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Comment Re:beware greeks bearing gifts (Score 1) 245

It's odd that the richest person in congress would put forth this proposal. It's true that he has a democrat joining in the bill, but what's in it for him? There must be something evil hidden in the text that we haven't discovered yet.

FWIW, Darrell Issa is a big advocate of Open Government as an analogy to Open Source and has partnered with Mark Shuttleworth to create the Open Government Foundation which makes Project Madison...

You can question his motives, and disagree with his politics, but unlike other legislative efforts, typically for the ones that Mr Issa generates, you can generally inspect the process and look for bugs...

Although Issa made his money long ago in the "please step away from the car" alarm business and nowadays makes most of his money from bond funds, I guess you never know what politicians have up their sleeves...

Comment Re:Simple Reforms Needed (Score 1) 245

Actually, the H1b program was *supposed* to work like this. Unfortunately, there are big fat exemptions to having the market wage determined on a case basis:

1. Just pay them over $60K/year
2. Have a masters degree or better
3. Don't hire more than 15% H1bs in your company
4. Hire a bunch of people under the same *nominal* title and share the wage certification determination between them.

You can easily use #1 in a high wage area like SF bay or NYC...
Diploma mills make #2 pretty easy
Big US based consulting companies like IBM and Accenture push #3 to the limit
Infosys/Tata/etc drive trucks through #4...

I think bill is made to address #1 by jumping the number to $100K and indexing it to inflation, and eliminating #2. It doesn't really address #3 or #4 at all.

Comment Re:Nothing from Hilary herself (Score 1) 446

I suppose Hilary's private email server has saved her from being published by Wikileaks.

A previous poster suggested something incriminating would catapult Sanders into the DNC nomination spot.

If nothing actually incriminating is found, but something unfavorable is revealed, that would then help The Donald.

FYI, as a public service, wikileaks maintains a searchable database of Hilary's private email server documents obtained from FOIA request.

Of course now wikileaks is also hosting these newly obtained DNC emails. These DNC leaks mainly serve to discredit the DNC as to being fair to the Sanders campaign and probably mostly serve to open up old wounds among Sanders supporters. I doubt that Sanders could get catapulted to the nomination, but perhaps embolden his supporters to attempt the same stunt that the #NeverTrump folks tried (and failed) to do in the Republican Convention (ie., unbind the delegates).

Comment Re: Bullshit (Score 1) 144

The downside of blackmail is that you may make a lot of money from one mug. But if word gets out your business is essentially destroyed instantly.

Strongly disagree. The whole premise of ransomware depends on the existence of a sustainable model of blackmail. Just like any business you can be too greedy or too reckless and fail, but once the word of the standard operating procedures are established a working arraignment can often be found.

On the other hand, if some third party causes a break of the unwritten rules (e.g, 9/11 or ashley madison), then all bets are off for that type of business...

Comment Re:Amazon is awesome for knockoffs! (Score 1) 336

I have always wondered why the so called brand means anything when it's made by someone else anyway...

The theory behind a brand is that you are buying something from someone who has something to lose and thus might be more motivated to not screw you over.

In a game theoretical sense, a brand is simply an identifier used to track interaction over multiple iterations. It affects the payoff matrix in a way that can promote cooperation between suppliers and customers.

As a very coarse example, think of how people might act when buying illicit drugs on the street. The dealer is the "brand", but you probably have no idea where it was sourced. Trudging over to your "dealer" across town kinda sucks, but opportunistically a middle man (let's call him "Jeff") decides to start up a delivery service to your local 7-11. "Jeff" gave you a choice of dealers for you drug of choice at different price points. You might imagine your "dealer" might get pissed off if "Jeff" allowed other dealers to advertise their product under your "dealer's" name or other dealers that claim that they got their stuff from the same source as your "dealer", but at a lower price. Your "dealer" might get so pissed off that she might cut off "Jeff" and force you to trudge your butt across down to buy directly from her if you want the good stuff.

Your multiple iterations with your identified "dealer" affect your view of the payout matrix with your interaction both directly with her and through the "Jeff" intermediary, even though you know it is sourced somewhere else. A single interaction with other dealers require some other perceived improvement in the payoff matrix (e.g., cheaper, potentially better, etc).

Comment mr robot (Score 3, Interesting) 67

"Using the wall mounted control panel, the module can move across the floor and deploy different pieces of furniture. This can all be done remotely through the Ori app as well."

Given a demonstration about what might go wrong with current home automation in eps2.0_unm4sk-pt?.tc, I shudder to think what could happen if furniture was controllable through an "app"...

Comment Re:Who? (Score 3, Informative) 153

I get the impression that it's kind of like the Verizon of Japan, except maybe with an even larger market share. I believe they own Sprint in the U.S., too.

Like Yahoo, Softbank appears to be valued most by it's Alibaba holdings. The market value of the shares of it's top 5 holdings is worth $22B more than the market value of the company. Interesting, they recently purchased Sprint for about $22B... But unlike Yahoo, Softbank's own telecom business is actually profitable...

Apparently, they recently sold off some of their Alibaba holdings (~5% of 32% for +$9B) and all of SuperCell (70% +$8B) to help finance this ARM acquisition, but most observers believe it will almost certainly require taking on more debt given the amount of cash on hand...

As a result, the shares of Sprint have been impacted as it looks like they won't get all the cash infusion they need to turn around their business...

Comment Current faux-meat substitues (Score 1) 351

People will eat it if it is cheaper and reasonable tasting.

My issue is that I'm old-school and think that generally meat tastes better on the fatty side and cooked on the bone, but I'm probably in the minority. For those that prefer sterile low-fat off-the-bone preparations, it'll probably get good enough, soon enough.

I suspect that early on it won't be that much different than the relationship of Crab and Surimi/Krab. Maybe it will get better over time.

In China, the spread of Buddhism basically lead to all sorts of mock-meat products (mostly made of tofu, tempeh, fried-gluten) which people eat regularly even if not vegetarian, so as long as it's tasty, I suspect this lab-grown meat will have enough of a following until it gets entrenched and you can't even order the real thing for some dishes anymore except in a high-end restaurant.

Think about it this way, most people that eat a fair amount of meat on a regular basis will generally unquestioningly eat a sausage or hot-dog when given an opportunity. I think that says it all.

But if the purveyors of this lab-meat try to tackle it from the premium eco-angle, I suspect it will get crushed like synthetic diamonds (which even though are superior in every possible metric to conflict or deBeers diamonds, are perceived to be less desirable and thus unmarketable).

Comment Re:His worst mistake (Score 1) 236

Disclaimer: I voted for him both times.

It isn't even a matter of manned vs. unmanned exploration. The Space Shuttle was the Universe's most cost-overridden project ( until the F35 came along). The original promise was that the materials scientists would produce a monohull insulating layer. The moment they gave up and announced it would take 70-zillion separate, custom "bricks" , the program should have been shut down. Heck, it would have been cheaper to shoot astronauts 3 at a time on Sat-Vs, shoot up some payloads & return vehicles (modded Apollo3s) etc. than what it cost to build and maintain the shuttle fleet.

But think of the *jobs*, I mean think of the the *children* supported by those *jobs* (don't you remember the booming job market in the 70's)...

Don't kid yourself, they didn't burn the money, the money was spent to create jobs, not a space shuttle. Unfortunately, the government isn't very efficient when spending money to create jobs (lots of it gets lost in pockets along the way), but that's something you can't fix with money. Well, maybe campaign money is arguably what makes it inefficient, so maybe you can fix the government with *less* money.

I think retrospectively, Shuttle program and the Airbus A380 and A400 programs are probably the most comparable here... The F35 is an order of magnitude above these...

Comment Re:Given that the shuttle program... (Score 1) 236

Absolutely right. In Carter's position I would have made the same call, because I'm sure somebody at NASA would have convinced me that reusable must be inherently cheaper eventually, and that we need to go through these growing pains to debug the technology. But in hindsight it was the wrong call, and it set space exploration into a malaise from which is has not yet emerged.

Well, SpaceX and BlueOrigin are crowing about "resuable" being the future of space flight, you might argue that in abstract, idea of the Space Shuttle program wasn't wrong, it was just the wrong architecture**, executed all over a huge geography to get funding instead of efficiently (kinda like Airbus Planes), and managed like a huge bureaucracy (like any other govt program).

I would argue that even theoretically, you could have only fixed 1 out of the 3 issue, and the biggest problem is that it inevitably (because of the funding) became too big to fail which means once it gets to the wrong direction, it's too late making it nearly impossible to fix a wrong architecture.

However, the "malaise" of space exploration isn't really a function of the shuttle. Perhaps it set manned exploration back a decade or so, but space isn't going anywhere. The "malaise" is really because there's no immediacy to the problem (e.g. beat the Russians). Remember, the "space" budget is really a jobs-and-kickbacks budget that happens to to spent of space *stuff*. It's 100% discretionary spending (like a household budget for Netflix or a vacation in Greece).

Sometimes, you want to spend your discretionary money on Netflix, sometimes you want to take a trip to Greece with your money because your friends say it's the best vacation. Maybe your family debates that and makes a decision. However, sometimes you make the executive decision to spend that money to climb Kilimanjaro not because it is easy, but because none of your friends have gone there before and you want to be the first to take a selfie from space (oops, I mean Kilimanjaro, Virgin Galactic isn't operational yet) . To help sell that Kilimanjaro idea, you agree to make a stop-over in Miami for a couple days where your wife's family was from and you agree to buy the kids a new ipad for the trip. Congratulations, you get the trip, but long after the trip, when the selfies have scrolled off the bottom of your Facebook timeline, lament you've been missing out on House of Cards and regret sets in as you open your credit card bill.

If you made the other decision, you would probably still regret it watching House of Cards, trying to forget your friends Instagram pictures from Greece and save up for a trip next year, but really, just get over it, like all discretionary spending, it's never totally satisfying to rehash regrets unless they materially affect your life.

If things are more *immediate* (e.g, you thought your kid had 6months to live), maybe you'd choose to max out your credit cards to take that Greece vacation now (and do the Netflix too). Taking trips around the globe might be a more exhilarating way to live, but probably less sustainable.. China and India are probably spending far less than the US did for their space exploration programs because they effectively waited for the technology curve was more favorable. Space ain't going anywhere anytime soon and maybe we need a bit more "malaise" from our discretionary government spending programs.

**the Shuttle architecture (like others) is only nominally "resuable": SRB is toasted, a recovered external fuel tank needs rework, as does the shuttle engines. Similarly, Falcon has second stage which is toasted, a recovered first stage which needs rework and the Dragon is theoretically about as reusable as the shuttle. Not too different abstractly, but arguably a better architecture.

Comment Re:autolanding also needs airport support (Score 1) 329

For the flight management system to land the aircraft, both the airplane and the particular runway have to support it.

And when this stuff is down for maintenance (e.g., NOTAM: !SFO 06/005 SFO NAV ILS RWY 28L GP OTS WEF 1306011400-1308222359)** , the pilot needs to really be able to fly the plane, or bad things happen (Flight OZ214)...

It might be interesting to note that for the flight in question, even though the landing was not fully automated, the pilots still actually left the plane in an partial "auto-pilot" mode, but apparently one that did not actually engage the auto-throttle. By the time the pilot/co-pilot noticed their airspeed was too low, it was too late to execute a go-around...

**(NOtice To Airmen: SanFranciscO airport, NAVigation Instrument Landing System for RunWaY 28-Left Glide Path OuT of Service With Effect From UTC 2013, June 1, 2:00 to 2013 Aug 22, 11:59pm)

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