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Comment: Re:Comments at TFA (Score 1) 277

by zeropointburn (#38968541) Attached to: U.S. Navy Receives First Industry Built Railgun Prototype

A lot of energy, yes, but for a very short period of time.

Given that the cost of the entire prototype program is vastly less than the cost of a Shuttle launch, it is safe to assume(!) that the per-kilo cost to orbit is substantially less via railgun.

In addition, given that the payload is launched by a single initial impulse rather than a long, slow burn, the mass fraction is much higher. You are not using energy to lift a bunch of fuel to provide energy to lift a bunch of fuel to provide, etc., etc. to lift the payload into orbit, you are simply lifting the payload into orbit.

Viable payloads for this technology include food, water, fuel, oxygen, metal, plastic. With appropriate facilities in orbit, these things can then be assembled into useful and interesting devices. If all we have to do is lift astronauts and sensitive components via Shuttle (or Proton rocket or Dragon capsule or whatever), then we can save billions on launch costs while exploring our solar system.

Comment: Re:Move to quantified data (Score 1) 271

by zeropointburn (#34801302) Attached to: Hackers Find New Way To Cheat On Wall Street

Yeah, I did take that a bit too far. Sorry, and thanks for not jumping me in return.
What really sucks is that there are some things that should be regulated (guns, drugs legal and otherwise, commons issues like pollution) and some things that should not. Once we leave the decision to regulate in the hands of people who will mostly profit from their power, we end up with regulations that funnel cash to certain powerful endpoints, and a few thrown in due to public outrage. Few of these are effective. How, then, do we retake control of that decision-making power when nearly every candidate is or can be made corrupt? That just leads back to the mess our government and our politics are in, which often appears to be the immovable mountain of inertia and apathy. Since so many otherwise-intelligent people choose rabid support for their favorite party rather than a per-candidate choice backed by research, there seems to be little hope for this country in the long run.

Comment: Re:Put your money where your mouth is (Score 1) 138

by zeropointburn (#34798440) Attached to: AMD Puts Out Radeon HD 6000 Open-Source Driver

Kernel devs (seem to) desire open-source drivers in the kernel and no others. As the nVidia driver is a binary blob, it cannot be included in the kernel. This has nothing to do with ggp running what amounts to an experimental operating system and then posting performance issues as if it affected all versions of that OS.

  There are in fact Linux distributions intended for end users. There are also pre-alpha versions of Windows (good luck getting them), and I would bet large sums that similar performance issues can be found (and will be fixed before release). GP's post in no way implies that Windows is the solution.

Comment: Re:Move to quantified data (Score 1) 271

by zeropointburn (#34788048) Attached to: Hackers Find New Way To Cheat On Wall Street

If half of all people pissed in the pool, would that make it ok? What percentage of financial advisors have to embezzle their customers' profits for it to become ok for all of them to do it? If it only matters to you that everyone does the same thing, then why not allow all US companies to dump their wastes straight into the water table? It would boost the economy (until endemic cancer and birth defects crippled it).

Comment: Re:I have a much more ambitious vision (Score 1) 1073

by zeropointburn (#34787988) Attached to: The Continued Censorship of Huckleberry Finn

Fox News 'reporting' and Tea Party soundbytes(tm) are even brainwashier, if you can parse that.
The ACLU preserves the right of freedom of religion for people of all faiths including Christians. Where specific Christian organizations are actively oppressing other religions, of course the ACLU steps in. Are you an oppressive Christian or a turn-the-other-cheek Christian?
I would trust an admitted Liberal atheist over a Conservative atheist masquerading as a Christian in order to make more bribe money. Further, I would trust said liberal atheist more than said conservative atheist with the defense of my religious freedoms. Granted in either case the level of trust would need an electron microscope to properly measure.

Comment: Re:I have a much more ambitious vision (Score 1) 1073

by zeropointburn (#34787954) Attached to: The Continued Censorship of Huckleberry Finn

First of all, Jesus left the matter of governing to the government and instead addressed the topic of private life and how important it is to make the real you a better person instead of making yourself merely look better.
Second, unfortunately people by and large do not act like Jesus. As a result, governments cannot act like God without either backing their commandments or failing. Nice sound bytes though, thanks for trying.

(disclaimer: non-Christian poster interpreting Biblical references; use brain while digesting post.)

Comment: Re:Why Is It Wrong to Call This ESP? (Score 1) 319

by zeropointburn (#34786964) Attached to: Journal Article On Precognition Sparks Outrage

Relative is the key word. We perceive three spacial dimensions not because we know up, down, left, right, backwards, and forwards but because there are three spacial dimensions for us to perceive. In space, you can choose an arbitrary 'up'. Relative to that 'up', you have the other five directions without the need for an external reference. If you want to eliminate the 'relative' part, then you still have an absolute coordinate space which confers three degrees of freedom of motion, hence three dimensions. We do not know why we exist in 3 spacial dimensions and one temporal dimension, only that we do (ignoring string theory and compact dimensions, anyway). If we were to consider space as a single dimension, any representative formula involving area or volume as we know it would no longer be possible and the vast majority of physics would have to be rewritten from new first principles.

Comment: Re:Why Is It Wrong to Call This ESP? (Score 1) 319

by zeropointburn (#34786894) Attached to: Journal Article On Precognition Sparks Outrage

Consider that claiming special insight into the future automatically causes society to label the claimant as delusional. The claim itself is enough to net you a stay for evaluation, therefore the mere fact of a stay in a mental hospital cannot distinguish between delusion and actual paranormal ability, if such ability exists. I personally believe that it is possible and am actively seeking ways to either prove it or allow for the possibility within the framework of the standard theory. I do not expect to succeed. Should I be committed for evaluation?

Comment: Re:As a voter who normally leans Democrat... (Score 1) 1128

by zeropointburn (#34719776) Attached to: Democrats Crowdsourcing To Vote Palin In Primaries

Thanks for the replies. Note an anon pointed out that I was most definitely wrong about what I thought I remembered of gas prices; your estimate is spot on.

Destroying religious sites would invite neighboring Muslim countries to join the fight, with an enemy that can be proven to deserve holy retribution. It would also significantly accelerate the recruitment of the angry and dispossessed into terrorist cells. If you pushed it far enough and really had the will to bomb the entire region into submission, sure, we could probably do that before the rest of the world decided we'd lost our marbles and need to be taken out.

It's easy to poke holes when I haven't proposed an alternative, of course. I do agree with you that we need to do something different. Perhaps we should trade advanced combat drones and automated checkpoint tools for oil and get our people the hell out. Perhaps a very public warning that we will be running massive bombing campaigns in the mountains, and civilians should leave because our intelligence isn't as good as our bombs. Then carpet-bomb the areas that are bleeding our people and equipment away until anyone hiding in a cave is buried under a few hundred tons of rock. Then leave. I dunno, but thanks for your opinion.

Comment: Re:As a voter who normally leans Democrat... (Score 2) 1128

by zeropointburn (#34719698) Attached to: Democrats Crowdsourcing To Vote Palin In Primaries

I was flat-out wrong.

See, you've caught me in some messy internal cognitive dissonance. When I posted that, I remembered paying over $3/gal, but when I actually went and researched the prices in my area, they were in fact more like $1.50 to $1.70. Part of my problem is I was driving something that required premium gas as well (ouch).

Something else bothering me is that although I pay slightly less than 100% more for gas right now vs. 2002, I am paying less now than I was in 2008, and about the same as I was paying in 2006. My last fillup was at $3.81/gal.

Comment: Re:As a voter who normally leans Democrat... (Score 2) 1128

by zeropointburn (#34719224) Attached to: Democrats Crowdsourcing To Vote Palin In Primaries

Under the current usage of the interstate commerce clause, our federal government can and does do exactly this in areas other than politics. Getting that to happen would require that the government actually wants it to happen pretty badly, which will never happen.

Comment: Re:As a voter who normally leans Democrat... (Score 1) 1128

by zeropointburn (#34718550) Attached to: Democrats Crowdsourcing To Vote Palin In Primaries

Who exactly do you think is responsible for that debt?
  Consider the Republican tactic of starving the beast. The idea is to cut the federal income as drastically as possible (tax cuts) so that the government (regardless of who is in charge) simply cannot afford to expand via new programs. The real-world result is that the government expands anyway on debt and the Republicans have no plan in place to deal with that result.
  As a consequence, the yo-yo cycle back and forth between the two parties involves one party getting popular by tax cuts and defense spending (popular with voters and with their campaign contributors, respectively) while running up the debt to incredible levels, while the other party gets stuck with trying to pay not only for their own programs but for the other party's programs as well after they are finally voted out for massive debt, foreign relations nightmares, or both. If it were not for this starve the beast approach and the lunatic fringe, I would probably be a Republican voter despite not being Christian. However, I simply cannot support willful infantile irresponsibility.
  Any joint effort involves watering down the often self-funded programs proposed by Democrats with numerous loopholes and exceptions designed to limit actual effectiveness and hamstring the self-funding aspects. On the other hand, Republican compromise bills are often forced to either provide more social service or at least try to make it look like the bill might pay for itself. In either case, the compromise is often much worse than either option because it achieves neither group's goals while still costing time and money.

To make myself perfectly clear, the two parties hold different ideals, not opposite ideals. Their stated goals are for the most part worthy causes. It's the individual people, the lies, greed, and corruption; namely, the implementation and operation of those goals and ideals that sickens me. I vote Democrat because at least they are responsible enough to try to pay for it all.

Comment: Re:As a voter who normally leans Democrat... (Score 2) 1128

by zeropointburn (#34718318) Attached to: Democrats Crowdsourcing To Vote Palin In Primaries

Freedom of assembly has nothing to do with campaign finance, which is where you cut the root of the political party system. If organizations are prohibited from performing interstate fundraising and cross-candidate contributions, then the national two-party system will die a well-deserved death. The non-financial aspects could go on, but without the megabucks behind them, I doubt it would amount to much.

SCCS, the source motel! Programs check in and never check out! -- Ken Thompson

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