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Comment Re:Parts fail, it needs to be planned for. (Score 2) 106

There's another twist to this. I once worked with a company that had developed a little sensor that would let you know if you'd left your infant in the back seat. They ultimately decided not to market it at all; the liability insurance required, should it ever fail, even once, dwarfed the modest profit it would have brought in. I understand LOTS of things don't make it to market, for that very reason. The number one cost in my aluminum ladder isn't aluminum, or transportation, or sales; it's liability insurance. For a damn ladder.

Comment Re:Idiotic Question! Answer: Price, Range, and .. (Score 1) 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 Sorry to see them go... (Score 1) 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

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 What To Expect During First Contact (Score 1) 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

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.

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Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd. - Voltaire