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Comment: Re:Cheap Mission (Score 1) 220

by AB3A (#40905909) Attached to: NASA Releases HiRISE Images of Curiosity's Descent

Have you never read an implied argument?

These are disparate expenditures. They are not related in any way. The implications were that
1) MSL was "cheap", so we should be doing more of this at the expense of the war effort.
2) War is expensive (Have you ever heard of a cheap war?)

These expenditures come from a politically negotiated budget. The implication was that somehow we should conflate expenditures on one thing with expenditures of the other. In other words, the OP was off topic and foolishly so besides.

And since this discussion is off topic, my contribution to it will end here. Babble amongst yourselves if you like.

Comment: Re:Cheap Mission (Score 0, Troll) 220

by AB3A (#40901519) Attached to: NASA Releases HiRISE Images of Curiosity's Descent

Slashdot moderators Pay attention:

How is it trolling when Scentcone responds to a highly rated moronic comment regarding the Budget of the US?

You rated it trolling because you disagree with it? You moderated a moronic comment up because you agree with it? What do you think that does to the Slashdot readership?

I used to frequent this forum because it was funny, incisive, informative, interesting, and all of those good things. Now it's just an amalgamation of links I have already seen elsewhere with moderators who can't seem to understand what their role is for this forum. I find myself watching this web site less and less.

This is no longer news for nerds. This is news for politically perverted idiots who can not tolerate honest dissent.

Comment: Re:If (Score 1) 210

by AB3A (#40762355) Attached to: Washington, D.C. Police Affirm Citizens' Right To Record Police Officers

http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2009-09-24/news/0909230103_1_acorn-bertha-lewis-maryland-court-records

The Baltimore Sun is known to be a left leaning newspaper even in the significantly left-leaning state of Maryland.

The case was later dropped after the plaintiffs failed to meet a 120 day deadline for filing. And by the way AC, all you had to plug in to Google was O'keefe acorn maryland and you'd have seen results.

Comment: Re:If (Score 2) 210

This varies state by state in the US. Some states are one party consent states, others are two party consent states. For example, Maryland is a Two Party consent state. Often this law is used against those who film others who break the law. Recent examples include James O'Keefe when he did some undercover video of some very unflattering behavior by ACORN. The state of Maryland went after O'Keefe for obtaining video without permission, while they left ACORN alone.

In general, one party recording consent works better.

As for the instructions from Chief Lanier, it's a good start. She is one of the more level headed police chiefs in this country. I hope others follow her example.

Comment: Single Points of Failure (Score 1) 102

by AB3A (#40645559) Attached to: City's IT Infrastructure Brought To Its Knees By Data Center Outage

People often walk around with some very bad assumptions about how resilient the Internet or a Cloud must be.

You may have a very good internet presence with lots of bandwidth, but it may be all housed in the same building where the same sprinkler system can bring it all down. You may think that ISPs can reroute lots of traffic to other places because it is possible. Yet, there are common failure modes there too.

Cloud computing is often hailed as a very resilient method for infrastructure. Yet, there is a disturbing tendency to focus all the servers in one big glass room of everything. You may get the dynamic pay per clock-cycle performance, but it may all come back to one substation. A single fire in that substation could bring everything down.

This is the problem with SLA deals: You don't know what kind of planning they may use for such infrastructure. Remember, the Internet itself may be resilient, but your cloud and your ISP may not be.

Comment: Two Comments (Score 1) 625

by AB3A (#40624213) Attached to: Why Ultra-Efficient 4,000 mph Vacuum-Tube Trains Aren't Being Built

First, Low Earth Orbit speeds are about 17000 MPH. Launching a sub-orbital spacecraft toward a destination is actually just as fat and also orders of magnitude less expensive to build. The technology to do that is much more within reach than a vacuum tube train and it requires far less infrastructure.

Second, who says the tube that has the train car has to be a vacuum? If the train car were shaped like a dart, one could accelerate it with a rocket motor to get it to speed, and then as it breaks through a membrane to get in to the tunnel, it would compress a mixture of natural gas and air where the tunnel meets the edge of the dart. The burn of this fuel would then accelerate the car/dart further in to the tunnel. This is roughly the method that the SHARP gun used to accelerate projectiles to 3 km/sec. I'm not exactly sure how one could keep the acceleration to something that wouldn't turn everyone in to goo, but I am certain that a bit of propellant selection might make this practical.

Comment: Re:Is this new? (Score 1) 513

by AB3A (#40606751) Attached to: Executive Order Grants US Gov't New Powers Over Communication Systems

It does. There is precedent for this memo, as much as I detest it. That precedent goes all the way back to WW II at least. Back then, ham radio operator ceased operations, and often surrendered their equipment for use in the war effort. Aircraft were grounded, some by cutting propellers. Commerce was on a war footing. The president had vast powers to direct the war effort and few questioned his authority.

This is not a new concept. It has been there for generations.

Note: I am not a fan of this president. I am right of center conservative. As much as this stuff turns my stomach, there appears to be a strong precedent for it, though I wonder why he would stir this hornet's nest of an issue...

Comment: confluence of effects (Score 3, Interesting) 813

by AB3A (#40528907) Attached to: After Recent US Storms, Why Are Millions Still Without Power?

I live in central Maryland. There is more to this than just a Derecho. We get every two to three years. They're not unheard of.

We had a mild winter and a cool spring. The winter did not have any significant snow or ice. So weak tree limbs didn't come down. There weren't many significant thunderstorms in the spring either, so no significant dead wood fell because of that. Here we are in early summer, and we get the first major storm of the season and all that weak and dying wood that hasn't been cleared out of the trees comes down at once. In many cases it takes the whole damned tree down. This wouldn't have been a big deal if it had been spread over a few storms here and there, but instead it happened all at once.

In so many ways, this was a perfect storm...

"Bureaucracy is the enemy of innovation." -- Mark Shepherd, former President and CEO of Texas Instruments

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