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Comment: Re:As long as they get close it's a win (Score 2) 81

by Teancum (#48620967) Attached to: SpaceX To Attempt Falcon 9 Landing On Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship

I don't think the issue is attempting a landing on land, but rather that the proposed site for landing (I think they are proposing to use the site originally designed to become 39C before NASA scrapped that location for Apollo Saturn V launches) is so close to other critical infrastructure.

If they landed on some use spot of semi-wilderness like where Russia does landings for the Soyuz spacecraft, the Australian outback, or some other similar sized far from civilization, they wouldn't have any problem with attempting a landing on land. The problem is that the eastern coast of Florida is hardly what I would describe as unpopulated wilderness. The chance of the Falcon 9 landing in Miami or even Disney World is just too great. That is why the pinpoint accuracy is so needed, especially with the suicide burn approach that SpaceX is using for the core recovery.

Comment: Re:As long as they get close it's a win (Score 1) 81

by Teancum (#48620873) Attached to: SpaceX To Attempt Falcon 9 Landing On Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship

No, the current goal is to land on the barge. Preferably they would like to land on an island down range from KSC, but that island simply doesn't exist.

Yes, the long term end goal is landing preferably on a landing pad about a mile or so away from the launch site at KSC, where it appears to be roughly at the location of pad 39C (or rather where that pad was supposed to be built during the Apollo program.... but never happened).

On the other hand, it may very well be that boosting back to the site at KSC is not a realistic option simply because the delta-v (change in velocity) is insufficient for a proper return given the other constraints for delivering payloads to orbit. Even now, there are payloads that SpaceX is taking that will use so much fuel that even landing on a barge is out of the question... and the 1st stage is going to simply burn up in the upper atmosphere and break up during reentry.

Comment: Re:Hmm (Score 2) 81

by Teancum (#48620735) Attached to: SpaceX To Attempt Falcon 9 Landing On Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship

In fairness to Elon Musk, he actually wanted to blow about a half billion dollars on sending a greenhouse to the surface of Mars.... pretty much as a philanthropic venture or as just blowing the money for the hell of it. He even got so far as going to Russia and trying to negotiate the purchase of an ICBM to get the project to happen (where they even offered the nuclear warhead with the deal... something he turned down).

Along the way, one of those in Russia insulted him big time and basically challenged him to try and do this himself. After a little investigating about the topic, he went to Los Angeles County to recruit a few aerospace engineers who were building rockets capable of going into orbit as a hobby, and offered them a full time job to make a clean-sheet new rocket from scratch. That company is now SpaceX. The hobby guys are still making rockets that are being launched in the Mojave desert, but a great many of those guys are getting hired by a new set of space-related companies building stuff now.

Comment: Re:Why not ask the authors of the GPL Ver.2? (Score 1) 173

by Teancum (#48605829) Attached to: The GPLv2 Goes To Court

Except there are judicial opinions and legal precedence with regards to the GPL. This isn't 1990 when there are six websites on the internet and the GPL was brand new with everybody speculating about what a judge might say about the GPL. SCO v. IBM is one example of a set of legal opinions written (in this case from federal courts) by actual judges where the GPL was a central point of contention and real legal precedence can be found.

Fortunately the GPL was written to be understood by those who were using the license, where violations of the terms of the license are very clear and almost everybody who is out of compliance knows they are out of compliance. It is usually jerks and idiots who push the terms of the license to the point you even need a judicial opinion on the matter.

Comment: Re:Hope they keep Stallman off the stand... (Score 1) 173

by Teancum (#48605777) Attached to: The GPLv2 Goes To Court

In contract law you're not assumed to know anything about the background or history of the license except as written.

That isn't true either, particularly with standard contracts that are in widespread usage. A good example of such a contract is the standard Screen Actors' Guild contract, which is something frequently that goes to trial and has had nearly every provision tested in one way or another. Legal precedence in particular (previous court cases that have occurred with regards to that contract) are definitely something you would be wise to pay attention to, in particular any cases argued in Los Angeles County.

Generally the history of the license or contract is not quite so known, particularly from a legal standpoint, but you can't say that about the GPL. And I might point out that there is legal precedence with regards to enforcement of several parts of the GPL. Any lawyer who does not know what those cases are with regards to the GPL is just showing their incompetence, particularly when a Google search or even searching Wikipedia can get you links to the actual judicial opinions.

Comment: Re:Hope they keep Stallman off the stand... (Score 1) 173

by Teancum (#48605699) Attached to: The GPLv2 Goes To Court

RMS actually wrote the version 1 of the license. He did get some legal assistance in terms of crafting the language of the license, and Eben Moglen was frequently involved in those legal discussion including enforcement of the GPL with regards to software owned (aka the primary copyright holder through various agreements) by the Free Software Foundation (primarily GNU related software). Another significant contributor was Mike Godwin, of Godwin's Law fame, although you could also point to several other people who contributed too.

By the time it got to the version 3 of the GPL license, legal commentary and assistance was very widespread where it would be very hard to point to any single author, although RMS is clearly selecting the language as a sort of editor with regards to how the final wording of the license turned out.

It definitely was not RMS sitting back and hiring a lawyer to draft the language for him like you would a business contract.

Comment: Re:EFF Says: (Score 1) 158

by Teancum (#48602059) Attached to: 9th Circuit Will Revisit "Innocence of Muslims" Takedown Order

Again: you phrased that as a statement, but it should be a question: is there precedent? What is the precedent?

There is a precedent for such things if you aren't compensated and haven't signed a waiver granting film rights. That is why the school where my kids attend have asked me to sign such waivers for the schools to film my kids in promotional videos about my kids.

And I think I would be pissed off enough and have a legal right to claim such contract was invalid if it was used for something else like a porn video. So yes, there is a legal precedent for such things.

On the other hand, it would largely depend on what contract that the actress actually signed and what conditions that the actress agreed to do the performance. That is why you generally should have a competent lawyer that drafts such contracts... to make sure your interests are properly represented in the agreement. A standard SAG (Screen Actors' Guild) contract has been brought to court a number of times so it could be said that most provisions have been properly vetted but includes protection against directors who make changes to the film.

A good example of how actors have changed the standard SAG contract is with the movie The Four Musketeers, where so much footage was shot that two films were released even though the actors only agreed to make one film and weren't told that the second film was going to be made until after it was released. This is also a good example of how such contracts can force at least a legal injunction to prohibit exhibition on the part of an actor.

Comment: Re:Here's what I don't understand (Score 1) 43

by Teancum (#48601831) Attached to: SpaceX Set To Create 300 New US Jobs and Expand Facilities

Who decides what these companies are valued at and on what basis?

It isn't magic. These larger companies like you mention who make these acquisitions make the decision to purchase the smaller companies because they think they can get even more money than the amount they are paying. It really is that simple.

It certainly isn't some kind of grand conspiracy where a couple people in a smoke-filled room decide at random that somebody is going to become a billionaire or a millionaire like some sort of weird lottery system. These large companies also became large because they knew how to make a profit and how to continue making money even when seemingly every effort by the government tries to make sure they can't make a profit.

As for the Hollywood agents for actors, I think you have some things messed up there too. There may be a few actors who are hyped up way beyond recognition and don't deserve the salaries they receive, but for the most part actors get paid pretty normal salaries even when they have agents... and often are hurting for work because there are far more actors than jobs to be had in the movie industry. At best a good agent will be somebody who gets your face in front of casting directors and makes sure you are made aware of potential auditions as they become available.

Comment: Re:300 Jobs for 320 Million (Score 4, Insightful) 43

by Teancum (#48601671) Attached to: SpaceX Set To Create 300 New US Jobs and Expand Facilities

I don't get your complaint. Are you really expecting Elon Musk to personally hire every American into one of his companies?

Also, there aren't more astronauts in the NASA astronaut corps currently. A total in the entire history from the original Mercury 7 astronauts to right now is 339 candidates have "received their wings" to be certified as astronauts, and not all of them have even been into space. The current number is 43, and likely to go down in the near future.

On the other hand, this is 300 new jobs for the people of central Texas, and I think they don't mind high paying industrial jobs that bring in money from outside of the immediate area, unlike new jobs that come from Wal-Mart of a Subway restaurant opening up. This is on top of other substantial moves that the companies of Elon Musk have been doing to hire literally thousands of new workers in the past couple of years.

If only more entrepreneurs had this kind of vision to do something really unique and original.

Comment: Re:So... (Score 3, Informative) 43

by Teancum (#48601565) Attached to: SpaceX Set To Create 300 New US Jobs and Expand Facilities

Not too many. You have to be a U.S. Citizen to work for SpaceX due to ITAR restrictions, and pass a criminal background check too. It is possible to get hired if you aren't a U.S. Citizen, but that amounts to being something like a security clearance for classified work (which also must happen for much of what SpaceX does). It is a separate part of the Department of State that must issue the authorization for a non-citizen to work.

It seems like I heard a SpaceX employee say that they didn't know of any H1-B visa holders that worked for their company... but I could be mistaken. They certainly aren't milking the visa system to get cheap workers. It is one of the restrictions when you make something that can be used with thermonuclear weapons that gets a whole lot more attention in terms of immigration and work status rules.

Comment: Re:They are also hiring a Farmer (Score 4, Informative) 43

by Teancum (#48601501) Attached to: SpaceX Set To Create 300 New US Jobs and Expand Facilities

SpaceX even tried to hire the previous lease holders to farm that land. The problem was that the additional terms of the contract (like you said.... farming at night and working around test schedules) were something those farmers didn't agree to doing. They also needed to go through a criminal background check and verify that they haven't been involved with international arms trades due to requirements of the ITAR laws and the Department of Defense contracts that SpaceX is signing.

All told, bringing the position in-house sounds like a better way to get the job done.

Comment: Re:I guess Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking (Score 1) 414

by Teancum (#48573773) Attached to: AI Expert: AI Won't Exterminate Us -- It Will Empower Us

I might. That is sort of something that self-aware machines can do. Then again, do you want me to kill myself?

BTW, when I say I will be dead for a long, long time, I am suggesting it will be centuries or milleniia in the future. You and everybody reading this as well as anybody who has even the most remote notion of what Slashdot might have been or is will be long dead too.

Comment: Re: programming (Score 1) 414

by Teancum (#48573741) Attached to: AI Expert: AI Won't Exterminate Us -- It Will Empower Us

Only the problem is that AI can't build machines that can build themselves. It takes people, technicians and machinists, to get that to happen right now.

Like I said, this is science fiction, not something grounded in reality. There is also a whole lot of time before the heat death of the universe, which concept by itself sort of rules out "eternity". Still, my point is that for a machine a human lifetime is currently eternal... or seemingly so.

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