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Comment Trade school (Score 1) 246

There's nothing wrong with running a trade school. But "associate of applied science in modern web development" is a bit much. Still, you can now get an "associate degree" in heating, ventilating, and air conditioning. No classes in thermodynamics, but training in useful skills including brazing, soldering, and plumbing.

Comment Re:Electric Bikes are Illegal in NYC. Kickstopped. (Score 1) 166

You can drive an electric moped in NYC. Probably cheaper than this thing, too. New York State recognizes three classes of scooters/mopeds (under 20MPH, 20-30MPH, and 30-40MPH top speed) plus motorcycles. The license requirements increase with the max speed. All have lights and turn signals, and a helmet is required.

With NYC's traffic density, this isn't unreasonable.

Comment Re:What a bunch of BS (Score 1) 166

The point is no one needed 3D printing for something so fucking obvious and simple it was made a hundred years ago.

Right. The parts should be banged out on an injection moulding machine. Even the little injection moulder at TechShop could make those parts at the rate of about one a minute. Production machines are far faster. You'd have to cut aluminum dies first, which takes hours on a CNC mill, but then you can bang out thousands of parts.

Really, though, you're paying for the battery. Batteries for electric bikes costs $500 to $2000.

Comment Ankles are lousy landing gear (Score 4, Interesting) 127

A big problem with jetpacks is that human ankles are weak landing gear. You can't do a parachute landing fall while wearing a jetpack; you have to do a standing landing. With all the mass of the gear on your back.

The other big problem is that rocket systems have a short flight time, and jet engine systems are too expensive. The jet engine powered backpack worked well, but cost too much. That used a small Williams jet engine. Williams International has tried and tried to make small jet engines cheaper. So have many others. Unfortunately, that's a very hard problem, which is why general aviation is still piston-powered. Below small-bizjet size, jet engines don't seem to get much cheaper as they get smaller. There was a big effort about a decade ago to develop "very light jets", but they ended up costing well over $1 million, most of that being engine cost.

So it can be done, and it has been done, but it just doesn't work very well.

Comment Re:Class definitions (Score 1) 794

Creation museum: customers tend to be poor, relatively uneducated, and don't understand basic science. Whole Foods: customers are almost exclusively well-off, expensively educated, and don't understand basic science.

I know. I sometimes go to Whole Foods for the rotisserie chicken, which is quite good, but that's about all I get there. The homeopathy boom is just silly. "Organic" is mostly an excuse for overpricing vegetables. The production cost differential is about 20% max. The retail cost differential is 50-100%.

Trader Joe's has equally good vegetables, nuts, grains, etc. without the Whole Foods ego trip, and with better prices.

Comment Why? (Score 2) 216

I don't see a big win here. It doesn't save that much labor. If it allowed using more small ships instead of giant ones, it might be worth something, but the economies of scale for post-Panamax container ships aren't really related to crew size.

Still, automated operations at ports have come a long way. Several big ports use big automated guided vehicles for container movement, and many container cranes are now fully automated. See this video for a modern port operation.

Comment No shortage of reactor-grade uranium (Score 1) 146

There's no shortage of reactor-grade uranium in the US. U.S. Enrichment is planning a bankruptcy due to lack of demand. URENCO's centrifuge plant in New Mexico is in full operation. New centrifuge plants are orders of magnitude cheaper to run than the old gaseous-diffusion plants like K-25 at Oak Ridge. They're also much smaller; K-25 had several mile-long buildings, while URENCO's plant is about the size of two Walmarts.

Comment Still no good water processing plant (Score 2) 157

TEPCO still doesn't have adequate water-processing capacity Fukushima. They installed three units of the "advanced liquid processing system" (which is basically a big ion-exchange resin water purifier) in 2012, and they are still not working reliably. Failures are occuring for dumb reasons: "TEPCO officials believe the cause of that problem was due to a failure to remove a rubber pad from the tank, leading to a blockage in the system." On another occasion, they had to shut down because a crane failed.

Toshiba has overall charge of the project. Why a major Japanese company is having so much trouble with routine industrial tasks is not clear. As a result of all these processing problems, Fukushima has far too much contaminated water in temporary storage.

The process won't remove tritium, but that, at least, has a decay life of only 12 years, and it's not concentrated by biological processes like strontium and cesium, so dumping tritum-contaminated water isn't too bad.)

Comment Offer spam (Score 2) 421

"You have been selected to receive our exclusive offer! For only $1500...!"

It's a commercial product. Soon (maybe already) anyone with the money will be able to buy one. Probably for less money.

If you want a Google Glass invite code, there are plenty of them on eBay, all with 0 bids. $8.99 or best offer is the going rate for Buy It Now.

Comment Google has a two-tier stock scheme (Score 1) 712

Google has two kinds of stock, A shares and B shares. A shares get one vote. B shares get 10 votes. The founders have all the B shares. Facebook has a similar setup.

The NYSE used to prohibit multiple kinds of stock for listed stocks, back when the NYSE had more clout. (The exception was Ford, which was grandfathered in. Ford has a two-tier stock scheme that has kept the Ford family in control for a century. That's why Ford didn't go bankrupt when GM and Chrysler did. A bankrupcy would erase that deal.) But the NYSE caved a few years ago. Now it's common with tech issuers.

Comment Mechanical Turk as a survey pool? (Score 2) 293

I'm a bit bothered by the use of Amazon's Mechanical Turk as a source of survey participants. That's by its nature a group of people with lots of free time and few marketable skills. That's a likely place to find trolls.

Slashdot's moderation system seem to do a good job of preventing trolling. I just hope the Dice management doesn't break it, in search of higher "social engagement" or something.

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