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Comment: Glenn Greenwald's Response (Score 1) 546 546

Glenn Greenwald has written a clear statement here arguing that the assertions of the Telegraph article are deeply flawed, and based entirely on anonymous statements from government officials. It is worth a read. Here is one paragraph from it:

The Sunday Times today merely recycled the same evidence-free smears that have been used by government officials for years – not only against Snowden, but all whistleblowers – and added a dose of sensationalism and then baked it with demonstrable lies. That’s just how western journalism works, and it’s the opposite of surprising. But what is surprising, and grotesque, is how many people (including other journalists) continue to be so plagued by some combination of stupidity and gullibility, so that no matter how many times this trick is revealed, they keep falling for it. If some anonymous government officials said it, and journalists repeat it while hiding who they are, I guess it must be true.

Comment: Re:Offshoring (Score 1) 173 173

However the reasons where clearly due to Space X's failure to get their act together and provide confidence that they will be human rated in time to take over when the contract with the Russians was set to end. So NASA really doesn't have much choice, because if Space X isn't ready when the current seats we have from the Russians end, we'd be in a place where no US crew replacements would be possible.

Source for that? Really I think you are making it up. Space X just finished their launch abort test for their capsule. They are likely going to be ready on time. They have been delivering Dragon 1 capsule to the station for a while now. What this really sounds like is a full court press by incumbent aerospace companies to derail SpaceX before they can demonstrate successful launches of humans to space. The committees in Congress and the Senate that underfunded the commercial space program were largely in the pockets of Boeing, Lockheed Martin, or other existing space companies. Here is a tweet from Charles Lurio, who is a fairly reliable source of space information:

Understand that Boeing pushing HARD to reduce Commercial Crew funds to force NASA to 'downselect' to one provider - them.

There are a lot of established companies who want to kill Musk's businesses. These competitors have sunk costs, and Musk is threatening their monopolies by doing what they do cheaper and better. Examples: Boeing, Lockheed Martin, ULA are used to getting fat "cost plus" contracts for government launches. Space X looks like it will stop that. Tesla will be coming out with a $35000 electric car, that will likely sell very well. Energy companies don't what this to happen. Musk's enemies are competing using political subterfuge, bribery, and stealth "public relations" campaigns, rather than improving their business and manufacturing processes. Really all of this stinks like the worst forms of crony capitalism. America is showing its corrupt side. And so called "free enterprise" republicans are behind much of it.

Comment: Re:Why bother with installed capacity? (Score 1) 259 259

One of the hallmarks of PV solar and wind (turbine) power is that its installed capacity is so completely out of sync with its utilization rate. While a coal, nuclear or gas plant can hit utilization rates of 90 - 99%, PV solar and wind tend to fluctuate around 20-30%.

Did you research that yourself, or did you get it from an anti-solar propaganda site? Is it focus group tested? Are you being paid to post? Or are you just passionately opposed to free low-cost solar energy that helps us reduce the money we send to corrupt middle eastern regimes? Personally, I think it is the former.

Comment: Re:Lies, Damn lies and Statistics (Score 3, Informative) 216 216

The oil industry receives far larger subsidies per year than Musk is accused of receiving over three companies and many years. And some of the "subsidies" Musk is accused of receiving consisted of loans that were paid back with interest.

Comment: Re:Remember the hole in the ozone layer? (Score 1) 639 639

Nonsense, of course you can prove stuff in science...

It depends on what you mean by "proving". I would categorize "proving" hypotheses true in science as probabilistic. At some threshold, say when something is 99.9999999999999% probably of being true, then we consider it "proven". That probability is damned close to being certain. But in a philosophical sense, it is not certain...merely highly probable.

The problem comes when people who do not grasp statistics latch onto the idea of uncertainty. They might latch onto that hypothesis that is 0.000000000001% of being true and "root for it as an underdog". They do not grasp that something with such a low probability of being true is false. It is virtually impossible for it to be true. Thus the growth of fringe theories that have been scientifically proven false, and yet continue to be believed. (My opinion on the cause of this is that certain religious sects promote unquestioning belief in authority, which promotes habits of mind to believe whatever their own authorities tell them).

Comment: Re:Remember the hole in the ozone layer? (Score 0) 639 639

You can never prove anything in Science, you can only *disprove* things.

Yes. And in the rare case that I actually read an hypothesis from a denier, it is almost inevitably one that has been trivially disproven. Volcanoes as primary source of CO2. Wrong (simple CO2 accounting). Sunspot correlation to warming. Wrong (no real correlation). Changes in solar irradiation causing observed warming. Wrong (atmospheric profile temperature changes do not agree with hypothesis...and little relevant change in solar output during relevant periods).

In science, we pick the hypothesis that is most probably true, until it is disproven, or until we find a better one.

+ - New test uses a single drop of blood to reveal entire history of viral infection

catchblue22 writes: A cheap and rapid new test gives doctors a list of the viruses that have infected, or continue to infect, patients even when they have not caused any obvious symptoms. The technology means that GPs could screen patients for all of the viruses capable of infecting people. It could transform the detection of serious infections such as hepatitis C and HIV, which people can carry for years without knowing. The $25 (£16) test draws on advances in synthetic biology and rapid gene sequencing to analyse more than 1000 strains of human viruses in one pass.

Comment: Re: We the taxayer get screwed. (Score 1) 356 356

And companies like Lockheed Martin rely almost completely on government military subsidies.

Wait, what do you mean? The government simply buying a product at an agreed upon price (e.g. weapons) is not a subsidy.

When the contract is overly favorable to the company, I do count it as a subsidy. Many contracts Lockheed Martin makes with the government are "cost plus" contracts, meaning that the government pays the costs of the project plus a guaranteed profit margin of, say, 20%. The problem is that this gives an incentive for the contractor to inflate the costs, to over-design, to hire too many managers.

Comment: Re: We the taxayer get screwed. (Score 5, Insightful) 356 356

...he fossil fuel industry is subsidized more than 8b PER year in America...

Not to mention that the Internet was started by the government. And companies like Lockheed Martin rely almost completely on government military subsidies. This article was a hit piece. The American media really is shockingly corrupt.

Businesses

How Elon Musk's Growing Empire is Fueled By Government Subsidies 356 356

theodp writes: By the Los Angeles Times' reckoning, Elon Musk's Tesla Motors, SolarCity, and SpaceX together have benefited from an estimated $4.9 billion in government support. The figure compiled by The Times, explains reporter Jerry Hirsch, comprises a variety of government incentives, including grants, tax breaks, factory construction, discounted loans and environmental credits that Tesla can sell. It also includes tax credits and rebates to buyers of solar panels and electric cars. "He definitely goes where there is government money," said an equity research analyst. "Musk and his companies' investors enjoy most of the financial upside of the government support, while taxpayers shoulder the cost," Hirsch adds. "The payoff for the public would come in the form of major pollution reductions, but only if solar panels and electric cars break through as viable mass-market products. For now, both remain niche products for mostly well-heeled customers." And as Musk moves into a new industry — battery-based home energy storage — Hirsch notes Tesla has already secured a commitment of $126 million in California subsidies to companies developing energy storage technology.

Yes, we will be going to OSI, Mars, and Pluto, but not necessarily in that order. -- Jeffrey Honig

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