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Comment Passive vacuum? (Score 1) 625

Float some lines up 10000 m on weather balloon-type contraptions and pipe them directly into your otherwise sealed tube. The atmosphere up there is 1/3rd of sea level, and that trend is linear enough that this would probably work over most land masses. If you're using maglev for propulsion and suspension, the only purpose the vacuum is serving is friction reduction, so any little bit would help.

Comment Re:Why? (Score 1) 625

You're talking about tubes that are hundreds of miles long and cars that are maybe a mile long, needing only to carry enough _air_, not oxygen, to survive the trip plus excess for the car itself. If all of that were released into a giant tube at once, and all 18% of it that is oxygen went right out the window with it, that newly polluted vacuum would be about as flammable as cured wet concrete.

Comment BSG Defense (Score 1) 289

Unplug everything critical. If you owe your life to it, it's worth needing to be physically present to make it work rather than risking vulnerability over a network. Then just make sure only people you want have physical access. Electronic warfare is simple to defend against, so far, it just takes a little foresight to realize that being fat, lazy, happy, and dead is worse than being a little busier, happy, and alive.

Comment Juices? (Score 1) 842

"... and other sugary drinks," makes me curious about what this bill might evolve into decades down the road. Are we eventually going to be OK with cranberry juice, but not pineapple or apple juice, due to sugar content?

Also, regarding the "tax more for more unhealthy people if we're doing universal healthcare" argument (which I agree with in part), why not just require a standard health assessment that everyone has to take to get care, and assign costs based on the outcome of those tests? It's more or less what we have now with private care, except there's at least one player in the field not (as) interested in profit margin.

Comment Re:This is why I stopped watching TV (Score 1) 244

They seem to forget that it is the consumer than "wants" the shows, and their job to deliver what the consumer wants, not what they think the consumer wants.

I would contend that it is indeed the consumer that wants the shows, but it is the suppliers job to make their customers happy, which, dollar for dollar, means they need to pay more attention to making advertisers happy than consumers.

I don't like the result, but consumer happiness has only become relevant in a world where there's somewhere else for the consumer to go, because they're merely a commodity that cable companies peddle to advertisers.

Comment What about the US Bill of Rights? (Score 1) 527

I'm glad you're paying attention to what your chosen president has been doing in office, however, it bothers me that in your synopsis you haven't considered Obama's approval of NDAA without removal of its unconstitutional segments. I suppose if you still trust him, the next natural course of action is to remove term limits so no one you don't trust gets into office with that law in effect. I for one cannot vote for him again even while I can agree that the positives you listed above are excellent. The assaults to our freedoms he has allowed the US government to make in the last four years (particularly the passing of NDAA) are too much for my liking, and will be voting for another candidate for president and for legislative representation.

Comment You learn the variation that's in front of you (Score 1) 344

Having responded to many wrecks of various cars in various states of being destroyed, you learn the variation that is in front of you. You're trained to know the difference between an electric, hybrid, or gas/diesel car, and you're trained to look for airbags in modern cars (taking the roof off? don't cut through an undetonated curtain airbag cylinder!). If you know what to look for (and first responders are trained in this), it's pretty easy to be able to see where it's safe to cut with the jaws and where you need to steer clear. Furthermore, there's a compounding factor in car design that reduces the electrical hazard to first responder crews: collapseable steering columns. If someone is pinned by the steering wheel, you may have to cut the lower frame of the car at the base of the A pillars to literally bend the car in half (the steering wheel moves with the front wheel/frame/engine assembly, so you bend that away from the trapped occupant, giving more room). However, this situation is less likely now than it was with non-collapseable steering columns (you're more likely to be able to just pull/bend the busted column away from the person without cutting the chassis). They're not going to put EV electrical conduits in the doors or upper parts of the frame (that's just extra wiring; the power's going to the wheels after all), so that's about the only time you'd be in trouble for an extrication. tl;dr: The way cars are made now this risk is low in the first place, and the first responders know what to look out for to keep themselves safe.

Comment Re:T800 (Score 1) 70

It's actually the other way around. They're designing the robot to put identical physical inputs into hardware that humans would. This allows them to test said hardware (like a chemical suit, for example) in real, hazardous environments, and to stress that hardware in ways it would be stressed in the real world, but without putting a human test subject's life at risk.

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