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Comment: Re:We should lobby to break the cable companies (Score 4, Insightful) 515

Middle of nowhere? He lives in a county with 250k people and about an average of 650 people per square mile.

Yes, the middle of nowhere. (I live in Kitsap County as well.) That average is misleading because most of the people are concentrated in one of three major 'metro' areas, much of the county is low density or practically empty. (And he lives in one of the low density areas, in an area which county residents regard as being 'backwoods'.)

Comment: Re:No one is forcing anyone to do anything (Score 3, Informative) 515

DSL in his area is CenturyLink. The DSLAM that coves his house is in "Permanent Exhaust" meaning it's oversubscribed so far even CenturyLink won't add more subscribers, and they have made the business decision to NOT increase the bandwidth to the DSLAM cabinet further to be able to support more hardware. I.E. "I'm sorry, we're full. No, we're not adding any more capacity. Ever. Goodbye."

I live in Kitsap County and I looked up his address, and I can't say I'm surprised. He lives in a very low density area, and given current land use restrictions, that's not going to change. There's no money to be had in expanding capacity.
 

And ComCast is flat-out refusing to service his house/area entirely. Full-stop: Since they can't charge him the full line-extension fee ($50-60k) the portion they have to pay by law is too high so they'd rather refuse him service entirely. Welcome to the edge-case downside of regulation preventing the full cost from landing on the end-user.

No, welcome to the "edge case" of living in a very low density area outside of town rather than in a suburb.
 

Point-to-Point wireless no longer covers his area due to a new tall building being built between their regional tower and his subdivision.

He doesn't live in a subdivision - he lives in the woods outside the built up area of town.

Seriously, I've said it three different ways but I'll repeat it a fourth time because it's important to grasp - he lives in very low residential density area outside of town. He doesn't live in the suburbs or a subdivision. I give and grant that Comcast is incompetent - but his options are narrowed and/or blocked as much by the fact of where he chose to live as by any law or regulation. The north end isn't Palo Alto or Mountain View.

Comment: Re:Gen Con? (Score 1) 850

by DerekLyons (#49339131) Attached to: Gen Con Threatens To Leave Indianapolis Over Religious Freedom Bill

Not really. Thirty years ago Gen Con was indeed all that and one of the premier cons of nerd world. Nowadays, with the rise of Multiple Comic Conventions, multiple anime conventions, and multiple incarnations of PAX... it's decidedly in the second tier and edging towards irrelevance.

Comment: Re:The design is relatively simple (Score 1) 339

by DerekLyons (#49333589) Attached to: Feds Attempt To Censor Parts of a New Book About the Hydrogen Bomb

The design of the bombs is not the problem.

Have you ever actually studied nuclear weapons design? (By which I mean the unclassified stuff that's available.) Yes, designing the bombs is a problem, especially if you want anything more than a very crude, large, and heavy device. (One that's virtually undeliverable by modern standards.) It's not an insurmountable problem, granted, but is a problem.

And it's an even bigger problem for thermonuclear designs.

There's two ways around the problem though... the first is to explode a lot of bombs and thus gain experience and information. The second is to "borrow" the experience and information from somebody else. The difficulty of obtaining sufficient material makes the first impractical in many cases, and what the feds are trying to do is make the second as difficult as possible as well.

Comment: Re:Wouldnt NiFe be a better battery chemistry here (Score 1) 184

They're going to be constantly replacing LiOn packs on any appreciable sized system. Why not go with a NiFe battery system that will last for fifty years?

Because Elon Musk owns Tesla - and a giga factory designed to turn out LiOn batteries like Carter's churns out little pills.

Comment: Re:Me depressed now (Score 2) 56

by DerekLyons (#49324017) Attached to: NASA's Abandoned Launch Facilities

But at its heart it's the result of the dramatic slashing of the NASA budget after Apollo, the end of the "space race," and constant political interference (mostly in the form of pork projects that Congressmen wanted NASA to lend credibility to).

Well, no. Not really.

Pretty much all of the Saturn V pads and buildings are still there, and still in use - having been repurposed multiple times. The Saturn I pads were abandoned in the late 60's because nobody thought we'd ever use them again. (And then along came Skylab.)

Other pads were abandoned for a wide variety of reasons... For example, we don't need as many as we used to because we don't have vehicles sitting on the pad as long as we used to. Others were abandoned because rockets don't blow up nearly as often, so we don't need "hot spares". Others were abandoned because the booster was replaced by a different one and the activity shifted to a different pad. Yet others because not only do rockets not blow up so often, their payloads fail less often and have a longer lifetime, so we don't need much of the the frenetic launch pace of the 60's. (Or multiple combinations of these.) Etc... etc...

The number of pads required aren't pushed by raw budget, they're pulled by user requirements. Now, I won't disagree that budgets effect the pull rate, but so do a variety of other factors.

Comment: It's all about the perception. (Score 2) 140

by DerekLyons (#49322849) Attached to: "Google Glass Isn't Dead!" Says Google's CEO Eric Schmidt

People where hostile to people with Cell phones in the 1980's, In college back in my day, if a student went to class with a Laptop we were hostile towards them. Portable technology takes a while to get into the culture.

Walkman's and portable CD players too... However the feeling was less about the technology or being portable (or new), and more about the price tag and what it was perceived to say about the owner. People walking about with expensive portable technology were classed alongside those walking about with expensive wristwatches - pretentious yuppie assholes with more money than sense.

You saw the same thing when iPods first hit the market, and again with iPhones, and again with iWatch.

Comment: Re:Batching and operations research (Score 1) 110

The biggest threat to Amazon right now is companies like Walmart realizing that their stores can also serve as warehouses and getting their IT up to snuff.

There's a lot of retailers who have realized it - and who have gotten their IT up to snuff and offer "order online, pickup in store in an hour" services. (Concentrating on getting the customer in the store isn't a mistake.)
 
The problem for these retailers isn't IT (as it so often isn't), it's the infrastructure and overhead involved in setting up an Amazon delivery type of operation. Amazon already has the back-end, a very efficient warehousing, picking, and packing operation - all they had to do was add to front end (dispatch, vehicles, and drivers). Not only does Walmart not have the back or front ends... a retail store isn't a warehouse, and the picking and packing will be much more difficult (and labor intensive, since they can't use the robots and conveyor systems that Amazon does). Amazon could simply build on their existing operations, Wal-Mart would have to start from scratch and be fighting with one foot in a bucket of cement.

Comment: Re:Moving Infected People (Score 2) 140

by DerekLyons (#49285413) Attached to: Gates: Large Epidemics Need a More Agile Response

I already know the problems presented: The infected area is usually in some third-world shithole with little-to-no infrastructure, much of the equipment is big, heavy, and expensive, etc... but much of it can be made portable with sufficient engineering, and a good chunk of it doesn't even have to be brought along, or can be minimized (e.g. the ventilation/filtering systems that the centers here have to keep quarantine)

If Bill Gates wants to do something with all that cash, maybe he can hire a few engineers an medical types to build a deployable care center that can be flown out to $3rdWorldShitHole in less than 24 hours, and be put to use immediately when an epidemic strikes.

Let's see... the existing system uses minimal investment (mainly in transportable isolation units) to transport a small number of exposed or critically ill people to locations where an existing army of people and mountain of equipment already exists and has supporting infrastructure in place. Your proposed system has us spending tens of millions of dollars (if not more) to transport a (currently non existent) army of people and (currently non existent) mountain of equipment to a place without supporting infrastructure and requiring massive (and currently non existent) logistics pipeline to maintain to support a small number of exposed or critically ill people.

Other than the clueless paranoia displayed in this sub-thread, why on earth would you propose such a back-asswards system?

You, and the OP, are confusing two different problems. The first, moving the most critically ill people to treatment and isolating exposed individuals, is largely a solved problem. The second, quarantine and minimizing the spread of disease among the local population is a very different problem... and even so, it can be largely handled with existing systems. The problem with the Ebola outbreak in Africa was failure to recognize the problem followed up by a "too little, too late" response from the West, combined with cultural issues and behaviors which facilitated the spread of disease. You can't fix either by simply throwing money at them.

Comment: Re:wait what? (Score 2, Insightful) 415

by DerekLyons (#49273055) Attached to: Politics Is Poisoning NASA's Ability To Do Science

Aeronautics occur within the earths atmosphere. To not study it is completely insane.

"Aeronautics" != "[Enviroment|Climate|Earth Science]".
 

The EPA is a regulatory body.

One that has a considerable research arm.

I'm with the grandparent - NASA should get out of the earth science business (and probably astronomy, and energy efficient houses, and all the pies the bureaucrat have stuck their hands in), leave that to more appropriate agencies.

It's hard to think of you as the end result of millions of years of evolution.

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