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Comment Not Trade but Arms Control and Nonproliferation (Score 1) 29

Trade is an issue, but it was definitely focused on nuclear nonproliferation. Given the very direct link between rockets to deliver satellites into orbit and rockets to deliver nuclear warheads, there was interest among many nations, especially as the Cold War winded down, to ensure these sorts of arms races never developed. Japan, having been on the receiving end of a nuclear weapon, had strong reasons to promote nuclear nonproliferation. At that time as well, there were hopes that with Japan signing onto limiting rocket technology, it could also help prevent nations like North Korea from chasing down the nuclear tech tree. Sadly, history didn't play out that way, but you can understand where they were coming from.

Comment Re:This is why ISIS wins (Score 2) 591

Agreed, a lot of the groundwork for the Cold War was laid out toward the latter half of the Second World War. By 1944, when it looked like the Axis' fall was well on its way, they spent just as much time positioning themselves for the post-war era: the Soviets providing captured Japanese equipment to the Chinese Communists, the United States (in small part) nuking Japan to bring a quick end to the war and prevent a Soviet occupation of Japan, the rush to capture German territories by Allied powers.

Comment Axiety from Breaking Assumption of Unlimited Data (Score 1) 622

The problem that we face, and my guess the reason for the anxiety among the public, is that we've built an entire Internet ecosystem that is built around the assumption of unlimited data. Video and application streaming, network storage / cloud, VoIP and FaceTime, digital software distribution, streaming advertising, and even things like "work from home"... the whole American Internet ecosystem was built around the assumption that monthly data consumption was not an issue, and it's been like this for decades. You have entire generations of people who have grown up, knowing nothing but unlimited data; numerous companies building software from AAPL to a startup without having to worry about data consumption. Suddenly, you have ISP's coming out of nowhere shattering assumption, and it's going to throw the whole system into chaos. Users never paid attention to how much data their lifestyles consumed, and now they have to quantify and track something they never had done before. Doesn't matter if the cap is set at a reasonable level, the unknown of it, the sudden change of the assumption, is going to make people uneasy, scared and angry. Companies who have people working from home because they assume that those employees have unlimited data - are they going to face bills from their employees for the data that was consumed? Advertisers who streamed unwanted videos - does it go from just an annoyance to a real cost pain point for users? Is FaceTiming grandma have a much more discreet cost? Even the idea of something in the past as simple as watching a YouTube video all of a sudden has a real, quantifiable cost attached to it.

Comment Japan has Problems but Not Driven by Technology (Score 1) 360

The Japanese economy does have some significant problems, but it's driven by broader structural challenges versus their decision to use fax machines instead of email. Their economy has stalled for about twenty years, effectively shrinking over time. While unemployment has been kept low, it's come at the expense of economic growth and stagnant wages, leading to shrinking household buying power as inflation grows faster than incomes. Meanwhile, the global marketplace has become more and more competitive, making it even harder for Japan to restart their export-driven economy. Lots of really smart people debating on how they got there and how they can break out, but so far, the Japanese government efforts to try and spend their way out has only led to massive public debt. In short, Japan has much bigger problems that modernizing IT isn't going to solve.

Comment Questionable Accuracy: Include Gay, Latina Mayors (Score 5, Interesting) 546

The short post of four US Senators and five US mayors includes one openly gay mayor and a older Latina woman who started her political career organizing Mexican laborers with Cesar Chavez. That alone casts a bit of doubt on the accuracy of this list.

An alternative theory - a lot of these individuals may have signed up for these mailing lists simply to monitor these groups, and some of them may have just been signed up by other people as a prank. Just pulling information from a mailing list hardly represents membership.

Comment Raytheon Owns Websense, $500M commercial cyber bus (Score 1) 62

Based on the posts, I think people don't realize that Raytheon owns computer security firm Websense through a joint venture, a deal where Raytheon merged their own $400M valuation commercial cybersecurity business into the Websense to create a half a billion dollar commercial cyber business. That doesn't even cover their existing government networks, communications and cyber business which is a very different animal altogether. Therefore, the statements that the firm somehow doesn't have any software and cybersecurity chops as stated by the OP is a bit absurd.

Comment Bringing Manufacturing, Not Manufacturing Jobs (Score 1) 102

A distinction that needs to be made: we're bringing manufacturing back to the United States but not necessarily all the manufacturing jobs. Automation and other manufacturing efficiencies developed over the last three decades means we can make more with much few people, and even the quality of those jobs is different from before - in the old days, it would be large numbers of middle class, blue collar jobs. Now, it's a small handful of highly skilled white collar workers and an army of minimum wage individuals who only have their jobs because they're still cheaper than a robot.

Comment For HVAC, makes sense, but may lose on aesthetics (Score 3, Insightful) 89

As the article noted, the double benefit of this system is not just the token energy it generates but the ability to better control HVAC costs by reducing the amount of heat that goes in through the windows, reducing demands on air conditioning in the summer. That being said, based on the pictures, this system is not pretty: the lines running through the translucent cells are rather annoying to look at and could be shot down by builders for the aesthetics alone. It would be better if they could deploy this as some sort of window shade that can be retracted to allow for unobstructed views (looking at the photos of the sample setup, it reminds me of the translucent shades used in a lot of newer offices), but I don't think this technology is there.

Comment Re:Wait until the next step... (Score 2) 456

Now that they've started to gain ground, imagine the next steps: they start suing you because your Wi-Fi router is harming them, suing coffee shops and restaurants to remove Wi-Fi hotspots because of the harm it causes them, telecom companies to remove cell towers because it is harmful to them, etc. This will not end well...

Especially if they do get this classified as a disability and start trying to leverage Americans with Disabilities Act.

Comment Wait until the next step... (Score 1) 456

Now that they've started to gain ground, imagine the next steps: they start suing you because your Wi-Fi router is harming them, suing coffee shops and restaurants to remove Wi-Fi hotspots because of the harm it causes them, telecom companies to remove cell towers because it is harmful to them, etc. This will not end well...

Mice Brainpower Boosted With Alteration of a Single Gene 105

Zothecula writes: By altering a single gene to inhibit the activity of an enzyme called phosphodiesterase (PDE4B), researchers have given mice the opportunity to see what an increase in intelligence is like. "They tended to learn faster, remember events longer and solve complex exercises better than ordinary mice. For example, the “brainy mice” showed a better ability than ordinary mice to recognize another mouse that they had been introduced to the day before (abstract). They were also quicker at learning the location of a hidden escape platform in a test called the Morris water maze. However, the PDE4B-inhibited mice also showed less recall of a fearful event after several days than ordinary mice." While many people would welcome such a treatment, the scientists say their research could lead to new treatments for those with cognitive disorders and age-related cognitive decline.

Comment Spark Filters' IBM 402 (Score 1) 620

My favorite story in this category has to be Sparkler Filters based in Conroe, TX. Apparently, they still have a IBM 402, the only known remaining working system of this classic 1948 model. The Computer History Museum tried to coax the company in selling their system to them as an exhibit, but apparently, they failed. The company will reconsider as they slowly phase out the punch card system for PC's.

Comment Suffering of a few vs. suffering of a billion (Score 1) 93

It's an unfortunate situation for those with the rare conditions; there's a lot more potential profit in finding a way to genetically prevent pain for billions of people than it is to cure the handful with the condition.

This one line in the opening comment rubbed me the wrong way, that some how, the pain and suffering of those billions of people is less important than the handful ill with a rare condition. It's not just crassly about profits, but it's a real ethical dilemma - maybe for the greater good, greatest bang for your research buck, focusing on those billions is a greater benefit to humanity than the small handful with an extremely rare condition. I hate making this statement because I don't want to downplay the severe suffering of those with rare genetic disorders, but I feel the issue is more nuanced than the hand waving the original post does on the trade off.

How many Bavarian Illuminati does it take to screw in a lightbulb? Three: one to screw it in, and one to confuse the issue.