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Submission + - NASA funded moon base study gives Newt Gingrich the last laugh (

MarkWhittington writes: Thus far, the NASA-funded study that suggests that American moon boots could be on the lunar surface by 2021 for $10 billion, which was rolled out not coincidentally on the 46th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, has not gotten any reaction from politicians. But, Newt Gingrich, former House Speaker and former presidential candidate, must be feeling a kind of bittersweet vindication. When he ran for president in 2012, he proposed building a commercial moon base and ran into a withering barrage of ridicule that sank his candidacy.

Comment Re:Disabled (Score 1) 155

The argument that "business" should not have to do anything with disabled people as they create costs is particularly concerning. It means exclusion from most of the workings of the world as "business" is what is supposed to run the world. Another problem is the rather nasty attitudes about placing blame and the hyperbole about wanting to deny others their ability. It's the sort of paranoia out of Ayn Rand really, and the most aggressive people might actually be able to justify things I'd rather not contemplate, if they come to the conclusion that we're living "undeserved" lives.

It is quite a feat that it's nearly enough to radicalize me, and I'm a guy who is mostly interested in things "working" in general, and am even amenable to arguments that SOMETIMES it MIGHT be true that some of the complaints of the other side may have merit, and that not quite everything is necessary. But then again, I already give up on a lot of things, even though they may not understand it.

Comment Re:No surprised in good ole Mass... (Score 1) 155

There is a logic to it.

- Pure market solution would not provide for this
- Market solution with "guidance" is wrong as it interferes with the pure market solution
- Government solution is wrong because it taxes people, but at least people see how they are being manhandled by government. It is also a worse solution, so we still prefer it because it is.... worse.

Comment Re:No surprised in good ole Mass... (Score 1) 155

Not necessarily. If the majority of people agree that, say, accessibility is desirable, be it whether they pay through taxes or some "hidden" cost, then it remains to decide what is the best way to implement the goal.

If it is then agreed that the best way to get disabled people included in the world is to make sure that competition does not mean accessibility is sacrificed, then they might not be interested in getting this "tax signal" at all.

Comment Re:No surprised in good ole Mass... (Score 1) 155

I am not sure if, if one really seeks a solution that inclusively works in the real world, you can break up these kinds of costs into separate components that you could then just tax people with. They just need to be a part of the big picture in a way that you can't just constantly "re-evaluate" in terms of whether they in particular have now become "too expensive".

Integration into the services on the overall market is just simply more efficient. Certainly the cost is passed on to the consumer, but the providers will just keep on improving how they do whatever they do... this improves the entire service, accessibility included.

Comment Re:No surprised in good ole Mass... (Score 1) 155

The problem with that kind of reasoning is that most services in society actually are provided by private businesses, and rightfully so, as that kind of an arrangement comes with various benefits that you are certainly aware of. Not only is access inclusive, it will, in the long term cause the services to actually improve according to just who happens to do things better. We can of course discuss what the actual market mechanism is that is used to send the appropriate signals -- it does not need to be as ludicrously heavy-handed as some slashdot posters would like to make it sound like.

I fail to see how some separate government arrangement is, in the modern world, any different from shoving disabled people back into bureaucratic institutions -- and at that point it is all too easy to start reducing the so-called "necessary" tax amount to maintain even that.

At least over here in Europe I mostly do not see this kind of concern from businesses or business-minded individuals. The attitude mostly is that this is just something that is taken out of competition by just agreeing to take care of it, if by some kind of agreed upon standards if needed, and that's it.

Comment Re:What a Mess (Score 1) 111

Microsoft took a player out of the market, got their IP and patents, and then spat out the rest.

No they didn't. They have licenses to keep making phones, but the IP belongs to Nokia. It was most specifically left out of the deal.

Submission + - What technical reason is there for charging more for long distance?

sandbagger writes: I had to go on some business trips recently and, yep, the long distance bill was big this month. I was just in a neighbouring city less than 1,000 KM away. It's not foreign travel. It's all networked packets. In the old analogue days when signal boosting was required, I can see a reason but apart from inter-corporate pass through fees, what's the technical reason for expensive long distance?

Submission + - Venus May Have Active Volcanoes (

An anonymous reader writes: The European Space Agency's Venus Express spacecraft has discovered hot lava flows on the surface of Venus, providing the best evidence yet that the planet may have active volcanoes. "[U]sing a near-infrared channel of the spacecraft’s Venus Monitoring Camera (VMC) to map thermal emission from the surface through a transparent spectral window in the planet’s atmosphere, an international team of planetary scientists has spotted localised changes in surface brightness between images taken only a few days apart (abstract)." Venus is fairly similar to Earth in size and composition, which suggests it has an internal heat source. One of the biggest mysteries about Venus is how that heat escapes, and volcanic activity could be the answer.

Comment Re:Elop just fulfilled his destiny. (Score 4, Interesting) 121

In hindsight, I am actually starting to feel that the Microsoft move was the right one exactly so that Nokia could make their handsets a takeover target. Devices were quickly becoming commoditized; Nokia had not managed to create a content ecosystem; and as yet another Android manufacturer they could not have brought much more to the table than companies like Samsung.

Of course WP hasn't taken off, but that Nokia managed to offload its handset business to MS in time was genuinely a positive thing for for company. Most importantly the patents were kept in the company, and the networks business seems to actually have more future growth potential for a strong engineering company than rectangles any Chinese firm can churn out at massive quantities.

I'm a happy shareholder since 2012.

Building translators is good clean fun. -- T. Cheatham