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Comment Re:It's not the FWD that are the real problem (Score 5, Insightful) 106

That's one of the issues with CR's reporting. 100 people with problems with a cupholder would rate as "poor" while 2 with a blown engine would rate as "good", when the sum of cost of 100 cupholders is less than two engines, so the upkeep cost of the "reliable" car is higher than the "unreliable" car.

Comment Re:Goodbye Discounted Internet Access (Score 1) 108

In most acquisitions of this type, if approved, AT&T would have to sell in areas where they'd be the only choice. So you'd remain with two choices. Likely AT&T and Comcast (as the phone company would tend to keep the phone system, and that'd mean they'd have to sell the cable, and Comcast is the biggest in that area now, and would likely profit from the merger in the short term).

Comment Re:Fickle as the wind (Score 1) 108

Not by Bush, but by the CIA. When the CIA asserts that Saddam Hussein is buying Yellow Cake, do you really want Congress ignoring that when passing laws?

And funny how conservatives insist we worship the presidency when a Republican is in office, and the opposite when the office is held by a Democrat.

Comment Re:Really... (Score 1) 108

TW also gave to Republicans and Trump. Most organizations double-donate, to hedge their bets. The donations are less an indication of who they want to see, and more an indication of who they think will win, as the more they give, the more influence they expect. It's simple bribery. Except without a result pre-planned. So like a bribery retainer. And perfectly legal. If you don't like it, get the Republican Congress to end it. Oh, wait. They are explicitly for the bribery, and when the Democratic Party tried to end it, the Republicans blocked that. Couldn't end the bribery, and actively working to promote and extend it. Though, maybe the Democratic Party proposed it as a publicity stunt, knowing the Republicans would block anything proposed, and the Dems wouldn't have supported their own thing, if it went to a final vote, but we'll never know, because the Republicans voted to extend bribery.

Comment Re:Really... (Score 1) 108

It's common in these for AT&T to agree to sell the cable franchise anywhere where they are already the local phone company. Such "restrictions" are common in these types of mergers, and don't reduce the customers available choices, but increase the area wher AT&T is one of the two choices. THe idea of a "natural monopoly" requiring government rules to establish and protect monopolies is the problem. A "natural monopoly" had a meaning in the start of phone service, where the 3 overlapping phone companies refused to intertie, to the point you couldn't call someone on the other network. Requiring FRAND intertie removes any need for monopolistic protections. Internet POPs are FRAND (in practice, if not in legislation). And that's fine. IF all local providers tie together at a central point with FRAND terms, there's no need to continue to defend monopolies. Perhaps adjust the USF fees to discourage cherry-picking of urban areas and better fund rural areas, but no need for a government-enforced monopoly.

Comment Re:What are we forgetting... (Score 1) 210

Big asteroids are a valid concern, and very long-term I do believe humans should work at establishing a human presence on other worlds (starting with the Moon), however asteroid bombardment should *not* be a factor in driving humans to inhabit other worlds.

It would be far, far easier for us to improve our capabilities for detecting large asteroids, and then deflecting them, than to figure out how to live on Mars. Dealing with asteroids is not that hard: first we have to actually invest some resources into looking for the damn things. We do a little of that right now, but not nearly enough, as the strike in Russia a couple years ago proved. This isn't hard; we just need more probes in orbit, or perhaps in Solar orbit closer to the Sun (to spot ones that we can't see from here because the Sun's light drowns them out). Second, we need to develop the capability of deflecting them. With good enough detection, this isn't hard: you just send a big craft up there with some engines (probably ion engines) and a lot of fuel and run them for a long time to push it into a slightly different and safer orbit. If you have enough forewarning, it's not that hard, because a little movement will make a big change in trajectory over a long time. The key here is having enough forewarning; if your detection efforts are so lame that you have very little warning, then you're not going to be able to avert disaster.

Simply put, it'd be a lot easier and cheaper for us to invest in some space-based telescopes optimized for detecting Earth-crossing asteroids than to develop all the technology and infrastructure needed for establishing a colony on Mars. And the end result is better too: instead of some small colony on Mars surviving while the bulk of humanity perishes, along with the most livable planet for humans, we can keep our planet and the entire human race intact.

But if we're too stupid and short-sighted to invest in some telescopes, then maybe we deserve to be wiped out like the dinosaurs.

Comment Re:People ARE what we are sending (Score 1) 210

Not really.

Hawaii is a really nice place for humans to live: the weather is perfect, it's lush and beautiful, there's all kinds of fun things to do like swimming, surfing, scuba diving, exploring rain forests, etc.

If you found yourself magically transported to Hawaii in prehistoric times, perhaps with a small group of intelligent people, you could pretty easily survive there by living off the land. There's wood for making huts and burning, there's extremely fertile land for farming, there's vegetation that can be eaten, there's fish in the ocean nearby that you can fish, you don't have to worry about freezing to death, the air is clean, etc. Or, in modern times, if you can afford it, it's a great place to live too, especially if you can afford a nice house on the beach.

Mars isn't like that at all. You can't go outside, you can't breathe the thin atmosphere, you'll get radiation sickness, you can't easily grow food, there's no liquid water (humans tend to like bodies of water), etc. Maybe if you really like living underground in an artificial habitat, it'll be a nice place for you to live, but if you like being outside, it'll really suck. I suppose if you could make the underground habitats big enough and Earthlike enough (with giant artificial forests and lakes), it wouldn't be so bad, but that'd be quite a project. It'd be a lot easier to just stop messing up this planet so much.

Comment Re:Plant plants (Score 1) 210

Actually, no, it's "boarders" now. The English language is defined by popular usage, and roughly half the American population believes that "boarder" means "a dividing line" (what you think of as "border"). This is seen in every online message board where the topics of "enforcing the boarder", illegal immigration, etc. comes up. When a large enough fraction of the population makes the same mistake, it become the correct usage.

Maybe if we had some decent public education in this country, this wouldn't have happened.

Comment Re:Plant plants (Score 1) 210

That's not that much lower. Here on Earth we have things called "clouds" that reduce our usable sunlight; Mars doesn't have those, nor much of an atmosphere to speak of. We also grow food just fine in cooler months (when there's less sunlight per day), especially when we use greenhouses. This isn't like trying to grow food on Pluto.

At the worst, we could build big greenhouses which have sunlight concentrators on the roof, like giant Fresnel lenses. They wouldn't need to concentrate the light that much, since there's only 50% less sunlight than on Earth, so the area of the roof would only need to be 25-50% larger than the area of the farmland (due to the mitigating factors I mentioned above: no clouds, less atmospheric attenuation, selection of grops that need less sunlight, etc.).

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