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Comment: Re:Come on (Score 3, Insightful) 58

by ShanghaiBill (#49387381) Attached to: Mutinous Humans Murder Peaceful Space-going AI

You are obviously missing a humor co-processor, HAL-8999

I am missing mine as well. I don't think any of these are funny. A good April Fools joke should be plausible enough that gullible people believe it, and even normal people should have to read it twice to be sure. The funniest part is not the joke itself, but the overreaction, and hopefully even outrage, from the people that fall for it. None of these stories are plausible in the least.

Comment: Re:Woop Di Do Da! (Score 2) 224

Considering just how far north it is, that's still impressive, if not to you.

Not just north, but also cloudy. But that is not impressive, it is dumb. Reducing CO2 is a global problem. They could have got that much reduction at half the cost if they had subsidized solar panels in Spain and then imported the energy. Or build solar plants in Egypt or Ethiopia, and then sold the carbon credits.

Comment: Re:Hindenburg? (Score 4, Insightful) 131

by ShanghaiBill (#49384067) Attached to: World's Largest Aircraft Seeks Investors To Begin Operation

I think the bigger thing here, in terms of travel, is that it only goes 80 knots.

It is not intended for passenger transportation. It is for things like cargo to remote areas, or reconnaissance. If it can be automated, with no crew, then it can use hydrogen rather than helium, since there will be no risk to human life.


Comment: Re:Way too many humanities majors (Score 4, Insightful) 366

by ShanghaiBill (#49379735) Attached to: Why America's Obsession With STEM Education Is Dangerous

... using this STEM market glut as a prime example.

People with STEM degrees have lower unemployment, and higher salaries. To say there is a "glut" relative to humanities is silly.

the ability to deal with people, to write well, to communicate, to create, these are also important job skills.

They are indeed important skills. But they are not "humanities". Sitting through a lecture on philosophy or sociology does not make one a better communicator, or better able to deal with people.

Comment: Re:How did they get caught? (Score 1) 143

by ShanghaiBill (#49374573) Attached to: Silk Road Investigators Charged With Stealing Bitcoin

Not to take too much away from your comment, but the secret service agents were caught because they failed to pay for it.

He did pay. Just not enough. He failed to agree on a price ahead of time. The next morning he offered ~$200, and she demanded ~$700. He refused, and she reported it to the police (prostitution is legal in Colombia).

Comment: Re:WWJD? (Score 3, Insightful) 1145

Trust me -- the small business bakery market will weed out those who want to miss great business opportunities

You could say the same thing about businesses that refused to sell to blacks ... except they didn't go bankrupt, and racist business practices continued for a century after the civil war, until they were finally outlawed. The "free market" did not, and does not, fix discrimination.

Comment: Re: Chrome OS is a joke (Score 2) 109

Unless you're taking a course in programming or programming as a professional, you don't really need a computer for computing.

Even for learning programming, a Chromebook is good enough. At my neighborhood school they start teaching Scratch in 4th grade. It runs in a browser. For older kids, they move on to the Khan Academy programming lessons, which use JavaScript, which also runs in a browser. A "real" computer isn't needed until high school, for the 5% of the students that take AP-CS, which uses Java.

Comment: Re:No they don't (Score 1) 221

by ShanghaiBill (#49372089) Attached to: Chinese Scientists Plan Solar Power Station In Space

That is incredibly unlikely without some other super-mega sci-fi project like a space elevator.

Or a lunar mass driver. Panels are made from silicon. The moon has plenty. So refine the silicon into ingots on the moon, launch them using a mass driver toward a zero-G manufacturing plant that converts then into panels.

Comment: Re:No they don't (Score 1) 221

by ShanghaiBill (#49371993) Attached to: Chinese Scientists Plan Solar Power Station In Space

You may have missed the point of the linked article. If you improve the tech of the panels, then the relative advantage of mounting them on the ground *improves*.

That is true if the efficiency of the panels improve, but nothing else changes.
But tech can improve in many ways:
1. The panels may get much lighter, till they weigh as much as a sheet of mylar.
2. Launch tech improves, and brings the cost of cargo to orbit way down.
3. The tech for transmitting and receiving power through space improves.

Comment: Re:No they don't (Score 1) 221

by ShanghaiBill (#49371901) Attached to: Chinese Scientists Plan Solar Power Station In Space

You know what makes even more sense than that? Putting solar panels on fucking rooftops or on the ground.

On a roof or ground, you have the cost of the panel, plus frame and mounts. You also have reduced output, and maintenance costs from dust. You have reduced output from atmosphere and clouds. And after all that, cut the output in half again because of the varying angle over the day and through the seasons. Put it on a stratospheric kite, balloon, or kite-balloon-hybrid, and you can easily double or triple your output. Is it worth it? I dunno.

Comment: Re:No they don't (Score 4, Interesting) 221

by ShanghaiBill (#49369803) Attached to: Chinese Scientists Plan Solar Power Station In Space

Will never happen.

It certainly won't happen until we get better tech, but never say "never". But TFA is about some 93 year old retired Chinese geezer "mulling" the idea. He is speaking only for himself, and has no budget whatsoever. There is no "news" here.

Putting solar panels on high altitude kites or balloons may make a more sense. They would be above most clouds, and could be tilted to always directly face the sun.

Adding features does not necessarily increase functionality -- it just makes the manuals thicker.