OT - I don't _hate_ McMansions

Von Fugal von at fugal.net
Fri Jun 27 11:37:54 MDT 2008


<quote name="Justin Findlay" date="Thu, 26 Jun 2008 at 23:55 -0600">
> On AD 2008 June 26 Thursday 10:47:43 PM -0600, Andy Bradford wrote:
> > So,   you  truly   believe  that   communication  mechanisms   like  the
> > ``Internet''  would  have  never  come  about  without  the  omniscient,
> > omnipotent government?  Imagine how much innovation  and discovery could
> > be made  by people, people with  incentive to meet the  needs of others,
> > had we  not wasted billions,  if not  trillions of dollars  on countless
> > governmental programs,  military spending,  empire building,  etc... Its
> > not surprising that  government comes up with things,  they drain people
> > of the very thing that allows entrepreneurs and businessmen to innovate:
> > savings and money. I'm sure if I had billions extorted from the people I
> > could do many good things with it too.
> 
> I've been reading this thread more with amusement than interest, but
> this is an incredibly closed minded, narrow characterization, almost to
> the point of ignorance.
> 
> I am a scientist.  I have been in the past, will be beginning this fall,
> and will likely live off from the rest of my life (at least in part)
> money from the National Science Foundation and other similar government
> foundations from this and other countries.

Good for you. The government may be the only place to get money simply
because it HAS all the money. (where did it come from?)

> The intarwebs might have gotten themselves invented without the DoD
> pouring in dollars and academics pouring in ideas and research, neither
> motivated by the potential for monetization.  Somehow I doubt private
> corporations would have been altruistic enough to let the thing become
> what it has without their trying to justify it quarter by quarter by
> crafting up ways to draw money out of it for their shareholders.

Corporations aren't the only things that can innovate. Normal crafty
people like you and I can do wonders. Oh wait, nm we're too busy working
our butts off to pay for $4/gal gasoline and horrendous taxes to pay for
what?? oh yeah, wars upon wars and occupations upon occupations.

> The intarwebs might have had a chance at that.  Do you really think
> there are corporations out there that are visionary enough to pour the
> billions and billions of dollars each year into basic scientific
> research that doesn't have potential to turn a technological profit for
> decades, perhaps even centuries, to say nothing of financial?  Why do
> you think we have organizations like the NSF?  Is there purpose to fund
> research that will turn into dollars within a sufficiently short period
> to satisfy the taxpayers?  Is it immoral for someone pursue a course of
> work for which there is no financial motivation whatsoever?  I submit
> that not only is it moral but it is crucial to the progress of society.

Again, if the money is available (not stolen by the gubment) then sure,
internet can happen. Who knows, maybe Al Gore would have actually
invented it.

> Now let me tell you something.  In the 1800s the mathematicians Abel,
> Jacobi, Galois, Gauss, Kronecker and others worked out foundations of
> what is now often known as abstract algebra.  There was not even any
> scientific motivation for the establishment of this kind of mathematics.
> In the early 1900s Max Planck, Louis de Broglie, Werner Heisenberg,
> Albert Einstein, Niels Bohr, Erwin Schrödinger, Max Born, John von
> Neumann, Paul Dirac, Wolfgang Pauli and others using many of the
> abstract, theoretical mathematical objects from abstract algebra worked
> out what became known as quantum mechanics.  Quantum mechanics is the
> solid scientific foundation for electronic and optical technology,
> materials science, chemical engineering, and several other fields.  How
> much of the GDP do you think all of this technology accounts for?  And
> it was all made possible because people researched the stuff they had
> passion for.  If they got any money out of it (some of them didn't,
> Galois for example) it came from their university.

Wait, so some people do research without compensation? So if more people
had more money and had to work less, would it follow that more people
would follow their passion without compensation? And who's to say there
wouldn't be grants from other sources besides government?

> I seriously doubt privatized research would have the patience of decades
> to wait for technologies like fusion to yield (it hasn't), to say
> nothing of the pursuit of more esoteric research, like the Higgs boson,
> or quantum gravity.  There is a 27 kilometer long circle underground
> Geneva Switzerland fitted with the worlds most powerful multi-Tesla
> liquid helium cooled superconducting electromagnets.  The Pierre Auger
> cosmic ray observatory in Argentina--the size of Rhode Island, dozens of
> other observatories worldwide, in orbit and speeding out of the solar
> system, all of them the province of astronomers and astrophysicists, yet
> you don't see any corporations rush in even so much as to get their
> brand names on them.

I'm all for scientific advancement, but 40% of my income is an aweful
lot. If everyone in the country was 40% wealthier... well, use your
imagination.

In all honesty, as great as computers and internets are, I would rather
be woodworking or some such and keeping the fruits of my labors than
working in this awesome field only to support our glorious imperialists.
The awesomeness of computers is here, though, so I will work in it, and
I will try to stop gubment from stealing.

Von Fugal
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