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Posts by Jedi Master Pikachu

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  • Daniel Hannan: What is the ideal size of the state?

    07/07/2010 1:36:31 AM PDT · 4 of 5
    Jedi Master Pikachu to iowamark
    It would depend on the country, I think.

    As the graph suggests, poorer countries could stand to have the state take in more of the GDP, as this would lead to faster economic growth rates. Many developing countries need to spend more on infrastructure, education, and health systems. If they had better infrastructure as well as a more educated and healthy workforce, they would be more productive and attract more local and foreign investment.

    Richer states may stand to have lower tax rates. All developed countries have at least adequate infrastructure in most areas, and so do not need to spend much more on that. Educational issues are more a problem of methods than of money. Same for the health system.

    Geographically larger countries may have to have a higher tax intake than smaller ones because bigger countries require more infrastructure. More roads, more pipelines, more railway tracks, etc. And infrastructure decays or becomes outdated over time. For some infrastructure, decay rate and design--and cost--would depend on the climate as well as local forms of natural disaster like earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, volcanoes. Some countries would have to spend more on nature-proofing than others.

    Then there's the issue of whether what is run by the government in many countries should be instead the responsibility of the private sector. If the private sector were entrusted with more of a country's infrastructure, education, and health, then obviously less tax money is needed. However there are reasons why the private sector does not run all of a country's basic services, and I agree with many of those reasons.

    P.S. I know a lot of what I've written above does not conform to the typical conservative view. Still, even the comment above mine acknowledges some need for taxes.

  • Palin angers faithful with choice in California race

    05/08/2010 11:08:10 AM PDT · 56 of 265
    Jedi Master Pikachu to Loyalist
    I like your post here.

    So long as Fiorina has all the important issues in common with me (such as being pro-life), and the other option - while maybe slightly more to my liking (or not) - does not have nearly the same chance of winning, why not vote for her?

  • Palin angers faithful with choice in California race

    05/08/2010 11:01:25 AM PDT · 50 of 265
    Jedi Master Pikachu
    ♫I'm a RINO, you're a RINO, we're all RINO RINOs...♪

    Really, the term 'RINO' has become so meaningless because people who assume that they are the baseline of a true Republican just toss around 'RINO' as an insult to anyone who disagrees with them. It's getting silly.

  • Palin angers faithful with choice in California race

    05/08/2010 10:36:17 AM PDT · 30 of 265
    Jedi Master Pikachu to MsLady
    Which would be smart. This is California, and Senators are chosen statewide. A very socially conservative candidate would not win, plain and simple. If you vote for DeVore, in essence you're voting for Boxer.

    Then take into account that the senator has to work with other Senators, and has Diane Feinstein as her/his senior Senator. Fiorina probably commands more respect than a state assemblyman.

    Unless someone can provide evidence that Fiorina is actually pro-abortion, and not anti-abortion like she claims to be, I wouldn't be opposed to voting for her.

  • Signs of Neanderthals Mating With Humans

    05/06/2010 5:53:19 PM PDT · 44 of 63
    Jedi Master Pikachu to Will88
    "100,000 to 60,000 years ago"

    This would suggest that it was the first [successful] exodus out of Africa by modern humans that mixed a bit with Neanderthals. Which also suggests that most non-African people have ancestry from this first exodus, and not just the second one. Although homo sapiens Europeans were living among Neanderthals for a while, maybe their Neanderthal ancestry comes from that rather than from a Middle Eastern dispersal of the first group.

  • Signs of Neanderthals Mating With Humans

    05/06/2010 5:26:45 PM PDT · 40 of 63
    Jedi Master Pikachu to allmendream; Hodar
    The evolutionary timeline goes roughly like this: homo habilis (handy man), homo erectus (upright man), and then a branching out. For this topic, the branches include homo neanderthalis (Neanderthal man) and homo sapiens (wise-guy wise man). There are plenty of other homos (heh), but that's basically the route.

    The research indicated 1% to 4%. The 4% you, allmendream, mentioned is the high end. They compared the genomes of only five modern humans. One person to represent each 'race'. Sample size of 1, miniscule, to represent an entire population. Also to be considered is that some of the Neanderthal genome was reconstructed using software and current understanding of how DNA is chemically degraded; maybe there was some bias towards reconstruction in a modern human direction? The researchers' hypothesis is that admixture with a small number of Neanderthals occurred as modern humans - a relatively small group of them - were exiting Africa into Eurasia. That's why, to them, Neanderthal genes are so widespread, based on the five genomes they compared against. And why the Middle East is mentioned; the researchers argue that most of modern humanity, not just Middle Easterners, have a little Neanderthal ancestry.

    Dental analysis does not mean much in terms of ancestry. Neanderthals also sometimes had red hair, which might lead some to conclude continuity between Neanderthal redheads and modern redhead descendants. But the Neanderthals' red hair was caused by a different mutation than moderns'; it's just that both mutations shut off eumelanin production in hair follicles. It definitely did not indicate. At most it suggested. Maybe there is something about the foods in that region that select for a particular tooth shape, just as maybe there is something in that environment that causes selection for red hair - or conversely the rest of the world causes red hair to not be favored?

    And even if this research is correct in declaring that most humans have a small degree of Neanderthal ancestry, there is absolutely no way Australian Aborigines are homo erectus. The date of divergence, according to evolutionary theory, was far too long ago, the distance is much greater than that between homo sapiens and Neanderthals. They could not breed offspring. And yet Australian Aborigines can produce fertile offspring with white people - and presumably with members of other 'races' - to the same extent as other interracial couples. Not to mention, at least one Australian Aborigine has had his genome sequenced, and he came out homo sapiens. To make a long story short: DNA infinitely trumps morphology in providing evidence of descent.

  • Canada joins Transatlantic Union effort Working along with U.S deal with European Union

    03/11/2009 7:53:00 PM PDT · 3 of 4
    Jedi Master Pikachu to rgr
    My impression was that "sustainable development" referred to economic development that was sustainable both from an economic and environmental perspective. A well-diversified economy that can sustain respectable GDP growth in the long term, and an economy that does not pollute, deforest, etc. a country into a ruined ecosystem.

    I could be wrong, though - however, I doubt the 'definition' given here is the right one.

  • Myanmar finds more evidences on Bronze Age, Iron Age

    03/09/2009 10:54:43 PM PDT · 5 of 7
    Jedi Master Pikachu to txnativegop
    "Interesting that both bronze weapons and iron objects were found simultaneously in the same area, at the same time." Around the same time. I'm not sure about Burma/Myanmar, but for much of Southeast Asia, bronze and iron technology was introduced by contact with India, and Bronze Ages preceded Iron Ages by only a few centuries, if at all.

    For instance, later in the article, it mentions how it was originally thought that Burma didn't have a Bronze Age, but went from Stone Age to Iron Age without that intermediate epoch.

  • (LEAD) N. Korea denies missile plan, defends activity as 'space development'

    02/15/2009 10:13:05 PM PST · 5 of 6
    Jedi Master Pikachu to TigerLikesRooster

    Taking a cue from the Iranians, I guess.

  • Peru's Scratchpad The Nazca Plain

    02/15/2009 10:04:07 PM PST · 49 of 50
    Jedi Master Pikachu to WoofDog123

    That was my take on it, too.

  • Breaking: Chavez Victorious in Election Vote

    02/15/2009 9:52:25 PM PST · 59 of 104
    Jedi Master Pikachu to Octar; Red Steel; frankiep; BallyBill
    I'll second or third or fourth or fifth that.

    If China is Nazi Germany, they're a Nazi Germany with FAR more potential than the Third Reich.

    Defeating small, resource-poor Germany and Japan (and Italy) took the British Empire, the Soviet Empire, the largest economy (us), and China (lots of people).

    China has mind-bogglingly more potential than World War II Germany and Japan combined.

    As for the Great Depression repeating, a lot of people have said that that is cyclical, and that the last decade or two was the equivalent of the roaring '20s. So a new Depression was predicted for some time now; we just didn't know when it would hit.

  • Breaking: Chavez Victorious in Election Vote

    02/15/2009 9:45:47 PM PST · 58 of 104
    Jedi Master Pikachu to DocRock; FReepers
    "Jimmy Carter is probably dusting off his speech about how this was a fair election."

    Independent polls have shown Chavez having the support of over half the Venezuelan population. Even if he's 'made sure' that he will win, he probably would have won in a fair vote as well.

    The same goes for the Presidential election in the United States. I was surprised to see how many FReepers believe that voter fraud won Obama the election. There was probably fraud, but Obama would have most likely won even without it.

    The Venezuelan and American people were by and large unwise in their vote, with or without vote rigging.

    And by the way, all, not that it's any of your business, but I did not vote for Obama. Really. In case any of you wondered that because to you I appear Obamaphiliac.

  • Breaking: Chavez Victorious in Election Vote

    02/15/2009 9:37:46 PM PST · 57 of 104
    Jedi Master Pikachu to parksstp
    Ingles no es la lengua oficial de los Estados Unidos de America. Aunque en algunos estados, como California, ingles es la lengua oficial del estado.
    English isn't the official language of the United States. Although in some states, like California, English is the offical language of the state. [Woo hoo, got to use some of my Spanish!]

    Any such speech would probably push for more socialism/communism in the Americas, and the world - I agree with you about that.

  • Breaking: Chavez Victorious in Election Vote

    02/15/2009 9:32:21 PM PST · 56 of 104
    Jedi Master Pikachu to StopDemocratsDotCom
    In theory, the concept of indefinite reelection is not too bad.

    However, in Venezuela's case, Chavez has been using the loads of oil money unwisely during good times, and now Venezuela is set for a hard landing. Chavez was a military leader, and will almost definitely use violence and force to stay in power if he deems it necessary. Furthermore, the presidential terms are to long if you're going to have unlimited reelection.

    P.S. As way of explanation, I support authoritarian governments for developing countries (what some here derogatorily refer to as 'turd world countries'). But, if they have to have some sort of representative government, I think a parliamentary form of government is the best option for them. An American-style presidential system is too complex and unwieldy for them. That's why I consider the concept of unlimited reelected to not be entirely bad, although it would be better if Venezuela had a parliamentary system, and no Chavez, of course.

  • Peru's Scratchpad The Nazca Plain

    02/15/2009 9:11:05 PM PST · 47 of 50
    Jedi Master Pikachu to JoeProBono
    "which are associated with the Incan civilization by some scientists"

    Yeah, I caught that later. Mea culpa. I should have writtern "Why do some scientists..." rather than "Why does the author..."

  • Peru's Scratchpad The Nazca Plain

    02/15/2009 9:05:03 PM PST · 46 of 50
    Jedi Master Pikachu to WoofDog123
    I've tried to find a Wikipedia link (and photo) to offer a not quite as impressive alternative as the ancient astronauts/aliens.

    In the Amazon rainforest, there are miles of raised mounds forming lines in the middle of swampy land, thought to have been used both for agriculture and as roads by ancestors of the local Amerindians.

    Maybe the Nasca lines makers were just their more artsy-fartsy cousins, and at that time the desert was more fertile. After all, Caral is considered to be the start of civilization in South America, and is now desert. So too with Egypt, even though when Egypt started, the country was wetter.

    Just sort of joking. The Nazca lines are intriguing not only because of their extent, but also their shapes.

    Here are some links, in any case, but without pretty pictures:

  • Galaxy has 'billions of Earths

    02/15/2009 8:25:10 PM PST · 25 of 90
    Jedi Master Pikachu to wgflyer
    "I wonder how future articles will work global warming into this."

    They already use Venus for a 'look, that could happen to us!'

  • Peru's Scratchpad The Nazca Plain

    02/15/2009 8:10:10 PM PST · 42 of 50
    Jedi Master Pikachu to WoofDog123

    Your post reminds me of a Calvin and Hobbes comic strip where Calvin strings up Christmas lights on the roof of his house offering to sell to aliens his parents as slaves in exchange for a star cruiser.

  • Peru's Scratchpad The Nazca Plain

    02/15/2009 8:07:49 PM PST · 41 of 50
    Jedi Master Pikachu to JoeProBono
    Why does the author think the Nazca lines are associated with Incan civilization?

    The Incas lived in the mountains (Andes) to the north around AD 1400, and are thought to be culturally descended from nearby cultures/civilizations.

  • Galaxy has 'billions of Earths

    02/15/2009 8:01:44 PM PST · 4 of 90
    Jedi Master Pikachu to Bringbackthedraft; KevinDavis; SunkenCiv