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Comment Re:Radioactive material != Nuclear weapons (Score 1, Troll) 167

It would probably be much more effective, and one hell of a lot easier to mail what ever fissile material you have to the local media, claiming to have a bomb...

You're telling me it would be too hard for someone to take a big pile of conventional explosives, grind up the fissile material, and then load it into a rental truck and drive it downtown? Why do you think a bomb means "big mushroom cloud of doom"? It could just be a conventional explosive used against a soft target, but with the added collateral damage of having the entire area contaminated with radioactive debris. And once you're done, claim you'll do it again in 48 hours unless (insert terrorist demand here).

Yes. I can see how the average terrorist would find this plan to be dizzyingly complex, and would opt instead to simply drop it in the post with a note saying "me haz big bang, woo woo."

Comment Re:Obama also said he would close Gitmo (Score 4, Insightful) 167

Hint: they don't want luxury and they don't want peace, until their flags are flying over all corners of the civilized world and their ideas about Islam (not just any brand of Islam either) dominate.

Three billion dollars buys a lot of change in thinking. You can get a Congressman to sell his soul for a lot less.

They are America's sworn enemies. We can't wish or negotiate that away, we have to defend ourselves. And the best defense is a good offense. That's why Obama's administration deserves huge props for taking out Bin Laden. That's how it's done, Dubya. That's how it must always be done.

Yes! We must bomb them! shoot them! Drop nukes! At a cost of many trillions of dollars! Because they don't want money! They don't want to be rich! They're poor, living in mud huts in the desert, and don't wanna change! Not ever! Not one single one! So passionate is their belief, they would happily choose suicide over spending the rest of their days rolling in hundred dollar bills naked! YES! I BELIEVE YOU!

Also, your fly is down.

Comment Re:Obama also said he would close Gitmo (Score 4, Interesting) 167

Seriously, what's the point of that Obama quote?

To continue the fascade that a bunch of people who kick it out in the desert and shoot their guns in the air at weekend training camps are evil because they're muslims or whatever, as opposed to people who kick it up in the woods and shoot their guns in the air at weekend training camps here, but aren't? Just a thought.

I'm sure there are terrorists out there... but I'm also reasonably sure they are so few in number as to not be a serious threat. Even if a 9/11 happened every year, it wouldn't be serious, in terms of economic damage and loss of life. However, there are legions of people who have been labelled as such because it's the only way to justify spending trillions of dollars... I mean, what if there were only 300 terrorists in the whole world. What then? We spend a trillion dollars to "contain" them... when we really ought to just pay them 3 billion dollars each to move to a secluded island and live out their remaining days in luxury. Bonus: It would be cheaper than what we've been doing so far...

Comment Re:Yeah, and? (Score 1) 40

What can be done in clear air with line of sight means nothing. The fact that 5ghz has very little building penetration is well known. Its great for single rooms (like restaurants or in the cubical-sphere of an office, but even around the house it can be problematic when trying to penetrate some walls.

Now now, no need to invoke logic in this discussion. The mods already put me down 2 points in 'troll' for pointing out how the FCC is anything but a neutral party in all of this. You keep it up, they'll mod you -99 for being smart. ;)

Comment Re:What? (Score 1) 201

Yes, but commercial airliners aren't built with plugs and sockets. For weight savings, everything is directly hardwired.

So they've managed to skim off maybe 10 pounds off the design of the aircraft, saving some several thousands in fuel costs over the operating life of the aircraft. A reasonable tradeoff considering the chance of the aircraft catching fire and then exploding when it hits the ground, killing everyone on board. *sips tea* Yeah. Makes sense to me. I mean, what's the cost of settling an accidental death claim for 300 people?

Here comes the math!

The cost of failure:
A product defect typically weighs in at $2.1 million USD per. So assuming 300 passengers and 10 crew, that's $651 million payout per plane going pop.

The cost savings:
Now, a 747 at least uses a gallon of fuel per second, or about 5 gallons per mile (average) on a flight. A typical domestic flight is about 2.5 hours in flight time, or 9,000 gallons of fuel. The weight of the aircraft, empty and unloaded, is about 95,000 pounds. It has 171 miles of wiring. Let's assume that we want to add connectors every 100 feet; That gives us 902,880 connectors. The average weight of a connector we'll say is 1.5 grams. that gives us 1,354,320 grams of extra weight to add connectors, or about 25,031 pounds.

So to add all those extra connectors would add an extra 26.3% cost to fuel. Now, the Dreamliner is slated to have a service life of about 30 years. We don't know how many pressurization cycles that equates to, but we can make an estimated guess. Let's just say 2 flights per day, 5 days a week. That'll be 1,560 flights before retirement then.

The average domestic flight is around 700 miles, we'll say. If the fuel cost before modification is 5 gallons per mile, at $3.30 per gallon... the cost of fuel per flight is $46,200. With the modification, it would cost $57,750.

Fuel cost over life of vehicle (before mod): 72,072,000.
Fuel cost over life of vehicle (after mod): 90,090,000.
Difference: $18,018,000.
Cost on failure: $651 million
Failure rate cutoff: 1 in 36

In other words, if a catastrophic failure that could have been prevented with electrical connectors happens more than 1 out of 36 planes, it's worth it. Otherwise, it's not.

Comment Yeah, and? (Score -1, Troll) 40

With no centralized interoperability specification -- the next iteration of whatever devices operate on that spectrum will interfere destructively with the previous generation. Remember pre-N gear when it first came out? Whole neighborhoods went dark while one guy sat in his basement browsing porn because he'd just gotten home with the latest and greatest from the store. Suddenly, everyone has to upgrade overnight. Then there's channel overlap... some jerk decides to set his wifi to channel 3 instead of 1 or 6 and now half the spectrum is fracked.

There will be no boost in wireless speeds. The only thing this has going for it is 5Ghz doesn't travel as far as 2.4Ghz, which doesn't travel very far anyway... and that'll mean by simple virtue of physics, devices will have a smaller surface area in which they can cause destructive interference.

No, if you ask me, the FCC's incompetence is not accidental... they don't want wireless internet because it would mean all those people they got BILLIONS OF DOLLARS from would be upset. Politics, blah blah. You get the idea. We'll never have high speed, ranged, wireless internet, unless we decide to go pirate and tell them to eat a bag of dicks. (puts finger to ear)

Oh wait... I hear some people have started doing that.

Comment Re:User error (Score 4, Interesting) 201

No no, I know. I was just reframing the "black and nebulous art" of airplane maintenance into something easier to digest for slashdotters. It was either that, or a car analogy, and turning a plane into a car just felt wrong. :) The truth is a bit more complicated; But it still boils down to operator error and not a design flaw. Of course, a design that allows someone to plug in one component backwards and have the entire device go up in flames is not a good one, but it's not flawed in the strict sense of the word. It's disappointing that my $500 laptop has a feature that prevents the battery from being plugged in backwards, but a multi-million dollar state of the art aircraft does not.

Comment User error (Score 5, Interesting) 201

So basically, the user reached back behind the power supply while fiddling and bumped the 110/220V switch, and it caught fire. Naturally, they didn't say anything to the tech after setting the switch back besides, "It just caught fire! All by itself!"

The user in this case is a giant airline company, and tech support would be Boeing. The FAA, of course, is the QA manager, who reviewed the call, and after reading the ticket closure notes, facepalmed, leaned back into his chair, and took a deep draft of coffee.

Comment Re:Reversed in America? (Score 1) 758

Well, at least the way I hear it used on the news, American conservatives are very different from Chinese and Russian conservatives.

Perhaps then, you should stop accepting what you hear on the news without critical analysis. It is invariably biased in some fashion, usually by lies of omission -- the most common of which, is that Group A is somehow so different from Group B as to be worthy of differential treatment. It does not make good news to say "We are 99.5% like these other people, but because of this singular thing in which we differ slightly in opinion on, we must dislike them." No, good news is "They are evil bastards with no redeeming qualities and we must punish them for this!" It feels better, more righteous. It satisfies our need for order in the world, this idea that the good are rewarded and the bad punished... and curiously, the good are always defined as "us" and the bad defined as "them."

Alas, American conservatives are not so different from conservatives anywhere else. Perhaps superficially. Perhaps in a great many ways that really don't matter... no different from driving on the left versus the right side of the road, or in how we dress or the slang we banter about. But it doesn't feel as emotionally satisfying. We want to be part of the superior group... therefore, some other group must be inferior, even if the inferiority is entirely socially constructed. And because we want this, we are eager to overlook similarity. Some people are eager to the point of violent opposition, like you are.

Twenty thousand years of human evolution says we are very, very much alike... and I assure you, every news channel, in every country, everywhere, says the same thing: "We're not like them!" Even if, on the whole, we very much are.

Comment Re:Not likely... (Score 5, Interesting) 758

The average american, and average slashdot poster is CLUELESS about politics.

As opposed to the average citizen of any other country? Why is it necessary to hold the average american up to some special standard?

Reality is the average american is too ignorant/stupid to have any kind of informed political view of america given the huge amount of propaganda that pervades their media and education system.

Reality is... every first world country has a government with a bureaucratic process so dense as to blunt, if not entirely dissipate, any creative process for change. You say they're ignorant and stupid, but that's an ignorant and stupid attitude. The truth is, most people aren't interested in politics because its emotionally painful if one becomes overly-involved. That's not an unintelligent response to a hopelessly and needlessly complex system designed specifically to be resistant to intelligent and thoughtful discourse.

You simply picked the one with the largest military and economy in the world to shit on, for no other reason than because you want to pull it down for your own emotional gratification. How you managed to get this to be labelled "+5 insightful" is simply saying that a great many people also have such emotional needs... but having offered no proof or objective analysis, "insightful" is not the word I would use to describe your reaction. But then, there is no "+5, I Agree Because I Have Emotional Needs That Depend On Crapping On Others" option.

Comment Re:How does this account for those who change part (Score 1) 758

Now, can your brain rewire itself? Research suggests that yes, it can.

Which is an incredibly dull and obvious conclusion. Of course it can: Otherwise we'd still think and act like infant children. All we've managed to do here is look closely enough at the brain that we can start to see landscape features and make inferences from that which are broadly true for others which have similar features. Which is no small achievement, but this is confirmatory research -- it tells us something we already knew, to a high degree of confidence.

Comment Re:Reversed in America? (Score 5, Interesting) 758

So how does this work in a traditionally free country like America...

Please stop. You're suggesting that the brains from one country are somehow different from that of another country. If we change 'country' out for 'race', it should be painfully obvious what the problem here is.

American conservatives are afraid to place their fates into the hands of the elected experts on human happiness.

You really shouldn't comment on the complex political landscape of another country whose citizens you apparently have little regular contact with. It makes you look like an idiot. No, "american" conservatives are just like "british" conservatives which are just like "african" conservatives, which are just like every conservative. Ever. The definition of conservativism doesn't change because of the country you're in. Perhaps its expression does, but the study here isn't about expression, but reaction. In that, conservatives broadly and as an aggregate group, are simply risk-averse. And because of how the human mind operates, an unknown risk is almost always subjectively larger in a person's mind than a known one. This is why we spent trillions of dollars combatting terrorism (an unknown risk) while both retrospectively and at the time, it could have easily been shown that a known risk (drunk driving) costs far more lives.

To extrapolate from a specific behavior (risk aversion) a complete political ideology is... at best... dubious.

Comment Structural? (Score 4, Insightful) 758

It's not hardwired: If it were, we'd be able to do these scans at birth or an early age and find similar patterns. But we don't. Which means the brain's structure changes in order to specialize in certain thought and behavior patterns. The fact that this applies to politics as well as, say, geospatial, tasks, should be absolutely no surprise.

It's disengenuous to suggest these things are hard-wired because they imply they cannot be changed. Except they can: I've known many people who, after experiencing a significant emotional event, altered their politics, religious affiliation, and even base personality traits. The human brain is exceptionally malleable. This study only offers a snapshot at a particular point in time and suggests that if certain structural properties are present, the thinking pattern is likely to be of a certain type. It does not say whether that structure was present before, after, or the extent to which it can be changed, and if so, how quickly.

It's like taking a photograph of a car driving down the road and assuming that it's on that road, and only that road, forever.

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