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Comment It doesn't have to be a planet to be interesting (Score 1) 150

Most of the arguments for 102 extra planets in our solar system seem to be based on the public being excited about having a planet. I don't think it'd work that way. Having 110 planets would water the concept down. The problem is that an object is perceived as less interesting because of it, and that's not true at all.

There's nothing to stop a moon from being as large and complex as any planet. Ceres is categorized as a dwarf planet, and it's got surprising geology, even a chance of harboring water and life. The surface of comet 67P has proven to be amazingly interesting. Pluto didn't need planetary status to knock our socks off in 2015. We *are* going to find more rogue planets floating through space with no parent star that we can see. We are likely to find Planet 9 soon, and there's a chance it's not a planet which Jupiter and Saturn kicked out during our system's formation, but a captured exoplanet. These are all fascinating objects!

It's a question, though, of where they form, how they exist, what bodies they're interacting with. It makes no real sense to me for Europa and Ganymede to not be moons. Their primary gravitational attraction is to the planet they've formed around. That planet is something formed together with its parent star from the same disk, because of the gravitational eddies and changes that produced that star. They're all made from that system. That's what seems to be behind all the particular stipulations of what a planet is.

I'm okay with that!

Comment Re:Employment is not the goal (Score 5, Interesting) 364

That's because you're not liquidating hundreds of million's years worth of accumulated fossil fuel in a century or two. Even leaving alone all the side effects, that was a one-time bonanza. In the meantime, the efficiency of solar has, with a R&D budget that's miniscule in comparison with all that's gone into fossil fuels, has improved by leaps and bounds. http://www.electroschematics.c...

In fact, it's the cheapest form of energy in large swathes of the world already.

The real problem is that renewable energy does not conform to a centralized model of concentrated wealth accumulation, so wealthy special interests are blowing a lot of smoke in your ears about it.

Comment Re:Employment is not the goal (Score 1) 364

If you want your society to survive, you will make damn sure that there are enough jobs. Of course, if you are just in it for the short-term profits, then you have a point.

Ergo, if robots took all our jobs, we'd necessarily go extinct, because if all the productivity was taken care of, people who work would be meaningless, while the lives of people who "own" the robots their human employees built for them would still be very meaningful. Right.

Comment Re:That is *terrible* news (Score 1) 364

On one hand, you have to add the labor of installing the power generation on one side, and calculate it like solar power is generated by continuous installation. Then you've got to ignore the costs of old technology which pollutes, leaks, spills, blows up left and right, and you've got to ignore the costs of health care from exposure to it, because it's poor people who live where that happens most, so who cares? That's how this rhetoric works. Who pays for it?

Comment Re:Employment is not the goal (Score 4, Interesting) 364

One of the biggest reasons coal mining jobs are a memory is that the management long ago figured out how much cheaper it is to just hire a handful of people to plant explosives and blow up the whole damn mountain. Who's going to make them hire people to go down into some mines instead of leaving them sitting in a rotting Appalachian cottage drinking water tainted by the slurry? That's what it would take to try to force the clock back, and then, you burn the fuel, have the coal miner's lung, the health care costs, the mercury and lead pollution, and it's going to run out anyway because it takes hundreds of millions of years in a world where fungi haven't yet evolved to consume fallen wood to make all that coal.

But of course, we can keep talking about how inefficient it is to change up a new, rapidly improving technology that's actually beating coal on purely economic costs in more and more of the world.

Damn, remember when this site loved disruptive new technologies that mess with some suit's profit margins? What's the RIAA doing these days?

Comment Re:Full employment for .... (Score 3, Funny) 364

It would be a damn shame if we had to employ window washers. What about all this military we've got for fighting the next oil war? There's still some dictator ready to go rogue next to a major oilfield somewhere, right? What will Haliburton do if it can't pocket some of the trillions the government will spend to give Exxon a crack at another nation's resources? Where will Blackwater types be if not shooting up the locals? Where will we get all our refugees to blame for everything?

Shoot, if it's going to be solar panels and windmills and tidal power, how are you going to tell Johnny with a squeegee he can't have a prosthetic leg and Veteran's Health Authority healthcare?

Such a fine few people are making money off of all this, too!

Comment Been doing this for two years (Score 1) 250

The health issues of eating crap food often found near office locations and drinking out of a Keurig, the traffic snarls and their toll on time and energy and air quality, the need to focus on work without the bellowing of the frat-boy sales associates the next cubicle over really did it for me. I manage my own workspace to my own particular needs, and it makes an enormous difference. I took a pay cut to do it, but I don't self-medicate with remedies and expensive splurges. Work isn't disrupted if I need to work on a project out in the country. Life is far simpler and more flexible.

In order to pull this off, I needed to choose a wireless hotspot, I needed to adapt my systems so that updates made a minimal impact on my capped connections. Significant impressions from this - Windows 10 can die in a fire, Fedora 25 tweaked repository configurations and delta RPMs is rocking this crucial aspect of remote work. I got really good at making, backing up, and syncing virtual machines between my desktop, my work-issued laptop, my beater travel laptop, because when I'm remote my own competency to make a fully secured work-ready platform on time is far superior to any results of bugging the home office.

Comment What's missing (Score 1) 497

I wish this effort all the best, but I think we're going to find that life without stable ecosystems or a magnetosphere is not going to be easy. We take much for granted here on Earth, and though the technology may allow us to land some people there, I predict that living healthy lives with a stable local food supply is going to take a lot more than the rocket scientists are counting on. Biochemistry and ecology have vastly more complex open systems to deal with, but that's what we come from.

Better send automated manufacturing there and let the robots get some things right first before the colonists land.

Comment Re:THATS IT! (Score 1) 163

There's no reason we can't have a transparent, well-monitored paper ballot. With all the issues that have surfaced, I think that's our best option. The average poll-worker does not have the technical expertise to maintain security on a computerized system, and the real experts have demonstrated so many flaws in widely-used voting machines that they should be scuttled.

Comment Meanwhile, on my day-to-day workstation (Score 1) 515

Though I've tried other desktops, KDE 5 is what I keep coming back to. Sometimes Unity and Gnome feel more streamlined, but KDE's configurability is just too awesome. I can define keyboard shortcuts that apply across its applications. I can define not online virtual desktop screens but activities which affect the power usage profile. I can tailor window behavior, laptop lid, and network profiles with comfort. It's my working and browsing environment on a day-to-day basis and has been for years. I use it on top of Fedora and love it - other OS's are only for specialty uses like gaming and music/audio.

Somehow, the idea that it's not fashionable enough for a clickbait article seems just silly.

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