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Comment: Re:'Death' Star was just a terraforming laser (Score 3, Interesting) 65

by WhiplashII (#48942277) Attached to: How Gaseous, Neptune-Like Planets Can Become Habitable

Another Star Wars reader: it actually explains this in one of the books by Stackpole - The Emperor created the so-called "death stars" for rapid mineral extraction from planet sized objects. It was only meant for peaceful uses, until Rebel Terrorists took the first one and blew up Alderaan; the Emperor then had that one destroyed. The second one was almost taken over by the Rebel Terrorists and the Emperor ordered it destroyed, at the cost of his own life.

It must be true, it was in a museum on Coruscant.

Comment: Re:The IRS could shut down??? (Score 2, Insightful) 253

by WhiplashII (#48875333) Attached to: IRS Warns of Downtime Risk As Congress Makes Cuts

I don't think anyone can make a serious argument that problems with their ability to function are desirable.

OK, here is the argument:

1) The IRS audits certain classes of people a LOT. (I've been audited almost every year for the last 5 years)
2) Normally, they don't find anything worth mentioning. But the taxpayer still had to pay for the audit.
3) So the taxpayer is out several thousand dollars, the "people" gained nothing
4) Repeated across 10 million audits, on average the "people" are gaining FAR less than is being spent by taxpayers on audits

This is a dead-weight loss to our society caused by the IRS auditing too many people. If this was a corporation, they would only audit enough to find most of the cheats - IE, to the cost effective point. But since this is government, instead they hire auditors until they run out of budget money, and audit as many people as possible regardless of actual culpability.

If the IRS lost the ability to do 90% of it's current efforts, it would be better for society.

Comment: Re:One has to wonder (Score 2, Insightful) 253

by WhiplashII (#48875173) Attached to: IRS Warns of Downtime Risk As Congress Makes Cuts

I'm sorry - if you (as the head of the IRS) allow the IRS to be politicized on your watch, then you will not be funded by the next Congress. It doesn't matter if you think it hasn't been politicized if enough people disagree with you. If the IRS wanted to continue as an organization, they needed to avoid even a hint of partisanship.

It doesn't take a genius here...

Comment: Re:Impacts (Score 1, Informative) 708

by WhiplashII (#47767641) Attached to: Climate Damage 'Irreversible' According Leaked Climate Report

Even worse, every prediction they have made about actual temperature has been falsified. Every single one! Five year predictions, wrong, ten year predictions, even further off, 15 year predictions way out of line, 20 year predictions so far off that statistics has falsified the models to 99% confidence levels.

Note that as time goes further out, the predictive power decreases dramatically. That is the opposite of the claim "we can predict climate on 100 year scales but not weather on yearly scales."

If your predictions get further and further from the truth as time goes on, you do not get to continue to use those predictions to force others to go without.

Comment: Re:180 satellites... (Score 1) 170

by WhiplashII (#47147905) Attached to: Google To Spend $1 Billion On Fleet of Satellites

Yes, it is relatively easy. You use a phased array for beam steering / directional sensitivity. If you put something the size of Aricebo in orbit, you could presumably directly read the electrical signals of a human brain. And the electrical activity at the rear of the brain can be directly translated to what is being heard. So no phone required at all, at least for the uplink!

The same thing is possible for the downlink too, but there may be slight side effects. (Think "This is your brain in a microwave oven...")

Comment: Re:Blizzard Shizzard (Score 1) 252

by WhiplashII (#47067037) Attached to: Blizzard Sues <em>Starcraft II</em> Cheat Creators

In that scenario, what is to prevent the "evil" client from teleporting non-visible units around the map at will?

Even bigger issue - how do you determine if a unit is visible, if you do not know all the opposition's unit positions?

I don't think that is a workable solution. Either such calculations are done on the server, or it is hackable, unfortunately.

Comment: Re:Grudgingly reluctantly... (Score 1, Informative) 386

by WhiplashII (#46758661) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: How Do You Pay Your Taxes?

I would believe what you said if two facts were not true:

1) The majority of taxes are used to take money from one class of people, and give it to another.

2) We live in a democracy where more than half the people are "takers" rather than "givers"

I wouldn't be upset if "givers" voted to make transfer payments. That wouldn't be theft.

I wouldn't be upset if "takers" voted to not have transfer payments. That wouldn't be theft either.

But when takers gang up and vote to steal money from a smaller group under threat of violence, that is simply government condoned theft.

The government doesn't invest in the future. They merely pay their friends rents.

[https://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2012/tables/12s0539.pdf]
[http://taxfoundation.org/article_ns/summary-2009-federal-individual-income-tax-data]
[http://www.ers.usda.gov/topics/rural-economy-population/rural-poverty-well-being/transfer-payments.aspx#.U01rPcegGOE]

Comment: Re:So if they (GM/whomever) wanted to buy the comp (Score 1) 151

by WhiplashII (#46687691) Attached to: Tesla: A Carmaker Or Grid-Storage Company?

Your inability to buy Microsoft has nothing to do with Microsoft's stock price being "too high." And if you could convince a) Microsoft, and b) a bank (or the markets) that you could run Microsoft better than the current management the money would not be a significant hurdle.

Comment: Re:So if they (GM/whomever) wanted to buy the comp (Score 1) 151

by WhiplashII (#46687495) Attached to: Tesla: A Carmaker Or Grid-Storage Company?

What's hilarious is that no one has seen the obvious: no company's "stock price is too high ... to just buy it"

Company A: valued at $X
Company B: valued at $Y

Company A+B: valued at $X+$Y

No one has to have the cash on hand to do a merger (the traditional form of "purchase"). If you wanted to actually make a "purchase", all you would have to do is involve a bank.

Of course, Elon Musk has absolutely no reason to sell his company to a bunch of people that wouldn't know how to run it!

The goal of Computer Science is to build something that will last at least until we've finished building it.

Working...