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Comment Re:Apple pie from scratch (Score 1) 273

I think people make tubes because a normal person can with some combination of money and effort - used vacuum pumps aren't that hard to rebuild. You could cheap out and use fixtures, but a reasonable quality glass lathe is something like $14k. It would be a relatively expensive hobby, but still cheaper than cars.

Comment Re:Won't work in America (Score 1) 630

Actually, San Francisco used to have a cash payment program for General Assistance. Somebody noticed the city was employing a lot of bureaucrats to provide services, and that it would be far more efficient to hand out cash instead of housing vouchers and meal tickets. What the GP said is exactly what happened. People spent their assistance on booze and drugs and then begged for food. Gavin Newsom made his political bones replacing the cash program with something very similar to the one that preceded it.

Comment Re:100% Automation coming soon. (Score 1) 256

I'm not wrong. Change does happen faster than expected. But long, long after it was expected. Certainly we can build single-purpose machines, in some cases, cheaply enough to use. That's automation. But we're not even close to a self-repairing machine that has the coordination, stamina, and sensory capabilities of a person, and that's what it's going to take to displace people entirely from productive work.

Comment Wat? (Score 1) 82

At one base, soldiers preferred to play mouse-and-keyboard games over a more "realistic" virtual room.

"Preferred"? I'm not sure the author of this article really understands how the military works.

Comment Re: Stealth (Score 1) 117

We didn't even have to win to win. If the US was willing to pay the price Vietnam would be partitioned to this day. There's no way they could have defeated us militarily even if we didn't invade the North. But the public wasn't willing to pay the price. I suspect we wouldn't even have needed troops on the ground - the South Vietnamese destroyed a large invasion force with the help of US air power in 1973 and might have been able to hold indefinitely if we had continued to provide air support.

It sucked for the people in the South, but I wonder if the country isn't better off today. Like China, Vietnam only pays the barest lip service to communism these days. They have more economic freedom than Americans. If we had forced a partition maybe Vietnam would be like Korea, with both armies on a hair trigger and Ho Jon Un building nuclear weapons to intimidate the neighbors.

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