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Comment: What about severe lag? (Score 4, Insightful) 121

Florida Hospital Shows Normal Internet Lag Time Won't Affect Remote Robotic Surgeries

So what? It's not normal lag you are worried about. It's severe lag which on the normal internet you cannot guarantee you can eliminate. It's interesting information but I'm not sure if it's really useful information.

Comment: Re:Asteroid mining is a pipe dream (Score 1) 267

by sjbe (#49799987) Attached to: Neil DeGrasse Tyson Urges America To Challenge China To a Space Race

I wonder about the mindset of people who believe that Americans should be treated and dictated to like the subjects of European monarchy,

That's the most bizarre leap of bad logic I've heard in quite a while. Thanks for a good laugh over something absurd.

what is implicit in your and deGrasse-Tyson's argument that Queen Isabella's investments are comparable to US government spending.

In the sense that they are both government spending that would be correct. Money doesn't actually care if it comes from a monarchy or a democracy. Exploration of the truly unknown doesn't happen from the private sector. The Dutch East India Company did not precede government sponsored exploration. Columbus, Magellen and most every other explorer you've ever heard of was government sponsored. You cannot build a business model around "let's go explore over there where no one has ever been and see if we can find something profitable". No private company could have justified a Moon mission in the 1960s. Anyone who claims otherwise is delusional.

Comment: No reason they need that information (Score 1) 134

by sjbe (#49799849) Attached to: Uber Revises Privacy Policy, Wants More Data From Users

It would depend a lot on how it's implemented and how it's to be used. Yeah, it would very much suck if they are just scraping all your contacts and then mass spamming them.

I cannot think of a single legitimate business reason they would need my contact list information. I cannot think of anything they could offer me that I would want that would entice me to share that information with them.

Notice the "If" at the beginning? And it's really no different than any other app that allows you to post/share/sent something to a friend or family member.

That depends heavily on whether it is opt in or opt out and whether it is opt in by default and how hard they push you to opt in. Plus the fact that they are even asking is a bit shady as far as I'm concerned.

Comment: Coincidence? I doubt it. (Score 1) 267

by sjbe (#49799017) Attached to: Neil DeGrasse Tyson Urges America To Challenge China To a Space Race

We started to the moon because JFK needed a spectacular - but once the cost estimates started coming in, he started seriously considering backing off. We went to the moon because JFK took a bullet to the head allowing LBJ to push it (and the associated pork) as a monument to JFK.

Citation please?

Apollo was essentially cancelled in the budget battles of '65-'67. The Soviets didn't get serious about their lunar programs until around '66-'67. (And most of them weren't cancelled until '72 or so.)

Hmm, let's see. The Soviet programs were cancelled in '72 according to you (actually that's not quite right but it's close enough). When was the last mission to the Moon? Oh that's right, December 1972. Quite a coincidence that...

Comment: Asteroid mining is a pipe dream (Score 1) 267

by sjbe (#49797963) Attached to: Neil DeGrasse Tyson Urges America To Challenge China To a Space Race

Except he gets his facts completely wrong. For example, Columbus' Voyage was privately financed, and the risk of such voyages was generally privately insured.

You might want to check your facts. It was financed out of the royal treasury and commissioned by the Queen.

The asteroid belt alone is so full of easily reachable resources that there is almost no risk and spectacular gains being made. That's why the private sector is gearing up for private (robotic) space exploration and mining.

"Almost no risk"? Are you kidding me? Anyone who thinks asteroid mining is a viable business within the lifetime of anyone reading this is delusional and/or hasn't thought the economics through. Professionally I am an engineer and I'm also a certified cost accountant. What that means is that I evaluate business costs and risks for a living. Anyone who says there is no risk in asteroid mining has no idea what they are talking about. It might be feasible a long time from now but there will have to be a huge amount of government financed research before it is ever possible that private enterprise will go there.

The financial risk alone is enormous and there is no guarantee of success and basically none of the necessary technology currently exists. A mission like this is hugely expensive (many many $billions if not $trillions) and and good luck getting insurance since the risks are unknown and unquantifiable currently. We do not have ANY equipment capable of mining an asteroid nor any near term reasonable prospect of seeing any - particularly from the private sector. (When Caterpillar starts working on it then you should sit up and take notice) We don't have any equipment capable of refining such minerals in space either so that will have to be developed (along with an adequate and robust power supply) or you'll have to return raw ore to Earth.

As for the "spectacular gains", that requires returning the (hypothetically) mined minerals to Earth which is the only place they currently are useful. Even if you somehow manage to return a huge amount of a valuable mineral to Earth you'll disrupt the market value of that mineral most likely causing prices to drop while your costs (many many $billions) will remain fixed and large. While that doesn't preclude it being a profitable enterprise, it does make evaluating the return complicated. And I'm a certified cost accountant so I know first hand how hard calculating the ROI would be. (borderline impossible FYI)

Worst of all any mined materials have to be returned to Earth in large (heavy) quantities. If you drop a large amount of minerals onto the surface of the Earth from space, congratulations! You have just created a Weapon of Mass Destruction. If you can return an asteroid from orbit you can just as easily drop it (on purpose or on accident) on someone to catastrophic effect. Even the remote risk of someone accidentally doing this means the risk of this technology is enormous.

Comment: Private enterprise will not push frontiers (Score 1) 267

by sjbe (#49794109) Attached to: Neil DeGrasse Tyson Urges America To Challenge China To a Space Race

But a lot of people don't. I had a high school teacher that had a big sticker on his wall that said "no space cadets"... and he was talking about the space program and how he thought it was a waste of money. He wanted to spend it all on social programs.

His mistake is that he thinks we don't already spend the money on social programs. Our government expenditures on social programs outpace our expenditures on NASA something like 50 to 1. It's not even close. Sounds like your "science" teacher was a clueless fool.

What we need to do is take it out of the politician's hands. the government is if anything backsliding on space.

Ok, how do you propose to do that? Private enterprise isn't going to do basic research and exploration - not at a meaningful scale anyway. Exploration of the frontiers of knowledge and basic research is almost entirely government funded. Don't believe me? Take a look at who is behind almost all research grants. (hint, NIH, DARPA, NSF are good places to look)

The future is private space exploration. it is going to be different than what the government was doing but if they can actually figure out how to make money up there then there will be an explosion of development that will never stop.

No it isn't and it never will be. Not at the real frontiers of exploration anyway. I'm an accountant and I can assure you that you cannot make a credible financial business plan for a trip to Mars for example such that it will get financial backing. Why? 1) The risks are unknown and unquantifiable. We simply don't know what we don't know. 2) The financial capital required is huge and there is no reasonable guarantee of a return based on past experience. 3) The only institution that can fund exploration on a large scale without an expectation of a financial return is the government. Once the boundaries have been moved then private enterprise can come in behind (ala SpaceX) and make it more efficient and useful but you simply CANNOT make a credible business plan and get it funded for something like a manned mission to mars. Companies do not fund big things unless they can have some reasonable expectation of a return on their investment.

Comment: Races must be competitive by definition (Score 1) 267

by sjbe (#49793995) Attached to: Neil DeGrasse Tyson Urges America To Challenge China To a Space Race

What the hell kind of race do you wait for the opponent to catch up?

If the opponent can never catch up then it isn't a race. A race is a competition by definition. If one side can never win then it was never actually a competition in any meaningful sense of the word.

Comment: Competition works, like it or not (Score 1) 267

by sjbe (#49793983) Attached to: Neil DeGrasse Tyson Urges America To Challenge China To a Space Race

The heated passion of rivalry does not make for good policy and planning decisions.

Sometimes it does and sometimes it does not. What is certain is that competition gets results. Our entire economy is based on it. The ONLY reason we went to the moon was because we were at (cold) war with the Soviets. Take away that driver and the Apollo missions simply would never have happened. Once it was clear the Soviets weren't going to the moon, the Apollo program was folded like a cheap tent and we haven't been back since.

As great as Apollo was for tangible technology spin offs, from a space policy perspective it was disaster. It did long term damage and did much to keep man in low orbit for following 50 years or longer.

I have seen no compelling argument or evidence to support this assertion and you certainly haven't presented either here.

Comment: Competition works better (Score 2) 267

by sjbe (#49793893) Attached to: Neil DeGrasse Tyson Urges America To Challenge China To a Space Race

How about collaboration, a team can do more than single entity

Because it won't work. There is a reason we have competitive markets instead of collaborative markets. Collaboration works on a small scale but you need to harness competition to really push the boundaries quickly. Not to say collaboration is a bad thing but it simply will not make things happen. Sad but true.

NdGT makes a very good point that the only technologies that are really expensive (like space travel) that get funded are either in response to existential threats (i.e. nuclear war, etc) or for tangible financial gain. When it comes to space exploration you simply cannot quantify the risks sufficiently to get a return on investment so financial gain is off the table for anything on the frontier of our technology and knowledge. We went to the moon because we were in a (cold) war with the Soviet Union at the time. That underpinned everything we did in the Apollo missions. Once the Soviets cancelled their moon missions, so did we and we haven't been back since.

Comment: No stupid requests. Sometimes inquisitive idiots. (Score 1) 109

They say no to specific requests which are stupid.

I truly wish that were always true. Problem is that it isn't far too often. I've experienced first hand IT departments (usually in larger companies though not always) deny very practical reasonable requests made nicely because it "wasn't policy" and in some cases because they simply didn't want to. I've seen them verbally demean fellow employees which is never acceptable even when they are being stupid.

Stop coming to the IT department like you know what you're doing, tell them what you need to do, and you'll get the results you're looking for.

If I actually do know what I'm doing then it is perfectly reasonable for me to not pretend to be stupid. I should be polite and respectful but there is nothing wrong with me saying what I think, especially if I actually do know the answer. Ever called a helpdesk when you actually know what the problem is? I have. It is a very frustrating experience to be walked through a bunch of pointless nonsense by someone who isn't listening to what you are telling them. A lot of us out here actually do know what we are doing and know where the limits of our knowledge are. (sadly and to your point some other people don't but that's a separate issue) IT departments that demand you play dumb are another symptom of the problem.

Also, come to them when you first know that you have an IT need, not at the last minute.

Fine advice but not really relevant to the problem being discussed which is why IT departments are seen as a barrier to be worked around. Believe me I'm on the side of IT here but there are a lot of them that just don't seem to grok that they are either getting in the way or perceived to be difficult to work with. You can't change the behavior of others but it's unreasonable to expect others to change their behavior until you've done everything you can do.

Comment: Trust in the IT department (Score 1) 109

Yeah, that's not the problem. The IT department is plumbing. The problem is that shitting is considered essential, so nobody grumbles about paying for plumbing because they know they need to shit, but nobody seems to realize that IT is also essential. It's not a value-add, it's a value-enabler. Without it, you don't have a business.

Every job is (or should be) vital to the company. Accounting isn't value added activity but it certainly is vital. Inventory management isn't value added but it certainly is vital. Of course IT is a sort of plumbing in a figurative sense. But the maintenance department which does real plumbing doesn't belittle company employees for not knowing how to hook up a toilet. They aren't perceived as a barrier to be worked around and there is a reason for that. IT departments far too often get in the way and are needlessly difficult to work with. What they do is important but it isn't the only important thing going on in a company.

They didn't even ask, they just set it up, and then it got owned because they didn't know half as much as they thought they did. And that's why we IT workers don't want people thinking they know what they're doing. Mostly they don't.

You're missing the important question which is WHY didn't the guy trust his IT department to handle it? Why did he feel the need to go around them in the first place? Whether he knew what he was doing or not is mostly irrelevant. The problem is that he didn't trust his IT department so he went around them. THAT is the root of the problem. The fact that he got owned later on is merely the symptom of the problem.

Comment: Why no trust in the IT department? (Score 1) 109

That's what the fuckups always say.

This is EXACTLY the arrogant attitude that makes people not want to deal with their IT department.

I worked for a web design/hosting startup as the network manager. The boss' buddy set up an FTP server and it immediately got owned and we became a warez site

The question you should be asking is why didn't he go to his IT department first? Why didn't he trust them to listen to what he wanted and make it happen? There has to be a reason he thought his buddy would be more helpful. This is exactly what I would expect to see when people regard the IT department as an obstacle.

We don't want control of this stuff because we're control freaks. We want control of this stuff so that someone else doesn't get it horribly wrong.

First off I've dealt with WAY too many IT departments who actually ARE control freaks. Anecdotal to be sure but it's not hard to find examples. Second, you are missing the point. Yes IT can help get it right but that is not the problem. The problem is that they are seen as a barrier rather than an aid. They say "no" rather than "why don't we try this instead". I've seen far too many IT departments that treat their users as a burden to be endured rather than valued customers.

Comment: An aid or a barrier? (Score 4, Insightful) 109

"it's troubling that close to half of all respondents (49%) said their department occasionally or frequently initiates IT projects with little or no direct involvement of IT."

That's typically because many IT departments rarely add value to what other departments are trying to accomplish. A good IT department's role is to facilitate and support the activities of other departments. Their job should be to ask "how can I help you accomplish your tasks?" The problem is that too many IT departments think their primary task is to control the network and IT resources without much regard paid to what other departments are trying to accomplish with those resources. IT too often thinks of itself as an end rather than a means. So it should surprise no one that many departments in many companies regard IT as a barrier to be worked around rather than a partner ready and willing to help.

All life evolves by the differential survival of replicating entities. -- Dawkins

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