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Comment: Re:Expensive (Score 3, Funny) 107

by mjwx (#46830777) Attached to: "Going Up" At 45 Mph: Hitachi To Deliver World's Fastest Elevator

The problem with building really tall buildings is how to transport enough people up and down without using up the floor space on elevators rather than rentable area. Silly fast elevators may well be worth the money if it results in more silly expensive top-floor rent income.

The west may have stopped with the prestige over practicality thing decades ago, but not in China.

Having the fastest elevators in the country, let alone the world is something to brag and bignote yourself about.

Why do you think they keep building stupidly expensive and impractical shit in Dubai (skyscrapers, artificial island and so forth), it's so the Emir's can have a huge wank.

Comment: Re:Too good to be true? (Score 1) 189

by mjwx (#46829663) Attached to: OnePlus One Revealed: a CyanogenMod Smartphone

Well Duh! Why do you think Apple for instance doesn't allow SD cards in their phones?

I assumed it was because they didn't want to compromise on their museum quality designs.

Nope, it's because it would give the user too much choice and as we all know choice is baaaad.

If an Iphone user had to pick between 4 memory sizes, their heads would explode.

Comment: Re:LOL ... (Score 1) 360

by mjwx (#46829309) Attached to: Skilled Manual Labor Critical To US STEM Dominance

Why the hell would you want to relocate to some 3rd-world shithole where you have to worry about K&R (no, not the Unix guys)?

Go look at the quality-of-living indices, and the countries which dominate them. They're not 3rd-world countries with low costs-of-living. If you want to live someplace where it's extremely safe, the government isn't corrupt, there's good public services (public transit, healthcare, etc.), it's going to cost you. If you have a medical emergency in a mountain town in Morocco, you're probably not going to survive.

Here's the thing, on half my Australian wage, I could live like a king in a place like Thailand or the Phillipines. Police corruption is cheap, so are taxis and health care (although I'd get an insurance policy for health from a western insurer). In a place like Phuket, I'll have most of the modern amenities I'm used to and if I have a tumble down the stairs, medical care is just as close as it is in the west (and a hell of a lot cheaper).

Now on a Thai wage, not so.

If you can manage US$40K a year from investments, that's enough to retire there and live an extremely good life. Hell, you could probably do it for US$25K if you didn't want too much extravagance.

I can afford a private room in the top hospitals in Bangkok which are almost as good as the top hospitals in western nations and way better than the average western hospital. there's no way I'd be able to afford to go to a top hospital in Australia or the US.

Comment: Re:Difference between erratic & erotic (Score 4, Insightful) 567

by mjwx (#46820967) Attached to: The US Public's Erratic Acceptance of Science

Doubt "Big Bang"?

Well you should.

I agree with you post but...

And there's always a but.

There's a big difference between someone who doubts the big bang because they evidence isn't conclusive and it's just the best hypothesis we have right now and someone who doubts the big bang because an 1700 year old book says a sky man created the earth in 7 days.

The former has doubts because their mind open to other possibilities, the latter because their mind is closed to other possibilities. Doubt is really the wrong word for the latter, but they like it because it allows them to get a word in to rational conversations and once that happens, well you know the old saying about arguing with an idiot.

Comment: Re:Wrong application (Score 4, Interesting) 138

by mjwx (#46820513) Attached to: Google's Project Ara Could Bring PC-Like Hardware Ecosystem To Phones

This is a lousy idea for a smartphone, but it has potential as an industrial automation and robotics controller. Those are built up from lots of little modules, but the mechanical and electrical standards are decades old, and systems are too bulky. Think of this as a replacement for Arduino "shields", too.

Actually its the right application.

Just not in the way most people are thinking.

Modular design leads to modular construction. Modular construction leads to lower prices via economies of scale. Many ./er's aren't old enough to remember when computers were monolithic pieces of silicon like phones are today, a single assembly with everything soldered in and not replaceable. If something broke, fixing it was expensive, If you needed anything bespoke it cost an absolute fortune. Now everyone and their dog (well, except Apple) offers many options for any run of the mill laptop, ordering a custom machine from Dell is easy, every corner computer shop can offer you a bespoke desktop at competitive prices because components fit together on standardised connectors like DIMM, PCI-e, SATA and USB.

As will it be with phones, Samsung, LG, et al. will simply assemble them out of component parts that simply slot together. Designing new phones will become simpler and easier. Having to produce custom radio's will be as simple as swapping a module. This is where the average person will benefit from lower prices.

Beyond that, there will still be people who upgrade. Computer component stores have not disappeared because Acer and Toshiba sell laptops that dont need extra bits. People still upgrade their hard drives, video cards or even buy entire bespoke machines. The same it will eventually be with phones, need more storage, get a storage module. New radio technology, get the new radio module. Want a mini HDMI port... you get the idea. Not everyone will upgrade their phones... in fact the majority wont, but there will be enough people who will to justify these modules selling to the general public.

Phone repairs, goes without saying this is definitely the way to go.

Modular phone designs will happen, not overnight, maybe not even in the next few years but it will eventually happen.

Comment: Re:Not what the masses want. (Score 2) 138

by mjwx (#46820489) Attached to: Google's Project Ara Could Bring PC-Like Hardware Ecosystem To Phones

I love how Apple has shown time and time again what the majority of customers want... except of course that the iPhone market share is a fraction what Android's is. And the mac market share is less than that of the much reviled Windows 8, not to mention about a fourth that of the no longer supported, 13 year old Windows XP. Apple doesn't know what the masses want, they know what a relatively small, though highly visible, affluent, influential group want.

Apple doesn't know what they want.

Apple knows how to market and make people without the ability to decide things for themselves think they want their products. This is Apple's core audience, the people who cant pick what they want.

If the food service industry followed Apple's example, every restaurant would be a tarted up McDonalds and every restaurant would only serve one menu item at an inflated price. "Oh, you wanted Chicken, tough, you want beef and you're getting beef because we know what you want better than you do, that'll be $36.95 (plus taxes if you live in the US, Malaysia or Singapore)".

Comment: Re:Surprised? (Score 2) 146

by mjwx (#46819997) Attached to: VK CEO Fired, Says Company Under Kremlin Control

Yes, Fascism allows for a measure of capitalism, but strongly controlled by the government, which is very far from Laissez-faire capitalism

Fascism is the ultimate expression of capitalism. It is essentially a corporate state run by oligarchs or plutarchs. The regimes of Mussolini and the Nazi's would never have gotten off the ground without the help of the titans of industry in their countries.

You're right that it's different from laissez-faire capitalism, but laissez-faire is an unworkable economic system because it assumes monopolistic behaviour does not exist and people are rational, so all attempts at laissez-faire capitalism end up in a form of fascism as the most powerful capitalist entities take control. Laissez-faire is extreme, anarchistic capitalism and has the same fundamental problem as communism (extreme, anarchistic socialism), it assumes people aren't greedy and wont try to grab more (power/money) for themselves. Of course this is wrong, so attempts at communism end up as despotic socialist states and attempts at Laissez-faire end up as despotic fascist states.

This is one of the key reasons why most western nations operate mixed economies, neither purely capitalist nor socialist and changing as circumstances require. Ultimately, inflexible economic systems are doomed to failure.

Comment: Re:Obamacare as a cause? (Score 1) 310

by mjwx (#46819517) Attached to: In the US, Rich Now Work Longer Hours Than the Poor

Then support single payer. Or, support the move to divest health insurance from employment completely.

This,

It's not rocket science, as long as employers have power over their employees health insurance, they'll find ways to avoid their commitments. Especially when the employees are poor (cant afford lawyers) and unionism is demonised.

Other countries have managed to create working health care systems which involve both public and private sources but don't depend on an employer. Giving your employer power over something as important as health care is tantamount to indentured servitude.

Comment: Re:"marg"? (Score 1) 172

by mjwx (#46812909) Attached to: The Science Behind Powdered Alcohol

either use to turn water into a presumably not-that-delicious marg

Don't tell me to Google "marg", because if it is a word, it's a stupid word. I really doubt that it's a word, though.

Marg is a contraction of the name Margaret in Australia.

To be honest, all of the Marg's I've met have been over 50 and definitely not what I'd call delicious.

Comment: Re:Cars are a luxury (Score 1) 389

by mjwx (#46811799) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Hungry Students, How Common?

I remember choosing between eating, living in bad neighborhoods, putting gas in the car, etc.

A starving student with a car?! I think we've isolated the problem.

And how many of those cars are bombs that aren't even worth US$500?

I work at a university and most students drive 15-20 yr old cars with a value of between A$1000 and 4000. A 15 yr old Toyota Corolla costs a few 1000 to buy and runs off the smell of an oily rag (seriously, a 15yr old corolla has the efficiency of a modern diesel hatch, I averaged 6L/100 KM in an EK Civic). Owning a car is not a symbol of opulence.

However I also live in a city where you can get by on public transport, but you're paying A$110 for a shoebox sized room in a sharehouse (A$150 for anything that can accommodate a single bed and a desk). Rents will be by far, the most expensive cost for a student unless they're living at home, the cost of running an old bomb will pale in comparison to rent and food.

Cars are not as expensive to run as people think, I drive an extremely thirsty 2L Honda Integra, it gets 9-10L/100KM doing mostly highway K's. A weeks worth of RON 100 (the most expensive fuel you can get) is between A$50-70 (@A$1.60 a litre) depending on how much suburban driving I do. Groceries easily cost $80 p/w. However I'm a full time worker so I can easily afford my car, if running costs were an issue, I'd have kept my EK Civic as that costs A$30 a week to keep running (petrol and maint). The problem a lot of students face is that the car isn't really optional due to the distances between a home, work and uni and living in places where public transport is practically non-existent.

An old 4 banger whitegoods car like a Corolla or Civic is not a luxury, for many it's a necessity due to a lack of public transport options.

Comment: Re:yep (Score 1) 234

by mjwx (#46811529) Attached to: Russia Writes Off 90 Percent of North Korea Debt

Assassinating North Korean leadership would be fairly easy for US today if it wanted to do it.

The reason it's not been done is the fact that sudden power vacuum would cause a collapse of North Korean state, and North Koreans have proven to be extremely difficult to acclimate to South Korean society, where they would massively flood to.

The CIA is notoriously bad at regime change... However the KGB (or what ever they're called these days) isn't.

The key to assassinating the NK is to have a puppet dictator lined up to replace him. Given that the NK military is a nepotist plutocracy (kleptocracy may be more appropriate) finding a volunteer to be a toady would not be hard. As long as you've got the transition of power mapped out, there'll be no power vacuum and no impetus to reunite the Korea's.

Man is the best computer we can put aboard a spacecraft ... and the only one that can be mass produced with unskilled labor. -- Wernher von Braun

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