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Comment Re:Looking forwards (Score 1) 179

I hope you're aware we're discussing a sport where a bunch of people take turns sliding a piece of polished granite with a handle towards a circle on an ice-covered floor and some of the people are allowed to sweep the path in front of the stone with a mop to alter its path.
Aren't sports by definition a bunch of silly arbitrary rules that some guys back in the annals of history thought would make for a fun way to spend an afternoon and have evolved to huge lucrative opportunities to find people who happen to be predisposed to this particular combination of rules and use them to sell advertising spots on TV?

Comment Mission Creep (Score 4, Interesting) 36

I like the idea of a space tug that can refuel and move satellites in orbit, but this role seems to be at odds with bringing cargo to the ISS which is the goal of the CRS(2) contracts.

From what I understand the plan goes like this: On the first flight Jupiter (the tug) and Exoliner (the cargo vessel) go up together, once they are in orbit Jupiter adjusts the orbit to reach the ISS, after the cargo is offloaded and garbage is loaded Jupiter puts Exoliner on a path to burn up in the atmosphere while it itself stays in orbit to pick up the next Exoliner that's launched alone, as well as other tug duties.

So the problem as I see it is this:
For a tug you'd probably want a much more efficient ion drive to avoid refueling often, fuel boiling off and the like, you probably want the robotic arm that grabs on to wayward satellites.

For supply deliveries you probably want liquid engines because some of the supplies and experiments are perishable and can't afford to wait the weeks or months it would take an ion engine to boost them to ISS orbit.
And the grabby arm is redundant mass because the ISS has its own arm that's quite proficient at berthing other vehicles like the Dragon or Cygnus.

So it looks like a compromise of design that's intended to get NASA to pay with the cargo delivery contract for unrelated functionality.

Comment Re:Gun-free zone? (Score 1) 1165

Israel has very low rates of gun violence too, but many people are packing.

As an Israeli I can tell you that no, not many people are 'packing'.
Soldiers, police and security guards carry firearms but the civilian population generally doesn't (and the security guards don't carry their weapons when off duty), and from what I hear it's quite difficult to acquire a license.

From The Washington Post:

Israel limits gun ownership to security workers, people who transport valuables or explosives, residents of the West Bank, and hunters. People who don't fall into one of those categories cannot obtain a firearm permit. Moreover, Israel rejects 40 percent of firearm permit applicants, the highest rejection rate in the Western world. Both Switzerland and Israel require yearly (or more frequent) permit renewals to insure that the reasons are still applicable.

Also, while doing mandatory military service weapons training and safety is drilled into you, which I assume doesn't hurt compared to some 16 year old who borrows his dad's shotgun to shoot some womprats.

Comment Real reason? (Score 1) 116

So what's the real reason then, I assume just general unease with the concept? Some sort of slippery slope argument?

Because "claiming that only a small percentage of cloned offspring survive to term, and many die shortly after birth." sounds like exactly the sort of thing that would make the whole thing impractical in the first place, making the ban redundant.
And I don't suppose they will just lift the ban once research has solved these problems.

Comment Too much crap (Score 1) 307

I'm hoping that in this ocean of excrement a few decent shows might sneak by and float to the top, and some do, but not enough for me to have one to watch every day of the week.
Netflix and HBO certainly manage to do it consistently.

Maybe the execs should stop greenlighting the same trope-ridden bullshit stuck together with minimal effort writing they think is sufficient to hold a semi-coherent narrative.

If all you're producing is the entertainment equivalent of white noise, even the lowest common denominator you're targeting is not going to stick with it because it's interchangeable with the white noise everyone else is producing.

Comment Re:great timing (Score 2) 38

This is a program that has been in development for several years, and people won't be flying in it any earlier than 2017.
There will be several unmanned missions before there are people on them.
And Boeing also has a capsule and they hadn't had any rockets exploding recently.

SpaceX is running their investigation, NASA is making an announcement about astronauts being selected for training for future flight.
So what's your point exactly?

Comment Re:Yeah (Score 1) 100

I'm not raging against anything.
I don't see why I should care if it was an 'American idea' even if I thought that was a meaningful distinction.
I do like most of Elon's projects and I don't think he would have used a system like this because he's looking to build a rocket that could potentially land on Mars, but that's irrelevant.

I merely object to this design being presented as 'simplified' and having 'no need for extra rocket fuel'.

I personally find the SpaceX approach more elegant and I don't think that because we've had a hundred years of air flight experience that makes it any simpler or better of a solution.

Comment Yeah (Score 2) 100

So they bolt on a pair of wings, add some propellers that have to be deployed from a casing that protects them during launch, oh and another stage separation event, a mechanism for separating the fuel tank from the engine.
And that's supposed to be simpler than some hydraulic landing legs and grid fins?
And carrying all those additions to space doesn't cost them any extra fuel?

Comment Bamba (Score 4, Interesting) 243

There's a popular snack in Israel called Bamba, which consists of puffed corn coated with peanut butter.
Pretty much everyone eats it, and it's pretty common for parents to feed it to children as soon as they can handle solid food.

So I was wondering how that affects the allergy rate for Israelis.
And apparently a study shows that when comparing Israelis to UK Jews of a similar background, the Israelis had a tenth of the peanut allergy rate compared to the UK group.

Use the Force, Luke.