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Comment: That was 3 years ago (Score 4, Insightful) 222

by robot256 (#48425981) Attached to: Lessons Learned From Google's Green Energy Bust

You can't "invent" cheaper tech--it only gets cheaper if you invest in mass-producing it. They gave up 3 years ago, and since then market forces have actually achieved price parity for renewables in a lot of the world. It wasn't any new "magic bullet" research that did it, but incremental improvements driven by economies of scale. Yes, government played a big role, but primarily as a driver of demand and investor in manufacturing.

The climate does not have time to wait for a new technology to be developed and go through the whole sequence of commercialization and commoditization. The solar panels, wind turbines and batteries we already have can do the job--and the more we build, the cheaper they get.. This is one place I wish market purists would get on board--put a price on carbon, and solutions will come out of the woodwork and plummet in price.

Comment: Re: This is silly (Score 1) 720

It's a numbers issue. There are more minimum wage jobs in the country than there are teenagers. Under your premise, the only two solutions are to increase the number of teenagers or reduce the number of jobs paying the minimum wage. Which one of those do you suggest we try? Because the only other option is to reject your premise entirely and raise the minimum wage to a living wage.

Comment: Re:This is silly (Score 4, Insightful) 720

"[M]aking sure people aren't free loading" is NOT the problem. The problem is making sure that when "automation will have made our productivity and wealth generation sufficient that we can just provide everyone the resources they need" those resources are actually GIVEN to those who need them and not concentrated in the hands of, quite frankly, freeloading billionaires. The idea that any one person can be so productive that they deserve 1000x more reward than anyone else is absurd.

Comment: Re:Pay Per View (Score 1) 135

by robot256 (#48030343) Attached to: FCC Rejects Blackout Rules

"They also don't think there's any chance the NFL will move its games to pay-per-view."


What are they smoking? The NFL will go PPV, ASAP.

Book it.

And as soon as they do, the rest of America will cancel the cable bundles they only pay out the nose for because of the live sports channels, where PPV fees are the straw that breaks the camel's back. The entire cable industry will collapse overnight, and the vacuum in the ISP market will be filled by startups and municipalities with gigabit fiber and competitive pricing. Then the under-served talent in America will finally be productive and solve global warming, and all the polar bears will have yachts and Whole Foods will solve world hunger by giving everyone veggie burgers.

Yup, sounds like the FCC made a good decision to me.

Comment: Re:Interesting problem with water landing -- wind (Score 1) 75

by robot256 (#47810839) Attached to: SpaceX Challenges Blue Origin Patents Over Sea-Landing Rocket Tech
The latest models of the F9R boosters have retractable steering fins in addition to thrusters and engine gimbals for guidance control, and the ability to hover in place and translate to a precise landing spot. I'm sure they will have everything worked out by the time they try to actually land on a sea platform.

Comment: Re:False choice: Electronic != unreliable (Score 1) 765

by robot256 (#46985593) Attached to: A Look at Smart Gun Technology
I forgot to mention satellites and missile guidance systems, which experience extremes of temperature and vibration. All those problems are technically solvable. The main problem is, as you say, price: Making the perfect smart gun system will be expensive. Regulations would have to ensure that substandard smart guns are unavailable, or just as illegal as dumb guns, if that were the case. Of course, if cheap guns are outlawed, then only outlaws will have cheap guns.

Comment: False choice: Electronic != unreliable (Score 3, Interesting) 765

by robot256 (#46980287) Attached to: A Look at Smart Gun Technology

Sometimes cameras can't autofocus. Cable boxes freeze up when browsing the channel guide.

But fly-by-wire airliners, military radios, targeting systems, medical implants, even Internet backbone routers all have absurdly high reliability stats and are all based on electronics, sensors and firmware.

So don't buy your smart gun from a factory in China producing crap for Comcast or Sony. Buy it from someone who knows how to build high-reliability electronics for the military, like Siemens or ATK.

Would you leave your house unlocked all the time because you might lose the key while you were being chased by a mugger? No, because on the other 30,000 days of your life burglars will come and go as they please. It's the same with a gun, where it is easily stolen or grappled from you before you use it, or worse, found by a child.

Sigmund Freud is alleged to have said that in the last analysis the entire field of psychology may reduce to biological electrochemistry.