with the president, they'll own him.
I long ago gave up on Obama, despite the fact that I consider myself fairly liberal. I watched as he sold out completely to Wall Street, first by failing to prosecute all the fraud and then by throwing bailouts at the companies that committed all these crimes. And those bailouts continue (in the form of QE3). He stocked his cabinet with corporate stooges. And then he completely kept his mouth shut during #Occupy while the cops beat the crap out of demonstrators - said not one word, as if it all wasn't happening. The Obamacare which miraculously failed to either have a public option or end the ban on drug importation (which would compete with highly overpriced US drugs) while pressuring other countries to accept ridiculous US drug patents. Then his big crackdown on whistleblowers (including Snowden) who piss of the corporate elite. Finally, there is TPP which is corporate dream come true.
Obama does give nice speeches though. That's something, right?
I knew a stock market analyst a long time ago, and he told me that some reporters get paid to plant stories. The obvious motive was to drive a particular company's stock price up or down. Even a small percentage move can generate a huge profit for an inside trader taking advantage of "leverage."
This is supposed to be illegal. It's also pretty much the norm, especially nowadays since everything on Wall Street has been "deregulated."
The awful deregulation mania was pushed onto the unsuspecting world due to the Financial Services Agreement (FIS) which was part of the WTO agreement, and this helped to greatly exacerbate the 2008 banking meltdown. Now TPP wants to take that further, making American-style blatant fraud the world standard.
Closely related to the production of methanol from carbon dioxide, another useful fuel is DME (dimethyl ether). It works as a simple replacement for propane, a very useful fuel which can be used for cooking, water heating or even a replacement for diesel fuel in motor vehicles. DME has at least one advantage over battery-powered electric cars, because it isn't range-limited. Even more practical is to use DME in trucks and tractors. As usual, Wikipedia has a very informative page:
Of course, turning CO2 back into a fuel requires energy. It would make no sense to burn a fossil fuel to recycle CO2, you'd need to use something like hydropower, wind, solar, geothermal or nuclear power.
It certainly makes a whole lot more sense to create something like methanol or DME than it does to make ethanol from corn (which consumes about as much fossil fuel to produce as it "saves"). Whenever I read (usually on a "green" web site) that Country X or Y is getting 15% of its energy from "biomass" and this is touted as a "good thing," I don't whether or laugh or cry. Almost always, they are talking about ethanol, which is good for public relations but not for the environment.
The best thing that Google could do is move outside the USA. Doing so would not absolutely prevent the NSA from spying on their customers, but it would make it a lot easier for them to avoid secret subpoenas that they can't talk about thanks to the Patriot Act. If Google chooses a country that does not have software patents, it would relieve them of that worry. Plus it would also be a public relations coup if they moved and stated the reason(s).
Maybe such a move would even have a sobering effect on the US government when it finally sinks in that America's obnoxious behavior is driving away big business. Nothing speaks louder in the halls of Congress than money.
If Google does move, they'll have to choose their new location carefully. They should scratch from their list any country that signs up for the TPP (assuming that obnoxious "trade agreement" actually passes). Actually, if Google is considering one of those countries that is negotiating TPP, they might do us all a favor by letting them know in advance that joining the TPP will eliminate their chance of getting the Google server farm.