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Comment: Governance could be a problem... (Score 2) 43

Aside from the technical difficulties (which are certainly real; but probably surmountable with time and funding), I would be concerned about the political side of the project(politics being...somewhat less of a solved problem... than space and blowing things up).

The technology sufficient to divert an asteroid, especially with limited warning(which precludes some of the subtler 'attach an ion drive or give it a slow shove with a laser' type schemes), is probably pretty punchy, possibly 'basically an ICBM but better at escaping earth's gravity well' punchy. It would be an unfortunate irony if, in the attempt to mitigate the city-destroying-asteroid threat, we ended up with some sort of proliferation problem or another round of delightful nuclear brinksmanship.

In an ideal world, you'd hope that people could put "Stopping asteroid apocalypse" in the category of 'things more important than your petty nation-states and dumb ethnic and religious squabbles'; but I wouldn't exactly be shocked if people largely can't and every stage of an anti-asteroid project ends up being a bunch of delicate diplomacy and jingoistic dickwaving between the assorted nuclear powers, along with a lot of hand-wringing about anti-satellite capabilities, and generally a gigantic mess.

Comment: Re:I am all for this research (Score 2) 43

However.... what happens when there is an Asteroid that will threaten earth... in between the time the telescope is developed, but before the asteroid diversion tech is developed?

Well, probably the de-facto legalization of every drug ever, along with cataclysmic declines in production in all sectors where working kind of sucks...

Comment: I'm not sure how common it is... (Score 4, Insightful) 257

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#46796461) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Hungry Students, How Common?
But it sounds like an absurd example of a false economy: Even at relatively cheap schools, the cost of running a student through is nontrivial. It seems like complete insanity to waste expensive instructional time on somebody who can't concentrate properly for want of a few dollars worth of calories. Nobody's interests are well served by that.

Comment: Re:do they have a progressive view? (Score 1) 326

by evilviper (#46796359) Attached to: Detroit: America's Next Tech Boomtown

Yes, because conservative views have turned the tech industry off from flocking to Texas for jobs. There's a sarcasm tag embedded there.

Texas is a purple state, projected to go Blue in a few more years. Texas leans a little bit to the right, but California doesn't lean very heavily left, itself.

Comment: Re:It could happen (Score 1) 326

by evilviper (#46796297) Attached to: Detroit: America's Next Tech Boomtown

The obvious benefit is that the cost of living is much lower than California or similar.

That's an idiotic thing to say. California is a huge state. You might as well say the cost of living in "North America" or "On Earth" is too high.

I couldn't believe last time I was in CA to visit a friend that they had just paid almost a million dollars for a 3-bedroom house with no property.

I'm in CA, and I bought a 3br house on half an acre for $45k. I was paying $500/mo rent before that, for a 2br apartment.

Unlike rust-belt states, I pay almost nothing for heating and cooling. My electric bill goes up maybe $10/month in the summer, and my natural gas bill goes up maybe $10/month in the winter (water heater, mostly). The insane home heating costs in the rust-belt will eventually trump the lower property prices.

So your list of benefits is all imaginary.

Comment: Re:Standard Engineering ethics case study (Score 1) 154

by Raenex (#46796003) Attached to: The Design Flaw That Almost Wiped Out an NYC Skyscraper

(e.g. the late Roger Boisjoly, who was the Morton Thiokol engineer that strongly warned of the O-ring failure and tried to postpone Challenger's launch)

I saw a documentary on that. What's sad is that despite all the good work he did to try and avert the disaster, when given a last chance to object on the conference call to NASA he remained silent.

Comment: Re:This needs to be Illegal (Score 1) 207

by evilviper (#46793447) Attached to: California Utility May Replace IT Workers with H-1B Workers

" Under no circumstances should any Utility in the US be allowed to Off-Shore IT operations"

They aren't. I know this from first-hand experience as a Sr Engineer for a major phone company, that is to remain nameless. I was responsible for the audit, after the DoJ specifically told us we needed to ensure anybody who wan't *physically* in the US at the time, would not have access to ANY production data.

Despite the idiotic headline, this has to be about H1Bs who reside in the US, NOT off-shoring. The Fed wouldn't allow a list of 5 power pole locations to leave the country.

Comment: Re:Why fear designer babies? (Score 1) 153

I think you're looking at the issue wrong. There are already many second-class citizens in the world, and with depressing uniformity, they produce offspring who themselves grow up to be second class citizens. Having the option to genetically engineer traits that are highly correlated with success and satisfaction could be the very thing we need to beat this generational trap. Maybe the best way to see genetic engineering is to compare it with buying college for your children. Sure, that puts them "ahead" of some people who refuse to go, but the mere fact that college gives some people an advantage over others is surely no reason to oppose its availability. It's also a very important (though imperfect) tool for social mobility, maybe the best one we have. Genetic engineering might be many times better, especially when combined with the availability of college.

Entropy requires no maintenance. -- Markoff Chaney