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Comment Cash Registers (Score 1) 200

These devices are nothing more than cash registers. I remember there being a site in The Netherlands or Belgium, that showed pictures and made fun when people decided to attack these devices; sometimes with gasoline-filled car tires, taking them down like trees with angle grinders, using heavy fireworks, etc. Because of the locations these devices were most profitable weren't of course really busy, chances of getting caught were slim (and potential witnesses might even cheer the perpetrators on). Went on wayback machine and voila an example.

Comment Re:Sweep away Obama's legacy (Score 1) 162

The Germans say: "Totgesagte leben länger", in English there's life in the old dog yet (or, to misquote Twain: "Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated"). Are there things wrong at NASA? Of course, you can read that on /. at least once every month and range from being a giant bureaucracy to being politicized (rotten) to the bone.

Maybe you are right. Maybe NASA it its current form should die, so a New NASA can rise like a phoenix from its own ashes. Leaner, meaner, and a-political. But that's just a dream. Senator X from Y needs to make sure the industry in Y gets part of the pie, so does Congressman M from N for N's industry.

But the main point is: NASA needs to find something the American people can rally behind. That's Mars. Whether that takes us to the Moon first, and Phobos second, and Mars third doesn't matter. Whether it takes us until 2050 to set up all the infrastructure, digging the underground habitats, having the drones/rovers collect and move enough ice/water doesn't matter as long as there are defined waypoints with successes, a new Moon landing, a Phobos landing, etc. But you can't get the big budget if you're not with the popular crowd in the average American's mind.

Comment Popular support (Score 3, Interesting) 162

Back in the time of the Apollo program, NASA was very popular. Today the Moon is been there, done that. Mars rovers? We currently have G3 roving around. G4 isn't going to generate tons of excitement. But going to Mars? To put, since it's NASA, good ol' American Boots on the soil of another planet? To be the first to have Real American Heroes planting the Stars and Stripes on the Red Planet broadcast "live" to a worldwide TV and streaming audience? That's going to generate a hype we haven't seen since, indeed, Apollo. Without sending Americans to Mars, NASA will only be of significance to the science community, with the associated budgets appropriate for that role.

What NASA can learn from the Mars One project is their idea to use tv coverage for funding. Set up a consortium of broadcast partners from around the world and negotiate. No need to give everything away for free.

Comment Siri... (Score 1) 144

Siri, how many calories are in a medium milk shake?

I'm sorry, but you do not have an active subscription to Weight Watchers (TM). Please say "Siri Subscribe" (TM) within 10 seconds to join Weight Watchers (TM) with a 20% discount.

Siri, what is the capital of Wyoming?

I'm sorry, but you do not have an active subscription to National Geographic (TM) magazine. Please say "Siri Subscribe" (TM) within 10 seconds to subscribe to the digital edition of National Geographic (TM) magazine and get your first 3 issues FREE!

Etc. etc.

Comment Do Not Ratify (Score 1) 109

Every effort should be made to stop ratification. Unfortunately in Canada, Trudeau refused to really say anything claiming the text wasn't available (strangely enough the mainstream media all bought the excuse that he didn't know anything about the TPP, which strikes me as odd) so with the majority that can go any way. The top contenders in the US for president that are openly anti-TPP get attacked on all fronts. One of the minor parties pulling out won't stop the TPP, but two or three might.

Comment Re:Sounds like Australia (Score 1) 220

In New Zealand we got Proportional Representation in 1996 which has given us a bunch of coalition governments.

The one issue all parties in Parliament seem to agree on is tougher copyright laws.

What's the situation there with "campaign donations"? How about pure and simple bribery, like recording industry execs and lobbyists taking politicians and their party (wives,friends,kids) on VIP-arrangements to concerts, including backstage meet-and-greets? Because it's not something that's going to make them very popular with their constituents, there must be another motive.

The trouble with being poor is that it takes up all your time.