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Comment: Re:Next step - Semiconductors (Score 4, Insightful) 65

by TWX (#48464765) Attached to: ISS's 3-D Printer Creates Its First Object In Space
I think that now that the craziness that was building it so incredibly slowly is over, it's actually doing something useful in that it's teaching us what it takes to live in space, and giving us means by which to test living in space where the consequences of screwing up are relatively minor. We've already learned the full-Russian approach and gained insight from their moments, and ISS is allowing us to see if we've learned from those mistakes.

I look at it along similar lines to Biosphere II down near Tucson, Arizona. It was the first major attempt to build a self-sufficient (within the scope of allowing for the ambient conditions in the local climate to influence heat) habitat that was supposed to be independent of outside assistance. It failed, but why it failed is important and can be learned from. Unfortunately I don't think that those lessons are being applied to the original facility, so we're not continuing to learn in ways that we should, but hopefully all of the studies of what happened will inform future scientists and engineers of the pitfalls in their plans and designs.

Comment: Re:Next step - Semiconductors (Score 5, Insightful) 65

by TWX (#48464425) Attached to: ISS's 3-D Printer Creates Its First Object In Space
it's that you can't stock Digikey on the space station, but can "print" all of the knobs, buttons, and switches you need when one breaks. It reduces the number of spare parts needed in inventory and might offer a solution for a broken part that was not anticipated for, or to make something new when otherwise macguyvering a temporary solution.

think of the cheese spacer from the pizza box scenario as the eggheads are prototyping a solution.

Comment: Re:Delete Your Facebook Account Already (Score 1) 182

by TWX (#48453667) Attached to: Married Woman Claims Facebook Info Sharing Created Dating Profile For Her
Oh, believe me, the smartphone has been an extremely useful tool. I've gone from pager and carrying a palm pilot (technically a USR Pilot 5000), to an alphapager and palm (a newer one), to a semi-dumb phone with a few capabilities (Moto Razr V3), to a T-Mobile G1 (HTC Dream), to a Samsung Galaxy SII. My wife has followed a similar path but without the pagers and with an analog cell phone in the mix. Neither of us would voluntarily give up our smartphones.

The crux of it is, we don't have our lives revolve around the smartphones. We use them as a means, not an end, and they're far from the only means at our disposal.

If someone took the time and effort needed to correspond in a meaningful way by way of personal letter then I'd probably consider them a friend, but I don't really expect that to ever be the case again.

Comment: H1B Abuse (Score 1) 319

by TWX (#48451285) Attached to: LinkedIn Study: US Attracting Fewer Educated, Highly Skilled Migrants
Considering that companies have been abusing the H1B process for some time now, perhaps we're just seeing a correction in-part inspired by greater success in potential migrants' home countries.

Salary is a supply/demand characteristic. The more people capable of doing a job, generally the less it pays. This holds true across the entire spectrum of employment until one reaches those that control the market in which they are paid from (ie, corporate executives). Desirability of a job is often not much of a deciding factor in the worth of that job either; janitorial services employees have awful jobs sometimes, but nearly every able-bodied worker could do those jobs, so the wages are particularly low because no individual worker is much in-demand.

This applies to H1B skilled-worker visas since more techncial workers means less demand per-worker, so wages fall. It's further excerbated by the H1B worker not being as free to exercise the free-market due to a real risk of deportation, so they can be paid less than the market average, which further helps to pull down the market average.

I expect the situation isn't as dire as the article makes it out to be.

Comment: Re:This is the voice of world control. (Score 1) 104

by TWX (#48450591) Attached to: Nuclear Weapons Create Their Own Security Codes With Radiation
I'll have to give the Youtube link a try when I get home. Only time I saw the film it was on a multigeneration VHS tape, so who knows how awful it looked compared to its initial release...

There's a whole series of books starting with this one too, been meaning to read 'em.

Comment: Re:taxpayer-financed spaceport ??? (Score 1) 46

by TWX (#48450033) Attached to: Spaceport America Loses $1.7 Million Due To Virgin Galactic Delays
And there are several business parks around here that are empty, with fully paved streets and services in the ground waiting for buildings to hook up to. They end up being places for informal 1/4-mile drags for a couple of passes before the driver bails so to avoid the cops.

Comment: Re:taxpayer-financed spaceport ??? (Score 1) 46

by TWX (#48446373) Attached to: Spaceport America Loses $1.7 Million Due To Virgin Galactic Delays
There's a college and city partnership "Research Park", a full square-mile of business area, near me. They are used as a tech incubator, giving extremely reasonable rent to student and post-graduate business ventures and other tech ventures- significant E-ink research and the development of the screens for those old Motorola Razr V3 flip phones happened here.

I don't look at this spaceport as being really any different.

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