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Comment Re:$805M budget (Score 4, Informative) 231

Sorry... nationalizing stuff is not a panacea.

Who said anything about nationalizing anything? A real healthcare system doesn't have to be nationalised.

Take the Canadian system, as a prime example. As it is not something enumerated in either the constitution, or the British North America act before it, by default healthcare is under the jurisdiction of the provinces. Each province runs its own single-payer insurance system, and sets standards for care and outcomes. In turn, each province is divided into regional health authorities, which for the most part own and operate the hospitals in their region, as well as handle things like health inspections of restaurants, initial investigation of disease outbreaks, and so forth. In turn, unless they are on the hospital payroll (rare), doctors in turn are free to operate their practice as they see fit (private business, partnership, chain etc...) the only proviso being that they either have to be in the public system, or completely out of it, no double-dipping.

The net effect is that hospitals, and doctors are operated locally and in the case of hospitals, in a non-profit manner. This results in a reasonably efficient system that costs far less than the US system, while delivering similar or better outcomes.

Comment Re:Well, well, well. (Score 1) 316

Those private space insurance premiums should be skyrocketing....

Actually launch insurance is expensive enough that if you are doing a significant launch campaign, many companies will go without. If you were going to build, insure, and launch 3 satellites, it's actually cost effective to build/launch 4, and skip the insurance. That way, if one of them goes boom, you still get your three, and if one of them go boom, you wind up with an on-orbit spare.

Comment Get involved and choose (Score 2) 268

As many have mentioned, the best thing to do is to get involved with an organization or cause that you care about. If you actually work with the organization, you will a) be helping them out significantly with your time and talents, and b) have a better feel as to whether they are using the funds they receive responsibly. I am on the board of directors of a mid sized (roughly $3,000,000/year) 501(c)3, and I know precisely what our overhead is. I also volunteer heavily for said organization (primarily network design, and electrical type work), and donate when I can.

Despite what other people say, any organization that is viable will have overhead. It costs money to ensure the books are properly kept and audited, there are bills to pay, and non-profits of all organizations, should pay their employees a fair and reasonable wage. From a financial point of view, the real key is to ensure that the books are properly kept, and there are adequate controls in place to ensure that the money is spent in an appropriate manner.

Comment Re:the battle of the selfless (Score 1) 305

High density living is incompatible with low carbon living.

This is so wrong, it's funny that you believe it. High density living dramatically reduces the energy requirements for a given population. People tend to live in smaller spaces, which means less energy is required to heat/cool. High density living means that things are closer together, which greatly reduces the need for transportation of goods and people (I live in downtown Vancouver, and while I own a car, I drive it maybe once a week, everything else is on foot).

Low density living means that goods and people need to be transported over much greater distances. Low density generally means that you're heating/cooling a larger space. Low density means more land area covered by asphalt and concrete for a given population. Low density living means far more vehicle trips, worse traffic, etc... In short, it's the most energy intensive way to live.

Comment Re:What is being missed... is the $2 million part. (Score 1) 456

My first reaction was also to use some Rpi's at each location which could add up to under $200 per building I then considered the cost to forklift and upgrade the HVAC at each facility.

Having been on both sides of this equation, I've come to the conclusion in my old age that rolling your own solution is rarely ever the right solution. Sure it might save you some money up front, but by the time you document things properly (you are getting full design, code and hardware documentation right?) you have probably spent as much, and you're still pretty much dependent on that one person not getting bored, or hit by a bus, or otherwise keel over.

As much as I love to build things and hack on them, the reality is that for situations like this, the right solution is to go with a control system that will be supported by a manufacturer that will likely be around for a while. Honeywell, Rockwell Automation, etc... When shit goes down, you have somewhere to call.

Comment Re:satellites (Score 5, Informative) 403

Either my understanding of orbital mechanics is completely wrong or that is completely incorrect. Geostationary satellites need very regular station keeping otherwise they either fall to Earth or are ejected out into solar orbit. If ejected it could remain operational for a while but if it fell back to earth the results would be obvious.

Your understanding of orbital mechanics is totally wrong. Geostationary satellites do need frequent stationkeeping maneuvers, but that is because the satellite is required to remain in a 30km box. If these maneuvers cease, as would happen with the sudden disappearance of humans, they will start to drift off their stations, eventually collecting in a couple of regions, one over the Indian ocean and the other over the Pacific. (This is due to the earth's slightly uneven gravity). Because of the vastness of space, the probability of them actually running into each other is fairly low.

A geostationary satellite would need almost the same amount of energy to come down as it takes to put it up there, and probably twice as much to escape the earth's gravity well. At the end of life of these satellites, they use the remaining fuel to boost them another 200km or so in altitude, then vent all remaining fuel (so they won't explode if there's a fuel leak), and then blow the electronics to make sure they don't interfere with anything else. They will remain in that graveyard orbit forever.

Comment Re:Self-signed (Score 3, Interesting) 324

Okay, but if you're going to do that, you might want to throw out all the incredibly dire warnings about self-signed certificates. Nobody should be forced to pay a cartel for SSL certificates.

It's gets worse. Chrome throws the dire warnings on self-signed SSL certificates, and then refuses to do the username/password autofill on those pages. I've basically ditched using chrome for most of my network admin stuff that goes over https, because of this.

Comment Re:A gem from the discussion (Score 3, Informative) 324

Also, for those of us operating network connections to remote locations, everything https is absolutely destructive to the network performance. Right now, our WAAS setup gives us about a 30% boost on the satellite connection, mostly through low level de-duplication and compression. When you have 50+ people depending on a 1.8Mbps satellite connection, every bit counts. Enabling https for things that don't need it is a huge performance penalty.

Basically, the people making these decisions assume that everyone has an unlimited, fast internet pipe. This is simply not the case.

Comment Re:The true sticking point - China (Score 1) 152

Probably what would happen is that the relatively secret stuff that the US has on the ISS like the communication system (TRDSS) will either be opened up or a few wheels will be reinvented in order to eliminate a good portion of the stuff that China would want to steal.

Actually, there's nothing really secret about TDRSS. They're just bent-pipe communications satellites like all the others, just with a bit of an odd frequency set. The Radios on the space shuttle were derivatives of those used on military aircraft, but that's about it.

Comment Re:Keep track of what you eat (Score 2) 496

One helpful feature is the bar code scanner. You can scan almost any product and get the nutritional information right into your mobile device.

And there's the problem... Good food doesn't have a barcode. Very little of what I bring home from the grocery store has barcodes on it, and what does usually just has the internal store code on it (meat), or is a bulk package (20lb bag of flour, etc...). All these food tracking/diary apps are really built for tracking packaged/prepared foods, and are a pain to use when you make stuff from scratch. As such, unless you're going to weigh and add all the ingredients manually (I'm way too lazy for that), you're left with generic estimates of what you're eating "Plate of pasta" or "Steak Dinner" or whatever, which can be wildly inaccurate if you're like me and tend to invent as you go and/or substitute ingredients based on what you have.

Comment Re:"Free" with restrictions is not Free! (Score 5, Informative) 198

Non-commercial use? How the fuck is that "free"?

Because it doesn't cost money. It's an accident of the English language that Free as in no-cost, and free as in freedom, share the same word. In pretty much any other language, they are separate words. In French, this is the difference between "Gratuite" and "Libre"

To restore a sense of reality, I think Walt Disney should have a Hardluckland. -- Jack Paar