I just need something to work with the mechanical equipment it controls
Apparently you just don't need a run of the mill desktop linux distro, but some special purpose to control some hardware, right ? The good news is that all linux systems are more or less equivalent for that. The bad news is: what is you equipment ? Does it support Linux ? Do you need to write software for it or are you provided drivers ? If the latter you should ask your hardware provider what they recommend, not us.
Where is it written that a government *MUST* tax sales?
The way I see it is that if your taxe system is simple, plenty of people find workarounds and don't (legally) pay taxes. Then you close that loophole and tax what they were doing. Rinse, repeat and you end up with a 5 thousand page tax system only experts working for Apple understand and they are the only ones not (legally) paying taxes at this point. In other words I see this complexity of the tax system as necessary evil and advocates of 'flat tax' or other 'simple' systems as idiots.
Their new cars feature full glass roofs.
Is that a good idea ? If you park in sunny areas it'll be unbearably hot even if you park with the front of the car away from the sun (current strategy). And if you roll-over: glass all around you even more than before with the side/front windows...
The rest is either bullshit or used to differentiate between models.
visibility is a couple kilometers
First, thanks for your very interesting posts. Do you mean visibility at ground level or at the altitude where the pressure is 1atm ? If the former, then why did the Russian probes only show pictures with about one meter of visibility ?
Personally I really liked the idea put forward at the end of K.S.R.'s Blue Mars: put a gigantic thin (monomolecular) film at L1 between Venus and the sun to lower the solar input and let Venus atmosphere condense to the ground.
There is no clear, universally agreed definition of what a continent is.
I've been to all 7 continents. And even if they add an 8th one in NZ, I don't care as I've been there too !
Any given program will expand to fill available memory.