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Comment Re: Running the numbers... (Score 1) 184

I've paid into this fund for over 70 line-years. Not sure what the rates were over that time (or how the inflation rate and other cost-of-money factors affected the value that was collected). If it had been at the current rate the dollar count would be maybe a quarter of one subscriber's subsidy. But the dollar has inflated by a factor of about ten over that period, so I expect I've paid in substantially more value than the average amount they'll be spending on one home's subsidy.

It will be interesting to see some of that money actually spent for the stated purpose. But given that this is a government operation I expect the usual level of SNAFU.

Comment Re:Does it have to be in China? (Score 1) 133

The Far East has plenty of factories that can ramp up production of any virtually any non-radical design in a matter of weeks. The West has no such industry, most factories aren't set up to build anything but specific products for the owners of the factory concerned, and it takes months to segue into new designs.

Which is why China is kicking our ass.

And that won't change either, as long as we assume manufacturing is somehow beneath us as a nation.

Comment Re:This is why (Score 1) 184

I love how the techbro libertarians exaggerate the amount of money "the parasites" have taken from them without ever acknowledging the benefits they have enjoyed, and the privilege they have gained from those benefits. They all believe they earned every cent from their natural talent and the sweat of their own brow.

It doesn't matter how much "benefits" the ruling class chose to trickle down on us. We didn't get the choice to forgo the alleged benefits and keep the money - just as we didn't get to opt out of the draft into the military and "service" in VietNam, along with the "benefits" accruing from that adventure.

Do you also support organized crime's operation, because they provide the benefit of services otherwise unavailable (because they're forbidden by the biggest gang), or in some cases suppressing other crime in the neigborhoods where the kingpins live?

Dirty little secret: They did it for THEMSELVES. What they "did for us" was what any farmer does for his cattle and sheep - keep them as healthy and happy as necessary to keep them productive, before slaughtering then when they've become a liability.

Comment Re:For me, it will always remain the mountain... (Score 4, Interesting) 275

I can't remember who it was... it might have been Halldór Laxnes... who said that a piece of nature isn't really a piece of nature unless it doesn't have a name. That is, the first thing people do once they start interacting with an object or place is to give it a name, and so once something is named it starts to become about the history of people rather than the history of the land itself. And that if you want to establish a real connection with nature, you don't go sit on top of that well-known named peak that people climb... you go to that little nameless stream or that remote nameless cliff or whatnot - places which tell only their own story.

Comment Re:Tradeoffs (Score 1) 42

More to the point, the James Webb telescope is supposed to be launched in late 2018; this flyby isn't until 2019. With seven times the light collecting area as Hubble, it could be a nice addition to the arsenal for finding bodies along Pluto's projected route (especially now that we know better what that route is going to be :) ) Though it operates in mid-IR to low-frequency visible, while Hubble operates primarily in visible/UV... I'm not sure how that would affect the ability to find solid objects. I know that far-IR is very good for it, but James Webb doesn't go down that far.

Comment Re:"clearing the neighborhood" (Score 1) 42

It's even worse than that. Compare Neptune's Stern-Levison parameter to Mars's. Neptune has at least two bodies that are each around 2-3% the mass of Mars in its "neighborhood" (quite possibly even larger ones), yet it has 290 times greater ability to "clear its neighborhood" than Mars. The concept that planets like Mars cleared their own neighborhood of bodies this size is not only unsupported by the research, but blatantly silly on the face of it. The IAU is attributing Jupiter's work at clearing the inner solar system to the inner planets in order to force their definition. And this isn't exactly news - pretty much all orbital dynamics simulations for a long time have been showing this.

Comment Re:While we're on the topic... (Score 1) 42

Mars is more than capable of clearing its neighborhood on its own, as seen by measures like the Stern-Levison parameter and others that have been derived from dynamics and simulation scalings. It isn't even close to being marginal.

Jupiter's Stern-Levison parameter is 1,38 million times larger than Mars's. No, Mars would not have "cleared its neighborhood"; it's well recognized in the literature that the majority of "neighborhood clearing" in our solar system was done by Jupiter and Saturn. There's lots of niggling over the exact details (here's one scenario), but there's no reputable peer-reviewed source involving orbital dynamics simulations arguing that Mars did the majority of work to clear its neighborhood. Heck, Neptune has a Stern-Levison parameter 290 times higher than Mars and it still has at least two bodies with around 1/50th the mass of Mars each in its neighborhood (and possibly even larger ones). If a 290 times greater ability to clear its neighborhood couldn't do it, why do you think Mars stands a chance on its own?

The whole "cleared the neighborhood" concept for planets is built on a bare falsehood: that the majority of them are actually responsible for clearing their own neighborhoods. The science says exactly the opposite: that the gas giants cleared the majority of bodies from our solar system.

Because some people care more about the dynamics of the planets and their orbits than what is on/in the planets. Even in geology on Earth, there are classifications for what makes up a mineral, and classifications for structures and locations they are found in.

Are you seriously trying to claim that, say, stilbite will be classified as a different mineral based on whether it occurs in Iceland or the United States? Minerals are what they are. The individual structures minerals are found in may have names (for example, the "Bakken Shale"), but those are just names. You know, like "Kuiper Belt".

Some geologists don't care where it came from as long as the make up is similar, others very much care if samples come from near the same location, even if they are very different minerals.

What on Earth are you talking about? If you're trying to say "Some scientists want to study the variety of objects in the Kuiper Belt and compare them to each other", then you already have a word for that: KBO.

You can go on and on about how dissimilar you think Jupiter and Earth are, but that doesn't change that there are metrics where they are much more similar than other rocky planets are to Earth.

You can't be serious.

Comment Re:A-10 for the Win (Score 2) 372

You realize that in that evaluation, the F-35 being tested was AF-2, a flight science model, right? It had:

  * No situational awareness software
  * No advanced weapons targeting software
  * No stealth coating

It was not designed to be a combat evaluation of the full system, rather just an attempt to stress the system with visual combat maneuvers.

That said, the F-35 is not designed to be a visual dogfighter. It has dogfighting capabilities, but its main design principle is high situational awareness enabling kills from far away - seeing the enemy from long before it itself is seen.

Comment Re:This is why (Score 1) 184

It's easy to snipe others for "sucking off the government teat" when you're young, healthy, and well-to-do. Try it when you're old, sick, unemployed or under-employed, and have been looted your whole working lifetime by that very government, to put milk into those teats for others to suck and ration you a few drops of your own back.

And don't dump on me for voting for it, either. I've voted against it since I was able to vote. (I was there for the founding of the libertarian movement - but didn't actually join the Party due to an issue with their wording of the non-aggression pledge.)

Comment Re:This is why (Score 1) 184

Man complaining about "the Soviet Left Coast" plans to retire comfortably collecting Social Security, using Medicare and sucking off the government teat.

Why not? These parasites sucked down OVER HALF MY PAY for DECADES. Then they'll pay me the social security pittance (and tax it) whether I want them to or not. I'll never get back the amount I paid (allegedly) "into the fund" on just THAT part of the money they took from me - assuming the whole thing doesn't go belly up before I do.

They might possibly end up paying me more inflated dollars if I live to be older than Methuselah. But it will pay nowhere near the actual value they stole. If I'd bought gold with that "social security deduction" instead of handing the money to Uncle Sam, I'd have been far, far ahead, even after storage, insurance, and commissions on both the purchases and the sales.

As for Medicare, they won't LET me do anything else (except pay for add-ons). The insurance companies, operating under the government's laws and mandates, DEMAND that I take the Medicare money: Even if I've paid full premiums for full coverage, and even when I hadn't signed up for medicare, once I was of age to be eligible for medicare they withheld the amount medicare is supposed to pay for a procedure and would only pay the miniscule difference if the doctor or hospital charged more or my deductable with medicare was higher than with the insurance. (Then, with Obamacare, they wouldn't renew.) If I try to refuse the coverage and try to pay it all out of pocket I'm either charged the massive
"uninsured patient list price" or just refused service.

It's easy to snipe others for "sucking off the government teat" when you're young, healthy, and well-to-do. Try it when you're old, sick, unemployed or under-employed, and have been looted your whole working lifetime by that very government, to put milk into those teats for others to suck and ration you a few drops of your own back.

Life is a healthy respect for mother nature laced with greed.

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