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Comment Boneheaded and with straightforward solutions (Score 1) 697

This is so boneheaded it beggars belief. The straightforward solution is to require the UEFI variable filesystem (or whatever it is called these days) to be mounted read-only, and require (UNIX anyway, but something analogous ought to work for Windows too) an application to do a "mount -o remount,rw" to do whatever it needs to do, then do a "mount -o remount,ro" when it's finished. Not as nice as having UEFI not be seriously broken, but workable, and there's not much of an excuse for things like systemd, openrc, etc. implementing this where appropriate (and for any UEFI crap that can brick a system, this is appropriate).

Applications don't like it? Tough, patch the damn things. Requireing firmware to be exposed to harm like this on any operating system is unacceptable.

Comment Re:Remember the NASA Wind Turbines? (Score 1) 178

Current blades are trucked in one piece (per blade) which is impressive to see. Three of them were parked on I-5 outside of Patterson, California a few months ago. There are a lot of net videos and photos which convey the scale.

Even at the current size they can't get through many highway interchanges and local intersections. The larger ones won't be able to ship in one piece at all.

Comment Remember the NASA Wind Turbines? (Score 4, Interesting) 178

NASA Wind Turbines approached this scale in the '80's. Unfortunately, this was a previously-unexplored area of aerodynamics for NASA, and they had mechanical stress and noise problems (including subsonics) and were all demolished. I think there was one near Vallejo, CA being taken down when I got to Pixar in '87, and one in Boone, NC, which famously rattled windows and doors.

The art has since improved. I took a ride to the top of the turbine at Grouse Mountain, that was fun! That's the only one I have heard of where you can actually get to see it from the top.

Comment Starting out with the wrong assumptions (Score 2) 165

This is starting out with the wrong assumptions.

Design a brick system that can be produced with 3-D printers, and will hold together when fabricated within the tolerances of an SLA printer. Forget FDM, it's too low precision and SLA is already achieving an equal or lower cost of manufacture compared with FDM.

LEGO is manufactured to astonishingly high precision, but I am not convinced that this is the only way to make a brick system.

Comment details, details (Score 5, Informative) 91

"SpaceX Falcon 9 exploded upon landing on a drone ship" is not quite accurate...

In December, SpaceX lanuched a Falcon9 rocket with a series of successes: successful launch of the whole rocket, successful landing (on land) of stage1, successfully reaching orbit on stage2, insertion of 11 satellites into sustainable orbits, etc etc. It was a good day for them.

A couple weeks ago, they launched another (slightly older design) Falcon9, *mostly* successfully: Launch was good, stage 1 separation and return to landing spot (this time on a modified barge) was successful, stage 2 was good, payload was good, etc etc. The failure was that immediately after landing on the barge, the stage 1 fell over because one of the landing legs failed to lock. So yeah, the stage 1 exploded... /after/ successfully landing on a tiny dot in the middle of the ocean. These guys are making huge strides forward in reusable spaceflight, so it's hardly fair to dismiss the whole thing as "exploded upon landing" because of a mechanical leg failure after the damn thing landed and powered off.

Comment Re:No comparison (Score 1) 132

Blue Origin will eventually have a two-stage rocket that can reach orbit (although they are planning on a much smaller payload than SpaceX for their first iteration). When the booster of that rocket lands without damage, they will duplicate what SpaceX has recently done, although in smaller scale.

Blue Origin to SpaceX at present is a sort of bicycle-to-automobile comparison if you account for the tremendous difference in energy and the application. So, I think there really is an intrinsic difference between the two of them.

If you want to say there's no intrinsic difference, then we need to look at Orbital's Stargazer and Pegasus, which have been carrying small payloads to orbit for years, and there's only been one Stargazer all of that time so there is no question that it's reusable. The only difference is that Stargazer lands horizontally.

We can then look at the B-52 and X-15 combination, in which both stages were reusable, a human was the payload, and we're going back to the late 1950's.

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