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Comment: Re:Russian rocket motors (Score 1) 61

by Bruce Perens (#49787045) Attached to: SpaceX Cleared For US Military Launches

Russia would like for us to continue gifting them with cash for 40-year-old missle motors, it's our own government that doesn't want them any longer. For good reason. That did not cause SpaceX to enter the competitive process, they want the U.S. military as a customer. But it probably did make it go faster.

Also, ULA is flying 1960 technology, stuff that Mercury astronauts used, and only recently came up with concept drawings for something new due to competitive pressure from SpaceX. So, I am sure that folks within the Air Force wished for a better vendor but had no choice.

Comment: Context (Score 3, Informative) 61

by Bruce Perens (#49782349) Attached to: SpaceX Cleared For US Military Launches

This ends a situation in which two companies that would otherwise have been competitive bidders decided that it would cost them less to be a monopoly, and created their own cartel. Since they were a sole provider, they persuaded the government to pay them a Billion dollars a year simply so that they would retain the capability to manufacture rockets to government requirements.

Yes, there will be at least that Billion in savings and SpaceX so far seems more than competitive with the prices United Launch Alliance was charging. There will be other bidders eventually, as well.

Comment: Re:I'm extremely surprised... (Score 2) 159

by garcia (#49753167) Attached to: The Body Cam Hacker Who Schooled the Police

In Minnesota, the public sector is mandated by statute to release information to the public and be setup in a way which facilitates this action:

https://www.revisor.mn.gov/sta...

13.03 ACCESS TO GOVERNMENT DATA.
Subdivision 1.Public data. All government data collected, created, received, maintained or disseminated by a government entity shall be public unless classified by statute, or temporary classification pursuant to section 13.06, or federal law, as nonpublic or protected nonpublic, or with respect to data on individuals, as private or confidential. The responsible authority in every government entity shall keep records containing government data in such an arrangement and condition as to make them easily accessible for convenient use. Photographic, photostatic, microphotographic, or microfilmed records shall be considered as accessible for convenient use regardless of the size of such records.

I have used this exact quoted statute many-a-time to force local government agencies in Minnesota to not only provide me information, which they were usually willing to do, but for free or very low cost.

I made a request once to a public transit agency who told me it would be several hundred dollars to do. I told them if they had followed the statute to make the data readily accessible by the public, it wouldn't require the work they were trying to charge me to do. Their legal counsel informed them I was indeed correct and I got it for the cost of the media.

Maybe there is a similar statute in this case which drove the decision?

Comment: Re:Compares well (Score 2) 408

No-fault is about taking money away from lawyers, who used to litigate each and every auto accident as a lawsuit in court before the insurers would pay. Eventually the insurers decided that they spent more on lawyers than accident payments, and they had no reason to do so.

If you want to go back to the way things were, you are welcome to spend lots of time and money in court for trivial things, and see how you like it. I will provide you with expert witness testimony for $7.50/minute plus expenses. The lawyers charge more.

In general your insurer can figure out for themselves if you were at fault or not, and AAA insurance usually tells me when they think I was, or wasn't, when they set rates.

Comment: Re:More than $100 (Score 1) 515

If we don't have more than two children per couple, the human race would've died out a long time ago.

I think the proper way to state that is "If we didn't in the past", not "If we don't". If we were to have 2 children per couple (approximately, the real value is enough children to replace each individual but not more) from this day on, it would not be necessary to adjust the number upward to avoid a population bottleneck for tens of thousands of years.

Comment: Re:$30 (Score 1) 515

The Northern California Amtrak is actually pretty good for commuting from Sacramento to the Bay Area and back because the right of way is 4 tracks wide in critical places and it has priority over other trains for much of the time.

Acela in the Boston/NY/DC corridor is also good, because the right of way is 4 tracks or more for most of the way, and it has a track to itself along a lot of the route. Other railroads run on parallel tracks.

For the most part, though, Amtrak suffers from not having exclusive track. It runs on freight lines that host cars so heavy that the rail bends an inch when the wheels are on top of it (I've seen this first hand).

Comment: Re:More than $100 (Score 1) 515

No. If anything, I assert that good trains are a hallmark of the set of good economic policies that lead to the general well-being of the citizenship.

Poor people are poor because they can't get jobs. One of the reasons is that they can't get to jobs. Can't afford a reliable car and insurance and gas in the US? Can't work! Too often, that's the equation.

The other reasons they are poor are that we were equally bad in investing in other things we should have spent more upon publicly, like good primary education. This is caused by more wealthy folks not wanting to pay the necessary taxes.

Comment: Re:More than $100 (Score 1) 515

I have a lawn and there are turkeys and quail in the front yard today and we can hear the coyotes howling some nights (that's on the edge of Berkeley where it meets Contra Costa county). If I want to be in San Francisco, I have to get to the train station, which is a mile away (convenient, by the way, to lower income homes). And then it's all train from there, under the Bay, out again in the middle of the city.

In two more years, I will be able to get to San Jose that way. Right now, that is an hour and twenty minute drive if I start at 6 AM, and two hours if I start later. It will be a shorter time on the train, more relaxing, a hell of a lot safer, and will allow me to work on the way.

This is what railroad transportation can mean for people with lawns.

You cannot have a science without measurement. -- R. W. Hamming

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