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Comment Re:Great.. (Score 1) 276

What I want to know is: Does it still have the spaghetti mess of vacuum lines under the dashboard? They must have used vacuum for everything. I put a stereo in a DeLorean years ago when I worked in the car stereo and car alarm business. I couldn't believe what I saw.

Comment Sky not falling (Score 4, Insightful) 276

1. I drive 40 minutes to work every morning and up to an hour and a half driving home in the evening. I would love to hand this boring and wasteful task to my car. I could certainly do something much better with the time.

2. This technology will certainly become commonplace (look at aerospace, for example). It is going to take research to figure out how best to do this. It is going to require adjustments to how transportation is regulated. It may require changes to our infrastructure. You certainly don't to put these vehicles on the road without some thought to the implications of doing so. This costs money. What is the alternative?

3. The part that does concern me is what will happen when autonomous commercial vehicles become common. Talk about a job killer. How many hours each year do long haul trucks sit idle because the driver is required by law to stop to rest? That issue would completely disappear (along with a whole lot of decent jobs). Of course, this also could eliminate those accidents caused by drivers falling asleep.

As in almost all change, there are good points and bad points. There is also cost.

Who would care if the US spent 4 billion dollars on research, regulatory updates and infrastructure updates if the benefits far outweigh the cost? Unfortunately, sometimes you have to spend money just to find out if spending more is warranted. Consider the trillions we've spent recently that had almost no prospect of providing any benefit to the average American citizen. I'd much rather see spending on something like this.

Comment Re:Why should I care? (Score 1) 68

I am actually very healthy. So if unhealthy people are harmed by disclosure, then logically, I should benefit if mine are disclosed. I should get better job offers, and women will want to date me. So how do I ensure that my medical records are among the 1/3 that are compromised?

People's heath situation does change.

From further above:

And prospective employers might decide you're too sick to invest in

This is what I fear. One of the more important factors in hiring will be impact on the company's health insurance plan. The organization I work for is self insured. I know that they know who in the organization is significantly impacting health care costs (maybe not specific individuals, but in general certainly). Wouldn't it be great to keep the high risks out? You might be perfectly healthy. You would never know that you were not hired because your family had a history of cancer.

Comment The level of ignorance is just sad (Score 3, Interesting) 956

This would have been me in 1976. Obviously, it wasn't quite that easy to make a clock back then. But, I was building things all of the time. The knowledge I gained has served me well my entire life. This is the kind of thing we should be encouraging. Tinkerers have helped to make this country what it is. To profile a kid like this into the criminal category is just beyond sad. I hope it doesn't discourage him from exploring his interests down the road. He needs to find a local Maker group. The school and police need to get a clue.

Comment Re:Just starting now? (Score 1) 373

This acceptable region where the balance point must fall also changes with weight. So, the more the airplane weighs, the smaller the difference between the forward and aft limit of the center of gravity.

The cg is also important on the ground as well depending on the airplane. The KC-135 tankers I flew on had a tail stand and had it for a reason. Even CGs that allowed flight might not keep the nose wheel on the ground. We didn't shut down engines until the tail stand was in place as the thrust help keep the nose wheel down. There are stories of crew members stepping off the ladder and the nose wheel coming off the ground. Hence the procedure with the tail stand.

We always kept fuel in the forward body tank (beneath the front of the aircraft) to keep this balance point foward. There were times that a fuel gauge malfunctioned and the end result was the CG was not where it was thought to be. We took off one time with more fuel in the foward body tank than we thought. It was pretty scary. Things like this can kill people.

Comment Marketing and Push Polls - poisoning the well? (Score 2) 292

I have to wonder how much of this has to do with 'push polling'. I have a zero tolerance for this practice and I will shut down a survey call in a heartbeat if it appears to be headed in that direction. I have probably ended some legitimate calls because of this.

Add to that the following:

  • There is very little that goes on in politics today that isn't marketing of some sort.
  • Almost no-one in or running for public office appears to be truly interested in representing the common citizen.

I certainly don't have to wonder why people are so skeptical of surveys.

Comment Re:The Dark Age returns (Score 4, Insightful) 479

First of all, most people don't know what the big bang theory really says. It says the universe is expanding and cooling. It says nothing about how it was created.

It is not "untestable speculation". Science is about making observations. Then proposing an explanation for those observations (hypotheses). Then testing those hypotheses. These can often be tested by other observations. It happens all of the time. In 1927 an expanding universe theory was proposed based on observed red shift of certain objects in the sky. In 1929 Hubble was able to verify the red shift and show that the further away objects were from earth the larger the amount of shift. Again, this fits with an expanding universe. In 1948 physicists speculated there would be cosmic microwave background noise signature of this expansion. In 1964 Penzias and Wilson happened across this cosmic microwave background noise (which they weren't even looking for). Well, the case for the big bang theory got a little stronger. No test tubes were harmed in the making of this observation.

What has not been found yet is anything that makes the big bang theory incompatible with what we observe.

Can we go back in time and observe the beginning of the big bang? Of course not. Can we duplicate it? No. Can we make observations? Yes Do those observations show that the observable universe is expanding over time? Yes. Do you have a better theory than the big bang theory (one that can be tested)? No.

People act like scientists just get together in a big room and make up theories and present them as fact. No, scientists make observations, create hypotheses to explain their observations and then come up with ways to test those hypotheses. And sometimes those tests simply involve other observations.

Science has it's struggles. Yes there are those who have their pet theories and are willing to fund research that is favorable to their cause. But, in the long run, scientific method takes care of that. In the end, what can be observed will trump what can be bought. The all powerful Roman Catholic Church lost the 'Earth is the center of the universe' argument because of what could be observed. Of course, we later learned that the Sun isn't the center of the universe either. But that did not change the fact that the Earth was not.

Anyone who thinks science is just another religion, doesn't understand science (or religion).

Comment Re:So, when has this not been true? (Score 1) 609

It's easier to be liberal when you're young and have little to conserve.

Of course, it is also easy to be conservative when the only thing you have to conserve is critical thinking and empathy.

And also of course, people refuse to understand that when it comes to running the country, the two major parties do not really differ that much. What is different is how they keep everyone distracted from their primary agenda. They are after all being fed by the same hand. Neither will bite the hand that feeds them.

Conservative and Liberal are meaningless labels.

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