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Comment Re:Mean time to failure (Score 1) 220

It's not even that - even if all your parts have the same MTTF, they will not all fail at the same time. The only way you can cause all your parts to fail at the same time is if they all have dependencies on other parts such that if one part fails, the others are guaranteed to fail. Or, effectively, a self-destruct mechanism.

Comment Where are the systems engineers? (Score 1) 141

Why would a critical system like this not have a redundant generator? The 1-hour battery backup claimed is definitely not effective redundancy.

Seems crazy that a couple-pound, maybe thousand-dollar generator would be forgone because a vehicle loss is "only" a couple million dollars.

Comment Re:Rubio Fail (Score 1) 343

Americans aren't a danger to America. We are America!

I would argue that Americans are, in fact, the greatest threat to America.

Both the parties' debates had that question about "what is the biggest threat to the US" and the candidates talked about terrorism and climate change. I think they were all wrong: not a single one said "internal conflict."

What I wish for isn't a president who will stand against terrorism, or address income inequality, or whatever else has most of the platforms' focus. I wish for a president who would lead, foster cooperation, and encourage people to focus on being united rather than divided.

Comment Re:I work for ORACLE... (Score 1) 202

Note I didn't say anything about "how much" farmland - I mentioned the distribution of that farmland and how the distribution affects supply shocks due to geographic affects like weather or disease.

It's like colocation for IT - you don't put all your IT basket in one location, why would you concentrate your food basket?

Comment Re:I work for ORACLE... (Score 2) 202

This sounds well and good, but I see a similar issue around where I live - lots of farmland being converted into subdivisions and shopping centers. What good is the Cloud when there is no food left to eat?

Why is this a problem, you ask? One thing strikes me as interesting - the more farmland we lose, the more our farming becomes concentrated in fewer geographic areas. This means farming is much more susceptible to drought, flooding, etc. This is notably a Bad Thing.

We really should be more involved with our local zoning commissions and other legislative bodies to address property laws - for tenants, landowners, and conversion of property from one type to another.

Comment Re:FYI (Score 1) 474

Ah actually, I see I misread the original quote, which was "a simple life." Are you saying that landscapers don't currently lead "simple" lives?

I know a fair number of landscapers, and they live pretty reasonable middle-class lives. But not luxurious ones. (Excepting the owner of the landscaping company, they live upper-middle-class.)

Comment Re:FYI (Score 3, Insightful) 474

Why can't someone who mows lawns for a living not make enough money for a simple life?

This is a good example, actually. In the limit, the activity of mowing a lawn does not generate enough production of real wealth to fund its own existence.

Specifically, I mean this: the increased production of food, tools, etc. from the landscaped lawn combined with the reduction in costs of dealing with rodents, bugs, difficulty of travel, etc. you'd have if the lawn wasn't landscaped is not enough to pay a person "well" for that landscaping.

Now, you might argue that people may be willing to pay a landscaper excessively to maintain an image, etc. This may be possible for a time, but if you're paying them more than their efforts generate, you're going to deplete your savings and eventually have an issue.

But this example also shows an artifact of the political methods of assigning people wealth in conflicting ways: "the landscaper should only get paid based on the economic value they directly produce" but "property owners should be compensated for people using their land, even though property owners don't necessarily do any direct work." Or said slightly differently: risking capital is physically different than performing labor, but many systems don't account for those differences.

Comment No Responsibility, No Freedom (Score 1) 235

This is just sensationalism. The real issue is that, if people are willing to give up their responsibilities to control a vehicle, they necessarily give up their freedom to decide how that vehicle behaves in certain situations. If you want to decide how a vehicle behaves there are probably two options: get a manually operated vehicle, or build your own "automatic" vehicle with your own rules. But good luck on that latter; just as there are regulations on acceptable behavior with manually-operated vehicles*, I bet there are going to be regulations on the "rules" automatic vehicles are going to have to include.

*Yes, you can choose to save yourself and drive into a trolley or crowd. But you will also have to suffer the consequences of that decision. You might be alive, but if you intentionally chose to harm others, you might not like where you spend your life.

Comment Re:$231 Million? (Score 4, Interesting) 139

Hell, the general US public just spent that much money in four days to go watch a movie.

While there may be some argument that perhaps that money could have been spent elsewhere, complaining over this one small amount of cash is a bit silly. Now, if we talk about a systemic problem - for instance, what percentage of projects like this get cancelled? - that is going to be much more productive.

$230M is something like, what, the salary of 1500 well-paid engineers and managers? Split across 5 years, that's only 300 people, which is a mid-size engineering company. Even if you figure that 10% of that went to line someone's pockets, the rest to actual employees of companies, I'd tend to agree with this - $230M is chump change, and probably actually kept some people employed. And it's not even like it was a lot of people (you might be able to change the number by a factor of 2 or 3 if you are paying median or low-end salaries). So it's not like there is much direct money spent on "political influence" here.

Comment Re:Portion / waste control (Score 1) 340

This sounds good, except for a couple things.

First - how do you force the creation of supermarkets so that there is one within walking distance of everyone? Also, what is "walking distance" - 2 miles is walkable, that's probably a 30 minute walk.

Second, I (and many people) don't want to spend a portion of my time every day foraging for food in the supermarket. I'd rather have one big trip a week than a small one every day.

Third: There's this thing called a refrigerator. If you have food that spoils in the span of a week, you're doing it wrong. (Didn't we see an article recently about how the most game-changing invention of the 20th century could be argued to be the fridge, since it reduced the amount of time people spend on food preparation by an order of magnitude or so?)

I agree that the regular exercise is good, but the rest of the arguments seem to be non-sequiturs.

Comment Re:We still need a low carbon society (Score 1) 292

Hadn't quite finished the coffee - I should have added, the above (directly fund carbon sequestration) should be part of the solution, not the only piece. I'd also have policies to reduce the production of new "polluting" activities, but I wouldn't directly tax/ban existing things; they would wear out on their own. That is, I'd use sequestration to mitigate the existing install base and only allow "clean" stuff going forward.

This should be way more politically palatable, when you aren't asking people to give up something they already have.

PS: Zoning laws might also need to be revised. Lots of farmland / forest being turned into retail space doesn't help the climate much (at least to first-order effects).

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