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Comment Story quality! (Score 2) 1822

I think a key part is simple: good story quality. Key steps:

  1. Eliminate duplicates. The submission system should quickly warn of potentially duplicate URLs or subject words.
  2. Quick review. Find a way to have a quick review of the story summary before posting. You don't want to slow down the flow too much, but it'd be good to have someone check for missing "not"s, URLs that don't work, and so on. I would assume you already have a spelling and grammar checker, but it's not clear it's always working. That sort of basic for a few sentences really shouldn't take that long.
  3. Try to find good topics. That one in some sense is the hardest.

The discussions are sometimes interesting - and sometimes not. But I think if the stories start higher-quality, the follow-up discussion is more likely to be better.

In the longer term, the system for entering text is... quirky. Has someone considered using Markdown? Yeah, Markdown processors vary, but lots of people know Markdown (e.g., via GitHub), and specs like CommonMark and libraries like Red Carpet make it fairly painless.

Good luck!

Comment Bricked? (Score 2, Insightful) 698

Jesus I thought we'd gotten rid of that stupid "brick" term for simple issues. If it's a COMPUTER - you can't "brick" the damned thing if you take the hard drive out and throw it in a river.

"Bricked" indicates that the firmware is bad. A bad BIOS flash will brick a system. Something of that level. Anything that can be fixed via an OS reinstall ain't "Bricked".

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.

Submission + - DARPA funds a program so computers can read thoughts (

angry tapir writes: In the future, computers may be able to read your thoughts through a connection with the brain. DARPA wants to create a device that could help make that happen. The device, which will be the size of two stacked nickels, will translate information from a brain into digital signals for use on a computer. The device is being developed as part of a four-year, US$60 million research program funded by DARPA

Comment Re:Congressmen from Republican party bought off (Score 1) 521

Yeah - finding a party to side with can be pretty difficult.

Generally, I have no problem with regulating business. I support net neutrality. I'm in support of personal freedoms (ie, I don't care if gay people get married). Universal healthcare - I'm completely neutral on. Do it or don't - I don't care. I'm for decriminalization of most narcotics. I wholeheartedly support free speech and don't have any issue with violent video games, pornography, or the like. I don't have any issue with the legalization of prostitution (I don't see it as the government's business to legislate morality).

At the same time I'm very, very pro-gun (most things that politicians posit as "common sense" gun control is anything but), and aside from education and healthcare I'm very much against public assistance (I'd be much more in favor of work programs). I don't really see any major problem with a wealth gap - people get what they earn (or keep what they have) and I don't support jealous people yelling "gimme!!!".

I'm very much against illegal immigration, but at the same time I don't have an issue with amnesty - no need to be shipping people "home" that have been here for years: just make sure we get everyone on the books and paying (all) taxes like they should be.

Its just gotten to where both parties are so polarized that on almost every single issue they diverge. Unless you agree with on or the other on EVERYTHING you're going to dislike certain positions of each party a lot. It really serves to force many people into being single-issue voters. You pick the cause that means the most to you personally and then go with whichever party supports your view there.

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.

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