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Comment: Re:Subsidize the supply side (Score 1) 939 939

Yes, we can see just how so well government intervention worked out on the demand side, that we should definitely implement it on the supply side. Your suggestion is akin to introducing foreign lizards to an ecosystem, then foreign snakes to kill the out of control lizards, then foreign gorillas to kill the out of control snakes, then expecting the gorillas to simply die at winter time.

Comment: Re:wow, no lie (Score 3, Insightful) 227 227

> You should be able to afford to raise a family on half of that, even in the Bay Area... unless you keep buying new cars, bought a house you couldn't afford... and generally just represent the kind of person who the people who grew up in the area you moved into despise.

Actually, that's not true. Half that is $105k. Rent in the SF Bay for a 2 bed / 2 bath apartment within 30 minutes of that $105k job is going to costs you minimum $2.5k a month, more likely even $3k. So that's $36k a year, after tax. Your marginal rate at $105k is likely the 28% bracket. So $50k * 72% = $36k means it costs you $50k of your pre-tax income to pay for rent. Take the other $50k, chop off another 7.65% for OASDI / Med taxes = another $8k. State income tax will run another 5% ish, so another $5k. Suddenly your $105k has been dropped down to around $40k for the basic set of rent and taxes. And that's before you've even had a chance to pay for anything else - food, utilities, car, insurance, etc. And before you've put anything into savings.

I remember thinking back in the early 2000s that the "6 figure income" was the pinnacle of climbing out of the middle class into the start of the upper class. But the sad reality today is that with monetary inflation, demand inflation for living expenses, globalization, etc ... $100k is barely middle class anymore across many of the major metro areas in the United States. In the minor metro areas across the country, where populations in a 20 mile radius are under say 50k, you can still survive quite nicely on an $80k-ish income. But in major metro areas, especially with a family, that is not true anymore.

Comment: Re:save? (Score 1) 227 227

As always, it depends on the area. Plenty of the big name areas these days are nearly poverty levels, even making $100k. Houses could easily be $1 mil + for something meager, with rents running $2.5k - $3.0k + a month. I know for absolutely certain that even the suburbs of the SF Bay and NYC would put a family of 3 in the ghetto at $40k. However, at $210k and "barely making it", you're looking at a much smaller area ... pretty close to downtown SF, NYC, LA, etc. Still, at $210k, buying a meager 3/2 1500 sq ft house in the burbs for $1 mil puts you at a loan equal to 5x income. And that is cutting it tight.

Comment: Re:The 30 and 40-somethings wrote the code... (Score 1) 553 553

You assume that any of that is required in today's app-crap industry.

Instagram got bought out for a billion dollars. Did they need to know anything technical like Linux kernels, Apache, HTTP/IP protocols? No. All they needed to know was how to put together some very menial photo sharing app for the Facebook platform. A platform that gives you an API so you don't have to think much about HTTP/IP protocols.

And that's what these kinds of companies want - magical billion dollar growth in a matter of a few years. If you want to manage some server in the closet at some insurance company in the middle of South Dakota, you'll probably have no problem as a 40+ year old with a few credentials.

Either way, I've always wondered how things like age discrimination could be proven. Every job application denial I have ever received (assuming you get one) has been something along the lines of "thank you for your interest, you are not a suitable match, we have better candidates". I feel like you would need to have years of data, dozens of denied older applicants, insider knowledge of the actual hirer, and some degree of incriminating emails to prove it for a single company. I mean, are you allowed to say that a company's existing distribution of workers is simply too young, so they must practice discrimination? That seems excessive.

Comment: Re:NIMBY strikes again (Score 0, Troll) 228 228

Native groups complain about this kind of stuff all the time. When the reality is that they make abundant use of all of the benefits received from being "couped" by their overtakers. While complaining about anything they don't like. There's an island in the northeast part of the Indian ocean called North Sentinel Island. There's a group of primative people that have been living isolated on the island for as long as we know. To this day, they've resisted all contact with the outside world. They have practically no knowledge of modern travel, modern medicine, modern technology, modern sanitation, modern agriculture, or modern anything. A few videos / photographs have been taken from approach to the island, but at some distance. They run around in loin clothes and they throw spears, with likely no knowledge of even basic medicine or basic agricultural practices for steady agricultural yield. That's what no contact and leaving you alone gets you. Yet every one of these protestors probably has a cell phone, access to a hospital, lives in a house that meets modern (i.e. 1900s and later) construction standards, with sanitation systems, and access to grocery stores that have plenty of food available nearly year round. What most of these groups need is a reality check. The world moves on. Smart people invent smart things and inherit the Earth. Their approach to live in isolation will eventually result in their culture's death through famine, disease, asteroid, or the Sun burning out. Developing advancements will at least give us a chance to survive beyond those problems. Stop complaining, join the rest of us, and let's all move on with life.

Comment: Re:Good? (Score 1) 273 273

I'm a bit hesitant to let Uber etc just run free and amok in the market. I feel like there should be publicly available registration and verification data on all vehicles and drivers. There are very few, if any, other businesses that are free to run completely unchecked. Restaurants, gas stations, contractors, dentists, day cares, grocery stores, truckers, etc, etc, etc all have some degree of oversight, registration, verification for the purposes of trying to track and root out issues. Part of this could be tracking wheelchair accessible vehicles.

Alternatively, if the free market does succeed, and prices are higher for wheelchairs, then you might find people that specifically outfit their vehicle to cater to wheelchairs. And they might roam the city looking for wheelchair fares to optimize their revenue, potentially provided superb service (albeit at a higher cost).

Comment: Analagous? (Score 1) 248 248

To be fair, whether you lock your door, don't lock your door, or leave your door wide open ... if someone steals your stuff, it is still considered theft. However, whether you lock, don't, or leave wide open might determine whether the act is considered breaking and entering. It appears that the person did nothing abnormal to access the documents though. So at best, it would appear his charges should be distribution of copyrighted materials, if the materials were copyrighted.

Comment: Re:No. (Score 1) 241 241

People's obsession with the world around them after death is odd. None of the major religions talk about just hanging around in the normal world after death to see what is going on. And secular followings certainly don't. So most of what we do before death, regarding death, is for the sake of satisfaction while we're alive. And that should really cover, at most, your required responsibilities. I.e. if you are the sole income earner in a family with kids, then get a life insurance policy to be responsible for those kids. And broader global issues like not damaging the Earth, so future generations can enjoy it too.

So when people put tremendous effort into setting up wills, estates, etc, I find it hilarious. The person that is potentially dying has no interest whatsoever in any of that. It is impossible for them to care at all, because they are dead and can not care. About the best outcome is getting to see which of your family members fights over the writing of the will or estate, so you can see which values your money over the family relationships.

Comment: Re:First amendment (Score 1) 117 117

This has baffled me. I know you can be held accountable for yelling fire in a crowded theater. But even then, the act of yelling fire in a crowded theater is not illegal itself. Just the deaths as a result of yelling fire can be attributed to the yeller.

How the government can strictly deny someone from stating mere facts makes no sense. "Yes, I received a FISA subpoena today." Have gag orders been contested at any level of the judicial system?

Comment: Re:Waste of money (Score 1) 401 401

We'll never do away with human pilots entirely. We may convert large portions of the forces to drones. But in the end, there's no replacement for the ingenuity of a human brain. No matter how many pre-canned routines, how much machine learning, how much sensor fusion we can possibly put on a drone ... there will always be some kind of situation that can arise that the human ingenuity will be more capable of dealing with than the drone. It may only require 1 regional human pilot to direct a fleet of 100 drone fighters. But that 1 human pilot may need to be sitting in something like an F35. However, spending more effort on drone technology should be a major focus of the future.

Comment: Re:I'll be in trouble (Score 1) 374 374

Even better yet. The reason why people aren't pursued for encrypted DVDs is because no one in the investigation has any reason to believe that the encrypted DVDs hold anything other than the movie that is on the label. Therefore, maybe it would be a good idea to start storing encrypted data on DVDs that look like regular movie DVDs. Remember, the first step in security is obfuscation!

Comment: Re:Shocking (Score 2) 409 409

Why does it have to be a racial difference? Why can't it just be the difference between hiring a guy from India, and hiring a guy locally? Employment negotiations are full of these kinds of discrepancies. One guy negotiates more than another guy. One guy knows the market better than another guy. There are all kinds of people that do the same exact work, yet get paid differently. The "Indian" may have referred to the guy coming from India, rather than locally. They know Indian demand to transfer to the US is high, so they offer a lower salary. Rather than a guy who is already in the US, who they must offer a higher salary to attract.

Comment: Re:A field of Two (Score 1) 69 69

Except for the fact that Lockheed and Boeing have been NASA's contractors for decades.

The difference is how these contracts are funded. The COTS contracts for SpaceX and Orbital have two huge things going for them:

1) These are not "cost-plus" contracts, but rather fixed price contracts where any cost savings during operations is kept entirely by the launch provider. If either company can save even a few hundred dollars by doing something cheaper or avoiding a purchase of the proverbial $10k wrench & hammer, those companies see that savings directly. Neither Lockheed-Martin nor Boeing care about stuff like that as they simply pass those "costs" in the "cost-plus" contract on to taxpayers. There are no cost overruns in a fixed price contract too, so if either Orbital or SpaceX have some unexpected costs showing up.... they need to eat those costs.

2) Both SpaceX and Orbital are free to use these launch vehicles for any other purpose as everything they've made belongs to them and not NASA or the federal government.

I do think there is a time and place for cost-plus contracts where there is a genuine national priority that something absolutely must be made. None the less, this really is a different thing and in a great many ways these other companies have been extensions of the government in how they made their vehicles.

Not cost plus only works if the task is well known and well defined. Because a task with an unknown or wandering scope (i.e. a science experiment) will eventually just stop once the money runs out, if it is not cost plus. Because individual companies are not bottom-less supplies of money either. So they'll mess up once, eat the cost. Mess up again, eat the cost. Repeat until the bank account says $0, and the rocket is half-complete. Then the company will simply go bankrupt. You can't go after a company with no money, there's nothing to go after. The government can take them to court and say "the contract says deliver a rocket, and you delivered 1/2 a rocket" all they want. But they won't get anything out of it ... because nothing exists anyways.

At this point, ISS resupply appears to be well known and well defined. However, if NASA, NFS, or the DOE said they wanted a new fusion power plant, and the RFP said fixed-fee (not cost plus), I doubt they would get any bidders. Or the bids would include absurdly high prices to allow for massive budget margins.

Comment: Re:A field of Two (Score 1) 69 69

This whole "look how gr8 commercial spaceflight can do so much better than government!" stuff is nonsense propaganda.

Again, SpaceX built a new rocket engine and two new rockets and launched them into space for less than NASA spent to put a dummy upper stage on top of a shuttle SRB and launch it into the Atlantic Ocean.

Aerospace, except in perhaps the first 5 years of flight, has always been about the government making the long-term investments and R&D, and private companies delivering final products.

So, you're claiming that government developed and funded the 747 and 787?

To be fair, Ares I was intended to put 56,000 lb into LEO. While Falcon 9 only puts 23,000 to 29,000 lb into LEO. And Antares only puts 11,000 lb into LEO. And we all know that space does not scale linearly.

However, I applaud both their efforts. And I'm not sure you can ever consider government contracting in space as "private" in the sense that a private company might put out a RFP for silicon chip fab, and get back 10 aggressively competitive bids from other private companies. But, it's a step in the right direction. NASA can set quality and efficiency guidelines each year for ISS resupply. And then award the next year's (or batch's, etc) set of resupplies to whoever meets the guidelines best.

"Experience has proved that some people indeed know everything." -- Russell Baker

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