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iPhone Finally Coming To T-Mobile In 2013

tronbradia Data slurpers (154 comments)

Keep that pack of rabid data slurpers off my carrier! (and get the kids off my lawn while you're at it)

about 2 years ago
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Could Insurance Coverage Hobble Commercial Space Flights?

tronbradia Re:It seems.... (169 comments)

The government, since it does not have a profit motive, but obviously should not operate at a loss per launch, either, should be as competitive if not more so than the private company

Well regardless of what "should" be the case, SpaceX builds rockets much more cheaply than NASA does according to NASA itself.

Chances are the insurance, liability, that is would be less for the government for two reasons. First, it's launch sites tend to be over the ocean or the middle of the desert, so there is less chance of damage to others if a catastrophe occurs

Currently, SpaceX launches from Cape Carnaveral. That's also where NASA launches. These are the same. But clearly SpaceX could build their launch site anywhere it wanted to, and if it was paying for insurance it would surely choose a location to minimize its liability.

Second, and probably more importantly, the government is large enough that it can safely self insure itself against the risk.

If the government is so good at insurance, why doesn't it offer insurance to its contractors? In any case, the choice of insurance is independent of the choice whether to build your rocket yourself or have someone else do it for you.

So the question would remain, with all other costs being equal, why should the taxpayer take on the risk of a private launch vehicle so somebody else can receive the profit from the launch?

As I've said, it is much cheaper for the government to contract out SpaceX than to launch its own rockets, that's why everybody is so excited about SpaceX.

more than 2 years ago
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Could Insurance Coverage Hobble Commercial Space Flights?

tronbradia Re:It seems.... (169 comments)

I think you've misinterpreted this. The insurance costs for the private and public sectors are the same. If the government insures a private launch, that's not any more expensive than insuring its own launch, so this won't end up making a difference if, say, the government is deciding whether to launch a rocket itself or hire SpaceX to do it. I think the issue here is actually whether other launch customers (e.g. companies paying to have a satellite launched) will end up on the hook for the cost of insurance, or if US taxpayers will pick up the tab for every launch. However, if they decide that the customers have to pay, that may reduce the size of the space market sufficiently that private space launch companies like SpaceX are no longer viable, and that is the sense in which this would hurt SpaceX.

If it really is true that they're considering making it a choice between private contractors + private insurance OR a public launch with free government-provided insurance, that's pretty much horrible policy and it would make me very sad. But TFA seems to focus more on foreign competitors using this to undercut SpaceX pricewise.

more than 2 years ago
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Could Insurance Coverage Hobble Commercial Space Flights?

tronbradia Re:It seems.... (169 comments)

Insurance for NASA rocket launches isn't and cheaper than for private launches, so this isn't an issue of private vs. public efficiency, it's just a question of who bears the risk: the feds or the organization launching the rocket. Since those used to always be the same organization, it wasn't a complicated question in the past. It is now.

more than 2 years ago
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Soda Ban May Hit the Big Apple

tronbradia Re:Get a refill.. (1141 comments)

It's a nudge. The law will induce people to drink less soda even though people are allowed to drink as much soda as they want. A variety of studies have shown that people's eating behavior are highly impacted by serving size.

more than 2 years ago
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SciRuby: Science and Matrix Libraries For Ruby

tronbradia Do we really need this? (138 comments)

This Ruby/Python thing has gone on long enough. Here we have two languages with identical use cases, identical advantages/disadvantages, and (in the grand scheme of things) almost identical properties in every way. The practical differences between them stem almost entirely from the fact that they happen to be used by different communities, so certain modules in each are much better developed than in the other.

The fact that they both exist has split development effort to the detriment of both. For example, the people that made this package for Ruby are just reimplementing NumPy, providing no advantage whatsoever over NumPy except for the ability to import Ruby packages. Which Ruby packages these people want to import for their scientific computing project that don't have Python equivalents, I have no idea, but maybe they should have implemented or improved those in Python?

Likewise, mod me troll, but I'm guessing Django wouldn't exist if Rails was a Python module. Tons of effort was duplicated there.

Can we just friggin' pick one and leave the other one to die? I don't care which, I'm not taking sides, it just seems to be a really silly duopoly.

more than 2 years ago
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Android App Quality Pathetically Low Says Developer

tronbradia Re:Oh the scales! (336 comments)

Rating space is actually highly non-linear at the ends, because of the ceiling effect. To simplify, assume everyone only gives 1 star or 5 stars. You need a 7:1 ratio of 5-stars to 1-star to get a 4.5. But 4.8 requires a 19:1 ratio, suggesting more than double the proportion of 5-star ratings. So yes, 4.8 is vastly better performance than 4.5.

more than 3 years ago
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Cheap GPUs Rendering Strong Passwords Useless

tronbradia Re:And? (615 comments)

Seriously, if someone has your password hash, it's game over anyway and it doesn't matter if it takes 2 weeks or 2 months to guess the passwords...

The whole point of a hash is that it's supposed to offer last-ditch security if it's compromised. Otherwise why not just store in plaintext? I don't want any sysadmin near a server holding my information if they take the attitude that the server will never be compromised. Assume the server will be compromised, and take measures to minimize the damage when that unholy day comes.

I use 12-character passwords. http://howsecureismypassword.net/ estimates that my root password would take 25 million years to hack. I'll put the hash right here: f1593fdf843f6161b377d5d8adf7ad03 ... let me know when you've cracked it.

more than 3 years ago
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The last time I switched my usual GUI:

tronbradia Re:Define "GUI" please (249 comments)

I don't even get whether a tilling window manager is a GUI... I guess probably not? It seems like this question really meant to ask about your window manager.

more than 3 years ago
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A New Class of Nuclear Reactors

tronbradia Re:Um, don't safe reactors already exist? (560 comments)

My understanding is that they are describing a fast breeder reactor, one of the two major types of breeder reactor. https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wik/Breeder_reactor

Breeder reactors are not a mature technology and have not been put to widespread commercial use, so the field is pretty much wide open as far as which design should be adopted on a large scale. As far as I can tell, they are simply pushing this particular design as a way to get the ball rolling on wider adoption of breeder technology.

more than 3 years ago
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Google Releases Stable Version of Chrome 10

tronbradia Re:Migration guide (169 comments)

Vimium really sucks. It has almost no features. It cannot take over your whole browser like vimperator/pentadactyl. It doesn't even work on the new tab page, so it's worthless as an alternative interface. And I'm told that that last point is basically baked into Chrome, extensions basically just can't work on the newtab page. So unless someone forks Chrome and replaces its whole UI with a vim clone, there's no way around this.

more than 3 years ago
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Google Releases Stable Version of Chrome 10

tronbradia Re:Migration guide (169 comments)

  • Adblock exists for chrome.
  • Firebug is actually not as good as the built-in Chrome/Safari (Webkit) developer's tools.
  • Flashblock equivalents work fine in Chrome, google flash block chrome.
  • NoScript can't be ported, at least not with whitelists
  • RIP I think not quite all functionality can be ported but there are mostly working equivalents.
  • View dependencies: see webkit development tools, under Resources.
  • xmarks is out for Chrome.

I should add that the only plugin I really care about, Vimperator, cannot be ported to Chrome (Chrome doesn't allow the level of control necessary for a full port), so for that reason only I'm still using Firefox (okay, Noscript is nice too and I even have a noscript plugin for vimperator).

more than 3 years ago
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The Rise and Rise of the Cognitive Elite

tronbradia Re:Another contributor (671 comments)

It is from the article linked by this story. Flip through TFA.

more than 3 years ago
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The Rise and Rise of the Cognitive Elite

tronbradia Re:Class Difference (671 comments)

Earning a degree has nothing to do with class. Anyone can get into college.

Sure 'anyone can' but you had it way harder than the kids whose parents had the checkbook out. For every kid like you there are 5 who had privileged backgrounds and didn't have to lift a finger, and 10 who, for whatever reason, just didn't make it.

Even though it's possible for anyone to make it, it's way easier for some than for others not because of merit, but because of who their parents were. And that has everything to do with class.

more than 3 years ago
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Goldman Sachs Says No Facebook Shares For US Investors

tronbradia Re:In my yard (529 comments)

Goldman never needed a bailout. The treasury just had to give all the banks money so it wouldn't be obvious which banks *cough* BoA *cough* citi *cough* really needed the money.

Goldman had meetings about how much money they were going to make off the subprime crash as early as 2007. Bright guys, they were. Apparently they made a net $50m profit off the subprime crash.

more than 3 years ago
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New Study Links Video Games and Mental Problems

tronbradia Re:The other way around? (306 comments)

Not exactly. They have narrowed it down to two likely outcomes: B causes C or (A and B) cause C. Either way, gaming is implicated. You can split more hairs about the role of A, but you can't deny the role of B (well, at least, you can't deny that these findings implicate B).

more than 3 years ago
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New Study Links Video Games and Mental Problems

tronbradia Re:The other way around? (306 comments)

I think that is a reasonable followup. But in my personal experience, I've seen a lot of kids seriously addicted to gaming, and I've almost never seen one seriously addicted to gardening. So you might be right, but gaming is probably the bigger concern to parents and educators.

more than 3 years ago
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New Study Links Video Games and Mental Problems

tronbradia Re:The other way around? (306 comments)

You're a little mixed up on this point.

The following relations held:

A -> B
B -> C
A -> C
A -> ~C

Because C and ~C both followed A, A is an unlikely cause of C.

more than 3 years ago

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