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Comment Re:So Iran's standards then? (Score 1) 697

I helped one of the Amish pull electronic reports off his laptop. They guy used Quickbooks for all his finances, and would print out invoices from his truck for customers of his building business. Amish != Luddite. It is often quite surprising how much they know about current technology and events. A more accurate description is that they are selective and deliberate about what they adopt into their lifestyle, rather than soak up whatever bits of pop culture are put in front of them.


Astrium Hopes To Test Grabbing Solar Energy From Orbit 144

goldaryn writes "Word from the BBC today is that Europe's biggest space company is seeking partners to help get a satellite-based solar power trial into orbit: 'EADS Astrium says the satellite system would collect the Sun's energy and transmit it to Earth via an infrared laser, to provide electricity. Space solar power has been talked about for more than 30 years as an attractive concept because it would be 'clean, inexhaustible, and available 24 hours a day.' However, there have always been question marks over its cost, efficiency and safety. But Astrium believes the technology is close to proving its maturity.'"

Comment Re:Recovery? (Score 1) 130

In short, don't automatically assume real estate is the safe place to be in an inflationary environment, because it may not be unless one buys in an area with low property taxes and is relatively certain they won't increase much nor get hit with special assessments.

Not to mention you also sacrifice flexibility. If the job market tanks bad in your location it is FAR more difficult to up-root yourself to another area where the suck isn't so bad. If you think it is tough finding a job in a dying community, try selling a house in one! The job market is always asymmetrical in it's ups and downs - some areas will fail first, and others will recover first.

Comment Re:holy shit (Score 1) 602

The problem people will be those that feel they have some sort of divine (or otherwise) responsibility to shame and/or punish pedophiles just for being pedophiles, even when no child is or would have been harmed.

I've always thought it is mostly venting frustrations at an unfulfilled desire for the deviant behavior. These repressed wants drive the need to punish any who would actually experience the object or action secretly desired. It's over-compensation and the guilty need to punish themselves by proxy - the more guilt, the more rabid foam.

Comment Re:Angry AT&T Customers May Disrupt Service (Score 1) 572

Since the cellphones all connect to local towers and infrastructure, AT&T should actually see a rolling traffic spike as each tower and (possibly) it's back-haul connections are overwhelmed. I'm no wireless engineer, but I'd suspect the current congestion issues are mostly tower resource related.

Comment Re:taxes (Score 5, Insightful) 776

And that's where cost taxes come in.

I'd be inclined to agree with you, but unfortunately those taxes very rarely, if ever, go towards covering the costs society bears for that activity. Take smoking taxes. Here in Wisconsin there is a $1 per pack extra tax on the stuff. If your theory held true, that extra money the state collects on behalf of society should go to fund hospitals and prevention programs. Instead it is a bait and switch - tax something unpopular to make an attempt to close a very large budget hole. That is the real reason for all these new exotic taxing schemes, and the politicos know which buttons to hit to bring the useful idiots out in droves to support it.

Comment Re:3G to WiFi bridge and balloon (Score 1) 438

I live out in the sticks where Internet is either satellite or dial-up, and actually priced out a balloon to get line of site for the local wireless provider since neither choice was appealing. I looked at advertising balloons, as they were generally large enough to hoist a payload and a bit more durable. For the balloon, cable tether, anchor, a supply of helium, solar panels, strobe (for aircraft), battery, etc. was something like $1500 at the time. It was a bit more for the UFO shaped one to fsck with the neighbors. ;-)

Comment Storage is the thing (Score 1) 232

The part you are forgetting is that once the information is collected you have no way of knowing how long it is kept. Once you become a person of interest (suspect, political target, etc), they will be looking at historical information to see where you have been, tie it to the transaction at the bank, surveillance cams in Walmart and McD's, etc. You don't really need to have someone under full time surveillance - all the pieces are already there recorded and stored.

Comment Re:Windows! (Score 1) 392

it's really jarring to go in and then suddenly come out and find we're in the middle of a huge storm or something without even knowing about it.

Too true. I'm was in a temp office without windows due to a remodel. One day it snowed 16 inches from no snow cover while I was inside. I put in a webcam in an out of the way window the next day.

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