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Comment Electric VTOL aircraft? (Score 1) 41

Does this plan involve inventing Mr. Fusion reactors?

What known power source exists capable of running an electric VTOL aircraft? The only thing I can think of is gas turbine driving a generator, at which point it's not really electric and efficiency wise you might as well just use that as shaft power. Certainly no current battery technology is capable of the power density required to drive a VTOL aircraft.

Comment Why didn't it blow up in the heteros? (Score 4, Interesting) 272

Why didn't AIDS become as big in the hetero community -- or did it, and the media has never reported it that way? I know its a problem in Africa, but I'm most interested in the US.

Female-to-male spread harder? Lower frequency sex in heteros? Lower sex partner churn in heteros?

I came of age in the 1980s when AIDS was a big deal and frankly, almost never was it something I found my female partners to be concerned with. They worried about pregnancy, although even that was often not taken too seriously.

Comment How granular is "real time" and will TSA care? (Score 3, Interesting) 60

Will you literally be able to track your bag accurately through the airport or will it be generic "stations" like "ticketing, tram loading, tarmac, plane"?

Either way, I'm curious about what TSA thinks about this. In theory this gives parties with ill intent some kind of idea where bags go and when and could used for nefarious purposes.

On the up side, if your bag stalls it may be a sign you're being robbed or TSA is detailing the contents (or both!).

Comment And project Ara was doomed to failure? (Score 2) 102

It sure seems like some people would be into a modular phone, considering what they're willing to invest in cosmetic-only upgrades with no functional purpose.

Maybe the Ara project approached it wrong -- rather than looking at phone upgrades from a purely geek-centric perspective of specific hardware improvement modularity, maybe they should have considered the "trend" factor would be a driving force -- ie, people would be willing to buy modules that weren't really an upgrade, but instead were popular or had some other trend factor.

Comment Re:Laying cable (Score 1) 197

That seems high considering the local gas utility has been replacing gas lines in the neighborhood (largely built in the mid-50s), and I would imagine that active work on natural gas lines is more complicated than laying fiber -- ie, you can't disrupt gas service and you're dealing with a flammable and potentially explosive gas.

I would imagine that the equipment side of a fiber rollout would have a lot of costs as you would have all the expensive networking gear to deal with, but the actual directional drilling part wouldn't be as complex as a live natural gas distribution system.

Comment Re:Filter theory might be correct (Score 2) 929

Cooler heads? Kennedy blockaded Cuba, a direct military threat to the Soviet Union.

I think interdependence is a bigger reason it wouldn't happen. The major nuclear powers in the 1960s were largely self-sustaining, and wiping part of the map wouldn't have had much an impact. At worst we may have had some dependencies on third world countries for raw materials in some of the same sectors we had in WW II, like rubber

Now? Even a six month major disruption in economic activity would bring even the US to its knees as we can't make much of what we need at home, and its probably worse elsewhere. The US has the know-how (probably) to jump-start its manufacturing base given a 3-5 year strategic commitment to investment, but we would need to operate at WW II levels of rationing and economic intervention.

There's also the question of elite status -- the elites are in a powerful position in terms of economic status and political power, there's no telling what even a limited nuclear exchange would do to them. A handful may become more powerful, but it seems more likely that a large number would lose their status forever, either due to the economic disruption or due to outright nationalization of assets and the promotion of national security/military interests.

Comment Re:Spoofing? (Score 1) 75

I'm pretty sure nuclear plants aren't run by just one guy who logs in when he gets a pager message and then hits the "shut down plant" button.

There's an entire staff and it would take spoofing all of them and making the on site people not believe the actual plant control systems to take an action that would be "wrong".

Comment Re:Filter theory might be correct (Score 3, Insightful) 929

I don't think a global nuclear was is likely. I think it's more likely that a small state actor that has nuclear weapons ends up getting hit in a pre-emptive or punitive strike for credibly threatening or actually using one against the US or Russia in a single strike.

Should that happen, it seems unlikely that a major nuclear power would risk some kind of retaliation what would surely end up mutual destruction.

I also doubt that any small state actor, no matter how apparently crazy, would try to do so because you just can't fight and win a nuclear war with Russia, China or the US. The Iranians or the North Koreans simply lack the ability to hit a major player hard enough to prevent an overwhelming retaliatory strike that would be the end of the regime and knock back the country's development by at least 500 years.

If we didn't have a nuclear war in the early 1960s, we aren't having one now.

Comment Something seems rotten here (Score 1) 23

Isn't an "associate" by which I assume "business associate" of a talent agency watching a movie kind of something Warner wants to happen? Like they want industry visibility of their product, especially to talent agencies?

Isn't it also fair to assume that among industry insiders "off the books" copies of films have been around forever and are widely circulated? I'd guess old timers have significant libraries of 35mm and 16mm prints which were never paid for and some of which may have been made in labs for nothing more than the cost of film and developing.

Unless the talent agency was actively allowing people not associated with the agency to download these films, I'm kind of wondering what Warner is so wound up about. There's literally nothing happening here that hasn't gone on forever, especially since the VHS era.

While I'm sure some finance guy at Warner feels like his numbers would work out better if he could somehow include revenue from every time a film biz insider looked at a Warner film, I'm also guessing that filmmakers making money off of people involved in the filmmaking business isn't exactly what you'd call a business model.

Comment We're just thrilled! (Score 5, Funny) 245

"We're just thrilled. We do think this is the future of transportation," James Sembrot, senior director of logistics strategy at Anheuser-Busch, told Business Insider.

"I have a bonus target that kicks in when I cut our labor tab by $2 million, this will easily help me get there by eliminating a bunch of Teamster hacks and their pension contributions," Sembrot added.

"Wait, is your recorder still running? Can we cut that last part out, I want to keep the focus on how AB-InBev is embracing new technologies, that last part is kind of off the record."

Comment Re:What bothers me more (Score 1) 424

How many people take "getting their news" seriously period?

I still get the printed local newspaper and the NY Times on the weekend. I get up early and usually see the delivery person drop off papers on our street. 10 years ago they stopped at most houses on my block, now it seems like they deliver to only a handful of houses.

Obviously this process started years ago with TV news as the alternate source, but with "news" available so easily online many people don't get the paper at all, and of them I would bet few are serious readers going through the whole web site to get the equivalent of paging through an entire newspaper and discovering stories and reading them (one reason I get the paper is I often find stories I missed online).

But nowadays, so many people are plugged into Facebook that they don't even have a pretense of reading the news, they just kind of click through links on major stories.

IMHO, I doubt these same people are factually less ignorant than they would have been 20 years ago (they may not have been newspaper readers then, either). What's really bad about is the echo chamber effect. Your "friends" on Facebook all have a similar world view, so you just end up getting hammered with the same reinforcing information.

What I think is curious in this election cycle are the number of "anti-Trump" posts by people I'm pretty sure don't have a single Trump supporter in their friend list. Why are they (repetitively) posting information on how horrible Trump is to an audience that already agrees nearly completely with them? I'm starting to think this isn't about being in favor of or against Trump per se, but some other kind of social reinforcement behavior designed to demonstrate to their friends how much they share a common world view.

It almost takes on a quality like a religious piety, like a testifying their religious faith in front of other believers. They're not trying to convince their friends to change their views, they're trying to convince their friends how *strong* their religious beliefs are.

Comment Re:Randomly selected policy positions (Score 1) 116

The list of positions a party takes can be seen as its ideology; it doesn't necessarily have to mirror a specific defined ideology (socialism, etc). Party ideology is inherently flexible in a democratic polity but generally remains stable over the medium time even if some elements of party ideals change or shift.

Democrats, for example, have generally supported social welfare, minority rights, gun control, abortion as a right, even if some of these views have shifted (ie, Bill Clinton's support for ending "welfare as we know it").

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