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Comment Re:Cost of access is key. (Score 1) 291

we don't know the reasons the Polynesians expanded. It is highly doubtful a lone couple of polynesians set sail on the high seas to find new islands. The amount of provisioning and boat building...analogous to modern government sponsorship

What's even more likely is that tribes who lost a war were tied into their own boats with meager rations and set to drift at sea. Most probably died, but a few got lucky. Perhaps this was part of a ritual.

Comment Re:The real Bill Gates of India (Score 1) 68

A lot of non-IT people don't know what a jerk Gates was. He was brilliant at killing off competitors using targeted sell-at-loss campaigns, bait-and-switch "standards", bundling, and locking one in to product upgrade cycles.

But that stagnated business software evolution and robbed the market of choice. I bet he'd make a great military general.

Comment Re:Less service? (Score 1) 368


I only go to the dealer for the every 30K service. The more frequent stuff I do at whatever "jiffy lube" happens to be most convenient on that particular day.

Going to the dealer for everything is too much of a bother.

That's one reason I would avoid crummy American brands and over hyped luxury brands.

Comment Re:Yea blame the salesman (Score 1) 368

Of course blame the salesman. This problem isn't just about electric car. It's also about cheaper versions of gas cars. That also includes all of the stupid "dealer add ons" they indulge in. Some of these are consumables that only last for the first year of the car and jack up the price significantly.

My favorite one is the "nitrogen filled tires". [breathes in deeply]

I was interested in a car that was already on the lot but I had to out wait the stupid salesmen on my last car for about 4 months before they actually broke down and sold it to me.

I would find it less bothersome to pay MSRP and order it directly from the factory.

Comment Re:what happened with computers? (Score 1) 291

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) 291

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) 291

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 The guy aint no Sagan... (Score 0) 291

All you have to do is tell someone that there's money to be made in space. If there's a giant diamond asteroid or one made of gold, people will make it happen. It might not happen today or even in anti-Sagan's lifetime but the dreams of avarice will be fulfilled.

Plus there's the whole "living in glory until the end of time" thing to consider.

I'm sure every Robber Baron would love a holiday dedicated to their name.

Comment Re:Cost of access is key. (Score 2) 291

If space cannot be opened up to individuals then it will never be open at all. During the age of Columbus, any schmuck with a ship could go out exploring. Before that, any schmuck with even a tiny canoe could go exploring the high seas.

The idea that Lorne Greene can launch a moon mission from his backyard has to become feasible before serious exploration of space happens.

Private companies getting in the game are just a necessary natural evolution of the technology.

Comment Re:Projectors? (Score 0) 196

Since you can't seem to get basic technical details correct, I am not sure we should trust anything you have to say on the matter.

On the the other hand, the old school educational use case seems to be pretty effectively handled by the current generation of projectors. Just use the old pull down screens and a bog standard media cart. Any projector is certainly more mobile and less awkward to carry around than ANY decent sized TV.

Beyond schools, one does not use a projector because they are "cheap".

Comment Re:Scheduled programming is doomed. Maybe ads too. (Score 1) 196

Antenna TV really only works if you really really REALLY don't care about the crap you're watching. Otherwise, it's painful and confusing and you quickly realize that you would be better off with your own DVDs.

Broadcast TV mutilates content. It even mutilates stuff originally made for broadcast.

Comment Re:For the foreseeable future, right where it's at (Score 1) 196

Something else that you can do with a cheap set top box is have a single unified user interface imposed upon all of your displays without the need to restrict yourself to a single display vendor.

The premium for the smart parts of my first smart TV was 3x the cost of one of these little boxes. Simply not worth it for embedded functionality that will quickly be desupported.

It's much easier to replace an external box and keep the nice expensive display.

There is simply no need to replace displays on the schedule that industry wants you to.

Take your work seriously but never take yourself seriously; and do not take what happens either to yourself or your work seriously. -- Booth Tarkington