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Comment Re:Perpetual war (Score 1) 218

We have been cutting taxes for the past ten years. It has not worked.

First: The key is cutting SPENDING. As long as the government spends enormous amounts of money the value behind that money is sucked out of the public sector economy, depressing it, regardless of whether this is done by taxes, inflation, or borrowing. Spending has EXPLODED over the past ten years - especially with the "bailouts".

The different modes of ripping off the people hurt the economy in somewhat different ways, and some have greater "hurt multipliers" than others. But the value bled out of the economy to be squandered on non-producing (or under-producing) government projects sets a minimum level of damage.

Second: Most of the so-called "tax cuts" weren't. They were typically government giveaways administered through the IRS. To be a "tax cut" of the form that stimulates productivity it must be a cut in the RATE of tax on a FUTURE activity, and must be passed into law or regulation in time to influence the taxpayer to make a decision to perform the action that is now taxed less. Things like a lump sum given to each tax filer and passed into law after the taxpayer has already made all his economic decisions and done all his actions fails on both tests, no matter how many politicians call it a "tax cut".

Comment Sometimes old ideas suddenly become practical. (Score 1) 135

an old idea from decades ago when all manner of weird and quirky ideas was bandied about from solar panels in orbit many miles square beaming microwave energy back to a receiver on earth (except any living thing in its path would be fried!),

Except that:
  - Things wouldn't be fried, microwave-oven style, because microwave oven makers picked a frequency that is strongly absorbed by water (to heat food) while space-solar people picked on that passes through water very well (to not waste power heating clouds, birds, cows, ...). Intensity of the microwave heating would be about a tenth solar input - and birds in outdoor tests of such systems at realistic power levels mostly ignored them (except on cold nights when they huddled near the transmitting antennas)
  - This might have been practical even back in the '70s when it was first proposed - except NASA shot it down with high priced lift-to-orbit systems and an analysis with a fundamental error (turbine size) that made a specialized lift system look far too expensive.
  - Recent developments (privatization of space launches, improvements in the technology of photovoltaic collectors,power radio, and high-efficiency lasers for ground-based lift systems) have made the cost and price/performance equations better - by orders of magnitude. (See Keith Henson's recent papers on this.)

Which doesn't say squat about whether something similar may apply to the atmospheric vortex hack.

Comment Re:Unkown Lamer, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD! (Score 5, Interesting) 234

Dollars to doughnuts finansinspektionen will conclude that no one in sweden has done anything wrong...

Since Wikileaks has its headquarters in Sweden (specifically BECAUSE if its strong journalistic shield laws), and no doubt tried to collect the money there, one end of the transaction is under Sweedish banking law. No doubt some of their contributors are also making donations in Sweden, putting the entirety of those transactions under Swedish law.

Comment Re:Sweden doesn't have a judiciary? (Score 1) 234

Well, the legal grounds amount to some nice men in dark suits told Visa that since wikileaks were terrorists, they could possibly run into some unspecified trouble if they paid that money.


I thought it was "... be in violation of, and prosecuted under, the U.S. banking laws prohibiting transferring funds to recognized (i.e. on the government's public list) terrorist organizations."

Comment Re:goal was always for a $25 computer (Score 1) 125

Actually I'd like a model with Ethernet port ...

According to the referenced Wikipedia article, the new model A (one USB, no Ethernet) has the System-on-a-Chip (SoC)'s USB port go directly to the connector, while in the older model B (two USBs, one Ethernet) it went to a 1:3 hub and the hub drove two USB connectors and an onboard, dongle-style, USB-to-Ethernet chip and connector.

So plug in an external hub and an Ethernet dongle and you get the same functionality as the previous board. (You can also use a higher port-count and/or powered hub, more Ethernet dongles...)

and enough RAM

THAT's problematic.

but without graphics (that should save a lot of power, too).

So don't enable the graphics. B-)

(I don't know if you can switch off the clock and/or power feed to the graphics selectively. On the other hand, you should be able to leave out the frame display stuff and graphic software, recover most of the RAM allocated to it, and still use the GPU for crunch.)

Comment Re:That.... (Score 3, Interesting) 70

That... Is the stupidest name for a company/product i've heard in a long long time.

If you object to stupid-but-cute names, why are you on "Slashdot?" B-)

(I'd have a four-digit, or maybe even a three-digit, i.d. if I'd been able to figure out the URL when first told about the site over the phone.)

As for "solidoodle" I think the name is great. Mnemonic, descriptive, easy to pronounce, and not TOO hard to get the spelling right. Google search for "solid doodle" (without quotes) spelling-corrects it to solidoodle and finds the company site and discussions about it, too.

Comment ABS solid doodles are STRONG. (Score 4, Informative) 70

Saw a makerbot being demonstrated with black ABS plastic at a conference last month. The parts made with it were STRONG. (Replacement components of the print head had been manufactured this way.) Also a sample was being made with internal, hollow, completely enclosed and sealed, honeycomb cells, which made it very light without substantially reducing its strength or dimensional tolerances. Should be ideal for things you need to float. (Try building THAT without a 3-D printer: You'd need to bond two or more pieces together.)

I understand one of the problems with the makerbot that metal-frame follow-ons like this are trying to address is that the wooden frame flexes and changes size with relative humidity, making tolerances lower than they could be with a metal frame.

Does anyone know how well ABS works for lost-"wax"-casting originals? Or same question regarding other "hot-glue plastic wires" that could be fed through these machines?

Comment Wrong question. (Score 1) 2987

The only question is: how do we contain the amount of guns in circulation, and how do we contain the violence when a gun gets abused?

That's the wrong question(s).

The right question is "How do we reduce violence and murder, especially among those innocent victims who did not start the violence?"

By phrasing the questions as you did, you've made several false assumptions. Among them:
  - Reducing the guns "in circulation" will reduce violence.
  - Violence with-gun is all that matters. Violence with-axe, with-baseball-bat, with-car, with-fist, etc. is somehow just a creampuff-toss.

What if reducing the number of guns in private hands INCREASES violent victimization and increasing the number of guns out there REDUCES it?

If that is the case would you be willing to work to get more guns into the hands of people?

Comment That can work both ways. (Score 1) 735

... it'd be nice to see an agency, like the FCC did with antennas, step in and say "This is our jurisdiction, not yours."

Unfortunately, that can work both ways. On one hand it might make some technology accessible over local bureaucratic objections, everywhere in the country. On the other, it might make it INACCESSIBLE anywhere in the country. You can't fix it in your local area or move to another to escape the prohibition or draconian red tape.

Comment Re:The tao of the engineer (Score 1) 254

Sounds like my definition of a programmer:

A person with the special kind of lazyness that makes him prefer spending three hours setting a problem up right, once, than spending ten minutes doing it twice.

The program may not break even in time until the job has been done 36 times. But even when the job has been done twice the programming approach has already replaced five minutes of boredom with 175 minutes of satisfying fun.

Not to mention that, if done properly, it keeps doing things correctly rather than slipping up after a while.

Comment An issue with Navy funding. (Score 1) 143

One issue with Navy funding is that they embargo the results until after the review of the final report of each stage of the work. That means the workers can't talk about how things are doing and you get a short burst of news every year or two. B-b

Last I heard of the plan the next step after WB-8 (and maybe another small model with a different symmetry), if the scaling rules worked out in practice, was to be a beyond-breakeven proof-of-concept machine with 100 MW output, for about $200M - which, if it could run continuously for little ongoing cost, would be cheaper than a solar panel farm (which only gets about 5 hour-equivalents of the panel rating per day). I was hoping that the end-of-2012 news would be that WB-8 had worked as expected and they were going ahead with the real thing. So I was both elated and disappointed at the news that things seemed to be working as expected but that they were going to spend a couple more years doing engineering and science with WB-8.

Comment Correction: Only the second part is required. (Score 4, Informative) 768

Did a little checking: Actually a presidential candidate is not REQUIRED to put their money in a blind trust.

In principle Romney could have kept control and ordered his accountants to not use a tax haven.

The downside is that he'd be nuts to do so. In addition to the loss of money from such deliberate mismanagement, he'd be leaving himself open to legitimate attacks on any OTHER decision he made about the money, along withaccusations of conflict-of-interest when he makes political decisions. (Avoiding both conflicts of interest and the appearance of them is the whole point of blind trusts.)

Comment This was required by law. Really. (Score 5, Insightful) 768

Because where else would US politicians offshore their income? http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/2012/08/investigating-mitt-romney-offshore-accounts

I'm NO friend of Mitt Romney - to put it mildly. But let's not blame him for something that's not his doing.

1) Because Romney was running for president, US law REQUIRES he put his money in a blind trust.

2) Also under US law the trustee has a "fiduciary duty" to do his reasonable best to protect and grow Romney's money for him. That includes seeing to it that is not taxed substantially more than the law requires. If he can save, say, 40% of the trust's earnings from being taxed away by using a LEGAL tax haven in Bermuda, and trustees of such trusts are expected to know that, he is REQUIRED BY LAW to do so.

So let's not have cheap shots against politicians and financial managers who are only doing what the law REQUIRES them to do.

There are plenty of things politicians have done that we can LEGITIMATELY go after them about - which have zapped us to the tune of trillions of dollars - at $3,175.40 from EACH citizen for EACH trillion. Let's not the dilute the discussion, and give them something to use to discredit their critics, by flaming them over drops in the bucket that AREN'T THEIR FAULT.

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