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Comment Re:Surprising (Score 1) 240

As you say the cost of food is usually the main issue when it comes to importing food. The question is whether or not it is cheaper to pay for infrastructure and grow food in country, or neglect infrastructure and import most of the food.

Of course even if importing ends up being the cheaper option what happens in times of emergency or changes in the political landscape. What if relations with food importers sour and they refuse to sell us food, are you going to suddenly restart the agriculture industry that was killed off and rebuild all that infrastructure? What about natural disasters where you need to have the transportation capacity and throughput to flood an area with supplies on very short notice?

Comment Re:Can anyone explain how this could even work? (Score 1) 401

The sulfur dioxide idea interests me, I'll have to go read more about that.

I would avoid the lighter than air beads unless they are biodegradable. My concern there is that even if the beads are not toxic themselves they could absorb toxins over time and perhaps find their way back down to the lower atmosphere somehow. Basically if we can accomplish the same thing using chemicals that are already naturally produced and part of the system, I don't see the advantage in creating a technological solution that could introduce more risks we don't understand.

Comment Re:What drives the comparative efficiency? (Score 1) 382

Buses are good candidates for conversion to purely battery electric for a few obvious reasons I can think of.

1. Buses travel a predetermined route constantly with little to no deviation. Which means you don't need to worry about range anxiety. Battery charging during the day can be planned ahead of time and done during driver breaks.

2. Buses start and stop constantly, which means more opportunity for regenerative breaking recovering some of your energy.

3. Buses usually travel at lower speeds, which is why they traditionally are so box shaped, as aerodynamics is not a serious energy concern. This shape, and size affords plenty of room for batteries.

With a car the owner might leave it parked for an entire weekend or want to drive it a thousand miles. The driver will undoubtedly want to drive it faster than a bus making for less efficient use of energy. A personal car is a lot smaller than a bus with considerably less space for battery storage.

Comment Re:Can anyone explain how this could even work? (Score 1) 401

My hesitation with that possible solution is that what kind of unforeseen consequences we might encounter as it would be an untried technique. With the pumping to create more ice, we at least know what the previous extent and thickness was like. Which means we have very measurable targets we can aim for and know what kind of consequences to expect for the most part. My concerns with the pumping though are not non-existent, however I think it would be a safer and better understood process.

Comment Re:Symptoms right, cause seems backwards (Score 1) 95

It is possible that they just wanted to pursue the same goal in a different manner than what Google was doing. Since they already had enough money to be set for life they quit and get to be their own boss. Not everyone is driven by a need to accumulate all the wealth they can. I know a man who quit a job earning a princely salary because he didn't want to work for an adulterer, then went home and pursued his hobbies for 4 years before returning to the work force again.

Comment Re:work less (Score 1) 722

I'm not sure about that. I think Boston Dynamics is likely very close to being able to build a robot that could jump up on stage and snatch a microphone from a human while bleating out a drunken rant about who should have earned an award.

That said I agree that there will always be people who will pay extra to have another human do something for them instead of a robot.

Comment Re:Useless? That article. (Score 1) 722

The way the current system works taking that job won't necessarily mean losing all of the welfare benefits so it can actually improve quality of life a lot. And most people on welfare aren't the mythical welfare queen and will actually try pretty hard to get off welfare.

I can honestly see the wage thing going both ways, possibly even at the same time. For a crazy example say the basic income was crazy high, such that it could support my family in our middle class lifestyle without me having to work. You can be damned sure I'd stay home all day and pursue my leisure entertainment hobbies. At that point it would take a pretty significant salary offer to get me out of my house and being responsible for some work load. However I have coworkers right now that would probably still jump at the opportunity to keep working even for only a small salary because they have higher aspirations for what they want to achieve so far as lifestyle. If I was single and childless again I'd likely be happy to live out life as a couch potato if the BI was even as high as $18,000 a year.

Basically I would expect that we'd see pay scales become more extreme in their variation. Employers might have to offer a significantly higher proportional wage to bring in workers for work that people hate doing, whether it is low skill or not.

Comment Re:If it was truly flagrant... (Score 1) 156

Classified information isn't really all that well protected from insider threats. The security around it is largely based on trusting the people handling the data. That data is supposed to reside on an air gaped network but there are plenty of other ways for stuff to leak, such as printers, writable and removable media like CD's, DVD's, and usb sticks. Basically there is too much classified information and too many people who need access on a regular basis for it to be well and properly secured. No doubt we could engineer and enforce better protocols to increase security but the cost would be astronomical, and do you really want to spend more money increasing the size of the bureaucracy and it's ability to keep secrets. I think a better solution would be to just keep fewer secrets and realize that our national security isn't really threatened by what is regularly classified as secret.

Submission + - President Obama Commutes Chelsea Manning's Sentence 1

bbsguru writes: From NBC News:
President Obama has commuted the sentence of Chelsea Manning, the former Army intelligence officer, who is serving 35 years for giving classified information to Wikileaks.

The decision, made in the last days of his presidency, means that Manning can be freed May 17, seven years into her sentence.

More than 117,000 people signed a petition asking Obama to cut short the sentence. Fugitive leaker Edward Snowden said in a tweet that if Obama could only free one person, it should be Manning.

Comment Re:One more thing to charge (Score 1) 252

I did try repairing a set once but the beak was in that part of the wire where it enters the headset and it was bonded to the bit that was meant to prevent it from bending too sharply.

I've still got my old g930 set and plan to take it apart and see if I can fix it sometime, I just haven't gotten to it. It seems like the break though is in part of the headband which will mean fishing the wires back through once repaired. Additionally I don't have wire with which to repair it so if there isn't sufficient extra length then I've gotta buy more. By the time I consider all the time put into that, and still having to buy more materials I just decided to get a new pair seeing as how I got 3 years of good use out of them and they are regularly available for under $80.

Comment Re:One more thing to charge (Score 1) 252

I have to disagree. I've frequently had problems with the wiring for headphones. I went through probably half a dozen wired headset/mic combos in the course of a few years when I got married and could no longer get away with speakers all the time for my computer. I tried to always be careful of the cord and hang the headphones so there wasn't pressure on it. But inevitably the wire always developed a short inside of a year of use, with one pair shorting out at 3 months. I became a convert to wireless headphones when I found a cheapo IR pair for $40 and they lasted more than 2 years before the battery was mostly shot. Now I'm on my second set of a Logitec g930's, the first lasted 3 years before, you guessed it a wiring short inside of the headset cut off sound to the right hand side. I've heard complaints of these sets being fragile or having poor battery performance but I've experienced neither problem. Right up to the wiring short I was getting 8 hours of use between charges, and I could easily use them for an entire day of gaming if I plugged them in when I took breaks to do chores and eat meals.

In the end I would wager that wires represent the most likely cause of failure in headphones. Reducing the amount of wiring drastically reduces the chance of a wiring failure. That said I don't support Apples decision to eliminate the headphone jack, especially when their motive seems to be entirely driven by selling $150 ear buds, when $10 cheapo wired earbuds should be just fine.

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