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Comment Re:Don't innovate, litigate! (Score 1) 211

"What if they actually did their own research and development?"

I don't know about now, since the US government saw fit to screw up the patent system even further recently by trying to "fix it". But at least a few years ago there was a caveat in the patent system that an independently developed patent was just as valid as another. Significant documentation was required and many courts chose to all but ignore this part of the law but it was there. With the idiotic switch to "first to file" though I don't know if it still exists.

Comment Re:Find a good architect (Score 1) 289

"if you want it to last centuries"

Standard "reinforced concrete" will not last for centuries. The fortifications in Europe are proof of that, steel rusts INSIDE the concrete (especially in coastal areas) and eventually shatters it. Unless you stabilize the metal for the long term (power coat?, paint?, special alloys?) it will be falling apart within 70 years. As far as the windows I'd simply use standard ones and put on some good old fashioned storm shutters (made out of steal of course). Besides those cautions a concrete home is a pretty good idea, even if it is flooded, if designed correctly it can be gutted and brought up to new condition in days or weeks, not months or years.

Comment Re:Also Unclear Where the Cameras Were Installed (Score 1) 420

"Can anyone find where they explain further if the devices themselves were installed on the defendant's property?"

It probably doesn't matter, I highly doubt that the local government (let alone the DEA) owned any property in the area so the only other area that some might call "public" would be the road. I don't know how it works in this particular area but in my area the government doesn't "own" the land the road is on, it is an easement for transportation purposes. Originally that "transportation" was only horse, carriage, eventually car, and over time has been widened to include electric & communications. But the property is still owned by the adjacent property to the rough center of the road. So if their purposes were not "transportation" they were in effect trespassing if the property was marked, and if they entered the property to install the cameras then it was defiantly trespassing (again, if posted or reasonable), and as such it was evidence collected through an illegal act, hence should be thrown out.

Comment I don't fly (Score 2) 652

This is one of the reasons I DONT FLY anymore, I've taken several long distance trips in recent years, each one I rented a car and drove. I didn't have to worry about running up against some wannabe SS officer, I didn't have to worry about what in my luggage (I actually brought a rather large rifle on one of my trips because I had just bought it and wanted to get some shooting time in with it at my destination), and don't have to get felt up by some rent a cop. I find it disturbing that we've sunken so low here in the US, fifteen years ago if you would have said that in order to fly commercially you would have endure a pat down, or a virtual strip search they would have looked at you like you had just talked about being abducted by aliens.

Comment Maybe a few bugs (Score 3, Interesting) 36

There might be a few bugs in their mapping app, unless it is so advanced it can track oceangoing vessels. A bunch of hits on the map I am looking at are about 1,000 miles off the coast near Washington DC. I also wonder if they're going to include social attack emails at some point (I believe most reputable Webmail apps include an IP of the sender). I don't know about anyone else but at my workplace I regularly get 5 or more attempts a week to get a virus into my system by pretending to be a FedEx tracking code, or a "contract in danger" message, some of them are even rigged to look like they're from OUR It department. Luckily our spam filter catches most of them but once in a while one slips through.

Comment Re:Will you ever lose your job and need health car (Score 1) 706

Unfortunately $1k a month is pretty standard from what I understand. I've been told my employer pays about $1,000 per month per employee. A family member is on the board of a small local telephone company and he's said that they pay $1,200 per employee. I think my employer was paying close to $1,500 a month per employee before they switched us over to a high deductible plan ($1,000 a year). They're nice enough to give us the deductible in a HSA account though each year. Even on the old plan we had pretty high co-pay rates, even for "in network" providers.

Comment Ah NASA (Score 1) 158

Ah NASA, always choosing the most complicated method for something with a hundred simple solutions. Suctioning the surgery area is something that is has been done for decades here on earth, it would probably need minimal modifications for use in space. As far as free floating blood just put a high flow cotton air filter next to the wound. That should collect most free floating fluids, and if a few get loose so what? Its blood not Plutonium-238? The only real advantage I can see with this is that it would help limit blood loss and POSSIBLY allow use of any blood that did escape. But for 99% of the surgeries that would likely be required in space the minimal amount of blood loss wouldn't deed to be replaced anyway.

Comment Re:all of a sudden... (Score 1) 402

The biggest issue with plugin cars is the batteries, the packs cost thousands of dollars and have to be replaced every 5-7 years. While it is getting close to being economically even I don't think it is quite there yet. If a way could be found to either increase the lifespan, or decrease the replacement cost significantly it would beat out fossil fuel vehicles hands down. And unfortunately "economies of scale" don't quite work with current Electric vehicle battery designs, most are built on rare earth minerals, the prices of which would increase exponentially with increased demand. There are some technologies which try to do away with rare earths, or at least limit/vary them, but they either are still in development, or are encumbered by strict patent control. For the moment, we will simply have to wait until gas prices increase to the point that it becomes more economical to switch to PHEVs

Comment Lower Michigan (Score 1) 402

Here in lower Michigan I filled up last night at $3.79, at least according to GasBuddy that same station is up to $3.94. Unfortunately this kind of thing is far from usual around here at least. At least once a month it will shoot up 20-30 cents in a day or two, then slowly go back down. Its of course blamed on refinery issues, or pipeline maintenance, or some other excuse. But in all likelihood the gas companies simply know they can.

Comment Re:Utility (Score 1) 419

"You mean like water, where you pay for what you use?" I don't know about where you live but in most communities in my area it is an unmetered water system. Everyone uses as much water as they want, within the limits of their little 3/4" pipe going into their homes and are billed collectively. If you want a bigger pipe, you pay a higher percentage of the collective cost of the system. It works quite well for the most part. I don't see why it would be so different for data. If you are only going to check email, a dial up or extremely slow connection will do, if your going to watch a video stream sometimes and maybe download some data (but never at the same time) a medium speed connection will do, if you want to be able to watch one or two video streams while downloading data you'll need a higher speed plan. Each progression will cost you more, this has worked out quite well up till now. The reason it is falling apart now is, for the most part, the service providers have been pocketing all of money from their customers. Putting little to none of it back into their infrastructure like most businesses do, even when the government gave them billions for infrastructure improvement, they turned around and pocketed most of it, or used it to build their cell networks.

Comment Re:Shocked (Score 1) 172

" it's never been easier to go off grid" That may not be entirely true, while home power generation costs are far lower than they were a few years ago there are still significant issues to having an entirely off grid home. First off is of course the cost, while in the long term off grid prices are now competitive with on grid, the initial costs are difficult for most people to cope with (~$35,000 if you do most of the install yourself). Then there is the building code/regulation issues, in some areas they are so specifically written for "normal" homes that getting permits for occupancy/construction or even finding certified electricians that will do the final hookups is difficult. Don't get me wrong, I'd love it if every home in the country had a solar/wind system feeding a regenerative fuel cell and power lines were going the way of the dodo, but if it ever happens its going to take a long time and its not going to be easy.

Comment Better Options? (Score 1) 102

I think even the simplest Stirling engines beat this thing out for efficiency, I think 30% is easily attainable and better engineered systems I believe can top 45%. The only issue with them is there is some maintenance (though NASA is working on eliminating that). I think the next generation of Radioisotope thermoelectric generators are supposed to use Stirling generators.

Comment Re:Good to keep in mind (Score 1) 421

They cost more to Develop and to build per unit, but (again, done right) over their lifetime would be much cheaper. The major failing of the shuttle program was not so much the direction of the program, though there were of course areas that needed improvement. It was all of the "hands in the till", the massive number of contractors, staff and facilities spread across the US that were deemed "necessary" for the program. The actual costs for the shuttle specifically (parts, labor, fuel) was quite small, and considering it was built in much fewer numbers than originally intended, almost competitive with expendable launch systems. With today's tech we could pretty easily develop a "stage and a half"/"two stage" craft that could fly at least a dozen times before requiring minor overhauls, and probably 50 flights between major overhauls. But to really bring down the costs they would need to be built on a modern airliner scale (hundreds or +1,000 of them) & politics would need to be kept to a minimum (no shipping fabrication of certain parts to Vermont to keep their Senator happy when a plant is ready to produce them cheaply in Missouri). A SSTO craft would not be out of reach, but would probably require much high development cost. Either case though is a "chicken and the egg" problem, for it to be economically reasonable there would need to be the drive to flight thousands of flights a year, a market for thousands of flights a year will only come into being when the flight costs come down massively.

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