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Comment: Re:Manned space flight! (Score 2) 125

by Dzimas (#48011265) Attached to: Sierra Nevada Corp. Files Legal Challenge Against NASA Commercial Contracts

The Atlas V rocket that Boeing will use to launch the CST-100 has launched the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and the Mars Science Laboratory. It's not just about LEO and maintaining the ISS, although that is a short-term goal. SpaceX also has their sights set on more ambitious goals, but sadly they are restricted by NASA's budget and goals -- there simply are no commercially viable space missions beyond satellite launches right now.

Comment: OK, so set up a tiny company owned "dealership". (Score 2) 331

by Dzimas (#48010787) Attached to: State of Iowa Tells Tesla To Cancel Its Scheduled Test Drives

Car makers are prohibited from selling directly to the public because they could potentially undercut their own dealers. In Tesla's case, there are no dealers to undercut. That said, the solution would be to set up a small company owned showroom in Iowa that acts as the seller of record for all online and in-person sales within the state.

Comment: Re: Everything is an excuse for more security thea (Score 1) 221

by Dzimas (#47959169) Attached to: Secret Service Critics Pounce After White House Breach

"Paying down the deficit" doesn't mean what you think it means. A budget deficit = spending more revenue than you take in during the year. Its the equivalent of adding another $200 billion to your $17.6 trillion credit card balance every year. Of course, unlike the average consumer, the government has the power to raise their own credit limit and print money to pay the monthly interest payment.

Comment: Re: This is what the US has become (Score 1) 137

by Dzimas (#47842549) Attached to: Deadmau5 Accuses Disney of Pirating His Music

The trouble is that Disney will argue that the proposed Deadmau5 trademark is in their line of business - videos and the music industry. At the end of the day, you have to acknowledge that there is considerable similarity between the Mickey's silhouette and the Deadmau5 head. Whether the similarities are close enough to cause confusion in the marketplace is at the heart of this complaint. There is another factor at play, too. If it can be shown that then trade dress is genericized -- that is, consumers don't automatically relate the mouse silhouette to Mickey, it may be possible to invalidate Disney trademarks. The result would be a free-for-all that would allow companies to offer their own bigeared mouse characters in the US. (The DMCA takedown complaint is a different animal that's not directly related to the trademark challenge, unless Disney is planning to claim that they couldn't see the difference and believed that Mickey and the stage outfit of an EDM producer).

Comment: Re:There's always a possibility of mental illness. (Score 1) 441

by Dzimas (#47809701) Attached to: In Maryland, a Soviet-Style Punishment For a Novelist

Yes. That's why he was nominated to Teacher of the Year.

Mental illness isn't something that manifests itself consistently from birth to death. It is quite possible to live an utterly normal or remarkable life until the onset of disease. In the case of schizophrenia, it usually rears its ugly head some time between the ages of 16 and 30.

While it is quite possible that this is an instance of police overreaction, it might also be that there are a serious mental health issue that cannot be shared with the general public because of personal privacy laws.

Comment: There's always a possibility of mental illness. (Score 1, Interesting) 441

by Dzimas (#47807545) Attached to: In Maryland, a Soviet-Style Punishment For a Novelist

Hang on. Everyone is jumping to the conclusion that a perfectly normal teacher just happened to be grabbed and taken for an "emergency medical evaluation" because he had innocently written a book. It is also quite possible that he is actually suffering from mental illness -- schizophrenia often manifests itself in early adulthood, for example -- and that his books were originally written as a coping mechanism for the early stages of illness. Remember, approximately 1% of the population will suffer from schizotypal symptoms at some point in their lives.

The most likely explanation is that the teacher's behavior had grown erratic and he had shown signs of mental disorder that caused grave concern in his co-workers and friends.

Comment: Affiliate link in the submitter's blog (Score 5, Insightful) 169

by Dzimas (#47797961) Attached to: XKCD Author's Unpublished Book Remains a Best-Seller For 5 Months

The summary includes a link to the submitter's blog, with a shortened link -- tinyURL.com/XKCDAuthor -- that expands to an Amazon link with his affiliate code embedded. While I am a huge fan of XKCD, I am not a huge fan of masked links that earn up to 8% for completely unrelated bloggers. Perhaps the summary should be edited to include a direct link to the Amazon product page?

Comment: Re: Spherical Torus (Score 1) 147

by Dzimas (#47752719) Attached to: Princeton Nuclear Fusion Reactor Will Run Again

Scientific breakthroughs don't occur on a set timeline unless you're writing a TV show. We've been "flying" in one form or another for hundreds of years - balloons, gliders, and -- with the advent of the internal combustion engine -- airplanes. One could argue that nuclear physics is significantly more challenging than achieving powered flight. After all, a reasonably competent amateur can build an aircraft -- www.sonex.com -- in his garage over a couple of years. The same can't be said for processing fissile materials and building a research reactor.

Comment: Re:In other news... (Score 1) 216

Solar doesn't provide energy in the evening or nighttime, wind is unpredictable and hydro involves environmentally damaging waterway modifications. The end result is that fossil fuels and nuclear will always have a place on the grid.

The worst thing we could possibly do is to start installing solar cells on each individual house, while trying to maintain our current consumption. The challenge is that there is a profitable multi-billion dollar market selling grid-tied personal solar and wind power systems to millions of eager Americans, but that approach would be woefully inefficient (several thousand dollars worth of electrical hardware installed in each house across the nation, a glut of home-generated electricity during the day as everyone attempts to sell surplus back to the grid).

Instead, it's time to look at how we're using electricity. Stop building chipboard McMansions that require excessive A/C and heating. Increase the energy efficiency of appliances. Try living in smaller spaces. Discourage people from trying to build cities in the middle of scorching hot deserts, And so on.

Comment: Re:Steve Jobs set the standard... (Score 5, Interesting) 262

by Dzimas (#47650729) Attached to: Silicon Valley Doesn't Have an Attitude Problem, OK?
The best hire I ever made was someone that a senior VP disagreed with me about during and after the interview. I saw the skill set and personality that was needed for our team and he didn't. Fast forward 10 years, and I found myself approaching the person I'd hired for funding to keep my little startup alive and allow it to prosper. Because I had treated that employee well, we were able to hammer out the framework of an agreement at our first formal meeting. It was the easiest pitch that either of us had ever been through. Behaving like a tantruming child simply because you have money and the illusion of power is the stupidest approach if you plan on being in tech for the long haul. Sooner or later, someone you've trampled or angered *will* be in a position to give a less-than-flattering opinion of you or shut you out.

Comment: Limited utility. (Score 4, Insightful) 136

by Dzimas (#47625151) Attached to: Parallax Completes Open Hardware Vision With Open Source CPU
I run a company that releases all its hardware designs and am a huge proponent of OSHW. This gesture has limited utility simply because the people who use MCUs in designs aren't typically interested in delving into the minutiae of how the processor that runs the system is built. They're more interested in open source circuits which have real-world applications -- a low pass filter for smoothing PWM signals, a nice clean USB power supply, and so on.

If you're not careful, you're going to catch something.

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