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Comment Everything old is new again (Score 4, Interesting) 166

I often wondered why there is such a tendency for reboots in TV and movies. Why re-make something when you could make something new? Then I realized something. In today's society of perpetual copyrights it is nearly impossible to create something new that would not be considered derivative of some existing work. The path of least resistance is to license a known entity to shield the show creators from a nearly inevitable barrage of lawsuits from people with rights to any movie, show, novel, comic book, or whatever, seeking to get a piece of the profits.

The creators of the reboot can then derive freedom to re-invent the premise with even wildly variations on the theme so long as they retain enough of the character names, plot elements, and so forth that they can logically claim it is still a derivative of the original. The ability to bring in fans of the original work no doubt allows for some insurance of success for the series.

This is why, IMHO, we can't have anything new. We've built up such a history of copyrighted works that anything that is not completely foreign to a potential audience will no doubt be considered a derivative of some existing work. Anything that is so foreign to be considered truly novel is so unlikely to be successful that the chances of finding someone willing to fund the effort would be very small.

Lost in Space sounds like a basis upon which someone could build a very entertaining universe. It could also turn out as badly as the original and the movie.

Comment We need to talk nuclear power too then (Score 0) 118

NASA is desperate for the Pu-238 needed to create radio-thermal generator units. To make this material requires a nuclear reactor. Most any nuclear reactor will do but some are more suited to this task than others. Liquid fluoride thorium reactors are a prime candidate for this, they can make the Pu-238 in normal operation while also producing power and other valuable radioactive isotopes.

The heat from a LFTR reactor is high enough that it makes cracking water into hydrogen for rocket fuel a very efficient process. After the water is cracked the heat left over can be used to make electricity, another valuable resource.

We are not going to send people to space with an economy based on "green" energy like wind and solar. Fossil fuels won't get us there either. If space exploration is going to be more than just communication satellites and the occasional trip to low earth orbit on the ISS then we need nuclear power. We'll need nuclear power on earth to make the energy needed to get things into space. We'll also need to develop nuclear power systems suited to operation in space.

Solar panels are great for many situations in space but if we go to Mars then we'll need nuclear power. There's no atmosphere to speak of on Mars so there won't be windmills. Even if one was able to drill for oil on Mars there is no air to burn it. To make that happen we'll need people trained in designing, building, and operating nuclear power plants. To get these people we'll need an infrastructure built to train those people. If we want college graduates trained in nuclear power for a mission to Mars in 2030 then we need to start building the programs to train them now.

The government has to do very little to make this happen. All they need to do is get off their thumbs and allow people to invest their own money in building nuclear reactors. I don't want to hear how these politicians will encourage nuclear power since government seems to have a reverse Midas touch, everything they touch turns to shit. I want to hear how the government will step aside and allow the market to provide the means to develop nuclear power and all the other technologies we need to get into space.

The great thing about space exploration is that it drives so many technologies with uses here on earth. This is true with so many other scientific endeavors. A new space race might be just what we need to allow this federation to reduce poverty, increase employment, raise wages, and so much more.

Comment Re:Zero direct fatalities? Think zombie apocalypse (Score 1) 98

The scenario you propose is only one of many reasons why I despise people that claim we can be carbon neutral only if we create a national grid connecting all the wind and solar plants scattered about the country. We should not create an even larger interconnected electricity grid, we need more smaller grids. We can get carbon neutral by using nuclear power.

We can spread out the nuclear power using small modular reactors. Large multi-gigawatt nuclear power plants are a prime target for attack. Multiple small nuclear power plants with a capacity around a half gigawatt is not such a nice target. Using molten salt reactors means that if one is attacked there would not be a meltdown and spread of radioactive material beyond the grounds of the power plant site.

One deterrent to an EMP attack is to create the infrastructure that is not vulnerable to it. We will no doubt have some sort of means to connect the various grids together so that should there be a loss of generating capacity on one grid can be made up by surplus from a neighboring grid. It should be the norm that the grids remain relatively small and disconnected from the rest so that a cascade failure cannot happen, such as in the case of an EMP attack, sunburst, forest fire, power plant failure, or whatever.

Wind, solar, and a large interconnected grid would be a very expensive and fragile means to get a "green" national grid. Using small modular molten salt reactors would be a much more feasible and robust means to that end. I'm sure many believe the problem lies with NIMBY in keeping nuclear power from becoming the primary source of electricity in the USA but I believe it is the federal government holding it up. There are plenty of low population places in this federation where power lines already exist to put a nuclear power plant. Getting the permits to build one would require an act of God or Congress.

Comment Re:Time is money (Score 1) 201

you should have plowed your own road home.

That's what I do now, I got a truck and plow through the snow.

youre the guy who keeps railing against government and for libertarian ideals.

I do believe that governments exist to build and maintain roads. That's what my taxes are for. But I'm fine with the city taking priority of clearing school bus routes and fire lanes first. Not only does that keep taxes low for everyone it also means that I'm not treated any special than others, that's how a republic works. I also have this feeling that if I did actually plow the roads myself you'd be someone to tell me I'm an idiot for plowing the road as I'm not a professional and could damage the road, damage private property, or injure someone.

also, have you never heard of tire chains?

Yes, I have heard of them. Problem is the manufacturer of the car I owned previously stated specifically in the manual not to put chains on the tires. So I did what the neighbors did, and what my brothers recommended, I got a four wheel drive vehicle. Since then there has been only one time I could not drive all the way into my garage. Even then it was an exceptionally slippery day and I ended up parking across the street, not a mile away.

you literally admitted to foreknowledge of conditions, so why didn't you prepare beforehand, oh prophet of self-reliance?

Where did I say I had foreknowledge of the road conditions? When I lived at my brother's my car was suitable since there the street in front of his house was plowed early and often. When I moved across town I expected the same. My guess is that the street to my brother's house was on a school bus route, while my house was several blocks from one.

I did find it odd that nearly every neighbor had a SUV when I was moving in to my place. I just thought it was some sort of "keeping up with the Joneses" thing. Nope, it was that those that had regular jobs needed that vehicle to get to work. The people with front wheel drive cars were either retired or wishing they had four wheel drive.

Comment Where are the luddites supposed to go? (Score 2) 154

Slashdot has posted several articles about people that have fled the internet of things due to the real or perceived health problems that living with technology causes. If we bring the technology everywhere then where can these people go to remove themselves from technology?

I only being halfway serious here. We should offer technology to everyone, but also offer the opportunity to do without.

Comment Re:Ok to pollute because others are worse? (Score 1) 201

And yet it isn't as low as it could or should be.

How low should anyone's carbon footprint be? What is my recommended daily allowance of carbon output?

The GPP drives a 2015 Passat, which I'd think has a lower carbon footprint than my 2006 Explorer. Perhaps the GPP is not concerned about the carbon output of the Passat because the alternative could have been a Ford F-150, as in the GPP believes that choice was sufficient to gain the praises of those concerned about the carbon footprint of the public.

It seems that some people just cannot be pleased. I could be taking the bus to work but someone will still complain that I should be walking, biking, or riding a horse instead. Perhaps that is even too much and I should be working from home. But then my home is air conditioned, and it shouldn't be. I should be happy to sweat a little in the summer. In the winter my thermostat is set too high at 72 degrees. If I had it at 65 degrees then I'll be told it should be at 62 degrees.

Yes, everyone can do something to reduce their carbon footprint. I think that all those people complaining about my carbon footprint on the internet should reduce their own, by turning off their computers and complain to themselves in a darkened room.

Comment Re:Time is money (Score 1) 201

Most folks would rather we did things to the benefit of the environment, as long as their personal sacrifice is somewhere between minimal and nonexistent.

I tried driving a fuel efficient car, that worked well until I moved from my brother's basement to my own place. That first winter I found myself several times where I had my car stuck in the snow or the path to my home so slicked with ice that I had to walk the last mile home. There is a school near where I live so that path is cleared quite quickly but that still leaves the last mile with deep snow after a storm, often for days.

When I went to look at vehicles I took fuel economy into consideration. I considered hybrids, natural gas cars, as well as more traditional vehicles. I came to several conclusions. Fiirst was that I needed a four wheel drive vehicle like my neighbors or I might find myself looking for a new job because I could not get to work when required of me. Second, that no one makes a vehicle that is both a hybrid, natural gas, or otherwise reduced carbon output and four wheel drive. GMC made a hybrid truck for a while but they didn't sell well and so were no longer made. Also, fuel efficiency is expensive. The most efficient cars are new cars, and I could not afford a new car. I'd be spending far more on car payments than I would on fuel savings.

So, I'm one of those people you complain about. I'll sacrifice to save on the fuel I burn but to do so would mean spending so much money that I could no longer make payments on my school loans or house loan. I suppose you'd suggest I continue living in my brother's basement. Well his daughters use that as their play room now.

I now drive a small SUV. I also get to live in my own house, keep my job, and make my loan payments. I also don't have to put up with my nieces everyday. I love them to death but an uncle needs his space.

Comment Re:Time is money (Score 1) 201

If you want to talk about the environmental disaster that is cars sitting still in traffic then lets talk about those HOV lanes. I've seen studies that show that HOV lanes reduce total movement of traffic. So, while you are happy that you get to cruise by all those single occupant vehicles those vehicles are burning fuel. Fuel that cold be burnt getting those people home instead of sitting idle in traffic.

HOV lanes have shown to produce exactly the opposite effect of what they claim to produce. It might encourage people to car pool with the carrot of getting to their destination more quickly but studies show the dedicated lanes hold up far more people than it moves.

We've seen this too with bicycle lanes. It may encourage more people to bike to work but it also holds up far more people that can not or are not willing to bike.

I will tell anyone willing to listen, and a few that aren't, that these "greenies" will get us all killed. We don't just need to do something to reduce energy use, we need to do something EFFECTIVE.

For example, rather than dictating by law that people cannot buy incandescent lights for their home, a rather small consumer of the total energy used, I propose we do something about the source of that electricity. If we replace coal and gas with nuclear power then we would not nibbling at the edges of our "carbon footprint", we'd take a bit bite out of it.

Comment Re:A right does not obligate anyone to act (Score 1) 188

I replied to this post earlier but then decided it was likely too long for most people to bother to read. Here's a much shorter version.

The Government can and certainly will interfere. In everything. (They are generally interested in politics - and as an advert here a few years ago said - "If you're not into politics, you're not into anything." Or, as I prefer to think of it "We will meddle in everything")

Just because the government can does not mean it should. Might does not equal right.

You'd generally want your Government to be interested in somebody trying to give health care in a sewer (The place) or operations being done by somebody who is claiming to be a doctor who isn't. (The manner)

My body, my choice. I should be able to choose what kind of care I get, whom should provide it, where that happens, and when. So long as we both agree upon the terms of the transaction then the government should not be able to interfere. With something as fundamental like medical care that means the government should not be able to tax it either.

If you want to see how taxation can destroy then look at ethanol. Prohibition of alcohol destroyed the alternative fuel hobbyist. Taxation upon it, and subsidies to it, keeps it from becoming more than a means to buy votes in the corn belt. That alone is something that I feel set back alternative energy by a century. Taxation, regulation, and subsidy of healthcare is going to destroy that industry too. There are already many examples of medical advancements we'd see by now if it weren't for government "oversight" of medical care.

Comment Re:A right does not obligate anyone to act (Score 1) 188

Indeed. But where we're on a planet where a very small number of people have the same total wealth as half of the planet, would taking more money from that very small number of people be a bad thing?

Yes, that would be a bad thing. People have the right of property. If the government can simply declare that something I own is now something they own is the destruction of the right of property.

What are they going to do with it anyway?

This is delicious. Somehow we are allowed to simply take stuff from the wealthy, presumably because they are greedy, because... why? Is not taking stuff from someone else arbitrarily also greedy? They own that stuff so what they do with it should not be my or your concern.

It cannot be taxed? Wouldn't not paying tax be a form of subsidy?

Perhaps. It would also be a means of subsidy that would be about as fair as we can get. We need only establish that the product or service falls into something "fundamental" and therefore is free of any government interference. At a minimum any product or service that is "fundamental" but not declared so by the government should be taxed no more or less than any other common product or service.

You have the right to eat? Really?

I presume that any free nation would recognize the right to live. That would include basic biological functions like eating, drinking, breathing, etc. I think I understand your confusion. You seem to assume that a right compels a government to provide. It does not. My right to eat means that the government cannot interfere with my ability to grow crops on my own land, purchase food from another, dictate what I may consume, and likewise cannot interfere with my ability to provide food to others. If you believe that a right obligates a government to act then you would be confused because very few people expect the government to provide the populace with the food it requires.

The person gets to choose the price that the provider and patient agree upon. So... the Government gets no tax on that at all? Really? Not even VAT?

In most every society I've seen on earth the government recognizes that people need to eat. In order to assure that the government does not interfere with people getting the food to live we see that food is not taxed. If we declare that medical care is equally protected under the law as a necessary aspect of the right to live then medical care should also not be taxed.

The Government can and certainly will interfere. In everything. (They are generally interested in politics - and as an advert here a few years ago said - "If you're not into politics, you're not into anything." Or, as I prefer to think of it "We will meddle in everything")

Just because the government can does not mean it should.

You'd generally want your Government to be interested in somebody trying to give health care in a sewer (The place) or operations being done by somebody who is claiming to be a doctor who isn't. (The manner)

No, I wouldn't. If someone is injured in a sewer then I'd want them to get medical care immediately. If you make a blanket statement that no person is to provide medical care outside of a licensed and inspected medical care facility then emergency care is impossible.

Claiming to be a "doctor" is misrepresentation, and has little to do with getting proper medical care. If *I* deem someone qualified to perform surgery on me then that should be my decision alone. This is also why health care costs so much in many parts of the world. The costs of satisfying the government that one is qualified to be a surgeon is so high that the only way to recover that cost is through exceedingly high fees of those that provide the service. The costs are also so high that a person typically cannot fund this process on their own, they need to get some sort of government subsidy (like going to a military academy) or government backed loans (because very few banks are willing to make a loan on such a high risk of failure occupation).

This is a vicious cycle. The government places costs on health care. No person can afford this on their own. The government steps in to pay for it. With government paying the bills then people don't care so much about the costs. Costs rise. Government steps in to pay for it. Costs rise more. Taxes rise to pay the subsidies. People pay more and more for less and less actual care. If people were required to pay for the care they needed on their own then prices would fall naturally. If the government didn't regulate medical care into financial oblivion then competition and market forces would force poor providers out of the market.

I believe that a compromise can be reached. People should be able to obtain medical licenses from the government. The reason being that if you want to provide medical care to people, and the government is paying for it, then the government should be able to decide who is qualified to offer that service. If I choose to get medical care, and pay for it myself, then I should be able to chose to go to a government licensed provider or not. Likewise someone that chooses to offer those medical services to me, and is not licensed to do so, then they should not be punished for providing that medical care.

My body, my choice, right? Or is that only something that applies to specific people, at specific times, in specific situations?

Comment Re:Multipurpose fighter jet project is next up (Score 2) 124

An excellent video describing the failings of the F-35 program:

The host, Bill Whittle, does get into some political commentary with a conservative slant but also gives an excellent history of fighter jet development in the USAF in less than 8 minutes.

The F-15 Eagle first flew in 1972, was updated in the 1980's to the F-15E Strike Eagle. Even though the two have a common history the F-15E is a very different, and much more capable, aircraft. Boeing is now working on the F-15 Silent Eagle, a version of the aircraft with capabilities in stealth and lethality that the F-35 wish it had.

I believe that the US Air Force and Navy would be better served with the F-15SE than the platinum plated lead sled that is the F-35. The US Marine Corps, however, needs a multi-role fighter that can take off from and land on the deck of an amphibious assault ship. If the Department of Defense had only focused on providing a capable VSTOL airframe, and updating existing airframes with improved engines and electronics, then we wouldn't have the F-35 in it's current form. We'd also have a much more capable military at a lower cost.

What the powers that be tried to do is replace four very different aircraft, F-15, F-16, A-10, and AV-8, with one. This common airframe was supposed to come with a cost savings. Instead what we have is a very expensive compromise that is a jack of all trades and master of none.

As many will tell to anyone that will listen the goal of the F-35 is not to provide a superior airframe, it is to spend federal government money in as many Congressional districts as possible.

Comment A right does not obligate anyone to act (Score 1, Insightful) 188

I have a right to free speech, does that mean the government must provide me with time on a radio station? I have the right to travel freely, does that obligate the government to buy me a car?

Let's get even more "fundamental"...

I have the right to eat, does that obligate the government to buy me food? I have the right to shelter, does that obligate the government to buy me a house?

A recent debate is that medical care is a "fundamental right". So I find myself in need of medical care, does that obligate the government to provide it? Who is the "government" anyway? Government is people. Do I have the right to another person's labor? Are other people obligated to provide me with their resources? That is what things like food, shelter, internet access, and medical care are, they are the time, labor, and resources of others.

I don't have a "fundamental right" to another person's stuff. Claiming such sounds a lot like, "to everyone according to their needs, from everyone according to their abilities." I'd bet that a lot of people don't even know where that phrase comes from or what it means. That phrase is what brought us Marxism, communism, and socialism.

Let's assume we have a society that everyone gets what they need, and everyone provides to their ability, who enforces that? Who decides what people need and another can provide? Usually the answer is that the government does. Which means that phrase translates to, "the government takes and the government gives." Another way to put it is the often maligned phrase, "tax and spend".

If we claim that a fundamental right requires a government to provide it is the path to socialism, big government, perhaps "big brother", and certainly a path to poverty. To me a "fundamental right" means the government cannot interfere. A "fundamental right" to healthcare means a person should be able to obtain medical care from whomever that person chooses, at a price both provider and patient agree upon, and the government cannot interfere with the time, place, or manner in which it is provided.

If we declare internet access then what we should do is declare that it cannot be taxed. It also cannot be subsidized, because if it was then there would be inherent favoritism by the government to providers. Subsidizing "internet" means the government defines what the internet is and therefore who is subject to the subsidies. In other words it's a lot on how we treat the right of free speech. When the government starts to subsidize "free" speech then it's not free any more, there is the cost of speaking what the government wants others to hear in order to get the subsidy.

Comment Re:Thanks anti-nuke extremists! (Score 0) 148

The nuclear power industry might be asking for loosened standards because the standards are so high as to be unreasonable.

There's a meme that is floating around the internet with a picture of Grand Central Terminal in New York explaining that the radiation in the station from natural decay of elements in the granite walls would be high enough to have any nuclear power plant in the USA shut down. People obviously visit the terminal daily with no signs of ill effects but that level of radiation would be intolerable from federal regulators if seen in a nuclear power plant.

"The companies operating nuclear reactors have a 60 year track record of greed, corruption, dishonesty, massive cost over-runs (passed on to consumers) and general incompetence."

Well those power plants that screw up royally make the news, the ones that operate safely don't. Also, would you not expect to have any cost incurred by any power plant, or any corporation providing any service to the public, to have those costs placed on the consumers? Of course costs they bear are placed on the consumers. Also, any means they have to reduce costs are also placed on the consumer. What you have done is just made an argument where anyone providing a service is evil, because if they save people money by cutting costs they are evil, but if they fail to cut costs then they are charging people money and are therefore evil.

Side note, I hear liberals scream up and down on how the eeeeevil oil companies need to pay increased taxes to pay for the damage they are doing to the environment. At the same time the liberals scream on how the eeeeevil oil companies are gouging the little guy for fuel they need to drive to work and heat their homes. News flash: If the eeeevil oil companies can't make a profit because the government tells them to both pay more taxes and reduce prices then the oil companies will have to fold because they can't pay the "little guys" that work for them. If the oil companies fold then NO ONE can drive to work, and NO ONE can heat their homes. If you want to see an environmental disaster then raise oil prices. People will be cutting down every tree within walking distance so they won't freeze to death this winter.

The nuclear power industry wants to build new reactors that are far safer that those currently in operation. The problem is the NRC is sitting on their hands because no one in the government wants to be responsible for a nuclear power plant that fails. You can't fail if you don't try, right? Well, you won't win that way either.

In the mean time we keep running old reactors well beyond their designed lifespan because power companies need to profit or they cannot stay in business. The longer we wait in building new nuclear power plants the longer we run these old plants, and the longer we burn coal with all its downsides.

Tell me, rudy_wayne, how to you propose we resolve this problem of greed, corruption, etc., etc.?

Is natural gas your solution?
"And even without all those problems, cheap natural gas makes it impossible for nuclear power to be competitive."

Some day natural gas will no longer be cheap. Right now the time to get a new nuclear power plant is seemingly infinite. No new nuclear power plant has been built in the USA for over forty years. This is solely because the NRC cannot be satisfied with any design presented to them. They keep demanding "safer" but give no bounds on how safe a nuclear reactor must be. Claiming that failure is not an option means that success is not an option either. Some form of failure must be acceptable, but the NRC doesn't see it that way. Right now we could build a nuclear power plant where failure would result in destruction of the power plant, and radiation would spread no further than the bounds of the containing structure. That is not sufficient for the NRC, they ask for the impossible.

Of course it is impossible for nuclear power to be competitive, because the NRC has made it so. As it is right now the levels of radiation from just common building material would mean a nuclear power plant is condemned even before any nuclear fuel is brought on site. With restrictions like that how do you expect any nuclear power plant to be built?

Comment Re:New = Outlandishly Expensive (Score 1) 345

I know the parent post is from an AC but there is insight in that.

The FDA seems to be greatly afraid of testing any drug before they've proven to a high degree of certainty that the drug is both effective and safe. While the FDA is holding back drugs that have shown promise in early testing people are dying from disease.

Large numbers of people have come forward asking for FDA reform because they've already had a dozen physicians tell them that they are going to die unless they find a suitable treatment in time. People developing drugs to treat these diseases, with the hope to make the money back in selling the drug, want to test it. So, we have the drugs, people are already suffering from the disease, these people are willing to have the drugs tested on them, but the FDA will not allow the testing because... why?

I believe that the US federal government has gone beyond discouraging bad medicine through regulation and is now discouraging good medicine. While the FDA is holding up drug development people are dying and companies doing research are folding up because they cannot get a return on their investment.

I also believe that we are going to see medical advancement come from people that break FDA rules willingly to save lives, or research will move to places where the FDA has no authority. If the FDA does not ease up then the USA may soon no longer be able to claim to be first in medical research.

Hotels are tired of getting ripped off. I checked into a hotel and they had towels from my house. -- Mark Guido