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Comment Out of touch (Score 1) 611

As others are saying, don't live in the Bay Area if you can't afford it.

So when are you planning to start paying all the people that have to work in the Bay Area salaries high enough to live there? You know like restaurant workers, garbage collectors, police and fire, school teachers, etc. Or did you just arrogantly forget about them and assume they should spend their every free hour commuting from somewhere near Nevada?

But, if you want housing that's affordable and not too far away, it's not impossible...There's the whole Central Valley within driving distance of the Bay Area. Sure, a 1-2 hour commute isn't ideal,

So you are saying there isn't affordable housing within a reasonable distance. Spending 4 hours per day in a car "isn't ideal"? That's one way to put it if you are incredibly out of touch with reality. Your salary had better WELL into six figures to justify spending that much of your life commuting. Any commute longer than an hour is just evidence of an incredibly broken and unfair urban planning system.

Comment Don't forget about your government spending (Score 1) 611

Even in the Bay area, I can feed an individual human pretty decently for under $100/month

You can feed a person for that much. "Decently"? I would dispute that. They aren't going to starve if that's what you are saying but it won't be an ideal sort of diet.

Vegetables are universally-expensive--even frozen--although I don't put much stock in vegetables; I put more vegetables in stock.

Maybe if you get them at Whole Foods. Vegetables can be very economical if one bothers to shop carefully. Better yet you can even grow them yourself with some effort and seeds are incredibly cheap if you are willing/able to trade some time and effort tending them.

and we spend an utter assload (about 40%) on entertainment, luxury, and other discretionary spending, versus about 25% in the 50s.

Don't forget about the $2000 EVERY person in America (on average) pays to have a ludicrously oversized military, the $750 every person pays for interest on our national debt, the $1500 or so the government "borrows" from you from you every year to fund our government (none of which is in any danger of being paid back - and yes most US debt is borrowed from US citizens, not China) thanks to certain groups being unwilling to raise taxes to cover the bill, the $3000 that goes to social security, and another $3000 or so that goes to Medicare/Medicaid. Oh and those safety net programs the conservatives hate so much? They cost around $1000 per person every year per person - curiously barely more than the interest on the debt we pay every year to finance their aversion to taxes. Total those up and it works out to around $11-12,000 for every man, woman and child in the US on average (with a population of just over 300million). Pretty close to the total gross annual earnings of someone making minimum wage.

And in case you were wondering, NASA costs each of us approximately $60/year.

Comment Re: Rockets are too expensive (Score 1) 326

I think we were thrown off point by AC, who doesn't seem to grasp that physical systems can be described in alternative reference frames.

I think he is trying to say that there is no such thing as a geostationary orbit, because satellites in that orbit are actually tracing out a circular (or even more pedantically, spiral) path.

I believe the responder was trying to point out, using the example of a rocket ship travelling to geosynchronous orbit, that "stationary" is a kind trick of perspective when viewed from the frame of fixed stars.

Of course in the rotating frame of where we happen to be sitting on the Earth geostationary satellites are indeed actually stationary.

Comment Re: Rockets are too expensive (Score 1) 326

geosynchronous satellites: when the sun circulates over the north pole and it causes the satellite to exhibit the figure 8 orbit

geostationary : are fixed (fiction) stations , allegedly ground based

That is the most garbled explanation I've ever heard of geosynchronous orbits.

A geosynchronous orbit is one with a period that exactly matches the Earth's rate of rotation.

Geostationary orbits are a special case of geosynchronous orbits where the angle inclination of the orbit to the Earth's equator is zero.

So: a satellite in a geosynchronous orbit that is also geostationary appears to continually hover 22,236 miles above some point on the Earth's equator. If it is in a geosynchronous orbit that is not geostationary, it will appear from the earth to drift north and south of the celestial equator, tracing a figure 8 against the background stars over the course of one Earth rotation.

Of course in both cases the satellite would actually be following an elliptical (in fact almost perfectly circular) path around the Earth. The "stationary" or "figure 8" thing is simply a trick of perspective -- the way car in the next lane traveling at the same speed appears not to be moving.

Yeah, most of you knew all that. But insofar as there's an explanation here, it oughtn't be gibberish.

Comment Re:Poor on $100k? Sure (Score 1) 611

People can adapt to just about anything. If you live in a ditch, then a shack feels like a mansion. If the people around you live in mansions, a perfectly serviceable house seems like a shack.

It's the Red Queen's race:

"Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!"

And once you've adapted to running twice as fast, you'll have to run twice as fast yet again to feel like you're progressing.

That's why I say the most important thing in your profession, once you have achieved enough income to live modestly and set a little aside for the future, is to find work that is in itself rewarding.

Comment Be careful generalizing (Score 3, Insightful) 211

IQ is like height in basketball. The best basketball players aren't the tallest people in the world but they are all taller than average.

A very good analogy.

two people with high IQ will out-perform a single person of super high-IQ.

That statement is task dependent. For some tasks it is true and for others not so much. There also are failure modes that multiple people are subject to that an individual is not. Much like your previous statement, crowds often are smarter than individuals but not universally so in all cases.

Also, there have been lots of data collected on IQs and success.

That is contingent on what you define as "success". I'm familiar with some of the studies you are probably referring to but be careful with such generalizations.

Comment Not a slippery slope (Score 1) 83

Yeah, everything can be used for good or evil including snooping, but capitalism and greed often shift that equation in the direction of evil.

If nobody bothers to put up a fight then yes. But the evil that corporations do can be overcome. One only has to look at the number of regulations we have to see evidence that we can limit corporations. Corporations can be muzzled if enough people bother to care.

Google even mentioned the fact in their early days (do no evil). Then they started full scale snooping.

"Do no evil" was marketing from day one. Anyone who didn't realize that was either naive or an idiot. Google is an advertising company and has been from jump street. Anyone who didn't realize that they would behave with the incentives relevant to an advertising company was an idiot.

In reality, privacy is going to become a very rare commodity

It never was as common as people believed it was. A lot of stuff we thought was private in the past really wasn't. It just wasn't convenient to get the data. Now we actually have to do something about it rather than relying on the hope that others are lazy to protect our privacy. It will be an ongoing fight to balance privacy with other interests.

Comment Cash trumps your privacy (Score 1) 83

At least one manufacturer will see the marketing value of ''the car that does not spy on you'

More likely one manufacturer will TRY that marketing angle and then quickly figure out that very few people actually give half a shit about their privacy and abandon the attempt. The siren call of all that cash will simply be too much for them to resist for long.

Comment Cautionary != Dystopian (Score 3, Insightful) 83

Still driving my 22 year old Eclipse GSX with no onboard recording devices.

I drive WAY too much for that to be a realistic option for me. My current daily driver is a 2009 and I already have over 160,000 miles on it. If I were to keep it for 22 years at my current annual mileage I'd have over half a million miles on it at that point. It's a good vehicle but I have little confidence it will still be on the road after that much use. Mine doesn't transmit any data about my location either. I think it has an onboard black box but I'm not worried about that.

Very surprised people are going along with the 1984 snooping on everyone thing. It was supposed to be a cautionary tale.

Cautionary but complicated. I carry a smartphone because it adds significant value to my daily life. Yes it could in principle be used in a dystopian fashion but in reality it isn't. Like nuclear power or genetic engineering, the technology is neutral and whether it is a force for good or ill depends on how it is used. There are very positive benefits to tracking location and performance parameters of a vehicle. There also are some drawbacks. It's not all 1984 where everything has taken the worst possible outcome.

Comment Re:Rockets are too expensive (Score 5, Interesting) 326

And a space elevator, of course, would only cost about a Trillion, and there's this little problem of it hitting something (we'd have to make Earth Orbit absolutely pristine and keep it that way) and there's a problem with the kinetic energy if it falls down. Sort of like having many atom bombs go off.

Maybe someday. But right now making rockets as cheap as they can be is a better idea. It's only $200K to fuel up a Falcon 9. We don't get the whole thing back in working order yet, but that would be a lot easier than making a space elevator.

Comment No Dragon 2 Soft Landing Yet (Score 5, Informative) 326

Dragon 2 isn't built yet. The escape test was a boilerplate capsule more like a Dragon 1 than 2. Dragon 2 has not demonstrated a soft landing, because it's not built yet. That was the Falcon 9 first stage.

Also, you can't get Dragon 2 down to the Moon and back up on it's own. Not enough delta-V. You would need to have Dragon ride on top of something that can hold enough fuel. Like a larger version of the Apollo Service Module.

The Command/Service module was originally intended to land on the moon and return without the LEM, before NASA bought the LEM concept, and was overpowered for the mission it got. Dragon is larger and heavier, but a lunar landing one would probably look a lot like an Apollo Command and Service module, and legs.

And yeah, Orion: I'm Not on Board. Big expensive obsolete rocket with no mission that makes sense.

But good luck getting Elon Musk to focus on the practical and eminently desirable target of the Moon. He isn't interested. It's only Mars for Elon.

I try not to watch all of the Mars Colonial Transport speculation. Falcon 9 and Dragon are great, and they're here, and we could do so much with them.

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