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Comment: Re:Once Again (Score 1) 113 113

are saying that taxing people diverts spending away from non gov't goods and services, you are wrong

No, I'm saying that government spending does that, regardless of whether the revenue comes from taxes, borrowing, or glowing presses. Collectively we make what we make (goods and services), and whatever portion of that GDP is diverted into government hands is just that much less for the people (except for the remarkably tiny percentage of government spending that actually goes to needed infrastructure, perhaps, but that's almost a rounding error in recent budgets).

the economy is in a slump; in that case, gov.t spending is good

Oh, yes, it worked so well for the Greeks, I'm sure it will work just as well for us. It's individual consumer spending that has pulled us out of every recession, and that waits on stability more than anything else. The best thing the government can do in a recession is: change nothing: no new regulations, no obviously-temporary programs. Historically people start spending again once they feel they've adjusted to the "new normal".

your idea that lower taxes = more productivity is just wrong in some, and perhaps most circumstances

Again, spending, not taxes, is what affects efficiency, not productivity. "Broken windows" are great for productivity, but do nothing to actually make things better.

Comment: Re:They could save space (Score 1) 105 105

Facebook seems to have your friends in mind, at least for now. They have a system where old photos are store quite cheaply, because they simply fail to display the first time you try to view them. By giving up on storing them in a way that can serve a web page hit, Facebook can be quite cheap (though I hear they use powered-down HDDs, not optical - and Western Digital has a new line of HDDs just for this purpose).

Comment: Re:How much?!? (Score 1) 113 113

That's enough to buy half an F-35C!

Well, we need to buy something to replace aging airframes, so it might be better to say "we could save that just by building a one new F-15 instead of a new F-35". (Seriously, I'm as hawkish as they come, but the F-35 isn't the answer, and fortunately we haven't shut down F-15 production).

Comment: Re:Once Again (Score 1) 113 113

The government can only print dollars. It can't print goods and services, so you're still diverting those goods and services (whatever the government is buying) away from the people. Also, there is a high "frictional" cost to an unstable currency - it's just an inefficient waste, so, again, less goods and services for the people.

Comment: Re:Drone It (Score 1) 736 736

The S/VTOL version makes sense. It's an upgrade from the Harrier, and while it's a shitty air-to-air plane, a shitty bomber, and a shitty close air support plane, it's much better at all 3 roles than having no plane at all. For a VTOL role, that's what matters. For a standard runway plane, it's just evenly shitty at all roles,without much to redeem it (though it will do just fine against low-tech opponents even so).

It's been called the Bradly Fighting Vehicle of fighters, and I think that's an apt comparison. OTOH, the BFV evolved into something quite useful, and who knows, this might too.

Comment: Re:Drone It (Score 5, Insightful) 736 736

Originally, the F22 was to fill the air superiority role (and it does that better than any fighter ever made), and the F35 was the mish-mash of other roles. Everyone following this stuff knew the F35 wouldn't be great at any one particular role, but for dogfighting it was always a joke - and really, that was OK, as the F22 had its back if needed. But we stopped buying F22s way too soon, we don't have enough, and the huge R&D costs weren't spread across enough planes.

The F35 always seemed like the result of no clear charter for it's role: "just do everything". It's not a bad plane for the requirements as presented: for a jack-iof-all-trades plane it's great at nothing, but it's really as good as you could reasonably expect given the lack of a specific role.

The Air Force also has a problem that we've spent too long dropping bombs on opponents with no real air power. We should be using actual bombers for that role: far cheaper per bomb, but fighter pilots run the place. As a result, we get fighters trying to be bombers on top of everything else, and no plans to replace the aging bomber fleet anytime soon (admittedly, a B52 is fine vs an opponent who can't shoot back, but even the B1 is getting old vs an opponent who can).

Comment: Re:Paywall (Score 1) 149 149

Modern VBA is modern Visual Basic, which is C# without the curly braces, right? With either language you have full access to the .NET runtime and libraries, including LINQ. Excel has an OLEDB connector to let you use a spreadsheet as a (slow, single-user) DB. You can put all these pieces together to do "real programming" under the covers of Excel (at least for single-user use cases).

In fact, the open source Linq to Excel project does it all for you, or at least it's recommended by Stack Overflow. Might be worth a look.

Comment: Re:No shit ... (Score 1) 132 132

First thing I do with a new browser is change my default search to DuckDuckGo. I wish I could say I was entirely living a Google-free life, but I do watch YouTube. Is there some way to do that without any Google/DoubleClick tracking cookies - anyone know? I'd be far happier with no Google account of any kind to tie anything to.

But, sadly, most people still give their personal details to Google in particular to sell, and that means if you're trying to launch a new product, you have to care about Google search results.

Comment: Re:Well, well, well. (Score 1) 308 308

What does "given a pass" mean? I'm sure we'll hear what went wrong, and what they're changing to prevent it, before they launch again, just as with the failed landings. And of course we don't know what the failure rate is yet - my point was that "cheap" will make a higher failure rate acceptable for a lot of payloads. Of course I'd hope that as their process matures they'd continue improving both cost and reliability, but realistically it will take hundreds of launches to have a chance of both "good" and "cheap".

Comment: Re:Well, well, well. (Score 1) 308 308

If they get even 10 re-uses, It will be remarkable, and allow much cheaper prices to orbit. I don't know what SpaceX expects in the next decade, but I don't expect them to reach their "!0%" pricing or a 1% failure rate that quickly: process refinement takes serious time. They don't need to to become a new, appealing alternative for launch.

Comment: Re:Well, well, well. (Score 3, Insightful) 308 308

Maybe I don't understand your point? What's being "rationalized" here? Or are you unwilling to participate in honest discussion here? I rather suspect you're just trolling.

You seem to be saying that it's unfair that /.er's don't hold SpaceX to the same standards of NASA? Of course not, that was never the goal, never the point, and no reasonable person ever expected that. SpaceX is cheap - a goal of 10% of NASA's launch costs. There will of course be trade-offs. That's as expected, and it's still a good thing.

Comment: Re:Well, well, well. (Score 4, Informative) 308 308

Those private space insurance premiums should be skyrocketing....

  I'm guessing /. will be a lot more forgiving than if this were a NASA failure.

The higher failure rate of SpaceX is expected. Setting aside Musk's marketing machine, it's understood that the medium-term goal here is to offer a higher-risk alternative (LEO prices below):

1. Western launch, traditional way: $4000-8000/pound (larger launches cheaper/pound). Low failure rate.

2. Non-western launch: $2000-3000/pound. Slightly higher failure rate.

3. SpaceX goal: $500-1000/pound. Slightly higher failure rate.

Long-term, SpaceX could achieve the same low failure rates through process refinement, but it's silly to expect that in the next decade.

Look, if your choices are $5000/pound with a 1% failure chance, or $1000/pound with a 5% failure rate, which do you pick? The rational answer depends entirely on the price to replace the payload, as two launches with a 5% failure rate have a very low chance both will fail. If your payload is "fuel" or "supplies" or something else cheaper than $5000/pound to replace, the added risk is completely the way to go.

Comment: Re: Demographics (Score 4, Insightful) 254 254

I went to a shitty underfunded public school in a major city, located in a poor neighborhood and only black people live there (magnet schools: because rich people object to "bussing"). I lived in a variety of poor neighborhoods during and after my college years (admittedly Houston doesn't have the problems with escape-proof ghettos that the Democrat-only cities do). The main problem keeping people there, where I lived, really was either "attitude and culture" or "spending money on someone else".

Don't get me wrong: attitude and culture are no small thing! The strongest prison bars are the ones in our minds. But if you want to actually fix the problem, instead of keeping the problem around on purpose to serve your political goal, then you must understand the fix has to be cultural. I was stuck there myself for a few years due to my own attitude.

Everyone I talked to (and you do spend time talking to your neighbors when there fuck-all else you can afford to do) fell into one of these 3 groups:

1. Hardworking recent immigrants, legal or otherwise, who were already making enough to live somewhere better, but were sending most of their money back home (these are the best neighbors, BTW). They were here because the opportunities were good, and were anything but trapped. I'm sure their kids are doing great here.

2. A hardworking woman who wouldn't still be in this shitty neighborhood except for some layabout relative, always male, she was unwilling to force to work or throw out on the street. (I always suspected I only saw the ones who hadn't done that yet, but either way the problem wasn't lack of opportunity).

3. The majority: people who were convinced that working a regular, full-time job was some sort of scam. They were just too smart to fall for that scam, you see, to be tricked into working long hour for shit pay. They knew that wasn't the right answer, and any day know their next scam would work and they'd be rich. I was definitely trapped there by this, for years.

There's nothing in entertainment that glorifies, or even explains, that working long hours for shit pay is what the start of the path upwards looks like. That living with roomates in a ghetto apartment longer than you have to, spending less than you can even when that sucks bad, is how you make the space to change to a better job. That working a job that sucks so bad that you sit in the parking lot in a daze sometimes unable to walk inside and start the workday is just a temporary step on the path. None of that is explained, but it's normal when you start from the bottom. My immigrant neighbors understood it - I wish they'd have been able to explain it to me at the time.

Software development is more open to non-traditional backgrounds than most fields. I've participated in a couple hundred interviews and phone screens while working with a variety of the big names in my career, and no one ever cared about anything but "can you code, are you self-motivated, and are you an asshole". The opportunity is there, if you have the talent and the training, but its ultimately on you to make the changes to get the training and go after the opportunity.

The early bird who catches the worm works for someone who comes in late and owns the worm farm. -- Travis McGee

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