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Comment Wishy washy (Score 2) 265

If driving is easier and more pleasant, people will do it more.
The autonomous car isn't going to make traffic, construction, nor other idiot drivers magically disappear, so I'd say this is a hopeful but doubtful claim.

Automation will open up car travel to populations (the young, the elderly, the visually or otherwise impaired) who did not previously have access. Self-driving cars could increase the overall amount of vehicle miles traveled.
Except that these are the people that almost always have someone ELSE drive them places (loved, ones, friends, taxis...), requiring pickups. So it's easy to argue that they could decrease the overall amount of miles travelled very easily. Nevermind the automated vehicles would presumably use smart navigation to avoid traffic, take the shortest routes possible, and drive under the speed limit.

Comment Re:The real reason VHS won (Score 1) 103

Was Porn. The porn industry chose VHS and beta died. Or at least that's what I heard. Please do not provide authoritative sources to disprove me. This is what I want to believe. Thanks!!

Not gonna argue with you, I'm just curious...was this before or after Al Gore invented the internet?

LOOOOONG before. Back in the day, Beta tapes were higher resolution but only 1 hour long, whereas VHS tapes were 2 hours long and featured viewable resolution. (This is before the EP/LP modes that gave 4 or 6 hours on a VHS tape but sacrificed even more quality.) Anyway, the point is that the average movie is somewhere around 90-110 minutes long, so one tape is much better than two. And take it a step further: epics like Lawrence of Arabia or Doctor Zhivago could be done on 2 VHS tapes instead of 4 Betas, so that was a big deal pricewise.
So what's that got to do with porn? Well, people like cheap porn. And VHS was the ideal vehicle, especially since the porn industry releases thousands of titles vs. Hollywood's dozens every year. Porn drove VHS adoption, and VHS adoption meant that mainstream movies went with VHS, which drove more VHS adoption...

Comment Its a great solution but not yet economical (Score 1) 266

The problem is (as Makerbot has discovered) that it's really a solution in search of a market. The average person has no use for this technology beyond perhaps a part or toy or whatever a couple of times a year at best, and even then the piece is relatively high due to the cost of materials. That's what's killing the industry (along with all the IP wrangling) and that's why Makerbot is laying off workers and has closed their retail stores.

Comment Re:ok, so, what now (Score 1) 89

So close... and yet still a freeking impossible distance away.

Oh.. it's just 11 light years away. That's a small number, right? As much as I'd like to be able to say we have a "warp drive" or "jump drive" or something like that... at the moment 11 light years might as well be 11 million light years. it makes no difference to our ability to get there.

Exactly. Even if we DID build an Orion nuclear spacecraft (, at best we'll get 1/10th light speed, and it would take the equivalent of several thousand Saturn V launches to build the ship in space. So we're talking at best a 220 year round trip, IF everything went right.

Comment Re:Loved me som PRS-505 (Score 1) 172

I was very pleased with my 505, as well. I didn't bother with their software (I think it was Windows-only and was mainly used to buy DRM-encumbered stuff from their own store) but just using it as USB mass storage worked well enough for my purposes.

I use it primarily for reading stuff from Project Gutenberg (since there is no DRM insanity) or taking other miscellaneous PDF and text content with me. The screen was quite good and sure beat reading any amount of text off of a glowing screen.

It is too bad that they are leaving the market but I can tell my use-cases aren't those used by the masses so I am not too surprised.

That's exactly what I did with our 505!
My wife had it for just about a year and then wanted a Kindle so I loaded it up with about two dozen public domain books. It worked very well, and for my train ride into NYC was perfect because the battery life was adequate and the screen was non-glare and nigh indestructible no matter who hit it/pushed into me/knocked my bag. Heck, I fell asleep several times and dropped the thing hard. It didn't care.

And since absolutely nobody ever wanted to steal it, that was a bonus too.

Comment Re:most successful? (Score 2) 80

The most successful scientific model is found in Genesis chapter 1. It begins with the creation of light.

Well, yes. That's what the Big Bang Theory is in a nutshell, and it was after all originally developed by Georges Lemaitre, a Belgian Catholic Priest.
It's notable that all of the planet's major religions endorse the BBT and consider it to not be at odds with their faith including Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, & Judaism.

Comment Re:Way too much money for the local economy to fin (Score 1) 123

Yet every delay seems to be caused by inadequate funding at the Federal level, to the point where the deadlines have been pushed back beyond the projections for when waste is likely to reach the Columbia River. What's that going to do to the local economy?

Actually, it improves the potato crop. (FIVE GUYS needs every potato they can lay their hands on!) The waste has also sped up work at the prehistoric Kennewick Man site, and has increased sales of all kinds of abatement gear (and anti-roadrunner technology) from ACME in nearby Walla-Walla.

Comment Re:If they're concerned on picking winners or lose (Score 1, Interesting) 1030

Wow. I love your link... thanks for showing that the fossil fuel industry does not get a single subsidy. Seriously. Everything listed from pages 6 through 13 is a tax break.
And let's look at the things this wonderful environmentalist think tank listed as "Grants":

1) LIHEAP ($6,358): The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. Government funding to keep poor people warm.
2) Strategic Petroleum Reserve ($6,183) : This is the Federal government keeping oil around in case of an emergency.
3) Black Lung Disability Trust Fund ($1,035) : Federal money to pay benefits to sick miners.
4) Highway Trust Fund ($500) : The Highway Trust Fund supports highway, road, and other transportation projects throughout the country. It is funded largely by the Transportation Fuel Excise Tax on road fuels.
5) Northeast Home Heating Oil Reserve ($50): similar to the SPR in #2 above, but concentrated in the Northeast where home heating oil is a common fuel.
6) Naval Petroleum and Oil Shale Reserves ($28) : "As the payments do not benefit a fuel source, but rather were used to settle a dispute, they do not constitute a subsidy to fossil fuels."

Calling any of these a subsidy if a sad joke. In short, there is NO SUBDSIDY OF FOSSIL FUELS by the US Government.

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