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Comment Not the first full recovery from space (Score 1) 121

SpaceShip One touched space and all elements were recovered and flew to space again.

BO's demonstration is more publicity than practical rocketry. It doesn't look like the aerodynamic elements of BO's current rocket are suitable for recovery after orbital injection, just after a straight up-down space tourism flight with no potential for orbit, just like SpaceShip One (and Two). They can't put an object in space and have it stay in orbit. They can just take dudes up for a short and expensive view and a little time in zero gee.

It's going to be real history when SpaceX recovers the first stage after an orbital injection, in that it will completely change the economics of getting to space and staying there.

Comment Re: Micropayments? (Score 2) 221

Well, part of it is that even a small payment can still incur a psychologically large cost. If each user post here on /. cost one cent to read, would you want to have them load automatically? Probably not, many of them are not worth that much, and you could quickly run up a bill of a few hundred dollars a year on that sort of thing from this site alone. So instead you'd have to take more time to think about what was worth spending even a little on, because it adds up and the price doesn't really match the value to you of the thing you'd be paying for.

Something similar happens when people have metered or capped Internet usage compared to at least nominally unlimited usage.

You really can't avoid this problem unless the micropayment is so small that it is likely not worth the cost to implement. I suppose if I knew that a year's worth of micro payments for me, for everything I use, was no more than about a dollar a year in total, it wouldn't be so much that it would feel like I was wasting money on the Internet. But because the average user doesn't want to spend a noticeable amount ever, and there really aren't that many users in comparison to sites, the resulting pie of money wouldn't be much to split up. (Especially once you reduce the amount to account for lower average incomes elsewhere in the world)

Comment Re:Another in a long series of marketing mistakes (Score 1) 137

You'd need a popular product to pull off obtaining second-clientage from governments, and you'd need not to reveal that your device had legal intercept.

This is just a poorly-directed company continuing to shoot itself in the foot. It's not made its product desirable for government, or for anyone else.

Comment Another in a long series of marketing mistakes (Score 2) 137

There's a truism in marketing that you can only differentiate your product on the parts that the customer sees and uses. Blackberry just can't learn this lesson. They tried differentiating on the OS kernel, which the customer never sees. And now on an insecurity feature that the customer won't be allowed to use. It's been a protracted death spiral, but it's a continuing one.

Comment What's Wrong with the Hobbit? (Score 2) 175

The Hobbit books are to a great extent about race war. The races are alien and fictional, but they are races, and the identification of good or bad is on racial boundaries. This isn't all that unusual in the fantasy genre, or even some sci-fi.

Lots of people love those books. And there's lots of good in them. To me, the race stuff stuck out.

Comment Re:On this I side with facebook (Score 2) 147

Option 2: Active editors. These forums are cultivated, maintained, and very ban-heavy. As a side-effect, the forum can be held responsible for third-party content.

Not true in the US (other than, potentially, with copyright issues and the like).

Remember, the CDA was intended to encourage providers to engage in censorship. Since the previous state of affairs was as you suggest, the way that they were encouraged to censor was to remove liability for material posted by third parties. But since many sites don't care, and the CDA protects them fully no matter what they do or don't do, it didn't really work out. Also other parts of the CDA turned out to be unconstitutional.

Comment Re:Reward networks for not upgrading (Score 1) 75

What happens on eBay is just a market. It's fundamental that a properly working market works to determine the optimum price for whatever is being sold. A properly working market would have multiple sellers and multiple buyers, all with somewhat differing circumstances. Improperly working markets are dominated by a single vendor, etc. No market works perfectly, there are always factors that cause markets to be less efficient than they should be.

Demand pricing is something one vendor does deliberately and with calculation. In contrast, the market pricing is arrived at as the aggregate of the behavior of many people. The market's actually broken if the calculation of one person can influence it disproportionately.

Comment Re:Amazon Model (Score 1) 75

First, there's no shortage of interurban data links for these companies to use if they're willing to. A shortage of infrastructure is a myth.

Second, the customers will indeed abscond, but not to conventional telephone companies.

Anyone who is considering how to jack up voice call pricing is moving around deck chairs on the Titanic.

Comment Re:Reward networks for not upgrading (Score 1) 75

No definition of "surge pricing" could include eBay because it's an auction with multiple independent bidders. Uber, on the other hand, is one bidder with multiple operators who work through its pricing structure. Experienced Uber operators actually avoid areas with high dynamic pricing because there's too much traffic around them. It's more profitable to do three less expensive rides than one expensive one.

Uber dynamic pricing fails the riders, and fails the operators. Uber still makes its money, they don't particularly care that they aren't serving either bloc efficiently.

Comment Re:Why aren't radio satellites pushed out of orbit (Score 1) 203

The problem is that the asymmetry doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

I have no problem with the mission of investigating fringe theories. But I don't think they deserve a bit of publicity until they raise an orbit in space. I know a guy at CERN who had a bad connector, and it told them something was happening faster than light.

Comment Re:Why aren't radio satellites pushed out of orbit (Score 2) 203

For me to confuse an EM Drive with a photon drive, I would have to believe in the EM Drive. I happen to be a member of a private club called AMSAT that has its latest cubesat in orbit right now, and that is OSCAR 85 in a series running since 1963. Obviously, there isn't really anything standing in the way of testing this on a cubesat. I'm sure that if you can raise something's orbit that there will be a lot more attention. Until then, color me dubious.

Space is to place as eternity is to time. -- Joseph Joubert