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Obama Proposes One-Time Tax On $2 Trillion US Companies Hold Overseas

Dereck1701 Define "overseas profits" (450 comments)

I can understand trying to get companies to stop gaming the system by shuffling their US profits to overseas holding companies to avoid taxes, but is this what this proposal is actually doing? If it is I'm all for it, but somehow I wonder if this is trying to tax overseas profits from overseas sales simply because the company is US owned. There was a raft of articles a few years back about US citizens having to renounce their citizenship because they were being taxed at obscene rates despite the fact that they didn't live, work, vote or even visit the US. Maybe its my latent paranoia but I wonder if this is the corporate version of this.

5 hours ago
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Indian Woman Sues Uber In the US Over Alleged New Delhi Taxi Rape

Dereck1701 Buyer beware (236 comments)

How is this Ubers fault? This is like suing a newspaper for not doing background checks on people sending/calling in classified adds when something bad happens in regards to them. Uber is just creating the meeting place for people to exchange a service, not providing the service themselves. People who use it have to recognize that fact and take proper precautions, as you would with any classified/craigslist/etc add.

yesterday
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Engineers Develop 'Ultrarope' For World's Highest Elevator

Dereck1701 Re:Electrically-coupled counterweight (247 comments)

While such an elevator system would use more power one of the inherent abilities of any electric motor system is the ability to use regenerative braking. You'd probably have a bank of super-capacitors in a utility room, when the elevator was going up it would use the capacitor bank and some power from the mains, when it was going down it would refill the capacitors. Even if you had to put the motors on the elevator car itself this shouldn't be an issue as we have centuries of technology (subways, trains, trolly cars, bumper cars, etc) proving that you can provide power to a moving transportation system and electric motors are quite small (the ones powering electric cars are about the size of a watermelon).

4 days ago
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Engineers Develop 'Ultrarope' For World's Highest Elevator

Dereck1701 Rope? (247 comments)

Rope and cable for elevators is a century old technology, I'm surprised they aren't using linear motors, standard electric motors or something else for record breaking skyscrapers. I can understand continuing to use cable for normal skyscrapers as it is a tested, widely available and is cheaper due to current production. But when dealing with such immense heights (1km) you would think someone would have the sense to develop something better suited rather then putting a small metal box on the end of a giant spool of rope/cable.

4 days ago
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Dish Network Violated Do-Not-Call 57 Million Times

Dereck1701 Thats odd (247 comments)

I've received all kinds of mail from them and DirectTV, but I've never got a call from them or Dish Network and I've never heard any complaints of people receiving calls from either. On the other hand I get all kinds of calls from car warranty and home security companies.

about two weeks ago
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SpaceX Landing Attempt Video Released

Dereck1701 Re:The problem was the control fins. (248 comments)

The grid fins may have contributed to the booster being off course from the pad but I have a hard time believing that they would have caused such an (apparently) abrupt change of orientation. Such control surfaces usually only function significantly at high speed, not at the slow speeds at landing. Think about it like putting your hand out of a car window, at 25 mph nothing happens, when you get up to 45 you get a little bit of push, but its only at 55+ when you can really have an effect.

about two weeks ago
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SpaceX Landing Attempt Video Released

Dereck1701 Hard Landing (248 comments)

Wow, when Musk said that it was a "hard landing" I thought he may have been exaggerating, he wasn't. Though it was VERY close. If I'm not mistaken the rocket is oriented pretty well (though is off the landing pad) just before it suddenly goes 45 degrees (presumably in an attempt to get to the barge) and slams into the deck. A larger pad would definitely help, but they may be able to tweak the navigation software to make it work.

about two weeks ago
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LAPD Orders Body Cams That Will Start Recording When Police Use Tasers

Dereck1701 I'm a bit dubious (219 comments)

Isn't this the same department that has been caught actively destroying their cruiser recording equipment, installed specifically because of abuse concerns? Unless the video is instantly uploaded to remote, third party servers and there are SEVERE penalties for damaged equipment or "malfunctions" then its not going to really mean anything. If officers think they're in the right they'll keep the footage, if they thing they did something wrong there will be an "accident" with it resulting in loss of the video/audio.

about three weeks ago
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SpaceX Rocket Launch Succeeds, But Landing Test Doesn't

Dereck1701 Re:Minor setback (213 comments)

You can't change rough seas but you can get a ship that is equipped to handle them better (semi-submersible oil platforms for example) or make sea roughness at the landing platform part of the launch criteria much like the launch site wind/rain/electrical launch criteria.

about three weeks ago
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SpaceX Rocket Launch Succeeds, But Landing Test Doesn't

Dereck1701 Re:No KSP at SpaceX? (213 comments)

I've heard that parachutes are fairly expensive, not horribly reliable (on the Ares-1x test flight 2 out of 3 failed), aren't really reusable and don't really decelerate spacecraft enough for a soft landing. There is a reason why most capsule spacecraft land in the ocean, landing on ground requires retrorockets.

about three weeks ago
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SpaceX Rocket Launch Succeeds, But Landing Test Doesn't

Dereck1701 Re:Minor setback (213 comments)

If it was a fuel issue it could explain something. I've never seen a fuel tank camera before (though I am sure they have been flown before) yet at least the video I watched they gave a view of the second stages fuel tank (I believe) for quite a while after ending the burn. I wonder if they were trying to show the NASA guys that they could stage the rocket a little earlier (leaving more fuel in the first stage) due to an ample safety margin (there seemed to be quite a bit of fuel left.)

about three weeks ago
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SpaceX Rocket Launch Succeeds, But Landing Test Doesn't

Dereck1701 Re:A bit off topic (213 comments)

There are some working on a similar concept (Stratolaunch, Russian Re-entry Rocket Module (RRM), defunct Roton Rocket). To each their own, I would imagine that SpaceX didn't want to try to mix disciplines (rocketry & aircraft) and add moving parts. You can't just put a wing on a rocket and launch it, doing so adds immense drag and difficult to resolve aerodynamic forces so they often have to be stowed/folded into the rocket somehow. The only craft that I believe has successfully added fixed wings is the shuttle and that did it through brute force (SRBs) and a minimal aerodynamics (it screamed towards its runway at around 600 mph and then slams on the airbrakes and puts itself into controlled a stall to land at over 200 mph).

about three weeks ago
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SpaceX Rocket Launch Succeeds, But Landing Test Doesn't

Dereck1701 Minor setback (213 comments)

The fact that it made it to the platform itself is a major milestone, correcting whatever caused it to land hard (rough seas, hardware/software issue, ran out of fuel at the last second) would seem to be childs play compared to what was required to get to that point. Reentering craft usually have landing ellipsis of dozens if not hundreds of square miles and this thing landed on a 300'x170' platform. I look forward to the next (hopefully successful) test.

about three weeks ago
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Why We're Not Going To See Sub-orbital Airliners

Dereck1701 Re:42 minutes (300 comments)

Several parts of the tunnel system were/are going to be built by TBMs. While they are a definite improvement on older methods of tunnel construction they aren't exactly what you would call fast and when things go wrong they go catastrophically wrong. The Seattle TBM digging a paltry 1.7 mile tunnel. It was stopped by a tiny metal pipe in its tracks and it will cost several times more than a brand new TBM to get things up and running again.

about a month ago
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Why We're Not Going To See Sub-orbital Airliners

Dereck1701 Re:42 minutes (300 comments)

Boring straight through the planet may be (extremely) impractical, but shorter hops like the one I noted are not necessarily beyond current technology. Such a tunnel would be about 20 miles deep at most, handling the temperatures at that depth might be difficult (somewhere between 600 and 1000F I believe) but shouldn't be insurmountable. Again it would probably be wildly impractical from an economic perspective but not technically impossible as the "red stuff" is I believe at least 40 miles deep at least beneath the continents.

about a month ago
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Why We're Not Going To See Sub-orbital Airliners

Dereck1701 Re:42 minutes (300 comments)

In theory sure, but in practice it is prohibitively expensive and takes insanely long to complete one. For example New Yorks' Tunnel No 3, an Aqueduct, is only going 60 miles, was began in the 70s, is not expected to be completed until 2020 at the earliest & will cost over $6 Billion. That is $100 Million per Mile, so a relatively short tunnel system (say Chicago to New York) would cost almost a hundred billion dollars and take somewhere between 5 decades and a century to complete even if you started construction at 14 different places simultaneously.

about a month ago
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Professor: Young People Are "Lost Generation" Who Can No Longer Fix Gadgets

Dereck1701 You can repair gadgets/appliances? (840 comments)

Most gadgets/appliances these days are designed NOT to be repaired. Finding parts is often a royal nightmare, opening the gadget/appliance often results in damage and even if you can find the parts & get the appliance open its almost cheaper to buy a new one. A while back we had a washer's control board fry (likely a lightning strike), a few screws and unpluging a few connections was all that was needed to extract it from the machine. However after an exhaustive search we found a replacement board for it but it was over $400 for a washer you could buy $600 new. There are sometimes exceptions (I repaired a cracked screen on a $700 laptop for $125) but unfortunately these days more often than not its cheaper, safer, more time saving & easier to toss your broken gadget/appliance and get a new one.

about a month ago
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How Civilizations Can Spread Across a Galaxy

Dereck1701 Re:Why? (272 comments)

"What calculations did you use to get 1000 years anyway?"

I'd always heard 100-150 years for an Orion craft to get to a Alpha Centauri, a lot of those calculations don't include the energy required to slow down for some reason (I think) so I multiplied the estimate by two (200-300 years). Alpha Centauri is about 4.3 ly from us so I divided 16 by 4.3 and multiplied that (3.7) by the 200-300 estimate to come up with 744-1116 years. Of course all of these numbers are probably based on the original 1960s Orion so with modern tech it might very well be possible to bring the time down quite a ways. And with research into more advanced propulsion it might be possible to bring it down even more (spiked fusion, antimatter, Bussard ramjet). But a major design consideration no matter what the technology (unless its some FTL tech) is going to be time. Any materials/technology that you have on board is going to have to be repairable, manufacture-able and recyclable on board. Sure you could make some ships components out of carbon fiber, but you wouldn't be able to replace them so your probably going to use aluminum. Sure you could use top of the line computer processors, but if they fried you'd have to have replacements (and hope age hadn't killed them) so you'll probably go with an older design that can be built on board. Any of these would of course require a massive ship be built, but even that isn't all that improbable, for the likely final cost of SLS alone we could launch the mass of a WWII aircraft carrier into orbit on today's commercial launchers. Times that by 10 and you've reached the mass of a moderate sized Orion (or about the initial cost of the Iraq War).

about a month ago
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How Civilizations Can Spread Across a Galaxy

Dereck1701 Re:Why? (272 comments)

You're half correct, it would take several times as long, but this is space travel, you don't need several times the fuel. The smaller Orion designs only have the craft accelerating for about 10 days. Any craft that can last a hundred years is in all likelihood going to have all of the capacities (long term energy source, on-board fabrication of replacement parts, crew replacement, etc) to last much longer with only moderate modifications. No doubt that the level of danger increases with the distance, but if a civilization is willing to wait several hundred thousand years to send an expedition to another star system I doubt some extra risk to send an expedition now with a longer trip is going to make them even bat an eye.

about a month ago
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How Civilizations Can Spread Across a Galaxy

Dereck1701 Why? (272 comments)

If you've got the technology to make a 3 light year journey you're not going to wait hundreds of thousands of years when you could make the 16 ly trip in a fraction of the time. Even with current technology we could theoretically make a 16 ly journey in somewhere around 1,000 years.

about a month ago

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