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Comment Not to be too impolite about things... (Score 1) 86

Currently, that means smarter robots in space. Like Curiosity. Astronaut, like slide rules, are quaint but obsolete technology for space travel.

Not to be too impolite about things... but I kind of don't really give a sh*t about you putting a box with blinky lights on Mars. I have one of those in my closet, it's called an "Arris WiFi Cable Modem".

Unless there are people there to watch it blink, it might as well be a frigging brick.

I watched every damn Apollo launch. When I started school, and there was a launch, I had a note from my mother the next day: "Stayed home to watch the launch". I was always given makeup tests, but since 1/3 of the kids stayed out for the same reason, they eventually interrupted classes for the launches, even if they were "uninteresting" ones.

Who the heck stays home from school to watch the live video of a launch for a little box? Pretty much no one. If you care (which you likely don't, because no one cares about a brick), you watch the video later, on YouTube.

I think one of the reasons SpaceX tried to "stick" the water landing was that no one had done it before, and so the intent was to get people excited about watching things again.

It didn't really work, because it wasn't that exciting, after they blew the first one up.

Send a human to Ceres: my nieces and nephews are going to be staying home and watching the launch with me, even if I have to hog-tie their mother. They will also be watching the approach and landing on the asteroid itself.

Send humans to Phobos, or Mars itself: same thing.

Humans doing things is exciting. Robots operating as they are designed to operate is intensely boring.

The ESA robot mission to Mars has a malfunction? Who gives a crap. Apollo 13 has a malfunction? OMG, I don't know how I did it, but I'm pretty sure I was away like 76 hours straight, glued to the screen.

The incrementalists can all go scr*w themselves: If you all want to take "baby steps" to get from point A to point B, like NBill Murray in "What About Bob?": feel free to fund it yourself.

If, on the other hand, you want to make a "giant leap for mankind", we'll get behind you with the $$$.

P.S.: You can also fund yourself for a "giant leap for a brick"; no one cares if you put a Raspberry Pi on Mars. Really.

Comment We already learned to walk... (Score 4, Insightful) 86

It is important to learn to walk before you attempt to run. In case you cannot wait, we'd be happy to strap your ass to rocket and send you to the nearest star. Please write often, we'd love to hear how it is going.

We already learned to walk... you're probably a millennial who was not there on July 20th, 1969 when we took our first steps. That almost 50 years ago this year. Guess what we were learning to do in 1919, 50 years before that? We had just completed the first non-stop transatlantic flight.

50 years before that, the biggest deal in 1869 was closing on the funding for the Beach Pneumatic railway... and it was 10 years before Edison demonstrated his electric light bulb in Menlo Park.

We are sitting around these days, mostly staring at our belly button lint. But we are proud of ourselves, for using robots to do it. It turns out it's the same belly button lint that was there in 1969.

We seem to be saddled with an overabundance of one of:

1. Caution
2. Roboticists, sucking the funding out of everything interesting
3. People with sticks up their asses

Pick one, but we should have a colony on the moon already, if not Mars (at least a Phobos base for the asteroid mining fleet).

Comment Re:In states that have sales tax. (Score 1) 504

In states that have sales tax. Which is not all of them.

The majority do. You are going to be hard pressed to find an example where an enormous % of the working poor truly do not pay any.

Not to mention that local, state and federal governments get their revenue not just from personal income taxes, but also from payroll taxes, corporate taxes, excise licenses, tariffs, etc.

Payroll taxes are paid by the employer, and are almost all federal, with the exception of worker's comp. No working poor there.

Corporate taxes are income taxes paid by corporations. Most working poor do not create corporations.

Excise taxes are on alcohol and gas. Primarily on people who drink, or people who drive cars instead of taking public transportation. Unlike most working poor.

Tariffs are not charged individuals, and the interstate commerce clause prohibits anyone but the federal government regulating interstate commerce via tariff. Which it does not do.

So out of your list we have:

- Poor alcoholics who can apparently still afford alcohol
- Poor drivers who can apparently still afford to avoid public transport and own a private vehicle

That seems to about cover it.

Comment "We've corrected the software..." (Score 1) 383

"We've corrected the software... it now does not assume that everyone using the roads will obey the relevant traffic laws, if it turns out that at the bottom of the hill is a stop sign, and then there is another hill headed upward, since the stop sign, if obeyed, would cause a loss of momentum and necessitate pedaling".

Better for cyclists to just disobey the traffic laws, and keep that momentum up the hill!!!

And yes, I am looking at you, intersection of Claremont an Ulloa in West Portal in San Francisco.

Comment Re:That argument is easy to fix as well... (Score 1) 178

So in practice, officials in a court or tribunal do have some tools available to deal with intermediaries and do have some latitude in how they apply those tools. The mere existence of an intermediary company can't always be relied upon as a shield.

Which mean that your argument turns into this, in the degenerate case:

(1) Google hires a janitorial services company
(2) The services company contracts with janitors for services
(3) The service company goes out of business
(4) The contractors are now magically Google employees


Just because it is not easy to thread the needle doesn't mean everyone is going to be so stupid as to mean everyone will be unable to thread it.

Comment Re:That argument is easy to fix as well... (Score 1) 178

I'm saying that it doesn't matter what the tribunal wants to have happen, if legally, the corporations have followed all the rules.

If you don't want people to game the rules, then you need to create ungameable rules. Good luck solving the halting problem.

The problem is that the people making the rules want the, to be such that they are permitted to game them, but you (e.g. Uber) are not.

You can regulate all you want, but a self destructing isolation/"circuit breaker" company is a tried and true method.

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