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Deltango Vale

Priorities - a full-blown rant

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I generally avoid politics. I also try hard not to rant. Well, if one is going to sin, one might as well light a cigarette, break out the vodka, crank up Porcelain Black on the speakers and do it right. Here goes:

In 2003, the cost of the Iraq War was budgeted at $200 billion - max. It has since cost $1 trillion - min.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Financial_cost_of_the_Iraq_War

Now let's talk about $35 million. What is $35 million? Well, 35,000,000/1,000,000,000,000 = 0.000035 the cost of Iraq.

What can you buy with $35 million? This:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-15079119

I am perfectly willing to accept the possibility that I am insane, but, just out of curiosity, how does the Unites States plan to survive the next 50 years?

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By continuing to slide into a massive decline where the majority of its citizens lifestyle will continue to deteriorate?

We can follow the way of Spain in its imperial decline and become the sick nation of the western hemisphere or we can follow the example of the Brits and curb our unrealistic global ambitions and retain some semblance of stability and a place at the international table.

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Deltango Vale wrote:

 

What can you buy with $35 million? This:



Del, let's look at some key sentences and paragraphs from that article:

"Since 1985, engineers have been accelerating bunches of proton and antiproton particles around the Tevatron's main ring at close to the speed of light, then smashing them together in a bid to unlock the secrets of the Universe."

"But the Tevatron has been superseded by the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) - located on the French-Swiss border - which is capable of getting to much higher energies than the US machine." 

 

It was outdated equipment and had been superseded by the LHC that CERN operates.  Although it *could* be that 35 million would have updated and continued work there, when there is modern equipment and further advances being made elsewhere, why duplicate the efforts?  

 


Deltango Vale wrote:

I am perfectly willing to accept the possibility that I am insane, but, just out of curiosity, how does the Unites States plan to survive the next 50 years?

 

By cutting unnecessary expenses, which is what was done with the decision to close the Fermi Lab. 

BTW, I live within driving distance of that Lab and know people that worked there.  (here in the Midwest we often drive the 4 hours to get to Chicago on a day trip, although the Fermilab is actually outside of Chicago)   It has been common knowledge for some time that the equipment there was terribly outdated in the research world and that the results were not producing what was desired.

Here are more direct quotes from that article:

"I think a lot of people feel we could have continued for a bit longer, but the mood is not that bad," Dr Dixon explained.

Pier Oddone, director of Fermilab, told the AFP news agency: "In our field we don't keep beating our heads if we have been outdone by another machine."

You may know that I'm very pro-science.  But, I also am not in favor of throwing money into projects that have run their course, and that have already been outstripped elsewhere, by more modern methods and equipment.  The Fermilab machines were first brought online in 1983, and they are simply outdated.  Such is life, even in the science research world.

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At the turn of the 20th Century there were 10 empires that ruled. 

At the turn of the 21st Century there remained one: The U.S.

That remaining empire was attacked in 2001.  The U.S. is a nation at war. 

The cost in lives is what troubles me.  

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Who Knows.png

Optimistically speculating here, but perhaps all that money actually went into a space age Teleportatron that is beaming things to Mars in preparation for colonization?

There was plenty of jibber jabber about the $600 toilet seats actually only being a few dollars while the rest was funneled into ‘Secret Projects’ until the scrutiny became too much and then they came up with some other silly cover story.

So perhaps the Teleportatron has eaten up $800 billion while Iraq is actually on budget and very soon you’ll be hearing about the salvation of humanity that all those resources have been spent on.

Another possibility is that the United States will simply innovate it’s way out of trouble as its historically famous for.  I mean with achievements like Second Life who couldn’t believe that possibility ;)

Enjoy some proper ranting, but don’t lose any sleep (sleep is priceless)

Lanas

 

[Edit]:  I’m not as naive or frivolous about such a heavy subject as my post may suggest, but I’m painfully aware that few debates about huge dollar dramas are resolved satisfactorily… especially when the majority of us will never be privy to the actual beneficiaries of the expenditures… Sad, but horribly true…

I’m perpetually hoping for the least expensive peace, love, and happiness…



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"By cutting unnecessary expenses, which is what was done with the decision to close the Fermi Lab."

-------------------------------------------

I'm all for retiring old equipment and cutting expenses. The part I can't figure out is:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superconducting_Super_Collider

Cost: $12+ billion. Let's assume the worst and say maybe $20 billion.

Which happens to be about the same as this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Budget_of_NASA

So, let's add it up over 10 years and high-end the numbers to remove any possibility of underestimating. Thus $20 billion + (10 x $15 billion) = $170 billion.

= 5% (five percent) of what has been spent on international warfare. I guess we economists see things differently from everyone else.

End rant.

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Celestiall Nightfire wrote:


Deltango Vale wrote:

 

What can you buy with $35 million? This:



Del, let's look at some key sentences and paragraphs from that article:

"
Since 1985, engineers have been accelerating bunches of proton and antiproton particles around the Tevatron's main ring at close to the speed of light, then smashing them together in a bid to unlock the secrets of the Universe."

"
But the Tevatron has been superseded by the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) - located on the French-Swiss border - which is capable of getting to much higher energies than the US machine." 

 

It was outdated equipment and had been superseded by the LHC that CERN operates.  Although it *could* be that 35 million would have updated and continued work there, when there is modern equipment and further advances being made elsewhere, why duplicate the efforts?  

I think Deltango's post wasn't so much about the Tevatron as about the question how much this wasted $1 trillion could have helped to keep the USA at the forefront of scientific discovery, and thus at a top position of the world market.

The fact that further advances in particle physics were made elsewhere is just it. The cost of development for the LHC were about $4.6 billion, which means that the Iraq war could have bought 217 large hadron colliders. 

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Storm Clarence wrote:

At the turn of the 20th Century there were 10 empires that ruled. 

At the turn of the 21st Century there remained one: The U.S.

That remaining empire was attacked in 2001.  The U.S. is a nation at war. 

The cost in lives is what troubles me.  

That attack had nothing to do with the Iraq war though. That was just a sales pitch. Bin Laden was killed in Pakistan, so there should be no need for further war efforts (especially not in Iraq). 

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Deltango Vale wrote:

 

=
5%
(five percent) of what has been spent on international warfare. I guess we economists see things differently from everyone else.

Oh please     We all know that war costs tons and that it could be better spent elsewhere.  

If that's your point...well...Duh!  

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Ishtara Rothschild wrote:

I think Deltango's post wasn't so much about the Tevatron as about the question how much this wasted $1 trillion could have helped to keep the USA at the forefront of scientific discovery, and thus at a top position of the world market.

The fact that further advances in particle physics were made elsewhere is just it. The cost of development for the LHC were about $4.6 billion, which means that the Iraq war could have bought 217 large hadron colliders. 

Yes, yes, and I knew that's what she was going for, which is why I choose to ignore her less than direct attempt to just say:  

"Hey why are people spending money on war...instead of science?" 

All that preamble stuff...about politics, blah, blah.   Come on..just spit it out.    What she is saying can be said for most nations at any given time around the world.   I just didn't see any kind of revelatory news in what she was posting. 

But, hey...as she warned it's her rant...so rant on. 

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Ishtara Rothschild wrote:

The cost of development for the LHC were about $4.6 billion. 


Ha ha, hA HA HA HAHAHAHA  *cough*, er.

As Imelda Marcos said, "I get so tired listening to one million dollars here, one million dollars there, it's so petty."

I find "With a budget of 7.5 billion euros (approx. $9bn or £6.19bn as of Jun 2010), the LHC is one of the most expensive scientific instruments ever built" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Large_Hadron_Collider). I'm not here to quibble about the numbers, but indulge me on £6bn for the moment.

When London's bid "won" the 2012 Olympics in 2005 the cost to the public was put at £2.4bn.  Lots of people went wild and lots of cynics like me (who aren't "people") rolled our eyes and said "watch that rise faster than Apollo (and higher)".  In 2006 the BBC reported "The new £3.3bn estimate, which does not include a revised security bill or regeneration costs, is still far below the £8bn some critics say is likely." (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/6167504.stm) and the government revised that within days to first £5bn (double the original) and eventually to £9bn.

That is 450% of the original estimate, from which two things are immediately clear: 1) The original bid was a lie, 2) No one cared

$6bn for the LHC?  You can't even hold a 2-week sports meeting for that.

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Ishtara Rothschild wrote:

Btw, a report released by the Brown University estimates the total costs of the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan to reach $3.7 trillion by the time these wars are over. See 


Several years ago, the Congressional Budget Office pegged the total (by the time the wars end) at three trillion, so this seems in the ball-park.

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I guess what I was trying to get at is investment versus consumption. Germany spent the last decade investing in basic scientific research, new plant and equipment, new organizational systems, technological innovation and new products and services directed at new markets, all within a general macroeconomic and political framework designed to reallocate economic resources more efficiently within the economy. Spain, Portugal and Greece spent the last decade drinking wine on the beach.

I cannot help but wonder if the United States is eating its seed corn.

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36 years ago Spain was an isolated, impoverished, military dictatorship.  If they have changed so much, spent the past 10 years chilling and the Germans are going to pay for it all, who do you think is having most fun?

Unfortunately Germany might be about the only 20th Century power not going backwards as fast as possible :-(  The École normale supérieure has usually done a good job of saving the French from themselves but I think even they've given up recently.  It could be that they're just being quiet for a change though.

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PeterCanessa Oh wrote in part:

Unfortunately Germany might be about the only 20th Century power not going backwards as fast as possible :-( 

You forgot about China and India :)

ETA: Of course they have some catching up to do, but they are definitely going forward.

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Deltango Vale wrote:

 

I am perfectly willing to accept the possibility that I am insane, but, just out of curiosity, how does the Unites States plan to survive the next 50 years?

The U.S. is going to continue the shell game; just like every other Country. Politics is a party, Five star and caviar.

 

Edit: when I quote a residents reply and delete some of the text, the system changes the color of my font. What color is the regular font? How many shades of gray do we really need?

 

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I'm afraid that unless the rest of this country wakes up and starts to have the same concerns as you we're on our way out as well. These new wars we run into head-on are endless and bankrupting.

Looking at this next election, either the majority of america is far too influenced by the media or men with fancy words to think for themselves. It's no longer "what if", we're in the middle of a collapse but many refuse to even accept it.

So many are too busy waving the flag and yelling SUPPORT THE TROOPS to see we're killing ourselves. It's time to end the wars and stop trying to police the rest of the world, it sounds great on paper and many may have great intentions but when its breaking us it has to STOP.

Many of us may have to agree to disagree and each give our own sacrifice but something has to be done, more of the same won't work. Expecting the same failures that got us to this point to somehow turn it around is short sighted and foolish, they simply cannot do it.

Only when the majority of America wakes up with REAL change happen, maybe it will be too late.

I urge you to watch this video and let the words shake around in your head for a while.

 

 

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just because equipment is old or or even not as good as the latest model does not make it useless.

the reason for the "bad mood" at Fermi is simply because there's still work that can be done with it, even if it can't do some of what the newer facility can do....

that said, there were plans to do a larger facility in the US that would compete with the LHC and perhaps even out perform it... and diverting the funds there would make sense. That is assuming those plans are still on the table, which last I knew they weren't, but I don't follow that closely.

if those plans were scrapped, it bodes ill to scuttle what still can be put to work, and certainly sets a trend for decline in american research ( a trend being continued on from the closing of NASAs shuttle program)

 

however that may not be a bad thing if it involves the US more deeply in cooperative ventures with other countries, rather than trying to directly compete on it's own.

as for the Iraq war :: sigh :: the US extracating itself from that without making things worse than they were before (in terms of stability and relations) has turned into a fiasco of epic proportions thanks to promises made and deals struck at it's outset.... I've nicnamed it "the losing war" because no matter the outcome, the US has suffered from it, and will continue to for quite a while after it's final conclusion in one way or another.

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Ishtara Rothschild wrote:


Storm Clarence wrote:

At the turn of the 20th Century there were 10 empires that ruled. 

At the turn of the 21st Century there remained one: The U.S.

That remaining empire was attacked in 2001.  The U.S. is a nation at war. 

The cost in lives is what troubles me.  

That attack had nothing to do with the Iraq war though. That was just a sales pitch. Bin Laden was killed in Pakistan, so there should be no need for further war efforts (especially not in Iraq). 

In the context of the OP how much have we spent on Libya in the past 5 months?

Please do not attempt to procecute the war in Iraq for the U.S.  

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Well, the debt in Europe is just as bad or worse.  There have been talks of downgrading the U.K. four notches, and we may as well say Greece is bankrupt, and the euro's future is very uncertain.

Congress is currently looking into manipulation by the Chinese for purposely undervaluing the yuan by 40% according to the following article, which I thought you might find interesting.  (The link below and the story is from yesterday).

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Congress-addresses-Chinese-apf-1977309255.html?x=0&sec=topStories&pos=6&asset=&ccode=

I'm concerned about how the world is going to survive.  One thing that seems apparent is that humans are too spread out over the globe.  If we were in more concentrated areas, there would be more stable commerce and society.  Communes sound like a possible alternative, also.

 

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Ishtara Rothschild wrote:


PeterCanessa Oh wrote in part:

Unfortunately Germany might be about the only 20th Century power not going backwards as fast as possible :-( 

You forgot about China and India
:)

ETA: Of course they have some catching up to do, but they are definitely going forward.

That's why I deliberately put "20th Century power", both China and India weren't really in the game until very recently (and I'm not sure India is even now).  Someone always wins :-)

@ Maya, I don't get your last post.  Wonder how the world will survive?  Even humanity will be fine although the next generation in 'the West' is going to have a harder time than the current one, for almost the first time in history.  Money, so lending, debt and bankruptcy are just human inventions and only have inter-personal/national impact.  Baby boomers, generation X, the bill has arrived and it's the children that will have to pay it.

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PeterCanessa Oh wrote:


Ishtara Rothschild wrote:


PeterCanessa Oh wrote in part:

Unfortunately Germany might be about the only 20th Century power not going backwards as fast as possible :-( 

You forgot about China and India
:)

ETA: Of course they have some catching up to do, but they are definitely going forward.

That's why I deliberately put "20th Century power", both China and India weren't really in the game until very recently (and I'm not sure India is even now).  Someone always wins :-)

@ Maya, I don't get your last post.  Wonder how the world will survive?  Even humanity will be fine although the next generation in 'the West' is going to have a harder time than the current one, for almost the first time in history.  Money, so lending, debt and bankruptcy are just human inventions and only have inter-personal/national impact.  Baby boomers, generation X, the bill has arrived and it's the children that will have to pay it.

Well, I'm sure we will survive as best as possible.  It's the potential collapse of the euro which is a ticking time bomb and will have rippling effects throughout the world.  It is too early to call a complete collapse of the euro, but it looks likely.  All living generations will suffer through this now and later.

Greece's bonds hit a whopping 98% about two weeks ago.  There is no way Greece can pay back 98% on it's bonds.  But, what exactly this ticking "time bomb" is going to do to the global economy is not yet fully known.  Though Switzerland has most exposure to Greek debt. 

Let's just say, it's not good.  But, breathe and one day at a time is all we really can do until this picture with the ramifications of a collapsing euro becomes clearer.

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