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Comment Re:this is amazing (Score 1) 141

the growth culture contains things required for the transcription that aren't encoded in the organisms dna?
that would be less scary and interesting.

Unless they additionally added genetic code to produce the extra amino acid (which I don't believe we'd currently be able to, but then, I'm no geneticist), from my understanding that's exactly what they did.

Comment Re:Even a Tea Party can be right occsionally (Score 1) 419

Transferring copyright for example to GNU [gnu.org] is mandatory when contributing, gives the project the flexibility to relicense in case an upgrade is in order (like GPLv2->GPLv3) and avoids having to hunt down all individual contributors in case a change in license is required.

However the copyright transfer contract you sign with GNU explicitly restricts GNU from relicensing to non-free licenses. Does the Canonical contract also guarantee that?

Comment Re:Lost wages? What about back pay? (Score 1) 767

I've got some friends who work for the Fed and they loved the shutdown because they a) didn't have to go to work, b) weren't using up vacation days and c) were guaranteed backpay for the days the gov't was shutdown.

Then, frankly, your friends are either lucky (in that they had no bills to pay with the paycheck they didn't get), or they're stupid.
 
My friends who work for the fed (most of whom were barely recovered from the furloughs over the summer wiping out their savings) hated the shutdown. Many had to work anyhow, and are uncertain when they'll get paid for the shutdown. (The last time this happened, it took five years for some to get paid.) In the meantime, working or not, mortgages and car payments came due, groceries still had to be put on the table, utility bills still came due... etc... etc... The couple next door, between the both of them and the shutdown and the furloughs will have lost nine weeks of pay (presuming, is as likely, they don't get paid for the shutdown anytime soon) - almost a ten percent pay cut.
 
And pretty much all the federal employees I know are talking about cutting their budget to the bone to save money for a potential showdown/slowdown/shutdown in January. Between that, and furloughs over the summer, and the lost business over the last two weeks... the secondary effects on my county (where the Fed is the largest employer by far) are seriously approaching disastrous. The business my wife works at has (as of today, and she's the CFO and knows to the penny) seen a 15% drop over the course of 2013 - on top of not having completely recovered from the recession.

Comment Re:Really? (Score 1) 767

If we'd have left [the terrorists in Afghanistan] there and did absolutely not one damn thing to try and stop/kill them, well, how much did 9/11 cost the economy?

Quite a bit, actually. Took out a lot of infrastructure (including a major telecommunications hub and a number of business headquarters with all their personnel).

Then there was the cost of the reaction. For starters it stopped air traffic for days, and led to the creation of Homeland Security and all its costs - both direct and indirect (such as the large number of people who now drive rather than submit to the airport security theater.)

But I agree it was far less than the cost of the war that followed.

If someone walks in and shoots the party planning committee, how much does the next party cost the company? Trick question, there isn't one. Same with terrorists.

Actually, not the same with terrorists. Look up the term "blowback". Terrorists are hydras: Killing them tends to make martyrs, leading to the recruiting of more new terrorists than were killed

  It also leads to diversification: The longer the tit-for-tat goes on, the less centralized and connected, the more independent and self-sufficient, the factions of the opposition become.

9/11 itself (along with his previous shot at the Twin Towers) was, according to Bin Laden, retaliation for the US bombing of a similar tower on his side of the world.

Comment Re:Solar panels (Score 2) 178

Wouldn't this work well with some kind of solar panel technology that charges the panels. You would never have to plug it in.

Only if you drive it no more than an hour a month.

A horsepower is almost exactly 3/4 kilowatt. A square yard gets about a kilowatt of raw sunshine at high noon. Factor in the efficiency of the solar panel, battery storage, and motor control and you're lucky to get a fifth of that. Call it a quarter-horse for each square yard of cross-secton as seen by the sun, if you're parked in the open on a clear day. A good, sunny, location might get five "solar hours" - equivalent of five hours of noontime sun - per day. So call it a tad over a horsepower hour per day.

Crusing at highway speed takes maybe 18 horsepower. (Acceleration much more, but only for a short time - but then you lose much of it with breaking - even regenerative breaking that scavenges some of it. So stop-and-go driving is substantially lower mileage than highway.)

Remember the intro to "The Jetsons", where George hits the button on his flying commuter car and it folds up into a briefcase? You need a car that does the opposite: Spread out over a half-acre when you park it. But your company probably won't want you to use that many parking spaces...

So you plug in your electric car, move to the planet Mercury, or wait for Mr Fusion to get cheap.

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