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Comment Re:I'm curious (Score 1) 184

There is a PBS Nova documentary (Battle of the X Planes) that explains that if you took fighter development and acquisition costs and graphed it out that in 50 years you would be spending the entire defense budget on 1 plane. The Air Force would fly the plane 4 days a week, the Navy 3 days a week, and the Marines could have it once every 4 years on leap day.

The F-35 was supposed to address the soaring costs by use of a fairly standard airframe and parts across 3 distinct users. The F-35 would also provide more of a ground attack capability than the F-22 and be available for export.

Needless to say the project hasn't gone as envisioned and the F-35 is likely to be the last manned fighter aircraft we ever build. If we weren't already $100s of billions into the process it would probably be better to forget the whole thing and focus on mission-specific drones rather than an unaffordable plane that does nothing particularly well.

Comment Silly (Score 1) 147

This is silly. Even if you were able to mass produce this item and give it away for free it would still be the most expensive item these people own and a target of thieves. There's currently a project on Kickstarter for a solar oven that has pretty much the same goals. It costs $300, the main component is a glass tube, and it's completely worthless. It has raised $80,000.

This design is nothing but a rocket stove which can be made from a variety of found components by someone with minimal tools and knowledge. We'd be better off spending that $900,000 on training a few guys to travel around these regions to set up stove factories and train the local population on the concepts. Not only would we be teaching them how to build their own stoves we'd be supporting the local economy. Teaching a man how to fish, so to speak.

Comment Re:Not a good idea... (Score 1) 102

Time was when you had to rent a phone. That phone would probably last you 20 years though. Now you have to buy a phone and since that phone is actually a computer it's subject to Moore's Law and will be practically useless within 3 years. AT&T learned quite a few things when their monopoly was broken up in the '80s and since that time they've worked very diligently to put it back together. Unfortunately most of their infrastructure seems to date back to their telegraph days.

Comment Re:They are subsidizing a killer-app: Office. (Score 1) 192

I think Office is 1 of the main problems with any Microsoft offering. People expect Office to look and behave the same regardless of device, screen size, or input method. When they can't use their phone like they would a desktop they get upset. Microsoft trying to chase this goal of Windows and Office on everything is silly. Office (at least outside of academia and business) is silly. They charge $200 for Word and Excel. They may as well start charging for IE.

I see very little business use for tablets and only tradeoffs when compared to a traditional laptop. Corporate purchasing at this time is being done because of "oooh shiny" and "we have to keep up with our Also the kids like it."

Comment Re:Why is this a problem for Microsoft? (Score 5, Interesting) 192

The only person Ballmer can outfox is Ballmer. Bold prediction here: Surface will never see production. Microsoft is late to the party and unable to buy or bully their competition. Unless they are willing to take huge losses (as with the Xbox) to establish some foothold and heavily subsidize an as yet unknown killer-app the Surface will just be Zune v2 (nice specs, terminally uncool, doomed to a protracted and very public death).

Comment Re:Extend the lifespan of B-52 beyond 2040? (Score 1) 403

The B-1 should have never been built. Why did Carter cancel it? Because Carter knew about the B-2 program and knew that it would change everything. Of course being "stealth" meant keeping the entire program in the black so Reagan was able to score political points by bringing the B-1B into production. Now we have 70ish B-1Bs (with around 10 in the boneyard), and only 19 B-2s which are too valuable to use except in the most urgent of situations. The B-2s are so expensive we can't afford new ones. We have the cost and complexity of servicing 3 bombing platforms, 2 of which were built for threats that no longer exist, and 1 that was obsolete before it even entered service. The B-1 may be cheap considering the cost of more recent platforms (F-22, F-35) but it's still yet another example of a military boondoggle and a technological dead end.

Comment Re:Many versus Awesome (Score 5, Informative) 600

I don't think the Russians kept that close a count and the number includes T-34 variants like anti-tank guns and self propelled artillery. I do have something that says in 1943 a T-34/76 took 3,000 hours to build while the Panther took 55,000 hours. The Russians could build in a month what it took the Germans a year to do. And by 1943 the T-34 was a proven design with established doctrine. The Panther had major early problems and while it turned into the best medium tank given 1:1 odds, the odds were never 1:1.

Comment Re:A tough one (Score 1) 129

Facebook continues to exist on weight alone, and that weight can't increase. Everyone that wants an account has one...we're at Peak Facebook. Other than selling some (usually low-end) targeted advertising and taking a (decreasingly lucrative) cut on virtual farm tractors, Facebook has no income. New features do not bring new users in and usually end up straddling the line between creepy and useful. While I think it's imperative to have a white pages for the internet, I don't see how that can be valued at anywhere near $50 billion.

Comment Disasters (Score 4, Interesting) 52

This needs to be reduced to a size where it can be fit on a couple semis and moved around to disaster (flood, tornado, hurricane) sites where there is a large spike in the number of appliances needing disposed of. Of course then the problem becomes what you do with the fridges contents that have sometimes been stewing for weeks. I did some work in Joplin where 1 family had 3 refrigerators full of food. Moving a fridge is hard enough. Moving it when it's full of food is twice as hard. Moving a full refrigerator through a destroyed house while trying to avoid seeping goo of unknown composition is where it gets interesting.

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