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Comment Re: Who's to say? (Score 1) 111

Well, if you want to be pedantic (of course you do), heat isn't radiation. Black body radiation is a consequence of heat. And in point of fact the ionizing spectral components of the Sun's radiation generates over seventy-thousand cases of cancer in the US annually, and over ten thousand deaths. If there were an artificial radiation source that was that harmful we'd be right to be very concerned about it, that's substantially more than 3x the number of people who perished in 9/11 every single year.

The real issue here isn't people using linguistic short hand like "radiation" that Internet trolls can play "gotcha" with; it's people not understanding the difference between radiation per se, ionizing radiation, and radioactive fallout. Maybe you don't need to be a Nobel Prize-winning physicist to run the DoE, but you should at least be able to explain the difference between these things. And you'd certainly want anyone working in government to know the difference between preventable and non-preventable deaths.

Comment Currency is a type of commodity (Score 2) 74

I like the idea of Bitcoin. It's fantastic.

Not if you actually understand finance and risk it isn't. Bitcoin is an interesting experiment in some ways but as a practical matter for real world use it's rather clumsy, risky and impractical. It's flawed in so many ways I barely know where to begin. The only thing about it that I really think might eventually prove valuable is the block chain technology which has applications far beyond bitcoin.

But in reality it's still trading more like a commodity than a currency.

Currencies ARE commodities. The term commodity is specifically used for an economic good or service when the demand for it has no qualitative differentiation across a market. A dollar is a dollar no matter where you trade it. Don't feel bad, a lot of people fail to understand this. Currencies in forex markets are traded very much like other commodities. They're just an abstract/intangible sort of commodity rather than bars of gold or barrels of oil. There is some nuance to the market just like every other commodity but they really are commodities all the same.

Comment Translation (Score 5, Insightful) 190

Verizon will not be taking part in this update because of the added risk this could pose to Galaxy Note 7 users that do not have another device to switch to

Translation: "This will result in a lot of pissed off customer calling us about the problem and we don't want the expense".

Comment What benefit to Michigan? (Score 1) 165

And MI is a great state for automated driving systems to test again bad weather road conditions and construction re-routing....

Which is fine but does little for the economy of Michigan by itself. Employs a few engineers and support personnel but what else is the benefit to Michigan? Hope a few businesses take root as a result but I'm not holding my breath.

Comment Hitchhiking is (mostly) legal (Score 1) 165

Isn't hitchhiking illegal in most states?

No, actually hitchhiking is perfectly legal in most places. A few states ban it but in most places it's just illegal to actually stand on the road when soliciting a ride. Stand to the side of the road and you are not breaking any laws. And even in places where it is illegal the police mostly don't care all that much.

Comment Band aid fixes (Score 3, Insightful) 165

"It makes Michigan a place where particularly for the auto industry it's a good place to do work,"

Yeah except for the shitty roads, expensive labor, unsupportive government, hostile unions, etc. Other than that it's awesome. I find it hilarious that the state most closely associated with the auto industry has some of the worst roads in the country. Good place to test handling and suspensions I guess. Anyway this doesn't really matter much unless they can keep the companies that own the technology doing it in Michigan. Who cares if Google develops self driving tech in Michigan if Michigan doesn't see any of the financial benefit from that.

The thing that Michigan (particularly SE Michigan) has going for it is that the auto industry has a lot of residual talent left in the area. There is a ton of engineering and production capability. Michigan can be a great place to work on some really interesting technology. Seriously, it's hugely underrated as a tech hub but Michigan is one of the best places to be for high tech jobs. Too bad the state has dropped the ball in so many other areas. It's a beautiful place to live and work (outside of Detroit City proper anyway) and it's kind of a shame what has happened to the state in the last several decades.

Comment We don't know how to send live humans (Score 1) 91

That's not really accurate. We DO know how to send humans to Mars.

Not live ones. If you are looking to sent a dead human to Mars then your statement is accurate.

The problem is we don't know how to do it on a budget that is remotely achievable

No, right now we don't know how to do it period. Not for any amount of money. We probably could invest several tens (hundreds maybe?) of billions of dollars to figure it out but today as I type this we do not know for certain how to pull off a manned mission to Mars. And in matter of fact until we actually do such a mission successfully we cannot say that we know how to do it because until then we don't. We didn't know how to land on the Moon until we actually landed on the moon. You have to prove you can do something to say you know how to do it. Right now we THINK we know how to get it done but that's a far cry from actually doing it.

I would love to see us standing on Mars someday but let's be realistic about where we are and what it will take to get there.

Comment No for-profit company is going to Mars (Score 1) 91

Not entirely true, I think a private organization could go to Mars, but it would have to be a big established organization (like a Boeing, or maybe SpaceX in 10 years) who has a lot of credibility, expertise, and resources to throw behind the project.

No profit making public company can possibly go to Mars. There is no profit to be had in doing so or if there is, nobody has found it yet. If you were CEO of Boeing and you went into a board meeting and proposed going to Mars, you would be out of job 5 minutes later. It would be the shortest board meeting ever. A Mars mission is HUGELY expensive, there is no discernible profit to be had in doing so, and the risks of failure are enormous. Businesses can't do things with huge costs, minimal if any revenue, and high probability of failure.

SpaceX can only talk about Mars because they are privately held and Elon Musk effectively controls the company so the board has to indulge him. It's a vanity project for him but even they aren't seriously doing the things that would be necessary to make a Mars mission actually happen within my remaining lifespan. They have a business sending rockets into low earth orbit and still working the kinks out for that. Explain to me how they make enough money to finance even a vanity project to Mars much less do it as a profit making enterprise. Talk is cheap. Rockets to Mars aren't.

Comment We do not have the technology (Score 1) 91

That is completely untrue. We've been sending heavy things to Mars reasonably reliably since the late 1970s.

There is a huge difference between sending a robot the size of a car and sending a human landing party with the VAST amount of equipment they would need to survive the trip to Mars. It's like the difference between sending up a sounding rocket versus the Apollo program. You're talking orders of magnitude difference in complexity and cost.

We do NOT have the technology to send humans to Mars at this time. We don't have the life support systems, we don't have the landing craft, we don't have the radiation shielding, we don't have a return system, etc. All that could (probably) be developed with enough time and money but we're not even close to having it ready. Without a crash government program we aren't going to have it ready in the next 10-15 years either. The only thing we have the technology to do today is to send a dead human body to Mars which is a pretty useless exercise.

Comment Moore's Law = incremental change (Score 5, Informative) 110

The reality is that the tech industry has reached a dead end with the death of Moore's Law.

It's absolutely adorable that you think all progress in the tech industry is rooted in Moore's Law and that nothing more can be accomplished if we see a slowing in the rate at which we pack transistors into a given area on a chip.

You will see incremental progress from here on out, but no more large leaps like we have had for the previous 40 years.

All progress is incremental and Moore's Law is nothing if not incremental. If you didn't know that then you didn't understand what was going on. Moore's Law was just a observation of the fast but incremental development of semiconductor manufacturing. However it isn't the end-all-be-all of tech. It's not some fundamental law of nature, just an empirical observation of incremental change.

Comment It's a scam. Nothing to see here. (Score 3, Insightful) 91

I know they have concepts and maybe some engineering drawings but have they actually contracted out for the development of anything?

No. It's a scam and an obvious one. Do not take any of it seriously. It's annoying that they keep getting headlines in spite of their lies.

I could see this going somewhere with the right mix of companies, but right now I just don't see one organization pulling it all together.

Unless one or more of the bigger nation states gets involved there simply won't be adequate funding to make it happen. We're talking tens to hundreds of billions to actually pull off a mission to Mars. For profit companies aren't going to get involved because shockingly enough there is no profit in such a venture even if it were a serious endeavor, which it is not. Private funding wouldn't remotely be sufficient and governments aren't involved. The only organizations that are capable of developing the technology to make a Mars mission happen are not involved with Mars One.

Comment Is slashdot trolling us? (Score 5, Insightful) 91

Why does this obvious scam continue to get headlines from slashdot? Or anyone else for that matter. This is nothing more than some crooked and/or delusional people preying on the credulous. Without the resources of a nation state backing the project there is absolutely no way this could possibly happen. The technology to make it happen does not (yet) exist and the organizations who are capable of developing it (read NASA and peers) aren't involved with any of this. Furthermore any credible mission to Mars will cost tens and more likely hundreds of billions of US$ to even have a prayer of working at all much less in such a ludicrously short time span.

Seriously, why does this drivel keep getting the time of day?

Comment Re:Welcome to the Trump future... (Score 1) 484

I've been following this story, and I expect we're not looking at the future, but rather stagnation in the status quo for the last fifteen years or so plus statistical noise.

Where things gets interesting when you start disaggregating the trends. If you look at the life expectancy data by county, the disparity is shocking: almost all rural and poor counties saw little or no improvement in life expectancy since the late 80s, but life expectancy has improved dramatically (5 years or more) in urban and wealthy counties. And here's an interesting fact: the gap between white and black life expectancy has narrowed, but this is largely due to stagnation in life expectancy among working class whites.

This indicates to me that poor access to health care advances for working class and rural whites has driven the overall stagnation in life expectancy. This is in part what Obamacare was intended to address, however it can't possibly improve the situation in rural counties without Medicaid expansion.

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