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Comment: Re:New Mexico already has a newspaceport (Score 2) 57

by Teancum (#49673257) Attached to: Construction At SpaceX's New Spaceport About To Begin

Because SpaceX is using the New Mexico spaceport.... too!

That facility is mainly going to be used for R&D testing of their recoverable rocket systems, such as what they've been doing at their Waco facility with the Grasshopper series of flights. At the moment, they are hoping to use one of the rocket cores built for a regular flight and doing the reuse testing in New Mexico... with the much higher altitude flight clearance they can get in New Mexico which simply isn't permitted in central Texas.

Besides, the spaceport in New Mexico is mainly built for sub-orbital flights and doing stuff like launching the Virgin Galactic space planes. Who said it isn't in use?

Comment: Re:Compare an expected cost, to an actual cost? (Score 3, Insightful) 57

by Teancum (#49673213) Attached to: Construction At SpaceX's New Spaceport About To Begin

left the US with no manned launch capability and no heavy lift rockets Let's hope history will not repeat itself.

What is to compare here? This is a private launch facility that will likely never see any crews launch from this location, as it will be mainly commercial communications satellites and a few other commercial payloads that will be flying from Texas. It is also being built with mostly (but certainly not exclusively) private funds with the idea that the company building this facility will use it to earn a healthy profit from its activities.

There is no history to actually repeat in this situation, other than following the history of other commercial launch endeavors that simply went bankrupt. SpaceX, on the other hand, seems to be profitable and doesn't show signs at the moment of even struggling to make payroll. Far from struggling to make ends meet, they are doing some serious capital expenditures to expand their existing business. This launch facility in Texas is proof that SpaceX plans on increasing their launch rate considerably over the next decade or more.

+ - The Killing Of Osama Bin Laden - journalist Seymor Hersh tells a different story

Submitted by zedaroca
zedaroca writes: Pulitzer-winning journalist Seymour M. Hersh wrote on London Review of Books a 10.000 words piece on the killing of Osama Bin Laden, quoting American and Pakistani officials. According to his piece, the US had intelligence and operational help from Pakistan (by getting out of the way).

It began with a walk-in. In August 2010 a former senior Pakistani intelligence officer approached Jonathan Bank, then the CIA’s station chief at the US embassy in Islamabad.


Kayani eventually tells us yes, but he says you can’t have a big strike force. You have to come in lean and mean. And you have to kill him, or there is no deal,’ the retired official said. The agreement was struck by the end of January 2011, and Joint Special Operations Command prepared a list of questions to be answered by the Pakistanis: ‘How can we be assured of no outside intervention? (...)

So far, at least NBC has backed up part of Hersh's report.

+ - Rand Paul Will Filibuster PATRIOT ACT Reauthorization-> 1

Submitted by SonicSpike
SonicSpike writes: Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said this week that he intends to mount a fight against the reauthorization of the Patriot Act, the post-Sept. 11 law that gives the National Security Agency much of its authority to conduct surveillance programs.

"I'm going to lead the charge in the next couple of weeks as the Patriot Act comes forward. We will be filibustering. We will be trying to stop it. We are not going to let them run over us," Paul told the New Hampshire Union Leader on Monday.

The Patriot Act expires June 1, but Congress must effectively renew the law by May 22nd because of a scheduled weeklong break. Paul, a civil libertarian who hopes to capture the 2016 Republican nomination for president, has consistently spoken against reauthorizing the law, going so far as to oppose a 2014 bill that would have ended controversial NSA phone record collection because it left the government's broad authority to conduct surveillance intact.

Link to Original Source

+ - World's Most Dangerous Driving Simulator->

Submitted by agent elevator
agent elevator writes: Lawrence Ulrich at IEEE Spectrum has an interview with the maker of a simulator for professional racers, the $54,000 Motion Pro II from CXC Simulations. It conveys amazingly fine sensations including: the feel of the car's tires wearing out or the car lightening as its fuel dwindles. It also has the kick to make you really feel a crash: “If you hit the wall in an Indy Car and don’t take your hands off the wheel, you’ll break your wrists... Our wheel is a one-to-one replication of that, but we don’t turn it up that high. It’s the first time we’ve been able to replicate racing forces so high that it introduces liability questions.”
Link to Original Source

Comment: I think these fears are overblown. (Score 5, Insightful) 420

by PCM2 (#49655075) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Moving To an Offshore-Proof Career?

Being afraid that your job will be taken away by "overseas workers," besides its vaguely racists and xenophobic connotations, is just the latest flavor of a very old fear.

Back in the days of the industrial revolution, it was automation that was going to take away the jobs. And in a sense, it did. But the population of (for example) the United States is larger today than at any time in its history, and most people still have jobs. Whahoppen? And yet now some of the people who weren't even alive during the industrial revolution are worried that robots and other machines will take their jobs away. Or foreigners.

The best wait I can explain it is that you should never approach an employers with the idea that you are a consumer asking the employer to give you something, in this case a job. You should think of yourself a a business resource -- which is what you are, and in fact the most valuable one that exists on the planet. When you apply for a job, you are OFFERING an employer something. You are not the consumer. You are a supplier. So as an autonomous resource who has control of your own destiny, how do you increase your own value so that you are more attractive to your current and future employers? It ain't gonna happen by you taking a job and then sitting down at your desk and pretending you're going to do the same job for the rest of your life.

If you're afraid that you've got the kind of job that your employer could just hand to somebody else tomorrow -- somebody you've never met, somebody who's never met anybody on your team, somebody who maybe doesn't even speak the same language as you -- then my first question is, don't you like money? Why are you in that job, when it can't be worth what they pay you for it and you could already be doing a lot better for yourself.

A lot of tech workers seem to get confused and think their value to their employer is in the skills they have. That's true, partly. But I'd say at least half of being successful at any job -- and maybe even 80 percent -- involves interpersonal skills. How well do you work within the team? How able are you to anticipate what the business needs and act on that? In cases where there's a leadership vacuum, can you fill it? And then when it's time to follow directions, can you still do it?

Or how about this one: Do you LIKE your job? Do you show up every morning feeling good and ready for work, because you feel like what you do for a living is something worth doing? I've talked to a lot of people who don't feel that way, and honestly I feel like a lot of that is on THEM. Going back to the idea that you're not a customer, you're a supplier ... you've gotta stick up for yourself. For most of us (hopefully) nobody has stuck a gun to our heads and made us take ANY job. It's true that they wouldn't call it work if it was all fun and games, but many of us spend more of each 24-hour day at work than we do sleeping. And certainly more than we do spending time with our friends and families. My advice is to spend that time on something you think is worth doing -- not something that a 10-year-old could do for you, if that was legal.

Do that, and you're already ahead of the game. When you're in a job where your real value is not to some nebulous economic concept, but to the people who make up your business, then you're in a pretty good spot. You can outsource Worker X but you can't outsource Dave Johnson, because there's only one of him.

So don't be Worker X. Maybe it sounds glib, but that's really the whole game. That's your life.

Comment: I'm impressed (Score 3, Insightful) 230

by Mr Z (#49620983) Attached to: Singapore's Prime Minister Shares His C++ Sudoku Solver Code

There's no shortage of people ragging on the code. "It's not C++ enough to be called C++," "there's not enough comments", "it uses C stdio.h", etc. Get over it.

This looks like the sort of program I might dash out over an afternoon (maybe two) to satisfy some intellectual curiosity. Programming as play. This isn't production code, it's fun code, written to satisfy oneself.

Is it perfect? WHO CARES! That's not important. That misses the point. If you doodle in your notepad and it brings you a smile, does anyone care it's not as good as the Mona Lisa? You sure as heck don't. And that's what this code is. A doodle. It just happens to be in simple, straightforward procedural C/C++ code.

I personally think playing with programming is important. Sure, you'll write a lot of dreck. But, you'll also learn a lot. You learn real lessons when you do write dodgy code, and the dodgy code actually bites you. You also can try new things fearlessly. After all, you're programming a toy for oneself, and you're under no deadline pressure. There's no spec you have to fulfill. You can experiment and enjoy it.

Programming as play still helps build your programming reflexes. If and when you do sit down to write professional grade software, all of that play will make the basic work of programming natural. Rather than focusing your energy on the basic details of programming, you can instead focus your energy designing maintainable code that meets the business requirements and documenting that design. Writing the code just flows naturally.

So, yeah, I'm impressed. This Sudoku solver brought a smile to my face. It's incredibly cool that the prime minister shared a code doodle with us.

Comment: Re:Don't forget legacy BROWSERS. (Score 3, Insightful) 218

by PCM2 (#49565481) Attached to: JavaScript Devs: Is It Still Worth Learning jQuery?

This is tricky. It's tempting to support legacy browsers, but if you do too good a job of supporting them, you don't incentivize your users to ever get their sh*t sorted, and upgrade their browsers. It's a vicious cycle I am eager to avoid.

Yeah, but when your "users" are more properly called "customers" -- or even more important, "potential customers" -- then some web dev's desire to preach the gospel must take a back seat to doing the job the way it needs to be done, rightly or wrongly.

It's fine to push for strict browser standards when the only people who will ever see your web applications are within your own organization. Public-facing sites are a different matter.

Comment: Re:As Valve has shown (Score 1) 88

by Mr Z (#49524733) Attached to: AMD Publishes New 'AMDGPU' Linux Graphics Driver

If you stick to the intersection of "documented interface" and "clearly optimized code paths," you're likely OK. But yeah, having an optimization guide as part of the docs would be better, if it also stays up to date with the source. But, as we all know, the only thing that stays up to date with the source is the source itself.

Comment: Re:misquote (Score 2) 117

by Teancum (#49475823) Attached to: SpaceX Dragon Launches Successfully, But No Rocket Recovery

SpaceX happens to have another barge for the Vandenberg launches. It still is a big deal in terms of landing in a desert, as you have the option of either trying to fly laterally to Mexico (with some international arms control problems with ITAR) or overfly Los Angeles and/or San Diego with that rocket.

Vandenberg happens to be located at a point where California sort of turns off to the east, and is used for polar orbits explicitly because there is a whole lot of nothing except for ocean between Santa Barbara County and Antarctica. Try to look at a map sometime and answer this question: Which city is further west: Los Angeles or Reno?

There is a landing pad being constructed both at KSC (in Florida) as well as at Vandenberg. Right now both NASA and more significantly the USAF (for Vandenberg especially) are waiting to see the results of landing on the barge first before formal approval for landing at the pads is going to be authorized.

It should be pointed out too that SpaceX does have a landing pad with several dozen square miles of desert to work in at Spaceport America in New Mexico. There was some construction work going on there at least in the recent past, and so far as I know the tests to be conducted there haven't been canceled although most of the current effort seems to be work on the revenue flights like this CRS-6 flight rather than the proposed test flights in New Mexico that were to be suborbital flights mainly going up really high and then coming back to the Earth with possibly a flight over White Sands (which is adjacent to Spaceport America and is both restricted airspace and ground access due to it being a military base). Flight clearance at that location is such that they can go much higher there than they can at their Texas test facility.

As long the launches are at KSC or Vandenberg, however, the recovery at the moment will simply need to be at sea. Physics also plays a part as other than returning to the original launch site, down range from either launch site is simply ocean as far as you can go in the general flight path.

Comment: Re:UAC is for idiots (Score 1) 187

by Mr Z (#49456381) Attached to: LG Split Screen Software Compromises System Security

Yep. I've disabled both Flash and PDF plugins, both of which are common attack vectors. I also run AdBlock, as compromised ad servers are a very common attack vector. Net result is that I've hit 'cancel' once on a UAC prompt that I didn't think was justified.

The thing is, even after a stint as a UNIX admin at a university—a hostile environment if there ever was one—and even finding a couple Solaris security holes that lead to root escalation, I still managed to eventually, one day, get a UAC prompt that didn't make sense to me, and so I mashed 'cancel'. I don't even remember what it was, but it points to the fact that you always, always need to be on your guard.

I really dislike the lack of control I feel when using a Windows box. All my personal machines at home are Linux boxes, except one WinXP system I use for specific tasks that require Windows. And on those Linux boxes, I do damn near everything as an unprivileged user. I only sudo to install packages that come from a verified source, such as the latest GCC.

If it's working, the diagnostics say it's fine. If it's not working, the diagnostics say it's fine. - A proposed addition to rules for realtime programming