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Comment I don't think so (Score 1) 520

I don't believe this is really on the cards:
a) Releasing spurious leaks to the press seems to be par for the course in business negotiations now.
b) Adobe are desperate to somehow put the shitters up Apple, and get them to allow Flash on their phones.
c) If this was legit it would be very unlikely to be leaked the way it has been.

Comment Re:Space program != science (Score 1) 203

Perhaps my original scenario presented was a little extremist, though that was not my intention. I am aware, at least somewhat, of the complicated international relationships that keep the U.S. in the position it is in today. I also understand that it is important to maintain our supremacy if we want to continue to be the big kid on the block with the hardest stick. While I did say that the U.S. should cut and divert funds from it's war machine, which is prone to the interpretation that I meant ALL funds, what I meant to say was that the funds should be cut to an extent. The level of spending on America's military that should, in my opinion, occur, should be a level that allows America to maintain whatever position of power it wants in the world, but does not require it to bloat its military to unnecessary levels. Projects like the ABL, the F-22, THAAD, and so on are hold overs from a period where we were preparing for WWIII. We can and should, in my opinion, cut military spending to 'reasonable' levels (yes I know this is subject to interpretation).

The bottom line is that our military spending is bloated even if we want to maintain the advantages we have over other countries. We should reduce said spending, not cut it entirely. That was what I originally meant to get across and I do realize that I was not particularly specific in that manner. Forgive my lack of particulars.

Also, before I get dinged for it, I do know that the ABL and F-22 programs have been cut, somewhat, but those cuts so far have just been a very minor chip off the iceberg...there are dozens of other bloated contracts to consider...

Comment Rotovator more feasible than earth to GEO elevator (Score 1) 258

It is much more likely that the first tether used to raise payload to orbit will be rotating in a LEO orbit. A hypersonic airplane (or gas cannon for high G tolerant payloads) would lift the payload to high altitudes where it rendezvouses with one end of the tether. This "two stage" to orbit version of the space elevator drastically cuts the engineering requirements of the tether. For a surface to GEO tether we can only speculate about near perfect weaves of carbon nanotubes. With a high altitude rotovator you can use Spectra or Spectra-like polymer cables.

In this case the power beaming would probably come from the counterweight on the opposite end of the tether. The relative position of the payload climber and the beaming station wouldn't change that much but the whole tether system would be rotating relative to the earth. I doubt the beam would be much trouble on the surface of the earth but it might make sense for the beaming system to defocus by the time it reaches earth - IE don't make it a coherent, low divergence laser.

This also means that the energy for the beam has to get to the counterweight somehow. A ballistic launch system like a gas gun would be very helpful in that respect. Most fuels don't might a few hundred Gs, especially not fissionables. A space elevator would be much more convenient but unfortunately we are on a 1g (9.8 m/s^2) planet. If our rock was smaller/less massive it would be much easier!

Comment Re:European Council (Score 1) 109

If you do that (have a directly-elected Senate or Commission or Council), then the European Union will end-up looking like our United States, and your local UK or French or German government will merely be a puppet of the centralized power. As is the case when the U.S. forces all 50 states to ban gay marriage, or drop speed limits to 55, or install a three-strike law.

I would advise you to avoid that route. It has not worked well for us.

I would rather have half of the legislative body consist of State governors/leaders, in order to preserve the States' power and independence, and block the power of the central US or EU government to ram through dictatorial laws.

Comment I just bought an HP laptop (Score 2, Insightful) 583

I just bought an HP laptop, and these are the observations I have to make.

Bundled software isn't entirely bad. Bundled software that runs automatically is. I will disable this, although even so I might not uninstall it. The first thing I did was make the HP toolbar not run every time the computer boots up.

If it doesn't run automatically, and it performs some useful feature (DVD burning, for instance) which I'll probably use in the future, I'll leave it installed unless or until such a time comes where I try to use it and discover it doesn't work very well or there are better free alternatives. It's just taking disk space. I'm more concerned with RAM and processor use.

If it's something I'll never use, yeah, just uninstall it now.

However, all in all, it's a new computer, and I'm not at all worried about disk space yet. So as long as it's not running, I'm not too worried about it. Sure, in a few years I may begin to run low on disk space, but at that point I'll be better able to determine whether or not I actually need the software anyway – did I use it between now and then?

Comment The government doesn't do anything wrong, EVER. (Score 1) 681

Dear people bitching about government,

Get a clue.

The government doesn't have a mind of its own, the people you elect to the positions DO.

If you live in America you CAN control the government, you are just too lazy to do so.

Just like corporations do no wrong, they can't, they are not alive.

If you want to fix the problem stop treating these organizations (government and corps) as protection umbrellas for the people operating them. Start actually holding these people responsible.

As long as you let a CEO walk away after screwing people over or polluting the environment because he/she was 'protected under the corparation' then this will continue. You give them a free pass, they'll use it. There are very few people who are qualified for these positions because they will do it 'for the good of the people', and as some citizens realize, the people who will do it 'for the good of the people' don't want anything to do with those jobs because without the bribes and other benefits you can exploit in those positions, the jobs are rather shitty jobs to have.

You can fix this crap with a simple solutions, if you weren't too lazy to look at whos on the ballot rather than checking the box for your favorite team, errrr, political party.

Look at the mess with banking, everyone is upset about these companies paying out huge bonuses and salaries, their excuse is that 'they have contracts with these people', which is funny cause they seemed to ignore all the other contracts they had with the people who invested with them in the first place. Simply make it so in order to get money they have to follow specific rules. If they don't, start putting people in jail, from the CEO all the way down to the accountant who issues the check. EVERY SINGLE ONE of those people can say 'no, I'm not doing it, its wrong'. But they don't, its far easier to just spend my tax dollars and rubber stamp the check than it is to stand up and do the right thing, especially since no one actually holds the people accountable. If you never hold individuals responsible for their actions, theres no reason for them to do the right thing.

Comment Re:Seriously, (Score 1) 551

Now activist shareholders are pressuring their corporations to oppose Israel's construction of the Apartheid, er Separation, Wall.

Sorry to go off on a tangent here, but I really don't see the problem with Israel putting up a wall. Every other country does it to some extent, and calls it a "national border". The only thing wrong with Israel's activities is that they aren't working more quickly to just sever their ties to the Palestinians, and let them have their own separate country. They'd both be better off if they went their separate ways, with each having their own independent country, and a big wall between the two. It simply isn't possible for them to live together in peace as long as the Islamic religion exists.

Comment Re:Lenovo (Score 4, Informative) 583

When I bought a Lenovo R-series computer with Vista Professional, I didn't notice a lot of crapware that they'd installed. Was it because it was a "professional" computer?

I installed Linux in a few days, so I might not have noticed everything that was there, but I actually liked some of the stuff they installed--like a driver for my hard drive's accelerometer (that would park the heads if needed) and a driver that let me configure Windows not to overcharge my battery.

Comment Re:how many scientists are enough? (Score 1) 551

My experience has been that engineering pays a pretty good starting wage, and then it goes up quite a lot over the next 5-10 years as you become "senior", but then it peaks out and you're done. Even so, you're still making very good money compared to most of the population, though you can obviously do better in middle or upper (not lower) management, or in other fields like law or medicine, or even as a skilled tradesperson who owns his own business.

However, it does seem like salaries have been rising noticeably in the past decade, for certain niches where there's not enough skilled engineers available and companies have gotten desperate. My recommendation is to find a niche that is lucrative and growing and there's not a lot of other engineers that have any expertise in it, and move yourself in that direction.

As for career paths, I really don't care. I have no desire to be anything other than a senior engineer (until I start my own consulting business, that is). I've met corporate executives before, and they're constantly working. They can't even sit down for dinner with their family without their stupid Blackberry buzzing or their cellphone ringing, and they have to stop to talk to someone about something business-related. I'll pass on that lifestyle, thanks.

Comment Opt-out? (Score 1) 583

It would be great to be able to opt-out of the crapware. I understand, the trial-ware and that kind of third party stuff generates income for the PC company, but I can imagine they lose some PC sales entirely, by bogging the PC down so much right from the start. Even the proprietary software that is well-meant and supposed to be helpful tips the scales to the side of inconvenience, when you take into account the long startup time and resources taken because of it. I realise this post is aimed at those who are bothered by the crapware and know the PC could do much better without, but are unwilling/unable to quickly and easily change that themselves.

Comment Apply Hanlon's razor here (Score 0) 401

I think Hodgman has a point. We're steadily embracing geek culture. Interoperable (in an earlier post) also makes a point that we should only take his word so far. Unless we somehow figure out a way to turn geekdom into an ecclesiastical theocracy and imprint our memes upon all of society to forever quash jocks and preppies, there will always be jocks, and there will always be preppies, and there will always be idiots, which is why I'm bringing up Hanlon's Razor here, and General Kurt von Hammerstein-Equord's addendum to Hanlon's Razor.

Currently "jocks" are in charge (aka the smart and industrious). Let's face it, jocks are smart in their chosen fields. However, geeks are the smart and lazy segment, and we are running the world now. Jocks will always be smart and they will always do things the hard way and expend the most effort. Geeks on the other hand, will always be smart, but we're always looking for the most efficient way to do things. That's why we're currently becoming dominant IMHO in the American social structure, and probably why we will continue to be dominant for a while to come

Now, does anyone have a better view or a better argument? I need to learn something today and (sadly) lately the only place where I've been able to learn new things or realize that my assumptions are wrong is /.

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