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Comment Re:Effect on Economy (Score 1) 222

It's money that's "Not being put to work". Just rotting in a bank account.

No. The companies do invest it outside of the US because it would be dumb not to.

It's not being invested inside the US because our country's unique and bizarre tax laws would cause a big chunk of it to be taken by Uncle Sam if the companies were to try to use it here. So, our tax laws are doing a great job of encouraging investment in other countries!

Comment Re:USA #1 !! (Score 2) 222

Personal income tax earned in another country has NO relation to corporations sitting on earnings stashed in another country.

It's exactly the same thing. The US taxes both corporate and personal income earned in other countries, which is something that other countries don't do. In both cases, it encourages people/corporations to find ways to avoid paying the extra tax by keeping the money outside of the country. Corporations are better at doing it legally; individuals usually end up having to lie about their income.

Comment Re:So much for states' rights (Score 2) 180

Oh, I definitely believe that Congress is full of competent people. But I still seriously doubt that any of them followed your line of thought. If they did, there are a lot of other, more obvious, things they could be doing to ease the transition of the coming wave of automation, not just trying to accelerate one little part of it.

No, it makes a lot more sense that the 100K limit was a compromise between Congressmen who want to accelerate self-driving technology development (because it will be really good for the economy overall) and Congressmen who are nervous about the dangers it poses. All of the public statements I've seen are consistent with this view, too, whereas I haven't seen a single one that suggests the bill is intended to ease the transition for drivers.

Comment Re: Screw it (Score 2) 151

Yeah, and they were trying out never-before used titanium grid fins, too. But that was their highest energy trajectory yet (as noted, they keep pushing the bounds on trying to land more and more difficult trajectories). I imagine they'll cut back on that a lot once the Heavy is in full service and they can just offload heavier payloads to the Heavy.

Comment Re:Lefties hate this tax too (Score 1) 686

About one-sixth of federal spending goes to national defense.

It's worth pointing out that our approach to national defense terrified the founders, many of whom wanted to lay down rules in the Constitution to make it impossible for the US to have a standing army. Compromises with practicality caused them to instead write the Army Clause of the Constitution to discourage standing armies by not allowing Congress to allocate funding for them more than two years at a time.

There's even a legitimate argument that many of our contracts with army suppliers, lessors of land and buildings used by the army, etc., are unconstitutional, because they represent multi-year commitments. Technically, they should all contain language saying that their continuation each year after the second is contingent upon Congress allocating the funding, meaning the US could simply terminate the contract. Of course, no one would want to sign a contract that contained such language, and we've all collectively decided to ignore the Army Clause.

Note that no such restriction exists on the Navy.

The Militia Clause offers a bit of an out, since it allows (and requires) the federal government to organize, arm and discipline the militia. So it's arguably acceptable under the constitution for the federal government to maintain a training cadre, arms stockpiles, etc. even in time of peace. This "expansible army" approach is the one the US followed up until WWII. Congress declared war, then we used the small cadre force to train and equip an army, then when the war was over the army was scaled back to the minimal force again.

I'd like to see us go back to a fully constitutional approach to our army. Since we're not in a state of declared war, we should scale it back to a training and maintenance force. At the same time, we should actually direct a little of our current spending on the army to arming and disciplining the militia, which the federal government has almost never done well. By that I mean that the federal government should provide training to the entire militia population (males between 18 and 45, but we should amend the constitution to eliminate the gender specification). I don't think it needs to be compulsory, nor that the militiamen be compensated, nor even that the federal government needs to provide the weapons for peacetime training. Per the constitution, officers should be appointed by the states.

I think this approach would allow us to maintain a much larger force of trained soldiers, at a tiny fraction of the cost. I think it would also allow patriotic Americans from all walks of life to work and train together and to get to know one another, something that the army did pretty effectively at times in the past. It would also make it dramatically harder for presidents to engage in foreign adventures without a congressional declaration of war (another constitutional requirement we've been ignoring).

Note that this wouldn't reduce the cost of the Navy. I suspect that we'd classify the Air Force in with the Navy as well, since it's more like the Navy in fundamental ways (the big one in the founders' view being that armies can occupy territory, but navies and air forces cannot). I think perhaps those could be pared back a bit as well, but that's just a political decision, there's no constitutional need for it.

Comment Re:It makes sense. (Score 1) 686

Most cyclists have already paid taxes to support road development. If we're expanding or adding bike paths, that is a cost above and beyond the normal road maintenance, especially if not all bike paths follow the road. Frankly, given the state of American infrastructure, any additional tax to improve it probably makes sense.

I live in a big city, and the city pays for most public bike racks. There's simply not enough sidewalk space to let every business put one out, and because they're so close together, there's not much incentive for any individual business to do it. In your area, it would seem to not make sense to use this tax money to install new bike racks, but where I live it's a different scenario.

Many larger cities also prohibit locking your bike to sign posts or trees (in the latter case, they're often too large or not enough of them around for it to be practical anyway).

Comment Re:It's the same as the stock market (Score 2) 64

Stocks are not equatable to cryptocurrencies at all.

Cryptocurrencies have nothing backing them. Stocks are backed by assets. Owning a share of stock means you own a percentage of the corporation's assets. This means cryptocurrencies are more like fiat cash and less like owning stock.

When one says that the stock market may "crash" that means the value of the corporations may lose significant value. But as long as the corporation exists, the stock will have some intrinsic value. If the company owns 50,000 computers and a 50 story office building, then the stock will always have some value because the owner of the stock owns some computers and a piece of real estate. That can be negotiated or sold. Courts have laws for negotiating them. Even if the company was in in bankruptcy the stock holders have some ability to redeem their stock.

When one says that a cryptocurrency may "crash" that means that the currency is no longer used, or the exchange falls, or it loses favor because some new cryptocurrency is cooler. In that case, the owner of the cryptocurrency has nothing at all but a number. They have no asset: no computers, no real estate; no legal recourse, nothing. This is actually worse than cash, because at least with cash there are laws requiring companies to accept that cash. There are international treaties requiring some assets to be exchanged in that currency. So unless all the governments and companies that use that currency crash, even a fiat currency will still have some value.

Comment Re:More difficult with people? (Score 1) 151

Shitty : fails to detect enormous object right in front of the car, when one of the stated purposes of the system is to detect objects in front of the car. Half-assed : the vendor of the hardware disassociates itself from Tesla stating the tech is not being correctly implemented.

I wrote a short article on this incident: Thoughts on the recent Autopilot-related deaths.

Here's the TLDR version:
- Autopilot controls speed & steering, keeping the car in the lane.
- The Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) feature is the technology that should have stopped the car to prevent the accident.
- Tesla was using Mobileye's AEB implementation.

Lots of other companies are using Mobileye's AEB as well. It was only an issue in the Tesla because the driver was paying no attention to the road. In other vehicles, the driver would have hit the brake themselves when they saw the big truck in front of them.

Comment Re:More difficult with people? (Score 3, Insightful) 151

Beta testing: Musk has openly and often stated that autopilot is "continuously improving" and "evolving" and constant software updates are being made to existing installations.

You mean like almost every piece of software we use today? Do you call whatever programs and operating systems you're now "beta" because there's regular updates for them? Most people consider the ability to patch software a good thing. Traditionally, cars are stuck with whatever they're shipped with, and retain any deficiencies for their entire lifespan.

Shitty : fails to detect enormous object right in front of the car, when one of the stated purposes of the system is to detect objects in front of the car.

Yes, one failure from a guy who was ignoring warnings and watching Harry Potter, in over a billion vehicle miles under autopilot. My god, how unthinkable.

Half-assed : the vendor of the hardware disassociates itself from Tesla stating the tech is not being correctly implemented

Yes, that was their accusation as for why they were cutting off their relationship with Tesla. Contrarily, Tesla's accusation is that the Mobileye cutoff occurred when Mobileye learned that Tesla was doing its own in-house image recognition development, aka was going to be cutting Mobileye out of the loop in the future, and demanded as a condition to continue that Tesla kill its in-house development. Mobileye responded claiming that they knew about the team, but didn't feel threatened by it... yadda yadda yadda. Lovely when contract negotiations play out in public.

Comment Re: Screw it (Score 4, Informative) 151

To elaborate on the above AC's point, here's a list of SpaceX launches (starting with the first oceanic "landing" attempt) and their success/failure rate.

29-sep-2013: Ocean failure
03-dec-2013: No attempt
06-jan-2014: No attempt
18-apr-2014: Ocean success
14-jul-2014: Ocean success
05-aug-2014: No attempt
07-sep-2014: No attempt
21-sep-2014: Ocean success
10-jan-2015: Drone ship failure
11-feb-2015: Ocean success
02-mar-2015: No attempt
14-apr-2015: Drone ship failure
27-apr-2015: No attempt
**********28-jun-2015: In-flight failure
22-dec-2015: Ground pad success
17-jan-2016: Drone ship failure
04-mar-2016: Drone ship failure
08-apr-2016: Drone ship success
06-may-2016: Drone ship success
27-may-2016: Drone ship success
15-jun-2016: Drone ship failure
18-jul-2016: Ground pad success
14-aug-2016: Drone ship success
**********01-sep-2016: Pre-launch testing failure
14-jan-2017: Drone ship success
19-feb-2017: Ground pad success
16-mar-2017: No attempt
30-mar-2017: Drone ship success
01-may-2017: Ground pad success
15-may-2017: No attempt
03-jun-2017: Ground pad success
23-jun-2017: Drone ship success
25-jun-2017: Drone ship success
05-jul-2017: No attempt

These don't even tell the whole story because not only has their success rate gone way up, but they've also been attempting to land from increasingly difficult flight envelopes that previously they wouldn't have even attempted from (and simply flown legless / finless rockets)

The issue with testing rocket landing is, you can't just do it in some research lab; you can only do it by actually landing rockets, and changing whatever doesn't work. That's the only way you can learn of your failure modes. Sure, you can use scaled-down testbeds, and SpaceX did that with the Grasshopper series - but there's the difference between a testbed and something that actually goes to orbit. There's a reason that SpaceX used to call them "experimental landings". I don't think they use that term any more; nowadays a landing failure would be seen as a pretty significant setback.

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