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Comment Re:Just stop it! (Score 2) 344

In general, you are right but it is not so simple. You have to factor in a lot of things like maintenance, property taxes, liability into the picture before you decide whether it is better to rent or buy. One big things people forget about is the transaction cost of buying and selling. This can be a significant portion of your cash outlays. Say you put a down payment of $20,000 on a $200,000 house. Brokerage and closing costs can be around $15,000 or higher. If you don't intend to live in a house more than a few years youmay just be better off renting.

Comment Slashdot Story Misses the More Exciting Point (Score 5, Informative) 197

This grew out of a system to see around corners. The professor wanted to build a camera that could analyze the path of reflected light to get pictures around ninety degree angles. This is a really amazing concept, moreso than simply getting a camera to take ever increasingly fast pictures.

if you are interested in learning more and have a lecture's worth of time on your hand, please check one out here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aKu20y1f_RU

Comment Habitable Planets (Score 5, Interesting) 257

Many of you may already be aware of this, but it is likely that going forward we will find these "goldilocks" planets with more regularity. Kepler luanched in 2009 with first observations in Jan 2010 and discovers planets using the transit method. Basically, a planet blocks part of its home star's light, and sensitive instruments can pick up on this difference in light. Two transits create a pattern to follow up on, the third transit is considered confirmation of the existence of a plant. So almost 3 earth years of observations means finally being able to detect planets with year long orbits (slight error in logic, depending on when you catch the planet in the act...)

So we are getting to the point where the data should start pouring in on planets more similar to our own. In another 12 months, I would expect to see hundreds if not thousands of planets similar to our own. That is when I think things get interesting. Say we find only 100 "habitable" planets... follow-up observations should give us an idea about the existence or nonexistence of life. Is it common? Is it uncommon? Are we just one of millions of life bearing planets? Are we an outlier? The mind boggles at what we will learn.

This is an interesting time to be alive :)

Comment Re:People are not the largest cost of doing busine (Score 1) 87

Based on the figures you provide, taxes are still somewhat higher or about the same as the 50's as a percent of GDP. This supports the fact that although there were high marginal tax rates that there were significant tax loopholes to avoid these rates. As recently as the 70s, there were ways to get writeoffs higher than the amount of money spent. In the 80s, almost all of those loopholes were shut down. So, it is not accurate to compare tax rates of today with those of 60 years ago.

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