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Comment: Re:Conspiracy (Score 2) 210

Quite the opposite; I was thinking of the contented Western middle class* - the scholarly class if you will - that's so settled into its world of aspirational brands, entertainment media and convenience that it has forgotten that its forefathers used to be politically and socially active.

Shit, people dependent upon the "welfare state" can't even change jobs without checking whether it clashes with the terms and conditions of their funding.

*I believe the American expression would be more like "upper middle class"

Comment: Re:We can't live without these things? (Score 1) 210

To be blunt, politicians. Everyone who agreed with the establishment and supported the ongoing maintenance of a solar storm readiness plan would get to be the bozo whose big scheme sat there wasting money, and only once in a while would any of them get to play hero.

Comment: Re:I will invest in that. (Score 3, Interesting) 168

by Sockatume (#47531081) Attached to: Amazon's Ambitious Bets Pile Up, and Its Losses Swell

Twenty years without turning a meaningful profit isn't a clever part of a long-term strategy, it's an entire ongoing business model. Even if Amazon wanted to turn the switch and start making money hand over fist somehow, it would take them decades to transform the kind of business they're in.

Amazon, as it exists now, will never be a wise investment.

Comment: Re:surpising (Score 1) 168

by Sockatume (#47531057) Attached to: Amazon's Ambitious Bets Pile Up, and Its Losses Swell

I'm not sure that's true any more. One of the biggest businesses they were trying to compete, entertainment media, with has gone digital and despite their best efforts they're only remotely competitive in the books area. If their goal was to kill off retail stores and then dominate physical media delivery, it looks like they missed the boat by five years.

Comment: Re:FUD filled.... (Score 5, Informative) 210

A solar storm isn't like a local EMP happening everywhere at once. It has a much lower intensity. It affects things like power grids is because they're spread over an enormous area, so the induced currents add up, but it won't even tickle systems that are disconnected from that grid.

+ - Outlook grim for orbiting Russian zero-G sex geckos

Submitted by Sockatume
Sockatume (732728) writes "Lee Hutchison at Ars Technica reports with sadness that a mission which would study the effects of freefall on lizard reproduction has gone awry. Due to control failures, it not be possible to return the capsule and its menagerie of experimental life forms to Earth. Data collection is still possible, meaning that the creatures' sacrifice will not be in vain."

Comment: Re:First pass (Score 4, Informative) 43

by Sockatume (#47529939) Attached to: Comet To Make Close Call With Mars

Can I take a moment to talk about how mind-crushingly vast the Oort cloud is? It doesn't begin until something on the order of 100 times the orbit of the furthest known dwarf planets, and then it goes out about a quarter of the way to the nearest neighbouring star. It's so far away that, being composed of inert space junk, we have no direct observational evidence of its existence. I mean, space is big, big to the point where thinking hard about Jupiter makes my temples ache, but the Oort cloud is something else entirely. And that's just an object on a planetary system scale!

Comment: Re:Your next supercar. (Score 1) 136

by Sockatume (#47529569) Attached to: Will Your Next Car Be Covered In Morphing Dimples?

Most people buy supercars for the aesthetic allusions to cutting-edge technology, not because they genuinely benefit from the disk brakes, carbon fibre, or exposed engine parts that accomplish that allusion. I mean, they even put that stuff in vehicle ranges that genuinely have no need for it, because it's part of the "performance" style. I dare say that if golf ball dimpling (probably strategically deployed on particular parts of the chassis) starts appearing in, say, F1 racing - where efficiency is a differentiator - then it'll become a popular part of the supercar look.

Comment: What about non-computing/engineering fields? (Score 2) 171

by Sockatume (#47522745) Attached to: For Half, Degrees In Computing, Math, Or Stats Lead To Other Jobs

The STEM label mushes together computing fields and engineering, which have high pay and demand for jobs, with the sciences, which to be completely honest with you don't pay that great and have about a twenty to one candidate to job ratio. What would the result be like if we split them, I wonder?

"You know, we've won awards for this crap." -- David Letterman