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Everything posted by Steve81

  1. Hi, I'm Steve, and I'm a 41 year-old IT guy, though I've worked as an accountant (did double duty for a small firm running their IT and doing accounting work), and as a writer/editor for an A/V website, among other things. My scientific background, such that it is, mostly goes back to my high school and early college years, when I was a chemistry major at GWU. As a kid, I was particularly fond of sci-fi, so naturally it followed that I had an affinity for learning about physics, and other such hard sciences. Writing seems to be my most useful skill; I got a promotion in my 20's working at a hospital for writing a complaint about my boss at the time 😆 I also landed the writing job at the A/V website by posting useful tidbits on their forum, which I had mostly learned by immersing myself in the science of the subject as opposed to any formal education. In some ways it was the highlight of my life; I got to interview the PhD's that are the fountainheads of knowledge in the field, play with fancy speakers, and even travel. It comes in handy in my IT work, since I try to take studious notes for every ticket I handle, and help build the knowledge base. My weakness: trigonometry. I switched high schools and completely missed the subject 😆 That finally came back to bite me in college with multivariable calculus.
  2. Hi, I seem to have some difficulties with Chrome when creating new topics on this board. Snapshot attached for your viewing pleasure. Edge seems to work properly.
  3. Spinozism I can get on board with over the concept of a "personal" god. It was good enough for Einstein after all.
  4. If by cherry picking, you mean going with the first definition provided, then yes, I'm guilty. Please accept my sincerest apology.
  5. Indeed, that's why I included the "society at large" part in my definition. At that point, the collective would essentially be "the government".
  6. It's the basic definition of socialism reworded a tad from Merriam Webster... Socialism Definition & Meaning - Merriam-Webster
  7. Hi all, I had posted this originally in the homework help section, but the assignment is completed and submitted, so no longer relevant. I thought some might find it interesting. The crux of the article revolves around a hypothetical 5,000 metric ton (dry mass) spacecraft, and examines propellant requirements vs exhaust velocity, the power requirements to achieve the requisite amount of thrust for an interstellar journey in one lifetime, the technology requirements to achieve that power output, and the thermal control system that would be required for any resultant waste heat. Article is aimed at the "average" reader interested in the topic, so I aimed to make it as easy to understand as is feasible. Comments and critiques welcome. Rockets For Manned Interstellar Travel.pdf
  8. It's my thread, but I'm under no pretenses that I have power to moderate it 😀 If we accept my original post as a reasonably accurate representation of things, the larger and more advanced the society, the more difficult socialism will likely be to maintain. As noted with your example of primitive socialism, a small community can successfully pull it off (and there is clearly historical precedent for that). In a large, industrialized society, things become more difficult as the central planners have far more to manage. In the modern world, I suspect that a reasonably sophisticated AI could assist with this issue to some extent (i.e. how much to produce). The decision of what to produce is more complex though, and you'd ultimately want a fairly diverse team of experts to manage those kinds of decisions. In a reasonably free socialist society, this would involve market research to make sure people might actually want the product, and of course a system in which citizens still have the incentive and access to resources to actually innovate to achieve best results. As far as insurance goes, this was brought up with respect to capitalism, and the issues of not necessarily being able to foresee the harm your product might cause, as is the case with FDA approved medication. That they approve it doesn't guarantee it's safe, in spite of the research, clinical trials, and so forth that goes into producing a new drug. I opined that it might be advantageous to create a government run insurance for the drug companies; this would increase the FDA's incentive to vet new medications, and reduce manufacturer risk (essentially taking a potential lawsuit payout and moving it to a predictable monthly cost of doing business).
  9. You'd have to follow the breadcrumbs to figure out how we got onto insurance 😁 And yes, I'm familiar with the Nazis, and some of the how's and why's things came about they way they did 😛
  10. My thought is that such insurance would apply to ventures where risk is unforeseeable, such as new medication. Pollution is already well understood (unless we discover something new), so insurance wouldn’t apply there. In the case of drugs especially, the FDA certifies the drug as safe for use, so I would consider them equally liable if it isn’t. And of course the drug companies would be paying into the insurance system, so no free rides. Might have to propose this to my congressman 😂
  11. As just an off the top of my head reply… “Primitive Socialism” wouldn’t have some of these criticisms applied. Communities were small, which made consideration and discussion of issues much simpler. Innovation happened at a snails pace back in those times as well compared to what we’re used to; they certainly weren’t stuck trying to figure out how to use a laser. Perhaps a new type of plow…
  12. One potential way to mitigate this going forward that I can think of is to essentially have some sort of insurance system to help clean up the mess. On a large industrial scale, given the potential costs involved, we would likely have to rely on government for this. If the government deems something uninsurable, it doesn't get done. Of course, who makes that decision, and the potential for abuse there is also a possible issue. Funny how the weak link always seems to be humanity.
  13. With respect to pollution disasters, I'd think of it like this: when humans invented coal fired steam power, they simply didn't know enough about the pollution byproduct to consider that. Humans got hooked on the benefits the new technology provided, and by the time the pollution costs were realized, it was too late to do much about it except try and innovate again. This applies to many things. A medication can undergo years of testing, get FDA approval, and then years later be discovered to have some horrific side effect and have to be pulled from the market. The problem is, we don't (and likely can't) know everything at inception.
  14. Well, I suppose that depends on your target audience. To someone with a doctoral degree in physics, Newton's laws might not be food for thought. For a man with only passing knowledge of physics, they might well be interesting. I don't expect all the denizens of this forum to be all knowing on all things, so I figured I'd post my thoughts and spur a little discussion. Then again, I'm new here, so maybe my assumption was wrong. I'm happy to discuss the challenges we face with capitalism today (not accounting for externalities like pollution, discrimination preventing market access, and so on). However, I'd just assume do so with someone who approaches things in a constructive manner.
  15. I'm somewhat confused by your confrontational tone. I didn't imply that my observations were groundbreaking in any way. Further, my post was quite obviously limited to a discussion on socialism itself, not mixed economies or the many flaws of unregulated capitalism. Basically, you agree with the point of my post, but you decided you needed to confront me all the same. Good for you.
  16. Socialism is a thorny topic for many people. What comes to your mind when I mention the word? Some might think of horrendously mismanaged nations like Venezuela or Cuba. Others might leap to the idea of wealth redistribution. But what is socialism? Fundamentally, it is a system in which the means of production (factories, farms, etc.) are controlled by society at large (i.e., government), as opposed to being privately owned. Ultimately, this means what to produce, and how much of a given thing to produce is managed centrally. The first obvious question is, how do central planners make these decisions? For a socialism on a national scale, the question of how much to produce requires an immense amount of essentially real time data and analysis to be able to make appropriate decisions. In terms of what to produce, things are even trickier. Sometimes it’s difficult to see the potential applications of a new idea / product. Lasers are an example of this; when lasers were first invented, nobody really knew what to do with them. It took years for somebody to figure out that we could use lasers to scan a printed code, giving us the barcodes we use every time we scan an item at the grocery store. Other applications like optical discs and fiber optic communications would soon follow. But what if a central planners saw no merit to the laser, and decided to shelve the project? There’s always the possibility that a private individual could continue thinking on the problem, but without government or corporate funds for research and development, this becomes quite difficult. My next observation regards the propensity of socialist nations to devolve into horrifying dictatorships. The issue can be boiled down to a single word: power. In socialism, political and economic power are merged. Anyone familiar with the phrase “power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely” might be able to work out how this would lead to problems when concentrated into the hands of a few people. Democratic Socialism has its own problems; polling people on every little issue takes time and effort. For useful decisions to be produced, it requires that the populace be well informed on a broad array of topics. In both cases, it requires that the decision makers (the few, or the majority) be “benign” in the sense that they don’t abuse their power to harm a particular subgroup, an ethnic minority as an example. Ultimately, when taking these issues into account, it becomes clearer as to why socialism is often looked down upon in the West. It also becomes easier to see how the inefficiencies of central planning combined with the potential for abuse of power directly leads to the issues we see in nations like Venezuela and Cuba. Food for thought.
  17. Well, if anyone is interested, I did a significant rewrite of my little article / project. As for what it’s all about…it’s basically delves into the inter-related factors of rocket exhaust velocity, power required to reach that exhaust velocity for a hypothetical 5,000 ton spacecraft, and the the scale of the thermal control system needed. I also make a few observations on generation ships before wrapping up. Rockets For Interstellar Travel.pdf
  18. Oddly enough, my post was meant to be in support of free speech. Of course judging by your post about the holocaust, I’d have you judge you as falling into the “noise” category of my post.
  19. Hi, thanks for the feedback. Just an adult In community college here doing an extra credit project. I’m not under any impressions that I’ve discovered anything groundbreaking 😆
  20. My apologies for the incorrect terminology. I edited the OP accordingly.
  21. Freedom of speech reminds me of the infinite monkey theorem. Humans aren’t infinite in number of course, and we’re apes as opposed to monkeys, but the same general idea applies. Some good stuff can come out of it, assuming you can filter out the noise.
  22. Hi folks, Looking to see if anyone would be able to review a paper for me, regarding the topic of utilizing rockets for interstellar travel. Thanks in advance for your help! Rockets For Manned Interstellar Travel - Draft.pdf
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