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Comment Re:Not so fast... (Score 1) 1088

You don't even need to get into specialized stuff.

If your computer operates at a pedestrian 2 GHz then 60 ns is 120 clock cycles. And it's not like we have a problem generating those frequencies.

GPS is nothing but measuring your position by detecting the differences in running time of a speed of light signal. Your unit has to be ridiculously bad nowadays to have a precision of 10m.

Yes the detectors are underground but in tunneling projects you nowadays expect deviations of less than 5cm. For the Gotthard Base Tunnel it was less than 2cm on 10km distance far underground.

Does this mean the measurements are correct? No, incompetence springs eternal. But to those people looking incredulously at the "ridiculous" precision required: Welcome to the world of tomorrow. Your cellphone could do that shit if it had a rangefinder.

Comment Re:Here's a thought you morons... (Score 1) 951

So you either have a pile of ribbons, and 6 lines of spreadsheet data

? How do you get a pile of ribbons?

or a dozen clicks to jump back and forth between ribbons

Which is exactly the same as a bunch of different menus. Use the shortcuts for the different tabs or even the functions themselves or put them in the toolbar.

It's even more fun if you're trying to use a function that you can't quite remember the name of, and have to hover over a million icons to find the right one.

Everything but the most basic text editing functions is labeled.

Comment Re:As a percentage of GDP? Are you kidding? (Score 1) 1239

Let's, just for the sake of argument, pretend for one moment that your charts make in any way sense. You clearly see that the debt starts to outpace the curve under Reagan, continues to do so under Bush I, and Clinton brings it back in line. This invalidates your original point that everyone increased it by the same percentage. Now back to the fundamental issues:

Bullshit 2.0.

Of course GDP matters. No matter how you index for inflation it's obvious that the US now can shoulder a debt that would have crushed the US a hundred years ago. There's 3 times the population and every American on average is far richer.

And your stupid chart doesn't even use inflation adjusted dollars which is funny because you sure sound like one of those gold standard nutjobs. It should be obvious that a 2010 $ is worth less than a 1930 $, so $1t now is less than $1t then.

Comment Re:or some basic railway safety like a working sig (Score 1) 184

All signals are black on high speed lines, the relevant clearances are transmitted to the trains directly.

Which brings me to the main problem: I know the Chinese use the European Train Control System and not something a few interns came up with during a coffee break. I can't imagine that the system doesn't default to having all trains come to a full stop, not to mention that the system still uses blocks and the second train should never have gotten the clearance for that block unless the first train had cleared the next one. (fully, both axle counters and the data bus on the train itself is used to confirm integrity. That wasn't an issue here, my point is that it requires an active confirmation so a blackout defaults to the safe state)

Oh well, their maglev also burned down after they had done some "inspections" on the electronics.

Comment Re:Read the writing on the wall (Score 1, Insightful) 226

The deficit is so large because the taxes are the lowest they've ever been since the 20s. There certainly is such a thing as too much taxes but there's also not enough. If you don't have any taxes at all the State will cease to exist and you get the equivalent of Somalia, the tea party people overlook that neither extremum of taxation produces an optimal result. It's especially funny because they're the same people who think fondly of the high tax eras like the 50s.

And yeah, when gas prices double in two years, we are going to bitch because my income has not increased to compensate. So, instead of taking my wife and child out to dinner a few times a month and giving my money to people who live near me, I have to give it to people who want to kill us all. BTW, that's another TEA Party platform; domestic energy production.

The solution would have been to increase the gas tax gradually over the last twenty years instead of leaving it unchanged since '93. The economy would have adjusted gradually as well (as it did elsewhere). And now that oil's back through the roof (how could anyone have known in the 80s that oil might become expensive? Madness, I say!) the relative increase would have been a lot smaller. In addition roads would be safer with less soccer moms in land battleships.

As for taxes, the Democratic plan is tax the rich that would otherwise invest the money into business that would hire people and to tax large corporations who will simply raise prices on their products that everyone purchases.

Companies charge what the market will bear as long as anti-trust laws are enforced.

Unless, of course, you are GE who owned a media empire friendly to the president. They didn't have to pay taxes.

Yes, the vast left wing conspiracy. The worst part is where Planned Parenthood in conjunction with NAMBLA ensnared Republicans to refuse the elimination of tax loopholes so it would look like they were in the pockets of big business.

Comment Re:So then. (Score 1) 452


Yes, powering Europe with solar plants in Tunisia and Libya. What could possibly go wrong (well, there's of course other countries like Algeria, that are also known for their boundless political stability). At least with oil we have a 90 day strategic reserve (currently 140 days to be precise).

And with 400 km^2 of CSP we can power the entire world.

You fail 5th grade math.

Comment Re:Your post translated and back again on Google (Score 1) 186

You should have posted the Japanese version. Japanese has a sentence structure and a way of expressing thoughts that are very different from how you'd put it in English. The result is just awful, it is so bad in fact that you turned off Kurzweil's singularity. 30 years of proselytizing and you just killed it; good job.


Yeah, every year, machine translation, is sandwiched between the Altavista BabelFish ... this is bleak for one to one conversion dictionary for translation basically hilariously bad (in many cases, without using the right definition of in), respectively.

A few years ago, Google will translate UN document (which is usually 5 + languagels) gave a big bump in the overall concept with such a reliable translation. It has got a lot of hiccups, a decent translation from the translation often reads from the bubble Babel often went to the distance so you know what you are if you put some thought into it.

Even I have been a lot of work and by the translator, because they get things right, I turned off the singularity in a way, actually I think. IMO, the end of this decade, machine translation is often enough (in fact, Google Translate and I need to start looking for clues in the context of more that 19 years away can not think) but it would be perfect does not exist, the language itself is not perfect. Look at the people to communicate one day, but it is not a strict protocol, misunderstandings may occur between the people all the time. But the machine when you get it wrong people instead of the nature of language itself, so badly that point.

Comment Re:Nuke power (Score 1) 483

Nuclear energy is quite cheap once the plant is up and running they can be run indefinitely with proper maintenance

But they shouldn't. Fukushima is part of the first wave of commercial reactors and they built to different standards then. I read the Fukushima style BWR had a core breach expectation of once every ten thousand years. There's a hundred reactors of that kind in the world so it's not even all that unexpected. A modern reactor has an expectation of up to once every 50 million years and I wouldn't even want those around indefinitely (all those probabilities are based on external factors within certain limits. In Fukushima the quake exceeded those by a factor of three).

We should be in the process of replacing all those early 70s reactors and should replace the replacements in the second half of the century (there are so many better options on the drawing board). The environmentalists have made new reactors ridiculously expensive (mainly because it takes forever to build. The opportunity costs kill you) but the power is needed and there's no real alternative consumers are willing to pay for.

Therefore we're left with the worst of both worlds. Instead of expensive but clean and "safe" ("safe" because expensive electricity has a major indirect impact) or "cheap" and safe (nukes are safer than anything in casualties per unit of power but you wouldn't wanna see insurance premiums at market rates) we have old nukes and coal.

Comment Relevant information (Score 1) 483

Here's the radiation information from the NNSA and Department of Energy which have cooperated with Japanese authorities on overflights and ground measurements. Slide 6 shows the Cesium levels which are probably the most relevant mid-term. Expect them to adjust the exclusion zone to cover anything green and up (and Iitate is right in the middle), although this being Japan they might just exchange the top soil of the outlying islands. I do wonder what they're gonna do in the 300,000-600,000 Bq/m^3 areas.

Comment Re:US freight rail is doing very well (Score 1) 426

Now imagine how great the US freight rail system would be if government didn't siphon off billions of $$$ each year while at the same time subsidizing trucks.

This is not Joe Crackpot speaking, the thing is this:

  1. The rail corporations have to maintain their tracks and pay property taxes on their rights of way. The US used to have a lot more double-tracked and electrified sections but because those are taxed heavier the companies ripped them out wherever possible. Even where it made economic sense if it wasn't for taxes. Now it's just barren strips of land next to the single track.
  2. Trucks don't have to pay property taxes for roads. But wait, don't they pay fuel taxes? Yes, but the average truck damages the road about 1000 more than a passenger car (the number is from the industry itself). In addition the gas tax doesn't pay for the roads. Most of the gas tax is generated on local roads that aren't covered by it and spent on highways. But even then the federal highway trust fund requires yearly bailouts and it's not much better in many states.

In short, Republicans should be all for addressing this anti-business outrage and Democrats should wanna hug a tree, but both are too craven to face the lobbyists.

Each passenger train uses up the track time of six freights.

That was basically the idea behind China's high speed lines. Separate freight and high-speed traffic. They got side-tracked by the usual Chinese gigantomania, but the basic plan is sound. The problem is that you can't construct a sensible *mass transport* system in the US because North Dakota (no masses to transport) hates the idea of subsidizing New York even though New York pays billions each year to North Dakota for all kinds of shit (Interstates, agriculture, whatever) but they never make the connection. So you need "high speed" trains in the heartland where no one rides them. Amtrak would be profitable, too, if it didn't have to service all 50 states.

Comment Re:Wonderful, just wonderful (Score 1) 415

They *are* in bed with big business. You should neither try to pretend that Democrats are actually good, nor that just because both parties are shit, the GOP can't be a whole lot worse than the Dems.

And I'm not a hardcore Dem. Imho Reagan was a good, perhaps even a great president. Republicans, WTF happened?

Comment Re:Wonderful, just wonderful (Score 4, Insightful) 415

Well, there's apparently enough difference that those "modern" Liberals voted against this fuck up in a 5:4 decision while the Conservatives thought it was only fair.

It was the same 5:4 for the money=free speech fuck up and you can bet your ass that corporations are gonna use billions of free speech to convince you that there's no difference between Libs and Cons.

Roberts+Alito always rule corporations>government>people, Thomas votes for whatever he thinks will piss off Democrats and Scalia goes by his conscience and strictly texturalist world view which, funny thing, just about always is the reactionary side. Kennedy is the "swing vote" but the swing is broken.

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