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Comment: Re:WWJD? (Score 1) 972

Couldn't that be said by BOTH sides of this issue? Wouldn't it be injustice to force a private citizen to enter a private business contract/engagement with another private citizen against their will and against their beliefs?

NO! In a democratic society, we should NEVER tolerate intolerance.

Comment: Re:Christian Theocracy (Score 4, Insightful) 972

But you know what? Every article, every boycott and every protest is pushing them back. Similar bills are stalling or failing. The outrage at actions like these are causing more and more Americans to leave their religion in disgust. The more we drag this bullshit into the light, the more the theocrats feel the heat.

Fair enough, but what scares me is how many extremists are already in power, in Congress and in the Senate. And on the road to the White House. We as a society really do need to take a close look at what is known as the "christian dominionist movement". This movement seeks to establish an American theocracy with the rule of law given by the bible. We should think about what these people are actually proposing: the death penalty for abortion, both for doctor and mother. The death penalty for homosexuality. Here is an article to give you an idea of what I am talking about. A very good read on this subject is American Fascists.

It is easy to dismiss these people as being a crazy fringe. Indeed every society has its own lunatics. What is concerning is how this extreme form of christianity has infiltrated the main stream of christianity and what we commonly know as the christian right. What is extremely concerning is how many mainstream politicians share similar modes of thought to this movement. When I hear about laws such as what Tim Cook is writing about, I hear the clicking of a ratchet, bringing us a small step towards an American version of the taliban government.

Those of us with a sense of what is actually going on must work towards steering our society away from this cliff. Above all, we should promote the idea that although we live in a tolerant nation, we should never tolerate intolerance. The bastards who bring in laws like this should be run out of town.

Comment: Re:Now I understand her record at HP (Score 1, Interesting) 347

by catchblue22 (#49367087) Attached to: Former HP CEO Carly Fiorina Near Launching Presidential Bid

Chris Christy scares the bejesus out of me. His personality is scary. He is the kind of guy who in my opinion you don't want to give too much power. The way he shouts down people who are weaker than him particularly concerns me. This article is a good summary of him.

Comment: Re:This is great! (Score 4, Insightful) 347

by catchblue22 (#49366899) Attached to: Former HP CEO Carly Fiorina Near Launching Presidential Bid

She can follow up on her work at HP and merge the Democrat and Republican parties together. That should make things much more efficient, increase shareholder value and offer synergies to enhance international competition.

Or she can sell off the US government's core technological assets and turn America into a hollow corporate brand name that creates almost nothing. Just like she did with HP when she sold off HP's advanced technology division as Agilent, and changed HP from a technological powerhouse into a brand-name for shitty computers and components.

Comment: Re:The real question in my mind... (Score 3, Interesting) 341

I remember how Bill Gates never thought that the Internet would ever take off. Also Edison thought we'd all live in pour-in-place concrete....

Yeah well, I don't think that Bill Gates is a genius. According to this interesting perspective,

What really made him rich was having been in the right place at the right time in 1981 when IBM needed an operating system for its new PC. Gates (with Allen) borrowed heavily, to put it gently, from an existing operating system, Digital Research’s CP/M. (For DR’s version of this history—“Microsoft paid Seattle Software Works for an unauthorized clone of CP/M, and Microsoft licensed this clone to IBM”—see here. A less biased, though still damning, look is here.) In other words, another instance of adopting someone else’s work and taking credit for it—this time with the innovation of litigating aggressively and manipulating markets to defend a monopoly position. Because once it secured that monopoly, Microsoft did everything it could to crush competition.

And Edison was rather similar. Edison used brute force discovery to solve the light-bulb filament problem, and used some, shall we say agressive business tactics to protect his business. In order to make people afraid of his competition (alternating current, Westinghouse), he used AC to electrocute animals such as elephants. He successfully campaigned to have AC used to execute death row prisoners (the electric chair). He was, IMHO not a genius.

Elon Musk is, in my opinion, a bona fide genius. With a bachelors degree in physics, he taught himself rocket science, and was the chief designer of an entire rocket, the Falcon I. This rocket managed to put two objects in orbit before being superceded by the Falcon 9. The amount of information he must have learned is astounding. Fluid dynamics, combustion, orbital dynamics and trajectory control, metallurgy, each in and of itself an entire field of study. He also has a solid background in computer science.

So, I will give what Musk says on the future of transport quite a bit of weight. He has earned it.

Comment: Re:The real question in my mind... (Score 1) 341

cars might be able to park too close to open doors, meaning more cars could park in a given area

Also, cars could park directly head-to-tail. Then when a car three deep is summoned, it could signal the other two cars to move. The lanes through the lot could also be made much narrower. The capacity of parking lots could easily be doubled, and possibly tripled.

In some European cities, it is customary to leave your car parked in neutral and with no parking brake on (obviously on the flat). When someone wishes to park parallel park in a tight spot, they just nudge the cars in front or behind, causing them to roll, widening the spot. This allows cars to be parked "nose to tail".

Comment: Ice "boulders" visible in photo (Score 1) 21

by catchblue22 (#49180499) Attached to: Rosetta Photographs Its Own Shadow On Comet 67P/C-G

What I notice in this photo (hi-res version) around the area of the shadow are the apparent shapes of the ice "boulders" that came together to form the comet in the first place. It reminds me of looking at chondrules in meteorites, that show the siliceous "hailstones" that formed as the planetary disc that would go on the form the planets cooled.

Comment: Re:Just damn (Score 4, Interesting) 411

by catchblue22 (#49150535) Attached to: Leonard Nimoy Dies At 83

Don't forget his underrated first leading man big-screen role as Kid Monk Baroni, 1952...


"Leonard Nimoy is "Kid" Monk Baroni, the leader of a street gang who becomes a professional boxer to escape his life in "Little Italy" New York."

Hard to believe it's the same guy.

And his photography.

RIP. Sad sad sad.


The Science of a Bottomless Pit 122

Posted by samzenpus
from the free-falling dept.
StartsWithABang writes It's the ultimate dream of many children with time on their hands and their first leisurely attempt at digging: to go clear through the Earth to the other side, creating a bottomless pit. Most of us don't get very far in practice, but in theory, it should be possible to construct one, and consider what would happen to a very clever test subject who took all the proper precautions, and jumped right in. Here's what you would have to do to travel clear through the Earth, come out the other side, and make the return trip to right back where you started.

Comment: Re:Sigh... Yet another scam (Score 1) 233

by catchblue22 (#49070743) Attached to: Mars One: Final 100 Candidates Selected

To be fair, if you're off by 50% on a $1M project, you're out a couple year's salary for one engineer... if you're off by 50% on a $10B project, you owe somebody an aircraft carrier. You'd be an idiot to not be conservative on pricing things when they are that expensive, unless the contract covers development costs.

You do know what cost-plus contracting is, don't you? In essence, the company says, the project will cost what we say. And then add 20% profit on top. The government will then put auditing systems to track almost every purchase. However, that doesn't stop the company over-designing the system, or choosing a design that costs far more than it should. Or hiring layers upon layers of middle managers who do next to nothing. It costs what it will cost. And then Lockmart gets 20% profit on their already inflated prices.

This is why aerospace is so expensive in America. Lockmart and Boeing both rely on cost-plus financing. SpaceX does not. They give price per performance. Price to launch. Price to design and build. They only get paid if they do what they say.

Comment: Re:Sigh... Yet another scam (Score 1) 233

by catchblue22 (#49067673) Attached to: Mars One: Final 100 Candidates Selected

I agree that Mars One sounds fishy. The lack of technical details is suspicious.

I think we can go to Mars. I think we can build the technology. And I don't think that Lockmart and Boeing (through NASA) can do it, because their reflexive position is to magnify costs. I suspect that Elon Musk is the most likely force that will push us to Mars, if only because his obsessive motivation towards that goal causes him not to magnify costs, because he realizes that excessive costs will make his goal impossible. I think that the government would do well to divert some of the funds that were headed towards Lockmart/Boeing towards SpaceX instead. They will get better value for their investment.

What is worth doing is worth the trouble of asking somebody to do.