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Comment Re:An even better design? (Score 3, Insightful) 172

You're talking about a project that's 10 times longer than the Channel Tunnel, which took 6 years and cost £13 billion in today's dollars. Of course, there's no English Channel overhead, so you can make boreholes overhead and pull out the rock that way instead of hauling it along the length of the tunnel. But on the other hand, you don't have the advantage of being able to choose the tunnels' path to get favorable geology - given the higher speeds, you're pretty much stuck with going through whatever rock is in your way.

Plus, a straight line tube is not going to accelerate rapidly enough to get you there in 43 minutes. Are you assuming that you're going to be accelerating at 9.81 m/s^2? I think you'd be closer to 0.3 m/s^2.

Comment Not a good idea to leave VP slot empty (Score 1) 458

Once the new VP becomes President, then filling the VP slot will require the approval of Congress. I doubt that a Republican Congress would be willing to approve someone who would be acceptable to Democrats. Lessig's whole idea also robs the voters of the ability to choose the VP.

Plus, leaving the VP slot empty and making Boehner a heartbeat away from the presidency is a terrible idea.

Comment Re:"Drug Companies Seek to Exploit"!!! (Score 2) 93

Let me make the assumption that it's equally difficult to block or synthesize the protein which brakes bone growth. Let's pretend for a second that it would cost the same amount of money to do both, but there isn't enough money, so only one can be done. Blocking the protein would help millions with osteoporosis, while synthesizing it will help the thousands with sclerosteosis. It makes more sense to me to improve the lives of millions of osteoporosis sufferers first. This holds true regardless of whether or not the research is being done for profit.

Comment Re:Many will say that this is bad advice but (Score 1) 54

In the words of H.L. Mencken, "for every complex problem, there is a solution which is simple, neat, and wrong." Running your credit into the ground is an example of this type of solution. Credit reports are, like it or not, used for judging your suitability/risk for jobs, insurance, and other tasks not related to taking out a loan. Damaging your own report may be far more costly than you realize.

In general, I do agree with you about paying off your debts and not overextending yourself. I have credit cards, but I pay them off every month. When I buy a new car (which isn't often), I pay cash. However, what's right for me isn't right for everybody. If I needed a more reliable car in order to get a job and didn't have the cash, then I would take out a loan and pay it off as soon as possible.

Comment Re:I'm willing to risk it! (Score 1) 143

I was wondering the same thing. Perhaps there is some scarce resource that could be easily depleted by having too many people concentrated in one place? I don't know what that could be - there's no water, for example. Or perhaps there's some activity (e.g., mining) which would best be separated from the main settlements for safety reasons.

Comment ITT: Textualists of the world, unite! (Score 4, Insightful) 591

Most of the comments here seem to be saying that the case was decided incorrectly because the text of the law was clear and the intent doesn't matter. However, there are lots of other cases where the text of the law is equally clear and yet SCOTUS has ruled that intent matters. Let's start with the First Amendment. It's obvious that slander laws run afoul of the plain text of the First Amendment. Which part of "Congress shall make no law..." is unclear? None at all. Yet SCOTUS has ruled slander laws are allowed, as well as laws preventing inciting a riot (e.g., yelling "Fire!" in a crowded theater).

For another example near and dear to conservatives' hearts, consider the Second Amendment. The Roberts court has ruled (District of Columbia vs. Heller, 2008) that the Second Amendment establishes an individual right to carry arms, despite the fact the amendment only mentions carrying arms in the context of a militia.

With the current case, the intent of the law was clear (and most of the drafters are still around to ask), so that's what SCOTUS used. Judges aren't just implementations of parsing algorithms that spit out yes or no results based on the text of the laws.

Comment Re:Gonna buy a ticket to Star Wars this December? (Score 1) 614

Isn't this incredibly risky for Disney? the government could cut down on the numbers of h1b's any year and then they would be boned.

No, it's not risky. First, any reduction in H1-Bs would only affect future years. It's very unlikely that Congress would throw out existing visa holders. Second, Disney wouldn't care even if they do throw out existing visa holders. This is because the newly-trained Infosys employees are probably already back in India, where their wages are much, much lower than comparable wages in America. If these workers stayed in America, they would be entitled to pay comparable to those of the recently laid off workers, so there would be no savings to Disney.

Comment He can tell us, he just chooses not to (Score 4, Insightful) 107

The first paragraph of Article 1, Section 6 is (emphasis added):

The Senators and Representatives shall receive a Compensation for their Services, to be ascertained by Law, and paid out of the Treasury of the United States. They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.

See the Wikipedia article on the Speech and Debate Clause or read it for yourself in the Constitution. So he can talk all about the program during a speech on the floor of the Senate, and nothing can be done to him.

Comment Re:The fine wasn't all of the punishment (Score 3, Informative) 192

If Knight had put the $460 million in a pile and burned it, there would be no fine. The problem was that their algorithm was wildly buying and selling shares in the open market, and thus distorting that market. See the graph at for an example of a stock that was affected. What if you were an investor in that stock who had set a stop-loss at $10? Knight's wild selling would have triggered the stop-loss, and you'd lose money because of Knight's actions. This gross market distortion is what the fine was meant to punish.

Comment Re:Not SOX, just GAAP (Score 1) 619

No. What you may be thinking of is the rule that if a sale in one period is contingent on an event in another period, then you can't book all of the revenue from the sale in the first period. However, that doesn't apply here, since sales of the iPod Touch were not contingent on anything (nitpick: Apple has to make the usual set-asides for returns, repairs covered by the limited warranty, etc.). There is absolutely no accounting reason why Apple can't give away the software update.

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