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Comment: "had" -- past tense? (Score 1) 363

by GPS Pilot (#49480841) Attached to: Can Civilization Reboot Without Fossil Fuels?

Of course, then we had the prospects of global thermonuclear war hanging over our heads as well, so the idea of the world having to rebuild everything didn't seem far-fetched at all.

I wasn't aware that threat had gone away. As of 2013, Russia had 8,500 warheads and the U.S. had 7,700. China and North Korea both have more now than they did in the 1970s.

Comment: Implications of reduced following distance (Score 1) 477

even when they're nearly bumper-to-bumper

Driver's Ed teachers always told their human students to maintain a two-second following distance. With the much faster reaction times of autonomous vehicles, a safe following distance can be redefined to a much shorter value.

This is going to tremendously increase the carrying capacity of the existing highway system.

Comment: I'm angry, eh? (Score 1) 265

Solar energy has always "worked." But it has not always been cost-effective.

Slashdot readers who held nuanced views that mass adoption should wait until it was cost-effective, have been characterized by other, un-nuanced Slashdot readers as "angry."

And it's not "hippies" who were right about solar; credit goes to the semiconductor scientists who kept upping the efficiency of PV cell designs, while reducing manufacturing costs.

Comment: Should have been spelled out in the contract (Score 1) 133

by GPS Pilot (#49350961) Attached to: GAO Denied Access To Webb Telescope Workers By Northrop Grumman

If the customer (the U.S. government) wants its auditors to be able to question individual employees, that should be clearly stipulated in the contract, and then the contractor should have no qualms about meeting the terms of that stipulation.

Lesson learned for how to draw up future contracts, I guess.

Comment: Massive subsidies (Score 1) 229

Three years ago, it was reported that the total government subsidies that had benefited the Volt, divided by the 6,000 Chevy Volts that had been sold, amounted to $250,000 in subsidies per vehicle sold.

Can you give us an update on total Volt sales, so we can recalculate that subsidies-per-vehicle figure?

Comment: It's worse than not caring (Score 1) 538

It's worse than not caring. After the IRS Commissioner testified before Congress that Lois Lerner's emails were lost and gone forever, the Inspector General located the backup tapes easily -- and we learn that THE I.T. GUYS HAD NEVER EVEN BEEN ASKED TO RETRIEVE THE BACKUPS.

Comment: von Braun's ethics (Score 1) 292

In May 1945, von Braun had to decide whether to surrender to the U.S. or the USSR. This is how he described the decision:

We knew that we had created a new means of warfare, and the question as to what nation, to what victorious nation we were willing to entrust this brainchild of ours was a moral decision more than anything else. We wanted to see the world spared another conflict such as Germany had just been through, and we felt that only by surrendering such a weapon to people who are guided by the Bible could such an assurance to the world be best secured.

Draw your own conclusion about his ethical compass.

Comment: Great question (Score 1) 755

by GPS Pilot (#48741685) Attached to: Science Cannot Prove the Existence of God

Great question; but if you've figured out some of the pieces of the framework, you're further along in explaining the nature of God than if you haven't figured out some of the pieces of the framework.

That's why I tell people to study a physics book if they want insight into the mind of God.

Makes perfect sense: everyone who believes in God believes that God authored the laws of physics, but not everyone who believes in God believes that the Bible is divinely inspired.

Comment: Not proven (Score 1) 556

If the sky breaks open, choirs of angels break forth, a 10km-long arm reaches down from the skies and an 8km golden-haired, bearded face looks down upon humanity and utters words of unshakable truth...then God is proven.

Well, although I believe some sort of supernatural entity created the universe, the scenario you describe would not "prove" the existence of God to me.

"What does God need with a starship?" James T. Kirk famously asked in Star Trek V.

What does God need with a beard, or a cohort of angels, or an arm or a face, or anything resembling the body of an earthly living being, for that matter?

If I see a 10 km-long arm in the sky, I will think "damn, that's an impressive hoax."

Comment: Hope you're right (Score 1) 334

by GPS Pilot (#48362807) Attached to: Americans Rejoice At Lower Gas Prices

Iranians don't want nukes to attack their neighbors, they want them as a defensive deterrent.

Your faith in the rationality of this Great-Satan-rhetoric-spewing, eschatology-minded, 12th-imam-loving nation is greater than mine.

The guys who cooperated, and gave up their nuke programs (Saddam Hussein, Muammar Qaddafi), are dead.

I recall Gaddafi voluntarily handing over materiel, and being much more cooperative with UN weapons inspectors than Hussein. He should have been rewarded with, perhaps, a quiet asylum villa where he could have lived out his retirement. Not this: "The video appears to picture Gaddafi being poked or stabbed in the rear 'with some kind of stick or knife' or possibly a bayonet".

If a 6600 used paper tape instead of core memory, it would use up tape at about 30 miles/second. -- Grishman, Assembly Language Programming