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SpaceX Chooses Texas Site For Private Spaceport

artfulshrapnel Re:Why the "incentives"? (113 comments)

And unlike a sports stadium, this is for a business that actually *makes* things and regularly employs large numbers of people. It's not just going to be a bunch of tourists and rocket fans rushing in for launch for a few hours, buying food and rocket hats from the launch facility, then going home.

First off they're going to be needing a permanent staff for operations, including locals for things like maintenance, cleaning, phone services, construction, and similar jobs that don't make sense to bring a specific person for (the actual operations people will likely not be locals, unless Boca Chica has an unusually high population of world-class physicists and engineers). All those people will now need places to buy food and clothing regularly. They'll need houses or apartments and the associated services and utilities since they will be permanent residents of the area, unlike the visitors to a stadium. They'll want restaurants, entertainment, shopping centers, bars, and so on.

Then there's the side expansion involved in something with an business like this moving in. If this becomes the primary commercial spaceport, then you'll probably see businesses dedicated to building satellites and similar stuff spring up nearby. SpaceX and other companies looking to launch will likely consider creating a sizable assembly area, to cut down on the risky and expensive shipping of giant-ass rockets. There will also likely be call for purely commercial offices to be set up for the companies contracting with SpaceX, to represent their companies locally and maintain their own operations related to their corporate satellites.

about three weeks ago
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Is Google CEO's "Tiny Bubble Car" Yahoo CEO's "Little Bubble Car"?

artfulshrapnel Re:what's wrong with public transportation? (190 comments)

I mean, the short list? Off the top of my head this solves problems like:

- Public transit only becomes economically viable above certain volumes. Anyone in too small an area doesn't have access to it and never will.
- Sometimes public transit doesn't run where you want it to go, especially if you need to make an unusual trip.
- Sometimes people need to go places at times when public transit isn't running, or need to go faster than public transit will allow.
- Some people are disabled, and would have a hard time getting to the nearest public transit stop even in an area that supports it.

There are lots of reasons why this is a useful solution. So many people in my city (Boston) keep a car that they use about once a week for odd or off-hours trips. A solution like this would take all those cars off the side of the road and replace them with about 1/20th the number of shared cars.

about 3 months ago
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Bidding At FCC TV Spectrum Auction May Be Restricted For Large Carriers

artfulshrapnel Re:at&t wasn't welcome anyway (91 comments)

The flip side, however, is that spectrum is required to compete with these companies. The big telcos might not be too keen on shelling out $X billion at the expense of next quarter's profits, but if buying that means that Rival Startup Inc. can't get any spectrum at all? They just cemented their profits for the forseeable future at very little relative cost.

Given that there his established historical precedent for companies buying up spectrum and letting it languish (see: Verizon's purchase of the 700mhz block A spectrum) and increasing evidence that spectrum availability isn't the limiting factor in cost for the big telcos (it's increasingly looking like subpar infrastructure is to actually to blame, if anything), it's fair to assume that these companies are willing to employ this strategy.

The duty of a regulatory agency like the FCC seems clear: Ensure the market remains fair and that competition works in favor of the taxpayers. Don't sacrifice that for what seems a short term gain, because the amount of gouging that happens when the market is locked up without competition will be far higher.

about 4 months ago
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Switching From Sitting To Standing At Your Desk

artfulshrapnel Re:Walking yes, standing no. (312 comments)

I mean, both is probably best. I walk at least 2 miles a day on my commute, and switched to a standing desk a few months ago.

As first-hand anecdotal evidence, I can attest that switching to a sit/stand solution instead of sitting all day helped *immensely* with long term back problems, which I had honestly thought would be part of my life forever. I used to have to take pain pills to sleep at night, and only a few months after switching to a standing solution my back pain is almost completely gone. It's not totally better yet, but it's still receding and the doctor I spoke to thinks that it's lingering damage from the time spent sitting.

The current plan is to see how things progress, maybe add in some exercises to improve my posture a bit more and un-do some of the sitting damage. Six months ago we were discussing physical therapy, drugs and surgery to make the pain go away... seems like a big point in the standing desk's favor to me!

about 4 months ago
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Switching From Sitting To Standing At Your Desk

artfulshrapnel Re:Not sure how standing up would solve anything.. (312 comments)

Yeah, I think there's something to be said for getting all the people involved with something into one place for large blocks of time. I don't know that we need the ENTIRE time to be synchronous across the whole team, but a lot of problems get solved really fast because a developer can walk over to me and just say "hey, what's up with this?" and I can walk over to the related people to get them an answer. We solve in 5 minutes of casual face-to-face time and a whiteboard what would take hours of confusing email conversations.

about 4 months ago
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Saturn May Have Given Birth To a Baby Moon

artfulshrapnel Re:The Birth of a Moon... (71 comments)

Also to my understanding, the nature of Roche's limit is that it only affects objects big enough and with enough spin to experience gravitational-based tidal forces. that suggests that objects below/around that size might temporarily form until they collect enough mass and spin to begin experiencing those forces, after which point they'd break up again?

about 4 months ago
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Is Weev Still In Jail Because the Government Doesn't Understand What Hacking Is?

artfulshrapnel Re: No. (246 comments)

I mean, fair enough. But if you can access every customer's record on a massive nationwide system by incrementing a single digit? That strikes me as "basically public". I sometimes exploit the same "hacking" to find the page of a webcomic I want to read if I forget the bookmark.

As the article says: Does he deserve to go to jail? Probably. For this? No.

about 5 months ago
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Is Weev Still In Jail Because the Government Doesn't Understand What Hacking Is?

artfulshrapnel Re:Goatse Security??? (246 comments)

And backdoors.

about 5 months ago
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The SEC Is About To Make Crowdfunding More Expensive

artfulshrapnel Re:Overreach (366 comments)

Short answer? Yes, it was definitely unrealistic and may also have been bad.

Long answer? The "unrealistic" issue is that such a game would cost far more than 500k to make, and anyone involved in game development or software production could see it. Just getting the basic systems in place might have been reasonable, meaning you'd have a stick figure whose sword moved properly, and the ability to register hits from said sword. Adding in things like a movement, multi-character interactions, networked gameplay, graphics, writing, testing, redesigns, etc. would have completely blown their budget out of the water.

"Bad" would likely have become obvious as they began testing their game. These sorts of sword fighting controls have long been known to be problematic, with one big issue being that there's currently no way stop the controller from moving when the in-game weapon hits something. Your controller ends up out of sync with the sword, and you have to try and recover while your character flails around in a nonsensical way. It ends up feeling loose and unsatisfying, and people don't buy in. I didn't see anything in their pitch to overcome that major issue.

As a perfect example of what looks different from a developer perspective, the motion controls in Zelda: Twilight Princess were based on a totally different concept even though they're superficially similar. They sensed rapid movement along one of three axes using a simple inertia-sensing controller and triggered a handul of pre-animated attacks based on which axis moved and a couple other modifiers. (Such as whether you were blocking or running at the time) Clang was purporting 1:1 recreation of your movements onscreen, meaning that the exact movement you make with the controller would be reproduced, and they'd determine a hit based on how that digital sword interacted with a target. It's a far more complex task. Also Twilight Princess likely cost a minimum of $10 million to make, I would estimate somewhere closer to $30 million by the time the Wii version was released.

about 8 months ago
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Google Patenting Less Noble Use of Project Loon Tech

artfulshrapnel Re:Google is a business...pretending to altruism (87 comments)

I'm sorry, but I think you and the writer of this article are spinning things out of proportion and turning "there is more than one application for this invention" into "Google LIED! They said they wanted to help the poors but they want to make PROFIT off rich people! Because both can't possibly happen at once!"

All I see is a patent for a potentially profitable use of their balloon-powered internet invention, filed during the days of their research and development phase. Why would they not also find alternative uses for their product, or at least figure out ways for the generally beneficial system to be self-funding after startup?

about 9 months ago
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Google Patenting Less Noble Use of Project Loon Tech

artfulshrapnel Re:Google is a business... (87 comments)

Indeed. Though I actually can't think of a reason not to switch to hydrogen on these.... they don't carry living things, operate way above the altitude where airlines are in use, and could be safely recovered after their lift runs out by venting the remaining gas into the air.

I suppose one could go up if there's a lightning strike at high altitude, but the only difference would be a slightly bigger "whoomph" as the thing falls out of the sky?

about 9 months ago
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Google Patenting Less Noble Use of Project Loon Tech

artfulshrapnel And...? (87 comments)

I really don't see why an innovation cannot simultaneously be both altruistic in intent and potentially profitable in application.

Who cares if they can also make some money on their invention that will bring internet to the world's remotest, poorest people at low or no cost? Good. It'll give them a reason to go ahead with it at all speed, and avoid it being shelved if they have a bad quarter.

about 9 months ago
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Hotel Tycoon Seeks Property Rights On the Moon

artfulshrapnel Re:Too. Fucking. Early. (248 comments)

Heck, I say make the moon folk establish their own nations, keep the international treaty in effect. You say you want to own part of the moon? Renounce your earth citizenship and take up residence. You can have as much as you can keep control of and utilize.

about 9 months ago
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Hotel Tycoon Seeks Property Rights On the Moon

artfulshrapnel Re:No, he can't own the moon. He can take it thoug (248 comments)

I think that you're both suggesting the same thing. He's requesting they establish rules for private property ownership on interstellar bodies, and is opposed to a single entity claiming ownership of the entire moon. See that last sentence: "But, yes, multiple entities, groups, individuals, yes, they should have the opportunity to own the moon." He's saying something like this:

I want the ability to own a square mile of the moon and build an ice mine there, separate the water, and sell the hydrogen and oxygen to NASA as rocket fuel. But I need assurances that nobody will just walk up and take my mine later by saying "you can't own part of the moon because of this treaty from the '60s".

Also the resources worth having are: Assembly and work space that are in low gravity, launch platforms with 1/10th the fuel requirements for orbit, unknown mineral resources, water to turn into rocket fuel, and tourist destinations. (just to name a few that occur to me off the top of my head)

about 9 months ago
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Hotel Tycoon Seeks Property Rights On the Moon

artfulshrapnel Re:Good Grief (248 comments)

Those treaties are what he's requesting an amendment to, unless I missed something?

It makes perfect sense that eventually we will want to colonize land on other planets, and those colonists should have the right to own and protect the land they settle and improve. The treaties were to prevent one nation from getting there first and just claiming the whole thing as their own sovereign soil, but there shouldn't be an issue now that transport to the moon is available (in theory at least) to anyone from any nation that has enough money.

This suggests something like the Homestead act perhaps, enabling each person or family that lands on the moon the right to claim a certain amount of it, so long as they produce a given amount of improvement. In the American Homestead Act, for example, the settler was required to do things like build roads, plant crops, or fence in areas for livestock, with an upper limit of how much land they could take ownership of in this way.

Perhaps owning a piece of moon soil could require setting up air and power generating stations, sustainable occupied structures, and roadways?

about 9 months ago
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Researchers Use Computer-Generated 10-Year-Old Girl To Catch Online Predators

artfulshrapnel Re:The police are passing up a gem (545 comments)

Sorry, doesn't really fly. If the person had no way to know they were buying cornstarch in a cocaine sting, it doesn't indemnify the person who said "I want to buy some cocaine" and handed over money for it. They attempted to purchase drugs and went through with the transaction in the belief they were getting actual drugs.

Same thing here. If they thought it was an actual person and acted accordingly, they are just as guilty as if it was a real person. Same reason that police stings using agents impersonating children allows them to arrest people. If your logic held up, they could say they were innocent because it was actually a 35 year old FBI agent on the other end.

about 10 months ago
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Researchers Use Computer-Generated 10-Year-Old Girl To Catch Online Predators

artfulshrapnel Re:Entrapment (545 comments)

Then the liberals win, dammit.

about 10 months ago
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Researchers Use Computer-Generated 10-Year-Old Girl To Catch Online Predators

artfulshrapnel Re:Entrapment (545 comments)

Also, entrapment only applies if they are encouraged to commit the act by someone in some official capacity. Providing a target for a crime =/= encouraging someone to commit a crime.

For example: in theory a person should be allowed to leave their car sitting anywhere in any city with the doors unlocked and valuables in plain view. The fact that they haven't secured their possessions against crime doesn't make theft of the car or its contents legal. So, if the cops parked a car and left it unlocked with a wallet in the front seat, they could arrest anyone who tried to steal it without running afoul of entrapment, because they aren't actually encouraging anyone to commit a crime, they're simply providing an opportunity for the person to decide to commit a crime.

If by contrast they were to put up a sign that says "steal the wallet or a sniper will shoot you", or had an officer standing nearby telling people to steal the wallet, they'd be guilty of entrapment because they're encouraging the person to act.

about 10 months ago
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TSA Union Calls For Armed Guards At Every Checkpoint

artfulshrapnel Re:They need to do more than that (603 comments)

They're referring to "Predictive Profiling", which is basically a system in which you start from the aggressor's general method of attack and work backwards to determine specific behaviors that might be indicative of their attempt to commit such an attack. Proponents actually disapprove of racial profiling as a methodology, because it introduces a weak spot in the security system. (i.e. recruit a white european woman if they're looking for dark-skinned arabic men with beards)

One of the big things that makes it relevant here is the concept of end-to-end security: The idea that people should be interacting with security personnel repeatedly but casually throughout their time in the airport, not just at one high-intensity checkpoint. If they have to talk to a security guy at the parking lot, entrance, baggage check, security point, boarding area, and cinnabon then there's a good chance they'll eventually let something slip, get noticed, or crack under pressure. The important part of that is that the security guys should not be threatening everyone, just making pleasant conversation and keeping their eyes open.

Under such a system, there would be no single checkpoint with lots of people bottled up as waiting targets. It might also have allowed earlier personnel (in the parking lot or by the entrance) to spot the threat before he reached his destination.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Predictive_profiling

about 10 months ago

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