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S&P's $2 Trillion Math Mistake

Auto_Lykos Re:as a European. (1040 comments)

But entitlements are not sustainable at their current growth rate.

Per that picture, interest on the debt is really what is unsustainable. Entitlements grow relatively gradually and seem to be coverable with revenue restructuring. Something like 7.5% increase in absolute tax revenue or a 33% relative tax increase. Getting rid of the Bush tax cuts (for everyone) would be 10%. Removing the payroll tax cap would probably be another 5% of that. Corporate and loophole reform would probably get another 5%. Reforms to cut that rate of growth of entitlement spending (raising the retirement age, Health Care Act reform, Part D repeal, etc...) might fill in the rest.

By any means, I don't know too well, but it seems do-able if we face up to our underfunded liabilities, and, well, fund them. We'd still be paying significantly less than most of Europe even after that.

Interest on the debt meanwhile, threatens to doom us all and probably needs to be faced within the next twenty years before it does spiral out of control. How to fix the hole? That's when we start having to make the harder decisions.

more than 3 years ago

NASA Announces Discovery of Salty Water On Mars ... Maybe

Auto_Lykos Re:Important for two reasons (204 comments)

Yep, someone in the press asked a question along the lines of your second reason the panelist wasn't as enthusiastic about it as you might expect. He stressed this was important for the life side because it's the strongest evidence for current liquid water but not really for colonization.

The poles already contain massive quantities of pure ice water, that would not be too difficult to get at. These leaks by comparison would be highly salted to the point of almost un-usability since pure water would boil at Mars atmospheric pressure. One of the panelist even compared it to being more like a slow-flowing gel than a traditional liquid. It isn't too much water either. They were ball parked estimated to be somewhere around 25,000 gallons annually or so per crater (Maybe a backyard swimming pool's worth.). To put it into perspective, they think each of those little trickles you see on the images was only 25 gallons or so.

Finding evidence of a significant quantity of non-polar water ice (they're currently thinking it may be in aquifer like structures several kilometers under the surface) would be huge from a colonization stand-point, however.

more than 3 years ago

Seigniorage Hack Could Resolve Debt Limit Crisis

Auto_Lykos Re:Artificial crisis (696 comments)


2009, the latest year I could easily find the statistic for, we payed $381 billion in interest. It's not 50%, it's around 10-15%.

more than 3 years ago

Are 625 Pixels Enough To Identify Sex?

Auto_Lykos Hm? (143 comments)

"The also demonstrates that an old AI method, linear discriminant analysis, and demonstrates that it is as good and sometimes better than more trendy mehods such as Support Vector Machines"

I think the summary accidentally forgot the

more than 3 years ago

Meteorites Brought Ingredients of Life To Earth

Auto_Lykos Re:Yes, but.... (199 comments)

God is by definition infinitely complex. Any finite explanation of the universe, no matter how complex, is simpler than an explanation by God. Occam's Razor, correctly stated, is that the hypothesis with the smallest new assumptions is generally the one to be desired. The hypothesis of God is the ultimate assumption since it is supra-rational. Essentially, a million finite (provable) assumptions is still less than one infinite (unprovable) assumption. Is this a problem? Not necessarily since you're already talking about the value of faith, but using Occam's Razor in your argument is dubious at best.

more than 3 years ago

Stuxnet Virus Set Back Iran’s Nuclear Program by 2 Years

Auto_Lykos Re:If Only (349 comments)

True, but a bit of selfish wishing can't hurt.

more than 3 years ago

Stuxnet Virus Set Back Iran’s Nuclear Program by 2 Years

Auto_Lykos If Only (349 comments)

Diplomatic discussion on Stuxnet wasn't top secret and would show up in the WikiLeaks cables.

This is one event that we could use secret info being leaked to the public on. (At least for geeks)

more than 3 years ago

British Aircraft Carrier For Sale On Auction Site

Auto_Lykos So... (224 comments)

Is shipping free?

more than 3 years ago

WikiLeaks Will Unveil Major Bank Scandal

Auto_Lykos Welcome To The Brave New World (1018 comments)

We've been complaining for years about the Internet killing privacy. Now secrecy will die with it.

more than 3 years ago

LHC Scientists Create and Capture Antimatter

Auto_Lykos Re:No; "powerful explosions" belongs to literature (269 comments)

With regard to the sociological note. It's a half truth. H.G. Wells wrote about something similar to atomic bombs in a 1914 novel (The World Set Free) when there was no understanding of how an atomic bomb would actually work. In fact, there are newspaper articles from the 30's reporting about the wondrous possibilities of nuclear energy. Strangely enough, Leo Szilard, the man who hypothesized the chain reaction as the real basis of a nuclear weapon, read that book a year before his discovery. This was 1933. Mainstream acceptance of the possibility of a bomb was not until after the first fission was actually achieved: 1938. The bomb project began in 1940. Around this time, Niels Bohr (that Niels Bohr) estimated that building a bomb was a practical impossibility as it would require the industrialized output of most of a nation to get sufficient amounts of enriched uranium. He concluded it could be done but only in far future (much like an antimatter bomb). When he joined the project and saw the shear amount of resources the American's were devoting to the project and the advances being made, he changed his mind.

For instance, after spending roughly the cost of the LHC on the first uranium separation facilities at Oak Ridge, (fun fact: a significant portion of the USA's silver coinage reserve was melted into calutron's for magnetic separation) the facility, which consumed about 15% of United State's electrical output, was producing about a pound of U-235 a day, enough for a bomb every 6 months.

The LHC or ALPHA is like a mass spectrometer. It's a scientific tool. Technically, you can also use a mass spectrometer to enrich the uranium to make an atomic bomb, but it would take about a million years to make enough. See the similarities?

It is a bit disingenuous for CERN to say "we" can't make antimatter bombs. If "we" means CERN then it's absolutely true, but to comment in an overall sense of "we" would be yet another foolish misunderstanding of the abilities of an industrialized nation to accomplish something when incredibly dedicated to it.

The real reason we won't see anti-matter bombs is in CERN's quote though. A hydrogen bomb is plenty "good enough".

more than 3 years ago

Brooklyn Father And Son Launch Homemade Spacecraft

Auto_Lykos Re:19 miles isn't "space" (243 comments)

To be fair, atmospheric pressure at 19 miles is just a little under 1% of what is at sea level and about equivalent to the atmosphere of Mars.

But we've seen these kinds of cheap high altitude balloons cover by Slashdot for about a year now and every time it happens, it seems to be picked up as a "new" event.

The thing that is really annoying though is that they all are doing the same thing without any improvement. Next time I have to read this story, please say someone floated a model rocket with an M engine up to 20 miles and got it the golden suborbital height.

more than 3 years ago

American Business Embraces 'Gamification'

Auto_Lykos So this would be? (109 comments)

In Capitalist America, buisness games you!

about 4 years ago

Armed Man Takes Hostages At Discovery Channel HQ

Auto_Lykos Re:It's always refreshing (1090 comments)

Isn't belief in the goodness of reason also a dogmatic faith? Shouldn't we also be questioning reason?

I agree with you to a degree, but it begs the question.

about 4 years ago

Lenovo To Launch Chinese Gaming Platform Called Ebox

Auto_Lykos Re:I smell a turd... (71 comments)

The motion control tech behind Kinect was acquired when Microsoft purchased an Israeli company a few years ago. The tech (an IR grid is projected and an IR camera examines and analyzes for deformations of that grid to calculate position) has hardly changed since then. There were demos of this back in 2007 I believe where you could shoot virtual hoops. All this time has been Microsoft developing software, because, to be honest, it took awhile to figure out what you could do with this thing.

about 4 years ago

Portugal Gives Itself a Clean-Energy Makeover

Auto_Lykos Explain This To Me (368 comments)

Why do articles (the summary included) talking about power-generation always mention oil and it's coming scarcity or price.?

Practically, no one uses oil for power and if they do it's almost rarely more than a sliver of the pie. In the United States it's about 3.25% and in most countries it's far lower.

Sure if you're talking about energy usage in general it makes a lot of sense to mention oil, but for power-generation, not really.

more than 4 years ago

Prankster Jailbreaks Apple Store Display iPhone

Auto_Lykos Do something Similar That Won't Get You In Trouble (318 comments)

Just walk in, open up Safari, and load the latest iPhone warning piece on Slashdot. Nothing "illegal" and it still gives the next chump something to think about before they buy it. :)

more than 4 years ago

Quantifying, and Dealing With, the Deepwater Spill

Auto_Lykos Feeds from the ROVs (343 comments)

BP has been providing live feeds of all the ROV missions to the wellhead for the last few days. For those who are curious, here's a pretty decent site hosting all the feeds from the ROVs. Pretty fascinating to watch all the work going on around the BOP, occasionally you can follow a few of the ROVs as they wander off to find old pipelines or prepare the Q4000 direct connection. In a tragic way it almost feels like watching the Titanic discovery all over again.

more than 4 years ago

Triumph of the Cyborg Composer

Auto_Lykos Re:As much genre as you want (502 comments)

With Rhapsody, (Well this is sounding like an advertisement) I don't have pay wall barrier that a lot of kids have and don't require friends to buy and expose me to new music

Great, now I sound like a real nerd. Is it too late?

more than 4 years ago


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