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Comment Re:Uber = Public subsidized (Score 2) 204

People like me who don't drink and drive pay higher insurance rates to subsidize those drivers that do. Think about it, the insurance exposure for one drunk going home from a bar in the back seat of an Uber vehicle is far less than the insurance exposure for that same drunk behind the wheel of a car driving home. I'd much rather subsidize the added risk of Uber drivers than the risk the drunks they carry.

Comment Re:Confidential Information via email???? (Score 3, Interesting) 434

Given that the entire corpus of State Department cables classified up to Secret was leaked by Private Manning and that the State Department's unclassified email system was so badly hacked they struggled to get it cleared (if they have) and that other sensitive government systems, like the OPM database of security clearance records, have been completely compromised, there is reason to think Clinton's use of her own server may have provided better protection for sensitive information than official government channels. It could hardly have been worse.

Comment Re:unlikely to ever work with existing fleet (Score 1) 59

While standards would be great going forward, it does not follow that existing satellites can't be repaired. Satellites have to be fueled before launch and their makers do not design unique fuel fill ports for each satellite they build. There are undoubtedly a few common sizes and it should not be that difficult to equip a repair station with a set of adaptors or a universal fill device that can work with a large fraction of existing fill ports. Same goes for grappling points. All satellites have fittings that attach them to the launch vehicle. Again there are a limited number of designs and a robot arm could be designed to grab many if not most of them.

Comment Re:i was just thinking... (Score 1) 246

> ... Why would you think Swift is appropriate to "replace" C++ or Java?

Java is designed to be interpreted, which makes is less suitable as a system programming language. C and C++ are full of pitfalls for programmers. Arguably the C languages are a major source of the world's increasing computer insecurity. Swift is designed to be compiled and it avoids many of the C family's problems, while working with C family libraries. Someone really good with strong support from a major player has tried to get it right. The Apple community seems to think he got close. Time will tell if any other community agrees.

Comment Re:i was just thinking... (Score 2) 246

For any readers not in the programming community, he is of course kidding: there are dozens of programming languages in active use, far too many. The problem is that there is no one modern programming language that has gotten wide adoption. Swift is taking over Apple's rapidly growing software ecosystem, giving Swift momentum. Open sourcing is a good first step toward making Swift a candidate for replacing C++ and Java, but they will need to do more. I'd like to see a Swift development environment for small stand alone microprocessors with a tie-in to Apple's HomeKit. That and some good security tools could make Swift the language of choice for the Internet of Things.

Comment Re: No thank you (Score 1) 203

There is no excess capacity on the Amtrak/New Jersey Transit lines. A project is underway (East Side Access) that will connect Grand Central with the JFK Airtrain people mover, but it's late and massively expensive. New York State is proposing a similar people mover to connect Laguardia with the subway and commuter rail. Extending that elevated people mover to link with JFK is a more realistic option since it could use air rights over highways. This could allow JFK to back up Laguardia, for example.

Comment Re:America (Score 3, Interesting) 120

I think you are missing the point. When the pullout tabs were phased out in favor of tabs that stay with the can, I remember thinking that a thousand years from now discarded pullout tabs will be a valuable archeological resource. They are distinctive, ubiquitous, and indestructible, and because they were only used during a short time, they would conclusively date any architectural layer they were found in. Maybe modern circuit boards with their date coded components will serve a similar purpose. I wonder what it would take to get current manufacturers to emboss a year code in can tops or in IC dies? Make trash serve history.

Comment Re:Feminist bullshit (Score 3, Insightful) 41

Leavitt's discovery is on a par with Galileo's discovery of the moons of Jupiter in changing our view of the universe. It combined a brilliant insight, that all the stars in the Small Magellanic Cloud are at about the same distance from Earth, and a lot of hard work analyzing photographic plates. Her measurement tool is still the main one used to determine cosmic distances from beyond the range of stellar parallax out to nearby galaxies, and is used, in turn, to calibrate Type Ia supernova, the standard candle for probing deep into intergalactic space, and back to the Big Bang. Another example of women astronomers getting less recognition than they deserve is Jocelyn Bell, who discovered millisecond pulsars and whose thesis advisor won the Nobel Prize for that discovery.

Comment Re:So which kind of solar is it? (Score 1) 191

"But that is only a theoretical advantage, not a real one, since the current demand curve for electric power fits the production curve of PV quite well." That's not true. Peak consumption is around 7 pm, after solar drops off. Visit the California ISO site and look at their renewable graphs. Being able to provide power a few hours after sunset is a big win.

Comment This is a software issue (Score 4, Interesting) 78

The Cambrian explosion is more likely explained in terms of genetic software. At some point, a collection of genes evolved that could reliably control and pass on complex growth patterns. Before those existed, multi-cell organisms had very simple forms and limited functionality. Once that morphological operating system was in place, a vast variety of organisms could evolve.

There are three kinds of people: men, women, and unix.