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Comment Situational Ethics (Score 1) 243

from the /. summary:

When you buy something physical -- a toaster, a book, or a printer, for example -- you expect to be free to use it as you see fit: to adapt it to suit your needs, fix it when it breaks, re-use it, lend it, sell it, or give it away when you're done with it. Your freedom to do those things is a necessary aspect of your ownership of those objects.

Yet, whenever AirbnB is discussed here, a significant contingent espouses precisely the opposite principle, that the owner should not be free to use as he sees fit.

 

Comment Re:Simple question (Score 2) 124

Fast forward 1000 years. Your flying car is running on essentially free energy thanks to its "gravity engine" (tm) which draws upon Physics so extreme, that to become aware them, you would have had to setup something as massive as a white dwarf orbiting a black hole, and study it for 30 years, before being able to reproduce this phenomenon in laboratory conditions, let alone miniaturize it.

Comment Re:Yeah... (Score 5, Interesting) 374

...garbage disposal and off-shore drilling too! Come on women, WTF!

Good point, much like one in a Camille Paglia interview published yesterday.

It is an absolute outrage how so many pampered, affluent, upper-middle-class professional women chronically spout snide anti-male feminist rhetoric, while they remain completely blind to the constant labor and sacrifices going on all around them as working-class men create and maintain the fabulous infrastructure that makes modern life possible in the Western world. Only a tiny number of women want to enter the trades where most of the nitty-gritty physical work is actually going on—plumbing, electricity, construction. Women have played virtually no role in the erection of those magnificent towers in every major city in the world. It's men who operate the cranes or set the foundations or wash windows on the 85th floor. It's men who troop out at 2:00 AM during an ice storm to restore power to neighborhoods where falling trees have brought down live wires. It's men who mix the stinking, toxic cauldrons to spread steaming hot tar on city roofs. Last year in a nearby town, I drove by a huge, chaotic scene where emergency workers in hazmat suits were struggling with a giant pipe break, as raw sewage was pouring into the street. Of course all those workers up to their knees in a torrent of thick brown water were men! I've seen figures indicating that 92 per cent of people killed on the job are men—and it's precisely because men are heroically doing most of the dangerous jobs in modern society...

Comment Entitlements (Score 1) 131

from the summary:

"A Brazilian judge ruled that a driver using the Uber ride-hailing app is an employee of the San Francisco-based company and is entitled to workers' benefits, adding to the global debate over labor rights for drivers on the platform...."

Did anyone notice the contradiction? The submitter reports a Brazilian judge requiring that mandatory entitlements be given to Uber drivers, then within the same sentence instead refers to "workers rights".

Entitlements are the opposite rights. An entitlement is prohibition of liberty; If the Uber driver is entitled to receive X dollars in compensation then the driver can not choose to work for less. A right is a grant of liberty; If I have the right to free speech then I can choose what to say without restriction.

Comment Water boils in a vacuum (Score 1) 48

And ice can also quickly sublimate in a vacuum depending on the temperature, and during the day the Moon temperature rises above the boiling, let alone melting point of water. The Moon's gravity is too low to retain water vapor, so as soon as you get liquid water it disappears within minutes. Meters of ice would sublimate in a day. If the Moon had a 3 km thick layer of ice, like we do, it would sublimate in 10 years.
You don't need heat or impacts, just some basic knowledge of thermodynamics.These well-known facts have been around for over 100 years.
You would have to have ice in permanent shadow at the bottom of a polar crater to get water. But, on a side note, we already sent impactors to the most likely place where water could theoretically exist and did not find any.

Comment Re:They don't get it. (Score 1) 437

AMERICANS NEED JOBS!

Which is exactly what you get when foreign engineering and design firms which operate from nations with permissive immigration for STEM talent outsource their low-wage manual labor jobs here for manufacture. What? You want those corporations and their profits to stay here? Forget that, you just walled off the vast international source of talent from domestic high-tech companies which need access to succeed.

Ceteris paribus, the most successful companies are those with the best access to resources, not those with the most limited access to resources. Labor is a resource.

Engineering and design work supports an umbrella of labor: managers, accountants, IT, safety, etc. If your company fails because misguided nationalists blocked access to engineering talent, then all those jobs go with it.

The nations which most successfully exploit the law of comparative advantage by allowing the most free exchange of goods and labor are the wealthiest nations. Walling yourself off because you believe that hoarding jobs and goods in your own country will make it richer is a certain formula for failure and poverty.

Comment Dead Ends (Score 2) 201

Highly variable renewable energy sources such as wind and solar in combination with energy storage using batteries to balance out variations in both load and supply might well be the wave of the future. However, it seems unlikely that these Tesla battery packs, optimized as they are for use in automobiles and thus designed to meet standards for compactness, weight, and collision safety, are also optimal for grid energy storage, which has different requirements. Assembling grid-scale energy storage from individual cells is probably a technological dead-end and will be supplanted by flow batteries.

 

Comment Privacy? What privacy? (Score 1) 94

from the ./ summary:

But critics have questioned the privacy implications of such a system

Why? The proposal is to make border control more efficient and accurate; They already check to see who you are when you enter or leave the country and you are required to show ID. You have no privacy now. Next, you will continue to have no privacy but transiting the the border will be faster and terrorists and other criminals faking their identities will be more easily detected.

If you oppose a government policy, then change the law, don't handicap its enforcement. We end up with these wasteful compromises in democracies, where one group prevails and enacts a policy as law, while its opponents undermine it by weakening its enforcement. ("Don't Ask Don't Tell" being the perfect example, the treatment of speed limits in the U.S. a good one as well.) Not collectively rational behavior.

Comment Re:Suprised (Score 3, Interesting) 40

I didn't think 30mil was enough money to entice the expenditures of space exploration...

Well that is a fascinating aspect of these X prize competitions, that the total amount of money and effort invested by the competitors and the quality of the best work produced is far greater than what could be purchased with the award money.

There must be some interesting lessons in the sociology and economics of that effect and perhaps some useful insights for managers there too.

That kind of thing has been going on at least since Stephenson's Rocket won the Rainhill Trials in 1829.

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