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Comment: Re:Waste of Time & Money (Score 2) 230

One major problem of "getting there" involves going to places that are about as inhospitable to human life as one can possibly imagine and doing much to destroy the one livable planet we have. The other is that most of the "there" is so far away, that even if we develop rockets that are 1,000's of times faster than those currently available, what we already know about human biology clearly indicates without any doubt whatsoever that no one would survive the trip, which should we leave the solar system would require tens of thousands of years. Even a few weeks in space leads to irreversible eye problems, ignoring other issues surrounding alteration of bone deposition, etc.

Now would be a good time to instead leave space travel to the robots and focus on figuring out a way to keep the planet from overheating and humans from destroying the last vestiges of biodiversity that we all rely upon for our survival.

Comment: Re:Know what threatens the US economy? (Score 1) 203

You are definitely framing the perspective correctly. However, H1B visas are only a symptom of the larger problem, the ideology and politics of trickle down economics.

One can see the hand of corporations in the new Transpacific Trade agreement, which locks in Malaysia's use of slave labor and America's and China's use of prison and parolee labor as acceptable parts of the agreement. No wonder Obama and virtually the entire GOP are working together to keep the whole things secret until after it passes. It isn't just software development but microcircuit manufacturing as well.

Comment: Re: It's not CS, it's critical thinking (Score 1) 203

The offshoring of high tech skills in computer related sciences will soon turn into a flood as more and more state universities loosing funding to instead support building and staffing more prisons and more draconian law enforcement necessary to maintain the status quo, more tax deductions for the 1%, and more special tax breaks for corporations, all further driving up the cost of education and sending the best faculty overseas and increasing the costs of tuition. Improvements in world-wide networks will only facilitate this trend.

This shift in investment is creating foreign universities that are increasingly more and more competitive with US universities and as things are going now we can soon expect the most advanced research, such as that in particle physics, stem cell research, high speed train and subway technology, and robotics, to be dominated by non-US based enterprises. Its largely a function of ideology on tax policy, which says lets pay as little taxes as possible (especially for the 1%), and consequently invest as little as possible in education and leading edge research (and many other things as well, evidently except military spending, fossil fuel production, and good old fashioned special interest).

Ironically, the solution proposed recently by Saunders, would largely solve this problem by providing free college education by imposing a Wall Street transaction tax that would directly fund education of all kinds, thereby allowing the best and most creative to develop their talents. American exceptionalism notwithstanding, the reality is that human minds and talents aren't so different among countries (the differences lie predominantly in the consequences of geography and cultural history). Consequently, progress in education and technology is predominantly a function of the laws of large numbers and there are simply many more foreigners than there are Americans.

Of course commerce has been global since the late 19th century so large corporations can take advantage of local differences in talent and wages so no one should expect programs like H1B visas and other forms of special interest legislation not to emerge. The fact that they thrive is ultimately a function of lowered US investment in education and research of all kinds and sadly, a modern GOP and a significant fraction of the Democratic Party that have bought into the politics surrounding the ideology that lower taxes for corporations and the wealthy will trickle down to to improve the lot of the rest. Although it may well be true in some cases, the amount of its success is far way too small to overcome the advantage to other nations that invest more in education and research for the broadest possible segments of their populations.

+ - Universe's dark ages may not be invisible after all

Submitted by StartsWithABang
StartsWithABang writes: The Universe had two periods where light was abundant, separated by the cosmic dark ages. The first came at the moment of the hot Big Bang, as the Universe was flooded with (among the matter, antimatter and everything else imaginable) a sea of high-energy photons, including a large amount of visible light. As the Universe expanded and cooled, eventually the cosmic microwave background was emitted, leaving behind the barely visible, cooling photons. It took between 50 and 100 million years for the first stars to turn on, so in between these two epochs of the Universe being flooded with light, we had the dark ages. Yet the dark ages may not be totally invisible, as the forbidden spin-flip-transition of hydrogen may illuminate this time period after all.

Comment: It used to be (Score 3, Insightful) 347

It used to be that at one time, republicans believed in the importance of science to inform them and make for a better world and ensure America's preeminence in the world. Now, republicans hate science as it is the bearer of bad news, namely that republicans are bad for the environment, the long term technological security of the country, and for social progress.

It used to be that the accused were entitled to stand before their accusers to rebut their accusations. In modern republican America this right is being taken away because republicans find it politically convenient.

Sadly, it looks as if this trend will continue until global warming gets so bad that no one will be able to live in Victoria, Texas and consequently, won't be able to vote for Louis Gohmert, who seems intent on killing the messenger of the bad news rather than addressing the problem.

+ - Should AWS spin out of Amazon? ->

Submitted by Brandon Butler
Brandon Butler writes: Last week when Amazon released financial figures for Amazon Web Services ($6 billion annual revenue run rate, $680 million in annual profit) and in doing so it proved its cloud division is big enough to be its own company. But would Amazon ever spin AWS out? Amazon.com lost $50 million in the first quarter of this year, and that's with AWS contributing a $165 million profit. It's doubtful Amazon would shed the AWS cash-cow any time soon, but some analysts are calling for it.
Link to Original Source

Comment: Thank Goodness (Score 2) 152

by turkeyfish (#49542225) Attached to: Yellowstone Supervolcano Even Bigger Than We Realized

Thank goodness the republicans have cut funding for projects like these out of the new NSF geosciences budget.

The last thing we need to do is learn about the risk associated with living on our planet. No doubt it will be far better if the residents of Wyoming, Montana, Idaho and points east never worry about science and certainly a lot cheaper just to refer to such potential catastrophe as the "rapture". After all, who needs scientists when we have Michelle Bachmann?

Comment: Re:Seems to be OK all around then (Score 1) 616

by turkeyfish (#49533543) Attached to: Bill To Require Vaccination of Children Advances In California

Obviously, it depends upon whose children you are talking about. The ones getting infected or the ones doing the infecting. The reality is that quarantines have long been upheld in the courts and in the area of public health as an effective means of controlling communicable disease. If people don't want their kids quarantined, they can always move to a Red State like Texas, where your kid will soon even be able to bring a handgun to class and clearly, where communicable disease will be the least of their worries.

Comment: Re:Seems to be OK all around then (Score 1) 616

by turkeyfish (#49533527) Attached to: Bill To Require Vaccination of Children Advances In California

If a person has a religious objection to having their kids vaccinated, they can simply move to another state. As Ronald Reagan said, people should be able to vote with the feet. Besides, they will probably feel more comfortable going back in time to a Red State, where vaccinations are less and less common, except for the wealthy.

A CONS is an object which cares. -- Bernie Greenberg.