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Comment: Won't make a differnece (Score 1) 68

by smoore (#48334749) Attached to: Life Insurance Restrictions For Space Tourists

If I have the 20 million dollars it costs to be a space tourist in first place the increase in life insurance premiums is irrelevant. Even if I have the $250,000 sitting around to blow on a one time vacation they claim the price might come down to life insurance costs are not going to stop me from going.

Comment: Re:Who would have guessed? (Score 5, Insightful) 217

they could increase the number of beehives by a factor of ten?

Clearly you are not a beekeeper. I am. There are many limiting factors in increasing the number of hives maintained. The shear amount of work and time it takes you to maintain the hives becomes unmanageable. Hiring employees isn't as easy as it is with other profession, for some reason lots of people won't take a job where they wear a sealed up thick hot suit in the blazing sun all day because its the better choice than getting stung by the insects you are working with.

You also need the physical space for the hives in a place where there is enough forage for the bees to feed on. Increasing by a factor of 10 isn't just adding 10 new hives to one location for every one already there, its finding new sites in rural areas a significant distance from the sites you already have (bees typically fly up to 3 miles). Having new sites vastly increases the amount of time it takes to maintain the hives since a lot of travel time is added in addition to the extra management. While backyard beekeepers can keep a few hives and no one notices, 10+ in a single location means you need to start looking for places with acreage isolated from the public.

On top of that the equipment has to purchased, built, painted and carted to the new areas (you can hire for this part thankfully). The existing hives have to be split in a responsible manner that leaves the parent hive strong enough to survive, getting 3-4 new hives out of 1 every year is more than is usually practical 10 is ridiculous. Doing one split in spring (going from 1 hive to 2) is common, maybe a second split in late spring or fall if the hive is strong.

Then you have to add in the winter losses. Losing 25%-30% of your hives over winter is not uncommon or too far out of the norm. The more you split the weaker the hives will be and the fewer that might make it through the winter.

Once you have planned out all that you need the money to do it. Having a few hives for a hobby is nice, having dozens if not hundreds is a business. In order to support the capital investment in equipment, workers and bees you need pollination contracts (thats what makes beekeepers money, honey is a sideline). Which means you need farmers planting crops that they need bees to pollinate. Of the top crops in America (Corn, Soybeans, Hay, Wheat, Cotton ,Sorghum, Rice) only soybeans and cotton produce the nectar to feed bees. Putting bees in typical American wheat field is putting them in a food desert, they will starve. And while bees will pollinate soybeans and cotton the farmers don't need them pollinated so aren't going to pay you to put bees there. Our monoculture farming practices, and the crops we produce limits the locations you can keep bees and have some one pay you to do so. When the monoculture crop is done flowering you have to move the bees because the monoculture farming practices means as soon as a bee friendly crop is done blooming the area is a food desert again.

Comment: Its the law (Score 1) 490

by smoore (#46586061) Attached to: Are DVDs Inconvenient On Purpose?

>Specifically: Why do movie studios allow Netflix to send out DVDs to their subscribers by mail, but not to allow the same option in the form of "virtual DVDs" that you could "check out" through their website, and stream them while they're checked out to you?

Its the First Sale Doctrine. Once Netflix has purchased the physical medium of a DVD the movie studio has no control over what they do with it. With digital formats however Netflix never actually owns medium, they are just granted a license to use it and the studios maintain control by changing the license as they see fit. The studios would love to stop the use of First Sale and the subsequent mailing of DVDs, its just that that right goes back to printed books and was well established before digital medium existed. The model of licensing movies they way they do provides them with much more control and profit than a mimicry of physical medium check out system.

Comment: Just find the right place to use it. (Score 3, Interesting) 356

by smoore (#42660773) Attached to: To Open Source Obama's Get-Out-the-Vote Code Or Not?

I know for a fact the Republican Party of Florida has similar a software/database setup that is constantly tweaked, maintained and used. There are too many elections between Presidential ones to let it go to waste. The DNC just needs to sell it to the state party offices to keep it useful.

Comment: what better qualifications could there possibly be (Score 4, Insightful) 40

by smoore (#40661715) Attached to: Earth, Night Glow, Aurora and Atmosphere (Video)

Better qualifications would be Test Pilot like they were originally. Part of our problem with risk aversion in the space program is we are sending guys with PhDs up to take snapshots and run experiments for high school kids. Then we tell tourists its too dangerous for them to go up there. Which is it? Safe for a academics or dangerous?

Comment: If I were empress (or emporer) of the Universe (Score 1) 409

by smoore (#40088687) Attached to: Sci-fi Writer Elizabeth Moon Believes Everyone Should Be Chipped

She starts with "If I were empress of the Universe" which is an important part of her statement. There would be a lot of things I and anyone else who wanted to stay the absolute ruler of the universe would do to secure power, and make things run smoothly with little disregard for the desires of the lowly "people" that wouldn't be viable in today's society. She didn't advocate chipping everyone now, just when she rules the universe.

Each honest calling, each walk of life, has its own elite, its own aristocracy based on excellence of performance. -- James Bryant Conant