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Comment Old stuff "discovered" by the ignorant (Score 5, Informative) 503

I am an economist. Economists have already extensively studied this kind of approach. It's called an Input/Output Model. Communist countries used it in their approach to central planning during the 1970's. It failed miserably for two reasons:

1) It assumes zero substitutability between inputs. E.g., to make a car you need exactly 1.35 tons of steel, 52.7 kg of rubber, 217 kg of glass, 1.73 KW of electricity, 29.4 hours of labor, etc. No other formula is possible, you can't use more energy and less labor, for instance. For reference, the production function is known as a Leontief production function. To be fair, adding any kind of substitutability between inputs results in a completely intractable problem. However, without substitutability this is a lousy way to actually model an economy.

2) It assumes perfect information on the part of the central planner. While this is an oft-used simplification in economic models, it's a lousy reflection of reality. It's simply impossible for a central planner to gather and correlate sufficient information to make it work.

Yet another piece-of-crap opinion article written by someone who couldn't be bothered to do an hour's research on Wikipedia.

Comment Re: drone ship landings require a lot less fuel? (Score 1) 101

I don't need to stand by the rotation theory. However, the 2.5 degrees that the Earth rotates are about equivalent to the downrange distance.

The first stage is going about 1/5 of the target LEO orbital velocity at separation. While you might well model the trajectory as a parabola over flat ground, given the lack of fuel I would expect that SpaceX puts a lot more care into their trajectory. So far I've failed to attract the attention of the person responsible for Flight Club, the most trusted modeling of SpaceX flights, but I'll message him directly.

Comment Re: drone ship landings require a lot less fuel? (Score 1) 101

Well, Alastair, you should probably not get snotty and ad-hominem, unless you want me to comment on how a one-time sci-fi author and the Unix guy at Dish doesn't really have more authority than the random person one might find in the SpaceX group on Reddit.

It happens there are a few people over there who are rocketry professionals, have the math, and have followed SpaceX long enough. So, sure, their opinion can indeed be trusted.

So far, we have a suggestion from one of the lesser folks there that raising the apogee takes advantage of the Earth's rotation. We'll see if we get the attention of the right people.

Comment Re: drone ship landings require a lot less fuel? (Score 1) 101

It seems to be a common misconception that orbital mechanics somehow knows when you are in orbit and does not work otherwise. But that is as silly as saying that relativity only works near light speed. These things always work regardless of speed, it's just that their effects are macroscopic at greater speeds.

Comment Re: drone ship landings require a lot less fuel? (Score 1) 101

Here's an illustration of the boost-back to RTLS trajectory. You can see that it very definitely goes up. And to prove from observation, you can actually see where the two trajectories separate in photos from yesterday's launch. It's a rather dim curl up, and another continuing East, in Jason Ruck's photo and John Kraus's photo.

At the speed of stage separation, they rocket isn't going fast enough to stay in orbit, but it is definitely in the regime where orbital mechanics has a macroscopic effect. If you think about it, this is going to be the case at some reasonable fraction of orbital velocity.

Comment The perspective of a 3D animation professional (Score 5, Interesting) 302

This is just like the way people whined that color film had ruined the medium, and the ones before them who whined about talkies and yearned for the days of silent films.

I started at the NYIT Computer Graphics Laboratory in 1981 and left Pixar in 2000. These days I produce or am on screen once in a while.

While I was at NYIT they weren't story oriented, and thus all you see of them is demos. Pixar, on the other hand, always put story first. We knew that we could not make a film stand up on effects alone.

Today, a good 3D animation house can make absolutely any scene they like. And thus there isn't anything special about doing so. It's there if it needs to be there to tell the story, and not otherwise.

Comment Re:Probably Trump (Score 1) 180

Tell me, why do you want to encourage the election participation of people who are too irresponsible to come up with $35* every five years? Is it because your platform sells well with people who can't think past tomorrow?

I'm a conservative, so encouraging poor people to vote actually hurts my party goals.

The problem is that I'm also a staunch defender of rights, and I feel that everyone should be allowed to vote as a right, and not some based on some arbitrary cutoff of responsibility.

[...] but go ahead and keep making the case that it's absolutely vital that people too stupid to get an ID every 5 years should be encouraged to vote.

To quote Malcom Reynolds: "who will speak for these people?"

They can speak for themselves. I stated above I'm fine funding programs that pay for the expenses associated with getting ID's.
If you're against voter ID you're pro-fraud. End of story. You can make any excuse you like (and toss in some claims about being conservative, too).
I see no reason to believe anyone who is making the same arguments as the administration, what with it's star liars Gruber, Rhodes, and the chosen successor Clinton.

Comment Re:Probably Trump (Score 0) 180

Getting an ID costs money in the US, so requiring an ID puts more strain on the poor than the working class.

The annual fee for a drivers license is around $35, a state-issued ID is around $30, and a passport costs $100.

When you're poor, that $35 could pay for 7 meals frugally made.

Social security cards are given out and replaced at no charge, but aren't generally accepted as an ID because they lack pictures.

Tell me, why do you want to encourage the election participation of people who are too irresponsible to come up with $35* every five years? Is it because your platform sells well with people who can't think past tomorrow?

I'm kidding, of course. We all know you're actually interested in promoting electoral fraud, and covering for that fraud with any available argument. Some studies have shown that minority voter participation actually goes up with ID laws- maybe they have more faith that their vote means something- but go ahead and keep making the case that it's absolutely vital that people too stupid to get an ID every 5 years should be encouraged to vote.

*I'd actually be fine funding programs to help people obtain proper ID in order to negate this line of thinking.

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