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Comment Opportunities are not equal for everyone (Score 3, Insightful) 152

Everyone has the same opportunity.

No they do not. You have to be phenomenally clueless or bigoted to think otherwise. The same opportunities are NOT available to everyone. That was the entire point of the civil rights movement and the suffrage movement. Just because you have some choices doesn't mean everyone else does. Opportunity can be taken away very easily by institutions (government and private) if we allow it to occur. Opportunity is a fragile thing and not everyone gets equal opportunity under the law or in society. Bigotry, racism, and sexism and discrimination are real things with real consequences. Those who have to actually face them by definition do not have equal opportunity. The fact that some people manage to break through does not mean that the gap in opportunity is not real for many many people.

For example, I become a developer; not a cake baker. That doesn't mean I didn't have equal opportunity to become a cake baker. It means that I fucking chose to be something else.

Wow do you not get it. If everything is so equal as you claim then why do we see non-white people incarcerated at disproportionate rates? Why do we see older people having trouble getting tech jobs even when they are well qualified for them? Why do we see a congress that doesn't even begin to resemble the demographics of the country? You think because you chose one job over another that there is no inequality in the real world? That's just ignorant as hell.

Comment Equality of opportunity matters (Score 3, Insightful) 152

Excuse me, but what I expect from corporations (where I am not myself a shareholder) is quality products. I don't give a damn, who they hire and why — as long as they don't enslave workers — and neither should anybody else. Mind your own business, people.

Maybe you don't give a damn about your fellow human beings but those of us who aren't sociopaths do. I want to see people get good opportunities and not be held down because they happened to be born with a different set of genitals or a different skin color. Glass ceilings are a real thing. Clearly you've never seen anyone bump into one but I have. These are real issues that affect real people and in a civilized society we care about what happens to them. People don't have to be enslaved for a workplace to be a very bad place.

We have certain protected classes of people (gender, race, age, etc) precisely because there is clear and unambiguous evidence that if we allow discrimination based on those criteria that the results are bad both for society and for the individuals. The market demonstrably cannot fairly deal with this problem.

Comment What you buy is a choice (Score 1) 220

Not all shares are voting shares. What you suggest just isn't realistic for shares owned through mutual funds and the like.

Holding shares in a mutual fund is a choice. Holding voting versus non voting shares is a choice. Nobody forced you to buy those shares. If you are fine with holding non-voting shares and letting someone else speak for you then that is fine but understand and own your actions.

Comment Go where we can to learn first (Score 1) 163

By that logic it would have made more sense to try to get supersonic flight working before lighter-than air craft.

Nice reductio ad absurdem. Seriously, analogies like this almost never are relevant. And this is slashdot so please use a car analogy if you must. :-) Anyway some things about a Moon base will be harder but others will be easier, not the least of which are the logistics involved.

Much more extreme temperature swings

Which if you can handle those, the ones on Mars should be a piece of cake. Don't forget about the effects of the moon passing through the Earth's magneto-tail either. Huge charge buildups will be challenging to say the least.

- Razor-sharp abrasive dust that will quickly destroy seals, gaskets, and other soft materials (no weather to wear it smooth like on Earth and Mars)

Last I checked there is an awful lot of abrasive dust on Mars too AND the dust on Mars has an atmosphere to blow it into all kinds of inconvenient places whereas the Moon does not. Is it the same? Of course not. The moon dust has different properties. But there will likely be overlap in lessons learned.

2-week nights that make solar power nonviable without massive battery banks

Versus the occasional planet wide dust storm. If we're going to Mars with people we're probably going to have some form of nuclear power along for the ride. Solar will be important but we'll need to learn to work around the occasional bit of darkness on Mars or the Moon

much lower gravity, making adapting Earth-based nuclear reactor designs more challenging

Since we're not going to be on Earth why would we use a reactor designed for operation on Earth? We actually understand the physics of this problem rather well.

very few resources relevant to sustaining life (contrast to plenty of water and CO2 on Mars)

There is apparently water on the Moon. Furthermore it's close enough that we can deliver supplies to the moon while we figure out what works and what doesn't. With a Mars mission you pretty much have zero margin for error thanks to the distance. We already have the technology to get to and from the Moon (comparatively) safely. The same cannot be said for Mars and no matter what Elon Musk claims we're not going to go there for some time yet. Why not go where we can and learn what there is to learn?

Furthermore you are forgetting about many of the advantages of a lunar base:
1) Smaller gravity well than Earth so it can act as a forward base of operations. Comparatively cheap to get to.
2) Excellent location for astronomy given the lack of atmosphere
3) Effects of lower gravity (versus micro-gravity) on human physiology can be studied.
4) Evacuation is actually possible should the need arise.
5) Round trip communication delay is ~3 seconds versus 8-30 minutes for Mars.

Comment What are you doing about the abuse? (Score 1) 220

By the way, I own stock, but it doesn't mean I am for every type of corporate abuse that makes the company a few extra bucks.

So as a shareholder what are you doing about it? Are you attending shareholder meetings? Are you putting forth proposals? Are you voting on the board of directors? Are you doing these things even if they are unlikely to make much difference?

Just so we're clear I agree with you, but if you are a shareholder and you say nothing then the blood is on your hands too. If you own stock then you are an owner of the company and you are tacitly condoning any actions you don't speak out against.

Comment Probes can't teach you about us (Score 3) 163

Except going to Mars is propaganda and not science. No scientific value in sending man to Mars.

That's not true at all. We would learn a tremendous amount from sending a man to Mars. There would have to be great advances in medicine, agriculture, life support, power, shielding, and much more. Much of it would be technology we are unlikely to develop any other way. We would learn a tremendous amount by sending a man to Mars or even to the Moon.

Lots of scientific value sending probes and what not to explore the galaxy. Cheaper too.

Of course there is value in probes. But there are things you cannot learn by sending probes. That's like saying you can learn everything about Earth by using satellites and ROVs. It simply isn't true. You cannot learn anything about human physiology for one. You learn nothing about life (ours or alien) in these remote places. Probes have their value but the idea that they can completely replace sending people is absurd.

Comment Governments will have to go first (Score 1) 163

Sending people to Mars is aspirational, but ridiculous.

Why is it ridiculous? The idea is fine though some of the notions for how to get there are a little absurd and/or optimistic.

We need to find a commercial basis for a self-sustaining colony on the moon first.

Any colony on the moon will be funded at first by governments and tax dollars. You cannot make a credible business case for going there until it has already been explored and the resources and risks have been quantified. The costs are huge, the returns unknown, and the risks are mostly unquantifiable. That is the the basis for the worst business plan ever. No profit seeking institution can or would fund such a venture. No, governments will have to get us there first and figure out the technology and the risks and only then will businesses consider it. Pure exploration on a large scale like this is ALWAYS funded by governments first because they are the only institution which can take the risks.

Comment Contamination (Score 1) 163

Space is big, there is loads of it, it's all dead apart from Earth as far as we know, who gives a fuck if we 'contaminate' things with life?

Because we have no idea if it is "all dead". The only thing we know for certain is that we haven't found life elsewhere yet. It doesn't follow that because we haven't found it yet that it cannot exist.

As for whether we should "give a fuck" I guess that's a matter of perspective but it seems rather foolish to contaminate places we have no intention of going ourselves in person. You lose the ability to study what is there if you screw it up carelessly. If we go ourselves then we WILL contaminate wherever we go. No way to avoid that. Humans carry a biological payload whether we like it or not. But that doesn't mean we have to do more damage than necessary.

Mars is not some pristine paradise environment. It's a dead rock.

And you've confirmed this beyond any reasonable doubt how exactly?

Comment Good argument for Moon first (Score 1) 163

Other than the "getting there" stage, Mars will be much easier to colonize than the moon.

Taking what you claim as a given (the Moon being more challenging) then wouldn't that be a good argument for colonizing the Moon first? If it is actually more challenging in most ways but easier to reach then we can test bed all the technology 3 travel days away and get much of it figured out before taking the long trip to Mars. Not so much from a safety standpoint but from a logistics and cost standpoint. Testbed as much as possible in harsh conditions close to home and then you "only" have to figure out the transit. A lot of the problems will be very similar either place so start close and work your way out.

Comment Faxes are obsolete but still required (Score 1) 34

My point is that fax is a stupid legal requirement...

I doubt anyone would disagree with you about that. Nevertheless it remains a legal requirement and probably will for some time to come. Insane but true.

Electronic record systems that are not compatible is the islands-of-automation problem.

True but that is well understood. It does not appear to be in any danger of being resolved either.

As medical groups adopt electronic records, it should be to a common standard.

The beautiful thing about standards is that there are so many to choose from. There are few common standards for EMR systems. There also are minimal legal requirements for compatibility and few market incentives either. I agree that it SHOULD be to a common standard but it isn't and probably won't be any time soon.

Comment Ignoring laws (Score 1) 55

Once again this is typical of leftist types, don't like the rule of law just ignore it.

You mean like Bush did with torturing people?

Its amazing how when right right leaning politician wants to do something like keep poorly vetted refuges out of their state

You mean when a right leaning politician wants to pander to his racist and xenophobic base to get re-elected?

or some kid who happens to be tan in color ignore his teachers and wounder around a school with something that looks dangers

"Happens to be tan in color"? Is that how we're being racist now? Pretending that the color of his skin didn't play any role in calling the cops? Next you'll be telling me that cops don't arrest black people disproportionately or that brown people don't get their luggage searched more often than white people.

Comment Technology is a big driver of medical costs (Score 1) 34

the cost of medicine today hasn't been driven in very large part by technological advances

Twenty seconds on google would have disabused you of this incorrect notion. Technology advances have played a HUGE role in the rapidly increasing cost of medical care. Don't take it from me, take it from The New England Journal of Medicine.

and technological advances clearly have drastically improved outcomes.

Often yes but not always. It's trivial to find cases where technology improvements have either minimal or no improvements in patient outcomes. Sometimes we use the expensive shiny new tool in ways that don't actually improve medical outcomes. Sometimes the tools are used more for medico-legal reasons than for actual patient safety. My wife is an MD and she has to do things all the time which are unnecessary for treatment but guard against potential lawsuits. She has to order tests which confirm what she already knew with 99.9%+ certainty just for the unlikely chance she is wrong. If a hospital buys a new MRI machine you can bet your ass they are going to find ways to keep it busy to recoup the cost. Often this means ordering unnecessary tests.

Comment Fax machines (Score 1) 34

Why does our medical system still depend on fax machines?

Several reasons. Among them:
1) Legal requirements. Believe it or not it is literally illegal to email certain types of documents. It is legally ok to fax these same documents. No it doesn't make much sense and the law hasn't caught up yet. HIPPA is a factor in this.
2) Fax machines are kind of a lowest common denominator technology and it works even if it isn't efficient. Staff know how to use them and every doctor's office has them, even ones that don't have email.
3) Electronic records systems are routinely not compatible even when they are available. Faxes provide a straightforward (albeit inefficient) way to transfer documents between incompatible system or to offices lacking and EMR.

Comment Fission in space (Score 2) 163

Attempting anything at scale in space with chemical rocketry is utterly foolish.

While I generally agree, we don't have anything else at present nor does there appear to be any promising replacements in the near future outside of a few corner cases. We have NOTHING else to get us out of Earth's atmosphere. Until we come up with an alternative for getting into space that is economical and has a similar safety record we're going to be using chemical rockets. While I'm hopeful we can develop something clever one day, I'm realistic that it is going to be a while. Probably longer than my remaining lifespan.

Also, even if we put people on Mars, they need a dense, compact, and reliable source of power. Nothing but nuclear engines and reactors even remotely fit the demanding requirements for long-term space activites.

I think we need to figure out how to get there first without it being a suicide mission. Other than RTGs we don't currently have any reactor designs that are ready for space travel and none are being seriously worked on to my knowledge.

A molten salt reactor can be made compact enough to power an airplane, and would be suitable for use in a Mars colony, providing electricity, heat, and production of chemical fuels.

Did you read your link? They never got a system that powered an aircraft. Yes we could probably design a fission reactor that could power a Mars colony and we could probably get it there. Furthermore how do you know that a molten salt reactor is an appropriate design for space or for use on Mars? There could be lots of better designs. But there are a LOT of problems to solve before that that are a LOT harder, including designing a (safe) reactor for the trip there and getting to Earth orbit economically and designing the life support systems to keep people alive and healthy for the journey.

To do two things at once is to do neither. -- Publilius Syrus