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The Ultimate Hopes For the New Cosmos Series

Yoje Re:If (183 comments)

I believe the hope here is not that it will bring forward some new revelation, but that it will simply get the general public excited about science again.

The original Cosmos series helped get a lot of the public talking about science, and probably grew some careers out of the kids that watched it as well. Whether Tyson and the rest of the new Cosmos staff will be able to do this remains to be seen, but I think the primary goal is not necessarily to give new insight into the mysteries of the universe, but to make thinking about these questions interesting again to the general public.

In today's television world of History being taught by Pawn Stars, and The Learning Channel showing us insights of child beauty pageants, reality shows are now the bread and butter for almost every network. It has seriously diluted the education that is occurring from television (and let's be honest, whether it should be or not, there is no escape that a lot of people do substitute television watching for actual learning). While PBS and a few other stray networks help a bit, this new series of Cosmos offers some hope. If NatGeo was the only one doing it, it would gain some attention, but the fact that a major over-the-air network like Fox (especially with its reputation) is teaming up with this is encouraging.

If the new Cosmos can actually succeed, not necessarily in explaining complex scientific theories about our world and the universe, but if it can succeed in what the original Cosmos did in just getting everyday people excited in science again, it would do a lot of long term good for this country. Perhaps, just perhaps, a few other networks could follow suit and knock out one or two hours a week of their reality programs to put more science into their programming. Perhaps it can get more people, especially young people, into looking at science as a viable career option instead of trying to figure out how to get their 15 mins of fame on another reality show. Lofty dreams to be sure, but we have to start somewhere, and hopefully this new series will either help be that spark to get others excited, or confirm once and for all that no one in this country really gives a damn about science and watch as our scientific knowledge plummets compared to the rest of the world.

about a year ago

Taking Telecommuting To the Next Level - the RV

Yoje It's fun, but Internet access not there yet (365 comments)

There's some good and bad sides to this. I actually tried this out about 3 years ago, wanted to travel while I'm still young and can do more. Me and the wife bought a 35' fifth wheel, moved out of the apartment, and put excess stuff in storage. After about 6 months, we moved out of the RV and back into another apartment. (Kept the RV though, still like to travel!)

The good:
- Having a new backyard every day/week was great.
- Met a lot of friendly people along the way. Many having dinner outside their RV would frequently ask if we wanted to sit and eat with them when we were walking around the park. In turn, we always tried to do the same when we had cooked something.
- A lot of experienced RVers and full-timers are more than willing to help out with issues you might have, as long as you're open to it.
- Seeing the country is great fun, especially the out of the way areas.
- On some days it feels like a full-time vacation (even when working).

The bad:
- High speed Internet access was spotty/unreliable. Being in a rural area, you may be familiar with this already, but when traveling around in an RV to random campsites and rest areas, you find out rather quickly that anything above 3G is still iffy on the open road. Don't count on the coverage map saying 3G or 4G is available in the middle of nowhere, especially if you have time-sensitive work you need to submit.
- Most campgrounds (i.e. RV-oriented campgrounds, not state parks and such) will offer wi-fi access, but it may be spotty, slow speed, or unreliable. And the campground office tends to either be empty when trying to find someone to tell there's a problem with the wi-fi, or if a person is there they usually aren't sure about the wi-fi setup or how to troubleshoot/reset it.
- If you travel a lot (i.e. don't hook up in one place for more than a few days) you will spend a lot on gas. And if you do stay in one place for a period of time, don't forget to account for campground fees.
- Most trailers aren't made for "permanent" living. You'll notice this most with the walls and lack of insulation, especially in peak summer and winter months. Quality counts here.

You'll definitely want to budget things out though, as you can easily spend a lot more than you would in mortgage or rent. Joining Good Sam helps some, committing to a place for 2-4 weeks at a time can help out more with campground prices. Some campgrounds will even let you do odd jobs to help decrease the "rent", but you'll usually find that "regulars" that have been there for extended periods already are doing those jobs. If you do commit to full-time, let your insurance agent know - most major carriers can convert your homeowners/renters insurance into an equivalent "full-timer" RV policy so you'll have coverage on the stuff in the camper.

In short, if you like to travel it's a good experience. If you don't like camping out, you won't have a good time (modern RVs are comfortable, but you still need to remember it's camping out, and you won't have all the amenities of a regular apartment/house). Also depending on how much you need an Internet connection, how fast you need it, and how often you need it, you may not want to commit to it full time. At least, just yet. As the infrastructure and reliability continues to improve, this will become less of an issue as time goes on (I'm sure it's improved some in the 2-3 years since we did it).

more than 2 years ago

Netflix May Already Be Killing Blockbuster?

Yoje Re:Thank Big Tel/Cable (302 comments)

I just don't get it. I refuse to go to Blockbuster and I cannot justify Netflix's fees and I really like to watch movies (I consider watching three or four movies a month above average). I go to the local grocery store and up to their DVD kiosk and rent a movie for 24 hours at 1.05 (including tax).
What's wrong with Netflix's fees? They seem perfectly reasonable. In their most basic plan, I'm paying about $2.50 per rental, and the amount average decreases a bit each time I go up in plan service - and that's not including the on-demand stuff. Last time I checked, Blockbuster is $5+. And with the $1 grocery store kiosk, I have to come back in 24 hrs, and I end up making a wasting trip and paying the savings in gas. I usually watch movies once a week, so Netflix works for that perfectly, and I don't have to worry about late fees or making wasted trips.

Not saying stores are bad though, both have their place. Netflix doesn't have the "instant gratification" -- if some friends and I have to watch a certain movie "right now", I can head down to the $1 kiosk. If I wanted a larger library to choose from for my instant gratification, we can go to Blockbuster and pay the $5+ premium for that service. Netflix works for me mostly, and for the occasion it doesn't I can use the physical store choices. For others, they want to be able to have a sudden urge to watch a movie and pick it out right then, grocery stores and Blockbuster stores are there, you just pay extra for that added "instant gratification" convenience. I don't believe either is going away anytime soon. Well, not until the availability of home fiber connections is as common as a neighborhood Blockbuster.

more than 7 years ago


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