Those deep field photos always give me vertigo.
The AK's I saw at the last gun show ranged from $650 up to $2000. Where are you getting them for $30?
You live in rich country full of gun collectors who drive up the price for nice examples. In Africa, AK-47s can be had for around $300 [reference:http://blog.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2007/06/12/looking_for_a_deal_on_ak_47s_go_to_africa#sthash.IpUFO50V.dpbs].
It's also possible that at certain situations (e.g., after a proxy war) markets in very poor countries may be flooded with very cheap weapons, with ak-47s selling for as little as $6 [reference http://archive.is/5gesc%5D. However this is obviously not a sustainable price; it only reflects a glut on the local market. Also, these aren't places you'd want to live, despite the occasional gun purchase bargain.
Same here. Had a T42 sitting on a high lab bench doing a big database update and somebody knocked onto the concrete floor. Aside from a hairline crack in the corner it landed on, it was perfectly fine.
Well, I was agreeing with you, but I took a slightly more skeptical position with respect to science fiction enthusiasts' actual knowledge of science. You suggested that science fiction writers might be in a slightly privileged position in comparison to artists because they have more of an understanding of nature. That may be true of *some* science fiction authors (e.g. David Brin, who is a working scientist), but by in large the science fiction community displays what to my mind is a deceptively superficial knowledge of science.
Take the lithium deuteride example. Yes, I agree a sci-fi writer is more likely to know offhand that it's used in thermonuclear bombs than an average artist. But that is really just a piece of technology trivia. It's not *working* knowledge. What's the difference? Working knowledge allows you to make valid inferences, or at least leads you in the right direction. As far as the author was concerned "lithium deuteride" might as well have been magic pixie dust. He didn't realize that it's usefulness is as a way of packing a lot of hydrogen (or rather deuterium) atoms into a confined space -- the very reason LiH is of interest for storage and transport of hydrogen to be used in fuel cells. If he *had* understood this, he could have done rough scaling calculations on th required mass for his hypothetical warhead. That would be an example of working knowledge; although it wouldn't man he knows anything about economics, or biology (often a weak spot in sci-fi in my opinion).
So in my opinion a science fiction author is not in a *privileged* position relative to an artist to have an opinion about things like economics; nor is he even in a privileged position relative to an artist to have an opinion about science. Not necessarily. For one thing I think you're selling short the intellectual abilities of artists. But the sci-fi writer certainly has a right to have and express opinions; they just aren't any more credible *because* he's a sci-fi writer.
A triumph of the human spirit, of technology, of ingenuity, sure - but mainly, an overwhelming triumph of project management.
And then NASA changed their management. And the new management dropped "belt and suspenders" "managing for Murphy's law" in favor of "managing for success". And they launched Challenger when the solid-fuel booster O-rings were too cold to seat properly, over the objections of the engineers.
And the space program was put on hold for 2 2/3 years.
What's so wrong with installing linux on a real laptop?
Modern laptops come with remote administration tools built into the chips on the board. (The vendors tout this as a feature, simplifying administration of a large company's workstations. It's easier and cheaper to build it into everything than to be selective, so it's in the machines sold to individuals, too.)
One example: Intel Active Management Technology (AMT) and its standard Intelligent Platform Management Interface (IPMI), the latter standardized in 1998 and supported by "over 200 hardware vendors". This is built into the northbridge (or, in early models, the Ethernet) chip).
Just TRY to get a "modern laptop" (or desktop), using an Intel chipset, without this feature. (I suspect the old Thinkpad is how far back they had to go to avoid it.)
You can't disable it: Dumping the credentials or reverting to factory settings just makes it think it hasn't been configured yet and accept the first connection (ethernet or WiFi, whether powered up or down) claiming to be the new owner's sysadmins.
If the NSA doesn't know how to use this to spy on, or take over, a target computer, they aren't doing their jobs.
Some of the things this can do (from the Wikipedia articles - see them for the footnotes):
Hardware-based AMT features include:
Encrypted, remote communication channel for network traffic between the IT console and Intel AMT.
Ability for a wired PC (physically connected to the network) outside the company's firewall on an open LAN to establish a secure communication tunnel (via AMT) back to the IT console. Examples of an open LAN include a wired laptop at home or at an SMB site that does not have a proxy server.
Remote power up / power down / power cycle through encrypted WOL.
Remote boot, via integrated device electronics redirect (IDE-R).
Console redirection, via serial over LAN (SOL).
Keyboard, video, mouse (KVM) over network.
Hardware-based filters for monitoring packet headers in inbound and outbound network traffic for known threats (based on programmable timers), and for monitoring known / unknown threats based on time-based heuristics. Laptops and desktop PCs have filters to monitor packet headers. Desktop PCs have packet-header filters and time-based filters.
Isolation circuitry (previously and unofficially called "circuit breaker" by Intel) to port-block, rate-limit, or fully isolate a PC that might be compromised or infected.
Agent presence checking, via hardware-based, policy-based programmable timers. A "miss" generates an event; you can specify that the event generate an alert.
Persistent event log, stored in protected memory (not on the hard drive).
Access (preboot) the PC's universal unique identifier (UUID).
Access (preboot) hardware asset information, such as a component's manufacturer and model, which is updated every time the system goes through power-on self-test (POST).
Access (preboot) to third-party data store (TPDS), a protected memory area that software vendors can use, in which to version information,
.DAT files, and other information.
Remote configuration options, including certificate-based zero-touch remote configuration, USB key configuration (light-touch), and manual configuration.
Protected Audio/Video Pathway for playback protection of DRM-protected media.
Additional AMT features in laptop PCs
Laptops with AMT also include wireless technologies:
Support for IEEE 802.11 a/g/n wireless protocols
Cisco-compatible extensions for Voice over WLAN
This just happens to be one I'm familiar with. I don't know whether (or which) other chip makers (such as AMD) have similar "features" built in as well (though I'd be surprised if they didn't, since they want to sell into big companies, too).
Well, if you outlawed every form of argument a simpleton can misconstrue, you might as well cut your own tongue out.
Literature is great way of raising questions. It's a lousy way of *answering* them. You should never walk away from a book convinced of anything, whether it is science fiction, historical drama, or a Harlequin romance. That's because an author controls the domain of discourse in fiction. He creates the fiction world and as much of its history, natural science, and society as suits his purpose. He can produce a socialist utopia or a Galt's Gulch, whichever serves his story -- or his biases.
As for the science fiction fan's supposed knowledge of nature, I'd be suspicious of it. While it's true that sci-fi fans often have familiarity with physical science and technology that exceeds the general public, that's hardly a ringing endorsement. In my writing group, I recently critiqued a manuscript in which Shiite terrorists, working under a Wahhabist imam, build a lithium deuteride super-warhead and launch it on an ICBM into equatorial orbit to cause world-wide destruction of electronic equipment via EMP. Now virtually *every* aspect of this scenario is demonstrably *wrong*. When I pointed this out, the author's reaction was "It doesn't matter." Now there's something to be said for this. All he really needs is the set-up for his post-apocalyptic adventure, and it could just as well be magic and pixie dust as EMP and lithium deuteride. But I feel that as far as you explain anything, that explanation ought to hold water.
The thing about scientific literacy is that it isn't knowledge of a bunch of random, disconnected facts (e.g. lithium deuteride is used in thermonuclear warheads) as it is a capacity to figure things out, like whether it is remotely feasible to take out the entire world with EMP from a single warhead. Basic fact-finding and simple computation.
These are political reforms: it may look like something has changed, but it's business as usual.
Adding a new meaning to the term "security theater"...
Well, that's enough information to confirm that DNA is not involved. While the methodology may be intrusive and problematic from an informed consent point of view, it's not as alarming as the police randomly stopping motorists to add their DNA to a surveillance database.
FINALLY! Someone got to the bottom of this!
The cops are really just perverts, collecting your spit for their nightstick activities.
You know, there are other detectable substances in saliva and serum besides DNA.