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Comment Re:Tech transfer (Score 2) 237

It wouldn't be cheaper. It would be substantially more expensive because the research was undirected. Spinoffs come from solving one problem and finding a use for the technology elsewhere. If you don't solve the original problem you don't develop the technology to spin off. It's not the only way to do things but undirected research is difficult to fund and justify. Engineers don't go around solving problems at random as a general proposition. Students rarely solve serious engineering problems at all.

The proposed alternative to directed engineering for space flight is directed engineering for other stuff, not random engineering. I think space exploration is neat, but I reject the argument that it's uniquely justified because it's hard and creates spin-offs.

Curing cancers is hard. Building fusion reactors is hard. Detecting gravity waves is hard. If those things are more important (and they arguably are), then do those things and hope they accidentally apply to the space program.

What idiot would argue that the trying to cure cancer would be more likely to advance rocket design than trying to design better rockets? Why is the inverse considered a serious argument? It's just propaganda for people who don't think space exploration is neat.

Comment Re:Summary is wrong (Score 1) 95

Even if that is what they said I am 100% certain that they are lying. And how can I be certain? Because it keeps asking me to send friend requests to two different neighbors that I know by name and by sight but have absolutely no electronic contact with whatsoever. I don't have their phone number, they don't have mine. I don't email them, they don't email me, I don't even have their names in any electronic form. I've never typed their names into the computer - how could I? I only know their first names. But Facebook proudly presents them to me.

Do they know your name? I'm nearly certain that if they searched Facebook for you, it would suggest their names to you. (I'm not saying that they don't also use location data, just that there's another path.)

Comment Re:No. (Score 1) 262

I think health insurance is for everyone, because the risk of having expensive health problems exists for just about everyone, especially if health issues due to accidents are included. This is similar to automobile insurance - everyone who drives carries insurance, not just the bad drivers.

Health insurance is not at all like the required automobile insurance. Everyone is required to buy liability insurance for their car. Everyone must insure against the damage he does with the vehicle, not damage done to the vehicle. So the equivalent of the required automobile insurance is personal liability insurance, which is not required.

The justification for the health insurance mandate is that society isn't willing to let the uninsured die. Society is willing to let the uninsured go carless.

Comment Dead people (Score 3, Interesting) 98

I think it would be pretty interesting to feed the writing of a dead person into a program and then talk to it. I'm sure people would pay to chat with their late grandmother. But also, what does George Washington think about Middle East policy?

I'm skeptical of the article's claims but this is at least a good science fiction idea.

Comment Re:I guess there's one sensible solution to this (Score 1) 819

Sadly, I saw a few people become cocaine addicts because of drug testing. Their employers started testing, so they switched from pot to crack, They're all now homeless, but finctioned in society fine with pot.

I think it's unfair to blame testing for their choice to use crack, as if they had no choice but to use illegal drugs.

Comment Re:Right Answer, Wrong Method (Score 2) 252

What the FBI cannot do is force a company to do something that will cause it irreparable harm and devalue its entire business model. Forcing Apple to produce this code goes against Apple's right to be free of unreasonable seizures, as the FBI would in effect be seizing 80% of the value of the company, if not more, to get a backdoor into all iPhones.

I disagree with this reasoning. A business doesn't have an inalienable right to make money. If I run a child pornography store, the government can, will, and should force me to stop it, even if it will devalue its entire business model. If the business model is contrary to law, it's sucks to be that business.

I can support Apple's right to deny the FBI based on other principles, but certainly not because it will hurt their stockholders.

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