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Comment Re:Droid (Score 1) 510

You are correct, of course, on the details, but I would say that you're wrong on the principle. You have two meaningful choices on your presidential ballot (e.g. candidates who can win). It's like getting search choices of Yahoo, Google, and then a bunch of other sites like Altavista.

Comment Re:Hmm (Score 1) 272

Indeed. This would be a great xkcd cartoon.

Slashdot nerd: "The sex detection part is some fairly trivial signal processing. You need a band pass filter with a passband of about 0.5-3 Hz (at a guess; better numbers exist, but I haven't tried googling them). Then you need to detect extended signal within that band; there are a variety of options for this, any of which are likely to work."

Normal person: "obviously this is a big joke, since he doesn't have to prove to anyone that he's done anything more than set up a Twitter account."

Comment Re:Not defective by design (Score 1) 371

Two thoughts:
1) This is a great explanation of why bandwidth-constrained networks have limits and why a wireless/cable/DSL network can never really offer unlimited service.
2) I'm not sure if FiOS operates under such escalating cost structure. My understanding is that the capacity of the cable is ridiculous, and that it's only on the ends that you have to upgrade.

Comment Re:Do no evil? (Score 1) 336

Wrong end. When you're talking about something that needs to use a network to be useful, you've got to start at the network. The device is the LEAST important part. As long as the phone company gets to say what does or does not run on their network the devices will do what they need to meet those requirements.

It's kind of funny actually - Apple releases a closed phone but doesn't sick [sic] the lawyers on any of the hackers. Google releases an "open" phone but does sick [sic] the lawyers on the hackers.

First time I've ever been able to show the replacement word and the error notation in the same brackets.
-Grammar Nazi

Comment Congress mulls all sorts of crap, get over it (Score 1) 792

First, who spends the time digging through the Congressional Record for this kind of stuff? Congress considers thousands of ideas every year, from the brilliant (health care reform) to the idiotic (Bridges to Nowhere). Most are DOA. Second, this bill would establish a "pilot program" for alternatives to a fuel tax. What's the harm in trying out some different ideas? Third, check opencongress.org and you find that this bill has (OMGWTFBBQ!) been referred to three committees. What a scary threat to our rights!

Comment Re:nope, they follow government guidelines (Score 1) 419

If you read some of the other comments, you'll see that the problem is in the way medical devices are paid for. Right now, the government approves specific devices rather than providing a cost allowance (perhaps based on the most inexpensive option). I'm not sure why that is, but you can get some idea from the other comments ("I have ADHD, give me an iPhone"). Private insurers follow the lead. I think it's a bit inaccurate to say that a private, for-profit company provides cheaper health care, because here we're comparing Apples (iPhone) to Oranges (the regulated medical device industry). Apple does not make medical devices and their device's utility as a medical device is coincidental. Should medical device policy be changed? For sure, especially when the cost differential is so dramatic. But at the same time, this is not an issue of massive corruption, but of a well-intended policy gone sour.

Comment Re:Human Size Ants (Score 1) 512

Second, rectennas are stupidly efficient: 87%. We can barely get to 50% with solar. Furthermore, it's a lot cheaper to build a kilometer of rectenna than a kilometer of solar panels, and you can actually use the land underneath for something useful. And also unlike conventional solar, this thing would work all day and all night, every day of the year.

I think you might want to work your numbers some more. Even with all the amazing efficiency worked in, I'd imagine that a space launch of the solar panels, plus necessary systems for keeping them in stable orbit, will far outstrip the cost of doing earth-based solar PV panels.

Comment Re:The big question that must be answered (Score 1) 784

From a personal standpoint, I'm sorry you feel overtaxed.

From a political standpoint, I'd say the majority of Americans don't share that perspective, as we've elected a president and Congress who intend to invest in public goods like health care with your/my tax dollars.

From an informational standpoint, as a portion of GDP, total taxes in the U.S. are among the lowest of developed nations: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_tax_revenue_as_percentage_of_GDP

So, overall, I'd say you are on the losing side right now, and from the other side, I'd say it sounds a lot like whining.

Comment Re:10,000 is a lot of fridges... (Score 1) 217

God, you are so wrong it's sad.

In most of the electricity-consuming world, power usage peaks for just a few seconds on the hottest days, when air conditioners are running. It's so important to shave off just a small slice of demand at that time that utilities will pay you to participate in a program where they can switch off your A/C for up to 15 minutes. Xcel Energy's program in the U.S. is called Saver's Switch.

The reason behind these programs is that peaking electricity is so expensive, entire power plants are built just for those few seconds. A networked system of appliances would be a godsend to reducing total infrastructure costs.

Comment The actual details (Score 1) 918

The Democratic and Republican parties did submit the required papers by the deadline, but with blanks where the nominee names would be, since neither had been officially nominated. As soon as the conventions were over, both parties submitted amendments to their filings to fill in the names.

According to at least one source I found, this kind of amendment is legal in Pennsylvania (where it happened before), but may not be in Texas.

What's clear is that both major parties did make a good faith effort to comply with the law, but with the dates of the conventions, they were not able to.

So, who's at fault? Texas, for having too early a filing deadline? The major parties, for having late conventions?

I would argue that to take them off the ballot would be the fairest option, in principle, but in practice, it will merely create a major headache for election officials who would then have to tally millions of write-in votes for Obama and McCain.

Prediction: If the court even hears the complaint, they dismiss it because of the implications for the actual election.

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