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Posts Made By: Paul Kammueller

April 14, 2009 03:41 AM Forum: SCI-FI

WORST MOVIES

Posted By Paul Kammueller

I second Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. Saw 'Manos' on MST3K.

For one more modern, how about Starship Troopers?

April 20, 2009 01:26 AM Forum: Religion

Literal or not?

Posted By Paul Kammueller

Mark Norby said:
I was wondering how many here believe in the literal interpretation of Genesis?

We're talking about a story that has a talking snake. Seriously, how could anyone make the mistake of taking this literally?

April 27, 2009 11:49 PM Forum: Politics

Teleprompter, Shmelepromter

Posted By Paul Kammueller

And when you get right down to it, would you rather have a president who spends his mental energy on the issues of the day, or one who spends his time and mental energy memorizing speeches?

The teleprompter is a tool that frees up time and mental resources from tasks that are trivial (i.e. speech memorization) for tasks that are more important (i.e. economic policy, foreign affairs, actually delivering the speech, and so on). In my book, that's a good trade. Ability to deliver a speech is far more important than ability to memorize it.

People are really having to stretch to find things to complain about. grin

April 28, 2009 03:15 AM Forum: Religion

What is Free Will?

Posted By Paul Kammueller

I think it's one of those things that starts to boil down to a chicken-and-egg question. You get trapped by the words... 'free will', the phrase itself seeks the 'will' as a sort of First Cause of personal actions. We decide our own course of actions. But of course, our own decisions are to a large extent predetermined results of our own personalities, which are in turn products of our birth, upbringing, and on and on... so are your decisions really 'decisions', or simply a predictable and inescapable result of your psychological makeup and the mental and emotional calculation your brain makes in evaluating a situation and appropriate course of action?

One need look no further than certain forums to see the reliable predictability of individual personalities. grin Is 'free will' an illusion when we're really just slaves to cause-and-effect? Of course, quantum uncertainty relieves some of the predictability, but randomness and 'will' are not the same things. Then what does it really mean to 'decide' something anyway?

June 2, 2009 10:45 PM Forum: Politics

You're on the hook

Posted By Paul Kammueller

david elosser said:
And Obama just quadrupled that this year. Feel better now? wink
I'm trying to get the new math here. The article says this is roughly a 12% increase. How do you get 12% increase = quadruple?

August 1, 2009 09:50 PM Forum: Investment Discussions

Health Care?

Posted By Paul Kammueller

In some countries they simply have a double mandate: 1) everyone must get health insurance, and 2) insurers have to insure anyone who asks.

Simplifies a lot of things and levels the playing field really fast when everyone has to abide by the same rules. The rules that govern the affordability aspects and cost distribution will vary, but whatever they are the economics then adapts as necessary.

Not really keen on a patchwork of different state-by-state systems. Encourages a lot of border-hopping and states getting a 'free ride' off their neighbors.

August 4, 2009 11:57 AM Forum: Investment Discussions

Another think- oil?

Posted By Paul Kammueller

Brian Sledz said:
A while back there were a few guys on our little board telling us oil was headed to $200 or $300 or $1000 per barrel, I forgot the exact amount. I shorted it around $142.
What say you now? I need another trade. shocked

When you had analysts at Goldman predicting $200-$300 I figured it had to be getting close to a near-term top. When the analysts' upside predictions get proportionally outlandish, it seems to be the classic sign of a peak. I have recollections of analysts predicting Qualcomm going to $800 the day it hit $400 or something like that in 2000.

Longer-term, ultimately the production problem is real enough and the price will trend upward, but alternative energy sources (wind, solar, what have you) will ultimately put an effective ceiling on that price. Where that ceiling is is changing with time due to changes in cost-effectiveness of various options of course. I don't know where it is right now.

August 8, 2009 10:01 PM Forum: Politics

Socialism

Posted By Paul Kammueller

In our culture it is simply a word that is used to stifle meaningful discussion, because in our historical context the word 'socialism' carries connotations of the Red Scare, the Russians are coming, the Russians are coming, etc. It hardly even matters what the word actually means anymore.

It is a word that has become a rhetorical weapon to raise innate fears of foreign takeover by an old enemy. It is devoid of meaning in the modern context, a transparent tool to generate an emotional knee-jerk fear reaction and divert discussion away from the actual merits of the issues at hand.

It is, in short, a quick and easy way to avoid debate.

August 9, 2009 04:00 AM Forum: Politics

Socialism

Posted By Paul Kammueller

An example of a convenience we currently enjoy, but which could never be implemented in today's political climate:

The public water supply. Got my water bill today, it was like $3 per 100 cubic feet or something. Go buy water on the private market and you'll pay $1.29 for a 20oz plastic bottle of the stuff.

Now, if you tried to introduce the idea of a 'public' water supply today, it would be politically impossible: you'd get a massive organized mobilization against it. People would be mobbing town hall meetings, torches and pitchforks in hand, wailing about this 'tyranny from the faucet', the feared notion of socialized, communist, "guvmn't water". Complete with rumors that the government will take away your private water, and make decisions for you about where you'll use it, dictating how many cups you can feed your kid, water the ficus with, etc. They would talk up a huge threat of bureacracy, of how you'd have to fill out 17 forms in triplicate every time you want a cup of water and how some bureaucrat would take 3 months to give you permission to have it.

Know the odd thing? The reality is that I turn my faucet on, and water JUST COMES OUT. Isn't that just NUTS? No complicated forms, no lines to stand in, nothing like that. It just works. Which goes against everything we've been told the last couple of decades, that government services , the public sector, etc. absolutely don't work.

August 26, 2009 11:03 AM Forum: Politics

UK man has appendix taken out. Twice.

Posted By Paul Kammueller

This also happened to someone in Flint Michigan last year.

Any healthcare system that has human beings as caretakers will occasionally make errors. We want to believe doctors are somehow infallible, more perfect than us mere mortals, but it just isn't so.