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Comment Re:Broken Windows Policing (Score 2) 191

As I understand, there's a Catch-22 associated with the ATF background check: from what I've been told, the only way to see if the background check thinks you are prohibited from owning a gun is to submit the paperwork for a background check. And since no gun shop is going to submit the paperwork if you aren't going to buy a gun, or if you say "No I can't possess a gun", the only way to check is to try and buy a gun, submit the paperwork, and see if it comes back negative.

While I agree that a 1-in-1000 prosecution rate for felony gun purchases is probably too low, a lot of those cases are probably people who either didn't know they couldn't buy a gun, and the system correctly prevented them from buying a gun; or people who wanted to find out if they were now eligible to buy a gun, and the system correct prevented them from buying one. So to meet the presumed objective of "keep felons from buying guns", the system appears to be working, and I'd bet a lot of these people aren't repeat offenders (i.e., they don't keep going to try and buy guns once they find out they can't), so it's not worth pursing a case for someone who couldn't have known any better. The ATF is probably actually looking primarily for repeat offenders, either trying multiple stores in succession, or trying multiple stores in different counties or states.

What we probably need is to 1) spend some more time following up on these cases to make sure these people aren't turning around and stealing firearms, and 2) coming up with a better system of checking your ATF gun purchasing status without perjuring yourself.

Comment Re:interstellar mission (Score 5, Interesting) 347

Making an antimatter rocket is "do-able" for some value of do-able, but making the antimatter is whole 'nother issue. According to Wikipedia, estimates put the cost of a gram of antimatter somewhere between $25 billion (2006) and $62 trillion (1999). Given the 2014 gross world product was about $78 trillion, the puts the price somewhere between "a lot" and "all of the money".

If we started now, I guess we could build a two-copy redundant probe set in 20-50 years that would take 400-4000 years to get to Proxima using either ion propulsion or nuclear pulse propulsion (Orion type) (assume max roughly 1% light speed). The probe set would cost $10-1,000 billion depending on how you amortize costs, R&D and NRE, launch facilities, and fuel. The US, EU, and China have GDPs of roughly $17, $17, and $11 trillion, respectively, so that's the scale you'd be working against.

Comment Re:MIMO (Score 2) 72

As the summary says (and no-one has contradicted), this experiment used a directional parabolic antenna to improve the performance of the data transmission. Along with parent, I am not really all that excited until they can get the same performance with either multiple antenna or an isotropic radiator to give 4-pi steradian coverage (or so). Having a point-to-point link is nice, but I can do that with lasers and microwave beams already.

Comment Re:new recommendations for drive health also out. (Score 1) 85

I know this is a little off-topic, but for years I've been braising my magtapes at 375 for about an hour per pound. Do the new recommendations mean I really should be doing a high-heat / low-heat type cooking (like for DVDs), or would reducing the temperature and just planning to cook it longer give a more succulent cartridge?

Comment Other resident viruses? (Score 5, Insightful) 107

I haven't even RTFA yet, but I was wondering if this could have applications with other viruses that become long-term residents of the body. I'm thinking of things in the herpes family like... herpes, or chickenpox / shingles. The trick with most of these is long-term, mostly-dormant viruses hiding in the cells. If you can wake them up, the immune system can clear them, but they are effectively hidden inside the cells while quiescent.

Comment 220V should be sufficient (Score 3, Insightful) 138

So I'm clear: you have a collection of devices with switch-mode power supplies that can handle the global 100-240V power, and you want a surge suppressor that will protect you on any voltage.

Since your power supplies can handle up to 240V, you just need a surge suppressor that handles spikes above 240V. So buy a 240V-rated surge suppressor, and use a 120V plug adapter for countries with lower voltage. Since your devices already handle up to 240V, then they can handle minor over-voltages on 120V systems just fine. Bigger spikes, like lightning, are going to be high over-voltages regardless of the base voltage.

I'm not sure of your solution if you have devices that have only-120V or only-240V power supplies, and you need a surge suppressor that can protect both. Buy new wide-band power supplies or build your own (it's not that hard).

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