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Comment: Re:It's not about telescopes. (Score 1) 300 300

"They could not build the telescope there."

Why? Because a small subset of religious/environmental/cultural zealots don't like it? I suppose all of the world should have just gave up on the heliocentric model when Galileo was convicted of heresy for postulating findings based on observation instead of reading religious texts? I suppose we should give up on teaching evolution in public schools because it offends the sensibilities of a small percentage of parents religious beliefs. I'm not saying that significant efforts shouldn't be made to avoid offending as many people as possible, but there are very few places on this planet where these kinds of things can be built and a very small part of one of many historical/cultural sites isn't an unreasonable thing to ask. "Just don't build it" is about as unacceptable as saying "don't challenge doctrine".

Comment: Re:plastic is for junk (Score 1) 262 262

"don't get 105 degrees C"

Yes, but unfortunately most materials don't go straight from solid to liquid. Think chocolate, at 75F it usually is perfectly solid, at 85F you might get a little on your hand but not bad and at 95F it may hold its shape but will practically fall apart in your hand. ABS plastic is probably similar. Sure it may turn to liquid a 220F and be pretty solid at 90F, it may be seem pretty decent at 110F-130F sitting on a shelf but it could be wearing pretty quickly if being stressed because it is semi malleable.

Comment: Re:It's not about telescopes. (Score 1) 300 300

"The position that nobody's religious views should ever matter"

You don't know much about this case do you? Each site apparently has to be blessed, there are reams of paper work for cultural and "environmental" considerations that in TMT's case took over 7 years to complete. The proposal has cleared several court challenges. As I mentioned there has been a agreement to remove several telescopes and it has been mentioned by others that there are some rather crazy requirements (plastic sheets below parked trucks) to try to appease these people and its apparently still not enough. I don't know what more could be done.

Comment: A little late to complain (Score 5, Insightful) 300 300

There are over a dozen telescopes at the same site where they intend to build the TMT, some of which have been there since the late 60s. Their complaints that their "most sacred site will be desecrated" seem to be a bit late. I think there has already been an agreement to remove quite a few of the current telescopes to revert a significant portion of the site to a more natural state. There is another larger mountain on the same island, something tells me if they began building telescopes on that mountain it would suddenly become a "most sacred site". This to me smells much more like a NIMBY group using vague religious/cultural references to try to get there way.

Comment: A dark day (Score 1) 591 591

The day that the courts, or any part of the government for that matter, can openly "reinterpret" a basic word to mean something completely different is a dark day indeed. Love or hate the ACA, you can't argue with a straight face that the provision in question, "enrolled in through an exchange established by the state" means anything but what it says. An exchange established by any one of the 50 states. Either congress/president should have to correct the wording through a legislative process or simply accept that states that didn't establish exchanges would not receive subsidies. Arguing "intent" that goes directly against the wording of the passed law itself sets a dangerous precedent.

Comment: Part of the problem (Score 1) 937 937

It definitely isn't the entire problem and it probably varies by state but at least in some cases the government is at least part of the problem, treating rental properties like commercial properties is no doubt going to increase the costs for the owner who in all fairness is going to pass those costs right on to the tenant. An example would be a not all that special home in my area costs around $250 a month if your a homeowner but for a rental that same home costs $400 in property taxes alone. Throw in maintenance, water, sewer, etc and you're probably looking at $700 at least a month in costs to the owner and that assumes they have the place occupied 365 with good tenants who pay on time and no significant maintenance issues come up (furnace, AC, etc). And I live in a fairly reasonably priced area, I don't want to even conceive of the numbers for some areas where a unimpressive 4 bedroom house will go for $500 - $750k.

Comment: What issue? (Score 3, Informative) 62 62

I thought this was no longer an issue? I think continuous communication had been in use for over a decade with the space shuttle before the end of the program. The solution was to use satellites, being on the other side of the plasma sheath, as relays to communicate between a reentering craft and the ground..

Comment: Re:Terrible example of the use of 3D printing (Score 2) 107 107

"I'm pretty sure the resulting metal is seriously inferior to standard steel..."

I don't know if it applies to this specific technique or perhaps even to the materials they are using but I've heard it said that at least in standard welding that the weld is actually stronger than the surrounding metal.

Comment: Re:flying high only needs a single satelite (Score 1) 33 33

Geostationary satellites have their advantages, but when you're dealing with internet communications they also have some pretty significant disadvantages. First off is latency, the proposed LEO satellites would only have to bounce the signal about 1,500 miles as compared to 52,400 miles for GEO satellites. While the speed of light is pretty fast that distance along with the hardware required usually introduce 500-700 MS of latency in GEO systems. Secondly I think there are some significant bandwidth issues with having tens of thousands or even millions of users trying to transmit signals to a few dozen GEO satellites instead of using multiple lower orbits, dish positioning and far more satellites to distribute the load along with some possibly near term communications technologies that may allow this kind of system to use the spectrum far more efficiently.

Comment: Very expensive lack of interest (Score 2) 33 33

Earlier this year Google and Fidelity national invested $1 Billion in SpaceX, presumably to help support their efforts to bring a satellite based ISP to fruition. Sounds like a rather odd way to express a lack of interest in a business venture. OneWeb seems to be the focus of the article, and that is only one of two major efforts. I wonder if Google is choosing sides? OneWeb I believe is a Qualcomm/Virgin effort whereas SpaceX is the other.

Comment: Feature (Score 1) 193 193

"Its not a bug...... Its a feature!"

This is like a car manufacturer claiming that their car will have 1,000 horsepower, and after several months/years the people who have preordered it finally get theirs and find out it has 20 horsepower and the manufacturer says its a good thing because it makes the car safer.

Comment: Re:This should be a major embarrassment (Score 4, Informative) 72 72

"4. Not placing the satellite high enough"

While I agree with your other points this one is likely out of their control. Cubesats due to their lack of backups, limited quality control and no attitude/orbit control systems are almost always put into low orbits that will degrade on their own within a year or so. And given this satellites obvious faults its probably not such a bad policy. There is enough junk in orbit as is without us throwing droves of dead cubesats into the mix.

Comment: Re:Very "original" (Score 1) 100 100

"you could fly at least 2 or 3 Falcon Heavies"

And that assumes you believe NASAs "$500 Million per launch" statement (Buwahahahahhhahhhahaaa). SLS has more than earned its "Senate Launch System" title, with billions already spent and at least $22 Billion required just to get the first two of them off the ground with no real indications on how much it will cost to develop any actual mission hardware or finish the heavier versions of it.

Comment: Very "original" (Score 3, Insightful) 100 100

So its basically the Vulcan concept, a detachable avionics/engine package at the back and an expendable everything else. I suppose its an improvement from what we currently have but not by much. The only real difference from Vulcan is that instead of being snagged out of the air by a helicopter it glides back to some location under some power. I suppose I can see why Airbus and ULA are going for such concepts, they should be pretty cheap to develop (though I am sure they'll try to squeeze every dollar they can out of their respective benefactors), are relatively low risk and will still let them justify big launch bills with tank/upper stage replacement. But if SpaceX can pull off a Falcon first stage recovery even a majority of the time they'll blow this and Vulcan out of the water. Fuel is cheap, replacing tanks and stages is expensive.

God helps them that themselves. -- Benjamin Franklin, "Poor Richard's Almanac"