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Comment Re:Idiotic Question! Answer: Price, Range, and .. (Score 1) 688 688

Yep. My gas vehicles go three hundred miles, require all of five minutes to "recharge," and "charging" stations are EVERYWHERE. Especially out here in Fly Over Land where people often put a hundred miles a day on their cars just to go to work and back, electrics are just science fiction. I think the nearest large city to me (the capital of the state) has three charging stations. Natural-gas-powered pickups, however, are thick upon the ground.

Comment Re:Fascinating ship (Battleship vs Battleship) (Score 1) 114 114

There were only two battleship-on-battleship engagements in the Pacific, and neither Yamato nor Musashi were involved. However, Yamato did put its big guns on an escort carrier - the USS Gambier Bay, which sank shortly thereafter.

Comment Sorry to see them go... (Score 1) 294 294

I worked for Radio Shack 'way back in the day, in college and grad school. They had a nice stock-matching program and it split three times while I was there. When I finally cashed out it payed for my first decent car. But my real claim to fame was to own the second TRS-80 Model I sold in my city. The district manager got the first one; I got the second. 4KB of RAM and it could (a) beat me at chess and (b) with the Eliza program converse convincingly with my girlfriend. She said that the computer understood her a lot better than I ever did!

Comment Nukes Now (Score 4, Interesting) 401 401

What really killed nuclear power wasn't "The China Syndrome" or Greenpeace - it was that the price of fossil fuels didn't continue to increase as expected. That's unfortunate, as while I like inexpensive energy I also believe that we should make ALL of our electricity with nukes (or hydro) and save fossil fuels for applications where nothing else will do (e.g. aircraft). And here's a litmus test: if you're serious about global warming, you've pretty much got to be pro-nuke. No other technology - not solar, not wind, not whatever green scheme you dream up - can produce electricity on a large scale. Wanna save the planet? Push for nukes and plug-in electric cars.

Comment Re:Maybe the aliens are just as religious (Score 0, Troll) 534 534

Robert J. Sawyer is apparently an idiot. Contact with a superior culture always goes badly. Any aliens with the ability to travel to Earth will be as far beyond our understanding as we are to a mound of termites. We'll be lucky to survive First Contact at all.

Comment What To Expect During First Contact (Score 1) 129 129

The other day I was clearing debris from a fenceline. I turned over a rotten log to reveal a termite nest. I watched for a moment as the panicked insects scurried about with their larvae and such, then kicked their home aside and went about my business.

This is what First Contact will be like for us. If we're lucky. Note that I didn't bother to exterminate the critters.

Comment How many microprocessors was that again? (Score 2, Insightful) 459 459

70 to 100 microprocessors? I imagine that this is true only if you employ a fairly broad definition of "microprocessor" and note that the vast majority are single-purpose devices in self-contained systems. I doubt that the "microprocessors" and "lines of code" that run the stereo or the climate-control system - or even the airbags - have any connection with the driveline.

I have yet to see any problem, however complicated, which, when you looked at it in the right way, did not become still more complicated. -- Poul Anderson

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