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Comment Re:Too late (Score 3, Insightful) 77

2) The price is dropping fast. My household income is only a few hundred thousand a year and I think I'll be able to take a family trip to space at some point before I die.

My guess is that this is extremely optimistic at least for an orbital flight. The Dragon is supposed to have a crew of 7 when it's operational. Musk has said the fuel cost alone is $200k, so just gas money is almost $30k/seat. The second stage which still has no technical or economically proven recovery is about 30% of the cost which would be $60M*0.3 = $18M = $2M+/seat. And that assumes the first stage and capsule are free with infinite reuse. Note that NASA is expected to pay around $150M for an ISS flight or $20M+/seat, so I've already assumed a 90% drop from the current rate. Maybe it gets cheaper carrying passengers by the busload and construction costs will drop with further scale, but I still think you're well into fantasy land doing it on a salary of a few hundred grand.

Maybe a suborbital joyride with Blue Horizon just peeking across the 100km limit, but that's going to be a much shorter ride straight up, peek out the windows hey there's space then back down again. The Lynx will give you 4-5 minutes of weightlessness on an hour's flight. Is that worth >$100k? It's a fancier vomit comet where you get your astronaut wings, but my guess is that once you have joyriders doing that in bulk we'll move the goal post to "proper" space flights. Same reason Yuri Gagarin is way, way more known than Alan Shepard. Reaching orbit is a completely different beast with a completely different price tag, SpaceX is great but physics dictates there's some miracles I think even they can't pull off. It's never going to become a mass market thing.

Comment Re:The A380 is to big for many airports. (Score 1) 289

The hub-and-spoke model still has plenty advantages but I think you also need to factor in that going through the biggest hubs with multiple terminals and many hundreds of gates is something of a pain in itself. Transfers at moderately sized hubs (<100 gates) where you never leave the security zone and your luggage is checked through to your final destination are quite nice. Basically if you've got so many flights and runways that airspace is a problem maybe it's time to create sub-hubs. I've traveled quite a few times to meet some people I know and there's no direct flight but there's three different hubs I can go through. Price and timing of flights is of course an issue but those things being roughly equal I pick the smaller hub every time.

And I don't do that just because of the airport itself, it seems like all the margins are slimmer like if your flight lost their time slot, well it's fucked. If there's weather problems, some kind of service disruption or gate problem or delay everything goes to shit for the whole day while smaller airports have gaps and slack that let them catch up better. Heck, if you're travelling with the same company and have a late incoming flight connecting to an outbound spoke they might hold the gate for you a few minutes. On approach I've been told the connecting gate, walked straight to it and boarded as the last passenger, grabbed a seat and a few minutes later we're in the air. That doesn't happen at a major hub, if you're late you missed it.

Comment Re:Just creating them is dangerous. (Score 2) 147

That greatly depends on the overall strategy for the war.

1. To drain the opposition of support
2. To crush the opposition by force

The former is what most Americans in living history now know, like the Korean war, the Vietnam war, the Gulf war etc. and in that case it's true. You don't have rouge elements, you don't have soldiers on a power trip that rape, pillage and murder. You don't have soldiers who fear for their own lives and who'd rather cause incidental or accidental damage to civilians than risk getting shot and killed themselves. There's no more caskets of American servicemen being flown home and no more public outcry, all you have to do to play world police is pay for replacements.

That's not how you occupy a country. That's not how Nazi Germany crushed France. That's not how the Allies crushed Nazi Germany. That's not how the US made the Japanese surrender. It's basically saying we're going to pound you into the ground and keep pounding until you beg for mercy. If there's attacks or sabotage on our forces we'll retaliate ten times harder or just round up a bunch of civilians and shoot them. And if we want to do a little genocide or ethnic/religious cleansing that's what we'll do.

In that situations robots are the perfect psychopaths. They have no guilt or remorse, they don't feel the hate and anger, they don't care if they're despised and attacked, they don't desert or refuse to follow orders. They don't care if the targets are civilian or military, young or old, women and children. And you can say it's the same as a gun today, bullets don't care. The difference is that the guy pulling the trigger is 10000 miles away playing Counterstrike or maybe just playing a real world game of Civilization. City in riot? Send in the troops.

It would be nice fantasy if the atrocities of war happened because of the atrocities of war. But those manning the gas chambers of the Holocaust weren't hungry, tired, revengeful or full of PTSD. Neither have most invading generals throughout history been, they command and other people suffer and preferably the other side. Just because we take away the "burden" of fighting on the front lines doesn't mean those people will stop shuffling pieces on a chess board to win. In fact, they'd probably just find it easier if the pawns stop complaining.

Comment Re:Doug Lenat's Test (Score 1) 166

This is not an edge case. The rules of English, if properly followed by both writer and reader, render the object of Mary's desire unambiguous, and if this is the sort of thing Doug Lenat is focused on, it's no wonder he's falling behind.

That sentence is fairly unambiguous but the construct is not. "Mary remembered all the long trips in the back seat of daddy's car, she and her brother playing games and singing along to Elvis on the radio. She missed it." What did she miss, the long trips? The back seat? Daddy's car? Playing games? Singing along to the radio? Listening to Elvis? Childhood? Family? All of the above, individually? All of the above, simultaneously? The use of "in" doesn't even mean it's the object of desire, like "Mary caught sight of a mannequin dressed in the most beautiful wedding gown, full of lace and fine detail. She wanted it." and I think 99.9% would assume it meant the gown, not the mannequin.

Comment Re: In breaking news.... (Score 1) 249

You buy a one-off license for those people, just like you would for Photoshop, MATLAB, AutoCAD, or any other specialist app. Everyone else just asks the sender to send in another format or suffers through the bazililon conversion methods. Most people still use returns, tabs, and spaces to format their documents - they certainly don't need anything more powerful than what is available for free.

Comment Yes and no (Score 4, Informative) 213

Before quick, always-on Internet connections were available most software had to live locally, so even though it was closed source you had the entire blob. Today, more and more of the client functionality is going open source - but the essential bits have all gone online as web applications, SaaS, multiplayer/matchmaking services and so on. Google is giving away Android and Chromium (with proprietary codecs = Chrome) so you'll use Google's services. Microsoft is open sourcing things so you'll use Azure. Amazon is open sourcing things so you'll use AWS and so on. Companies that were just giving it away without some sort of plan to monetize it like Sun went under.

And in this competition with "free" services, open source is struggling in many areas. Like for example LibreOffice vs Google Docs, Google got like 3 million paying G Suite businesses, 70 million educational users and lord knows how many others, I couldn't find a statistic. They're taking on the battle of Office/Exchange open source has worked on for decades and not really gotten anywhere. Services like Alexa and Siri you couldn't really do as a local application anyway. I wouldn't be surprised if the Microsoft market falls and the desktop goes "open source" like Android. But it's not really like how RMS envisioned it...

Comment Re:Too harsh IMHO. (Score 1) 414

Say I was legally carrying a gun at that 7-11, and the clerk said "help this robber is going to shoot me!". If he was actually holding a gun on the clerk at that point and I shot him, I wouldn't get charged. If I summarily executed him without bothering to even look and it turned out he was not in fact holding a gun on anyone, I'd be locked up for decades. That's more along the lines of what happened here.

What if it was a replica gun that couldn't actually shoot anyone? What if he was wearing a ski mask and pointing something at the clerk but your view was obstructed? What if you by some strange mistake you had wandered into a film recording or training exercise? The threat doesn't have to be real, if:

1. It would seem real to a reasonable person
2. You acted in good faith to save the clerk's life
3. The response appeared necessary both in terms of force and urgency

then I'd acquit you no matter what the real truth was. It's that last part that is most in question here, even if the cop that shot thought that he was hiding something that might have been a gun, was that a necessary response? If it had been a dark back alley one-on-one probably. A guy in the open on his front porch, spotlight in face, facing a small army in full battle gear? It's excessive.

We had a court case here in Norway not that long ago, brief summary is guy catches prep raping his drunk girlfriend, beats him up, drags him out onto the street and continues to beat the shit out of him. The court held that the first part was valid self defense, but after the assailant was outside and incapacitated the remaining beating he took was vigilante justice not self defense.

Comment Re: Of course (Score 1) 1009

Right, but we can't pretend there is no side effect... Mary can enjoy her new job at 7-11, but she displaced the moron that used to have the job and now he's out of work entirely. Raising minimum wage is correlated to unemployment... I'm not saying that as someone opposed to minimum wage, but we need to be realistic about its effects.

Comment Re:Why the quotes? (Score 1) 94

It was just a very stark example so I chose it. You could be right, but then all I can say is she has a very strong correlation between "guests she respects" and "liberal guests". I still like to listen to some of her interviews - her show is a regular podcast of mine (though I admit to skipping the artsy and celebrity ones, which are most of them these days).

Comment Re:Yes. Yes it is. (Score 2) 532

We don't have UBI here in Norway, but we do have a welfare program which is like a "last resort" where the only qualifications is that you're a legal resident, you don't have any other income or savings and you don't qualify for any of the more specific benefits like disability, unemployment and so on. It's not grand but you don't go homeless and you don't need to beg in the streets, I don't think we're the only social democracy in Europe with a program like that. I just checked the statistics and a little under 1% of the population live primarily on those funds, about 0.25% stay on the program for >12 months, it costs 0.5% of the national budget and about 0.2% of the GDP. Many of these are basically unemployable anyway, they just don't qualify for disability. So the theory at everyone would just quit their job if they got a tiny bit of money for doing nothing is provably false.

For everyone else with income it'd basically just be a formality, pay extra tax for UBI, get UBI for roughly zero net difference. The one big difference would be that people with savings could take a break and live on UBI + their own money. But to have the savings to do that you need a well paying job meaning you need an education and a career and a few sabbaticals and early retirements more wouldn't shake the system at its foundations. I think a realistic UBI would be around 1/3rd my current income, say I think 5/6ths of my current income would be an okay standard of living. Today I could work five months putting aside 1/6th and taking a month unpaid leave spending those 5/6ths. With UBI I could work three months putting aside 1/6th and take a month off with 2/6th UBI, 3/6th savings. Still working and paying taxes 75% of the time instead of 83% of the time though. The numbers only go nuts if you assume people want to live on a UBI standard.

Comment Re: I was there... (Score 1) 223

North Korea's arsenal is not large enough yet to cause the collapse of American society, or even to kill the majority of people in a city like Honolulu. So maybe we should be dusting off those old civil defense films.

Hiroshima was ~350k people and 90-146k people were killed by a 16kt nuke. Wikipedia says Honolulu itself has 377k inhabitants and North Korea's latest test was probably around 250kt, so unless Honolulu is vastly more spread out I'd say it only takes one. Maybe it wouldn't take out the majority of the million or so living in the metro area but you'd probably be more than halfway to the total WW2 losses. And the greatest loss of civilians since the Civil War.

That said, Honolulu is probably mostly a psychological threat and money sink for the US to create an anti-missile system that'll never be used and create opposition to a war with North Korea. Their biggest hostage is Seoul which is a dense city with 10-25 million people (city/metro) right across the border. They can throw a barrage of artillery and small short range missiles at it, if one has a nuke and that gets through millions will die. And if that happens the war will never be a success, even if it's a military victory.

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