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Comment Re:It's just smart business. (Score 1) 366

There may be countries that will adapt to this brave new world with minimal disruption. I somehow don't think the US is going to be one of them.

The US may fair better than countries that currently base their economy on manufacturing cheap labor, though...
The primary risk to automation in the US are service sector jobs in the retail and business services area (about 20% of the economy). Certainly that will hurt, but the job mix in the US isn't too much different than most developed western economies like Germany, Japan, UK, etc...

Comment Nassau Golf Company of South Korea (Score 3, Informative) 253

The reason Costco sells them cheap is because they deal in volume - instead of making balls in hundreds of thousands, they can make balls by the millions, extracting mass production cost benefits.

And because they were partnered up with another company who designed the balls, they got a good quality ball, made quite cheaply in volumes that out-do the other manufacturers since Costco does stuff in bulk.

Apparently the golf balls in question are a OEM ball manufactured by Nassau Golf Company (located in South Korea). Nassau has also sold OEM golf balls to TaylorMade (a golf equipment subsidiary of Adidas). Although I suspect nobody knows for sure, the word on the street was it manufacturing over-run which is unlikely to be repeated.

The interesting thing that most folks are missing is that Costco is pre-emptively suing Acushnet (the seller of Titleist balls) seeking declartory judgement (yes, Costco is doing the suing) in response to a lawyer letter sent by Acushnet. This is mostly because they need to defend the tag line "meet or exceed the quality standards of leading national brands" of their Kirkland branded products, not because they want to sell more golf balls (although they probably do, it's not the main reason for their lawsuit). They want to establish a legal precedent that they can use this tag line in the rest of their business to deter future lawsuits on this basis.

Comment Re:Just needs a little nudge. (Score 1) 234

Let's strap a couple rockets to it and move it to lunar orbit. Empty it out of personnel, let it do a nice, slow burn to lunar orbit. Slower is cheaper in space. Let it take however long it does to get there, and then we can start sending unmanned Dragon capsules back out to resupply it and lunar shuttles via SpaceX. This would be a good "next step" toward eventually building a permanent structure on the lunar service, and could eventually serve as a sort of waystation for missions on the way out to Mars.

Bear in mind: The lunar soil is full of O3 and H3, which both make for excellent rocket fuel. An unmanned refinery on the moon could turn Luna into a gas station for any interplanetary mission at a fraction of the cost of lifting all that material out of Earth's orbit.

You forgot the small fact that the ISS is basically a collection of thin metal tubes with minimal thrusters. Some people have estimated that it would take about 150 years and about 150 fueling trips to make a lunar orbit transfer. I suspect the ISS couldn't take the stress of a burn that it would take to accomplish this in a reasonable amount of time (e.g., strap-on-rockets). Even if a tractable method was found, the ISS needs to be supplied by the Earth. Putting the ISS by the moon makes this exponentially more expensive (every kg has to leave our gravity well, not just make it to near-earth-orbit).

A more permanent lunar space station needs to be designed for the task (i.e., more self-sufficient), not a re-purposed piece of cold-war space history.

Comment Re:"international" space station ? (Score 1) 234

why not create a UN body responsible for it and allow all mankind to use it and pay for its maintenance ?
it would be a lot better than de-orbit it and let russia/china have to invest money to build their own from scratch.

There's that small detail of a "man-kind" tax that needs to be solved. Besides, UN pays basically means US pays for 1/4 of it and other countries kibbitz. Better for the US to pay for all of it ($3B/year) and forgo the kibbitzing...

The only question is if the $2B saved could be reallocated to deep space exploration. Seems to me that it's more likely the money would be swallowed up in the general budget if not earmarked for Nasa/ISS. There would be no guarantee that Nasa would see a dime of it.

Comment Re:Paging Elon Musk (Score 1) 234

I think this would pair nicely with your SpaceX business, don't you?

Since the international space station isn't likely to be a technology that will help them get to Mars, I doubt it.

If you remember, SpaceX mentioned that it didn't compete for the Ansari X-Prize because it was a distraction. They aren't even competing for the Lunar X-Prize (although they are launching one of the competitors). Managing a disintegrating international space station would be a distraction which would dwarf these other distractions.

I seems unlikely Mr. Musk would be spending any of his money on something that won't advance his Mars goal. As of now, he's banking now on his Interplanetary Transport System which relies on ITS-tanker launches, not a refueling station (which is probably all the ISS could be used as). But as demonstrated by his newfound moon-orbit project, if someone actually payed him to do it, he's be more than happy to oblige...

Comment Re:good question (Score 1) 278

I know that other cpuntries will xray your tablet, so such a plot will be obvious. They will also xray your laptop and such explosive will show up as a big incongruous block. I can't speak for those 8 countries but i would be surprised if they did not xray baggage.

1. The xray machines for carryon baggage can't easily distinguish modern explosives from lithium-ion batteries which take up a large part of the volume of modern electronic devices.
2. It's probably easier to get some confederates inside the security operation in these countries.
3. An explosion in an airplane hold inside a bag won't have as much force as a tablet held against a the cabin wall.

So, the authorities are just taking a limited countermeasure to this threat (not banning cabin tablets from everywhere, just a few countries). This probably won't reduce the probability of the threat over time, but probably disrupt some threat that they currently got some chatter about. Unfortunately, we will have to live with the aftermath of this long after the specific threat has subsided...

Comment Re:Reminds me of a conversation with a colleague (Score 2) 278

I don't think most people really understand why the West is (more or less) organised, developed, peaceful, democratic (more or less).

And I wish there was a simple answer. But the list of factors just keeps growing. There are many lands in the world where nation states just will not start up, no matter how much aid is given nor ordinance be dropped.

Well, we don't have to look to far to see historically what happened. There generally were a whole bunch of people with money that had a common enemy. Then they started up a war by themselves. Large geopolitical foes of the enemy then dropped some cash and troops to help them along.

Winning is a bit random (depends a bit on the relative strength and will of the large geopolitical forces), but if the small country won, the country needed to be rich enough to survive without the support once the large benefactors lost interest. Those that weren't rich enough to begin with basically reverted and it all started over again. This implies that you can generally never expect poor countries develop into a peaceful democracy by an armed conflict as part of a larger geo-political struggle (although they might be able to make a peaceful democracy by themselves).

This is probably why there cannot be peace in the middle east. As long as it's a geopolitical war between large parties, even if one faction were to emerge victorious, if it is not naturally economically self supporting as a democracy, as soon as the benefactors lose interest, the power vacuum will be filled by forces that are largely tribal because that is where the residual economic base of the region comes from (economic power begets political power).

Penniless student protesters don't make a democracy. Monied interests make a democracy (or a cleptocracy, depending on your political view). The "peaceful-west" is an illusion, in the west there are major geopolitical conflicts that have involved the west all throughout the short history of democracy, it is simply that they have not recently touched our shores because of our economic/military might. Strength (economic and military) keeps the relative peace, democracy simply allows the tribal factions a temporary pressure outlet. Without the economic might to drown the dissent, democracy simply isn't enough of a pressure relief. You can't give a country an economy (or democracy), they need to learn to fish...

Comment Re:Because you say so? (Score 2) 272

0.70c on the dollar has been debunked over and over again.

The thing that struck home is a survey of STEM new grads, that shows a ~0.7 disparity as well. Seems like that's the most apples to apples comparison there could be, before things like family and work home balance start to factor in.

I guess she could be lying about all of her data though.

Interesting that she did note the observed effect of "devaluation" (as more women move into the field, both the wage discrepancy *AND* the wages decrease). Presumably this is similar to the effect of right-to-work law changes on union jobs strongholds, right? Which is not really that different than the H1b discussion.

I'm not trying justifying discrimination, but just observing that apparently the laws of economics don't give a rats ass about what basis discrimination occurs. Discrimination will help some and hurts others, but if the goal is to end discrimination, then to help others, you must hurt some. The net economic result may be higher, but probably not high enough so in the end somebody has to lose... Generally, some of those won't want to lose, so expect friction. Hopefully this is obvious.

Comment Re: So is this another study that doesn't ... (Score 2) 124

I haven't read any studies on being drunk and its effect on the ability to comprehend scientific studies.

FWIW, apparently there is real thing called state dependent memory. There are actually studies you can read about this.

As a personal anecdote, in university, if I studied for an exam when drunk (which was occasionally), I realized tended did much better if I was also a bit drunk when I actually took the exam (not a hang-over, but just a bit buzzed). I was also a much better bridge player when I was drunk. I suspect that being a bit drunk allows you to be a bit more creative and think outside the box, which might be good for recall or problem solving on an exam, but perhaps the effect is not relavent for reading/comprehending the scientific discoveries of other people. But I'm not aware of any studies on the comprehension aspect, but it isn't inconceivable that it has positive aspects.

In any case, it might be better to read these studies whilst drunk, if you want to remember them whilst partaking in a drunk BS pissing match ;^)

Comment Re:Silly.... (Score 1) 253

Getting mad at Google when you've decided to use their automated tools to place your ads is kinda stupid. Place your ads intentionally instead of automatically and you won't have this problem.

AFAIK Google doesn't allow this...

YouTube's terms of service strictly prohibits burning visual ads into uploaded videos (other than title cards) and Advertisers cannot specify which videos where Ads are placed (other than by general demographics) except for high volume partnership relationships on sponsored channels.

Apparently, the only way to win is not to play the game which is what these advertisers seem to be doing now.

Comment Re:Conversely... (Score 1) 243

In fact, without the Jobs' of the world, it's highly likely that chip fabs wouldn't have been built and Woz would never have been able to build the first Apple computer.

I challenge you to name a Job-esqe person that enabled the fab for the MosTech 6502 that were in the first Apple computer...

The secret sauce of the 6502 wasn't anything about its design, but special techniques used by manufacturing group at Mos Technology used to manufacture the masks which greatly increased their chip yield resulting in a lower selling price (which convinced Woz to use the $25 6502 vs the more powerful 6800 at $175).

The other side of Mos Technology's business was collapsing (the fixed function calculator business), and no amount of marketing was going to save it, so save the unsung technological advancements by Mos Technologies manufacturing group, there would be no Mos Technologies fab meaning there would be no 6502 for Woz to design into the first Apple computer and it would probably have cost a lot more than $666.66 and history may have never heard of The Apple Computer Company...

Comment Re:Conversely... (Score 1) 243

Are you implying that the wheeled suitcase was invented 1000 years ago, but nobody could make one because of a 17 year patent that couldn't have existed more than 227 years ago?

In fact, it was not invented into 1970, with the patent being granted in 1972; it was available in stores before the patent was granted. Upright wheeled luggage was invented and hit the market in 1987, a full two years before the roll-flat luggage patent expired. Prior to roll-flat luggage, collapsible luggage carts were available; they were quite popular in the 1960's.

No prior patent existed which prevented the invention or sale of the 1970 roll-flat luggage, and the 1972 roll-flat patent did not prevent the 1987 invention of the upright wheeled design, nor did it delay its entry into the marketplace.

How did patents hurt us, here?

Well, maybe the patent hurt us because it obscures the history of "true" inventor of the wheeled luggage in 1958 one D. Dudly Bloom...

Just because you patented it, doesn't mean you invented it.

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