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Comment $4 Trillion to securitize the Global Engine? (Score 1) 528

Is $4 Trillion the present value of all future cash flows that the US represents? If so, the US should buy this bargain basement deal and then tax Rest-of-World into oblivion. The world's last remaining engine of innovation -- driven by champion of individualism -- is priceless. The global ecosystem needs a driver, and for better or worse it's the USA. Don't worry, folks, the USA is in slow decline... it's likely that someday soon we'll all enjoy the pleasure of being equally poor in the fairest of all global societies. Extraction of bullshit penalties like this would certainly hasten the socialist, commie-bastard fantasies that illustrate man's fatal flaw: the combination of a sense of superiority, entitlement, jealousy, and sloth that subverts individualism and champions equality. Fuck if these mythical agrarian societies have been so wronged, tell them to turn in their cell phones, learn to speak Japanese, German, Chinese or Russian, decimate their populations, and we'll talk about the balance of their account. Bite me.

Comment Bletchley + Faraday museum + Greenwich (Score 1) 1095

Bletchley Park, which has gotten plenty of Slashdot coverage over the years, is a must. It's just an hour north on the train and a short walk from the train station. Go to Euston Station for the ride north.

The Faraday Museum is worth the trip.

Greenwich Observatory and the National Maritime Museum are musts, as well.
You may want to read Dava Sobel's book about John Harrison before you go, if you haven't already. See the real H* clocks.

Take the laptop.

Comment "New breed of contractors"? (Score 2, Insightful) 219

"Best of breed", no doubt.

Private industry has done so well in the US: telcos, airlines, utilities, "contractors" in Iraq, not to mention the entire financial sector. Deregulation and privatization in the US has shown that private industry has difficulty regulating itself or indeed acting in a responsible manner. Oversight with accountability is absolutely essential to success.

Hate to be so negative but I don't see anything good in this whatsoever. There are some things that are too important to be left to private industry. Building is one thing, running a program is quite another.

I'm about as free-market and capitalist as you can get, but there is a time and a place for government regulation.


Submission + - Where are we with commercially viable fusion?

sagman writes: As the US is about to authorize nearly a trillion USD to stimulate its economy, I feel like the only guy on planet Earth that is not asking why the US is not willing to take on the challenge of tackling commercially viable nuclear fusion. Does anyone know if this was considered by the Obama Administration and if so, why it was not adopted as the centerpiece (or at least as an important component) of a badly needed Energy Policy? Also, when was the last time we stepped back and evaluated where we are with respect to fusion power — is it really 50 or 100 years away? If we'd asked how many years away we were from the moon in 1950, would we have gotten the same answer?

Comment avoiding Windows... (Score 2) 823

will be tough but I speak from experience with a couple of nonagenerians (grandmother and great aunt) and a couple of septagenerians (aunts both) -- they will do things in Windows... things that will be difficult for you to figure out on the telephone. You need to be able to get to their desktop if you're going to have a chance at all (e.g. some flavor of VNC). The most important thing I learned during the many hours I've spent over the years supporting family members: mouse usage basically becomes a random variable with seniors as their motor control declines. So a) they have no idea where and what they clicked and b) they will frequently do things that produce inexplicable results. An example: a family member called one day to describe a gray screen covering about 90% of the display. Turned out that my grandmother had (somehow) unlocked the toolbar in Windows and dragged it all the way to the top of the screen, rendering the machine useless. Try figuring that out on the telephone. I've never found a tool that would allow me to freeze the desktop and menu items so that they didn't get scrambled... just plan on periodically having a UI puzzle on your hands. Having remote desktop access will help but the only problem there is that you may not be trusted to take remote control, i.e. privacy is an issue. Sigh. Seniors really need only a couple of apps: web, email, and Solitare. Windows is overkill and will be the pebble in your shoe.


China Launches First Moon Orbiter 171

hey0you0guy writes "China has launched its first lunar orbiter, on a planned year-long exploration mission to the Moon. Analysts say it is a key step towards China's aim of putting a man on the Moon by 2020, in the latest stage of an Asian space race with Japan and India. Earlier this month, a Japanese lunar probe entered orbit around the Moon. India is planning a lunar mission for April next year."

The two most common things in the Universe are hydrogen and stupidity. -- Harlan Ellison