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Comment: The European Welfare State is Unsustainable (Score 0) 291

Since the UK wisely kept its own currency, disruptions from a "Brexit" would be relatively minimal. It's far more likely that will see Greece exit the Euro, because they absolutely refuse to stop spending money they don't have. (Note that despite talk of "austerity," not once since the European debt crisis started has Greek cut government outlays to match receipts.) To Greece (and to a lesser extent the other PIIGS), the welfare state benefits have become more sacred than the capitalist system underwriting them.

The problem with the modern welfare state is that eventually you run out of people to stick with the tab. It both discourages work and generates declining demographics, a dynamic that is unsustainable in the long run.

Well, Greece is starting to reach the long run. They can't afford their own welfare state, but it's become so entrenched that politicians refuse to significately pare it back even on the brink of national bankruptcy.

The UK, like Germany, has a strong enough economy to avoid this fate for quite a while, but it too will get there eventually...

Cellphones

Pre-Orders Start For Neo900 Open Source Phone 131

Posted by timothy
from the hello-operator dept.
New submitter JoSch1337 writes: After a year and a half of development, the Neo900 project now opened its web shop for the down payments of binding pre-orders for either a full Neo900 phone or the bare circuit board to upgrade an existing Nokia N900. The up-front down payment is necessary to now secure expensive "risk parts" like the modem, 1GB RAM and N900 cases. Thus, without pre-ordering now, there might not be enough parts left after the first batch.

The Neo900 is the spritual successor of the Nokia N900. The new circuit board can be placed into an existing N900 for better specs (faster CPU, more RAM, LTE modem) than the original device while still maintaining fremantle (maemo 5) backwards compatibility. Alternatively, a fully assembled phone can be purchased as well. The Neo900 will be fully operational without any binary blob running on the main CPU. While the modem still requires a non-free firmware, it is completely decoupled from the rest of the device (think of a LTE usb stick you put in your laptop) and can reliably be monitored or switched off by the operating system.

You can follow the development of the project in the maemo forum, read about the specs of the device or consult the FAQ

Comment: In other news... (Score 0) 255

Government funds rebuilding the power grid infrastructure because vast quantities of wind power destablizes grid. And in other, other news, government funds development of massive grid-level storage batteries because quantities of wind power are generated at the wrong time of the day for utilization.

Comment: Why carry everything with the astronauts? (Score 1) 46

For the life of me I can't understand why everyone wants to keep insisting we load everything on a ship with the astronauts and send it all there at once and HOPE nothing goes wrong along the way that kills everyone.

Instead, how about this: we send automated "builder" ships to Mars with a mission to excavate pits in the Martian surface, place inflatable habitats in them, inflate them, then cover them with enough soil to protect against radiation. Monitor the damned things to make sure they're working properly, THEN send the astronauts. If anything goes wrong, at least you know they've got a place to stay until we can get help to them. Obviously you'd need more than just inflatable housing, but this idea pre-supposes you send some sort of power generation facility (nuclear would be best), life support, and enough food for a year or so.

Even better, in addition to the above, send one or two "return trip" ships to Mars ahead of the astronauts so they have a redundant way to get home if something goes wrong. Send a fuel refinery as well that can take Martian atmospheric CO2 and turn it into rocket fuel so you don't have to send fully-fueled ships all the way to Mars. If you start it refining before the astronauts leave Earth, you can have full tanks ready to go by the time they get there.

All of this is completely achievable with current technology and reasonable timelines. Why in the world we're screwing around with trying to do everything in one trip -- along with the massive risks and massive risk mitigation costs that go along with it -- are beyond me.

Crime

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Gets Death Penalty In Boston Marathon Bombing 648

Posted by timothy
from the what-say-ye? dept.
mpicpp writes with a link to the New York Times's version of story that a Boston jury earlier today returned a verdict of death in the Boston Marathon bombing. From that report: A federal jury on Friday condemned Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, a failed college student, to death for setting off bombs at the 2013 Boston Marathon that killed three people and injured hundreds more in the worst terrorist attack on American soil since Sept. 11, 2001. The jury of seven women and five men, which last month convicted Mr. Tsarnaev, 21, of all 30 charges against him, 17 of which carry the death penalty, took more than 14 hours to reach its decision. It was the first time a federal jury had sentenced a terrorist to death in the post-Sept. 11 era, according to Kevin McNally, director of the Federal Death Penalty Resource Counsel Project, which coordinates the defense in capital punishment cases.

Comment: Re:How hard will this break Corp Intranet apps? (Score 4, Informative) 133

by drakaan (#49673031) Attached to: Microsoft Is Confident In Security of Edge Browser
If only I had mod points. I write .net web apps all the time, and for businesses, and I test in IE *last* because first and foremost, I want it to work in the future, which means for mostly-standards-compliant browsers. Writing IE-specific code is an extremely bad plan. Not all browsers are running on windows desktops or laptops.

Comment: Re:It not very hard (Score 1) 167

by ari_j (#49672273) Attached to: How Spotify Can Become Profitable
I thought their current business model was to charge everyone $5 per month, including non-subscribers. At least that's what my credit card statement and numerous online forum posts seem to indicate. Their customer service apparently also sucks, as they refuse to answer when you e-mail or call to discuss the fraudulent charges. They could probably become more profitable if they started earning money instead of stealing it.

Comment: Re:Compares well (Score 2) 408

No-fault is about taking money away from lawyers, who used to litigate each and every auto accident as a lawsuit in court before the insurers would pay. Eventually the insurers decided that they spent more on lawyers than accident payments, and they had no reason to do so.

If you want to go back to the way things were, you are welcome to spend lots of time and money in court for trivial things, and see how you like it. I will provide you with expert witness testimony for $7.50/minute plus expenses. The lawyers charge more.

In general your insurer can figure out for themselves if you were at fault or not, and AAA insurance usually tells me when they think I was, or wasn't, when they set rates.

Comment: Re:More than $100 (Score 1) 515

If we don't have more than two children per couple, the human race would've died out a long time ago.

I think the proper way to state that is "If we didn't in the past", not "If we don't". If we were to have 2 children per couple (approximately, the real value is enough children to replace each individual but not more) from this day on, it would not be necessary to adjust the number upward to avoid a population bottleneck for tens of thousands of years.

Comment: Re:$30 (Score 1) 515

The Northern California Amtrak is actually pretty good for commuting from Sacramento to the Bay Area and back because the right of way is 4 tracks wide in critical places and it has priority over other trains for much of the time.

Acela in the Boston/NY/DC corridor is also good, because the right of way is 4 tracks or more for most of the way, and it has a track to itself along a lot of the route. Other railroads run on parallel tracks.

For the most part, though, Amtrak suffers from not having exclusive track. It runs on freight lines that host cars so heavy that the rail bends an inch when the wheels are on top of it (I've seen this first hand).

"If you don't want your dog to have bad breath, do what I do: Pour a little Lavoris in the toilet." -- Comedian Jay Leno

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