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Comment Re:This'll be lost on new people. (Score 1) 167

They will think it is a spinoff of Lost. In space.

Oh man, that would (well could) be awesome!

A commercial spaceliner crashes somewhere. There's a radio broadcasting a mysterious repeating sequence of numbers, and a hatch leading to a Cold War era lunar base. And what the hell is a polar bear doing on the Moon?

Hmm, on second thoughts, maybe not.

Comment Re:Next remakes... (Score 2) 167

Technically "The Starlost" was by Cordwainer Bird, the pen name Ellison uses when the show (in his opinion) sucks.

Ellison's pilot script was adapted to a novel, "Phoenix Without Ashes", by (Nebula-winner) Ed Bryant, recently reissued. (Harlan is donating his share of the royalties to Ed to help cover some medical expenses.)

There's also a graphic novel version.

Comment Re:Stupid idea (Score 1) 139

Heck, go a step further than that. Unless you're going to some third world country or flying direct to the middle of nowhere, you can probably buy a cheap (possibly used) laptop when you get there, then download your goodies from the net or the microSD in your tube of toothpaste (if you're that paranoid).

Wipe it and discard it (or sell it) before returning, after uploading the data or stuffing the microSD back in your toothpaste tube.

When you consider the expenses of travelling, a cheap laptop doesn't add much, especially if you can sell it rather than trashing it.

(The laptop I typically travel with -- even within the country -- cost me all of about $35 used, and runs WinXP and Linux. Perfectly adequate for writing, emails and minor browsing, and I'm not heartbroken if it gets lost or stolen (data backed to a thumb drive at frequent intervals).)

Comment Re:Sure. (Score 1) 130

Von Braun sitting in it is a dead give-away. ;)

Granted, without him, without the NASA logo on the box on top, and without the dish antenna it might be a little harder to recognize. (Partly due to its simplicity. Many of the rover prototypes back then were more complex and instantly recognizable, especially the six-wheeled or pressurized ones.)

Comment Pete Conrad saved Skylab (Score 1) 69

Sure, he had a lot of help, but he was the person who physically heaved on one of the stuck solar panels until it deployed.

I once had the opportunity to speak with Conrad for a couple of hours during breakout time at a meeting we were both at. He's probably better known for the Apollo 12 mission, where he set down the LM a short walk from the Surveyor 3 which had landed on the Moon a couple of years prior. To me, especially at the time, that was a more significant achievement than Aldrin and Armstrong's -- Apollo 11 would have been a success if it had landed anywhere on the Moon and returned safely, but Apollo 12 proved that pinpoint landings were possible, something essential to setting up long term lunar bases. ( *sigh* )

I asked Pete what space accomplishment he was most proud of, and he explained that he was most proud of what he'd done to help save Skylab, both for his mission and the two other missions which followed. (I though his remote piloting of DC-X was pretty cool too, and he didn't want to talk about his brief role as himself in the made for TV movie Plymouth set on a lunar colony.)

Somewhere around I have a piece (about an inch square) of Skylab which survived reentry. No, dang it, I didn't ask Pete to autograph it.

Comment Re: Safety (Score 3, Insightful) 452

Back in my high school days, I and plenty of my fellow students frequently went armed, some with considerably more lethal weapons than are customarily allowed in the US. I fired my first machine gun when I was seventeen.

Mind, we were only so armed during our nights/weekends with our reserve units, but we were still, technically, armed school children.

Aside from the occasional shoulder/cheek bruise (from not holding it properly while firing - a 7.62 FN packs a bit of a kick), I don't recall any gun-related injuries.

Comment Re:An engineer's perspective (Score 2) 118

It's said that the Roman engineers responsible for the construction of a support arch for a bridge or aqueduct were required to stand under it when the support scaffolding (used in construction) was removed. They had a very personal incentive for making sure everything was done properly.

Likewise, the reactor engineers on a nuclear submarine have a very personal incentive for making sure everything is done properly, over and above military discipline.

Do we even know that, in this case, the cooling towers were even properly disinfected in the first place? Maybe the building managers and whoever else is responsible should be required to spend the day after disinfection exposed to a nice mist of cooling water...

Comment Re:Summary is flat out WRONG (Score 1) 399

The explanation is simple: the cartographer responsible for that map is a moron.

You're right, the orange zone should extend to roughly mid-lake, except for Lake Michigan, which is entirely within the US. Chicago shouldn't even be part of that 100 mile zone (likewise Milwaukee and Green Bay) except that it has an international airport -- which would also mean there could be a 100 mile splotch of orange around pretty much every major city.

(*It's possible that Great Lakes port cities are considered borders, even though they technically are not. Do Canadian and other international vessels have a right of passage on Lake Michigan? It certainly is not considered international waters.)

Comment Re:136 lbs? (Score 1) 179

It's also a matter of fitting in the cockpit in the first place. I knew a guy who wanted to be a navy pilot, but his legs were just long enough that if he'd ever had to eject, they'd be taken off at the knees by the control panel. Fighter pilots tend to be small. Cargo planes are roomier, so that isn't an issue there.

Comment Re:How about the rest of the world? (Score 4, Insightful) 184

I can think of two major acts of genocide ordered by self professed "God Fearing Christians" in the past 100 years. At least one bombing comes to mind as well as a few mass shootings.

Only one? Take a look at "The Troubles" in Northern Ireland and surroundings from about 1968 to 1998. (And related events in the centuries leading up to that.) Sure, there was a large political component too ... as there is in the Middle East. I'd wager that anyone old enough to remember those times was a lot more worried about IRA bombs then than Islamic ones today (and with good reason).

Comment Re:Justice system (Score 4, Interesting) 177

We don't find people filming murders for sexual gratification. If that were the case, then that could very well become illegal too.

Although fake kiddie porn is just as illegal as the real thing, filming fake murders for others' gratification (hopefully not sexual, but who knows) is big business. Hollywood makes billions on it. Ditto first-person shooter games.

Something is screwed up somewhere.

In 1750 Issac Newton became discouraged when he fell up a flight of stairs.