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Comment Wrong Focus (Score 4, Interesting) 133

It is true that the Apollo program generate great innovations and jump started the US Tech sector. Which is why going to Mars is the wrong focus and a waste of time. And the reason is the very same reason people think it's a good idea to go.

Going to mars from a tech perspective, is an incremental affair. Sure, there will be new tech created, but it will be incrementally new. Better this, better that,more powerful, etc. But still the same thing

Today's equivalent of the Apollo program isn't incremental improvements and shooting people across the solar system in tin cans. The equivalent would be to build an actual Space Ship.

Features of a space ship vs a tin can

1. Nuclear Power Supply...hundreds of megawatts.
2. Non-chemical propulsion.
2. Magnetic shielding to protect against solar radiation.
3. Rotating living quarters for "artificial gravity".
4. Complete atmospheric and waste recycling.
5. Detachable vehicles for EVAs and descent vehicles.

Now THAT is a challenge that rises to the level of difficulty as Apollo and would spawn a like number of innovations for the rest of the world.

Hell, if you can make number 4 alone work reliably enough to go to mars, then imagine the benefits here on Earth.

Comment Re:Unusual situation (Score 2) 67

Jawbone is more known for high quality Bluetooth ear pieces. When they were popular in the mid 00's. However that isn't a name I would think to look at for fitness monitors. I guess they realized that they weren't going to win early on so never built up the stock to try to flood the market. Especially Jawbone like Apple tries to sell their product at a premium, and flooding the market will lose out their name status.

Comment Re:"it was used for children's writing exercises" (Score 2) 213

The problem is the old lame argument of trying to prove your point by changing the wording to a negative context.

Calling a Religion a FairyTale implies it is a set of overly simplistic stories meant for children.

While most religious text are a combination of written history philosophy of the time, mixed with rules for often a nomadic society to function in a world which is often against them.

The 10 commandments (where they are more than 10, and different religions count them differently and group them in different ways) were less about how to be good. But dealing with property and inheritance rights.

Comment Re:Older = Better (Score 1) 213

History tends to be distorted over the generations. Where each historian will add their own personal spin on their interpretation. Where some people become savage villains while others become glorious generals. Where they both did what they did with the good and bad.
The older documents are not necessarily more accurate. But offers perspective with less layers of interpretation. Also offer insight of the culture of the time of the writing.

Now I disagree with the notion that the ancients were somehow closer to "God" or had a better understanding of the Universe. But the more about the ancients we discover, the less primitive the people seem.

Comment Re:Waste of money (Score 4, Insightful) 133

There are over 300 million Americans. We do have the ability to work on multiple projects at once.
The problem with global warming or humanity issues isn't lack of money or resources. But the fact such changes will be in peoples behavior and culture. Money and government can't solve that by themselves.
A manned trip to mars. Is a PR stunt. But a PR stunt we really need. We have been overloaded with news that shows how we are such bad people. We need a big accomplishment to remind people that we can be better.

Comment They say that as if they know how to write policy (Score 1) 65

What's the advantage of this policy? It looks like a fixed fee without charging separate rental fees would encourage all customers to rent, else they're paying for someone else's modem. That the modem rental cost to you is essentially a $2 fraction of your bill instead of a $10 line-item only occurs because 80% of users are paying that $2 but not renting a modem; so why wouldn't you? On the other hand, if the modem rental is a separate fee, everyone gets to avoid it by buying an $80 modem... except poor people, who can't take the outlay, and have to pay the extra $10/month. The good news is those poor people would probably pay that $10/month anyway, since everyone would take advantage of modem rental, so there's no difference at the bottom end.

In other words: this proposed FCC policy does no harm to the poorest, but helps the less-poor. Okay, I'll buy it.

We've been universally bad at good consumer policy, in general, which is easily pointed out by Federal cell phone fees.

The Utility Users Tax for Wireless ($4 per serviced device) costs America over 90,000 jobs. When you factor in the Federal USF Cellular fee, it's almost 113,000 jobs.

These regressive taxes most strongly target the poor and middle-class, as they represent a larger percentage of income for users with lower incomes. An average 2.4-person household with one cellular device per person currently pays $115.20/year; for households with more persons, it's higher, and a two-adult, three-child household with five phones would pay $240/year.

A 0.01638% increase in all Income taxes would draw the same Federal revenue. A median-income household would pay $8.84/year; a minimum-wage household would pay $2.38/year; and a top-1% household would pay $278.46/year.

In terms of income tax, the average 2.4-person household as reflected above, paying $115.20/year, would pay a higher percentage the less income they have. The median-income household currently pays 0.213% of their income in these cell phone taxes; the minimum-wage household pays 0.794%; and the top-1% pays 0.000678%.

So there you have it: Federal wireless fees are equivalent to a higher income tax the lower your income actually is. I'm not saying the FCC's policy here with cable modems is bad, but we should be concerned whenever they start tinkering with fees because this shit happens.

Comment Re:It's missing the full picture (Score 1, Insightful) 197

It's lower-efficiency anyway, thanks to separation and storage energy costs. You used clean energy? Great! You used 2,000MW of energy instead of 600MW, which means there were 1,400MW of coal energy that could have been clean energy but weren't because you wasted all that clean energy doing a bullshit hydrogen stunt!

Comment Re:26 out of how many? (Score 1) 106

The point appears to be that some concentration of users in one small area have complained their shit is blowing up, and have been shown false or insubstantiable; meanwhile across the whole world, fractionally as many actual, legitimate or apparently-legitimate reports have come in. The United States seems to have few enough reports of exploding phones that it's not actually worth checking too hard if people are bullshitting.

Comment Re:Not a surprise (Score 3, Insightful) 106

I'm surprised it didn't happen with Tesla's autopilot (4 reported claims, 1 of which looks probably-true but has been questioned, the other three of which have zero substantiation and are of the form "my car crashed itself! It must have been that autopilot-thingy I heard about last week!"). Happened a lot with Toyota's acceleration thing.

Comment Re:Wow, spend $3billion? (Score 1) 161

It's not just that; mental health is one of the most complex problems available, and it's a big part of disease.

Cancer is hard to fix. HIV is hard to fix. Congenital defects (genetic diseases) are hard to fix. They're easy to identify, easy to understand, and easy to describe; and even knowing everything about them, it's hard to find a way to fix them. When we do, the fix is difficult, complex, error-prone, and severely harmful to the patient. Most diseases are handled by vaccination or by ignoring them until they go away (e.g. flu medicine makes you feel alright until your body gets rid of the flu on its own).

So you think we'll just start picking at these things a bit harder? Okay, sure.

Let's not forget that there's an entire class of diseases you can't even see. When depression or dysthymia kicks in in full force, your trained psychiatrist might not notice. When they do notice something's wrong with you, they're likely to mis-identify what. When they do correctly identify what, they don't have a way to make it stop; they have to go through a huge set of behavioral and pharmaceutical treatments that can affect the disease, diminishing it as much as possible so you can cope. When they manage to find a working treatment, that treatment is unstable, and may fail in the future just because your brain, liver, or kidneys are doing something different, or you're not hydrated as well, or not sleeping as much--as you get older, you sleep earlier and wake earlier, or sleep more, or sleep less, and that can change around your mental health problems and the appropriate treatment.

I'm not saying cancer isn't important; just if you want to take on disease, cancer is not your model for "how hard could it be?"

*A* person with mental health problems doesn't cause much inconvenience for anyone. *A* person with HIV can spread the disease. The existence of all of these diseases, however, places economic strain on our society which does, in fact, make me poorer. Treating all these medical conditions is a waste of time and resources, and could be spent making other crap that our income could buy--that *I* could buy, since the cost of everyone's medical benefit would be lower (cheaper insurance) and thus the price of everything relative to everyone's income would follow, thus I'm able to buy more things. The sum total of all disease does, in fact, affect us all in profound ways, and reducing the impact of those diseases (treating them more effectively, eliminating them entirely, etc.) would make us all much richer.

Comment Re:What's our take away on this supposed to be? (Score 1) 86

Actual "Normal use" involves lots and lots of data. Hundreds of movies, millions of hours, TV content, commercials, use as a PC monitor, game systems, the lot. It's impossible to actually measure that in a controlled environment without actually running everything across the TV; it's possible to approximate it for naive algorithms (i.e. the TV doesn't know about the test, but knows about real-world usage behavior).

I've collected a set of various types of media--e-mails, Web pages, musics of different genres, photographs, flat CGI graphics, digital painting, 3D rendering, computer binaries, and so forth. Given this set of 700 things representative of normal computer files, we can test and analyze the performance of any compression algorithm in normal use. Given this set of 700 things representative of normal computer files, we can also write a specialized algorithm to get almost-infinite compression on the whole set.

Comment Re:Even bad its good (Score 1) 86

The whole point is that consumers don't know what they're buying. Energy Star rating on a 79 watt TV over a 109 watt TV that's on for 12 hours per day? That's $1.86/month. If your TV lasts 10 years, you might save $225. As such, this is quite possibly the least-important thing you should concern yourself with when buying a new TV--in fact, you should probably just flatly ignore the power consumption within the same class (e.g. Energy Star LED TVs). (Note: a 55 inch LED LCD panel consumes around 60 watts, while an equivalent 39 inch consumes some 40W.)

Because consumers take this stuff seriously, we can upsell to them, impressing that our TV is a better option because it's slightly more power efficient--when, in fact, that power efficiency provides the consumer with approximately NOTHING. You'd save more by dimming the lights while watching TV, and the savings is like 0.15% or 1/650 of minimum wage. For reference, the average consumption of your lights is $185/year or $15.42/month, 1.3% or 1/78 (9/650) of minimum wage.

The whole point is to confuse people.

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