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Comment Re:Almost nothing... (Score 1) 141

" Why don't you scan the bar code of every item in your kitchen"

That's probably where the "checkout of the future" comes in. I've seen a demo of it somewhere, bar codes are supposed to go the way of the dodo, eventually RFID tags are supposed to take over for them. You simply fill up your cart, walk through an arch with a high speed RFID scanner in it and either hand over your money or your RFID credit/debit card is automatically scanned. If that comes to pass the "fridge of the future" would then have an RFID scanner in it, and when it noticed a code that was usually in your fridge was no longer there, it would notify you. While some of the features sound interesting, personally I don't intend to EVER hook up an important household appliance to a global network. I don't care how secure they say it is it WILL have flaws. I don't need some virus playing with my houses heat settings or playing porno/Viagra advertisements on my TV. In any case these "improvements" should be physically isolated from the base functions of the appliance, and if they aren't purchasers should at least be able to hardware disable them (by simply not plugging them in to the network or physically cutting the wi-fi)

Comment Re:How long until we move out from the sun? (Score 1) 263

And we may not be too far from that point where we are no longer able to produce more food. According to estimates there are about 14 million square Kilometers of agricultural land currently on earth. That is roughly the total surface area United States and Canada combined. While there are probably a few more places where farmland could probably be opened up, our current usage area probably represents at least 80% of the possible arable land using current farming practices. While things like urban agriculture, GM crops, and lab grown proteins can probably get us a bit further, it is unlikely that the planet can sustain much over 15 billion people (9-10 billion under current agriculture).

Comment Re:interesting (Score 1) 287

A jury the prosecutor arguably has an upper hand in choosing, and a judge that, in most jurisdictions, is predisposed to side with the prosecution to keep the police unions & politicians happy. Grand Juries are a pretty good example of how lopsided the justice system has become, at least in federal cases around 98% of grand juries side with the prosecution. While the grand jury system is intended to only prove "reasonable cause", even most prosecutors laud them as being a "rubber stamp". One NY judge suggested that "any prosecutor worth her salt can indict a ham sandwich".

Comment Can't have it both ways. (Score 5, Insightful) 287

" Kerr says that, as the law stands, the charges against Swartz were "pretty much legit," and that the law itself should be the target of the internet community's angst,"

No, BOTH should be the target of the "internet community's angst" and societies in general. One can't happen without the other, prosecutors continually demand more harsh and less restrictive laws "to catch the bad people". And when it is proven beyond all doubt that they targeted the wrong people with their near unlimited "proprietorial discretion" they demand complete indemnification from criminal/civil responsibility because prosecution of the "bad guys" would be imperiled if they had to worry about their freedom & livelihood. They can't have it both ways, at least not in a free & just society. They can either have extensive powers with severe penalties if they mess up, or they can have very limited powers with limited liability. To do otherwise breeds nothing but corruption & imprisonment of the innocent.

Comment Not bad (Score 1) 82

They're not breaking any records or anything but not bad. The MerlinC engine is around 300 Isp (specific impulse, the engine efficiency for those who don't know). That's not blowing away the Space shuttles specs (~400 Isp) but it also doesn't cost $40 Million per engine or use Liquid Hydrogen.

Comment Re:Thank you anti-vaxers! (Score 1) 316

To be honest disease spread and mortality have come down significantly per capita in the past 292 years (since Small Pox Vaccine). But to claim that it is primarily based on vaccination is laughable. Vaccines have been one small part of a vast change in lifestyle, knowledge, medical techniques & and sanitation. As little as 50 years ago we were dumping raw sewage into rivers and walking around with handkerchiefs (ye'olde Kleenex) in our pockets. 120 years ago we were amputating limbs with carpentry saws and treating diseases with bleeding and leaches 150 years ago in urban areas we were whipping bowls of feces and urine our of second story windows into the streets. Vaccines have been and will continue to be a valuable option to fight disease, but they are FAR from the final solution that so many try to make them out to be.

Comment Re:Help! (Score 1) 316

I've been sucking down Orange Juice and Milk, along with trying to choose vitamin rich foods and using multivitamins for the past few days. So far so good, even with a coworker hacking like she's been mining coal all her life sitting around the corner from me. Only time will tell though I suppose. I wish wearing N95 masks was more socially acceptable here in the US, from what I understand ~98% of common cold infections occur due to someone coughing/talking within 6' of you while their infectious, and I must have had a half dozen people stop in and sit across from me today alone trying to suppress coughs.

Comment Re:Flu shots (Score 1) 316

"60% or more. depending an a variety of factors."

Not quite, here's some quotes from the CDC
"How well the flu vaccine works (or its ability to prevent influenza illness) can range widely from season to season and also can vary depending on who is being vaccinated."
"Preliminary data for the 2010-2011 influenza season indicate that influenza vaccine effectiveness was about 60% for all age groups combined, and that almost all influenza viruses isolated from study participants were well-matched to the vaccine strains (Unpublished CDC data)"

I don't know about your interpretation of those statements but mine says that, at least among all age groups, 60% is probably about the best case scenario for the influenza vaccine. It sounds like on some years it can be quite a bit less. There is also the question of what their definition of "effective" is (no symptoms, mild symptoms, communicability, etc)
http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/qa/vaccineeffect.htm

Comment Simple Solutions (Score 1) 145

Aren't there some fairly simple solutions to this "issue"? Provide the spacecraft with more "natural" lighting and give the astronauts earth based work schedule (9-5 job). The article makes these suggestions as well but only in a few sentences in one paragraph out of 10. Astronauts should be deeply involved in adjusting/finalizing the missions survey areas, they can continue training and familiarizing themselves with their equipment and soon to be home. They should have plenty to do on their trip, not laying about waiting for the landing.

Comment Not going to happen (Score 1) 207

Not going to happen, and if it does it will happen in a way that will REINFORCE the monopolies of the current big players. Just look at how the wireless spectrum auction went down a few years back. Even Google, throwing around billions of dollars couldn't get a part of the spectrum designated for public use. Thankfully they were at least able to get open apps and devices pushed through, but the big players even fought that tooth and nail.

Comment Re:Ug... a modest fee to create more space junk... (Score 1) 117

I believe these kind of armature cubesats are usually deployed at low altitudes, before the upper stage lights up to boost the main satellite into a higher orbit. Such orbits are only short term, even under the most optimal circumstances they could only stay up about 25 years, most deorbit within a couple years.

Comment Re:Gingrich & Huckabee Weigh In (Score 1) 1168

" the average person don't have these crimes"

True, countries that have had long standing bans on firearms don't have as many firearms related crimes. Instead they have knife and other weapon crimes. Just look at the UK, they have rather strict firearms laws, they also have the one of the planets highest rates of knife crime. So much so that police there don't wear bullet proof vests, they wear a modern version of chain-mail. Countries like Japan and China, which also have strict gun controls, have also been grappling with their own school violence. In the past 2 years there have been at least seven attacks in China alone, all with hammers & knives. The tools are not the issue, those wielding them are.

Comment Convenient (Score 1) 95

I can say this for it, its convenient. A few simple slider bars and a very short and sweet payment entry form and your done. The one thing that annoys me is that 8% "Operating Cost" that is deducted from your donation. Seems a bit hefty to me, maybe after the site has been running a while (assuming it survives long as others have mentioned) it will come down.

Comment Wow (Score 3, Interesting) 59

[whistles] Wow, how much fuel did they put in that thing? It spent around 8 months in lunar orbit, which usually eats up a bit of fuel right there, even without the several orbital changes they did while there. And then it leaves lunar orbit on its way to the Earth-Sun L2 point? I realize that once you get out of LEO the amount of fuel required to get anywhere (at least slowly) goes down exponentially but they must have packed quite a bit of fuel into that thing (I believe it is roughly the size of a walk in closet)

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