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Comment Auto Pilot is old news (Score 1) 147

Electronic Charts and Display Information Systems are old news (ca 1990). These smartish autopilots were required for large vessels in the wake of the Valdez disaster. There will always be a critical need for crew on board to handle unexpected failures: anybody see Our Finest Hour"?

Comment Simple Permanent Fix (Score 3, Interesting) 664

You can do what I did, go to Frys with a wheelbarrow full of cash and buy a Mac. I'm an embedded firmware developer and often need windows based compilers for microcontroller development. (sorry, not everything iCPU is supported by open source compilers). After I was forced to work under parallels for windows work last year I have never looked back. Even windows is more stable under osx. It is hard to blame microsoft developers for all the instabilities as every peripheral maker drops their own conflicting and half baked drivers into the mix. I've been living with dos and windows since it was the next new thing and I'm glad to see the back side of windows machines. Only thing that still drives me nuts is the disjoint copy and paste meta keys when moving test between windows and parallels/windows - it just hurts my brains and muscle memory.

Comment Re:Can we have this problem, please? (Score 5, Informative) 231

Has happened on a small scale in the US. In central Washington, where the dams on the Columbia River and an abundance of wind power occasionally produces a "perfect storm" of spring snow driven runoff from the Cascade Mountains driving the dams to max production and spring winds producing more renewable power than the region can export with existing transmission lines the result was predictable with zero cost exchange power and conflict over who gets to export their power. The region already has a large pumped storage facility on the Columbia complex, but we still need more storage and transmission capacity.

Comment Re:Hello! It's adjustment to Obamacare! (Score 1) 607

We may have the best doctors in the world, but we have a mediocre healthcare system. Both before and after the start of Obama care. Take a look at the statistics here. Basic measurements of performance are cost and health care outcomes. As to cost we are more than twice the average of other developed nations (OECD) and more than 60% than western European countries. These other countries have a broad range of health care systems including socialized, insurance mandates, private insurance, single payer, tax based and two-tier system. Yet they all perform better than the US for both cost and outcomes.. We have surgery and major test rates double other countries. And over prescription and patent laws drive our pharmacy rates to be double the rest of the western world. If we had great outcomes then I would be happy with the cost, but we have lousy outcomes. We have poor outcomes relative to other western countries as measured by any measure include life expectancy, asthma rates and infant mortality. So both before and after Obama care we have been paying twice as much and getting half the results. Much of this is indeed the system's fault such as the very high number of clerical workers in a US doctor's office to fight with the Byzantine insurance system, the perverse incentive that doctors get paid more for doing too much in a fee for service and the broken way we over pay for patented drugs. One the other hand we as a society have each have some responsibility. How many Americans really make any effort to drop that weight the doctor proscribed they drop? As consumer of health care far too many of us hector our doctors into over prescribing and over aggressive surgery decisions. We must be willing to accept that often the correct prescription is to make changes to our diet and not a prescribe a pill. The effects of the waning smoking epidemic is still working its way through the health care system and it would be interesting to see if the rise in deaths are these folks causing a blip or perhaps it is just the leading edge of the obesity epidemic or even the fallout from over prescribing opiods. I still see a candy jar setting on every admin's desk that gets paid for by the company that is paying for part of the health care cost - how crazy is that? One word of caution with the statistics, they are averages. We have a very uneven societies and this expensive health care is not spread evenly. In the US, the rich over consume health care while the poor put off preventive care until the cost of fixing what would have been a preventable/curable illness become massive. Drug costs for diabetes is a big chunk of health care dollars and most diabetes can be cured with weight loss. Again with an uneven society folks working 50 hours a week flipping burgers and no options for time off for a check-up are set-up to fail. Sure, IT and tech workers spend long hours at work and feel pressure, but few of us would be fired the first time we took an hour off to see a doctor. Yes, as others have said Obama care fixes access, not quality. That quality fix takes no small part of responsibility on our part.

Comment Re:Numerous bits of ignorance. (Score 1) 343

Indeed InMarSat and other providers have been providing much of this "ping home" capability for some time. The airlines have to be willing (or forced) to pay for it and then to not fly without using it. While ping home vastly simplifies the where was the craft it leave the issues open: 1) due to limited bandwidth not all data is sent and 2) what happened after/if the sat link fails. Black boxes can continue to capture reams of data after the sat comm has lost power/fallen off/been turned off by the pilot so they focus on slightly different issues.

Comment Re:Immediately? (Score 1) 166

funwithBSD, There are several separate issues here. The most basic question is how many hours per person is need to achieve a given level of average material comfort. A simple measure is how many hours per person is spent in farming to keep us fed. Since industrialization this has dropped substantially. Same for making a ton of steel, etc. Nothing wrong with that per se. Except it leads to problem two, the distribution of goods and services. Creating an economic system that provides a fair distribution of the wealth and provides reasonable encouragement of individual contribution has been a problem that has defied effective optimal solutions. I would suggest that indeed most of our mass produced goods, cell phones to jeans are capable of being produced in "dark" automated factories at trivial long term cost. The capital investment to do this will drive to even more standardized parts so those jeans may someday only cost $3, but will only come in one style. Sure you will need more robotics and manufacturing engineers, but millions of sweatshop workers will be unemployed in a traditional economy. While we will have the capacity to meet everybody's material needs how will those goods get distributed if most of the world lacks jobs? Do you let people starve and thus starve the capitalist of customers? Do we start shrinking the human population due to lower birth rates as has started in some industrial countries? Do you divert folks from the work force such as sending them for schooling? Does the service economy grow: how many hair cuts can the world use? Do we grow the government sector? (BTW, larger government sector does really help even out the business cycles) Do we just grow the dole queues? Does the dominance of standardized products create a new demand for unique items that drives a massive itsy like market for handmade custom product: will people pay $1000 for a high status artizen custom handmade belt buckle to go with their standard issue $3 jeans? If you could make and sell two or three of those handmade custom belt buckles a week you could have a good living. Is there some Utopian Star Trek solution just waiting to be invented or implemented?

Comment Re: Or get a generator that works 24x7 (Score 1) 324

Another piece of the puzzle is constricted transmission capacity. There is a complex relationship between the summer consumption of power in California and generation in the Northwest from spring/summer hydro. The capacity between California and the NW has always been a choke point. Recent expansion of wind generation has caused situations where there is more power available than can e used in the NW nor transported to other regions.Admittedly, this can be solved by just adding more transmission capacity but sometimes a little storage that can even out the peaks can even things out at a lower cost. BTW, California and Washington have some of the larger pumped storage facilities on the planet already.

Comment Re:Employment extinction (Score 1) 414

I would argue that far too often in the world the system is rigged or cheated. We are no where near an egalitarian world. People too often lie cheat and steal and use unfair advantage against one another. I'n my world I see far too may people who come from extreme privilege crow about how they are self made and complain about other they call "losers" who aren't as prosperous as themselves as being parasites. Spend a little time with those who are still striving you might develop a little empathy and start to see that they are working twice as hard as you do and getting a fraction as much for their hard work. With a stacked deck, calling those who don't win a loser is disparaging the honest person.

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