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Comment Re:Never understood (Score 1) 428 428

I think "on a shared workstation" means it was an electronic document and not a physical sealed envelope.

Fair point, and that sounds dicier. 'Round these parts (California), that employee might have a case for wrongful termination. But maybe not; snooping around corporate computer systems, even if the door is unlocked, just doesn't look good.

In the other case, though, now that I think about it, even if I had signed a contract that said my salary was confidential, surely that's only an agreement between me and the company? Would I really be violating such a clause if I disclosed my salary to another agent of the same company? It just doesn't seem like there's anything management can really do to prevent this sort of thing.

Seems like the only thing that keeps people from discussing this sort of thing more is the fear that someone's feeling are going to be hurt -- either theirs or yours -- if it turns out there's a big salary discrepancy.

Comment Re:Never understood (Score 1) 428 428

We recently had someone canned because they opened someone else's offer letter (which was sitting on a shared workstation).

Well if a sealed letter had someone else's name on it I'd agree that's a firing offense.

Me voluntarily telling you how much I make, on the other hand, is our business. Management can cough and sputter all it wants, but unless I signed a contract that stipulates my salary is confidential information, there's nothing they can do about it.

Comment Re:Holy Jebus (Score 1) 220 220

It is one thing to use such techniques to test something in a quiet area like a testing chamber, and something completely different to use this technique not only in a rocket that is accelerating at 32 m/s^2 but also has a whole bunch of other noise going on from nine operating turbo pumps, the rocket engines themselves, and other things rattling around tied to that whole system. In addition, to be able to locate a cause while the whole rocket is undergoing massive unplanned disassembly (aka an explosion releasing as much energy as a small nuclear bomb). Also doing that remotely off of recordings made on less than ideal microphones sharing bandwidth with many other more critical data functions over 30 miles away from where you are at.

As something SpaceX can and perhaps should be doing as a part of their Q/A analysis, no doubt using some sort of sound probing to detect faults is going to be done. I just don't know if this has been done on something like a black box of an airliner to perform fault analysis post-mortem on a vehicle failure.

Submission + - SpaceX Falcon 9 CRS-7 Failure: Broken Strut on Helium Tank->

Teancum writes: In a press conference held by SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, he released some findings about what caused the explosion of the launch vehicle carrying the CRS-7 Dragon spacecraft on its way to the International Space Station.

Apparently a Helium tank was held in place inside of the Liquid Oxygen tank on the 2nd stage that failed while it was under going the nearly 32 m/s^2 acceleration (about 3.2 time Earth's gravity acceleration). This part was manufactured by an undisclosed 3rd party contractor for SpaceX and was rated to being able to hold up to 10,000 PSI, but failed at 2000. In the past week, SpaceX has been "testing an enormous number" of this exact strut that is currently in their inventory intended for future flights, and confirmed that at least one of them failed in a similar fashion where metallurgical analysis has been performed trying to identify potential defects.

It was also confirmed in this press conference that the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft was tracked after the explosion and remained intact until it could no longer be followed by the tracking station due to it falling below the horizon. The Dragon could have survived the explosion and been recovered, except that the on-board guidance computer was not programmed to deploy the parachute during ascent. In the future, SpaceX plans on having this parachute deployment as a standard procedure even on cargo missions in the event of a rocket failure.

Link to Original Source

Comment Re:What could possible go wrong? (Score 5, Informative) 120 120

I'd like you to point out any launch site for orbital rockets that is anywhere even remotely close to tall buildings or even aircraft flights? The FAA routinely makes a pretty large exclusion zone around any launch activity. With the recent launch disasters from SpaceX and Orbital-ATK, I think such warnings should be well heeded even for ordinary Kerosene fueled rockets, much less something with an exotic propulsion system like this. It sure isn't going to be launched out of Central Park or any other urban center.

Besides, the CEO addressed this specific issue in an interview recorded a few months ago. Not only is the launch going to be far from cities, it will also need to happen in an arid region in part due to the microwave power being absorbed by water in the atmosphere. In other words, it is likely that this won't be launched from KSC in Florida either.

Comment Re:Helping out google's algorithm (Score 1) 70 70

Yeah, that "new law" one is f'ing annoying. It's been a "new law" since, uhm, for as long as I've been buying insurance? News flash: You pay different insurance rates based on your driving profile! WOW. They've started changing up the wording with other non sequiturs, but it's the same crap ad. (Why would the DMV give two shits about how much I'm paying for insurance?)

Comment Re:Better get those lobbyists ready, Comcast (Score 1) 98 98

When Comcast is looking as a wonderful alternative to me right now compared to the absolutely miserable experience I have with Century Link, I can see at least for my community that this will indeed be some realistic competition for terrestrial ISPs. All they have to beat is $100 per month for more than 800 kilobits/s of service to be economically viable for my family.

Yes, where I live internet service is that crappy. The data gets through, but it is insanely slow and often is far less than 800 kilobits in terms of typical bandwidth... so much so that even dial-up modems seem to have more throughput. I don't exactly live in a major metro area, but it is still a minor city with a population of about 200k people that has fiber optic links into the area that can sustain much higher bandwidth to ordinary households than currently is the case.

I am pretty certain that these terrestrial carriers will be finally upgrading their equipment and be competitive once these alternative networks start to become common place as well.

Comment Re:Fuck the FCC (Score 1) 98 98

And it is through the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) that most countries coordinate the usage of global spectrum usage. This includes the USA, particularly with regards to almost anything having to do with spaceflight where you have spectrum usage that crosses international boundaries... like will most definitely happen in the case of this satellite constellation.

In the USA, you work through the FCC to make those ITU filings though.

Comment Re:4000 (Score 3, Interesting) 98 98

I'd wager that financial market trading traffic alone could pay for a significant portion of this bill at super premium rates, especially overseas traders. Not to mention traffic from ships, planes, rural 1st world locations all paying a premium. They can implement zone pricing pretty easily because they will always be able to able to triangulate a transmission down to the inch. With a network that dense it would greatly surpass the accuracy of the existing GPS constellation.

I had not thought of that idea before in terms of a potential customer for this set-up. That is an excellent point. Iridium could have been used for something like this (which also has a digital data component), but given the technology capabilities available at the time Iridium was being built, they could only get about 4800 baud for individual customers... something that makes the bandwidth latency sort of irrelevant. High bandwidth and low latency combined with global coverage would indeed be a good customer.

The major competitor to this concept in that regard is an even older technology though, mainly the 19th Century concept (updated to using 21st Century materials) of the cable laying ship. An awful lot of fiber cable has been laid down across all of the oceans of the world between major cities. It is only when you can't access that fixed terrestrial network that something of this nature really becomes useful (as you've mentioned).

As a means to deliver that last mile architecture, it really opens up possibilities.

Comment Re:To all you Obama supporters (Score 2) 165 165

The net result of appealing to the FISA Court in this situation more or less means that the issue will be forced into the U.S. Supreme Court. That is one place where even the FISA Court must follow precedent, or else be taken for what it has become as an extra branch of the government answerable to nobody.

To me, that even risks the potential of having the FISA Court itself ruled unconstitutional and a whole can of worms that the Obama administration really doesn't want opened. While I think it is unlikely that SCOTUS will go that far (no matter how I would love to see that happen) it could very well be that some strong oversight by SCOTUS might happen, which has the ability to run the judiciary.

It also opens civil litigation opportunities if somebody wants to be a real jerk about this, again depending on whatever the nine justices want to see done. While perhaps the weakest of the three branches of government, they do have some bite and can demonstrate to Obama and in particular set a precedent for future presidents that he shouldn't dismiss judicial actions so casually.

Comment Re:Surprised? (Score 1) 98 98

80-bit floats are not available on any platform other than x86

The 80-bit long double is also available on the 68881, 68882 coprocessors and later 68K family members that incorporate the FPU. The Itanium also supports the 80-bit format.

But yeah... those aren't particularly common these days.

My mother is a fish. - William Faulkner

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