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Comment: Re:Not MAD. (Score 1) 95

by DerekLyons (#47971267) Attached to: US Revamping Its Nuclear Arsenal

Further, we can only hope that some other countries like China and India are being honest with the numbers they claim. The US and Russia may be completely outpaced and not know it.

That's the folly of the Cold War and the Cold Warrior mentality - WE MUST HAVE MORE THAN THE OTHER GUY. Weapons piled on weapons piled on weapons neither increases security nor improves the chances of "winning" a nuclear exchange. Once you have enough to dismember the Other Guy (or to at least put him in the national equivalent of an ICU), more weapons just means you have more weapons - you can only destroy him once no matter how many weapons you have. That's the essential philosophy of Minimal Deterrence.

Comment: Not MAD. (Score 4, Interesting) 95

by DerekLyons (#47970821) Attached to: US Revamping Its Nuclear Arsenal

*Sigh* A former cold warrior you may be, but all you do is give proof to what I've long said - a worm's eye view doesn't make you an expert. Or even knowledgeable. (And yeah, the view of a launch control officer is pretty low level). Having been an SSBN weapons tech (and FTB to be precise), I'm quite aware of just how little can be seen from the operating level.

America's nuclear strategy isn't MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction), and hasn't been for a couple of decades now. The strategy we're working towards now is Minimal Deterrence - the smallest number of weapons needed for deterrence.

Comment: Re:The WHO (Score 1) 375

by Sarten-X (#47968885) Attached to: Bioethicist At National Institutes of Health: "Why I Hope To Die At 75"

Is that so bad, though?

Let's say, hypothetically, that if you spend an hour exercising each and every day for 40 years, you can extend your life by an extra decade. Assuming a constant 8 hours of sleep daily, that's a four-fold return on investment!

Of course, due to the effects of aging, it very well could easily take me twice as long to do anything, and I could easily get only half as much enjoyment out of it. Sure, I keep pushing that number higher, but by a self-assessment of how good my life is, I'm only breaking even. Considering the risks associated with aging, is it even worth the investment?

My grandmother has said many times that the only thing wrong with her is that she hasn't died yet. She's well into her 90's, with no serious physical deterioration, but life has gotten boring. Her life-long friends have all died, and many of her new friends have died, too. Her children have grown up and moved on, and so have her grandchildren. She's traveled the world multiple times, and gone on every adventure that she wanted to. She was expecting to die twenty years ago, having lived a complete and happy life.

Now what's left? Seeing yet another round of new miracles being taken for granted by a generation that assumes such technology is a basic necessity for life? Watching $THIS_GUY slaughter $THOSE_GUYS in the name of $SUBJECTIVELY_JUST_CAUSE? Spending another year alone in her home?

More personally, I have a medical condition that will deteriorate rapidly when I hit about 50, and faster if I partake in strenuous exercise. The only treatment option includes the term "replacement vertebrae". Is it somehow morally wrong for me to plan my life such that I spend every waking moment now using my limited health in ways that I enjoy the most? I doubt I'll survive as long as my grandmother, and my condition effectively assures me of problems by that age, anyway. Hitting 75 and signing off sounds like a good plan to me.

Comment: Re:All this because Clang went Clunk? (Score 2) 182

by DerekLyons (#47965603) Attached to: Kickstarter Lays Down New Rules For When a Project Fails

Regular finance account reporting of how the money is being used should be required. If you can't handle it, don't ask for money.

Such production of reporting and auditing of reports has costs and could consume significant amount of project funds.

Nonsense. If it's a serious project, they should already have an accountant or at least some form of accounting software - once you have that, it's pretty simple to produce a basic cash flow report. Regardless of what your business is, tracking the financials is basic to it. If not just to know whether or not you can afford that widget or software package, because come the end of the year you have to let the IRS know. If the project doesn't have financial tracking, it's a sign to run - far and fast.

It should be up to the backers and an agreement with the backers made in advance, regarding what will be required, not up to some random third party to decide what reporting will be imposed on them both.

Kickstarter isn't a random third party. As the great-grandparent said, they're essentially assuming the role of the stock exchange - as the middleman and facilitator of the process. Thus they have an interest in seeing that the process is transparent and to some degree regulated. Even for private investment, sans the market, the SEC has rules separating investors into two classes based on their ability to determine and withstand risk. As the arbiter of the market, Kickstarter has similar motivations to protect investors.

Now this being Slashdot, there will be a chorus of people insisting we don't need a middleman or and arbiter... to which I say, go try and raise significant funds on your own sans such a middleman. Then you'll understand why a central marketplace with at least some level of consumer (investor) protection is an idea that has recurred throughout human history. It's a win-win situation for all parties. (And before you rant and froth about Wall Street - I'll point out the problems there are implementation and QA errors, not specification errors.)

Comment: Re:Some details about the 3D printer (Score 1) 127

by DerekLyons (#47965243) Attached to: SpaceX Launches Supplies to ISS, Including Its First 3D Printer

Still, with mass at a premium it would be more efficient to send up a stockpile of raw plastic rather than many combinations of different spare parts.

For the relatively small fraction of parts that will break that are printable plastics - that's a great thing. (At least with anything resembling current technology.) For everything else, especially the electronics parts that will represent the greatest proportion of the failures... not so much.

Comment: Re:Your employer (Score 1) 164

by Sarten-X (#47965149) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Who Should Pay Costs To Attend Conferences?

I have to agree here. The submitter should talk to their boss again, and keep asking, trying to work out something acceptable. An agreement to stay at the job for some amount of time can alleviate fears of competitors hiring away fresh knowledge, for example. If the company's as small as is implied, that may be feasible.

I've rarely had requests approved on the first try, but changing companies because they didn't want to fund a weekend bender in Vegas is absurd. Make a case for your requests, and present it as an investment cost for the business.

Comment: Re:Some details about the 3D printer (Score 1) 127

by DerekLyons (#47962311) Attached to: SpaceX Launches Supplies to ISS, Including Its First 3D Printer

And after you do all of those things, sometimes something breaks that you don't have a spare for. And when the nearest replacement part is nine months away, you're screwed.

Sure, there's that one-in-a-million chance. I never argued that point - only that you have no idea how the world works. And by insisting that we must take into account that one-in-a-million chance, I'd add the argument that you're resistant to any suggestion that you might know less than you do.

Being able to make spare parts is a GOOD thing.

Another point I never argued against. I merely pointed out just how far we are from being anywhere near that stage.

And the fewer things you have to carry along to make spare parts with, the better.

Again, a point I never argued against. (Etc... etc... just repeating the above.)

Comment: Re:Must be an american thing ??? (Score 1) 65

by mcgrew (#47960513) Attached to: More unsurprisingly conservative ads on slashdot

If you get a cataract, spend the extra money on a CrystaLens. Unlike 45 year old natural lenses and implants available before 2003, they will actually focus. Of course they're under patent so they're about a thousand dollars each more expensive than other implants. I'm sure I'll have a cataract in the other eye not too long from now, the last eye doctor I saw said "a couple of years" and it's been longer than that.

I think I'll wait until 2023 when the patent runs out and everybody makes them, the ones like my mom has will be obsolete. I only use that eye to look at tiny things, anyway.

Insurance paid for all but the extra thousand, it was the best thousand dollars I ever spent. The device inside my eye is my favorite device of all.

Comment: Re:Some details about the 3D printer (Score 1) 127

by DerekLyons (#47959791) Attached to: SpaceX Launches Supplies to ISS, Including Its First 3D Printer

3D printing is one of those things that will be pretty much essential for successful manned missions farther away than the moon.

Once 3D printing develops from it's current "stone knives and bearskins" stage of development and reaches the 21st century, sure. But even once the far off day arrives where we can print in a wide variety of materials (I.E. those suited to the task of the parts being replaced) and assuming it reaches the stage where the printed parts don't require substantial hand finishing for precision... it's highly unlikely to be able to print electrical and electronic components, particularly the IC's that will represent a very large component of the failed parts.

Being unable to fix broken things will be fatal if the nearest spare parts are nine months away, and a 3D printer or two can, conceivably, replace a great many individual spare parts....

That's why you carry spare parts with you. And why you "design for maintenance". And why you do extensive development and testing beforehand to figure out what parts are most likely to break. And design parts to be reliable. And reinforce the parts where you can. And... well, there's a vast amount of and dedicated sub fields of engineering dedicated to this kind of thing. No professional goes off the beaten path with the attitude of "oh well, I'm just gonna die if something breaks". There's a reason why "lack of spares" pretty much has never come up in any serious discussion of lunar colonies or missions to Mars. (Not until the amateurs, being largely blithely unaware of how the world works, started playing around with 3D printing.)
Disclaimer: In addition to years of actually seriously studying the space program... I've lived where high reliability could mean the difference between life and death and spares were limited to what was on hand as there was no parts place up on the main road or next day mail. (I.E. a crewman on an SSBN.)

Comment: Re:Memory doesn't cost that much. (Score 1) 251

by DerekLyons (#47956503) Attached to: Why the iPhone 6 Has the Same Base Memory As the iPhone 5

And if you're away for an extended period and want to take a lot of photos or video? That 32GB may not be enough

On my 16gig 4S I had a ton of apps, nine gig of music, and over 400 pictures - and room to spare. If the 32gig isn't big enough, the problem is more likely self control than anything else.

the ability to buy a few SD cards and swap them out as you fill them up sure would be useful. If that's not a use case you'll ever encounter, then great, you're all set, but that doesn't mean it's not a use case that exists.

If you've reached that point (exceeding 32 gig) in taking pictures you're either a) a pro who should be using a more appropriate tool in the first place.... or b) taking a ton of pictures you'll never look at again. I'm not arguing it's not a use case, I'm arguing that it's a use case out on the edge of the bell curve. Android is merely pandering by supporting it, and it gives them a sales point over Apple. Meanwhile, 16 gig phones account for half of all iPhones.

Comment: Re:It costs power (Score 1) 251

by DerekLyons (#47956465) Attached to: Why the iPhone 6 Has the Same Base Memory As the iPhone 5

Movies are irrelevant, as they weren't the topic of conversation. And your comment about music is bilge - 9 gigs (my current collection) is over a thousand songs. If you can't find an "appropriate" (whatever the heck you mean by that) selection in there, the problem isn't lack of memory on your phone.

Seriously, like several commenters on this subthread, you're way the heck out on the end of the bell curve - but blithely unaware of it.

Comment: Re:It costs power (Score 2) 251

by DerekLyons (#47955111) Attached to: Why the iPhone 6 Has the Same Base Memory As the iPhone 5

Streaming stuff is fine in urban areas, but if you travel outside of urban areas with little phone service regularly, and you don't want to carry another device, it's pretty irritating to be significantly limited in the amount to music you can carry.

Jesus H. Christ on a pogo stick - just how much music do you need? On my (recently replaced with a 32gb 5S*) 16gb 4S I could have a ton of apps, several hundred photos, and still have room for six days (continuous play, no repeat) worth of tunes.

As the grandparent said, this isn't some sneaky marketing plan... I suspect16gb really is enough for most common usage.

*Pretty much just because I could.

You scratch my tape, and I'll scratch yours.