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Comment Re:Maybe Opposite (Score 1) 264

Suppose a twenty year old has no cell phone and no computer and never goes online. To a smart law enforcement agency they would take a look at that person. That person is off the bell curve of normal behavior. It could be that the person is severely handicapped or has some rational reason for being out of step with the world but more likely or not they are trying to be invisible. I'll bet all kinds of criminals could be caught by simply examining eccentric ways of life of individuals.


But in the U.S., that's not how it works.

We have this thing called the Fourth Amendment that has been interpreted to mean that I have the right to be off the bell curve and live in eccentric ways without federal, state, or local scrutiny. The exception is when authorities provide probable cause that I have committed a crime or that there is evidence of a crime present in the place to be searched.

Just being different really isn't probable cause that a crime is being committed.

And of course I'm not naïve enough to think that's the way it always works in practice. But that's the standard that we, as citizens, are charged with vigilantly supporting.

Comment Fishery Observer Program in the Bering Sea (Score 1) 228

NOAA runs the National Observer Program that puts Fisheries observers on commercial fishing vessels at sea. Being an observer on ships in the Pacific Northwest was, for me, an amazing education in applied biology.

It also pays you a salary while you don't need to pay rent (you're on a ship). I'm specifically recommending Pacific Northwest because it's an amazing piece of ocean to spend some time in: you train in Seattle, fly to Alaska, then get on a ship where it can snow on you in July.

You'll have some good stories when you get back.

Comment Homeowner's (renter's) insurance (Score 2, Insightful) 825


Any security system, starting with a locked door, is simply a polite request to have your things left alone. Someone who chooses not to will not.

If you're techie enough to have real data (including music, etc.), then make sure you have daily offsite backup. The hardware is trivial to replace (given money), but getting your information back requires an offsite backup.

Anything else and you're basically wasting your time.

Comment Re:Microsoft did destroy one great tool (Score 1) 326

Yes. Microsoft Expression Media was a damned good product (no thanks to MS: the product barely changed after MS bought it, so I can't agree the MS destroyed it). We have no idea what will happen with the new owners, but it's definitely worth trying out:

Comment Re:Your awfully short sighted. (Score 1) 55

You will want to Google "saturation diving". After a day at 65 feet you do not come to the surface without extensive decompression or you'll be very very ill/dead.

In Aquarius, the drill is that you are essentially cave-diving -- you can't come up if things go wrong. You swim with redundant equipment, there are air "shelters" available at depth for emergencies. The surface is not your friend after the first day.

And NASA has been doing exactly this kind of astronaut training with Aquarius for, oh, about 10 years (why this is a news story today is unclear). Apparently their experience is that it is a good use of training time and money. It's actually fairly cheap: very roughly US$10,000/day to run (yes, that is cheap on the scale of major agency expenses).

Comment Aquarius habitat has been doing this for decades (Score 1) 122

It's very peculiar that nowhere in the discussion here or Chamberland's video does anyone mention NOAA's Aquarius habitat, in operation since 1988: . Aquarius has been in operation as a civilian research station underwater off Key Largo for years. Before that it was in the Virgin Islands. It is operated by NOAA (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) for marine biology research and NASA training. It's an amazing place where researchers get to do 10-day research projects that would be difficult or impossible to run from the surface.

But what's not mentioned by Chamberland or anyone involved in his little promo piece is that living underwater is grueling. You're in a single-wide trailer equivalent with multiple other people. Going outside is wonderfully liberating, but y'know, it's cold. Even in Florida, once you've been in the water for a few hours, you're cold. Then you do it again. And again. It's humid and pretty much everyone gets skin problems after a few days.

And you can't come up. You've saturated to 55-foot depth after a day, so you'd get the bends if you surfaced. So all your diving is done with cave-diving rigs that are designed for diving where there's no surface to go to. If you get in trouble, you have to get back to the habitat, not the surface. Oh, you'd probably survive if you had to surface, but it wouldn't be healthy or pretty. At the end of the 10-day mission it takes 18 hours to decompress to surface pressure.

That said, it is really truly astounding to live underwater for a while. Looking out through the window at dinner at the fish, and realizing that they're looking at you: you're the one in the aquarium. It's a trip.

But it's an incredibly resource-intensive thing to do. Rough estimates I recall from my Aquarius trips were that it cost about US$10,000 per day to support four researchers in the habitat. That's not sustainable for daily life.

As far as I can tell, Dennis Chamberland wants to set up some sort of high-end hotel-like underwater facility. More power to him. But don't pretend that we're all going to have the chance to go live under the ocean.

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