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Comment Re: Overboard, Sad! (Score 2) 154

Guns and shootings are also highly preventable. Problem is Americans don't want to grow up and admit the more guns the public has the more gun violence occurs...

All SORTS of violent crime is highly preventable. Far more people are killed every year, for example, using pipes and clubs or other objects than are killed using "assault" rifles or ANY sort of rifle, shotgun, or other long gun. More people are killed with BARE HANDS than are killed by someone using any kind of long gun.

In fact, one of the most common ways to PREVENT someone from being violently killed by an attacker is: pointing a gun at the attacker. Defensive brandishing (and much less often, actualy shooting) of guns - usually handguns - happens hundreds of thousands of times a year. In places where people are allowed to carry, violent crime GOES DOWN. The "more legally owned and used guns equals more crime" meme is demonstrably false.

Comment Re:Overboard, Sad! (Score 1) 154

The ability for something to do damage depends on it's momentum, and that is highly dependent the mass and centre of gravity of the object as it applies force against something. You do a 1kg drone a serious disservice comparing it to an iron mallet. A drone is a complex shape and its weight is distributed over a comparatively large area. While crashing it will be taking a complex path to the ground. When comparing the likelihood of it killing you remember it's far more likely to be the same as a falling iron mallet, horizontally, hitting a person by the handle rather than the iron centre part. You're far more likely to get a bruise from the mallet's handle.

Not really. The primary cause of momentum is the acceleration from gravity which is essentially constant for a falling drone, air resistance is just a counter-force proportional to the velocity squared. That is to say, the reduction from air resistance only becomes significant when you're falling very fast. A skydiver has a terminal velocity of about 195 km/h, but already a high diver from a 30m height will be close to 100km/h. I know my buddy's DJI Phantom goes up to 120m by default, at that height you'll be at 90% of terminal speed. Unless it's extremely small or light like a feather or a coin, any object dropped from a big height is a lethal weapon. When the rotors stop the body of a drone is quite compact and holds a heavy battery, it'll fall pretty much straight down. You can see a good example of a drone coming down after a complete power loss here.

As for the actual impact the higher the velocity, the less it matters how it hits you or how soft or elastic it is, a stick of butter dropped from a skyscraper will still hit you like a brick. We have a pretty thick skull but the sheer momentum will be like being hit in the head with the full swing of a baseball bat, your brain will bounce around in there like the ball in a pinball game. Sure there are arguably worse things to be hit by, but for the most part we secure tall objects. There's falling coconuts and big icicles and such we can't fully control, but drones are a new threat in the hands of idiots. They're not very dangerous, but in the hands of idiots many things are dangerous.

Comment ORLY? (Score 1) 72

Both FTC and FCC (and EPA and many others) are getting their budgets slashed.

ORLY? Maybe the others. But the FTC? They hardly have any budget to slash.

I'd like to see where you're getting the idea that the FTC's budget is getting the axe.

For starters, it's an ideal tool to spank the media conglomerates which own and control the news outlets that have roasted him. Much of the anti-consumer pathologies the ISPs engage in appear to be directed to giving the content part of the containing conglomerate's operation a competitive advantage.

Antitrust actions to prevent (i.e. AT&T / Time Warner merger blocking, which Trump already favors) or break up existing content transport / content provision tie-ins would let him drive a big screw into the mainstream media under the guise of (actual!) consumer protection activity. B-)

Note that he's appointed Maureen Ohlhausen to head the FTC, and she'd already written a paper on how the FTC and antitrust, not the FCC and net neutrality, is the proper remedy for any consumer-impacting misbehavior of the ISP oligopoly.

(As have I, though we seem to have a difference of opinion on how many competitors are needed before competition is an effective remedy and how well competition doing at the moment.)

Comment Time to restart using antisera. (Score 1) 66

Before antibiotics one could get an antiserum against each of many nasty infections. The rise of antibiotics displaced these drugs - even for some things (such as some forms of meningitis) where an antiserum against the particular organism, did a better job.

This actually made some sense. Antibiotics were broader spectrum, so (even after drug resistant bugs became common) you were likely to find one that worked in time to save the patient. Antisera, on the other hand, were very bug-specific.

If multiple drug resistance makes antibiotics nearly useless, perhaps it's time to revive antiserum use.

We now have the technology to rapidly identify the target organism(s) in a disease process, so we can rapidly select the correct magic bullets. And we also have the technology to make specific antisera by the bucketful.

And without the side-effects of making it by exposing an animal (like a "serum horse") to a pathogen and then (once it's developed an immunity) extracting the (horse-type) antibodies to this - and to everything else its immune system doesn't like - to make the drug. Instead we can make human monoclonal antibodies to just one target.

We can also engineer an immunization by chopping out the DNA for some conserved region snippet of some pathogen's accessible surface markers, splicing it with neighboring coding that will make the immune system take note and building it into an otherwise (and still) harmless bug - either to make an active ingredient for an immunization cocktail or a variola/polio style live-virus challenge. The bug has a very hard time evolving resistance because a conserved region of some component of its molecular machinery is usually conserved because has to be the way it is for it to work.

This is already being done to some extent. Seems to me it's time to stop crying about the end of antibiotics and focus on this set of approaches - which should be very lasting.

Comment But iodine is restricted due to the drug war. (Score 1) 66

It is common knowledge that [iodine] was used widely in hospitals for decades, and supposedly(?) resistance is not built up to it.

But iodine, and most iodine-containing medical preparations, are heavily restricted, due to the drug war.

Seems they're used in one step of turning pseudephedrine into meth. So, though they're not actually BANNED, the drug warriors put so much red tape on them that most chain-store drug stores just dropped them as unprofitable.

(I found this out when the fallout from Fukishima was approaching the US west coast, and I tried to find some iodine supplements for my family to dose up on, to reduce the risk from radioiodine, before it got here. Surprise! None to be had.)

If anybody knows of a chain store in California or Nevada where I can buy potassium iodide supplements or tincture of iodine, over the counter, please let me know.

Comment Re:Poor on $100k? Sure (Score 1) 665

401 k:
* you choose to invest or not
* you defer taxation
* money is in your account
* you choose how the money is invested
* your employer throws free bonus matching money in for free

Tax:
* you are forced to give up the money
* money goes to the state
* you have no direct say in what the money is used for
* failure to comply results in jail

Please tell me in what way a 401 is 'essentially taxes'?

Comment Wrong agency! FTC, not FCC (Score 3, Insightful) 72

The FCC is not the right agency to review mergers for anticompetitive issues. FCC is about tech, not competition.

The relevant agency is the F *T* C (Federal Trade Commission).

Now maybe they need some legislation to give them a budget bump and/or a juristictional tweak/clarification if they're to (once again) take on the telecom giants over antitrust issues. But if so it's high time that was done.

Comment Re:Lottery? (Score 1) 145

Is there a legal reason SpaceX can't have a lottery for tickets? Seems like a good way to fund these types of things.

Well what do you do if you don't sell all the lottery tickets, is the lottery stuck? Normally the prize pool is relative to the total paid in, but either you get a seat or you don't. Also you might end up with people that for medical or mental reasons shouldn't be trapped in a tiny little space capsule for a week with no chance of assistance, sure you can disqualify them in the terms and conditions but the whole "my number came up, but I was refused" bit would be negative PR. And it's just one lucky winner, in a regular lottery people like to win a little now and then while they hope for the jackpot. The rest will really be trinkets by comparison.

And I think this is still just a joyride, not a life changer. You take a fling around the moon and then you're right back to where you were, sure it's for space nerds but hardly the mass market appeal an ordinary lottery has. I think it would be totally different if it were say a ticket to Mars. That's the kind of thing you could probably make a living off afterwards, just from selling interviews and speaking engagements and such. Then again you'd probably want to be more selective in the selection process so... I mean it would be cool, but I understand why SpaceX wouldn't do it. And it's easy to get their lottery confused with (semi-?)scams like Mars One.

Comment Re:sigh (Score 1) 105

Can you explain how the CEO of Netflix is "peer reviewed literature" from today? Which article are all you people all responding to, exactly? None of it seems to have anything to do with me griping that "The recent rash of "oh noes, AI" predictions are dumber than back in the '70s when by now we're supposed to be in well into a major ice age."

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