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Comment Re:what happened with computers? (Score 1) 226

If rockets were in any way physically analogous to computers, a Saturn V today would be the same height as the width of a human hair and still lift...

And Armstrong's famous footstep speech would be hacked and replaced by a plug for boner-pills.

"If you want a giant leap in your trousers..."

In short*, be careful what you ask for.

* No pun intended

Comment Re:what happened with computers? (Score 1) 226

now the military is buying the same tech as everyone else because it's better than their custom made stuff.

That's not entirely true. Often the difference is simply not enough to justify the huge price difference.

For example, a $500 "battle grade" hammer may be able to survive being run over by a tank during battle, but is that really worth the extra $460, or is it better to live with occasional flattened hammers and spend the $460 elsewhere.

Comment Let gamblers gamble (Score 1) 226

The practical current function of commercial space co's should be to provide routine transfer of staff and supplies to and from a station or base. That makes perfectly good sense. When something becomes a semi-commodity, private enterprise, with competition*, is usually more efficient.

If and when space does become profitable, such as asteroid mining, such commercial co's will already have some of the infrastructure and knowledge to pursue that market.

As far as pie-in-sky commercial endeavors like a one-way Mars mission, let investors waste money if they want. Who knows, maybe they'll stumble on an unforeseen way to make a profit. Surprises happen. If somebody discovers how to tame anti-gravity particles to get cheap launches, for example, existing space companies will have a big leg up. It's not irrational to devote some of one's investment portfolio on high-risk/high-reward stocks.

And even if they fail, humanity as a whole will be smarter for it, learning from their mistakes. Failure is experience.

* NASA does use lots of private contractors for current missions. But, they are mostly custom one-off products.

Comment More and faster options (Score 1) 168

The Internet generation expects easier choice, such as clicking on Favorites to go elsewhere on whim, and will not sit through long commercial breaks. Plus, gaming, social media/chatrooms, and cat videos compete for attention.

This may mean that TV shows are less profitable and have a smaller budget. But it could also mean that new lean and mean media companies will offer a wider variety and experiment more because they don't have to deal with the bureaucracy and oligopoly collusion of the big networks.

Comment Re:led by a president possibly insane enough to do (Score 1) 129

LOL! You gotta love these libs! So stupid, it's funny.

For something comparable, the tough talk of Iran's leader affects our decision makers here and now. His quotes are quite often used by the GOP to argue their stance.

Either GOP is heavily bluffing, or they would factor in his blustery talk if there were a related international issue that required a snap judgement.

It's not silly, as you imply, it's dead serious.

Comment John Wayne (Score 0) 129

U.S., then led by a president [percieved as] possibly insane enough to do it.

Yet another downside of electing Rambo wannabe's.

We were really lucky to survive the cold war, there were roughly a dozen or more close calls. Or, perhaps it's the Anthropic Principle, multiverses, and/or God (the server admin of our emulated universe) kicking in to save us.

Comment Re:Stop spying on everyone (Score 1) 491

Perhaps if it were made a clear and easily-changable option to the user. Example:

1. 30 day trial, no snooping
2. Snooping version, free after 30 days
3. Purchase non-snooping version

And it should let you know when your 30 days are up rather than automatically go into snoop mode without confirmation.

Clear and friendly choices can bring in more customers and more dollars.

Comment Re:Standardized settings management (Score 1) 491

You are thinking of OS or bundled "system" apps, aren't you? An independent app would invent an independent way of managing features.

And even though those devices might have a standard GUI for finding and editing them, each vendor either has a different way of importing/exporting them, or provide no easy way, period.

Plus, if they were standardized in an open way, you could install a different "settings browser" with fancier search, find, compare, query, report, alarm, etc. features.

Comment Re:This! (Score 1) 164

Offshoring and automation have essentially cheapened the value of much of human labor. However, all this automation and outsourcing has also made stuff cheaper. Ideally their slide rate would both match more or less, or even provide a net benefit for regular folks.

However, salaries overall seem to be slipping backward*. So, why are they not balancing out? Because the owners of capital and corporations rigged the rewards of cheaper labor/automation to go them THEM instead of us, and lobby heavy to keep it that way.

* Wages for existing jobs are stagnant, but if you lose your job, often you end up going back to work at another org for less. Thus, on average salaries are sliding backward when inflation is factored in.

Comment Re:most things are older than previously thought. (Score 5, Interesting) 74

The Greeks were amazing thinkers. They also used complex wrapping of rope around poles, pulleys, and pegs to program automated plays--mechanical TV's essentially.

Too bad they never leveraged it, probably due to the abundance of slaves.

William Wilberforce, a UK abolitionist, may have sparked the industrial revolution more than the steam engine and technology.

A steam engine was invented by the ancient Greeks. However, because slaves were so common then (usually captured enemies), they didn't think much about labor saving devices. Their gizmos were mostly considered show pieces, and thus there was little incentive to improve on their efficiency or utility.

William Wilberforce's pressure on UK politics reduced slave usage, making machines a more attractive alternative, thus propelling advances in manufacturing machinery.

I have a theory that it's impossible to prove anything, but I can't prove it.