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Comment: Re:Should the United States accept more foreigners (Score 2) 217

by David Jao (#47528909) Attached to: Western US States Using Up Ground Water At an Alarming Rate

For those with access to a supermarket, a combination of lack of time, lack of education, and lack of ability to delay gratification that causes people to eat junk food. Not money.

None of the above. For most poor and even lower-middle class families, the limiting factor is lack of access to food preparation equipment and facilities. Low-income housing often lacks a kitchen. Even if you have a kitchen, one often lacks appliances; trying to subsist on unprocessed food without a refrigerator or a stove is difficult to put it mildly. Families near the poverty line move from place to place a lot, often on short notice in response to evictions. There's no way they could maintain possession of bulky appliances under such circumstances, not to mention an adequate inventory of cookware.

Poor families are really living on the edge, much more than you realize. Once you get to the point where you can't afford a security deposit for an apartment, a lot of options close off. Food preparation is one of them.

Comment: Re:Should the United States accept more foreigners (Score 1) 217

by David Jao (#47528883) Attached to: Western US States Using Up Ground Water At an Alarming Rate

Food prices are high, but all of my meals (which are nutritious) cost $1-$2 max, usually closer to $1. You just have to know how and where to shop. Of course, this is the US, which is a first world country...

It is not enough to know how and where to shop. You also, generally, need a kitchen and appliances (stove, refrigerator, etc.) in order to produce nutritions $1 meals. Many poor and even lower-middle class families simply don't have these things. The kind of housing that you can get for cheap is going to be one-room boarding houses with limited access to food preparation facilities. You're lucky to have even a shared kitchen. As for appliances, they're not actually very expensive -- an iPhone costs more -- but poor families generally move far too often (usually involuntarily) to maintain possession of bulky items.

Comment: Re:Astronomy, and general poor night-time results. (Score 1) 447

by swillden (#47526497) Attached to: Laser Eye Surgery, Revisited 10 Years Later

shooting which requires both close-up vision (to see the signs) and long range vision (to see the target)

Unless your distance vision is *really* bad, to the point where you can't make out the target at all, distance vision doesn't have much impact on shooting. In a proper sight picture you should be focused on the front sight, and you also need the rear sight to be clear enough that you can verify precise alignment. The target will always be blurry, so having it a little blurrier because of nearsightedness isn't typically a problem.

I often tell the older shooters I teach to wear their reading glasses. Not only does the improved sight alignment help, but I think the inability to see the target clearly strongly discourages them from trying to focus on it, which helps even more.

Comment: Re:Astronomy, and general poor night-time results. (Score 5, Insightful) 447

by swillden (#47524941) Attached to: Laser Eye Surgery, Revisited 10 Years Later

One common technique for people who are close to or have age-induced presbyopia is to perform the surgery on only one eye, or, depending on the prescription, to apply it in different amounts. The idea is to get one eye which is good for near vision and one that is good for far vision. Sort of the same notion as bifocals, but applied directly to the eyes. Apparently the brain adjusts quickly and effectively to this and you end up feeling as though you have good vision at all ranges as long as both eyes are open.

I'm considering doing that. I'm 45 and my eyes have just begun to change. I'm still generally myopic, but so far the change just requires me to take my glasses off when doing close work. I'm going to give it a couple more years to be sure my eyes have more or less settled, then get surgery on one or both, in whatever degrees will give me the best overall visual acuity and flexibility.

If your eyes haven't actually changed yet, then it's something of a crapshoot. The idea is to adjust your vision based on guesses as to how they're going to change. That said, my optometrist says that they can make very good guesses. The only reason he's recommended that I wait is because I'm not far from the point where guessing won't be required, based on my history of general visual stability and current rate of change.

Comment: Re:Mostly done by 1985... (Score 2) 172

by swillden (#47523999) Attached to: Black Holes Not Black After All, Theorize Physicists
Interesting, but not surprising. It's unlikely that any new idea in cosmology (or anywhere else) is actually truly "new" by the time it garners sufficient support to warrant widespread serious consideration. The process by which knowledge is created -- conjecture and criticism -- almost precludes it. Ideas, even correct ideas, assuming this is and assuming that Greenstein actually had the same idea, not less-correct variant, nearly always come before the knowledge needed to identify them as correct, or at least as more correct than competing ideas. This is why simultaneous invention is so common, because the groundwork is thoroughly well-laid before the crucial bits fall into place that make it possible to put it on a firm foundation.

+ - Letter to Congress: Ending U.S. Dependency on Russia for Access to Space 1

Submitted by Bruce Perens
Bruce Perens (3872) writes "I've sent a letter to my district's senators and member of congress this evening, regarding how we should achieve a swifter end to U.S. dependency on the Russians for access to space. Please read my letter, below. If you like it, please join me and send something similar to your own representatives. Find them here and here. — Bruce

Dear Congressperson Lee,

The U.S. is dependent on the Russians for present and future access to space. Only Soyuz can bring astronauts to and from the Space Station. The space vehicles being built by United Launch Alliance are designed around a Russian engine. NASA's own design for a crewed rocket is in its infancy and will not be useful for a decade, if it ever flies.

Mr. Putin has become much too bold because of other nations dependence. The recent loss of Malaysia Air MH17 and all aboard is one consequence.

Ending our dependency on Russia for access to space, sooner than we previously planned, has become critical. SpaceX has announced the crewed version of their Dragon spaceship. They have had multiple successful flights and returns to Earth of the un-crewed Dragon and their Falcon 9 rocket, which are without unfortunate foreign dependencies. SpaceX is pursuing development using private funds. The U.S. should now support and accelerate that development.

SpaceX has, after only a decade of development, demonstrated many advances over existing and planned paths to space. Recently they have twice successfully brought the first stage of their Falcon 9 rocket back to the ocean surface at a speed that would allow safe landing on ground. They have demonstrated many times the safe takeoff, flight to significant altitude, ground landing and re-flight of two similar test rockets. In October they plan the touchdown of their rocket's first stage on a barge at sea, and its recovery and re-use after a full flight to space. Should their plan for a reusable first-stage, second, and crew vehicle be achieved, it could result in a reduction in the cost of access to space to perhaps 1/100 of the current "astronomical" price. This would open a new frontier to economical access in a way not witnessed by our nation since the transcontinental railroad. The U.S. should now support this effort and reap its tremendous economic rewards.

This plan is not without risk, and like all space research there will be failures, delays, and eventually lost life. However, the many successes of SpaceX argue for our increased support now, and the potential of tremendous benefit to our nation and the world.

Please write back to me.

Many Thanks

Bruce Perens"

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