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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:Galactic North... (Score 1) 268

I don't see the approximation I read in an astronomy book and that I still use, so here it is:

Think of the universe as an hyper-sphere. Well, this is actually hard, so remove a dimension: we're left with a sphere in space, like a balloon, and that balloon is inflated (*).
At the time of big-bang, the balloon was a point, and it is expanding.
To be clear, as we removed a dimension, the universe is the balloon surface, not the volume.

Pear-shaped I guess would point to center / past, but I guess they mean pear-shaped in three dimensions, so that could mean the 4th-dimension "inertia" imbalance has effects in three dimensions, but someone more knowledgeable than me would would have to comment if this makes sense.

(*) AFAIK, if universe's curvature is positive, it's actually an accurate representation. But the universe's curvature is as close of 0 as we can currently measure.

Comment Re:Have to give it to Apple..... (Score 1) 771

I wouldn't blame them for not using micro-USB. I would rather blame them for not using USB Type-C (which is also a reversible plug). Lightning has been used since 2012, but Type-C exists only since 2014, so at the time it made sense. Probably they're keeping Lightning as of now because it's more lucrative in licensing fees, their installed base is big enough that they have no pressure to play nice yet, and there's no way to make every one happy as changing would annoy those that already have these Lightning docks and would have to change them (again, if they had 30-pin docks before).

As for the advantages:
- you're not limited to stereo, as you could enjoy 5.1 with the dock,
- less ports to waterproof (if you're going for that feature),
- either more room for something else like battery, or thinner phones (because extra-thin is somehow a selling point),
- they would rather go to 0 connectors, but the performance isn't there yet.

Comment Re:Not Slytherin eh? (Score 1) 117

Of course it's hard to place Donald Trump in one of the buckets. He has no opinion. It's one now, an other the day after and other the day after that.
For Donald Trump winning is more important that anything else, not truth or making clear what his plans are for the country. And some people like what is perceived a strong leader. He's just a bullshitter.

According to Dumbledore, the qualities that Slytherin prized in his handpicked students included his own rare ability to speak Parseltongue, resourcefulness, and determination. He also selected his students according to cunning, ambition, and blood purity.

(Source)

In other words, a perfect match for Slytherin, right ?

Comment Re:lack of international cooperatiom (Score 2) 192

US courts have a tendency to hand down draconian sentences for even trivial infractions thanks to the 'come down on him like a ton of bricks' attitude to justice among politically ambitious US judges and prosecutors.

My understanding is that many judges in the USA are elected, so I wouldn't put the blame on the judges but on the electors. You just get what you (collectively) asked for, for better or worse.

This has resulted in an extreme reluctance in other countries to extradite people to the US

I'm not sure about that. However, some countries, and this includes Germany, forbid extradition of their own nationals.

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.

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