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Comment: Re:Math (Score 2) 223

by Jason Levine (#49752459) Attached to: Asteroid Risk Greatly Overestimated By Almost Everyone

An asteroid may kill a lot of people, but it will not cause global extinction. No asteroid strike has ever completely wiped out life on earth.

Just because it has never happened in the past doesn't mean it can't happen in the future. Granted, it would take a very large asteroid and it is highly unlikely, but it is possible.

From http://science.howstuffworks.com/nature/natural-disasters/asteroid-hits-earth.htm:

By the time you get up to a mile-wide asteroid, you are working in the 1 million megaton range. This asteroid has the energy that's 10 million times greater than the bomb that fell on Hiroshima. It's able to flatten everything for 100 to 200 miles out from ground zero. In other words, if a mile-wide asteroid were to directly hit New York City, the force of the impact probably would completely flatten every single thing from Washington D.C. to Boston, and would cause extensive damage perhaps 1,000 miles out -- that's as far away as Chicago. The amount of dust and debris thrown up into the atmosphere would block out the sun and cause most living things on the planet to perish. If an asteroid that big were to land in the ocean, it would cause massive tidal waves hundreds of feet high that would completely scrub the coastlines in the vicinity.
In other words, if an asteroid strikes Earth, it will be a really, really bad day no matter how big it is. If the asteroid is a mile in diameter, it's likely to wipe out life on the planet. Let's hope that doesn't happen anytime soon!

It might not wipe out ALL life as some sea creatures might survive and some microbes would likely hang on, but a mile wide asteroid (especially a dense one) impacting at the right speed would wipe out nearly all life on Earth.

As far as detection goes, I agree that we should be looking out for them, but suppose we found one. Suppose tomorrow it was announced that scientists just spotted a one mile wide asteroid that will collide with the Earth in two months. (Let's put the impact zone at New York City just to add to the fun.) Could we do anything about it in that time? Of course, there would be panic as the entire northeast United States (and some of Canada) tried to relocate. Politicians would give long speeches (and perhaps some of the more anti-science politicians would try to block spending any money on the problem until "more data was gathered"). Even if the world rallied around the cause instantly and everyone didn't panic (HUGE ifs), do we have the technology to alter the course of a mile wide asteroid in 2 months?

Comment: Re:Alternatives (Score 1) 219

There is something similar to this with Amazon VOD, Google Play, and iTunes. You pay per episode of each show you want to watch or pay a discounted rate and get the entire season. It's more expensive than 25 cents per episode, though. On Amazon, episodes typically cost about $1.99 for SD versions or $1.89 for the entire season of SD versions. (Obviously, they cost more for the HD versions.)

Comment: Re:Alternatives (Score 2) 219

The content owners seem to treat Netflix as if it were just a baby step up from piracy, but in fact Netflix (and services like it) are the content owners' best weapon against piracy. Imagine if Netflix were given free reign to stream every TV show over a week old and every movie over a month old (from all content owners). Even if they raised their prices, Netflix would be quicker and easier to use than any pirating software out there. Sure, some people would still pirate, but those people would pirate no matter what. For the rest of the users, you would see a massive drop in piracy.

And yet, content owners keep content off of Netflix and plan on how best to kill off the service.

Comment: Re:So basically (Score 3) 825

by Jason Levine (#49737289) Attached to: Oregon Testing Pay-Per-Mile Driving Fee To Replace Gas Tax

"I'm sorry, but you can't drive on this road. You have a Nissan and Walmart Roadways has an exclusive agreement with Toyota. You need to be driving a Toyota to travel on this road. Don't worry, though, you can pay $5 per mile to go on the Walmart Service Road. Sure, it hasn't been repaved in years and it is only one lane with five lanes' worth of traffic, but there aren't any car brand restrictions!"

Comment: Re:One Assumption (Score 1) 607

by Jason Levine (#49727313) Attached to: The Demographic Future of America's Political Parties

I'm still hoping to see the GOP split into two. Group the looney fringe (the anti-science folks, the religious nuts, the Tea Party, etc) in one party and the actual, honest-to-goodness conservatives in another party. Let the "Looney GOP" tailspin into oblivion while the "Sane GOP" thrives as a worthy contender for my vote.

Comment: Re:One Assumption (Score 1) 607

by Jason Levine (#49727291) Attached to: The Demographic Future of America's Political Parties

It also doesn't take into account the political parties' platforms changing over time. There was once a time when supporting civil rights meant voting Republican and not Democrat. Since then, the parties flip-flopped. Right now, the Republican party seems to be heading down the "Old, Straight, Christian White Guys Only" path. As the OSCWGs die off, though, the remaining Republicans will start to have more of an influence as to the direction of the party and might change the platform. Things that might have been unthinkable for today's average Republican to support might be par for the course for future Republicans. (Imagine how a Civil Rights Era Republican might be viewed by today's Tea Party Republican.)

Comment: Re:Only Two Futures? (Score 2) 607

by Jason Levine (#49727157) Attached to: The Demographic Future of America's Political Parties

Voting for a third party candidate isn't likely to result in said candidate winning. However, if the third party candidate gets enough votes, one or both of the major parties will likely adopt the third party candidate's positions to gather more supporters.

I don't see voting third party as throwing away your vote. I see it as a protest vote. Yes, you could simply not vote in protest, but then your "protest" gets lost among the "I just can't be bothered to vote" crowd. Not voting is the only way you really throw away your vote. If neither major party candidate really strikes you as a good choice, go with a third party candidate as a protest vote over simply not voting.

Comment: Re:not the real question (Score 2) 200

No. It's the hero's geeky friend who hacks into the system which buys time for the well muscled hero to overpower the generic olive skinned hijackers (who are armed with machine guns that they somehow smuggled on board) with his bare hands and whatever he finds lying around.

Comment: Re:States Rights (Score 4, Interesting) 289

by Jason Levine (#49719901) Attached to: North Carolina Still Wants To Block Municipal Broadband

I'm fine with the state setting minimum requirements. (Your sewer system shouldn't back up into the public's basements. -- Yes, we've had this happen.)

However, the case of municipal broadband is the state setting a maximum requirement. "You can't provide this level of service - only less than this level." You can argue whether or not municipal broadband is a good idea and the answer will vary on a case by case basis, but a blanket ban on local governments providing this service is just wrong.

Comment: Re:Too Bad For North Carolinians! (Score 2) 289

by Jason Levine (#49719861) Attached to: North Carolina Still Wants To Block Municipal Broadband

Too bad about all these state legislators who seem to feel the need to protect their constituents from super-fast internet speeds at affordable rates that the private companies never seem to feel the need to deliver.

In these cases, these politicians' constituents are the big ISPs who don't want any competition (even in areas they refuse to serve), not the voting public.

Comment: Re:Why Would Anyone Want Gov't Broadband? (Score 2) 289

by Jason Levine (#49719843) Attached to: North Carolina Still Wants To Block Municipal Broadband

In some areas, the major ISPs haven't provided any wired, high-speed access. In this case, the local governments - after trying to get the major ISPs to come in and wire the town and being shot down by the ISPs - want to wire themselves. They are being prevented by doing so by the state who is acting on the request of the ISPs - who don't want any competition even if it's in an area they refuse to service. Assuming the citizens of the local town vote to form a municipal broadband service, why should the ISPs who have refused to service the town have more say in whether or not the municipal broadband network gets deployed than the public?

Comment: Re:Threshold of old (Score 1) 284

by Jason Levine (#49718777) Attached to: The Auto Industry May Mimic the 1980s PC Industry

Your comment brought to mind a recent Sheldon Comics take on how you react to basic pain.

In my case, my pain in getting up from the floor is usually in my muscles which protest at having been kept in a particular position for too long. A couple of seconds and I'm back to normal.

In any event, I think we can agree that old age doesn't begin at 25.

Comment: Re:You're dying off (Score 1) 284

by Jason Levine (#49717531) Attached to: The Auto Industry May Mimic the 1980s PC Industry

As I've gotten older, I've gotten used to a lot of things that I previously associated with "being old." My hair now has streaks of grey. The songs I grew up listening to now play on the "Oldies" station. (Despite my yelling at the radio that Billy Joel is NOT oldies.) Sitting on the floor is still easy, but getting up involves a lot of aching bones/muscles. (Not to mention groaning sounds.) I'm turning 40 in a few months, so there's another "I Feel Old" moment approaching.

But now I've been "old" and "dying" since the moment I turned 26?!!! When I was 26, I had been in the workforce (having graduated from college) a mere 4 years. I was just married a couple of months before my 26th birthday. I was definitely not "old" or "dying" (any more than anyone who is living your average life is "dying").

I might be slightly biased to define "old" as being 50-or-older (so that I don't get lumped into the "old" category), but "old" is definitely not anyone over 25.

Comment: Re:Yes, let's INCREASE waste (Score 2) 270

by Jason Levine (#49699607) Attached to: Here Comes the Keurig of Everything

My wife won a Keurig awhile back. She liked being able to produce single cups of coffee (because I don't drink coffee). However, the best Keurig-purchase she ever made was a reusable K-cup. You fill it with whatever coffee you want (anything from grind your own beans to buy pre-ground in bulk), run the Keurig, and then clean out the reusable K-cup for the next cup. She saves money, still gets her single cup of coffee, and has much less waste than buying a ton of one-time use K-cups.

Entropy isn't what it used to be.