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Comment: Re:Misquote in #1 (Score 1) 701

by AJWM (#47497897) Attached to: Favorite "Go!" Phrase?

In the Apollo program -- at least, with Saturn V launches -- it's "Ignition sequence start" at T-7 seconds. Those F-5 engines had a complicated ignition sequence which took several seconds just to get the dang things lit. (The pre-burners which turned the propellant turbopumps had to be lit first, and the RP-1 propellant (essentially kerosene) was also used as the hydraulic fluid for gimballing the outboard engines, so had to be pressurized.)

With the Shuttle they started main engines a couple of seconds before T-0 to give them time to come up to power and ensure that they were running properly before igniting the SRBs. Once the solids were lit everything was along for the ride until burn-out (or explosion, as with Challenger).

Comment: Re:I dont see a problem here (Score 2) 146

by AJWM (#47388521) Attached to: NASA Approves Production of Most Powerful Rocket Ever

I would much rather them use existing tried tech and incrementally advance them rather than try a radical new design.

Except that they're not. Those solid boosters? They're "based on" Shuttle SRBs, not identical to them. Several segments longer, meaning higher internal pressures, different burn characteristics, etc. If you don't think that's going to take extra years of testing, there are several bridges I'd be happy to sell you.

Ditto for any other technologies that they're basing stuff on rather than reusing identically.

The SLS isn't also known as the "Senate Launch System" for nothing. NASA's role should be to try radical new designs, not serve as a conduit for senators to shovel pork to their constituents.

Comment: Re:Texas has regulations? (Score 1) 78

by AJWM (#47193127) Attached to: Brownsville SpaceX Space Port Faces More Regulatory Hurdles


A launch from Florida (in an easterly direction) doesn't look like it might be an attack on Cuba; a launch from south Texas does (or could). The political and technical situations are a bit different today.

Also, spreading the pork around to multiple states/congressional districts. Texas got the facility in Houston.

Oh, and what open water is to the west of Brownsville? ;-)

Comment: Re:Sorry, but this is silly (Score 1) 65

by AJWM (#47188801) Attached to: Updating the Integrated Space Plan

As the saying goes, no (battle) plan survives contact with the enemy. That doesn't mean such a plan has no use whatsoever.

An 'Integrated America Plan' or an 'Integrated Computing Plan' would of course be ludicrous in hindsight. (Just as is the original Integrated Space Plan). But such plans have the power to inspire people. To make people think "hey, I see a better option over here". To encourage people to make it so. To dream things that never were and say "why not?"

Sure, if we had cheap access to space there'd be a lot more people making their own plans and going out and doing it. Maybe this plan will help inspire the next generation's Gary Hudson, Elon Musk or a non-fictional Delos D. Harriman.

(Disclaimer: I've probably still got a small stack of the original ISP poster in my basement. My ex used to sell them through her (long defunct) Space Pioneers business.)

Comment: Depends whether it has manual override. (Score 1) 301

If it's truly autonomous, with no manual override (or the override can be locked out and proved to be locked out) then why have any restrictions at all? Of course then the rider is really a passenger, not a driver.

If the car has a way to let the passenger take manual control and override the autopilot, then the passenger has become a driver and should be properly licensed.

While I don't discuss the licensing issues, my book The Reticuli Deception (set about 100 years from now) has several scenes involving both completely autonomous (sole occupant darkens the windows and takes a nap) and not (driver overrides the computer to deliberately cause a collision with the guy tailing someone, then escapes by having arranged for a rental car to drive itself to the next block and be waiting for him). (That's only a minor spoiler, most of the book takes place off-Earth. Caveat, it's a sequel to The Chara Talisman, which come to think of it has one scene with an autonomous taxi.) </blatantplug>

Comment: False assumption? (Score 1) 426

by AJWM (#46955955) Attached to: Mathematical Model Suggests That Human Consciousness Is Noncomputable

Who says memory retrieval is non-lossy? It's an organic process, of course it's lossy. Our brains just make shit up to fill in the gaps.

The stuff we retrieve frequently is slightly less lossy because it gets refreshed (somewhat) when we remember it (sort of remembering that we remembered it).

And our brains are very good at making shit up to fill in the gaps, almost too good.

Comment: Re:Accept, don't fight, systemd (Score 1) 533

by AJWM (#46955737) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Practical Alternatives To Systemd?

If there are things you don't like about systemd, you should write up coherent bug reports or feature requests,

That doesn't work if it's the whole design philosophy you don't like. Whatever happened to the Unix philosophy that tools should do one thing, and do it well, and be easy to integrate with (not assimilate, borg-like) other components?

Me, I'll keep SysV init. How often do you need to reboot a unix or linux box anyway?

Comment: Re:A good sign (Score 1) 177

by AJWM (#46946535) Attached to: Programming Language Diversity On the Rise

+1 nostalgia if I had the mod points. Heck, there was a time (about 3 decades back) when I was being paid to teach APL (or APL, as properly rendered).

Mind, the bit-arrays used in ElasticSearch filtering strike me as a very APL-like idiom. You never know when something you learned back when will prove useful again.

Comment: Re:Huh? (Score 1) 230

by AJWM (#46886751) Attached to: One-a-Day-Compiles: Good Enough For Government Work In 1983

PCs were surprisingly common in 1983. Consider the Apple II and various CP/M machines had been around for quite a few years at that point.

Sure, they were still struggling to gain entrance to big businesses which were bastions of the mainframe (although more like with 3270 type terminals than card decks by that point), but small businesses loved them. Businesses were buying Apple II's as "Visicalc machines" in huge numbers, let alone the number of Wordstar boxes out there. Sure, it would be another few years before everyone and his dog had one, but by 1983 there were plenty around.

It's not so hard to lift yourself by your bootstraps once you're off the ground. -- Daniel B. Luten