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Comment Great until you fall out with the king (Score 4, Insightful) 297

Benevolent dictatorships are fine as long as you agree with the king/laird/CEO/ whatever.

Fall out with him and you'll lose your house, your job, and all those related to you might suffer. Rich people running islands is not a great long term plan. Ask the population of Eigg in Scotland, for example. All good until your nice rich person gets bored with his toy and neglects local services that people need, or sells it to a Bad Rich Person, etc.

I would have though US citizens, of all the places in the world, would have a historical perspective on what happens when uncaring kings run your country, and what the poor but honest citizens should do to resolve the lack of decision making power.

Very curious. Of course Ellison might be a lovely chap and improve the situation - it sounds like people do need improved services... but one man owning an island and having no accountability on his decision making power over people's homes and jobs, this makes me nervous... it's not like the people living here can change employers or move down the road if they are unhappy, it's an island. I'd be interested to hear his thoughts about the democratic processes, how the local people have the option to veto his decisions if they disagree, and so forth.

If he's really in it for the long term, wouldn't it make more sense to go for independence from the USA and ask the people to elect him as their President?

Comment Housebuilding is already open source: chokepoints. (Score 4, Insightful) 96

The website notes the project is in its early stages. So it's either in "ideas debating" mode or "vapourware" if you want to be less generous.

House building is already open source: all the information is out there in your local public library / on the internet. Nothing is closed to you in the way that you can't look inside some proprietary software to understand what's going on. If you have the time, you can read up on everything from applying for the legal permissions to put up a house, designing a building, and all the way through to finding out how to dig trenches, run electric cables and paint walls. Nothing is closed from you (certainly in the majority of countries in the world).

There are choke points: the expense of hiring architects, specialised builders, legal advisors. None of these are closed to you. What you are doing is saving the years it takes to learn these trades and paying somebody else to do these tasks because its quicker, so more efficient for you in energy terms. There is a small but consistently strong movement in many countries of people who already build their own homes, where they have made the choice to give up their jobs as computer programmers/nurses/rangers/whatever and spend several hundred hours digging trenches, laying brickwork, drawing architectural diagrams etc. It's already open source.

I think what these people might be doing is trying to shortcut the architectural expert choke point and break architects' hold on construction. But at the end of the day if you want a self build house, you're still going to have to go up a ladder and move heavy things around a lot and deal with construction elements that need careful attention, like mains electricity, water piping and gas.

Comment More like marketing: "Over 48 hours!" (Score 1) 72

The odd minutes may add up but I suspect it sounds better in marketing-speak: "Over 48 hours!" sounds more impressive than "48 hours 1 minute" or "2 days" perhaps?

Plus as somebody else had noted maybe there's a government contract which specifies money will be given if a prototype can be shown to run for at least 48 hours. Over 48 hours? 48 hours 1 minute, send us the money!.

Comment Priorities...you has your money and chooses... (Score 1) 130

"Funny how broke-ass Russia can afford to spend 50B next year ..."
Priorities... you have your national budget and you decide how you want to spend it. Most people think their government should spend more on X (the thing they are passionate about) and less on Y (the thing they don't care about). I guess you have to decide how to slice up the cake.

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