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Comment: Re: How did Rockefeller protect his pipe lines? (Score 1) 197 197

I never understood why the FCC didn't require cellular providers to provide the same level of backup power to cell sites as we had with the traditional POTS system. Even if you wanted to argue that it was originally a marginal value added service it became quite evident before we expanded beyond the A&B provider AMPS system that cellular was likely to displace wireline as the predominant terminal method in the future. I know there would have been some limitations to site placement in urban areas if they required a large battery room and a generator hookup but it would have provided us with a much more robust system. Perhaps they should require it for the fixed wireless installs that the telcos want to use to replace POTS.

Comment: Re:Drone It (Score 1) 819 819

The B-52 requires complete air superiority in the area that it operates because it can't hide from radar except by jamming, so just building a new version wouldn't really work. The B-1 has speed on its side (thought not as much as the original specs) and the B-2 has stealth. The tentatively named B-3 is supposed to replace all of the heavy bombers, though the B-2 will probably stick around for a few decades. That's a reasonable goal, unlike that of the F-35.

It's supposed to use mostly existing technologies instead of planning for advances as happened with (and expanded the cost and schedule of) the B-2, F-22, and F-35. Whether they can actually do that is a giant question mark, but the Air Force is allegedly targeting $500 million to $600 million per plane as the final cost.

Comment: Re:Drone It (Score 1) 819 819

The Harrier can't meaningfully hover with a full weapons load, either, and it really only takes off vertically at air shows. STOVL is short for "short takeoff, vertical landing". They've been planning ramped takeoffs and vertical landings at sea from the beginning, just like the Harrier uses.

I'm not fond of the F-35, but don't ascribe features to its (at least as problematic) predecessor that aren't there.

Comment: Re:Drone It (Score 1) 819 819

No, because the F-16 was designed as a multi-role fighter and it did extremely well. When it was announced that both the Air Force and Navy would use it, there was concern because of memories of the F-4 (a good plane for its time, but certainly not without its problems) and the compromises it had. When it was announced that it would also replace the Harrier and was planned to become the most common plane in the military, that's when people started fearing the worst.

Comment: Re:Drone It (Score 4, Interesting) 819 819

The main problem is the Marines wanting a replacement for the Harrier, something that can do STOL/STOVL operations, and that is completely under their control. The JSF was already under development, and the contractors said they could figure out how to make it fit the Marine requirements. What we got was a fighter that can't dogfight, a strike aircraft with a pitifully small payload, and the political impossibility of starting over from scratch.

One of the lessons that came out of this and the Zumwalt-class destroyer programs is that the military should stop trying to cram every feature into a program. While the proliferation of designs led to unwieldy logistics in the 60s, 70s, and 80s, the attempts to simplify everything have resulted in a reduced overall capability and the need to extend the lifetimes of planes the new projects were meant to replace. The F-15 and F-16 will still be around for decades, and may form a larger part of the tactical strike platforms than the USAF would like to admit. The same will probably be the case with the F/A-18E against the Navy's F-35C.

Dedicated designs are the most efficient. Some of them turn out to be spectacular at other jobs. The F-15 was designed with the adage "not a pound for air-to-ground" and yet from it was developed the F-15E Strike Eagle, an extremely effective air-to-ground platform. Hopefully the military is listening when it goes trying to build its next platform, a replacement for the B-1, B-2, and B-52 expected to come online between 2035 and 2045.

Comment: Re:It's called Rocket Science for a reason ... (Score 1) 316 316

I'm neither a kid nor have I forgotten the space race and the political squabbling that accompanied it. I want SpaceX to succeed, but I also want Orbital Sciences and Blue Origin to succeed, and anyone else that can reshape the space launch industry.

But there are people who desperately want to see Elon Musk fail. For that to happen, Tesla and/or SpaceX must fail. These people will hunt for any little indicator that Musk has bitten off more than he could chew and gleefully let everyone know about it.

I'm well aware that there are those who wanted (and still want) NASA to fail. They see NASA as the embodiment of government bureaucracy, slow and inefficient especially when compared to companies like SpaceX, and so they want to get rid of it. NASA is that, but mostly because the missions that they work on tend to be those difficult to replace: some extremely expensive satellites, interplanetary probes, and manned missions. A telecomm satellite lost on launch will be replaced by insurance and the contracted company will build another one. A failed satellite or probe may never be rebuilt (had New Horizons been lost, the atmosphere would have frozen and precipitated out before another probe could reach it). A failed manned mission may result in loss of life. Mission success therefore has higher priority than are the case with most commercial missions.

Comment: Re:Refill (Score 2) 189 189

What in the printer is going to be damaged by stray toner? If stray toner was an issue then laser printers wouldn't exist because no fuser can possibly hope to keep every particle charged and then melted without any falling off. As to the carcinogenicity of carbon black I'll quote the EPA

RTECS posts a 90-day intermittent inhalation "lowest published toxic concentration" of 50mg/m3 for 6 hours/day (TOXID9, as cited in RTECS) for respiratory tract changes in the rat,

If you think that refilling a toner cart is going to result in anywhere near that concentration of carbon black in your house for that period of time I have a bridge or two I wish to sell you. You're as paranoid as the folks that rail against CFL's due to the tiny amount of inorganic mercury they contain.

Comment: Re:Kinda similar ... (Score 4, Informative) 189 189

The lost leader carts in new printers generally have half or less toner than replacements so you're paying 2-3x as much per print AND you're contributing to e-waste. What I do is buy a toner refill kit and fill up the out of box cart with the same amount of toner as you get in the "high capacity" cartridges that cost more than the printer in some cases. My last 5 bottle refill kit (2 black, CMY) was $30 and printed a few thousand pages.

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