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Comment Re:Shifting the workload onto other people? (Score 1) 167

I don't believe my premise is wrong, but I may have not made it all clear due to brevity. Of course reality is more complex than a few sentences in a slashdot comment; if it were this simple we'd all be economy experts. Let me try to clear things up.

Inflation can be due to a government printing money because it CAN'T borrow enough.

The government doesn't print money. Well, it does, but not nearly enough to matter, and in order to print it, the money has to be created first via a borrowing event. Look up how that all works.

When the news says the government is 'creating money' they really mean they are borrowing it. The US government has no direct control over the money supply, that's all handled by the Federal Reserve, which despite having "Federal" in the name is actually a private entity. Really.

The US government borrowed tons of money in 2015, and inflation was way below average.

The correlation is not immediately 1:1. It takes some time for the created money to get into the system. That said, the industries where the government is spending the money tend to be impacted first - so if you want to see what the impacts are, look at those areas. Education and Healthcare have been focuses recently, look at the inflation numbers in those fields.

Education is a great example; we tend to all agree that education costs too much (despite it becoming easier to actually distribute information) - it's due to dollars in that area simply not being worth the same amount as dollars spent elsewhere. This is thanks to government funding the schools directly, subsidizing tuition under the covers, and making loans very accessible. Money is easier to come by, so it's not worth as much.

I'm all for helping people- but the government programs to make college more accessible are making it cost more and hurting competition, and in the end hurting those we're trying to help. Schools don't need to get more efficient or produce better graduates, they have no impetus to. In some cases (such as government assistance to colleges based on square footage) schools actually have good reason to retain and expand old practices, which the modern student gets to help pay for, but gets limited benefit from.

"Inflation" in the education space has been miles higher than the overall "inflation" number that gets published. That's the place to look for a short-term study on government spending. Similar stories can be found in healthcare.

Whoa, that's absurdly incorrect. Appreciation != inflation.

I didn't say due to appreciation, I said due to inflation. There's no additional value in this mythical house.

Let's say it another way - 30 years ago you took out a (for simplicity, 0%) loan for $100k. You still haven't paid it back today, but today it's much easier to pay it back because $100k is a lot less money than it used to be. The loan, like the house, hasn't appreciated. The only thing that's changed is the value of the dollar, effectively shrinking your debt without you doing anything to shrink it. Even if you're paying interest on the loan, if you got a good loan, your interest rate is less than inflation. Same effect but slower. As such, inflation helps (or at least *can help*) the people who can get good loans or own things, and just make things cost more for those who can't.

Comment Re:Shifting the workload onto other people? (Score 1) 167

I look at it this way: Any government spending hurts the poor and benefits the rich.

When the government spends money, it borrows it. Borrowed money is created out of thin air by the banks. Reserve requirement.

Money creation causes inflation.

Inflation means it costs more for the poor to buy stuff, and it means the stuff the rich own becomes more valuable. (if you bought a $100k house 30 years ago, it's worth $300k now thanks to inflation... you made $200k simply by owning it).

Unfortunately this means huge government programs often hurt the people they try to help in the long run.

I'm all for helping people, but the money that goes to help people needs to come from individuals, not from money creation. Also, human time assisting the needy needs to come from volunteers, not workers paid from borrowed (created) funds.

Comment Re:economic case with different assumptions... (Score 2) 163

Actually, I do know these things, but didn't bother to include all the sources, given it being Christmas and all. Since you are so insistent about it though...

Points 1 & 3 are taken from direct quotes by Elon Musk
Point 2 is taken from the design of the Falcon 9, available at spacex or nearby wikipedia.
"re-use without refurbishment" another direct E. Musk quote.

Spacex current launch rate (6 per year) and cadence and published launch costs and satellite weights for commercial space companies are just a google search away. Try this excellent site: http://www.spacelaunchreport.c... for starters

A very informative and useful place to find much of this information and discussion by knowledgeable space experts and enthusiasts is at: http://www.nasaspaceflight.com...

The rest is just simple math.

To sum up, I do have details, I'm not guessing, and I note where I make assumptions. Find fault with my assumptions if you like, but please explain why those assumptions are flawed with specifics, not generalities.

Comment Re:economic case with different assumptions... (Score 4, Insightful) 163

Interesting numbers. Let's try a variant case. Suppose in addition: You're assuming that the non-reusable launch vehicle cost per launch is $60M. OK, let's start out by assuming 1/3 of that is fixed costs and operations costs, and 2/3 the vehicle cost, which is split evenly between the two stages (first stage is larger, but not proportionately more expensive). So, of the $60 million, $40 million is spent even if the vehicle first stage was free. Now assume that re-usability increases the launch cost by, say, $5 million (launch operations are expensive! and the cost is not entirely the vehicle). Assume that all the stuff needed to make the first stage reusable increases the stage cost by 25%, from $20M to $25M. And assume that the delta-V and the added mass to do the fly-back decreases payload by 10%, and that the price you sell the launch for decreases a similar percentage (some payloads won't care, but some will.)

First off, the current cost of the rocket already includes the costs to do reusibilty, so the cost of the first stage will not increase- it is designed be reused up to 10 times right now with no change in hardware.

Secondly, the cost of the 2 stages are not even remotely close to equal; the first stage has 9 Merlin engines, the second stage only has 1. An estimate of 6 to 1 (first to second) for costs would be more reasonable.

Thirdly, the payloads currently quoted already include reusability (16MT to LEO and 4.5MT to GTO). No loss of earnings there.

So none your variant assumptions are useful for this discussion.

Let's look at some other factors you haven't considered.

Like the space shuttle, SpaceX now has a rocket for examination that has flown a full mission and hasn't had a 6G salt water landing. This means that they will be able to do full engineering analysis on what stresses the rocket actually experienced during a flight event that increase all steps necessary for re-use. The results of that analysis will allow them to determine what parts of the rocket need to be enhanced or reduced to meet the 10 tens re-use goal. SpaceX has the luxury of being to make changes to their rocket without Congressional approval, so this information can be used immediately to improve the vehicle. The design goal of the Falcon is that the rocket need not be "refurbished" after every flight, just put through some standard flight maintenance tests. Having the flown stages available for analysis will help them to meet this goal.

Additionally, SpaceX currently has launch costs based on 6 launches a year. As they have already demonstrated the ability to launch with a cadence of 2 weeks several times, being able to increase their launch rate to a minimum of 1 a month will cut their overall costs per launch.

Let's assume that a slight redesign based on analysis of real-world data let's them increase reliability of the Falcon 9 to 1 in 100 and increase the payload by 1MT to GTO. At 5.5MT to GTO, this let's them handle 90% of all GTO launches (6MT is at the current top end for commercial satellites to GeoSynchronous orbits) with the reuable design. 5MT is compable to $137M Ariane 5 capbility or $132M for an Atlas 5 launch for NASA with both the throw weight and reliability requirements necessary to get these flights.

$60M to launch the current, reusable Falcon 9 1.1FT.
33% is launch cost. - $20M
56% is first stage - $34M
11% is the second stage $6M

Assumption 1: increase in flight rate reduces launch costs by 25%
Assumption 2: landing/recovery/flight readiness check costs $5M a launch
Assumption 3: 10 flights reuse of the first stage = $3.5M a launch

Under these assumptions:
Launch cost $15M
Landing/recovery/checks $5M
First stage $3.5M
Second Stage: $6M

Total: $29.5M

I'm OK with those numbers given what they can charge and how quickly they can do regular launches. Where they will really rake in the cash is for a Facon Heavy launch (same vehicle with 3 first stages instead of 1) with 56MT to LEO for an asking price of $110M and a cost, by these assumptions of $35M. They could even reduce their price after a few launches of the Heavy to $56M, and start launching bulk cargo to space at a rate of $1000/Kg

Comment WSJ is incorrect in title, implication (Score 4, Informative) 434

From Daily Kos:

"Late Thursday night, the Times published a story claiming that the Justice Department had been asked "to open a criminal investigation into whether Hillary Rodham Clinton mishandled sensitive government information on a private email account," only to quietly change the story to say that the Justice Department had been asked "to open a criminal investigation into whether sensitive government information was mishandled in connection with the personal email account Hillary Rodham Clinton used." As in, the story changed from being about a potential criminal investigation into Clinton's conduct to being about a potential criminal investigation into the mishandling of sensitive information by ... someone not named. "

So, haven't you guys learned yet to ignore mass media reporting when it involves a Clinton? It's almost like someone with billions of dollars has been trying to smear the leading Democratic candidate for a few years now.

Comment No. (Score 1) 239

Any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered with "No."

Mass surveillance won't end. We have a new era of existence now, and that era includes easy access to anything you've ever communicated.

The thing we'll need to keep in check is how the information collected is used, which is part of the reason why personal right and acceptance of others is so important.

Comment "Open source made easy" (Score 1) 598

The back of the 10.4 server box said "Open source made easy" - and that's what it was, a lot of open technologies pulled together and given focus by Apple. Samba, bind, Apache, MySQL, openldap, etc all controlled with a pretty decent gui. Even the Mach kernal had an open version you could download and use with a bad-like user land (darwin).

Then in 10.5 they started removing the open parts and closing it all up. 10.4 could be a windows domain controller thanks to leveraging samba- today's OS X server can't, because Apple decided to replace samba with a closed implementation.

Not only has Apple made more work for themselves, they are actively pushing away the users that help grow the platform. Sure, the grandparents don't care if there's a decent xserver included- but the young person who helps keep their computers working (and tells them what to buy) does.

I embraced OS X when 10.4 for intel came out, because I could run anything. I could compile my Unix tools and use them on a nice, more focused platform. Now that's much more difficult, and instead of looking forward to what's next from Apple, I'm wondering how much longer I can stand to stay in the ecosystem.

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