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Comment Re:Stop stealing money from Planetary missions! (Score 0) 262

Houston was pretty well screwed over by the Obama administration. The orbiters went everywhere BUT Houston, and almost all SLS money is going to Michoud, KSC, and MSFC. Houston will still be Mission Control, but the first manned SLS mission is currently planned for 2021. JSC has been managing the Orion project, but that's small potatoes compared to everything else.

"Houston pork payouts" is BS, because as things stand now, there aren't any.

P.S. Congress allocates money to the various NASA divisions, generally following Presidential Budget Requests. The "flyboys" have no possible way to steal money from planetary missions. If you want to point fingers at a poorly managed program, look at JWST, not SLS.

Comment Re:Sidebar the differentiator - really? (Score 4, Insightful) 238

"No one, absolutely no one, is complaining about you using [AOO source]."

And yet here you are, trolling on Slashdot, badmouthing LO and its supporters at every turn.

LO gives credit where credit is due, on their site and in their documentation, and I have yet to see any LO contributor or TDF member badmouth AOO in any public forum.

And AOO is not "upstream" of LO. LO is an independent project and makes its own decisions regarding the incorporation of contributions from other projects. It is a true fork of the original source code, and does not simply repackage whatever AOO ships.

You did good work with the OOXML standardization coverage a few years ago, but these LO/AOO diatribes are doing a disservice to your reputation.

Comment Re:"worked out" (Score 5, Insightful) 332

WRONG on many levels. Yes, we had to get past the 4GB memory limitation, but there had been, and still were at the time, several other true 64-bit microprocessors around when AMD introduced the Opteron: Alpha, UltraSPARC, MIPS, PowerPC, and yes even IA-64. (not to mention IBM POWER and zSeries.) But they all had the fatal flaw of NOT being compatible with the Intel 32-bit x86 processors and off-the-shelf Windows software. Only Opteron had that, and that compatibility was so critical that Intel was grudgingly forced to adopt the x86-64 instruction set.

So, you may say, why didn't AMD take the IT world by storm? Because of 1) AMD was not Intel, and never could/would be; 2) Intel was paying manufacturers NOT to offer ANY AMD based systems with marketing kickback agreements; 3) Intel would punish any manufacturer who did offer AMD systems with exorbitant price hikes on the Intel parts they did sell; 4) All this was taking place during the Bush years of federal laissez-faire non-enforcement policy, giving Intel free rein on those practices; 5) Prejudice against AMD in the IT industry was widespread, and still is; 6) few people saw or acknowledged the need for a flat 64-bit address space; 7) those that did have the need for 64-bit software were forced to spend exorbitant amounts of money for RISC workstations, which motivated them to look down their nose at commodity PCs, even if they were 64-bit; 7) Chicken-and-Egg syndrome (no volume 64-bit hardware, thus no volume 64-bit software, thus no need for volume 64-bit hardware).

So AMD did not "short themselves on implementation". Their architecture was state of the art, and kicked both 32-bit Pentium and non-compatible IA-64 in the nuts. They had all of today's advanced hardware features years before Intel: x86-64 architecture; Hyper-transport to replace the front-side bus bottleneck and enable point-to-point CPU links; and on-board memory controllers. AMD was not able to block Intel from poaching their features because of the pre-existing patent cross-licensing agreements. And anti-monopoly enforcement was practically non-existent at the time (and not much better today).

Of course, not of this is meant to imply that AMD was not partially or even mostly responsible for their troubles. They were (and still are) horrible at executing their own roadmaps. They were (and still are) horrible at marketing to consumers. They were (and still are) horrible at manufacturer relations. They were (and still are) unable to make a sane strategic decision if their life depended on it. They were (and still are) perceived as the el-cheapo Intel-knockoff copycat instead of pioneering leaders in their field.

So yeah, AMD is a hot mess, but there is plenty of blame to go around.

Comment Re:Maybe yes, maybe no, hard to say from here... (Score 1) 250

Oh come on sheeple! That is clearly a photo of the remains of an ancient Mayan gold quarry built on the site of a sinkhole that was caused by a giant meteor strike. Why else would the government be ordering all the geologists to cover this up? They want to take out all the Mayan space gold and replace it with rusty barrels of highly contaminated nuclear waste!

It's a conspiracy, man.

Comment Re:Don't Let Google Get ALL of the Sponsor Credit. (Score 1) 393

It doesn't matter. Once the vehicle (allegedly) achieves the same speed as the wind, there is no wind pushing on anything any more. And if the vehicle were to somehow exceed wind speed (in the same direction as the wind, of course), then the wind will exert opposite force on the propeller, causing the whole contraption to slow down, not speed up.

The blades of a wind turbine can certainly move faster than wind speed, just as a sailboat tacking into the wind can. But that is completely different than what is claimed. What is claimed is that the device will continuously exceed wind speed while traveling down wind on a level surface with no other energy input other than the wind that it is outrunning. BUT, if you are moving at the exact same speed as the wind, exactly downwind, then by definition the wind does not exist for you, you are surrounded by still air. Somebody please explain how to extract energy from still air with a sail, propeller, turbine, kite, balloon, or any other wind-driven device.

The other poster above who tried to use the hypothetical example of a balloon with a mono filament line attached also fails, because the line would exert force on the balloon, thus causing it to move slower than the surrounding air. The balloon would no longer be traveling at the same speed as the surrounding air, and certainly not moving faster than the surrounding air.

How anyone at Google got hornswoggled into sponsoring this is beyond me.

Comment Re:Energy Conservation and Perpetual Motion (Score 1) 393

Don't be so gullible, people.

For any device to extract energy from the wind, the wind must be passing over or through the device. In other words, the air must be moving relative to the device, otherwise there is NO wind. As the wind-powered device comes closer and closer to approaching wind speed, the relative wind speed decreases. At exactly wind speed, there is no wind, thus there can be no energy extraction. And for a device that travels faster than the wind, the air in fact becomes a headwind, working against the device, adding air resistance to rolling resistance.

And to say that the wheels are turning the propeller, instead of vice versa, is ridiculous. The device shown is very streamlined, I didn't see any kind of sail or other mechanism to capture wind energy other than the propeller. What mechanism is used to propel the vehicle forward against rolling resistance AND turn the propeller? Nothing that I can see.

These guys are pulling a fast one.

Comment Re:Interesting split... (Score 1) 283

Actually that was the old paradigm. Since the Space Shuttle Challenger's last ill-fated flight, all government payloads, except manned missions, are required by law to procure launch services from commercial providers.

This new approach proposed by President Obama would remove NASA even from the manned launch business, and outsource all vehicle design, development, and operations to the private sector.

I'm a child of the sixties and grew up with Apollo, and have followed the Space Shuttle program avidly since 4/12/1981. I don't know how all of this is going to turn out, right now I feel like I've been sucker-punched by my best friend.

One thing's for sure, it's the end of an era. After the last Space Shuttle is launched, we will never see another American space launch. We might see a Boeing space launch, or a Lockheed-Martin space launch, or even a SpaceX launch. But those will be for the enrichment of the their stockholders, not the advancement of American technology and interests.

Say goodbye to American advancement in space, say Hello to our new space-faring corporate overlords.

Mark S.


Submission + - NASA Prepping Plans for Flexible Path to Mars (nasaspaceflight.com) 1

FleaPlus writes: A group at NASA has been formulating a "Flexible Path" to Mars architecture which many expect will be part of the soon-to-be-announced reboot of NASA's future plans. NASA's prior architecture spends much of its budget on creating two in-house rockets (the Ares I and V) and would yield no beyond-LEO human activity until a lunar landing sometime in the 2030s. In contrast, the Flexible Path would produce results sooner, using NASA's limited budget to develop and gain experience with the technologies (human and robotic) needed to progressively explore and establish waypoints at Lagrange points, near-Earth asteroids, the Martian moon Phobos, Mars, and other possible locations (e.g. the Moon, Venus flyby). Suggested interim goals include constructing giant telescopes in deep space, learning how to protect Earth from asteroids, establishing in-space propellant depots, and harvesting resources/fuel from asteroids and Phobos to supply Moon/Mars-bound vehicles.

Comment NASA Budget (Score 1) 357

Out of every $10 that the federal government spends, they spend a nickel on NASA. You heard me right, NASA gets barely 0.5% of the federal budget. Stick that in your pie chart and see what a ginormous expense NASA is.

Whereas we are spending over $400 billion per year on interest on the debt. Like that's productive.

President Obama should commit to funding the Space Shuttle to 2015, and the ISS until 2020, under a separate budget line from the NASA R&D budget. Then peg the NASA R&D budget at 1% of the federal budget for the foreseeable future. At least, until such time as NASA needs to be massively expanded to deflect an asteroid or something.

Comment Dept of Windows Insecurity (Score 0, Flamebait) 94

This whole exercise, and an entire swath of the federal Ministry of Freedom, could be eliminated if 95% of the computer-using population wasn't indoctrinated to use a shoddy, unsafe, and feeble operating system, Windows, which is insecure by design.

Cyber-security my ass. It's just another gear in the machinery of government control now.

Comment Re:Alternatives : DIRECT / JUPITER (Score 3, Interesting) 288

Well, since you asked...

The Jupiter is a straightforward evolution of the Shuttle system into a traditional rocket. 1) The Shuttle itself is removed from the stack. 2) The external tank is modified and strengthened to carry a payload on top and engines on the bottom. 3) The three expensive shuttle main engines are replaced by two expendable engines and moved to the bottom of the external tank. 4) A 10 meter payload fairing is mounted on top of the fuel tank, with a capacity of up to 20 tons of hardware. 5) The Orion spacecraft is placed on top of the payload fairing. 6) A crew escape system is placed on top of the Orion.

Now, that sounds complicated, but it is much simpler once you see the results: DIRECT Launcher.

What that gives you is a versatile rocket for placing a six man crew PLUS 20 tons of cargo at the space station in a single launch. This configuration by itself is almost a complete replacement for the Shuttle, except for the Shuttle's ability to return payloads to Earth. Or, the Jupiter could lift 50 tons of payload to LEO in an unmanned configuration. Ares-I can't do either of those jobs, now or ever. No existing or planned EELV can do that. Ares-V would be such a behemoth (if it ever flies) that it would be much too expensive to fly on a regular basis. That is why Jupiter-120 is more versatile than Ares-I.

The second phase of the Jupiter proposal is to add a second liquid rocket stage on top of the core stage, while at the same time adding a third engine at the bottom. That will enable the Jupiter to place up to 110 tons of payload in LEO in a single launch. For the lunar mission there would be two launches, just as for Ares. One launch would carry the Orion CEV and the Altair lunar lander. The second launch would just lift extra fuel and the upper stage. The Orion and Altair would dock with the upper stage, then use the upper stage to send them to lunar orbit.

Jupiter can also be used to launch exploration missions to Near Earth Orbit (NEO) objects, launch large scientific payloads such as really big telescopes, Earth recon sats, etc. Jupiter is small enough and affordable enough to be used on a regular basis, but still twice as powerful as any existing or planned commercial launcher (including SpaceX).

Because Jupiter is so cleanly derived from the Space Shuttle, it needs much less development money than Ares. In fact, the entire Jupiter project, including lunar capability, would cost less than half of what is planned for Ares. The Ares-I project is going to cost around $15 billion by itself, with another $16-17 billion for Ares-V. Jupiter is projected to cost less than $12 billion for both the initial LEO version and upper stage. This economy is possible because both versions use the exact same "common core", with only the addition of the third main engine and the upper stage to allow lunar missions.

So the whole DIRECT premise is to build a single new "medium" sized rocket from the Shuttle heritage, which can be used for Earth orbit and lunar exploration. Ares requires the development of two entirely new rockets, neither of which have much at all in common with Shuttle or each other. Jupiter can use most of the existing launch infrastructure, including crawlers, crawlerways, and the fixed portion of the existing launch towers. Ares-I and -V both require extensive modifications of the launch pads, and both launch pads will be dedicated to one or the other vehicle, since they are so different. And at this point, the Ares-V is getting so large that it may require completely new pads and crawlerways to be built.

Jupiter can be used with or without an upper stage. It can launch manned missions with or without payloads. It can launch payloads with or without crew. It can be ready up to three years sooner than Ares-I, which is actually planning their first manned flight for 2016. 2016! Jupiter will still take until late 2013, but that is because it has to wait for the Orion CEV to be finished.

And that's why Jupiter is more versatile, affordable, and sensible than Ares.

Top Ten Things Overheard At The ANSI C Draft Committee Meetings: (7) Well, it's an excellent idea, but it would make the compilers too hard to write.