Forgot your password?

Comment: Re:How foes this compare (Score 1) 146

by Giant Electronic Bra (#47392539) Attached to: NASA Approves Production of Most Powerful Rocket Ever

This is true of all liquid-fueled rocket stages, the SSMEs fired up about 4 seconds before liftoff too. It takes them a couple seconds just to 'spin up' to 100% thrust. This a nice enough feature of liquid-fueled rockets, but its only necessitated by the fact that they are so complex they might NOT spin up. An SRM will never fail to start like that. Overall they are quite reliable, easy to design, and simple to operate, though per-launch they have costs similar to other types of motor.

Comment: Re:How foes this compare (Score 1) 146

by Giant Electronic Bra (#47391097) Attached to: NASA Approves Production of Most Powerful Rocket Ever

Considering that there isn't ANY reusable rocket in existence today (IE no single liquid-fueled rocket stage has ever been launched, recovered, and reused to my knowledge) I fail to see how this is relevant. SRMs are very simple, there are NO moving parts, etc, so they really just don't fail these days. Its exceedingly rare, and the very few failures are attributable to things other than the construction of the SRM which couldn't be discovered by test firing it (IE the Challenger SRM failure, which wasn't a failure of the SRM per-se, it was simply fired outside its known operational envelope). I actually worked on avionics for these things. They really aren't unreliable and don't need to be individually tested, nor are liquid fueled stages normally test-fired either before launch.

As for re-usability, the STS SRMs WERE REUSED. Go look it up, almost every segment in every stack had multiple launches. In fact in the last several years of the program I believe they were running COMPLETELY on re-used segments. Now, maybe you have a point that hypothetically it MIGHT be cheaper to reuse a liquid-fueled rocket, but until we DO (soon presumably) we really won't know. Its also quite a bit less clear-cut than that because you have to launch a LOT larger and thus more expensive liquid-fueled rocket to equal a similar payload rocket that includes SRMs. SRMs are also USUALLY strapped onto existing designs to give them new capabilities, which would otherwise have to be achieved by a very expensive completely new program. So I am not even by half convinced that this 'SRMs make things more expensive' notion has any validity at all.

Comment: Re:Liberal Math Again... (Score 1) 146

by Giant Electronic Bra (#47391077) Attached to: NASA Approves Production of Most Powerful Rocket Ever

Why does he have to do NASA from 1958? How about from 2003? That's about $35 billion for NASA and around 2,000 billion for Iraq. You can call it 'liberal math' if you want, but the literal actual costs of Iraq, including replacement of drawn down military capabilities, paying off all the disabled vets, and the TO NOW economic costs of 1000's of dead and disabled people. Its Frigging Expensive. We won't pay down the cost of Georgie's War until somewhere around the year 2100. By then the Chinese will own near-Earth space...

Comment: Re:How foes this compare (Score 1) 146

by Giant Electronic Bra (#47387883) Attached to: NASA Approves Production of Most Powerful Rocket Ever

SRMs are very powerful for their size. They are quite effective as boosters, a stage that will provide a lot of power for a shorter time at the start of a launch. This is one reason they are used on ICBMs, which were designed for 'fast boost' (IE burn for a very short time) to avoid any chance of intercept during launch, which would in theory be the most vulnerable phase of flight.

So SRMs are good, and likely to be used in pretty much every first stage from now to the day we invent a beanstalk or something and get rid of rockets. They have their downsides, they give a bumpy ride and you can't throttle them, but they're cheap, easy to handle (relatively), and powerful.

Comment: Re:Bribery represents the will of the people? (Score 1) 148

The greater danger in my mind is you will get a huge flood of cash into the process from the usual suspects and you'll just end up with some sort of Fascist constitution that enshrines the power of the current elite and its corporate stooges. That's all Congress is rapidly becoming anyway, with hacks like Roberts and Alito to rubber-stamp it. In a convention they'd be utterly free of any of the few constraints that still apply. If Congresspeople can't even pass patent reform or the President resist appointing a tool of the status quo to the USPTO then why would we in any way shape or form believe that the members of some Convention will be any more independent? They won't. Its not that they'll be too radical, its that they won't be radical at all, they'll be sheep, serving the richest masters.

Comment: Re:Bribery represents the will of the people? (Score 2) 148

Exactly, and ChrisMaple's logic is flawed. Just because he thinks the 16th and 17th amendemnts are 'horrible' is logically unrelated to the possible character of a convention. Congress has a very limited power to propose individual amendments. A convention would be much more far-ranging since it would be much more capable of proposing sweeping changes.

Honestly, I don't think such a convention would NECESSARILY be problematic, but there's no reason to assume it would be any more beholden to the will of the people than the existing ludicrous clown-filled House of Representatives. Presumably its finite lifetime and the ad-hoc nature of its constitution would make it quite amenable to corruption.

Comment: Re:Bribery represents the will of the people? (Score 1) 148

Actually 3/4 of the states can call for a Convention. Congress has no option to oppose that. Its not entirely clear what their 'calling' function entails, but if there were a clear unequivocal 3/4 of the States passing a single uniformly worded call for a Convention within a stated expiry period then LONG before it got to all 37 required states Congress would pass the desired amendment to avoid the spectre of an open Convention running the country virtually as a de-facto parliament. Honestly a Convention is sort of a 'nuclear option' anyway because NOBODY knows how corrupt (or not) such a body would be as we don't even have rules for its constituence. IMHO it would just be a repeat of the House without a constitution to reign it in. The threat is still potent however and its worked at least twice before.

Comment: Re:Straight Talk GSM or Ting CDMA (Score 1) 146

by Giant Electronic Bra (#47342589) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: SIM-Card Solutions In North America?

You can buy a SIM and a month of service online from Straight Talk as well. They also support CDMA phones (but you get to use the Sprint network in that case). Straight Talk is actually a brand owned by TracPhone. In any case spare yourself the trip to Wallyworld, its not really worth seeing unless you're actually here and needing something NOW.

Comment: Can influence be stopped? (Score 1) 308

by Giant Electronic Bra (#47305289) Attached to: Interviews: Ask Lawrence Lessig About His Mayday PAC

Isn't the influence of money and other forms of power simply infinitely plastic? If you block one path to influence it will simply take another path, there are infinitely many ways to get what you want, and if you have lots of money its always much easier to exercise them. So isn't the real question one of values, not of money?

Comment: Re:meanwhile, the west buys the same mechanisms... (Score 4, Interesting) 90

Well, the women are awesome. The rest of it? Sure, the government is pro-business and pro-capitalism, except its THEIR business and capitalism. In China the govt officials are the ones with the money, and LOTS of it. Corruption is astronomical. Unless you're in cahoots with some guys with a lot of 'face' you aren't going anywhere, and you can bet they get the fillet mignon cut of whatever you build. It makes the tax rates in the US quite equitable. There's LOTS of red tape too, though of course again how much that matters depends on whom you are connected to. The middle class in China is microscopic. If you were in downtown of a tier 1 city then you might get the impression, surrounded in your nice westerner bubble, that there were lots of well-off people around, but if you actually went out and met the regular Chinese people and talked to the people serving you food and selling you things and made friends with them you'd find out that life for the average chinese is pretty rough. Now go out to the countryside, or even tier 3 cities (prefect level towns for instance) of which there are 1000's and you find there's only a very small veneer of 'middle class' people.

As for the economy being 'robust', the banks all collapsed in the late 90's, ALL of them are insolvent. Most of the major businesses, same thing (the state owned ones). There's a whole zombie financial and economic sector that is just propped up with tax money or patronage in some form or other. There are a lot of businesses, yes, and a huge export sector, lots of growth, etc. There is also 300 million underemployed people, etc. The realestate bubble in China is 10x the size of the US one, and its teetering right now. Frankly I'm out, and I'm getting my g/f out too before something busts loose and it goes down like the US did in '07. Even the big financial analysts are looking pretty scared now. Housing is slowing and China is going to have a big bump.

Comment: Re:How to beat censorship in china. (Score 2) 90

Yeah, good luck, your lifespan is measured in days. If you are careful and lucky you can complain about SOME things, and people do let their opinions be known about GENERAL things "its very polluted here, this should be fixed!" or "food is too expensive!" etc. The government is pretty sensitive about public opinion up to a certain point. It is just always hard to tell if they will react to your complaints by fixing the problem, or killing you.

Comment: Re:MacOS 9 != OS9 (Score 1) 611

by Giant Electronic Bra (#47134325) Attached to: Which desktop environment do you like the best?

That's correct, but it was called OS-9 (note the dash). It was then ported to the Motorola 68000 and called 0S-9/68k, where it was a quite successful RTOS. It was then rewritten in C (the original 6809/68k versions were all hand coded assembly) and rechristened OS-9000. Sadly the company bet the farm on building the stack for Phillips ill-fated CD Interactive. OS-9000 also wasn't that popular in the 68000 world since it was just a fatter slower OS. They've since dropped the OS-9000 brand name, but the company still sort of exists and the OS is quite commonly used in small embedded systems. It is very easy to ROM, quite reliable, can run on anything from an 8-bit 64k machine all the way up to 64 bit 4+ gigabyte systems, though it generally lacks support for virtual memory. Its a good OS, is POSIX compliant and most modern GNU tools work on it and compile for it (though the OS is peculiar in the way it lays out address space, which means you can't just compile with gcc, you need to use a Microware supplied compiler as far as I know). OS-9 never quite beat out VxWorks in the mission-critical embedded space, but it was (and probably still is) an equally good RTOS. AFAIK there was never a port of any GUI to OS-9(000).

Power corrupts. And atomic power corrupts atomically.