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Comment Re:Is slashdot trolling us? (Score 1) 68

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.

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.

I don't think Mars One has a chance because even if they had the capability to pull off a major project like this they don't have anyway to demonstrate that. And if people aren't convinced they're capable they won't attract the big money and expertise they need.

Comment Re:Common (Score 1) 95

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

Is the problem really processing power, though? For a system like this, it seems like there are other problems bound to creep up:

* AFAIK, we still don't have good enough AI to figure out a spacial 3D world from visual input. I know it's still being worked on and there's been progress, but being able to place objects in the real world in this kind of augmented reality requires that the computer can figure out the layout of 3D objects within the real world.
* Even if you can render the graphics and place them appropriately in the world, there's still the problem of designing the UI. You need to create both the visual look of the interface, and figure out which gestures to use for different controls. The interface (input and feedback) needs to be easy and intuitive and provide clear feedback to user interaction.
* You also need to make the gestures such that they're read by the computer reliably-- that is, if I'm supposed to do a specific hand motion to activate a feature, the hand motion needs to be something that the computer will recognize almost every time it is performed, it needs to be distinct enough from other control gestures and natural gestures. Basically, people need to be able to control these systems without constantly activating various controls by accident.

These are fairly difficult problems for computers to figure out, and as far as I know, they're not really a problem of insufficient computing power. That is, as far as I know, it's not like we've developed code that can do these things and a UI that works well, but we need a computer 5x as powerful to run it in real-time. The problem is that we just don't have the design/code to do it.

Comment Re:Welcome to the Trump future... (Score 1) 412

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.

Comment Re:Not as bad as it sounds (Score 1) 412

Looking at the individual cases, I don't think it is as bad as it sounds.

Cancer deaths, the second most common cause, went down.
Hearth diseases went up, which is troubling, but in a lot of cases caused by bad life choices.
Another is unintentional injuries. Which I don't think has much to do with the healthcare system, and probably in part also due to higher average age.
The other causes which took a bigger share are "old age" diseases.

A curious one to me is the increasing infant deaths due to congenital malformations. Any ideas about what is causing this?

None of the differences in causes of infant deaths were statistically significant (except for unintentional injuries) so I wouldn't put too much weight in it.

As for adults, most of those were statistically significant, and there seems to be a pattern.

Causes of death that are primarily health care oriented were either static or decreased (cancer).

Causes of death that are short term lifestyle oriented (injuries, suicide, and probably a lot of the chronic conditions) increased.

So it looks like there were a lot of people not taking as good care of themselves in 2015 and they were more vulnerable to several causes of death as a result.

Comment Re:idiots (Score 2) 412

All you idiots blaming this tiny decrease on the ACA should look at what happened in Russia. After the fall of the Soviet Union, the Russian system went from fully public to private, and life expectancy plummeted from numbers similar to those in most developed countries to 3rd world levels (i.e. as low as 50 years for men)! It was only after your hero Putin RE-SOCIALIZED the Russian medical system in the early 2000's that Russian life expectancy has crept back up into the 70s.

As big a fan I am of public health care I don't think you can attribute the changes in Russian mortality to their health care system.

The fall of the USSR was awful for Russia, they went from global superpower to a country that was literally falling apart. This created some really awful social issues that were probably a major cause for the increase in death rates.

Putin, aside from turning the nation into a kleptocracy, did restore a lot of social stability. That's probably the cause for their falling mortality rates.

Comment Re:What year it is, you fucking paid shill?!! (Score 1) 94

Existing games run fine. New drivers always are chock full of crap I don't want. No need to upgrade.

As far as preferences go, the AMD vs Nvidia fans trolling each other is just as moronic as the Democrat vs Republican fans trolling each other. Sure, buy and or vote for one, but don't make it your life's mission to attack someone with a different choice.

Comment I'm kind of surprised they don't do more tie-ins. (Score 1) 327

I'm not talking advertising tie-ins, but why not do additional story lines available for streaming purchase? Especially in those big ensemble superhero movies that are always so narratively cluttered because they have to give you a thin slice of so many characters.

Comment Re:Sad (Score 3, Insightful) 184

Well, I dunno. It seems like blaming Fitbit for Pebble's financial failure.

Let's take a consequentialist view of matters. If the rule is you have to buy the whole business and continue to operate it, even though it's losing money, Pebble goes out of business and it's customers and debt holders suffer. If you can sell of just the good bits without the obligation to continue running the failing as before, the customers suffer but the debt holders get some relief. Which approach is better?

Comment Re:127 Mill Maintenance robot vs 4 Billion AF1 (Score 2) 38

Well, it's actually $3.75 billion. And it's not one, but two aircraft, so that's 1.875 billion apiece. That's to ensure the executive branch can function in a military crisis while one of the planes is being service.

Deduct 375 million apiece for the airframe, and we're talking 1.5 billion dollars in customization for each aircraft, including aerial refueling capabilities, which on a two-off job is a craft job; no economies of scale. Add defense and countermeasure capabilities that Air Force is extremely close-lipped about. Is there a actual escape pod on Air Force One like in the movie? Well probably not, but I'm sure the idea was at least contemplated. However it's pretty certain that if someone locks onto AF1 with a targeting radar the aircraft will have options that a stock 747-8 doesn't.

Next outfit each one so it can function as a replacement for the West Wing and the Situation Room for up to two months -- that's a deducible requirement based on the known fact that the aircraft stores 2000 meals for 100 people. That means three-of-a-kind electronics and communications systems (one for each airframe and one for the actual White House).

Is 3.75 billion too much for that? Probably. But it's hard to think of any weapon development program since WW2 that is less extravagant.

By that standard 127 million for an orbital repair robot is an almost inconceivable bargain, even if you factor in a 5x cost overrun.

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