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Comment: Re:What you're religion does (Score 1) 357

by FatLittleMonkey (#47734339) Attached to: Cause of Global Warming 'Hiatus' Found Deep In the Atlantic

How does Bruno's crime change my point? I don't care if his crime was calling the Pope a paedophile, they burned him alive. You, OTOH, can call climate science a giant hoax (and many deniers do), you can liken individual climate scientists to mass murderers or terrorists (and some deniers have), you can even liken it to religion... and... we still won't burn you alive.

The most and worst thing scientists can do to you is deny you publicity in the journals which they control, and reject your application for grant money from funds they control.

Science can't prevent you from publishing your work online. Or creating your own journals (with blackjack and hookers). Science can't prevent corporations and wealthy opponents of a specific science (climate change, evolution, tobacco-cancer, etc) from offering you money to make up faux science to support their industry. Science can't stop those industries and individuals from throwing money at politicians to change laws in their favour, against the recommendations of scientists. Science can't even stop those bought-politicians from fucking around with science funding and government reports to harm science their masters don't like.

But OMG science is totally like the Inquisition!

Comment: Re:Wait (Score 4, Interesting) 357

by FatLittleMonkey (#47726503) Attached to: Cause of Global Warming 'Hiatus' Found Deep In the Atlantic

Deep ocean water is cold.

Because the Pacific ocean is thousands of kilometres wide, but only a couple of kilometres deep, changes in wind patterns can cover or uncover different layers of ocean waters.

If the pattern uncovers a deep layer (as happens during La Nina), then the atmosphere cools.

If the pattern covers the deep layers (as happens during El Nino), then the atmosphere warms.

This is above and in addition to any underlying warming from rising CO2 levels.

Since 2000 there's been an unusual number of La Nina years. Under normal circumstances, this should have produced a noticeably cool period, similar to the 1940s and 1890s. Instead the decade was still the warmest on record. Weird huh.

Comment: Re:And there you are (Score 1, Troll) 357

by FatLittleMonkey (#47726435) Attached to: Cause of Global Warming 'Hiatus' Found Deep In the Atlantic

Yes, religions have been using that trick for hundreds of years to escape questions.

No, what religions do is torture and murder heretics. Science just doesn't pay attention to them until they meet higher standards of evidence, proportionate to the level of heresy. Tiny bit different.

+ - The first particle physics evidence of physics beyond the Standard Model?

Submitted by StartsWithABang
StartsWithABang (3485481) writes "It’s the holy grail of modern particle physics: discovering the first smoking-gun, direct evidence for physics beyond the Standard Model. Sure, there are unanswered questions and unsolved puzzles, ranging from dark matter to the hierarchy problem to the strong-CP problem, but there’s no experimental result clubbing us over the head that can’t be explained with standard particle physics. That is, the physics of the Standard Model in the framework of quantum field theory. Or is there? Take a look at the evidence from the muon’s magnetic moment, and see what might be the future of physics!"

+ - New dates rewrite Neanderthal story->

Submitted by NotSanguine
NotSanguine (1917456) writes "The BBC reports on research detailing the decline of Neanderthals in Europe. The international research team tested samples from over 400 Neanderthal sites, resulting in a new timeline for the decline and extinction of Homo Neanderthalensis, hinting at a much longer period of coexistence with modern humans. A summary of the research is available on the Nature web site.

From the BBC article:

The results provide the clearest insight yet into the interaction between our ancestors and Neanderthals, when they first encountered each other and why the Neanderthals went extinct, according to the lead researcher, Prof Thomas Higham of the University of Oxford. "I think we can set aside the idea of a rapid extinction of Neanderthals caused solely by the arrival of modern humans. Instead we can see a more complex process in which there is a much longer overlap between the two populations where there could have been exchanges of ideas and culture."


Link to Original Source

+ - LiMux user says criticisms of Munich's Linux OS 'simply irrelevant'->

Submitted by Qedward
Qedward (2499046) writes "The new mayor and deputy mayor of Munich don't like its custom-built Linux distribution, citing user complaints. However, the old mayor reported in 2012 monthly complaints dropped from 70 to a maximum of 46 as the LiMux OS was rolled out from 1,500 to 10,000 people — so should we believe the new officials (who may or may not be card-carrying Microsoft supporters)?

One LiMux user posted their views on the Suddeutsche Zeituing, saying the "much of the criticism of the system is simply irrelevant".

They said: "System faults under Windows were quite common before 2004. From my perspective, you have achieved success here — why chuck that in the bin?""

Link to Original Source

Comment: Instead of labelling content (Score 2) 131

by FatLittleMonkey (#47691563) Attached to: Facebook Tests "Satire" Tag To Avoid Confusion On News Feed

Couldn't they just put a label on the sort of people who not only believe satirical news, but, outraged, spread that "news" to everyone they know.

[Idiot] MagicBob97 shared [link].
[Idiot] catpiss wrote "typical fukink obamu!!!!!! [link]".
[non-idiot] sumdude wrote "uh, guys, teh onion is a satire site".
[Idiot] imtoorealforu shared [link].

Comment: Re:NASA work == public domain, contractor not (Score 1) 160

by FatLittleMonkey (#47691451) Attached to: The Flight of Gifted Engineers From NASA

And further, work done by NASA is public domain, but work done by hired contractors is generally proprietary

Although an outsider, I definitely support your "if the government funds it, the public owns it" open-source efforts.

Re: Games.

Here it's not just proprietary vs open source. Compare KSP and Moonbase Alpha. KSP is an amazingly rich open world simulator that inspires actual "play" and exploration and trial and error. And as you master it, you accidentally learn more about orbital mechanics than by actually studying orbital mechanics. (As former NASA engineer, XKCD cartoonist noted.)

OTOH, Moonbase Alpha is the worst aspects of "grinding" type games, but with no reward. About the most uninspiring game you could possibly create. "Astronaut/Starlite" looks to be cut from the same cloth.

KSP: I built my own rocket and blew it up! Woo! Then I built another one which got to orbit! Now I'm designing a ship for a deep space mission which I'll construct in orbit!
Alpha: I am "soldering" fixed points in someone else's "circuits" against an arbitrary clock. I will see how many circuits I can solder in an hour. And then see if I can beat it.

Moonbase Alpha is mindless drudgery (and I say that as a bookkeeper) that missed not only the entire concept of "a game", but also entirely missed what geeks (and geek kids) like about space.

Comment: Re:Follow the money (Score 1) 160

by FatLittleMonkey (#47685561) Attached to: The Flight of Gifted Engineers From NASA

Flying the same expensive equipment for 30 years and more is not unusual if it lasts that long.

I'm not saying it doesn't happen. B52s are still flying, for example. 60 years next year.

But if you were a mad-obsessed young aircraft engineer looking for a challenge, would you go work at an airline flying five old 707s and mostly doing paperwork for maintenance contractors, or for a manufacturer building brand new aircraft every day, rapidly upgraded model lines, and with a supersonic passenger plane on the books(*)?

(* Trying to think of an aircraft analogy for FalconXX-BFR/MCT.)

Comment: Re:Correction (Score 2) 160

by FatLittleMonkey (#47682815) Attached to: The Flight of Gifted Engineers From NASA

While your general theme is correct, you missed [...] Endeavour

I was going to add a comment about that, but it seemed unnecessarily pedantic. My point was there was no ongoing manufacturing capacity. The same is true of ISS modules, and nearly every other program. Build one unit, stop, disband the team, destroy the manufacturing base, operate the unit for five to ten years and then ask "What next?", start a new system entirely from scratch. Pretend all the while that doing it this way saves money.

For example:

In general, however, I believe we should have started the design and production of a second-generation shuttle during the Bush41 administration

Waiting a decade to begin developing Shuttle Mk II is exactly why NASA sucks so hard. For starters, the first version should have been severely reduced from the ambitions of the actual STS, minimising the number of new technologies for the first generation. Building a 100 tonne space-plane in a single generation was completely nuts. The aim would be whatever you can build in five years, not one day more. Each subsequent generation starts the moment the last first flies. (With early design work starting even sooner.) So the second generation would have started somewhere around 1975, flying by 1980. Third generation flying in '85, fourth generation around '90... But I'm proposing increments that are probably a fraction of the ones you were picturing.

And just to be pedantic, NASA did start work on successors to the Shuttle in that period. So did the USAF. Giant SSTO spaceplanes, like NASP then VentureStar, which repeated every mistake from the STS program. Pushing the state of the art beyond reasonable limits, while insisting that there are "no show stoppers", under-bidding and over-promising, then blowing budgets and under-delivering. Then when you get cancelled, scream for years about funding and a "lack of leadership".

From the other AC:

What about MSL?

MSL went significantly overbudget and overschedule. (Only the gob-smacking failures of JWST makes MSL's budget look reasonable.) But nonetheless, when it landed, people were excited... because NASA had "actually done something". Which suggests that not only are people excited about space, but they are starved for something to be excited about. It's worth noting that, unlike MER, Viking, etc, they built a single version of MSL with no possibility of a backup. Mars 2020 will be based on the same design, but again, will be a single unit. This is a trend at NASA. Like the 8 years between MSL and Mars 2020. Just long enough to lose most of the team, forget most of the lessons learned.

Similarly, not only did MER and MSL not carry any follow-ups to the Viking life experiments, neither will Mars 2020 even though "search for signs of (fossil) life on Mars!" is the centre of the NASA PR for Mars 2020.

Comment: Re:Not Surprising (Score 1) 160

by FatLittleMonkey (#47681431) Attached to: The Flight of Gifted Engineers From NASA

It's no longer "news" to find that a private sector company has a leaner, less bureaucratic environment and workflow than a Federal government agency.

Except almost all work at NASA is done by private contractors. Likewise the development of military technology. The cultural failure extends through the whole aerospace industry except for a few small innovators, of whom SpaceX is the largest.

This isn't just mindless "private sector good, government bad". Most of the harm done to NASA is due to that mindless, unquestioning political belief that the private sector is more efficient... even at government funded programs.

Comment: Re:Not Surprising (Score 2) 160

by FatLittleMonkey (#47681419) Attached to: The Flight of Gifted Engineers From NASA

The poster said "1961". There was a market for commercial satellite launches, there was clearly a value in weather satellites and Landsat type imaging. The military uses for space don't need explaining. So the NASA and Army development in the '50s and very early '60s did indeed create the technology that spawned a commercial space industry.

But during the '60s, the focus shifted from incremental, step-wise development of space technology to the all-in balls-to-the-wall development of Apollo. However, it's important to note that the purpose of Apollo was to develop a heavy lift launcher larger than the Soviets were capable of building and demonstrate it in a way the Soviets weren't capable of matching. It succeeded, and the Soviets pulled their heads in, and everyone signed the Outer Space Treaty. Job done. Last one to the bar buys the first round.

But Apollo wasn't about the myth of Apollo. "We chose to go to the moon in this decade..." blah blah. It was never an exploration program. (For example, only one astronaut amongst the dozen to walk on the moon, just one in the entire Apollo astronaut corps, was an actual geologist. And he only flew on the last ever mission.) Therefore Apollo can't be used to rebut Eepok's explore/commercialise/explore premise.

Comment: Re:Not Surprising (Score 1) 160

by FatLittleMonkey (#47681225) Attached to: The Flight of Gifted Engineers From NASA

Then the military with their 'we-want-it-don't-much-care-how' attitude that brought you the Shuttle Kludge pushed in and pretty much trashed the Shuttle

It's a standard part of the myth, but it's not true. The involvement of the USAF in the Shuttle design came at the request of (and lobbying by) NASA management in order to try to get defence funding for the Shuttle (and when that failed, to just make the Shuttle uncancellable. "National security!" It's part of the reason why the Shuttle (and now SLS) used SRBs, to keep ATK profitable, to preserve ICBM production knowledge.) The USAF initially bought into the bullshit being spread by NASA about the Shuttle's proposed capabilities ("launch once a week, cost under $100m per launch!"), but never enough to contribute funding. And then when the true limits and costs of the Shuttle became apparent, they pulled all involvement and funded the EELV upgrades.

The problems of the Shuttle were entirely of NASA's own making. Likewise "Freedom", now ISS. Likewise JWST. Likewise Constellation/SLS/Orion. Likewise their other failed programs. They, and their strongest supporters in Congress, keep repeating the same mistakes over and over and expecting a different result.

"I may be synthetic, but I'm not stupid" -- the artificial person, from _Aliens_