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Comment Re:Facebook still wins the war (Score 1) 22

Really, somebody needs to go after Visa/MC/Amex and start taking the money from them, too, because they're the ones that enable the purchasing aspect of this.

It would be kind of nice if these "app store" type purchases required not just that app store approval, but some kind of credit card pin to approve the actual financial transaction, too.

There's just so much functionality tied to the app store/vendor cloud account that you end up needing the password to add free apps, which ends up opening the door to using the password for making in-app purchases as well.

It'd be nice to see "a minor made this purchase" be an affirmative and non-deniable method of obtaining a refund. Yes, it would be abused, but the abuse of it would be the key to forcing the app store and/or Visa into creating a system of affirmative cardholder approval of the purchases.

Comment Re:Router Failure? (Score 1) 91

Shouldn't, but could.

They could be running a converged network infrastructure with storage and networking fabrics meshed and a run-amok router starts blasting out broken routes and it cascades into storage access problems and crashes compute nodes that lose their storage, resulting some borked databases and crashed apps.

I'd guess it was designed to not do that and we don't know if it was a config error, some HA feature that didn't work, some other bug or what.

Comment Re:So, what's a problem? (Score 2) 156

This was my thought. Exploration in remote places has always been dangerous.

Sailors risked tropical disease, sanitation-related disease, malnutrition diseases, starvation, death from dehydration.

I'm curious what the risk rate for skin cancers is for mountaineers given that they spend increased time at high elevations with enhanced solar radiation exposure.

Nobody is being forced to strap into a rocket and go to Mars, just like nobody is forced to skydive, climb mountains or explore any wilderness. There are people who look at the risks and decide that the exploration is worth it for them personally.

The hard part about deep space won't be finding people willing to face these risks, it will be filtering out the few people you will actually end up sending from the vast sea of volunteers.

And yes, to a certain extent they will be guinea pigs, but they will also help us understand the risks and develop drugs or materials or therapies to overcome them.

Comment Re:BS "most popualar" (Score 2) 358

I'm saying that a cell phone is a commodity. Which is disaster for Apple of all companies.

As to comparing a whole category to one product, again we can look at old style phones. They were all the same, for decades at a time. When other companies were allowed to make and sell them, consumers didn't much care. Commodity item. Yawn.

One could argue that the Smartphone is the Calculator watch of cell phones. Just a passing fad, with basic functionality being all most care about. Again this is a disaster for Apple.

Comment Re:Hitler kicked one million dogs (Score 2) 304

I too think e-cigarettes are an annoying and asinine way for people to keep doing something they know they shouldn't.

This is where the magic is.

You probably "shouldn't" do something if it is extremely harmful to you, although even then there are some cases where it doesn't matter (ie, a patient with late-stage terminal brain cancer can do most everything, including smoking, since smoking isn't what's going to end their life).

If smoking tobacco cigarettes has a harm score of 95 on a scale of 1-100 and vaping has a harm score of 10 on the same scale, does vaping still count as "something I know I shouldn't do"? What's the socially acceptable harm threshold where something can be harmful but somehow morally acceptable?

I feel like the whole e-cig debate is kind of dominated by a standard of safety that is unobtainable for what vaping physically represents, simply because it is a pleasure-providing drug experience.

Comment Re:So that makes it OK then (Score 1) 693

If Putin instead decided to target the RNC they might uncover discussions of voter suppression efforts or other dirty tricks.

You don't need the Russians to reveal that the Republicans want to suppress voting, the Republicans make voter ID and reforming the Voting Rights Act an open part of their political program.

What's truly bothersome about the DNC emails is that the Democrats are so completely sanctimonious about being the guardians of the voting franchise, yet they're completely willing to undermine the primary election process by hindering or sabotaging a candidate who posed a significant threat to their preferred candidate.

So what do they REALLY value, free and fair elections where the outcome might not be what their power brokers want, or a fraudulent process that they control through manipulation? To me, they are cynical to the core and their only belief is self promotion.

At this point, it's becoming less and less a question of policy (since really, no meaningful change in the status quo will actually happen no matter who wins) but a question of voting for the candidate who seems the least cynical and dishonest. At this point, I'd rather vote for a candidate who's up front about being an asshole than I would one who's going to lie continually.

Comment Re:Hard to fathom they would actually build cars (Score 1) 143

I guess that's part of my question. A lot of car parts do come from the existing global parts supply chains, so building a "new" internal combustion vehicle wouldn't be that hard because almost nothing about it would be unique or proprietary and would be available from suppliers, right down to complete power trains.

With electric cars, though, there's a lot of engineering synthesis between the batteries, the drive train, even the braking (for regenerative braking) and in some ways, even the chassis considering the weight/safety issues relative to batteries.

While it's "just electric motors" and "just batteries", you're not building a golf cart, you're building a car where capacity/distance are major selling points and where innovation is ongoing, meaning that these systems aren't parts bin parts, many of them are highly proprietary engineered systems that can't easily just be bought off the shelf if they can be bought at all, especially when the buyer is Apple and the vendors of these products might not want to cede the market for electric cars to them.

With ICU cars, the incremental improvements in powertrains are miniscule, so nobody has a problem selling you their engines or transmissions and the rest of the car literally is parts bin parts from Delco or Bosch or the like.

Comment Re:Not just at the border... (Score 1) 318

I've noticed there are quite a few cameras trained at cars in the Arizona checkpoints I've been through. I wonder if they have some kind of collation system that's able to identify cars via license plate readers who have been through an actual border crossing and then compare the occupants from high resolution cameras trained at the passenger compartments.

In theory, foreign cars that have already cleared the actual border and seem to contain the same occupants would be ones you would possibly want to reduce scrutiny on since you've already checked their IDs and vehicle at the actual border, possibly adding some kind of reasonable time window for the car to have been driven from the border to the inland checkpoint.

That way, if you crossed into the US, did the entry-to-the-US thing at the border you would be of less interest at an inland checkpoint and can be waved through faster, cutting crossing delays at the inland checkpoints.

Comment Boats that can fly (Score 1) 157

Sea planes are mostly planes that can use water as a takeoff and landing surface, but don't generally operate on the water as seagoing vessels.

Has anyone ever built sort of the opposite, a vessel that can fly but has some designed in ability to stay on the water more in the manner of a boat?

Maybe with gas turbines for electric generation, electric motor props and a electric pod drives retractable into the fuselage for marine propulsion?

Perhaps the engineering is too complex or it would do neither job well enough to be worthwhile, but it seems like there may be some interesting niches where rapid access to a remote ocean location is desirable but where there's some task needed where loitering and maneuvering on the surface of the water is desirable in ways or for time periods that an airplane isn't useful.

Comment Hard to fathom they would actually build cars (Score 3, Insightful) 143

I mean whole cars meant for consumer sale.

While it's not like they don't have the cash (in Ireland..), but vehicle assembly is a huge job and I'm guessing that many of the parts for an electric car aren't something you can necessarily just get out of the Bosch parts bin or get from jobbers.

My guess is they're building one to try to understand them from the ground up to be suppliers of technology or to lure a major carmaker without an electric car into building it for them.

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