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Comment In the lab working on a space shuttle simulation (Score 1) 320

I was really into the space shuttle--I used to build models of various proposed space shuttles when I was a teenager into model rocketry. At the time of the disaster, I had found my way into a program in the psych department at the local community college that tried to study the effects of living in enclosed spaces by using a space shuttle mockup built out of plywood, TV monitors, some Atari 800s and electronic hardware from the surplus yard down in Taunton. It was very not realistic, but at the same time not bad--apparently it felt very convincing to the people who were in it.

So needless to say, we were all pretty wrecked. I don't know how many times I watched the explosion on the instant replay, but it was a lot. Lots of crying, very maudlin, but on the other hand the lot of us were able to hang out together and grieve with people who got it. Looking back on it, it's a funny coincidence that we were all there when it happened, but we were.

Comment Re:Why retail? (Score 2) 298

In principle they have to maintain less, so it's a win. In practice, it's early days for new generation mechanisms like solar, despite the rather terrifying amount of capacity that we now have. When everybody has panels, we'll have to have some way to pay for the grid, so obviously net metering _by itself_ doesn't scale, and particularly in states with lots of sunny days, this kind of adjustment was inevitable.

Comment There are issues with this... (Score 2) 247

More memory doesn't necessarily make things faster if you have multiple streams and limited bandwidth. You can wind up with a situation where you have a lot of data queued in the buffer, and this botches TCP congestion control so that you wind up getting really poor throughput. Google "bufferbloat" for details. Using a crappy external wireless AP makes this worse. You really do want the wireless card to be treated as a first-class network interface on your router. Unfortunately, wireless drivers are usually closed-source, often have internal bufferbloat problems and other bugs, and can't be updated.

The article's main point, that a faster CPU in the router is wicked awesome, is completely true, of course. You just want to make sure you're running a recent Linux kernel that does a good job of queuing in the presence of a congested link. :)

Comment Re:distribution of wealth and (Score 1) 729

I can't lead you by the nose to the numbers and expect you to accept them. I'm asking you to try to actually get an understanding of the problem, and then come back and tell me you still disagree with me. What you've said so far indicates that you don't actually know what the numbers are--if you did, you'd probably be outraged. It's always possible that you do know what the numbers are and think it's okay, but that's a bit hard to believe.

Comment Re:We COULD get by working 10-20 hours a week (Score 1) 729

I haven't met a lot of these lazy people of whom you speak. We see them on TV, sure, but in real life? People sometimes do not want to put much effort into the meaningless job they are able to get, but if they had the opportunity to do something they considered meaningful, they'd work their asses off. But our economy isn't structured that way.

Comment Re:We COULD get by working 10-20 hours a week (Score 1) 729

Sorry, I was insufficiently detailed in making my point. What I mean is that we have no way other than work for people who have no money to get money. Whether, and how much, you work, and how in-demand your skills are, all determine whether you can have money. So of course people work too much--it's the only way to get ahead if you are paid hourly, and it's often the only way to keep your job if you are on salary.

Comment Re:Transfer of wealth from the middle class (Score 2) 729

The problem is that this is ideologically unappetizing for people who have been buying in to the trickle-down model for the past thirty years, and it is really hard to let go of a strongly-held opinion, so there must be some other reason. This is a serious problem, for which the cure is not criticism of those who are stuck in this particular rut. They are suffering from being stuck there as much as we are, but getting them out will take more than just pointing out to them that they are mistaken.

Comment Re:Because people want the lastest iPhone! (Score 2) 729

No, the average Joe today cannot afford better health service than the richest people of 100 years ago. He can _get_ it, but he can't _afford_ it. Wages have fallen in the past thirty years. That is why people are working more. It's cruel to paint this as people being greedy. What is happening is just the opposite.

My grandfather worked as a mechanic at an orchid farm and was able to buy a nice new car every two years and retire in relative luxury to Florida. Nothing fancy, but a really nice retirement, which he and his wife enjoyed until he passed from a burst aneurysm in his eighties, for which the treatment is the same today as it was then: hope you get lucky and notice it before it goes, and watch it like a hawk until the risk of it going is worse than the risk of dying from trying to fix it.

People doing the same thing my grandfather did for a living today are barely getting by, and are not saving for retirement. Why is that, do you think?

Comment Re:Tax Inversion (Score 1) 456

Um, the Republicans threatened to shut down the government if the cut wasn't renewed. I thought Obama should have called their bluff, and he did the next year when they did it again, but saying that what happened is Obama's fault is like saying that when someone mugs you, it's your fault, because you shouldn't have handed over your wallet.

Comment Re:Hm, yes, similar (Score 1) 156

Plus, seriously, the U.S. is like Crimea? We have been invaded by a foreign power, with support from some citizens and opposition from others? I'm sorry, but there is literally no commonality between the two cases other than that both of them nominally involve the interruption of electrical power delivery. This isn't analysis: it's fear-mongering.

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