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Comment Re:Cars beat trains (Score 1) 211

The train comparison is completely fatuous since no train can carry 25,000 and the smaller ones don't run frequently enough to sustain that level of movement. Plus, last time I checked, I can't get a train from right outside my doorstep.

Yup, and the article also ignores the time taken to load and unload 25,000 people on trains. Cars are loaded and unloaded in parallel, trains have to be loaded and unloaded essentially serially. Think of the time for people to get in and out of sports stadiums.

Comment Re: "Failed" push for renewables? (Score 1) 366

What's fueling renewables are the laws and incentives to install them. But electrical energy demand in the US is almost flat, under 1% growth annually (pg 24 of http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/a... ). So even if growth of renewables is "exponential", there's simply not a requirement for a lot of them -- unless laws mandate that they replace existing generating capacity. Still, natural gas is expected to provide the bulk of any new electric power generating capacity.

Comment Re:Really? (Score 1) 248

Someone wants to make an argument that government investment into science and technology doesn't lead to anything useful on the internet?

The internet is often used as one example for government innovation. But in the '80s lots of companies had alternatives for TCP/IP networking such as IBM's token ring and IPX/SPX used by Netware. These were not funded by the government. They didn't support the distances and other features of TCP/IP, but those weren't required commercially at first. But without TCP/IP there's no doubt industry would have come up with something else to take its place.

Comment Maybe advanced civilizations get smaller (Score 1) 365

Instead of getting larger by orders of magnitude to fill out a galaxy, advanced civilizations get smaller by using nanotech.

Biologic cells as we know them are too bulky, slow, and inefficient. As a result, to expand by orders of magnitudes we would have to take over planets, star systems, and eventually galaxies.

But maybe instead we could convert from biology to computers based on nanotech. By shrinking ourselves we could still expand by orders of magnitudes and not take up more than a few star systems.

Comment Re:The cars can detect gestures. (Score 1) 236

Police have control over vehicles now primarily to stop the behaviour of drivers who are breaking motor vehicle laws.

I agree, but Google is moving towards self-driving cars that don't have steering wheels. One day they may remove the brake petal. In such a case the car itself will have to be able to respond to requests by the police to stop. Similar issues could arise if one day we get the hyperloop.

If a police officer sees a crime such as murder or rape being committed in a self-driving car, they have every right to stop the car without the occupants permission.

I can't think of a valid reason an individual LEO should be allowed control of an individual self-driving vehicle, ever.

That happens today if the police are in hot pursuit. They take control of the car by doing things such as putting out spikes to blow the tires. There's been talk of EMP-like devices to blow out the electronics that every modern car uses. The legal justifications for this are well-established.

Comment Bad premise in the original study (Score 1) 417

The study referenced in the article starts with the assumption:

If H-1Bs were primarily cheaper substitutes for American labor, the pace of H-1B requestsâ"measured by the length of time before the cap on visas is reachedâ"should rise when unemployment rises, as employers look to cut labor costs by laying off workers.

But that's wrong. Rising unemployment means an economy already in the early stages of recession. Instead of replacing highly skilled workers with cheaper ones, companies shut down entire projects. They want to get rid of employees, not add them.

The study goes on to say:

But since 2003, we see the opposite: H-1B requests rise as unemployment falls.

Falling unemployment means an economy coming out of recession. Companies start hiring again, but because of the recent recession they are always nervous about adding permanent workers, especially more expensive domestic ones. So of course we see more H-1B requests.

Comment Re:How?! (Score 1) 363

Otherwise, there's no point to even having health or safety codes, if corporations can just say "yeah yeah, we're up to code, but no peeking!"

Actually, livestock operations are subject to random inspections by government inspectors at the federal, state, and county levels.

Livestock operations can still legally prevent trespassers from entering their property. Of course employees have access to the property, but their employers can prevent them from carrying any recording devices. In practice if an employee does manage to take pictures and sneak them out, there's nothing the livestock operation can do to stop it. It does appear that some people have become employed at livestock operations with the sole purpose of documenting bad practices, so they don't care if they lose their job.

Comment Re:Basic Engineering! (Score 1) 163

Or the entire middle east keeps giving Israel the free pass to bomb Iran's missile and nuclear programs back into the stone age,

Israel doesn't have the capability. All it has are fighters, and they can't carry heavy enough bombs. For the buried sites they don't have access to the US "bunker buster" bombs (the only ones capable of doing the job, and even then it will take two precisely landed ones) and nothing large enough to carry them if they did. There are also issues of refueling (limited air tankers), and where to have them waiting for the fighter jets.

Iran is also getting sophisticated ground to air missile systems from the Russians. Even the US stealth planes have never been up against such advanced systems. The Israelis would take a terrible beating and afterwards their air force may not be able to defend Israel.

Comment So much for failures don't matter (Score 1) 184

The Silicon Vally ethos is for entrepreneurs to "fail fast, and fail often". Your number of failures is supposed to be a badge of honor on the way to finally hitting it big.

But the truth is that entrepreneurs have to get personally involved in every startup or they will never succeed. It's no surprise that living on the edge like this takes its toll.

Comment This assumes Boeing can deliver on time the EUS (Score 1) 141

This problem comes about because it is assumed Boeing will deliver the EUS on time so that the ICPS will only be needed once for a manned mission. But seriously, what are the odds of that???

Chances are there will be delays and the ICPS will be needed for manned missions several times, in which case having it human-rated makes sense.

Comment Denver metro has plenty of open land (Score 1) 940

Denver metro has plenty of open land. Denver in particular could easily build to the east. The real problem is that cities here are deliberately not building on open space and forcing close in, packed developments. People may argue quality of life, but sky-high rents really impact your quality of life.

Comment Re:I'm spending 60% of my monthly income on rent (Score 1) 940

Even in Manhattan, much of the land is restricted to four stories. Most builders would prefer to go to 25 to 50 stories

The problem with Manhattan is that skyscrapers can only be built where there is bedrock close to the surface. That's why existing skyscrapers are at the southern tip and central Manhattan. In between and north of that the bedrock dips further below the surface. There are techniques for stabilizing a building in soft ground, but they are very expensive.

Comment Re:Who pays estate taxes (Score 1) 297

Your comments are full of half-truths. The estate tax is on the value of the estate at death. It's not based on income at all. Otherwise, the federal exemptions on the estate would not make any sense. Trusts aren't established at death; they have to be established before death. The federal estate tax exemption only exempts a few millions, so for hundred-millionaires and billionaires it's just a blip. The same for the annual $15K gifts. One million over a lifetime is a lot for you and me, but Paris probably blows that on one shopping trip. So while the extremely wealthy still use gifts, it doesn't shelter a lot of their money. What the extremely wealthy do have are very expensive lawyers and ways of not having their assets in their name when they die. Standard trusts like you're referring to don't do that.

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