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Russia May Be Planning National Space Station To Replace ISS

xigxag Re:Forget the Space Station (235 comments)

It's R&D. If we already knew the exact benefits, we wouldn't have to do the research.

One of many worthwhile goals is in developing expertise in the areas of construction and industrial development in a vacuum. This is not something you want to learn at the last minute. And since it will require new methods and materials, there's a possibility we'll learn something that will accrue benefits back on Earth. Even a tiny improvement in a process that would work back on Earth could be beneficial to the tune of billions of dollars. Other goals include He3 mining, using the moon base as a launchpad for further space exploration, and pure science (astronomy etc.) and from the American POV, wanting to get there before the Chinese establish a presence and attempt to lay exclusive claim to the above resources. Besides all that, when you start looking at the long term survival of the human species as a goal, it's not really clear that cost/benefit in monetary terms should be the exclusive metric used to examine the situation. Money is a tool that loses its accuracy over time, and a moon base could take generations to come into its own.

about a week ago
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Scientists Optimistic About Getting a Mammoth Genome Complete Enough To Clone

xigxag Re:Unethical? (187 comments)

Not saying I agree, but from a link in the article:

Dr Herridge questioned "whether or not the justifications for cloning a mammoth are worth the suffering, the concerns of keeping an elephant in captivity, experimenting on her, making her go through a 22-month pregnancy, to potentially give birth to something which won't live, or to carry something which could be damaging to her. And all of those aspects... I don't think that they are worth it; the reasons just aren't there."

about two weeks ago
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The Downside to Low Gas Prices

xigxag Re:An Illiberal's solution to every problem - taxe (554 comments)

The USPS hasn't raised prices several-fold. The price for a stamp has gone down in inflation adjusted terms since 1975. And we all know WHY the USPS is broke. Not because it can't deliver letters, but because it's being forced by Congress to prefund its pension/healthcare/workers comp funds to an absurd extent, and not permitted to invest in anything but government bonds.

Why can't bridges compete with each other?

Bridges have a natural monopoly over their local environment. In fact, in NYC there are completely free options to get out of the city, but most people still use the toll bridges because time equals money, and most people aren't willing to drive five miles out of their way in traffic to save $7.50 or $10.00. With that in mind, why would a private bridge owner have any incentive to lower prices? They would be like cable companies, using their monopoly to gauge consumers to the greatest extent possible. Prices would likely go up since the owners would be completely unaccountable to their customers.

And btw it might be decent in some parts of the country but $30/hr is a shitty wage in NYC.

about two weeks ago
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FTC Sues AT&T For Throttling 'Unlimited' Data Plan Customers Up To 90%

xigxag Re:Meet somewhere in the middle (179 comments)

Your contract's already over after the agreed upon time (which is generally a year or two years.) After that yes, you're automatically in a month-to-month agreement, and your explicit consent to the terms of that agreement is indicated by continuing to pay your bill. Those terms may be different from what you originally agreed to. I'll refer you to the terms listed in their Service Agreement:

Term of Service. Your Agreement begins on the day we activate your Service(s) and continues through the Term of Service, typically a 12 month or 24 month period (“Service Commitment”), specified on your Customer Service Summary. At the end of your service commitment, this Agreement will automatically continue on a month-to-month basis. If your Agreement has no Service Commitment, it is a month-to-month Agreement.

- - - -

After your Service Commitment ends and you are on a month-to-month Agreement, AT&T may terminate your Agreement at any time with 30 days notice.

1.3 Can AT&T Change My Terms And Rates?

We may change any terms, conditions, rates, fees, expenses, or charges regarding your Services at any time. We will provide you with notice of material changes (other than changes to governmental fees, proportional charges for governmental mandates, roaming rates or administrative charges) either in your monthly bill or separately. You understand and agree that State and Federal Universal Service Fees and other governmentally imposed fees, whether or not assessed directly upon you, may be increased based upon the government's or our calculations.

IF WE INCREASE THE PRICE OF ANY OF THE SERVICES TO WHICH YOU SUBSCRIBE, BEYOND THE LIMITS SET FORTH IN YOUR CUSTOMER SERVICE SUMMARY, OR IF WE MATERIALLY DECREASE THE GEOGRAPHICAL AREA IN WHICH YOUR AIRTIME RATE APPLIES (OTHER THAN A TEMPORARY DECREASE FOR REPAIRS OR MAINTENANCE), WE’LL DISCLOSE THE CHANGE AT LEAST ONE BILLING CYCLE IN ADVANCE (EITHER THROUGH A NOTICE WITH YOUR BILL, A TEXT MESSAGE TO YOUR DEVICE, OR OTHERWISE), AND YOU MAY TERMINATE THIS AGREEMENT WITHOUT PAYING AN EARLY TERMINATION FEE OR RETURNING OR PAYING FOR ANY PROMOTIONAL ITEMS, PROVIDED YOUR NOTICE OF TERMINATION IS DELIVERED TO US WITHIN THIRTY (30) DAYS AFTER THE FIRST BILL REFLECTING THE CHANGE.

- - - -

Unlimited Data Customers. If you are a grandfathered AT&T unlimited plan data service customer, you agree that “unlimited” means you pay a fixed monthly charge for wireless data service regardless of how much data you use. You further agree that “unlimited” does not mean that you can use AT&T’s wireless data service in any way that you choose or for any prohibited activities, and that if you use your unlimited data plan in any manner that is prohibited, AT&T can limit, restrict, suspend or terminate your data service or switch you to a tiered data plan.

I'm not advocating in favor of AT&T. I agree with gurps_npc. Hopefully, the FCC will snag them for their unorthodox use of the term "unlimited," which is not how a normal person would interpret that word. They should be required to call it something else other than unlimited. But let's not pretend the contract is different from what it is. Basically the contract amounts to, "we the corporation can do whatever we like, whenever we like, and if you don't like it, you may leave."

about a month ago
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FTC Sues AT&T For Throttling 'Unlimited' Data Plan Customers Up To 90%

xigxag Re:Meet somewhere in the middle (179 comments)

Is AT&T actually offering you an unlimited *contract*? Or did you have a 2 year contract which ended some years ago, but you decided to stay on month-to-month? Normally, after your contract is over, by continuing to pay, you're agreeing to whatever current terms are in effect, which might include throttling.

about 1 month ago
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Detritus From Cancer Cells May Infect Healthy Cells

xigxag Re:How is this different from a virus? (46 comments)

Viruses by definition contain genetic code from outside the host organism. They're invaders who hijack natural reproductive cellular processes, so of course you're going to be able to point to things that cells do that viruses also do. That doesn't make them the same. Proviruses may employ a very-superficially similar mechanism to what is outlined here but lytic viruses work totally differently, i.e. basically exploding the cells they infect by their rampant copypasta.

about a month ago
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Automation Coming To Restaurants, But Not Because of Minimum Wage Hikes

xigxag Re:Automation and jobs (720 comments)

So what if they leave? They would still be getting taxed on their American income even if living abroad. If they renounce their holdings, we hit them with a juicy expatriation tax, and whoever buys their business will step in and be similarly taxed. If they just take their dollars with them, eventually they will have to exchange them for euros or whatever, and their money will be repatriated and taxed anyway. It's true that they will be able to take some wealth away with them, but in a consumer driven economy their wealth comes from the spending of consumers. As long as the consumers are here, this is where the bulk of their wealth will be.

about a month ago
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Soda Pop Damages Your Cells' Telomeres

xigxag Re:Sugar only - not diet (422 comments)

More precisely, the study included non-sugar sweetened drinks, but there was no telomere correlation found.

about a month ago
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Senators Threaten To Rescind NFL Antitrust Exemption

xigxag Re:Welcome to the free market (242 comments)

Good for them. And since the stadium is full nobody's buying any longer their need for a blackout. Good for the fans.

about 2 months ago
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U2 and Apple Collaborate On 'Non-Piratable, Interactive Format For Music'

xigxag Re:Apple's post-peak celebrity embraces (358 comments)

You're thinking of music as something that mostly young people spend money on. That's not so true any more. Old folks have a lot more disposable income and are willing to spend money on the physical formats they're most familiar with. The largest group of CD purchasers are the 50+ crowd, and while they lag in digital downloads, even there, they're beating out the previously dominant 13-17 demographic.

See this article. Yeah, Buzzfeed, I know.

about 2 months ago
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Amazon Instant Video Now Available On Android

xigxag Really REALLY cumbersome. (77 comments)

On my Note Pro:

1) I had to have the (orange) Amazon "apps" Appstore app.
2) From within that app, I had to download and install the Amazon App. The one that has the blue shopping cart. Couldn't use the Amazon App available in Google Play, it seemingly installed the video app, but in the end, none of the videos were available on my device.
3) From within the Amazon App, I had to download and install the Amazon Instant Video Player App.

Got it? The Instant Video Player App inside the Amazon App inside the Appstore app. Dead simple.

about 3 months ago
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Net Neutrality Is 'Marxist,' According To a Koch-Backed Astroturf Group

xigxag Re:Urgh (531 comments)

The Koch brothers are 74 and 78 years old. Their mentality is stuck in Cold War rhetoric because they lived through the whole thing. Same with most of the people they fool. The average Fox News viewer is almost 69 years old.

For people under 30, when you say Marxism, Stalin and Hitler, you might as well be talking about Emperor Wilhelm II.

about 3 months ago
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US Senator Blasts Microsoft's H-1B Push As It Lays 18,000 Off Workers

xigxag Re:Guest Workers (529 comments)

Why would corporations be forced to improve? As Hobby Lobby taught us, "corporation" is just shorthand for the will of the rich stockholders. And they don't give a whit about the plight of the average American worker when they have access to the world. If they can't move the Malaysian to the US office, they'll move the US office to Malaysia. Visa problem solved.

about 4 months ago
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US Senator Blasts Microsoft's H-1B Push As It Lays 18,000 Off Workers

xigxag "As it lays 18,000 off workers" (529 comments)

Seriously this is what it's come to, editors? "As it lays 18,000 off workers"? You can't even proofread the title?

Anyway, it's mostly non-American Nokia employees who are being laid off, and it has nothing to do with the H1-B situation. So bottom line Sessions is an idiot.

about 4 months ago
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Fox Moves To Use Aereo Ruling Against Dish Streaming Service

xigxag The Law of Intended Consequences (210 comments)

Er, UNintended Consequences....that's totally what I meant to say...

about 5 months ago
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Barnes & Noble To Spin Off Nook Media, Will Take It Public

xigxag Re:B&N (51 comments)

Just because other people do things with their free time that you don't personally value doesn't mean that they don't value it. Some people just enjoy browsing in bookstores.

about 5 months ago
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Climate Change Prompts Emperor Penguins To Find New Breeding Grounds

xigxag Read the Article and it Contradicts the Headline (215 comments)

"Over five years in the late 1970s, the Southern Ocean warmed." Warming temperatures over a period of years is by definition climate change. If I write 1+1=2, I'm still doing arithmetic even if I don't specifically call it "arithmetic." True there's no advocacy-ready insinuation of man-made global warming being at fault, but that's not what the headline says either. It's an accurate encapsulation of what is in the article.

And don't know where you're getting "for unknown reasons" from. The only material change is that they went from thinking there was an outright population decrease to realizing that the birds were just nesting in a different region. But the article is still correlating the breeding grounds change with the period of oceanic warming.

about 5 months ago
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The Supreme Court Doesn't Understand Software

xigxag Re:Everything is an algorithm (263 comments)

Of course you can copyright a number. Every digital audio or video or text file is nothing but a number. That's what digital means. Yet they can be copyrighted.

about 5 months ago
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Amazon Confirms Hachette Spat Is To "Get a Better Deal"

xigxag Re: Fight for consumers (211 comments)

Let me be clear. I was responding to a hypothetical. Having seen plenty of botched amateur free classics, I completely agree that there is a place for good editing, typesetting and so on. And an author might find genuine value in the marketing, publicity and distribution services of a publisher.

But a generation ago, a writer had no choice; they had to go to a publisher or face oblivion. Now, thanks in large part to Amazon, they have a choice, and I think that's a good thing. Like all transformative processes, there's an element of destruction as well, and I think that frightens people to some extent. Yes, some areas of the industry are on their way out. That doesn't mean writing itself is in peril. All this stuff about Amazon causing the majority of writers to quit and go back to trade school or what have you, hasn't really happened yet, and I'm unconvinced that it ever will happen.

about 6 months ago
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Amazon Confirms Hachette Spat Is To "Get a Better Deal"

xigxag Re:Fight for consumers (211 comments)

Even if they drove all the publishers out of business, they still wouldn't be a monopoly because there are plenty of other bookstores, both online and off. If writers who are not represented by publishers don't like the terms Amazon offers, they can contract with another storefront and get better terms. Say Amazon wants to sell your book for $5, but bn.com is willing to sell it for $10. Why bother with Amazon? You're going to go to bn.com exclusively, as would any other writer. Amazon would then be forced to raise prices to compete with Barnes & Noble (or other retailer). That is, unless you wind up staying with Amazon because your gross income from Amazon is higher despite lower royalties, because of their much greater market share. If that's the case, and you're making more money from Amazon, then what's your complaint about their terms?

Or perhaps people don't want to buy your book for $10 at bn.com because Amazon has conditioned people into thinking that the proper price for a book is about $5. If that's the case, if people are willing to give up so easily on one author to buy from less expensive authors, then all that stuff about books being "non-fungible" isn't quite true, after all.

Finally, I simply don't believe that the author will make less money if the publishers are out of business. Getting rid of publishers will remove a whole class of people sucking the author's teats. With no publisher to pay off, Amazon could easily lower the price and still give a higher royalty to the writer.

about 6 months ago

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