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Comment: What if it's a high-altitude airship? (Score 1) 170

by Brian Stretch (#47149623) Attached to: Google To Spend $1 Billion On Fleet of Satellites

Park a drone airship (hydrogen, not helium) ~22km up with solar panels on its topside for power and you'd have a really nice comms platform. Mesh network the fleet. Maybe higher up. Maybe you'd call it a satellite but it's not what you'd think of at first glance. The rigid hull of an airship would be a nice evolution from the balloons they've been experimenting with.

Comment: DIY Drones (Score 4, Interesting) 196

by Brian Stretch (#38209478) Attached to: Civilian Use of Drone Aircraft May Soon Fly In the US

Civilians are already building their own drones. See DIY Drones, etc.

Personally I'd like to see a drone airship that can hold a stable position around 70,000 feet (~21km) to use as a WiFi relay, which would fix the problem of getting a clear line-of-sight for point-to-point long-range wireless but good. I doubt it can be done reliably though. But if it could, and you built a fleet of them linked with Open Mesh, you could build a global drone communications network for fairly cheap. Call it Skynet... oh.

Comment: Wages stagnant for ~40 years.. what happened then? (Score 0) 1271

by Brian Stretch (#37327268) Attached to: Marx May Have Had a Point

I'd go back a few years further to LBJ removing silver from American coinage, a key event in the ongoing destruction of the dollar. The 1965 minimum wage paid in 1965 90% silver dollar coins would be worth around $30/hour in today's fiat money. FDR confiscating gold and devaluing the dollar was bad but not catastrophic. Woodrow Wilson's creation of the Federal Reserve enabled the later mischief. The rot had set in when Nixon officially took us off the gold standard and engaged in assorted other economic stupidity. Of all these events, LBJ's economic manipulation to cover the expense of his welfare/warfare state was the worst in my opinion.

Throw in the dividend double-tax that discourages dividend payments that help keep public companies honest (accountants can fake many things but not cash payments), the massive leverage generated by Wall Street banks (derivatives, options, CDOs, etc) that enables all sorts of heads-we-win/tails-you-lose mischief, the federal government encouraging real estate asset bubbles (Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac, mortgage interest deduction, CRA, etc), and you come to realize that this hasn't been a capitalist nation in a very long time.

Austrian school economists have been warning the world of the dangers of the Keynesian economics practiced by "mainstream" economists for generations now. It looks like we're heading for the "crack-up boom" they predicted, with the Obama Administration accelerating the end-game dramatically. What's fascinating is that Marx understood the danger of undermining currencies as well.

Anyhow, if you want to steal wealth from the average family there's no surer way than printing lots of new currency, which dilutes the value of existing currency, and handing that new currency to your buddies on Wall Street (Goldman Sachs/etc) and politically connected corporate socialists. Talk of manipulating the income tax is laughable misdirection in comparison to this.

+ - CDC Warns Public to Prepare for Zombie Apocalypse->

Submitted by Brian Stretch
Brian Stretch (5304) writes "Floods? Hurricanes? Earthquakes? Pandemics? If you're prepared for the Zombie Apocalypse you're prepared for anything so the CDC wrote up a guide. Apparently zombies have overrun the CDC webserver but scientists armed with chainsaws and boomsticks will have them driven back any minute now."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Vaccines paired with acetaminophen may be to blame (Score 1) 416

by Brian Stretch (#31464780) Attached to: Court Rules Against Vaccine-Autism Claims Again

See this nih.gov article:
Acetaminophen (paracetamol) use, measles-mumps-rubella vaccination, and autistic disorder: the results of a parent survey

The theory is that after they started giving children Tylenol with their vaccinations instead of aspirin due to the Reye's Syndrome scare in the 1980's, that caused the autism rate to spike. Tylenol impairs the liver's ability to purge the additives in vaccines (not just the minuscule amount of mercury but some aluminum-based ones designed to boost immune response so that they can use less vaccine), increasing the risk of side effects. The child will probably run a mild fever if you don't use a med such as aspirin or Tylenol. I'm not clear on whether the fever reducer is simply for the child's comfort or if it's medically necessary.

It's a THEORY. It looks promising. But if we simply shout down people who make logical observations and use "correlation is not causation" as an excuse for not thinking we won't get anywhere. An observation can still be correct even if the reasoning is wrong. Meanwhile, using ibuprofen or naproxen with vaccines, if any fever reducer at all (aspirin allergy is nontrivial), and spreading out vaccinations over time to the maximum recommended extent seems prudent. It does appear likely that immune system dysfunction is key to understanding autism. That's likely why changing diet sometimes helps: most of your immune system is in your gut. Antibiotic overuse could be a factor. Which particular set of problems is affecting a given autistic individual will vary but the immune system appears to be the common theme.

Comment: Re:Pixel Qi screen -- better than Kindle (Score 1) 584

by Brian Stretch (#31464526) Attached to: Here Come the Linux iPad Clones

Nice! That's going to the top of my toy list. Kindles, even my Kindle DX, make very poor web browsers. Only for last-resort use IMHO. The Adam looks ideal for general web reading.

Some people can stare at regular LCD screens all day without trouble. Maybe even most people. I'm not one of them.

Comment: Only if screens are as eye-friendly as Kindle's (Score 4, Informative) 584

by Brian Stretch (#31456786) Attached to: Here Come the Linux iPad Clones

I can read off my Kindle's e-ink screen with considerably less eye strain than reading off a backlit LCD. Backlights are hard on your eyes.

Some tips: sit ~3 feet away from your monitor, turn the backlight down as low as you can without it becoming counterproductive (wanting to lean forward to view the dim screen is bad), look away every once in a while so your eyes aren't fixed on the same close distance for long periods. For more serious problems you may need vision therapy like I did. I thought I had ADD until I figured that out. Oh, that's why I had so much trouble with reading and why my vision got blurry after marathon gaming sessions...

Comment: Same here, but I skipped the HSA part (Score 1) 1197

by Brian Stretch (#31264404) Attached to: Health Insurance When Leaving the Corporate World?

I bought an individual catastrophic health insurance plan from Assurant Health via my local State Farm agent. $5K deductible, the maximum they offer. I didn't bother with the HSA part. I pay under $1500/year. The really good part is that any work done in a hospital is covered in full, which I've made use of a few times so far. Everything else, I pay cash and see whoever I want. For oddball stuff like vision therapy (if you think you have ADD, look up Convergence Insufficiency and get tested) it's great to not have to explain to some bureaucrat what it is and get them to pretend to pay for my health care.

It's scary how conditioned people have become to having a third party (pretend to) pay for their health care. Most of the time when I try to convince people that they'd be better off under a catastrophic/HSA plan they just can't grok it.

The refundable tax credit plan that McCain proposed would have paired perfectly with catastrophic/HSA plans. Unfortunately our President spent $40M on attack ads against that proposal, telling people that it'd tax their health insurance... which was true, if you had a really expensive "Cadillac" plan that cost more than the tax credit was worth, "Cadillac" plans which Obama is now proposing to tax...

Whole Foods Market provides this type of insurance to their workers:
The Whole Foods Alternative to ObamaCare

Unfortunately the socialists reacted badly to his audacity to state facts that run counter to the Democratic Party line so he got into a bit of trouble.

Comment: Which would be better: high-IQ women working or (Score 1) 375

by Brian Stretch (#31053678) Attached to: Silicon Valley VCs and the Gender Gap

raising half a dozen children and later helping out with the grandchildren? On average, raising those children will have a bigger impact on society than spending her reproductive years on a career.

If you wanted to cripple Western Civilization you could convince most of the smart women that they had to have careers, weigh down the middle class with taxes to curtail family size there, and give welfare to everyone else. Many people will beat the odds and more than a few trust fund brats will disappoint, but overall wouldn't this explain a lot? This bias against reproduction has created a very nasty negative feedback loop I think.

Unless you buy into the notion that humans are arbitrarily exempt from the rules of evolution of course.

I'm just saying that interfering less with personal decisions might lead to better outcomes. Enough with the reeducation programs.

Comment: H1B program is indentured servitude. Instead, (Score 2, Insightful) 605

by Brian Stretch (#30585340) Attached to: Court Orders Shutdown of H-1B Critics' Websites

skilled foreign workers should be fast tracked for citizenship. Any nation that makes migrating to the other side of the world look good DESERVES to lose their best and brightest.

The biggest problem is that H1B visa holders are made dependent on the company that hired them. If that company turns out to be yet more proof that Dilbert is non-fiction, they're stuck. They're forced to put up with the abuse or go home. Removing that dependency would eliminate much of the abuse.

Or maybe the biggest problem is that so many Big Businesses appear to be run by shortsighted sociopaths with MBAs. Or that Congress is corrupt as hell and is easily bought by said sociopaths. Or... anyhow, Indians aren't the problem.

Comment: Re:Well, duh. (Score 2, Informative) 230

by Brian Stretch (#30463166) Attached to: US FTC Sues Intel For Anti-Competitive Practices

Intel's compiler treated any CPU that didn't report being GenuineIntel as an i386 instead of checking for the SSE, SSE2, etc flags like an honest company would have. If you hacked the compiled code to skip the GenuineIntel flag test it magically performed MUCH faster on AMD hardware.

Given that end users have no control over which compiler a software developer uses, AMD users suffered artificially poor performance if their vendors either chose or were coerced into using Intel's compilers.

This is a very old issue. Here is one glaring specific example from four years ago:
http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=155593&cid=13042922

Benchmark companies in particular just happened to favor Intel compilers. Some of those benchmark makers were really, really shady:
http://www.vanshardware.com/articles/2001/august/010814_Intel_SysMark/010814_Intel_SysMark.htm

Comment: Re:Not the best idea (Score 0) 572

by Brian Stretch (#30459402) Attached to: Angry AT&T Customers May Disrupt Service

How could anyone really think this is a good idea? AT&T has effectively admitted that the data usage growth for smartphones is above the rate that their data network will be able to grow. Using more data intensive applications will only show them how correct they are ("Look how much data will be used in the future when more people are streaming data")

In addition, what if this actually interferes with an emergency call?

Sorry that this might not be anti-corporate enough, but Operation Chokehold really isn't a great idea.

What are you, a Communist? That's the same excuse we used to hear every time Reagan wanted to put pressure on the Soviets. Bring on the YouTube vids of Apple's 1984 ad on OC day! Bring the Evil Empire to its knees!

Umm, except that crushing AT&T's network would make iPhone's a wee bit useless... frack.

(satire, for the humor impaired...)

Comment: Re:Aren't AT&T and Verizon already working on (Score 1) 387

by Brian Stretch (#29909425) Attached to: Obama Looks Down Under For Broadband Plan

Verizon FiOS, yes, though they're slowing down FiOS deployment lately due to the depression. AT&T, no, their U-verse FTTN network uses existing copper for the last kilometer and tops out at 27Mbps aggregate bandwidth, shared between VoIP, HDTV and Internet. It's a joke. They're not interested in doing the job right like Verizon did.

It would probably be best for last-mile dark FTTH to be run by a third party, either an old-fashioned dividend paying utility or a municipal utility. Service providers would lease fibers to plug their electronics into. Such a utility would make for a nice, sleepy cash cow of a business. The business model would work a lot better if dividends weren't double-taxed though.

The only possible interpretation of any research whatever in the `social sciences' is: some do, some don't. -- Ernest Rutherford

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