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Comment: Re:The Chinese are not the soviets (Score 1) 229

by hey! (#49793149) Attached to: Neil DeGrasse Tyson Urges America To Challenge China To a Space Race

The chinese and americans make too much money off each other to go to war with each other.

Which of course means we are no threat whatsoever to to each other, because on both sides of the relationship the leadership is and is guaranteed continued to be completely rational.

Comment: Re:next up: ban cars (Score 1) 113

by hey! (#49790609) Attached to: Thanks To the Montreal Protocol, We Avoided Severe Ozone Depletion

Well, driving cars in urban centers generally sucks between the traffic and finding parking. The problem is people are too stubborn to get their act together and provide abundant satellite parking and transit links. Sure, driving your car right up to a store is ideal when you're the only one doing it, but there's a reason malls are built with parking on the periphery and pedestrian access at the core. If parking was the most pleasant and convenient way to get a lot of people into a confined area you'd be able to drive right into Disney World and park your car at Space Mountain.

Comment: Re:nonsense (Score 3, Insightful) 113

by hey! (#49790515) Attached to: Thanks To the Montreal Protocol, We Avoided Severe Ozone Depletion

Anything that happens inflates someone's bank account. If governments ban CFCs then people with CFC substitutes get a windfall. If governments don't ban CFCs then makers of sunscreen and skin cancer treatments get a windfall.

This is how capitalism works -- how it's supposed to work. Problems attract capital, which generates profits. But it's also how market solutions fall short. It's better for the public if someone makes a killing replacing CFC than if someone else makes a killing treating skin cancer.

Comment: Misses the strategic imperative for Android. (Score 1) 321

by hey! (#49790287) Attached to: The Tricky Road Ahead For Android Gets Even Trickier

Google's core businesses would be seriously damaged if Apple obtained a monopoly on mobile computing. If it breaks even and prevents Apple hegemony it's as much of a success as it needs to be.

As for the supposed switching of Android users to iPhone, notice the tortured stipulations in this sentence: "the 'majority' of those who switched to iPhone had owned a smartphone running Android." It's also no doubt true that the majority of users who switched to new Android phone had owned a smartphone running Android in the past. The vast majority of smartphones out there are Android, and that's been true for years now, so it's not surprising that someone buying a new smartphone of any kind has previously owned *some* android handset.

Comment: Re:Russian rocket motors (Score 1) 61

by Bruce Perens (#49787045) Attached to: SpaceX Cleared For US Military Launches

Russia would like for us to continue gifting them with cash for 40-year-old missle motors, it's our own government that doesn't want them any longer. For good reason. That did not cause SpaceX to enter the competitive process, they want the U.S. military as a customer. But it probably did make it go faster.

Also, ULA is flying 1960 technology, stuff that Mercury astronauts used, and only recently came up with concept drawings for something new due to competitive pressure from SpaceX. So, I am sure that folks within the Air Force wished for a better vendor but had no choice.

Comment: Read about the author of the article... (Score 0) 58

by CajunArson (#49786113) Attached to: The Marshall Islands, Nuclear Testing, and the NPT

"A senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies, Robert Alvarez served as senior policy adviser to the Energy Department's secretary and deputy assistant secretary for national security and the environment from 1993 to 1999. During this tenure, he led teams in North Korea to establish control of nuclear weapons materials. "

Yeah... bitter old man seeking payback over his failures so now he's on to this crusade since he knows the U.S. government won't do anything to him.

Comment: Context (Score 3, Informative) 61

by Bruce Perens (#49782349) Attached to: SpaceX Cleared For US Military Launches

This ends a situation in which two companies that would otherwise have been competitive bidders decided that it would cost them less to be a monopoly, and created their own cartel. Since they were a sole provider, they persuaded the government to pay them a Billion dollars a year simply so that they would retain the capability to manufacture rockets to government requirements.

Yes, there will be at least that Billion in savings and SpaceX so far seems more than competitive with the prices United Launch Alliance was charging. There will be other bidders eventually, as well.

Comment: Re:It only increases accountability (Score 4, Interesting) 288

by hey! (#49779303) Attached to: Amtrak Installing Cameras To Watch Train Engineers

Well, speaking of Amtrak employee accountability, I have a story about that. A few years ago my family took a train ride across the country. When we changed trains in Chicago I noticed that the reading light in my sleeping compartment was stuck on, which of course was bad if I wanted to actually sleep. I found the friendly and helpful attendant and reported it, and her reaction was like watching a balloon deflate.

"What's wrong?" I asked.

"If we report damage they take it out of our wages," she said.

"What! What do you mean take it out of your wages?" I asked.

"If a car is damaged under my watch I have to pay for it," she said.

"Well," I said, taking out my swiss army knife, "I guess there's nothing to see here."

I have to say that I've never encountered such a nice, enthusiastic, friendly group of people with such an abysmally low morale as the crew of a cross-country train. With passengers they're great, but all through the trip I'd see two or three congregated having low muttered conversations. It didn't take me long to figure out they were talking about management. And while the experience was wonderful, the equipment was in horrible shape. It was like traveling in a third world country.

With management that bad, more data doesn't equal more accountability and better performance. It means scapegoating.

Comment: Re:Too bad to see them go this way... (Score 1) 164

by N7DR (#49778427) Attached to: Mandriva Goes Out of Business

Yes; as you say, in the 2002--2004 timeframe they were great. My experience was that it all started to fall apart when 64-bit machines came along. For a year or more Mandrake's 64-bit repositories were full of broken packages that simply would not install. I kept with them as long as I could, through the change to Mandriva, but nothing seemed to improve very much so I eventually switched the up-and-coming shininess that was *buntu. Which was great for a few years, before their quality control went the same way as Mandrake's had done :-(

Comment: Re:Maybe science went off the rails... (Score 2) 393

by hey! (#49775243) Attached to: Can Bad Scientific Practice Be Fixed?

If 99/100 scientists agree one thing is true, it's more likely to be true than the alternative backed by 1/100 scientists.

Which is beside the point. Consensus isn't about truth, it's about burden of proof.

Suppose Alice and Bob both try to make a perpetual motion machine. Alice claims she has failed, but Bob claims he has succeeded. The scientific community treats Alice's claims of failure without skepticism but it automatically assumes that Bob has made a mistake somewhere.

Does that seem unfair to Bob? Well, imagine you're a rich guy and Alice and Bob are both applying to you for a job. Bob says you should give the job to him because he's your long-lost fraternal twin your parents never told you about and which the hospital hushed up for some reason. When you mention this to Alice she freely admits she is not related to you. You automatically believe Alice, so is it fair to Bob to be skeptical of his claims?

It's a case of "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. In either case Bob can prove his claim, it's more complicated and time consuming because he has to explain what went wrong with all the prior knowledge. Alice's claims in either case are consistent with what you reasonably believe to be true so you can reasonably assume she's correct.

The trouble with doing something right the first time is that nobody appreciates how difficult it was.

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