The only thing that I take from all this discussion is that the price is ridiculous.
If it wasn't already part of the standard install (and it should be), then I would consider a nominal $3 or something similar to be reasonable for someone to press the button and install the image with firefox versus the image without firefox. The one thing that Dell does still have going for it is their ability to cobble together computers with a variety of hardware and software customizations at relatively low cost.
Charging an extra $30 for a variation of their image with free software on it seems like a misplaced decimal. And like I said, there is no reason that it shouldn't already be part of the default install.
Ideally they could design a probe or series of probes that could melt or dig their way through the ice, but that is a lot of energy that would be required. And then all that ice is going to make it very hard to relay any data back to Earth.
I would say until they can demonstrate a probe that can melt or dig its way through the ice on Europa that we are better off sending a probe to the edge of the ice cap on Mars.
There are also procedures for surplussing government property. And other ways that someone at NASA could spend a few hours, put together an RFP for some University, non-profit or other outside entity to put together a mission plan to reestablish communications, control and make some use of the space craft. Maybe it is really just redundant given much better instruments on other probes, but there is still likely some value that some University researchers could utilize. Heck sounds like it could be a pretty cool project to unleash team of University students and mostly volunteers on.
As much as I agree with the idea of open sourcing it...NASA would need to limit this to just one team and one mission. Otherwise you get multiple different teams sending commands to a satellite which would confuse the heck out of it.
If NASA can't do something with the satellite, then it should just hand the keys off to a University or other non-profit that has a shot to pull something together by August.
Yes; but it's also a government agency that probably has a few geeks on payroll. As an official project, there probably isn't even time to circulate the RFPs and cut the POs. As a hobby project, it's much more likely that somebody just needs to look the other way as whatever signalling gear can hit the right frequency sees a little after-hours misuse.
Just exactly what I was thinking. If there are still some useful instruments on this spacecraft, then could a bunch of volunteers come together under a University or non-profit to put together a transmitter and mission plan by August?
Most people in the space exploration business get one or two shots at a mission like this in their lives, so I think some mix of people that worked on this originally, some university students and some geekend warriors might be willing to pull it together.
Seems that NASA would just have to designate someone to be in charge and hand over the documentation to increase the odds of success over someone just making this a hobby project on the DL, but then it would be a matter of getting a relatively small team of expert volunteers together and matching them up with some time on a big enough transmitter to actually get a signal to the spacecraft.
In places where the restrictions on speech are broadly defined and allowed explicitly in the constitution, then there is less room for judicial review because judges are judging the law against whether it reasonably falls under one of the exceptions rather than judging the law against whether it is "abridging the freedom of speech" which is clearly and logically a much higher standard of judicial review.
So for instance a judge in the US would look at a law like "Publicly questioning the integrity of a public official shall be punished by a fine of no more than $500" and ask the question first "Does this abridge freedom of speech?" Where in Germany they might ask first whether this restriction falls under "protection of the reputation or rights of others" or does the law serve "the prevention of disorder".
This exception language is pretty much the same language that the UN adopted under which all manner of despots around the world are claiming to be suppressing speech in the name of public order. Of course the "public order" despots are protecting is the order of keeping themselves and their cronies at the top and the rest of society as their slaves.
"against using digital devices"... so analog devices are okay then?
I know what you are saying, but you are having the same problem as legislators will in coming up with good language for something like this. The evidence is pretty compelling that people are more distracted by other people in the car than by people they are talking to on the phone. But we accept one risk as natural while people don't accept the other risk as being natural.
I think it is clear that it isn't risk that is being compared but rather social norms. It is socially acceptable and natural to have a conversation with someone else in the car and would be weird to not talk to someone sitting next to you even though that small talk puts both people's lives in greater jeopardy.
I think it is pretty clear that Google is right in that these efforts are not based on the relative risk of distracted driving using a heads up device... in fact there is probably more than ample evidence that using a heads up display mitigates the risk compared with looking at a heads down in-dash display or other dash mounted or hand held display while operating a vehicle.
Cut down the biggest branch of our government - the lobbying industry.
Cut down the biggest branch of our government - the lobbying industry.
Every single industry and advocacy group is lobbying for this or that. It isn't as easy as "killing all the lawyers" because people will just call themselves something else and conform to the letter of the law but circumvent its spirit. Which is basically what happened with greater restrictions on "lobbyists" back in the 1980s and 1990s. The solution is more democracy and not less freedom for so called "lobbyists".
There are two answers to that:
1) Laying (Or stringing) Fiber from pole to pole or underground takes up space on the pole or space in the underground right of way. With some buffer for line workers to work between the lines on poles and to stay clear of other pipes under ground there really isn't much room. So, it really does make the most sense to have one wire instead of two or three, but many communities do have two providers which shows it is possible... two isn't exactly much competition, but it is at least something. So, there really is a need for some sort of management of the right of way so that brings up point number two....
2) Who do you think buys off the local politicians to impose regulations or to rig the bids so that it benefits one company or the other?? The companies with the most money can buy people's time. And you don't need to buy off a politician or city worker directly in a quid pro quo fashion, but if you look at enough entanglements it should be pretty easy to see how to influence the process at every step along the way with paid lawyers and other agents 'working the process' and getting the right sorts of people into positions of influence.
Massive infrastructure with no obvious monetization plans?
There were many years between when we had cars and when we had a major national highway system. Plenty of time to let a private enterprise get in that space.
The obvious monetization plan is when there is greater efficiency and productivity in society the government (and the rest of society) will prosper. Monopolies, even if they are local "natural" ones, don't allow for the types of free market forces that make other areas of the economy most efficient because they are monopolies. By your analogy, plenty of private companies and individuals are making boatloads (or carloads rather) of money from the road system, but it is paid for with broader based taxes because we all benefit from the roads and to too closely meter their use would constrain the overall economy as people stop moving themselves and goods and services around as much.
Nearly the exact same argument holds true for the Internet. The benefit to the economy is that people are communicating and that goods and services are as freely flowing as possible. That is why net neutrality is so important and that municipally owned Fiber is starting to make sense with stagnating roll outs in the telecom controlled market which is more concerned about getting a cut of everyone's business than it is concerned about providing good service to everyone.