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Comment Re:GPS position accuracy (Score 1) 128

You completely missed my point. As you say, the satellites all say "I am here (insert coordinates - 26,560km distance to earth center) and my local time is hh:mm:ss.xxxx", but how is that coordinate system defined?

THAT is the key question that defines how the coordinate system is "anchored". And since it relies on ground-based reference stations (though from Dare's comment it's sounds as though the stations are the active component there, and periodically update the satellites understanding of where they are), we must ask, how exactly do they compensate for motion of the stations? After all, there's no such thing as a stationary point on the surface of the Earth, everything is in a state of constant (slow) flux, as are the orbits of the satellites, thanks to solar wind, etc. Makes for a thoroughly squishy question

Comment Re:GPS position accuracy (Score 1) 128

Thanks, that's what I was wondering about. I didn't see any mention of if/how they compensate for movement of the ground antennas though, since nowhere on Earth is perfectly stationary. I wonder if they simply say "this point is defined as X/Y/Z coordinates", or if they attempt to track compensate for it.

Comment Re:Well.... (Score 1) 126

And as a matter of fact there ARE currently people living in the exclusion zone - those who refused to move away after the disaster. And I can't say that I recall hearing about any particular health problems, not that that necessarily means anything.

As I recall the soil fungi and other microbial life are having a hard time of it, but the rest of the ecosystem is doing pretty well, especially considering the trouble in the foundations. Higher cancer and mutation rates probably, but while that sucks for individuals it's not necessarily a problem for the species or ecosystem.

Comment Re:GPS position accuracy (Score 1) 128

In the case of GPS though, the system isn't physically anchored to anything. I assume it uses some terrestrial reference point(s) to correct for orbital drift, but I believe the system as a whole is constantly broadcasting all the information to fully define a coordinate system. Anchor those coordinates to Australia, and it's the rest of the world that has apparently drifted 1.5m.

Having the devices themselves translate between canonical GPS coordinates and locally defined ones might be viable, but would require that the device acquire updated translation parameters on a semi-regular basis. Perhaps the GPS system could be extended to periodically broadcast updated translation matrices for the various tectonic plates? You'd still get some problems near the fault lines, but it might beat having to completely update all the maps every few years.

Comment Re:Infinitesimally precise (Score 1) 128

Quite. GPS is essentially a "cheat system" to make it brain-dead easy to determine your precise location. Without it our robots could still theoretically determine their location via landmarks , street signs, etc, just as we have done since prehistory. It's probably a heck of a lot more difficult to implement though.

Comment Compelling *STATE* interest? (Score 1) 175

Not to mention the bit implying that a compelling *state* interest would justify abridging the First Amendment.

I mean, it's a constitutionally guaranteed right, shouldn't abridging it require a compelling *public* interest? That is, protecting the rights of other citizens, as is the case in the classic example of yelling of "Fire!" in a crowded theater? If a compelling state interest is sufficient to abridge our constitutional rights, then those rights exist only so long as they don't interfere with the state's accumulation of power.

Comment Re:Only in a few swing states. Otherwise, vote pla (Score 1) 251

If done in non swing states, like Minnesota or California are going republican, you could have a breakdown like that (maybe not quite like that) but still end up with a clear electoral college victory. An election like that would also make it very clear that people are unhappy with things and we would likely see some real change.

Comment Re:Only in a few swing states. Otherwise, vote pla (Score 1) 251

Hell I would like to see a 27%, 25%, 24%, 24% split or something similar with the Greens and the Libertarians thrown in there. Really make the 2 major parties realize that they suck and people don't want what they are selling. while I know this won't happen one can dream.

Comment Re:Since neither is getting elected (Score 1) 251

True but in states like Minnesota if you aren't voting for Clinton you are wasting your vote so why not vote 3rd party, it isn't like this state is going to go Republican. Similar with Texas, California, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, and all the other safe states that go overwhelmingly for one party over another. I would love to see an election where the winning presidential candidate only gets like 27% of the vote.

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