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Comment Re:nice video, but the launch seems backwards (Score 1) 181

so far, statistically the 1st re-use (2nd launch) have a 0% probability of surviving into orbit

There is absolutely no data about the probability of a reused SpaceX rocket making it to orbit, because it's never been tried. The one that blew up wasn't a reused rocket, it was new.

Comment Re:Everything Trump does is bad (Score 1) 127

If she deleted emails AFTER them being subpoenaed by Congress she would be in prison now.

Perhaps. That's a question for Congress, and the Republican Congress has chosen not to pursue it.

If she deleted work related emails after being subpoenaed by the FBI, as Comey confirmed she did, she would be in prison now.

Clinton claims that the deleted emails were personal, not work-related. The DoJ found that she had the legal right to withhold and delete personal emails. Whether the emails actually were personal, of course, we'll never know. But barring existence of some evidence that they weren't personal, there is no prosecutable offense here.

If she lied under oath to Congress, as confirmed by Comey, she would be in prison now.

Almost nobody goes to prison for lying under oath to Congress. Comey has done it, and didn't go to prison, for example.

Just because there is a different set of rules for her and she doesn't go to prison for committing crimes doesn't mean she didn't commit crimes.

I don't see any evidence that there is a different set of rules. There's a lot of evidence that she is given every benefit of the doubt within the rules, probably more than others would. I suspect that some of that is due to the influence of a Democratic administration, but I think most of it arises from the fact that no one wants to destroy a major party's candidate for president without extremely clear cause. It seems entirely appropriate to allow the voters to hold a referendum on these issues in November... and, frankly, if her opponent were anyone other than Donald Trump voters would destroy her for it.

I should mention that I do not like Hillary Clinton, at all. I'm a conservative-leaning libertarian who generally votes for Republican candidates, so I disagree ideologically with Clinton, and as a person I consider her to be a cold, grasping, schemer. But I dislike the post-factual era that US (and world) politics seems to be entering even more.

Comment Re:This simply means we're succeeding. (Score 1) 227

Finally, you can't shave *that* much weight off the car even if you stopped worrying about crashworthiness altogether; you can only make a steel box for 4/5 people so light, and still make it ride nicely, not be noisy inside, have comfortable seats, be able to fit people over 6' tall, etc.

As a first step you could roll back vehicle weights to what they were 40 years ago. You can also shift from steel to lighter materials, and you can eliminate the entire engine compartment (using small hub motors instead) so you can simply chop away much of the existing vehicle. Further, in an autonomous-vehicle world, it seems very likely that individual vehicle ownership will largely become a thing of the past, so you wouldn't have to have a box for 4/5 people except on the occasions you actually have to transport 4/5 people. Of course, the smaller you make the vehicle the less surface you have for solar panels, unless you have something like a highly-streamlined "solar umbrella" which is larger than the vehicle.

As for solar panels, again, no, it's completely impossible. At highway speeds, you need tens of horsepower to overcome air resistance.

Depends on streamlining, and on what "useful speed" means (you said highway speed, not me -- the solar challenge vehicles go much faster than bicycles but not highway speeds), and on how much you can rely on batteries. I know I said "from on-board solar panels" but didn't mean to preclude the idea that the vehicle also has batteries. If the vehicle is parked in sunlight a significant portion of each day to charge the batteries, and it's very light and has very low air and rolling resistance... it may be possible that it can operate usefully without charging from an external source. Or perhaps just without very much external charging.

Also, you're implicitly assuming that the vehicle must overcome air resistance by itself. That needn't be true with autonomous vehicles at highway speeds, which could close up into big trains drafting off of one another. Perhaps the vehicles in the train could even join electrically or physically, so that the lead and trail vehicles don't have to draw down their batteries to maintain speed.

There are options, and I don't think the possibility should be dismissed out of hand. It's a stretch, certainly.

Comment Re:Don't agree with the conclusion .... (Score 1) 227

Electric cars are a fad. The biggest problem is what do you do with all the batteries? Sure you can recycle them, but they will all eventually die. Then what..?

Among other things, EV batteries are going to have a long life as home electricity storage batteries. After a decade or so of use in a vehicle, a battery will have lost ~30% of its capacity. That sucks because it means you have a lot of dead weight to haul around. But it's not nearly as much of a concern to have it parked in the corner of your garage or basement. A couple of old EV batteries would be fantastic for time shifting rooftop solar production to match home consumption. And in that usage model, you should be able to get several more decades of use out of a battery.

And then, recycling... which provides access to high-value raw materials much less expensively than mining.

Comment Re:Don't agree with the conclusion .... (Score 1) 227

High fuel prices punish the people who are already struggling, on tight budgets. If they need to drive a vehicle for any kind of delivery or taxi job (Uber, Lyft, etc.) - it means their costs go up, because they can't just "drive less".

That doesn't mean it shouldn't be done, it just means that it shouldn't be done too quickly or without warning. People can adapt, by moving where they live, by relocating businesses, by switching to telecommuting, by carpooling, using mass transit (which may require transit buildout) etc. (and taxis can simply raise their prices to account for the higher fuel costs -- or switch to electrics). The key is to give people time to adapt, and let them know that they need to.

IMO, we should implement a schedule of federal fuel tax increases. The increases should start very gently, but then get steeper, much steeper, and everyone should know they're coming well in advance. And the taxes collected should be invested in renewable and mass transportation.

Comment Re:This simply means we're succeeding. (Score 1) 227

You can't, unless you're proposing to have vehicles that can't go faster than bicycle speed. The size and weight of modern cars stems directly from crash-safety requirements.

Crash-safety requirements are necessary only because cars crash. When we mandate fully-autonomous vehicles, crashes will be reduced to a miniscule fraction of what they are, because they'll occur only in cases of severe mechanical failure or some non-vehicle object on the roadway (big rocks, etc.). Effectively, we'll move the crash safety assurance from heavy steel to lightweight sensor, communications and computing equipment.

I'm not sure if cars can be made lightweight enough to operate at useful speed from on-board solar panels, but we will be able to get much, much closer than we are now.

Comment Re: Rule of thumb (Score 1) 302

Really? No domestic or international commercial air traffic flies over your house? Where do you live that there's no such air traffic. That would be refreshing, I must say. Around here, we see and or hear hundreds of flights a day. The lower altitude stuff is not as common, but there's really no distinction from an FAA perspective.

Comment Re:Look a bit higher (Score 1) 302

"Plain sight," as in "you don't need tools to get to it." The sort of thing any FAA inspector could simply walk over and easily see/get to.

Otherwise, semantics. You can't fly your over 9-ounce toy, at all, unless it bears your registration information. The uniqueness of the registration between someone's multiple toys is neither here nor there. It's "you can't fly your toy without federal involvement and a way to track the toy back to you via a publicly searchable database." That's what matters.

Comment Re:It's already known (Score 1) 302

The FAA has statutory authority over every bit of US (and territorial) air space from 1mm above the ground. They are exactly who defines who can fly where. That has nothing to do with things like privacy laws - that's about what you do with, for example, images taken while flying. Right now, that's a patchwork of local and state laws. But who (and what) can fly where and how high: that's FAA turf, entirely.

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