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Comment Re:Sad (Score 2) 159

Well, I dunno. It seems like blaming Fitbit for Pebble's financial failure.

Let's take a consequentialist view of matters. If the rule is you have to buy the whole business and continue to operate it, even though it's losing money, Pebble goes out of business and it's customers and debt holders suffer. If you can sell of just the good bits without the obligation to continue running the failing as before, the customers suffer but the debt holders get some relief. Which approach is better?

Comment Re:127 Mill Maintenance robot vs 4 Billion AF1 (Score 2) 36

Well, it's actually $3.75 billion. And it's not one, but two aircraft, so that's 1.875 billion apiece. That's to ensure the executive branch can function in a military crisis while one of the planes is being service.

Deduct 375 million apiece for the airframe, and we're talking 1.5 billion dollars in customization for each aircraft, including aerial refueling capabilities, which on a two-off job is a craft job; no economies of scale. Add defense and countermeasure capabilities that Air Force is extremely close-lipped about. Is there a actual escape pod on Air Force One like in the movie? Well probably not, but I'm sure the idea was at least contemplated. However it's pretty certain that if someone locks onto AF1 with a targeting radar the aircraft will have options that a stock 747-8 doesn't.

Next outfit each one so it can function as a replacement for the West Wing and the Situation Room for up to two months -- that's a deducible requirement based on the known fact that the aircraft stores 2000 meals for 100 people. That means three-of-a-kind electronics and communications systems (one for each airframe and one for the actual White House).

Is 3.75 billion too much for that? Probably. But it's hard to think of any weapon development program since WW2 that is less extravagant.

By that standard 127 million for an orbital repair robot is an almost inconceivable bargain, even if you factor in a 5x cost overrun.

Comment Re: Stop calling it "skepticism". (Score 3, Interesting) 493

The history of greenhouse effect theory is interesting and well worth reading up on. It was first raised as a possibility in the 1890s, but rejected quickly based on two erroneous beliefs: (1) that the oceans would rapidly absorb any increase in atmospheric CO2 and (2) that the absorption spectra of water vapor and CO2 mostly overlapped. Together these implied that CO2 could not increase in the atmosphere, and even if it did it could not capture any heat that water vapor wouldn't have anyway.

There are a lot of twists and turns in the story, which Wikipedia does a pretty good job of summarizing. I highly recommend reading that article.

Comment Re: Stop calling it "skepticism". (Score 5, Informative) 493

Saying that is so doesn't make it so. There's overwhelming empirical evidence that the Earth has been warming since middle of the twentieth century, particularly from around 1970 onward. This is shown both in the surface instrumental record and in the satellite record.

Comment Re:Ok (Score 2) 85

Let me give a shout out to the London's James Smith & Sons cane shop. A hundred pounds will buy you an umbrella (made in the basement on site) that will be passed down to your distant descendants. When I went there 25 years ago they were still selling sword sticks. I purchased folding model for myself that unfurled to near golf-umbrella proportions. And for the tremendous sum of £140 (which would be £250 today) I bought my wife a magnificent umbrella which she forgot on the subway the first time she used it.

It's worth a visit just to browse. Plus that's the nearest thing to visiting Olivander's Wand Shop that you can do for real.

Comment Re:China's Trump is named Xi (Score 2) 405

Well, I don't think anyone thinks many non-Chinese speaking Americans are going to move there. I think this is targeted at the top tier of immigrant talent, particularly people who may have come from China to the US for school and stayed. For them the equation is more complicated than the one you present, particularly if they feel unsafe, or even unwelcome in the US.

Just to put some perspective on this, as I write this there are 328,547 current graduate students in the US from China. Ten years ago nearly all of these people would have remained in the US -- and these are valuable people to have. Today far fewer do because it's become harder to get a green card, and opportunities.

Likewise there are 166K Indian graduate students in the US, many of whom China would like to lure away when they graduate. It would be better for us that they stay here, but China would very much like to obtain the services of these bright young people with shiny new graduate degrees from American universities.

I'm not talking about the cheap contract labor your IT consultant uses to run your Exchange server; I'm talking about the intellectual elites who create technologies, companies, and jobs. China may be a police state, but that doesn't make them stupid; they value these people. America... not so much. In fact there are places in this country where being an educated white American makes you the object of suspicion.

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