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Comment Re:Lottery? (Score 1) 111

You win the lottery, you have the right to dispose of one moon trip. If you are physically unable to go, you can sell it or give it away. In fact, the Dragon can hold more than two people (up to 7), the private customers should spec the mission for 3 people and sell raffle tickets for the third seat to defray expenses.

Comment Re:Elon Musk is Delos D. Harriman (Score 2) 111

Basically, billionaires that feel old enough that they're willing to risk dying on an insufficiently tested space vehicle.

But also young enough that they can stand the rigors of launch and spaceflight. Seems like a fairly narrow window. Of course, all this presupposes that the Falcon Heavy will actually fly on schedule and that they fly all the missions on the books before this one. Hmmm, Elon is right in that window, I think this is going to be exactly like D.D. Harriman, right before the flight Elon will say "One of the mysterious passengers is me!" and his board of directors at Telsa will sue to stop him from going.

Comment Re:we can't even be bothered to get that right.... (Score 1) 111

This is what they are trying to do, according to the quote from this space.com article:

"This would be a long loop around the moon It would skim the surface of the moon, go quite a bit further out into deep space and then loop back to Earth," Musk said during the teleconference. "So I'm guessing, distance-wise, maybe [300,000] or 400,000 miles [about 500,000 to 650,000 kilometers]."

If they do this, they will go down in the history books as the farthest people from the earth, I can see how a billionaire might be attracted to that.

Comment Re:Elon Musk is Delos D. Harriman (Score 1) 111

Yeah, Elon is double-D but who are the mysterious customers? Since a Falcon Heavy launch is going to cost them about $100 million ($50 million each for 2 passengers) it has got to be a fairly short list of people who can afford it. I couldn't see a rich guy spending more than 5% of his fortune on a week long ride so we're talking billionaire or better.

Comment Re:I am so sorry for him (Score 1) 508

Let's say he lives frugally and can live life on $2,000 a month

$2k per month is frugal?

That $3,000 a month might not even be a super nice place in a good neighborhood, either

Not everyone can live in a "super nice place" in an area that has continual high demand.

That's five years of frugal living, no car,

No car? If he doesn't have a car what the hell is this frugal guy spending $2k per month on? Food and clothes cost about the same as everywhere else, eating out is a little more expensive. Cars are about the same cost in California as everywhere else and insurance and taxes are only slightly higher than the national average. If most of the country can afford a car on their paltry wages why can't our guy with $2000 per month in discretionary cash?

Comment Re:Unjust (Score 1) 192

Yes, if you are looking at the 1% by income. However, the biggest issue isn't income inequality, it's wealth inequality. To be in the top 1% in wealth you need around $8 million in assets. Very few Silicon Valley engineers or Boston lawyers have that kind of kitty.

The issue with wealth inequality is that money makes even more money and so the bulk of money made tends to flow to the people who already have the money and so they end up with more and more of it while there are fewer and fewer dollars available to labor. This has been a bug in capitalism from the start but so far we have largely worked around it with progressive income taxes and inheritance taxes. However, as automation and AI make labor less relevant to production, more production ends up going to capital and less to labor. When it gets to the point that automation completely obviates the need for human labor, those that have capital and up to now have been accruing most of the gains will now own everything and those that only provide labor to the economic system will have nothing and have no means of making any money. Unless something fundamentally changes about the economic systems in the west this is going to be the endgame for most countries, a small number of people will own all the means of production and have all the power.

People like to think when it comes to this point the poor and disenfranchised will just rise up and do away with the rich like in the French revolution, but in an automated society this might not be possible. In the past, the armies that protect the rich were hard to manage because during a revolution they are more likely to identify with the poor people and the army might quickly turn on their paymasters. If production is fully automated you better believe the people who own it all will have vast killbot armies to protect their investment. It's one thing for the mob to go against an army that they might sway to their side, it's another to fight against a horde of machines. If any uprising were attempted a lot of people from the mob would die but nobody from the rich would die, just their robots - whose replacements are continually rolling off the assembly line.

We're approaching a tipping point past which the ultra-rich will control enough capital and have enough influence on the government that this scenario is almost guaranteed. We might already be past this point, the top 1% already have 40% of the wealth in the US and have tremendous influence over the government.

Comment Re:Yeah, with a fucking asterisk (Score 1) 170

Relax dude, most human beings understand that if the company they get insurance from stops existing, they no longer have insurance from that company.

Ummm, no!

In most civilized countries, you can't sell insurance without being regulated. Govt regulations require that insurers have adequate reserves to pay out their insurance claims. Insurers have to reasonably invest the premiums to get an adequate return.

Otherwise people will buy insurance and the companies will quickly go out of business leaving customers high & dry.

Yeah, just like AIG, which was regulated so well they needed the largest government bailout in US history.

Comment Re:scare mongering getting old (Score 1) 77

Not sure what you want me to look at on the Wikipedia article was it this?
However, there have been instances where multiple individuals have been inadvertently assigned the same Social Security number

The reference actually only mentions a single instance of this happening, not multiple as the Wikipedia article says. Yes, that was a case of two people being assigned the same number. However, they also had the same name and same birthday, so your assertion that the federal government uses a combination of SSN and birthdate wouldn't do anything in that instance.

The second and third citation you provided are just the hysterical news stories brought on by the ID Analytics (LifeLock) study that I already mentioned. That study found nothing about people being issued duplicate numbers or that SSNs are not unique. None of the citations show any support for what you said:

SSNs are not unique. Many people share SSNs with other people that they have never met, and may not even be aware of. What is unique is the SSN+DOB combination. That is why any government form that asks for your SSN, will also ask for your DOB.

You've shown that there is at least one instance where two people were issued the same number (which was fixed), but shown no evidence that SSNs are not unique or that the purpose of the government asking for your DOB is that they use a DOB+SSN combination. The government doesn't (knowingly) issue the same number to multiple people. You claim "many people share SSNs" but that's not the case. That's like saying "many people share credit card numbers" because sometimes people use other people's credit card numbers for fraud. It's just not accurate.

Comment Re:shared knowledge (Score 1) 77

Then congress should quit trying to do their social engineering through the tax code and remove all those deductions, the only thing I can see there that would require any input from the taxpayer is "received money from a friend/relative" and I'll guarantee 99% of such transactions go unreported anyway. If congress wants to encourage having children, or home ownership, or having solar panels, or being a blind railroad worker, let them make a direct appropriation and send checks to the people who they decide instead of lumping everything into the tax code. Of course, they don't want to do this as their handouts to their cronies will be more apparent.

Comment Re:scare mongering getting old (Score 1) 77

Actually, it is not. SSNs are not unique. Many people share SSNs with other people that they have never met, and may not even be aware of. What is unique is the SSN+DOB combination. That is why any government form that asks for your SSN, will also ask for your DOB.

Citation needed. The SSA does not re-issue numbers. So far, it has issued 450 million out of about 1 billion numbers, but it hasn't issued any duplicates (although some people have been issued more than one). There were some news reports a while ago about a company that did analysis on databases they had access to and found that some numbers were associated with more than one name, but those were just examples of identity theft or clerical errors. Of course, the media immediately trumpeted "ZOMG other people share your SSN!" and did the usual scaremongering. Is that what you were remembering?

Comment Re:We need anti-aging research (Score 1) 138

That's like saying, "I have this lump of charcoal, it's the exact same as this diamond because they are made of the same kind of atoms". When you are talking about structured matter, the arrangement of atoms matter. In humans you get cell aging, which makes genetic errors more likely as well as more macroscopic stuff like cartilage and ligaments wearing out. The human body doesn't regenerate certain kinds of tissue and often creates tissue that doesn't do the job as good as the original tissue where damage has occurred (scar tissue). There are a ton of different effects under the "aging" classification but they add up to a body that just doesn't work as well as when it was younger, just like an old car that has aged.

Comment Re: Yup (Score 3, Insightful) 514

Did you even read the articles you linked? Some of the "facts" you state are directly refuted in the article. For example you wrote:

3. Anthony Johnson's first slave, John Casor, and most of the others he ended up owning, were white.

But the article you linked says:

In 1653, John Casor, a black indentured servant

Anthony Johnson himself was an indentured servant, just like John Casor, the only difference was that Casor was determined to have a lifetime indenture rather than a limited time like Johnson. A huge number of early colonists were in the US as indentured servants, they just didn't have the capital to move across an ocean and set themselves up without indenturing themselves.

5. Jefferson could not free his slaves as under the laws of the time, he would have been hanged.

Citation needed. You are claiming manumission in Virginia was a capital crime? Sounds like massive bullshit. Reading the Wikipedia article on manumission it specifically mentions laws being passed in Virginia to explicitly allow manumission, exactly what timeframe are you claiming it was a capital crime? Virginia did pass a law requiring a person to get the permission of the government to free a slave in 1723, but that was repealed in 1782:

The new government of Virginia repealed these laws in 1782 and declared freedom for slaves who had fought for the Colonies in the American Revolutionary War. The 1782 laws also permitted masters to free their slaves on their own accord

Heck, he could have freed them even earlier than that, since the 1723 law required permission from the Governor and from 1779-1780 he was the Governor.

4. Thomas Jefferson, the most-oft cited slave-owning Founder, never bought nor sold a single slave. He inherited them from his in-laws

Not completely true, he first inherited 52 slaves from his father, in 1767. He didn't inherit slaves from his in-laws until 1773. Also, Jefferson did free some of his slaves in his lifetime, from this page

In 1794 and 1796, Jefferson manumitted by deed two of his male slaves; they had been trained and were qualified to hold employment.

I'm not even going to bother with the rest of your claims, are you just making this shit up or do you have an actual source for any of your assertions?

Comment Re: Great idea... But there is a problem... (Score 1) 303

Work in LEO is expensive because everything requires consumables that must be launched (humans in particular). Work on the moon is vastly moreso because it requires vastly more delta-V to get there.

This is incorrect, going to the moon does not require vastly more delta-V than getting to LEO. Once you are in earth orbit it's not that much more delta-V to get to the moon. Here is a chart with the Apollo fuel budget, it looks like trans-lunar injection is about 3000 m/s. Getting to LEO is generally 9000-10000 m/s. Even with injection, lunar orbit insertion, and landing you still are only looking at about 6000 m/s. Your point is still totally valid, it's a lot cheaper to launch an interplanetary ship from the ground and assemble it in LEO than it would be to try to make the moon capable of supplying fuel or parts, I just wanted to pick a nit at that statement.

Comment Re:How is that supposed to happen? (Score 3, Interesting) 388

But the problem is that with the current economic system a small number of people take most of the cake and put it in their cake vault, the workers get enough cake to survive on and some people get no cake at all. If robots can replace all the current workers then why would the owners of the robots give away any of their large stash of cake when they don't have to?

If the cake is large enough to feed everyone why are we making more cake? Just so the cake hoarders can put even more cake in their vaults?

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