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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 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.

Comment Re:Your local recruiter thanks you! (Score 1) 36

It's not so insane when you consider that they have nuclear weapons and are right next to (and hostile towards) another country that has them too. The U.S. will do almost ANYTHING to keep the peace in that region.

I guess you mean that they will do anything to avoid war between India and Pakistan. Peace is not a term I would use for Pakistan.

And they know that it's better to have a corrupt-as-hell extortionist scumbag military in charge, and at least maintaining a status quo peace, than to take their chances with an Arab-Spring type popular radical government that might easily stumble into a regional nuclear war and possibly set off WWIII.

That's pretty much exactly what I said in my sentence that started with "This aid is moreover not entirely voluntarily any more today ...".

That doesn't make it any less insane or counter-productive though. It's insane to think that this status quo can be be maintained. It's insane to think that this prevents nuclear proliferation, because as the article mentions, this has already happened in the past from Pakistan and there are no indications that it won't happen again in the future. It's insane to think that by supporting a dictatorship, you will be able to somehow suddenly get lots of friendly people afterwards (as indeed the Arab Spring demonstrated -- note that the Arab Spring did not start with or include Western boycotts against the dictators -- except when some dictators' positions became untenable). It's insane to think that this will not result in more IS-like insanity in the future (or to think that IS-like madmen won't be able to get their hands on dirty bombs or nuke materials in other ways).

I fully agree that there is no easy and quick solution for the situation (which, as the article notes, was actually for a large part created by the US itself, just like in Afghanistan). Just pouring more money into a corrupt dictatorship will however later inevitably result in throwing the hands in the air and more short-sighted people yelling of "look at all those barbaric Muslims that hate our guts for no reason other than that they follow a retarded religion and are incapable of setting up properly functioning governments, and all of that in spite of the billions in aid that we gave them"... As I tried to express in my original message, my point was mainly related to that: these violent reactions to YouTube etc have probably little or nothing to do with fact that they are Muslim. It's just one of the very few ways they have to express their anger such that the military tolerates it (since it's directed against an external entity).

Comment Re:Your local recruiter thanks you! (Score 1) 36

The average Pakistani, and even the Pakistani government, has very little power to accept or reject anything. Virtually all power lies with the Pakistani army and its intelligence service, thanks to US "aid". This aid is moreover not entirely voluntarily any more today, as its main purpose now appears to be to keep a completely messed up corrupt bunch of people in power, in an attempt to reduce the risk of a completely messed up bunch of other people that may be allied with Al Qaeda or the Taliban from taking over that power (which includes the keys to nuclear weapons).

I bet the anti-Western/foreigner feelings, which often include vehemently defending what is considered to be one's own primary/distinguishing values/traditions, are to a large extent inspired by the fact that they feel it is this same West that keeps their country's leadership hijacked. I have a Pakistani colleague at the university, and he recently told me their civil government regularly has to ask the military for funding rather than the other way around, simply because almost all direct monetary US aid ends up with the military. It's insane.

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