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NASA Contracting Development of New Ion/Nuclear Engines ( 70

schwit1 writes: NASA has awarded three different companies contracts to develop advanced ion and nuclear propulsion systems for future interplanetary missions, both manned and unmanned. These are development contacts, all below $10 million. However, they all appeared structured like NASA's cargo and crew contracts for ISS, where the contractor does all of the development and design, with NASA only supplying some support and periodic payments when the contractor achieves agreed-upon milestones. Because of this, the contractors will own the engines they develop, and will be able to sell them to other customers after development, thereby increasing the competition and innovation in the field.

Comment Re:Piling on? (Score 1) 184

So you are alleging a conspiracy by every producer of dedicated ereaders with eink displays (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Cybook, and a hojillion others) to keep expensive new screens produced by the same company that makes the screens they currently are using out of their product lines?

Comment Re:hmm (Score 1) 280

That's wonderful as long as Amazon is still in business. Yeah, you can say that Amazon staying in business is probably a safe bet, but shit happens. For the average user unDRMing their already DRMed books isn't much of an option, and if Amazon goes tits up for some reason or decides to shut down their Kindle service then they can say byebye to all their stuff the second something happens to w/e devices they have their books on. DRM free content doesn't just let you access stuff across a number of devices now, it lets you actually hang onto your digital content past the life of w/e service and the life of whatever format it was in originally.

Comment Re:The other side of the coin (Score 3, Insightful) 378

No, you can avoid a monopoly by going without it's services or products. You might end up either slightly inconvenienced, or living like a cave man, or dieing from some horrible disease because said monopoly makes some drug that you need to not die slowly and painfully, but you can avoid it. Think "Matrix" with this. As long as you technically have a choice, it is all good and wholly acceptable. The second you don't, there are issues. Of course, some of us live in the real world. Where "I can technically disassociate myself from these bastards" doesn't really work out to much of a choice.
Role Playing (Games)

Why BioWare's Star Wars MMO May Already Be Too Late 328

Since the announcement of Star Wars: The Old Republic, many gamers have been hopeful that its high budget, respected development team and rich universe will be enough to provide a real challenge to the WoW juggernaut. An opinion piece at 1Up makes the case that BioWare's opportunity to do so may have already passed. Quoting: "While EA and BioWare Austin have the horsepower needed to at least draw even with World of Warcraft though, what we've seen so far has been worryingly conventional — even generic — given the millions being poured into development. Take the opening areas around Tython, which Mike Nelson describes in his most recent preview as being 'rudimentary,' owing to their somewhat generic, grind-driven quest design. Running around killing a set number of 'Flesh Raiders' in a relatively quiet village doesn't seem particularly epic, but that's the route BioWare Austin seems to be taking with the opening areas for the Jedi — what will surely be the most popular classes when The Old Republic is released. ... the real concern, though, is not so much in the quest design as in BioWare Austin's apparent willingness to play follow the leader. Whenever something becomes a big hit — be it a movie, game or book — there's always a mad scramble to replicate the formula; in World of Warcraft's case, that mad scramble has been going for six years now. "

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