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Comments

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Reversible Type-C USB Connector Ready For Production

Target Drone One of the most frustrating first-world problems (191 comments)

One of the most frustrating first-world problems... they keep inventing new incompatible connectors for no good reason (at least for the consumer).

about three weeks ago
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BlackBerry Will Sell Itself For $4.7 Billion

Target Drone Re:Consortium (149 comments)

What I am most curious about is who is part of that consortium.

According to this it's Bank of America Merrill Lynch and BMO Capital Markets. It's telling how little the commpany is being sold for. The company is basically being sold for the value of it's current assets ($2.6 billion in cash reserves, patent portfolio, software, etc.). Seems like the buyer has no intention to turn the company around and get profits out in the future.

about a year ago
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The last time I used a dial-up modem was...

Target Drone Re:Early cable (410 comments)

I kind of wish they would bring back the "dial-up" concept. Something like you pay $20/month for an ADSL WAN connection that will only route to other connections in the local calling area. You then have to go out and purchase Internet/TV/VOIP from a company or companies on top of that.

The better option would be if municipalities were to create open access networks (dark fiber to the home to whoever wants it). But seeing as how that's unlikely to happen in most places a government regulated high-speed "dial-up" connection might be an acceptable alternative.

about a year ago
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New Radioactive Water Leak At Fukushima: 300 Tons and Growing

Target Drone Re:Radioactive ooze! (198 comments)

Another factor to take into consideration is the scope of a potential disaster. If Indian Point was to melt down and create an exclusion zone a little smaller than Chernobyl it would mean the evacuation of 8 million people in New York and closure of one of the World's biggest financial centers. Now the odds are incredibly small that this could happen but it's worth weighing this vs going with coal which causes a larger constant amount of damage every year. Assuming of course you must pick between nuclear and coal.

1 year,12 days
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A Sea Story: the Wreck of the Replica HMS Bounty

Target Drone Re:a tragedy all around (184 comments)

I'm not sure how much of a choice the crew had

There was no mention of future employment on the Bounty for departing crew, the third mate testified, nor did the captain offer to pay expenses home.

So the crew would probably have lost a job they love.

They trusted the skipper almost without question.

Further more they had no reason to doubt that the captain was doing anything too reckless when they made the decision to stay. However, halfway into the voyage

Around 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, October 27, about 300 miles east of Virginia Beach, Virginia, the captain made his move: Instead of continuing with his original plan to stay east of the storm, he ordered the crew to change course. He wanted to pilot the ship northwest of Sandy to harness its winds. Turning more westerly, the boat crossed the path of the oncoming hurricane.

I think a lot of labour laws get passed because of incidents like this. People on the job don't speak up because they fear loosing their job and what their being asked to do doesn't seem (at the time) all that risky and they also trust their boss who has way more experience. However, if you pass a law saying that workers must wear a safety harness, must follow air traffic controllers orders or can not sail into the path of a hurricane then it seems to jar people to their senses. Bosses are reluctant to order employees to do something illegal and employees are reluctant to follow an illegal order.

In a perfect world we'd just have a set of guidelines to follow. However, in reality it seems that people ignore guidelines and a law is the only way to get them to realize that something is a really stupid idea.

about a year and a half ago
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A Sea Story: the Wreck of the Replica HMS Bounty

Target Drone Re:a tragedy all around (184 comments)

Just because a bunch of people who took a risk died doesn't mean we need to make laws to stop it in the future.

Except in this case it was the captain who took the risk doing minimal maintenance on the ship and trying to "use" the hurricane winds rather then going east around the storm. It's not like the captain held a meeting, explained the situation and took a vote before changing course.

This reminds me of the B-25 that crashed into the Empire State Building killing the pilot and 13 other people. The pilot was advised by the airport of zero visibility but chose to try and land anyway. If I remember right a law was passed after this accident saying that a pilot could no longer choose to ignore an air traffic controller.

about a year and a half ago
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Japanese Parliament: Fukushima a Man-Made Disaster

Target Drone Re:Really, really bad (134 comments)

I would add that a futher compounding factor is that nuclear power is too expensive. Originally the promise when it was first being developed was power too cheap to be metered. You would just pay a flat monthly fee. If nuclear had turned out to be significantly cheaper than all other power sources than it would be much easier to regulate additional expensive safety features, inspections, etc.

more than 2 years ago
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Fukushima: Myth of Safety, Reality of Geoscience

Target Drone Re:Nuclear power apologists keep missing the point (206 comments)

Nuclear is scarier in the same way that people are more afraid of airplane crashes then car crashes. It's the big spectacular events that scare us the most, even if they are extremely rare. Nuclear also has a real public relations problem. You can't tour a plant. You might even get detained by police for taking a picture of one. The whole issue of what to do with the waste hasn't been worked out (sure it's mostly politics but the fact is it hasn't been taken care of). The average person doesn't have a Geiger counter so it's impossible to know if they are leaking radiation or not. It also doesn't help that in most countries environmental regulation is handled by one department and nuclear power is handled by a separate often very secretive branch. If nuke plants held once a month community tours with free BBQ hamburgers and let people buy a subsidized Geiger counter on their way out through the gift shop things might be different.

more than 2 years ago
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Fukushima: Myth of Safety, Reality of Geoscience

Target Drone Re:Close them all (206 comments)

Since fission nuclear power, if done for safely and accounted for properly, is insanely expensive to begin with

The funny thing is that when nuclear power was first being developed in the 1950s there was talk of unmetered billing. The electricity from nuclear would be so cheap that you would just be charged a flat rate each month.

Slightly off topic. We've all heard how as soon as fusion is developed it will solve all our energy problems but is it going to be any better? I've heard the design of a fusion reactor will be very similar to a fission reactor. There will be a nuclear core that generates heat and drives steam turbines. A cement containment building to contain any leaks or explosions. The core will be radioactive so you need specially trained workers and procedures. From a cost/operating standpoint it sounds a lot like a fission plant.

I should mention there are a few big pluses to fusion though.

  • The containment vessel becomes much more radioactive then fission waste. However it will only take about 200 years to decay to safe levels making finding a safe disposal site easier
  • An radiation that escapes from the plant should decay to background levels by the time it reaches the fence around the perimeter of the plant
  • Uranium fuel currently accounts for about 30% of the cost of running a fission plant. So there is that savings. Although until a fusion plant is actually built we won't know if there are any additional costs that fission didn't have

more than 2 years ago
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DARPA To Sponsor R&D For Interstellar Travel

Target Drone Re:Waste of money (364 comments)

At the moment it seems interstellar travel will require humans to live onboard a space ship for a very very long time. A good baby step might be to develop manufacturing technology that can create almost any part needed as well as recycle old parts. This technology could also be very useful on space stations as well as remote locations on earth.

about 3 years ago
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Is Bill Gates the Cure For What Ails Microsoft?

Target Drone Re:If you want Bill Gates to be Steve Jobs (337 comments)

A wise old businessman once told me how companies are like people. They are born with lots of energy and enthusiasm, go through growing pains and assuming they live long enough hit the prime of their life. Then, like people companies eventually grow old and get hardening of the arteries before finally dying.

more than 3 years ago
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PROTECT IP Act Follows In COICA's Footsteps

Target Drone Re:Protect RIAA/MPAA profits act. (162 comments)

Abolishing imaginary property is exactly what we should be doing.

They're not advocating abolishing IP. They propose getting rid of Patents and Copyright and replacing it with private contracts between a buyer and seller. With added laws to enforce fair use saying things like a seller can't stop a buyer from loaning or renting.

One interesting quote in the book

If we did not have a patent system, it would be irresponsible, on the basis of our present knowledge of its economic consequences, to recommend instituting one. But since we have had a patent system for a long time, it would be irresponsible, on the basis of our present knowledge, to recommend abolishing it.

So whatever we do we should do it slowly and monitor the impact it is having.

more than 3 years ago
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PROTECT IP Act Follows In COICA's Footsteps

Target Drone Re:Protect RIAA/MPAA profits act. (162 comments)

They have to invent imaginary persons (corporations), and imaginary objects (intellectual property), both which defy the laws of physics in their favor but never in the favor of consumers.

You can't seriously be advocating abolishing corporations and IP. You probably take it for granted that the computer you're using was created by a bunch of investors who pooled millions of dollars through a corporation and funded the very expensive CPU development knowing that their investment would be protected by patents. They used very complicated software to design the CPU which is protected by copyright. They marketed the CPU under a brand name protected by a trademark so consumers wouldn't get ripped off buying a fake hunk of plastic.

Corporations, patents and copyright have a lot of problems (particularly in the US as laws have slowly changed over the last few decades) but getting rid of them is like getting rid of our legal system because our drug laws don't make sense.

more than 3 years ago
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Engineers Find Nuclear Meltdown At Fukushima Plant

Target Drone Re:Nuclear power arguments (664 comments)

coal is actually WORSE than nuclear in both radiation output and toxic byproducts that need disposal

For a properly functioning power plant Coal puts out about 100 times the radiation of Nuclear. However even if you live near a coal plant it will only up your anual background radiation does by about 0.5%.

The coal industry will put out about 101 PBq of radiation for the years 1937-2040. By comparision Fukushima has spit out about 130-150 PBq of iodine-131 and Chernobyl was about 1760 PBq.

Having said all that I think neither are great solutions and we should really be investing more money in alternatives.

more than 3 years ago
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Alabama Nuclear Reactor Gets 'F' Grade

Target Drone Re:No... (436 comments)

There are no modern nuclear reactors running commercially in the United States. And that's the problem

Plant operators are more interested about their bottom line then safety. And that's the problem

more than 3 years ago
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When it comes to jury service, I ...

Target Drone Re:The Dutch don't like jury trial (528 comments)

Could you shed any light why the Netherlands views has such a poor view of trial by jury.

Not sure about the Netherlands in particular but the general issue is that jury trials are considered unpredictable. A judge must write out a lengthy decision that logically explains the facts, applicable law and why the person is guilty. A jury is usually made up of people too stupid to get out of jury duty and are not required to explain their reasoning. This leads to the argument that only guilty people want a jury trial because they have nothing to lose. You can look at examples like the OJ Simpson trial or the Rodney King beating as examples where the defendants likely got away because of the jury.

Where I live in Canada a bench trial (trial by judge alone) is the norm but a defendant has the right to a jury trial in any case where the sentence is potentially greater then 5 years. The advantage is that the defendant gets a choice. Bench trial for a predictable logical judgement. Jury trial to prevent tyranny and unjust laws by the state. Downside is guilty defendants can charm or confuse a jury into an acquittal.

more than 3 years ago
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Google Faces Privacy Audits For Next 20 Years

Target Drone Re:Google got hit before Facebook? (112 comments)

Don't worry. Just as soon as the next "pro business" administration gets into office Google won't have to worry about these left wing communist job killing audits anymore.

more than 3 years ago
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Page Can't Turn Back Clock At Google

Target Drone Re:The search part of Google isn't that big (205 comments)

97% of the revenue still comes from search ads.

Google seems to be going through the same pattern as a lot of other high tech juggernauts. They invent one or two hit products that turn them into a household name. Unfortunately for them (lucky for a competitive market) despite having mountains of cash corporate bureaucracy sets in and they never really get much else going.

<rant>
Slightly off topic but it seems like these giant high tech companies tend to be bad stock investments. Initially they seem good because they have explosive revenue growth and a huge pile of cash saved for a rainy day. However, like all companies they invariably jump the shark and then burn through their cash reserves. Having, payed out little if anything in dividends. It seems like you buy tech stocks in the hopes of passing it on to a greater fool.
</rant>

more than 3 years ago
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Vint Cerf Keeps Blaming Himself For IPv4 Limit

Target Drone Re:Is it a software patents issue? (alan cox) (309 comments)

If this is true then wouldn't it mean that IPv6 won't get adopted until 2018? 20 years after the original RFC was published.

I personally think the problem is that compatibility with IPv4 seems like it was an afterthought. The designers of IPv6 should have designed the system so that individual computers/routers/networks could be upgraded independently of each other in much the same way you can easily upgrade your network from 100mb to GigE.

more than 3 years ago
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Pope Says Technology Causes Confusion Between Reality and Fiction

Target Drone Re:This is just red meat for the /. crowd (779 comments)

The actual article seems like a troll as it only reports a couple of snipits. Here's a better one with the full quote I found via google. The Pope was actually talking about the way modern media reports the news.

Today, for example, the world of appearances has an increasing weight with the development of new technologies; but if on the one hand this has doubtless positive aspects, on the other, the image can also become detached from reality , it can give life to a virtual world, with diverse consequences, the first of which is the risk of indifference to the truth. In fact, new technologies, together with the progress that they bring, can result in what is true and what is false becoming interchangeable, it can lead to confusing the real with the virtual. In addition, reporting of an event, happy or sad, can be consumed as entertainment and not as an occasion for reflection. The search for ways to authentically promote man then disappears into the background, because the event is presented primarily to arouse emotions. These issues are alarm bells: an invitation to consider the danger that the virtual distances us from reality and does not stimulate the pursuit of what is true, the truth.

more than 3 years ago

Submissions

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Peak Oil to hit by 2012

Target Drone Target Drone writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Target Drone (546651) writes "Both Time and The Wall Street Journal are reporting that peak oil has either already arrived or will arrive as early as 2012. Peak oil is the point in time where smaller new discoveries are unable to offset declining production from older fields and we'll have to make due with ever declining oil production. Since 1980 we have been consuming more oil then we discover each year. Also, world oil production peaked at 85.5 million barrels per day in July 2006 and despite strong demand hasn't come close to this mark since."
Link to Original Source
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Target Drone Target Drone writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Target Drone (546651) writes "CBC has a story about GetAFirstLife.com a parody site of Second Life that has a link inviting comments or cease and desist letters. Ginsu Yoon, a lawyer for Second Life posted a note saying "... Linden Lab objects to any implication that it would employ lawyers incapable of distinguishing such obvious parody... In conclusion, your invitation to submit a cease-and-desist letter is hereby rejected.""

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