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Comment Re: Gift Horse (Score 4, Informative) 226

Yeah, the US government has never done anything crazy like abducting someone off the the streets, flying them to a foreign country black site for a little torture, and them realizing "oops, we grabbed the wrong guy" so lets dump him in the countryside another foreign country, oh wait.................


Comment Bloated and insane plan in all likelihood (Score 1) 167

Last time NASA came up with a human mission to Mars Congress got a sticker shock at I believe $450 Billion (a bargain compared to many defense programs). Then a group of Mars enthusiasts came up with a far cheaper and easier program that some in NASA immediately set out to sabotage because it involved a simple three launch system instead of a logistical nightmare involving stations, fuel depots and dozens of craft.

Comment Re:So it's really possible (Score 1) 53

"It is much better to use ion thrusters"

Now of course, but back when this program was created Ion propulsion was in its infancy here in the US. If the shuttle had become what they had hoped I have little doubt that would have become a launching pad for Ion/Vasimr craft. There are also a few situations when you need a lot of thrust quickly so a chemically powered shuttle launched rocket would have made some sense. But this thing seems like an exercise in stupidity, any such system should have been engineered to fall within the shuttles operational envelope not the other way around. Forcing them to remove portions of the shuttle, run the engines at more thrust and putting the shuttle in an extra low orbit all seem like they are sidestepping significant safety margins. As far as the "putting a fuel tank in the back of the shuttle issue" that the article seems to harp on about this wasn't a big thing even back then, even Apollo had internal liquid hydrogen/oxygen storage onboard. The shuttle itself had liquid oxygen/hydrogen onboard to allow fuel cells to feed it electrical power.

Comment Re:Boston has an app like this. It's useless. (Score 1) 159

"city workers would just close tickets, regardless of whether the work actually got done"

Sounds like a good basis for finding people who may not be doing their job, and disciplining/firing them. It should be noted though that a lot of people seem to fail to understand the limits/capabilities of government departments (I work in county government), for example in your situation people may be noting potholes in private roads, or trash in private property, things which are not the responsibility of the local government. I used to work for a Drain Commission, given the name people constantly came in thinking that all drain related issues were our responsibility not realizing that the only drains that we could work on were ones where a "drain district" had been created (requested by and voted on by property owners within that district).

Comment Re:What? (Score 2) 159

Problem ticket tracking, this should of course also happen with phone calls but often doesn't. When you note an issue in an app by necessity it creates a database entry, that database entry has to be checked "fixed" by someone and in most systems that persons ID is logged by the system, so it creates a "paper trail" and a query-able list of what has been fixed, by who, and what is yet to be fixed. Don't do your job, or worse say you did without doing it and there is a trail that leads right back to you with your boss/the mayor breathing down your neck. Often because these systems are expensive ($100k on up for even a smaller city) they are used for far more than just complaint tracking, they are used for city wide asset management such as manhole, water valve, pipeline, address, fire hydrant, etc location information.

Comment Re:Non-Issue (Score 1) 179

From the images I can find it doesn't look like there are any real space issues in the F-35's cockpit. And as is obvious in the images, aerodynamics are also not really a concern. Balance might be a bit of a concern, but that is a simple issue with the weight placement. The biggest issue I can think of is the procedures to ensure that the weights are in place for lightweight pilots but removed for others.


Comment So? (Score 3, Informative) 70

Even if you did manage to purchase a major domain what would it get you? For better or worse every case I've heard of where some individual was trying to elicit large amounts from a company/organization by sitting on a domain, the companies, without too much difficulty, took possession of a domain that related significantly to their company/organization. I suppose some companies would pay a bit to avoid litigation but not too much as they can get it with a little time and effort.


Comment Re:They are enabling criminals (Score 0) 471

In my state, as well as several others, it is illegal for "a man and woman, not related by blood or marriage" to live under the same roof despite it being a common practice, should all of those relationships be broken or forced into marriage because some puritanical nuts got a law passed? Most laws are never removed from the books no matter how stupid/outdated they are, that is until major economic advantages are seen and/or public outcry from its enforcement. Sadly the only way most of these laws are eventually removed is via people challenging them openly. I'm not sure if ride sharing is a good thing or not, but through their challenge Uber is showing some of the issues with the current system of government enforced monopolies who actively force out/threaten competition even where the competition may offer a better service.

Comment Re:it's the weather, stupid (Score 1) 43

These craft though are tethered and are only at about 10,000 ft. Sounds like the worst of both worlds to me. Cloud activity routinely reaches above 23k feet, and they're tethered so they can't escape or move with the weather. I'm sure you could design it to withstand the forces required, but given that they've spent almost $3 billion for only 4 prototypes (only two of which are currently in operation) its not looking very cost effective..

Comment Why is this an issue? (Score 1) 662

I had expected a bit more of an example of technical ability, Its pretty obvious he just took a retail alarm clock and pulled it out of its case. But he is just a kid, I know that's basically how I started out. A clock or some other electronic device would stop working or its backup battery wouldn't function so I would pull it apart, I usually just put it back in its original case after (attempting) to fix it instead of wasting a perfectly good storage case. That said I don't see why this is an issue, the kids technical abilities aren't all that important, the knowledge and competence of school and police officials is. The second you open the case its obvious to anyone above a 4th grade comprehension level that its not a bomb, why they would pursue the matter with apparently no evidence of malicious intent is very troubling.

Comment Re:Plea agreement = legalized extortion (Score 4, Insightful) 111

Problem is in the US it has been taken to an untenable degree. The Aaron Swartz situation is a pretty good example, federal prosecutors threw a litany of charges at him that could have put him in prison for up to 50 years, then offered him a 6 month plea deal. All for downloading some publicly funded research papers using questionable means. This creates a situation where people who have committed extremely minor crimes, or those who haven't committed any crime at all, are forced to "admit guilt" or risk an utterly devastated life.

Comment Sounds like false advertisement, or fraud (Score 1) 268

If the article isn't missing anything it sounds like a very good basis for a massive, and very unpleasant, class-action lawsuit. If they were putting a little extra ink in the cartridges and only using the labeled amount it would be one thing, but if they are putting in the labeled amount and then using only a portion of that at a bare minimum it is false advertisement, and it could very well be fraud.

Comment Re:So the real question is... (Score 4, Interesting) 88

There already was a pretty embarrassing episode in this very city, which is the reason why the Boston police had to "shut down" the program. That incident, if I recall correctly, involved public release of a very limited database in an attempt to allay to privacy concerns. Even with this extremely hobbled database researchers were able to find multiple embarrassing events, firstly that the area with the highest recorded density of vehicles with outstanding parking tickets was the police parking lot. Secondly that at least one stolen vehicle had went past the same intersection time and time again at a predictable time and day and no one ever thought post a cruiser to retrieve it and arrest the thief.

Comment Conspiracy? Its fact. (Score 4, Interesting) 62

Its not a conspiracy, its fact. More than a few congress critters don't like ISS and would like to see it die. The whole touchy feely aspect of nations cooperating instead of constantly stabbing each other in the backs is probably point one. There are also more reasonable cost aspects, ISS has been extremely expensive, far more expensive than it had to be to accommodate so may disparate nations designs. Still others probably think SLS is some big, sexy spaceship that will take us to far more interesting places, ignoring the fact that it will probably only do so for a short time because of the massive costs and little if any returns. Only then do you get into the fraud/pork drives from congress members in districts that will see money & prestige from building parts for the "new rocket ship".

Comment So.. (Score 1) 284

The basic sense of the article is that Alaska's system of taking money from various natural resource exploitation activities and saving/redistributing it is a model for the rest of the country/world as the beginnings of a minimum income for all system? Sorry to burst their bubble but its not going to last, oil is no doubt the primary driver of the fund and it will become ever more difficult to sustain its income levels. Its also not really viable for most other areas as Alaska has significantly more natural resources per capita than pretty much anywhere else by a wide margin. Saving a sizable chunk of change and investing it might keep it going for considerably longer but even that has significant risks (I wonder how the fund has weathered some of the crashes since the 80s) and governments invariably raid such money pots for some idiotic pork projects (Alaska is the home to the "Bridge/Highway to nowhere"). Even putting limitations on the funds being extracted may not help. A while back they found oil under a city near me, the city council at that time was rather forward thinking as well and created a fund where a majority of the money was placed and they put a stipulation on the account that only a small percentage (5% I think) could be extracted per year. The very next administration attempted to raid the fund, the bank which held the money and was forbade by contract from giving more than 5% of the funds per year protested, a short court battle ensued but quickly the 5% requirement was voided by the court and the money began to flow. Don't get me wrong, its nice that they're trying to distribute the funds a little more fairly instead of funneling them directly into foolish endeavors/politically connected pockets (though I'm also sure some funds are being skimmed) but its simply not a sustainable system.

"I have five dollars for each of you." -- Bernhard Goetz