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Comment: Governance could be a problem... (Score 2) 49

Aside from the technical difficulties (which are certainly real; but probably surmountable with time and funding), I would be concerned about the political side of the project(politics being...somewhat less of a solved problem... than space and blowing things up).

The technology sufficient to divert an asteroid, especially with limited warning(which precludes some of the subtler 'attach an ion drive or give it a slow shove with a laser' type schemes), is probably pretty punchy, possibly 'basically an ICBM but better at escaping earth's gravity well' punchy. It would be an unfortunate irony if, in the attempt to mitigate the city-destroying-asteroid threat, we ended up with some sort of proliferation problem or another round of delightful nuclear brinksmanship.

In an ideal world, you'd hope that people could put "Stopping asteroid apocalypse" in the category of 'things more important than your petty nation-states and dumb ethnic and religious squabbles'; but I wouldn't exactly be shocked if people largely can't and every stage of an anti-asteroid project ends up being a bunch of delicate diplomacy and jingoistic dickwaving between the assorted nuclear powers, along with a lot of hand-wringing about anti-satellite capabilities, and generally a gigantic mess.

Comment: Re:I am all for this research (Score 2) 49

However.... what happens when there is an Asteroid that will threaten earth... in between the time the telescope is developed, but before the asteroid diversion tech is developed?

Well, probably the de-facto legalization of every drug ever, along with cataclysmic declines in production in all sectors where working kind of sucks...

Comment: I'm not sure how common it is... (Score 4, Insightful) 285

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#46796461) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Hungry Students, How Common?
But it sounds like an absurd example of a false economy: Even at relatively cheap schools, the cost of running a student through is nontrivial. It seems like complete insanity to waste expensive instructional time on somebody who can't concentrate properly for want of a few dollars worth of calories. Nobody's interests are well served by that.

Comment: Re:McArdle is astute (Score 1) 28

by mcgrew (#46794687) Attached to: Obamacare is Not a Single-Payer Conspiracy [Bloomberg]

When incompetence is pitted against extreme radicalism, I'll take incompetence any day. As bad as Quinn is, he's head and shoulders above Blago or Ryan. However, the Republican would have to be pretty bad, one I would fear would really screw the country up (anyone named "Bush" would do it). In likelihood I'll vote Greenie or Libbie, depending on their candidates.

Comment: Re:Floater. (Score 1) 3

by mcgrew (#46794655) Attached to: Mars, Ho! Chapter Sixteen

Not just Kubrick but damned near every other science fiction writer. Hell, Asimov had antique cars that were not only self-driving but sentient, six years from now.

But a few hundred years from now? I don't think ion drives driven by two fusion generators is out of line for that timeline. By then there will be technologies we can't even dream of today.

I did make a huge math error by not actually doing the math and I'm not sure how I'll fix it. Someone pointed out that you could get to Mars' orbit on the other side of the sun in three days at .8G. Damn.

User Journal

Journal: A Pretty Good Friday

Journal by mcgrew

For the last several years my Easter routine has been a three day celebration. On Good Friday I find somewhere to have Walleye for lunch, which isn't hard. Most places have it every Friday. Friday nights I like to find a bunch of Christians (not hard, most bars are filled with Christians) and get drunk with them on the blood of the lamb.

Comment: Re:Isn't parody protected in the US? (Score 5, Insightful) 141

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#46791989) Attached to: Peoria Mayor Sends Police To Track Down Twitter Parodist

In Canada you can parody anyone. For example Justin Turdeau instead of Justin Trudeau (leader Liberal party Canada). It's funny and you can't get sued never mind have the police come after you. It's called freedom of speech.

Legally, yes; but none of that kicks in until after some sort of legal proceeding actually occurs. If the cops just break down your door, shoot your dog, and seize everything that looks evidentiary and/or worth 'losing', and then no charges are filed? Well, if you have the resources to lawyer up, you could probably make a civil case out of it; but otherwise you just got protected and served.

Comment: How appropriate... (Score 4, Insightful) 141

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#46791927) Attached to: Peoria Mayor Sends Police To Track Down Twitter Parodist
Hasn't Peoria been a cultural touchstone for humorless reactionary behavior since whenever "Will it play in Peoria?" was coined?

Also, can they not afford enough legal advice to tell them that basically every step of this plan is practically a textbook case of 'How to incur legal exposure in absurdly obvious ways'?

Comment: Will it matter? (Score 5, Interesting) 91

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#46791331) Attached to: How Nest and FitBit Might Spy On You For Cash
You start with the ones who don't care, give them discounts on their insurance premiums or electric bill or whatever. Over the course of a few years, you futz with the prices until it's less of a 'discount' and more 'the only way to approach the price you used to get'.

At that point, the ones who do care can either suck it up and wear whatever herd-management-solution you feel like telling them to, or they can pay (probably increasingly steeply) to maintain their precious little objections.

Comment: Re:McArdle is astute (Score 1) 28

by mcgrew (#46787089) Attached to: Obamacare is Not a Single-Payer Conspiracy [Bloomberg]

What worries me about her is that she was in charge of Clinton's single-payer plan, and screwed it up royally. So far I don't like any of the candidates from either major party.

Either way I'll probably vote either Libertarian or Green. I cannot support a candidate who wants me in prison. The only way she'll get my vote is if the Republicans screw up in their Presidential nominations like they did with Illinois' Governor's race. They had one excellent candidate, two acceptable and a tea party billionaire who hates unions and middle class people. They chose the only candidate who could get me to vote for Quinn.

Morons. They'll probably nominate another tea party stinker who only cares about the 1%. If they do I'll have to vote for Clinton.

User Journal

Journal: Mars, Ho! Chapter Sixteen 3

Journal by mcgrew

Pressure
When I woke up, all my muscles were on fire. We would have had to turn the ship around today, and in fact that's what was scheduled, except for the meteors and the drama that followed.
Destiny was sleeping peacefully. I got up, thankful that we weren't at Earth gravity but wishing we had turned around for deceleration then, because they have it plotted so that you start the journey close to the planet you're leavi

Comment: Re:There is another answer (Score 2) 255

You don't necessarily even need a hard kill, with the accompanying risks of damage/injury to bystanders and their property...

Thanks at least in part to the robust market for green diode-pumped solid state lasers, moderately alarming and dangerous IR lasers are ubiquitous and cheap. Depending on the quality of your optics and the robustness of theirs, outcomes ranging from temporary washout of the image to swift and permanent death of the imager are highly likely.

Comment: Re:Enh as much as I dislike Oracle... (Score 1) 156

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#46785245) Attached to: Oracle Deflects Blame For Troubled Oregon Health Care Site
I'd assume that their legal team would be running around the company quietly busting skulls if they didn't.

"Incur significant legal exposure during the course of fucking up a high-profile project for a government client" isn't one of those good strategies.

Doing one or the other can actually be surprisingly lucrative; but both, less so.

Comment: Re:McArdle is astute (Score 1) 28

by mcgrew (#46778449) Attached to: Obamacare is Not a Single-Payer Conspiracy [Bloomberg]

However, if there is anything in which I have confidence, it is this administration's commitment to slow, methodical, blame-laden screwings of the lower- and middle-class.

In what way has the lower and middle class been screwed by the present administration? I'll agree that the previous administration was great for the rich and crappy for everyone else, but I posit it's slowly improving.

The lower and middle classes have been getting royally screwed for at least half my life, and I retired earlier this year. The screwings started with Reagan's Capital Gains cuts, which caused an orgy of hostile corporate takeovers leading to layoffs and lowered hours. I was hurt badly when my employer staved off an attempted corporate pirate raid.

No, that suppository arrives with the Clinton Administration. I reckon she's wreckin'.

I certainly hope so, it would be nice for the US to raise to the level of the rest of the industrialized world from our historically barbaric health care "system". American health care is far from #1 in any measure except cost; ours is the most expensive. It's neither logical nor rational.

As to Clinton, if she's elected and half as good as her husband the country will be in fine shape. It would be incredibly hard for her to be anywhere as bad as George Junior, the worst President in my lifetime (AFAIC we've really only had two good Presidents in my lifetime, Eisenhower and Clinton, and as I was very young I could be wrong about Eisenhower but love that interstate highway system, as well as his cautions about a military industrial complex).

I'm more worried about Illinois. Dillard was Chief of Staff under Thompson and Edgar, and Illinois did pretty good until Ryan got in, and it deteriorated worse under Blago. It hasn't gotten much better under Quinn, but unfortunately Dillard lost the primary and the stupid Republicans nominated the only one of the four candidates that would get me to vote for Quinn.

Simplicity does not precede complexity, but follows it.

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