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Comment Re:USPS (Score 1) 64

Actually, it can be a sound business move.
Two words come to mind: vertical integration.

If they take over more components within the chain that makes their business possible, that can be a key cost reduction and allow them to compete even more fully.

The (likely?) mistake would be if they were to expand outside of their core business. In this particular example, if they were going to try and use this delivery mechanism for "more than just Amazon packages" and offer shipping options to competitors, they may expose themselves to greater chance of failure because, frankly, their core competency isn't "shipping."

Think of it this way: since FedEx/UPS are looking to make a profit, they must charge an amount that has parts X (actual costs for people, vehicles, equipment, etc. to deliver a package) plus Y (the amount to be profitable).

If the shipping is such a core part of Amazon's business (which it is), then eliminating the "Y" portion of the overall shipping costs in favor of absorbing the overhead of managing the X may boost their revenue significantly.

Given the volume they ship and how core that is to them being successful? I think it makes perfect sense for Amazon to consider eliminating the middle man and seek to deliver packages directly to their customers. The REAL question is: can they actually do it? Lots and lots and lots of logistics, planning, new systems, new solutions... plenty of opportunity to screw it up. But, IF they can manage it, then it can be a serious game-changer in Amazon's favor.

Comment Antarctic Bases Different (Score 4, Insightful) 452

Additionally you can read about the large amount of supplies that are required every year to keep the base going.

True but that is because nobody on an antarctic base spends their time trying to grow things (unless that is part of their science project). If you have everyone on the base dedicating all their time to growing food, finding resources, making repairs etc. you will probably need far fewer resources to support the base. This is impractical in Antarctica because it is cheaper to ship the food there than to support even more people living there who try to grow food themselves.

However I do agree that this proposal seems rather optimistic but the task is so amazingly hard that I expect that any Mars colonization mission will always appear overly optimistic until one actually succeeds.

Comment Re:Dishonest Arguments not Politics (Score 1) 654

There are literally tens of thousands of scientists that don't think it's warming.

Ok it should not be a problem to name some then should it? Please pick some that are in faculty positions at reputable universities though because when I have spoken with my colleagues over in geophysics and earth and atmospheric sciences not one of them has raised any doubts whatsoever that the mean temperature of the planet is increasing. There IS debate about the level mankind's contribution to the increase but absolutely no doubt whatsoever that the temperature is increasing....and before you go off the deep end about funding conspiracies etc. a lot of these people receive grants from the oil industry so if anything they would have a bias against global warming.

So apologies if I take the word of world experts in the field over a random guy on slashdot who has provided absolutely zero evidence to back up his claims. For example what evidence do you base your claim that only 4% of the world's CO2 is from humans? This plot shows a 25+% increase in the level since 1960. What natural process has caused such a rapid yet steady rise in CO2 over that period? I'm more than willing to keep an open mind about the causes but it seems very plausible that human CO2 emissions caused this increase and I've not heard of any natural process that could account for it. If you want to convince people you need to explain the data. Just stating what you believe and shouting at anyone who disagrees is not how science works.

Comment Re:Fiscally impossible (Score 1) 229

As for whether such a tube would be flexible enough to accommodate the two ends getting closer together or farther apart by three or four inches per year, though, I have my doubts.

Look up vacuum bellows tube. Obviously this would only provide a limited range of extension but it should be enough to last quite a few years given the length of pipe involved. Of course you would also have to scale them up which would undoubtedly produce some technical challenges but probably nothing unsurmountable if you have the money.

Comment Re:Aha, so here's the problem: (Score 2) 296

Well, YouTube and the record labels did figure this one out a while ago. They have various forms of advertising along with the content when it's served from YouTube, they're all getting some cut from it, and listeners are free to enjoy the music.

It's reasonable to claim that the ripping tools are undermining that, reducing YouTube usage by promoting illegal copyright infringement as an alternative, and that they are doing so on a commercial scale for profit. So the businesses who have the legal rights are suing, and I can't imagine any likely ending for this that doesn't involve an injunction and significant damages being awarded.

Comment Fiscally impossible (Score 1) 229

Air travel should be something that you do when you're crossing an ocean, because trains over water (and subduction zones) are physically impractical

Actually it is fiscally impractical, not physically impractical. You could physically build a vacuum tube-based maglev train where the tube is at some depth in the ocean to avoid surface issues and plate boundary problems. However the costs when people look at these things are utterly insane...but in theory it is physically practical to build such a thing.

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