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Comment Re:Beautiful by the numbers launch / deploy / land (Score 1) 101

The space shuttle sonic booms were lethal, but only in a contained area over the ocean. That's why they had to clear that area of ships before launch.

The issue is that the shuttle (like most rockets) didn't fly straight up, it went in a curve. That creates a focus point for the shockwave, which makes it MUCH bigger.

Comment Re:A bit much for parody? (Score 3, Interesting) 565

You are, of course, completely wrong in every respect.

Gun control laws were put in place to take guns away from black people. Democrats didn't want the blacks to be able to defend themselves when they had lynching parties. Republicans disagreed. (

If you really believe that cops are "out to get" African American people (most cops were I am seem to be African American themselves?), black people having guns is even more important. Cops are a lot more respectful when the suspects and witnesses might be armed but are behaving themselves...

Comment Re:Predictably, they think their citizens == idiot (Score 1) 634

So you are advocating allowing vote-buying?

Seriously, in order to get that data you would need an economic system of some sort. The best one we have is capitalism. So if you want people to vote the strength of their preference, charge per vote and allow multiple votes.

If you don't want the voting biased towards people that are successful at making the economy work, give everyone 100 votes when they are born, and 10 votes per year.

Comment Re:Like most of Earth's existence? (Score 1) 331

This, a million times this. Humans cannot think logarithmically, they are linear creatures. We always aim too high in the short term, and too low in the long term, since that is how nature lets us convert logarithms to linear problems.

In two hundred years we will be terraforming Mars, not worried about the paradise park called Earth. And we will be using 0.0001% of our resources to keep the entire planet "perfect", or whatever the guys in charge think is perfect. "Rain is on Tuesdays, people, close your dang windows!"

Comment Re:Really? (Score 1) 301

In addition, consider that if Gawker had done something evil/illegal to you (a person that cannot afford a lawsuit), a person in Thiel's position may decide to bankroll your lawsuit for their own purposes.

So this isn't only good for the rich, where Gawker like companies can't piss them off: it is good for the little guy, because hurting the little guy illegally can now get you sued even if the little guy can't afford a lawsuit.

So rich get a benefit of 5x, but the poor at least get a benefit of x. This is a win-win, I don't see the issue. (Though I agree it would be better if the little guy could defend themselves without a rich benefactor)

Comment Re:Senile? (Score 5, Interesting) 951

OK, people seem to be getting down on Elon here...

Personally, I don't think we are in a game. I think that the primary use of such simulations will be to have "children" (those under the age of 1,000) experience the "bad old days" back when resources were bounded. So this is school, not a game. I guess we'll know if I'm right in about 50 years, on average.

As for those that think this level of simulation is impossible, it isn't. There may be limits to hardware that prevent exponential increases from going on forever. But there are no such limitations for software. You can optimize the simulation by doing things like dropping information whenever you don't need it (quantum mechanics), and removing redundant calculations (as in, after a quadrillion people go through the same sim, it is unlikely they are actually coming up with anything original...)

Comment Re:But... (Score 1) 120

A CCTV can prevent the second murder, not the first. But preventing the second murder is arguably better than preventing none at all.

It depends on your assumptions. You seem to be basing your reality predictions on the premise that all people are equally likely to commit murder. Most measurements of objective reality seem to indicate that a tiny minority of the population commit most murders, and most crimes are committed by repeat offenders. A CCTV can prevent a repeat, or at least decrease the frequency of repeat, as the pattern seems to be murder -> arrest -> jail -> release -> murder -> arrest -> jail -> release -> murder -> arrest -> jail -> release -> etc...

Comment Re:May spur automation (Score 0) 940

I've never understood the argument that minimum wage increases increase unemployment.

It is a simple math/statistics argument. We have an economy, where every day someone is thinking of starting a company. They look at their expected returns. These expected returns will (taken across the economy as a whole) form a Gaussian-like distribution. If the expected return is greater than zero, they will start the company.

You then increase one of the costs (can be taxes, can be labor, whatever). This shifts the distribution by some amount. The area under the distribution where expected return is greater than zero has now decreased. So fewer companies get started, which means fewer jobs created.

So in the short term, you would expect little effect - existing businesses are sunk costs, so they don't shed jobs quickly. But long term, fewer companies are started so fewer jobs are created.

People on minimum/low wages spend all of their money, and usually locally. (discussion about spending habits)

The key point that negates all of this is that the number of widgets in the economy has not changed, so you can't be making anyone better off. More concretely: let's say you have 100,000 people in the economy, and the economy produces 100,000 hamburgers that cost $10 each. On average, each person also earns $10 each. So everyone gets 1 hamburger.

Now Congress passed a law mandating a $15 minimum wage. And let's pretend that no one loses their job, because subsidies! OK, now you have 100,000 people earning $15. But you still only have 100,000 hamburgers, because that is simply how many hamburgers 100,000 people can make. So what is the cost of a hamburger? $15.

Most government mandated actions like this can only either end up in inflation ($15 hamburgers) or unemployment (1/3 of the people lose their jobs, and the remainder have 33% taxes to prevent that third from not getting a hamburger). Money is not value, it is a metric we use to measure value. Giving away money destroys the metric, and doesn't help the recipient.

Submission + -'s Successful First Flight

An anonymous reader writes: Last Saturday, Universal Transport Systems flew their full sized spacecraft prototype, the "Fluffy Bunny" for the first time. UTS has spent the last nine years building up to this point, and is planning to start high altitude testing in 2017 after low altitude testing is completed this summer.

The vehicle is unique in that it is inflatable, making it extremely lightweight for the mass carried. The "Fluffy Bunny" uses solid rocket propellant for space flight, and has electric engines for atmospheric flight. Although initially it will fly suborbital profiles, the vehicle is designed to enable orbital operations, as shown in the simulator videos.

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