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Comment Medicare won't pay for Wii because of dual purpose (Score 2, Insightful) 422

Medicare and many insurance companies won't pay for Wii because it is dual-purpose device
NYTimes had a story when they refused to pay for iPhone-based speech synthesizer for a paralyzed patient but had no problems paying $5000 for a desktop based one because the desktop-based device was not able to do anything but synthesize voice

Comment Re:I predict a boom in Chinese research. (Score 2, Insightful) 292

Chinese are willing to spend their money on fundamental research without immediate financial reward.
This is against our culture of quarter-per-quarter results.
Friend of mine who is in the top pack of string theorists was invited for a tenured position to teach/research in China. I always make fun of him working on something he couldn't even experimentally proof, but they were willing to pay for it.
He hasn't accepted the offer because he got the same position in UK, which is much closer culturally to us.

Comment Re:Belarus is a predictive signal for Russia. (Score 1) 89

You are absolutely right. Both countries have both ex-Commies at power (they call themselves differently now but they are all tainted by the membership in that party).
Both countries are corrupt inside out. Instead of telling people the truth about what's going on their government try to find enemies outside (Ukraine, Georgia, US) and within (democrats) the country.

Comment Re:New stations NOW (Score 1) 260

On Shutles: Shuttle carries 40 tons into orbit and can be reused many times. Our next best option - Soyuz can carry up to 3 tons payload on the lowest orbit. NASA got scared with two crashes and cannot take risk anymore and instead of producing new Shuttles they gave up into old technology (Orion is an advanced Apollo)

This is about how much risk people can handle. While it is completely sane to wear bicycle helmet on the road it is completely unnecessary to wear it in the park. Do you see the difference in risks between these two situations?

Comment New stations NOW (Score 5, Insightful) 260

Greenes did huge damage to this country by instilling fear in nuclear power. While Greens mostly support good things to protect environment their opposition and fearmongering of nuclear plants caused us to build economy on oil.
Besides that we canceled all large-scale development of next generation reactors (breeders, lead-cooled, etc.) capable of burning 99% of fuel and leaving almost no waste.

On the bigger picture in the last twenty-thirty years people became more comfortable and lazy and unwilling to take any risks. This affected everything in the society - cancellation of Space Shuttle program, public safety even kids wearing helmets on the bicycles. If there is no risk there is no reward but it seems we kind of forgot about it.

Comment We were burnt as well (Score 5, Interesting) 327

In 2006-2007 it was a problem to get many parts in the reasonable quality - flash, op-amps, multiplexors.
So we bought a few reels from the second-hand distributor.
As a result flash marked as 32Mb was 2Mb inside, op-amps weren't up to the specs (manufacturer confirm that they were made of written-off dyes), multiplexors were sold as a particular brand with advanced features while indeed were jelly beans for $0.10 a piece.
Thankfully we were able to rework boards before products hit the consumer market.
That was a good lesson for us to never use Chinese distributors for parts

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