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Comment: Re:cardboard (Score 2) 63

by ColaMan (#47956457) Attached to: New "Crescent Bay" VR Headset Revealed and Demo'd At Oculus Connect

And there are certainly a lot of gushing reviews and no shortage of hype.

The crotchety old man in me wonders precisely what we're going to use it for again? Apart from teh awesome!1! games.......

And with regards to old-school slashdot, need we bring up CmdrTaco's review of the iPod? There's been plenty of hatin' round these parts going on for decades now.

Comment: Re:Someone with no brain is running NASA (Score 4, Interesting) 162

by ColaMan (#47710695) Attached to: Wheel Damage Adding Up Quickly For Mars Rover Curiosity

Ultra low temperature silicon rubber springs to mind.

Could have bonded a couple of millimetres thickness onto each alloy wheel. It seems the wheels only break when they have no cushioning underneath them, then the point loads on the tread are too high.

Oh well, I guess they'll know for next time :-)

Comment: Odd material selection (Score 0) 162

by ColaMan (#47710331) Attached to: Wheel Damage Adding Up Quickly For Mars Rover Curiosity

Still unsure as to why they didn't go with polyurethane or hard plastic wheels or similar. Probably about the same weight as the alloy ones, much less susceptible to fatigue.

Might be hard to find something that's good for those temperatures, but surely not that hard. Or were they expecting more sandy areas?

Comment: Bitscope Micro (Score 1) 172

by ColaMan (#47226449) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: PC-Based Oscilloscopes On a Microbudget?

Bitscope Micro - USB , 40MS/s, USD95 in quantities of 10 or more.

Fairly decent set of software tools for it (including a basic FFT spectrum analyser and a protocol decoder that can do UART / SPI / Canbus.) Software runs on windows/linux and Raspberry Pi - You can download the software and tinker with a few bitscopes that are online to get a feel for it.

Specs here

Comment: Re:Environmentalists eat your heart out. (Score 1) 211

by Scrameustache (#46954963) Attached to: Feds Issue Emergency Order On Crude Oil Trains

You know, a PIPELINE would be a lot safer way of transporting crude oil around the country... Stopping the construction of pipelines results in more of these rail car accidents you know.

The LaSalle Heights Disaster occurred in the early morning of March 1, 1965 in the city of LaSalle, Quebec when a gas line explosion destroyed a number of low-cost housing units. In all, 28 people lost their lives, 39 were injured and 200 left homeless. Most of the casualties were women and children because many men had left for work. The casualties might have been higher had it not been the first of the month when many men left earlier than usual to pay their monthly rent at the rental office.

Comment: Re: SpaceX always have an excuse for failure (Score 4, Informative) 110

by ColaMan (#46886821) Attached to: SpaceX Looking For Help With "Landing" Video

You seem a little harsh on them.

Recovery of the booster would have been nice for investigation, but it was never intended to be flown again and was never the stated goal. The goal for that mission was a controlled descent and touch down on the ocean, which they accomplished. A 'soft-recover' wasn't the term that they were using.

This goal needed to be reached so that Range Safety at the launch pad can determine that SpaceX can reliably put a rocket down within a mile or so of a target. The next launch - in the next week or so - will attempt to land in the ocean much closer to the launch facility.

The technical difficulties of a soft landing are considerable given the hardware that they've got. With the weight of the empty booster, they can't throttle the engines back far enough to hover. So they fall towards the surface and at the right moment fire the engines to reach a computed zero velocity at touchdown. Doing this with gusty 30-40 knot winds on the surface is tough. 'Landing' on a continuously-undulating surface where there is no consistent level is tougher.

And yes, parts of this have been done before. Sure, there's open-source avionics stacks that can do this thing no problemo. But a controlled return of the first stage of a liquid fuel rocket has never been done before, and this kind of work has most certainly never been done for the relatively tiny amount of money that SpaceX has been spending. *That* is the thing that's getting tongues wagging.

Comment: Re:TSA-like Money for Fear (Score 1) 271

- Cars don't have the long wiring needed to effectively 'pick up' EMP.
- Cars have a lot of 'passive' components that can help clamp EMP to a survivable level, most notably the battery which can deal with all sorts of spikes and has fairly heavy gauge wiring to the engine computer (for fuel injection)
- Cars are also quite well shielded (they're mostly a metallic faraday cage)
- Cars deal with lots of EMP as an everyday occurrence (10,000 ignition pulses at 80+kV in the engine bay every minute)

I won't say it's not an issue, but it's not a big an issue as you believe.

"In matrimony, to hesitate is sometimes to be saved." -- Butler