So far SLS isn't setting itself far enough apart from the boondoggle which was Constellation for my tastes. Its budget has grown from 10 Billion to, by many estimates, $41 Billion by the time it has actually launched a few prototypes. And its per launch estimates are up in the air at the moment, NASA's "$500 Million" per launch is laughable. For the money we're burning on the development of SLS alone we could launch the mass of a Naval frigate into orbit on commercial launchers. Just think of what could be done with that kind of payload capacity.
Why would they want to brick your phone? For the same reason they'll hold you for a few hours and then release you without charge, for the same reason they will confiscate your property without arrest, for the same reason they'll rough you up and then not charge you with anything. They are ways to punish people who come into their field of view for real or perceived transgressions without going through that pesky process of proving that something illegal actually happened. If this capability is realized I wouldn't be surprised if phones within a block or so of a protest are bricked, if phones that were near a case of police misconduct suddenly don't work, all of course "for the safety of the public".
He's insane. Choreographing that kind of balance across a national power network would be prone to instability and likely vulnerable to attack/accidental cascade failures. Virtually every heavy load device and a lot of lower load devices would need to be remotely controllable, that communications system would need to be highly secure, extremely reliable and not too imposing on customers. Load balancing definitely has a place in both residential & industrial areas, but there needs to be a significant storage/load redundancy built into the system as well to handle unexpected peaks and valleys in demand inherent to a real world electrical grid.
No one with half a brain is suggesting that police shouldn't have a few high powered rifles, body armor and other items for dealing with extreme situations. But 99.9999% of police work involves minor theft, non violent drug use, traffic violations, domestic violence & scuffles. Most departments probably only need a few officers equipped and trained for use of such equipment, maybe 2% of on duty officers for large departments and 3 or 4 people for smaller departments. What we're seeing today however are entire police departments being outfitted with military gear. Departments with only a dozen or so officers are getting their own Armored personnel carriers, every squad car has ARs in the trunk, etc. It doesn't make any sense when most departments maybe have a single incident in a generation where those tools/tactics would be significantly needed (barricaded hostage situation, heavily armed bank robbery, sniper, etc) and even then you're likely only going to need a small tactical team with regular officers as support. It makes even less sense when you consider that the standard tactic these days is to "surround and hold" until a SWAT team is brought in.
Recent history has shown that even if you throw massive amounts of money at something (Constellation program, Healthcare.gov, F35, VA/DoD Health Database, etc) you don't necessarily get a decent product. One of the reasons why I mentioned "concrete milestones", which would be independently verified by government auditors & engineers. The biggest difficulty of course would be keeping the lobbyists & lawyers for the companies in question from getting the power to designate those auditors & engineers.
Oh wonderful, at least three of my area police departments are participating in the program. It would be nice to see what they're getting, I wouldn't complain about most of the stuff on the materials list (coats, hydration kits, rope, etc), even a few guns wouldn't be out of the question. But if your local PD begins equipping all of their officers with riot shields/assault rifles, body armor, & armored vehicles they've ceased to be "peace officers". If these records went back a few more years I could be sure of one thing, from what I understand one of the local departments received a treaded APC a few years back through this program. It was only brought out for parades and I think one or two minor incidents. It became a major boondoggle when it broke down several times, caused damage to a road, didn't have a trailer to transport it, and was burning through $10,000 a year in insurance. I don't think they have gotten rid of it yet but they've also kept it out of sight, probably because it's broken down again.
Arg..... a "cost plus" contract, they are always a bad idea when not dealing with bleeding edge tech or extremely critical projects. They give companies a significant incentive to milk a project for as long and for as much as possible. Bid projects out at a fixed price, companies don't get a dime until they reach concrete milestones. If they don't reach those milestones on time and on budget they eat the costs and that part of the project is rebid. It should also be noted that the bill giving them the extra taxing authority was rushed through with disturbing speed and with rather blatant palm greasing, $14,000 dollars was used to wine and dine government officials in the three months leading up to the vote in addition to copious amounts of lobbying.
On demand TV is nice, but I wish there were some nice (Chrome compatible) channels available (Discovery, SyFi, History, etc). Sometimes just tuning to a channel and letting it run with whatever is on is enjoyable. And I'd be willing to pay a bit more a month for it as well, what I'm not willing to do is pay $40-80 a month for a over a hundred channels that I'll never watch just to get the dozen or so that I do when I can get most of what I want with Hulu/Netflix subscriptions for less than $20 a month (though Hulu really needs to work on their Chrome compatibility).
To scientifically prove/disprove something you need experimental data, which is exactly what NASA seems to be doing in this case. The results are less than stellar but as long as they are not burning any significant amount of money whats the issue? If we really want to know if this thing works or not just put it in a small cubesat and piggyback it on another satellite launch, if it can change its orbit then we know it works, if it can't we know its useless. Again no significant amount of resources should be expended and the inventors shouldn't profit in any way until the effect is proven, but sometimes the most astounding discoveries start out as a little unexplained quirk that someone plays around with.
" there needs to be ways to move the electricity generated by the solar panels to batteries you want to use"
Why do you need to move it? You simply have multiple sets of batteries. Using your example if you have a solar install at your home you have a set of batteries at home to collect that energy when you are away at work, when you get home you plug your car into that battery pack and it charges your car. Sure you're going to lose some power in the transfer but we already do that, roughly 6% of generated grid electricity is lost due to transmission. The only real issue at the moment is cost, fossil fuels are still far cheaper to use than existing battery tech. Your average household spends roughly $3k on gasoline, your average solar/battery system right now I think runs into the tens of thousands. Its definitely getting close (at least on the collection/storage end, electric cars are still too expensive), even with the replacement issues of current battery systems as long as you have the up front money and nothing unexpectedly breaks down your probably about the same overall cost as gas if not a little cheaper.
This article sounds like it is beating around the bush, alluding to but never mentioning the discovery of "Parallel Construction". Its a policy whereby illegal evidence is snuck into court by using it to find other evidence and not informing the courts, defendants and sometimes not even prosecutors where the initial leads came from. An example would be there is a suspected drug runner, NSA intercepts are used to tap his phone & internet communications. They find what they believe is a date and time where the runner will be carrying some drugs in their car, they then have some officers make up an excuse to pull them over and search their car. They conveniently "forget" however to tell anyone outside the law enforcement/intelligence community that their initial lead was based on warrant-less searches. And apparently many have the gall to say that it is a "It's decades old, a bedrock concept.", something tells me that if government agencies have to keep it secret from the courts its almost certainly illegal.
At a bare minimum the F35 program was far more of a boondoggle than the F22 program but even it had severe cost overruns (Development ballooned from $12.6 B to $26.3 B, Fighter Construction $149 M to $412), significantly decreased capabilities (high maintenance, canopy degradation) & major design flaws (asphyxiating pilots, flaking off stealth skin). The only reason it didn't cost far more was they only built 187 operational aircraft, far less than originally intended, because it was FAR cheaper to simply retrofit & update the existing fleet of F-15/16s.
"SpaceX, Boeing, and Sierra Nevada to build their three spaceships, all scheduled for their first manned launches before 2017."
And surprise, surprise. There are serious attempts to pillage that program (CCDev), which is on time, on budget, and (comparatively) insanely cheap, for funds to prop up SLS.
"Burn through of the sort that destroyed Challenger is detectable"
And yet it wasn't, while the investigation did focus on the SRBs fairly quick, it was months before they were sure. The ET tank explosion was enough to rip the shuttle to shreds, the only part of the spacecraft to survive the explosion intact was the heavily reinforced cockpit. And even that was believed to be heavily damaged. A capsule that had been caught in the explosion, exposed to 20 G's as it was ejected from the rocket, may have been operable enough to activate parachutes/escape rockets, and it may not have.
It doesn't help to to have a LAS system when you have no way of knowing to use it before your spacecraft explodes. If Challenger had known what was about to occur they may have been able to jettison the SRB's, throttle back on the SSME's and eventually disconnect the ET in a controllable fashion. Even a straight disconnect from the ET/SRB stack may have been survivable. Admittedly a traditional (capsule on top) configuration would have been the best for escaping an exploding stack but it wouldn't mean much of anything unless you had some indication that the explosion was coming (booster damage recognition)