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Comment: Should have been spelled out in the contract (Score 1) 128

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".

Comment: Re:A killer attitude (Score 1) 334

by GPS Pilot (#48362577) Attached to: Americans Rejoice At Lower Gas Prices

The 250,000+ deaths mentioned in the article are not due to heat getting cut. It's due to people with weak immune systems (mostly elderly) trying to economize by setting their thermostats low, which makes them marginally more susceptible to influenza and other illnesses.

Lower energy prices --> less incentive to economize. An old person dying of a preventable seasonal illness isn't as newsworthy as other types of deaths, but yes it still counts as a tragic human death.

While I was vacationing in the UK, I was surprised to see the resort meter my suite's energy usage, and charge me for it when I checked out. Of course hardcore environmentalists love those kind of policies. (I didn't mind so much... aside from the slight hassle, I guess it's better than assessing an average charge to wasteful and thrifty people alike.) But for immune-compromised tenants, it does give them an incentive to place themselves at marginally greater risk of dying.

Comment: The point is... (Score 1) 334

by GPS Pilot (#48362333) Attached to: Americans Rejoice At Lower Gas Prices

Your assumption that I sometimes buy new cars in incorrect. Cars depreciate about as fast as PCs, and I take great satisfaction knowing that someone else ate that depreciation.

But whether I buy new or used is irrelevant to the point I was trying to make. If it's logical for people to buy a more fuel-efficient vehicle when the price of fuel increases (and it is), it is also logical -- not a lack of willpower or other character flaw -- for people to buy a less fuel-efficient vehicle when the price of fuel decreases. Anthony Perl can't have it both ways.

Comment: Re:A killer attitude (Score 1) 334

by GPS Pilot (#48348137) Attached to: Americans Rejoice At Lower Gas Prices

Of course inexpensive energy didn't fix all of society. But it did a lot of social good, and I'm glad you somewhat acknowledge that now.

I'm not opposed to "inexpensive energy" but to subsidize fossil fuels for those who can easily afford it

You seem to have a lot in common with the article I linked. Note the story about the millionaire who protested the fact that the UK government subsidizes his fuel bill.

Promising costs nothing, it's the delivering that kills you.