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Comment Re:Rockets are too expensive (Score 2) 112

And a space elevator, of course, would only cost about a Trillion, and there's this little problem of it hitting something (we'd have to make Earth Orbit absolutely pristine and keep it that way) and there's a problem with the kinetic energy if it falls down. Sort of like having many atom bombs go off.

Maybe someday. But right now making rockets as cheap as they can be is a better idea. It's only $200K to fuel up a Falcon 9. We don't get the whole thing back in working order yet, but that would be a lot easier than making a space elevator.

Comment No Dragon 2 Soft Landing Yet (Score 3, Informative) 112

Dragon 2 isn't built yet. The escape test was a boilerplate capsule more like a Dragon 1 than 2. Dragon 2 has not demonstrated a soft landing, because it's not built yet. That was the Falcon 9 first stage.

Also, you can't get Dragon 2 down to the Moon and back up on it's own. Not enough delta-V. You would need to have Dragon ride on top of something that can hold enough fuel. Like a larger version of the Apollo Service Module.

The Command/Service module was originally intended to land on the moon and return without the LEM, before NASA bought the LEM concept, and was overpowered for the mission it got. Dragon is larger and heavier, but a lunar landing one would probably look a lot like an Apollo Command and Service module, and legs.

And yeah, Orion: I'm Not on Board. Big expensive obsolete rocket with no mission that makes sense.

But good luck getting Elon Musk to focus on the practical and eminently desirable target of the Moon. He isn't interested. It's only Mars for Elon.

I try not to watch all of the Mars Colonial Transport speculation. Falcon 9 and Dragon are great, and they're here, and we could do so much with them.

Comment Re:Less than public transit? (Score 1) 186

That way the founders and investors could get out with their cash and Wall St. (read - your 401(k)) would be left holding the bag.

Only if the managers of your 401(k) were idiots.

After all, the Fed is pumping so much printed money into the system something has to soak up all that extra cash.

The Fed doesn't just "print money", either figurative or literally (the Treasury does the literal printing). It has several methods for adding money to the economy, all of which are quite reversible.

Comment Re:"Research Projects" (Score 1) 74

The problem is that all these attempts to interest kids in STEM are so earnest and dull.

What we should be doing is tempting them with mad science. You see? It's not all death rays and monkey testicle implants.

It's important to hook them by middle school, when the all important sense of being misunderstood is its keenest.

Comment Re:Call me crazy... (Score 1) 89

Well, they're both solutions. But they run afoul of questions. Which users benefit most from each solution? And if someone benefits most from the massive battery with conservative display and processor specs, can you sell it to him?

I'll tell you right here that I'd much prefer LG's approach, but I'm an engineer. I think about my requirements differently than most people.

Comment US Life Expectancy is 91.9 years (Score 3, Insightful) 107

If you're a woman in the top 1% by income. If you're a man in the top 1% it's 88.8 years.

If you're middle class you live about 78.3 years if you're a man, which is big step up from 1980, probably because of smoking. If you're a woman you live 79.7 years, a decline of a few months since 1980.

Now if you're a poor your life expectancy has declined since 1980, to 76.1 for men and 78.3 for women.

So here's the picture: if you're rich, medical advances since 1980 have increased your expected lifespan by about seven years. But those advances haven't had any effect on middle class lifespans. If you're poor you apparently are having difficulty paying for medical care at all, which is not surprising because health care costs have consistently outpaced inflation since the mid-70s. If you're a working poor American health care inflation meant you basically screwed by the 2000s: you were too rich for Medicaid, to poor to avoid medical care.

One more thing: US has a GINI coefficient (measure of income disparity) of 45. That's the highest in the industrialized world, and much higher than it's low point of 34 in 1969. Basically all of the income growth sicne 1990 have gone to the top quintile, in fact the lion's share to the top 5%. People at the 80th percentile by income and below have seen basically zero income growth when adjusted for inflation. And since health care inflation rises faster than inflation, it means 80% of the the US has seen a cut in its disposable income.

Comment Re:So, America might have a lower life expectancy. (Score 1) 107

Why single out one cause, when there's obviously many.

Take food. I live near a supermarket that is probably three times the size of the one my parents went to, but the produce section is smaller, the meat and dairy sections about the same size. The surplus acreage is taken up with cheap, calorie dense, no-preparation convenience food.

Or the fact that Amercians spend more time in cars than they used to, on average over 290 hours a year.

Here's another interesting fact: research shows that the portion size you choose is positively correlated to the size of the package you serve yourself from; this doesn't happen consciously, it's just that a cup of cereal from a 9 ounce box appears like a lot more than a cup of cereal from a 21 oz box.

The huge sizes are driven in part by an attempt to cut down on trips to the grocery store. American home kitchens are the largest in the world, and most of that is needed for storage because we don't do very much food preparation.

So if there's a single root cause it's the pursuit (sometimes failed) of efficiency; we have the wealth to try to reduce labor and time spent doing things, but our bodies are designed to spend time doing things.

Comment Re:The solution is simple. (Score 1) 320

The problem may be the while Garcina Cambogia causes 30% more weight to be lost, 30% more of zero is still zero.

If that's what happens anyway it's somewhat problematic to use the word causes -- unless it's a different 30% in each case that would have happened otherwise. It's a bit like Woody Allen's the Great Roe: "A mythological beast with the head of a lion and the body of a lion, though not the same lion."

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