From: Bob Larter on
Bill Graham wrote:
> "Bob Larter" <bobbylarter(a)> wrote in message
> news:4ab33be9$1(a)
>> Bill Graham wrote:
>>> "wrbrown13" <wrbrown3(a)> wrote in message
>>> news:xz99h2s243hc$.9skloajqavx8.dlg(a)
>>>> On Thu, 10 Sep 2009 15:36:20 -0700, Bill Graham wrote:
>>>>> "Bob G" <mrbobjames(a)> wrote in message
>>>>> news:adbcdb79-6c7f-4021-8fc0-3adf608d7083(a)
>>>>>> Republicans would rather get jerked around by the corporations
>>>>>> than by
>>>>>> the government. Wait until you get a horrible diseaase and your
>>>>>> health
>>>>>> insurance company drops you like a hot potato.
>>>>>> The fact is that this nation is now an oligarchy (and has been for
>>>>>> some time) and not a democracy.
>>>>>> How does that go, from the corporations, by the corporations, and for
>>>>>> the corporations?
>>>>> That is what litigation is supposed to correct.....You still have
>>>>> the right
>>>>> to sue. But I never said that government couldn't regulate. Your
>>>>> health
>>>>> insurance policy should list the stuff it doesn't cover, in large
>>>>> ten point
>>>>> type.......I would vote for a law like that.
>>>> Now there's a thought. Sue a large corporation who has any number of
>>>> lawyers on their staff and can drag litigation out intil you don't
>>>> have a
>>>> penny to your name. Great in theory, but a joke in reality.
>>> They usually settle out of court. Why? Because juries are very
>>> sympathetic to the little guy, and have been known to award many
>>> millions of the big companies money to him.
>> After years of litigation, during which the plaintiff may have died of
>> their illness.
> Better yet....Then his poor widow collects even more money....

Gee, I'm sure that's a huge comfort to her.

. | ,. w , "Some people are alive only because
\|/ \|/ it is illegal to kill them." Perna condita delenda est
From: Bob Larter on
C J Campbell wrote:
> On 2009-09-18 00:46:40 -0700, Bob Larter <bobbylarter(a)> said:
>> C J Campbell wrote:
>>> And no -- bureaucratizing health care is unlikely to get rid of waste
>>> and corruption. Far to the contrary. A national health care plan
>>> would vastly increase waste and corruption.
>> Really? In every other country with 'socialised' health care, they
>> spend much less than the USA does.
> They also ration their health care.

Rubbish. My family & I have taken full advantage of our 'socialised'
health care system, & I've never even heard of it being rationed.
Believe me, it'd be front page news if it happened.

> If we included all the patients from
> countries with socialized health care who come to the US for care as
> part of the cost of their care, and subtracted it from what we spend, I
> think the numbers would be dramatically reversed.

How many Australians come to the USA for medical treatment?

. | ,. w , "Some people are alive only because
\|/ \|/ it is illegal to kill them." Perna condita delenda est
From: mikey4 on

"DRS" <drs(a)> wrote in message
> "Ray Fischer" <rfischer(a)> wrote in message
> news:4abe6343$0$1618$742ec2ed(a)
>> Neil Harrington <secret(a)> wrote:
>>> DRS wrote:
> [...]
>>>> There is no group in America more prone to shrill, fact-free
>>>> emotionalism than the Right.
>> -Only in the view of a confirmed, doctrinaire leftist --
>> Q.E.D. Anyone who criticizes right-wing extremism is a "doctrinaire
>> leftist". Never mind the screaming, racist, bigoted demonstrations
>> against Obama. Never mind the threats of violence.
>>>> Michael Lind wrote an interesting
>>>> article at the other day on the original neoconservatives,
>>> Did he mention in it that "the original neoconservatives" were
>>> liberals,
>> Conservative liberals?
>> Smirk.
> Basically, yes. Lind (and this answers Neil's question to me in his
> preceding post) points out that the original neocons were roughly speaking
> centre-left and he was one of them. They were distinguished in large part
> from the conservatives (hence the neo- prefix) in that they generally
> accepted that changes from the New Deal like Social Security and what have
> you had become so entrenched in the fabric of America that they were here
> to stay. They didn't want any further expansion of the state but they
> didn't want these programs dismantled either. In Britain they probably
> would have been called Tories.
> The thrust of his article, though, was the way the movement was hijcked by
> the radical right and how in that process the intellectual basis for
> conservatism painstakingly built by people like William F. Buckley in the
> 1960s and 1970s was eliminated in favour of the kind of rabid
> anti-intellectualism that drives it now (which is how today's neocons can,
> against all the evidence, refer to Fox News as credible).

Buckley was and is, always way over the top for me.
Which news outlet(s) do you find credible?

From: Ray Fischer on
Bob Larter <bobbylarter(a)> wrote:
>Ray Fischer wrote:
>> Bob Larter <bobbylarter(a)> wrote:
>>> SMS wrote:
>>>> Bob Larter wrote:

>>>>> Don't you think it's kind of hypocritical that on the one hand
>>>>> right-wingers oppose abortion, calling it murder, and yet on the other
>>>>> hand, they support the death penalty?
>>>> Actually no. With abortion I can at least understand their opposition,
>>>> even if I don't agree with it.
>>>> At what number of weeks in the pregnancy would you say that abortion is
>>>> no longer acceptable? Clearly few people would support it at 38 weeks.
>>>> What about 27 weeks?
>>> Given that my son was born at 26 weeks, & is now a perfectly healthy 8
>>> year old, abortions as late as that do bother me a lot.
>> Less than 1% of all abortions occur in the 3rd trimester and those few
>> are almost always done for medical need.
>In such cases, I don't have a problem with them.

How generous of you to grant a woman a choice with her pregnancy.

>>> That said, I
>>> still believe that the woman's right to choose trumps the rights of the
>>> foetus.
>>>> While their opposition to RU486 is pretty
>>>> ridiculous, at least you can see where they are coming from in opposing
>>>> abortion after the fetus is more than a few weeks old.
>>> My personal dividing line is at the point where the foetus is viable
>>> outside the womb. Currently, I think that's around 24 weeks.
>> Only if you have a million dollars to spend on medical care. A more
>> practical limit of viability would be around 33 weeks.
>Not so. Here in Australia, where we have free, universal healthcare, my
>son's birth & followup treatments didn't cost his mother or I a single cent.

Somebody has to pay for it. 24-week preemies are VERY expensive and
lifelong medical problems are a near certainty.

Ray Fischer

From: Neil Harrington on

"Chris Malcolm" <cam(a)> wrote in message
> In Neil Harrington <secret(a)> wrote:
>> Chris Malcolm wrote:
>>> In D. Peter Maus <DPeterMaus(a)>
>>> wrote:
>>>> No one has ever said that the bumblebee can't fly. Clearly it
>>>> can, it happens every day. Science has never been so blind as to
>>>> make such a claim. But what Science HAS said, is that the bumblebee
>>>> is UNSTABLE in flight, an aerodynamically unsound design. This
>>>> doesn't mean or even imply that it can't fly. Just that there would
>>>> be easier and better ways to achieve flight.
>>> Not so. What science said until recently was simply that according to
>>> our understanding of fixed wing aeroplane flight the bumblebee had
>>> insufficient wing area to fly.
>> That's the story as I always heard it too, "insufficient wing area to
>> fly."
>> But the idea that "SCIENCE said" that is something I'm very skeptical
>> about.
>> What sort of science could possibly arrive at such a conclusion?
>> In the first and most obvious place, a bumblebee is in no way comparable
>> to
>> a fixed wing aircraft. What it is comparable to is an ornithopter, and I
>> don't think anyone ever built an ornithopter that could actually fly, so
>> that's a kind of aircraft that you wouldn't expect there to be enough
>> scientific data on to arrive at any conclusions about bumblebees.
>>> Not that it was unstable. It is in fact
>>> unusually stable in flight due to its relatively low centre of gravity
>>> and large effective dihedral.
>> How do you establish the "effective dihedral" of wings that are beating
>> at
>> such an incredibly fast rate, though?
> The point about dihedral is that as the plane (or insect) tips over to
> one side the effective length of the wing on the lowered side
> increases, increasing the lift on that side, and the effective length
> of the other wing decreases, decreasing the lift. So the forces
> naturally restore level flight. At a first approximation you could
> simply average over the range of motion of the flapping wing. As a
> second approximation you could assume simple harmonic motion of the
> wing and average over that, which would lead to much the same result
> :-)
> Or experimentally you could use high speed photography to map the
> trajectory of the flapping wing and integrate, or simply measure the
> forces (recent analysers of bee flight have developed various ways of
> doing all that).
>> I don't believe dihedral has anything
>> to do with it.
> I didn't say it had anything to do with the claim of bees not being
> able to fly. You raised the red herring of that claim having something
> to do with stability.

No, that wasn't me, that was Peter. I don't believe bumblebees either have
or require stability in the sense that fixed wing aircraft do.

> I used the dihedral and low centre of gravity of
> the bee to point out that stability wasn't a problem in bee flight,
> and wasn't what the controversy was about. Bees are amongst the most
> basically stable of insect fliers, simply because their "design" is
> optimised for the carrying of heavy loads -- they're big nectar
> tankers for transporting nectar loads back to the hive. Regardless of
> exactly what the exact effective dihedral of a bee's wings is, there's
> no doubt that there's quite a fair dihedral. Modern high speed
> photography has shown that.
>> Even if you could calculate the AVERAGE dihedral of a
>> bumblebee's wings, you'd still have to establish the incidence in order
>> for
>> it to mean anything. Dihedral produces lateral stability only because (or
>> if) the wing also has positive incidence.
> I think you're confusing incidence with angle of attack.

Yes, the goof occurred to me after I'd written it. It's incidence with
relation to the aircraft, but angle of attack with relation to the air mass
which is of course the important thing.

> Given a bee's
> bent and rather unaerodynamic shape, and the fact that it flies with
> its undercarriage down, it would be hard to decide what the
> longitudinal aerodynamic axis of a bee's body in flight actually
> was. The bee wing angle of attack varies all the time as the wing
> moves. But what the angles are doesn't matter. All that matters for
> dihedral to work is that lift is being generated by wings. It doesn't
> matter how. Since bees do actually fly then lift is obviously being
> generated therefore dihedral effects occur.

I still don't believe that dihedral has anything to do with it. As long as
the bumblebee can produce thrust, which obviously it does, and
instantaneously direct that thrust as required to either move or stay in
position, it shouldn't need dihedral or anything else for stability.

Consider the Harrier, for example. When it's hovering its wings (which don't
have dihedral anyway, they have pronounced anhedral) aren't doing anything;
the aircraft is just sitting on its thrust. I think that is basically what
the bumblebee is doing.

>>> The problem was that theoretically the
>>> wings weren't large enough to do the job they clearly were doing. So
>>> something was wrong with a simplified analysis of bee flight based on
>>> fixed wing aerodynamics.
>>> In the 1990s the important missing factor was discovered -- the
>>> trailing edge vortices which are such an important source of lift loss
>>> in fixed wing aerodynamics were exploited to add lift in the flight of
>>> many insects. In the 2000s high speed cinematography and mechanical
>>> simulations of bee wing motion demonstrated in practical detail that
>>> this was in fact what the bee was doing.
>> That's interesting.
>> I'd still like to know where the original "insufficient wing area" story
>> got
>> started, though. Absent some proof of a serious scientific analysis in
>> the
>> past claiming that, I'm inclined to believe it may be more of an urban
>> myth.
> It has been difficult to track down the source of the claim. According
> to Wikipedia the earliest published claim comes from the introduction
> to "Le Vol des Insectes" in 1934 by the entomologist Antoine Magnan,
> who was relying on unspecified calculations done by his assistant
> Andre Sainte-Lague.
> But the story was verbally current long before that publication.
> What Wikipedia says about that is that
> "Some credit physicist Ludwig Prandtl (1875-1953) of the University of
> Gottingen in Germany with popularizing the myth. Others say it was
> Swiss gas dynamicist Jacob Ackeret (1898-1981) who did the
> calculations."
> and more generally
> "It is believed that the calculations which purported to show that
> bumblebees cannot fly are based upon a simplified linear treatment of
> oscillating aerofoils. The method assumes small amplitude oscillations
> without flow separation."
>> It's a popular one anyway, and will probably go on forever -- like the
>> widely held belief that before Columbus everyone thought the earth was
>> flat.
> Such beliefs would soon die out if we gave our children a better
> scientific education. The problem is that a lot of people, especially
> in the US, think that our children are already being exposed to too
> much science,

I've never heard anyone make that complaint.

The problem in the U.S., I think, is that much of our primary education is a
waste of time and money. We have some very good schools but apparently a lot
more really lousy ones. I have read that young people going from high school
into the armed forces (which you would expect high school to be enough to
prepare them for) often have to be given remedial education on entering the
service, before they can be trained to actually do anything. And I know for
a fact that our local community college -- and presumably all community
colleges in the state -- routinely gives new students, who of course have
graduated from high school, a fairly simple reading comprehension test to
see whether they require remedial education in English before they can do
anything else.

> which carries the danger of encouraging scepticism about
> the literal truth of religious scriptures believed to be the Word of
> God.

I doubt that's a major part of the problem. The worst of it seems to be in
the inner cities, where some young people graduating from high school are
handed diplomas which it is said (perhaps with slight exaggeration) they
cannot read. In those places I don't think concern over religious scriptures
or the Word of God is really much of a factor in poor education.

What is a factor is the problem of teachers' unions, which make it
impossible to get rid of worthless teachers. Also, again in the inner
cities, is the really big problem of lack of discipline. Where the teachers
are afraid of the students -- often with good reason -- the schools are
unlikely to produce well-educated graduates.

> The "according to science bees can't fly" is a very popular
> simple way of explaining to ignorant gullible people why they
> shouldn't trust science. And so long as plenty of people are making
> plenty of money out of encouraging people to distrust science it's
> bound to go on.

Yes, but that is true even among some well (or at least expensively)
educated people.