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Comment Re:Distances (Score 1) 105

If I were picking a number out of thin air I'd certainly go higher. The question is how he arrived at that number, and I suspect economies of scale have something to do with it. Scale can do funny things to your calculations. Things can get harder, then easier, then harder again as you go up.

I once had a colleague whose first engineering job out of college was to do a reverse engineering specification on a prototype submersible; the Navy was pleased with the low cost of the prototype and thought it might like a second one. The problem was that the prototype was made by scrounging surplus bits and pieces; building a second one that was exactly the same would have cost 10x as much because you'd have to hunt down an exact replacement for each part. But if you were building a 100 units, you probably could do it for 100x the cost, because you could amortize the project's fixed costs over more units: source the odd parts, reverse engineering them if necessary, or doing design revisions with an eye to making it reproducible.

Comment Re:Maybe voice activation is overrated? (Score 1) 198

25 years ago, sheets of forced air were common in Las Vegas grocery stores as a way to leave the cavernous doors open and form *some* barrier to the AC getting out into the desert heat.

Today, they're rare, generally replaced with automatic or manual doors. When you do see (err, feel) one, it's usually in conjunction with an automatic door.

hawk

Comment Re:Maybe voice activation is overrated? (Score 1) 198

>BTW, the part about knowing who's going to use the
>door and who isn't is probably doable with cameras
>and enough processing power.

Rule 1: if it isn't touching the ground, don't open for it . . .

Side effects would included positive (not opening for drones and birds), and negative (being sued for not opening for the differently gravitationalized, avian-americans, and so forth).

hawk

Comment Re:Hell yes (Score 1) 87

>Is there any negative side to Hangouts?

Wait a minute, are you suggesting it has a positive side?

Google voie was far more useful when it could be used on a gmail page without needing to launch another window and ask questions in that window . . .

Failure to ring has become far more common since the hangouts hijacking, too--changing from "rare" to "frequent".

hawk

Comment Re:Never worked before, will never work now (Score 1) 70

I too find it hard to believe that there is any empirical justification for trying this. That said, I'd like to know what they think indicates this will work. I'm wondering whether they might be dealing with some kind of post hoc ergo propter hoc scenario where cloud seeding efforts coincided with changing rainfall patterns.

In any case, the place they're trying this appears to be Qinhai Province, up on the Tibetan Plateau. The population density there 7.8/km^2 -- roughly similar to Wyoming (5.97/km^2).

Comment Re:Depends who pays (Score 1) 280

presented that way, you are correct, esp since AE are NOT alternatives to gasoline.
OTOH, if you tell them the truth that we spend more subsidizing fossil fuel vs all of AE AND NUKES COMBINED, then I would guess that most Americans would want to increase the funding for AE (though sadly, the anti-science iodiots on the far left will figtht against increased funding for nukes).

Comment Re:The questioner reveals their own dishonesty (Score 1) 299

Under Obama, we stopped counting people as unemployed if they gave up looking for a job. Such people are difficult to track is the argument.

Actually unemployment has always been calculated that way. It's the way economists do the calculation, not some kind of nefarious political innovation.

As for tracking the people who give up looking, the labor department does track them. How else do you know that the participation rate is low? The thing is that while unemployment (as it has always been reckoned) has recovered to pre-Great Recessions levels, participation rates remain unusually low, and that's just something you have to take into account when you're comparing unemployment rates in 2008 to 2016: the denominator has a distinctly different character.

What really gets interesting is if you look at who is not participating. The lions' share of non-participants are Boomers nearing retirement. This isn't a happy statistic, however. I think it reflect the synergistic effects of age discrimination and long-term unemployment. We also have high rates of underemployment as well -- people who are highly skilled working low-skill jobs for example.

The overall picture is mixed, fair-to-good-ish for many but extremely grim for sizable numbers of people.

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