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Comment Walking to school... (Score 1) 320

I was walking to my Middle School in Lakeland, FL. We were close enough that we could see the trails of every launch, and generally the glow of the engines. I stopped on the nearest hill to watch, as I always did, but this time to be greeted with an extra large glow. I know almost exactly the spot I was standing, just up the hill from Scott Lake. Its a day I'll never soon forget, as every class was nothing but re-watching the same tragedy over and over.

The local news was filled with storied about Christa McAuliffe for days and days afterwords. She was supposed to be the first School Teacher ever in space.

It was also a day filled with jokes. While somewhat sick, it is a very common way for people to deal with the pain.

I still remember almost every joke, they are forever etched into my memories.

Comment Re:Missing something (Score 2) 148

Creative? Maybe. Revolutionary? No.

Look, his toy is very neat but it uses ideas and designs that have been used since at least the 1960's. He has a planetary gear inside a harmonic drive, which looks to be driving a second planetary gear inside a 2nd harmonic drive.

A typical planetary gear is good for 30:1, a harmonic anywhere from 200:1 to 300:1.

Taking the low numbers, 30*200*30*200 yields 36Million to 1.

So his 11 million to 1 ratio seems about right for putting together otherwise common parts.

Comment Re:This Just In! (Score 1) 111

Just to burn some Karma i'm going to offer an opposing argument.

My biggest objection to municipality run ISP's is the rural factor; There is no laws that says a municipality has to provide service to those just outside.

I'm on Verizon DSL where I live, 3/4 mile outside of town limits but in a non-dense area. In college town there are thousands of apartments in high density areas, and also served by Verizon.

Now say the town decides to run it's own fiber to all these apartments. Now Verizon loses all that customer base, but is still required to operate in the surrounding low density areas. What do you think is going to happen to MY bills?

Comment Slashdot Clone? (Score 4, Interesting) 197

Ok, I tried the beta. Yeah its not pretty, the comment section is pretty small width wise, it looks HORRIBLE on my iPad... The client side filtering of comments completely ignores my long time preferences, etc etc.

To the point; Many have asked about cloning Slashdot, and retaking the community site. But has anyone thought about how such a mission could be accomplished? Yes I know I can go grab slashcode and standup a 16 core xeon box to toss on my 100mbps connection. But what about the users, the stories, the comments. We can't just screen scrape those to stand up a new site.

In what possible way could we honestly standup a new slashdot that is community owned?


Submission + - How to fix Slashdot Beta? 17

Forbo writes: Since the migration to Slashdot Beta was announced, it seems all meaningful discussion has been completely disrupted with calls to boycott and protest. Rather than pull an Occupy, what can be done to focus and organize the action? What is the end goal: To revert entirely to the previous site, or to address the problems with the new site?

Submission + - Fuck beta 1

An anonymous reader writes: The beta is bad. It's so bad. The comments are reduced in screen width about 50%. Subject lines are deemphasized, scores are minimized, etc.

The discussions are the reason to come to Slashdot, and the beta trivializes them entirely. It looks like the comment section on a generic news site.

The comments now look like an afterthought, whereas they used to be the primary focus of the site.

Submission + - User Backlash at Slashdot Beta Site ( 3

hduff writes: Look at almost any current Slashdot story and see loyal, long-time members rail against the new site design, willing to burn precious karma points to post off-topic rants against the new design and it being forced on users by the Dice Overlords. Discussion has begun to create an alternate site.

Comment Re:Mostly because companies are bastards. (Score 4, Informative) 138

I'm going to chime in here, as other have.

I'm an S-Corp as well, vs. a LLC for exactly those reasons. Namely I pay myself a standard rate, and bill out at a higher rate. There are several advantages, and caviets.

Let me jump in a say that MOST contract houses run at the 1.8 to 2.1 factor and for good reasons. For example, say I'm at a 2.0 factor. If I want my hourly rate to myself to be $40 I'll charge 2.0 times that to my customer, or $80.

The best reason to stay in that 1.8 to 2.1 range is that it is easy to account for in case of an audit. Most GSA have base * overhead * profit, where profit is supposed to be only 15%. However the overhead side of the equation is big, because it covers all the indirect employees; secretaries, accountants, IT staff, CEO's, etc. So on any given GSA contract, the billing rates will all end up in the 1.8 to 2.1 range.

1) The key here is the IRS knows GSA, so anything in that range is legit, so long story short stay at or ABOVE the 50% mark for your hourly rate vs billing rate if you want to stay off the IRS radar.
2) As much as you'd like to, don't ever write off part of your house on the S-Corp. Yes its legal, but since it is highly abused your more likely to be flagged for an audit.
3) Expense as much as your toys as you can, computers, routers, printers are all valid deductions of the S-Corp income.
4) Use quickbooks and its payroll add-ons. Yes there are other tools, but quickbooks is easy an worth the $300. Wait for a good sale in Feb of almost every year for $100 off.
5) Set everything up hourly, not salary. Set your billing rates, pay rates, vacation rates, even 401K or 408K per hour. This just is much easier to track and bill your clients, and pay yourself and your future employee's!

Comment Re:guiding system (Score 1) 176

The real question in my opinion is what kind of guiding system do the drones use. Flying with visual guidance is considerably harder

We did this back in 2002 with the X-31, although we used a simulated carrier. So while it was the first actual landing of a drone, it wasn't even close to the first to do a full auto carrier landing.

What the most likely primary sensor technology is GPS for the drone, merged with good old rate/accel/intertial sensor suite. What was done with the X-31 was put a suedolite (ground gps) around the target, in this case it would be the carrier. The X-31 would do a first pass through the 'bubble' created by the ground station and refine it's position to within 1 cm (yes that close) in all 3 axis. Then it would circle the target and autoland starting at about 15km out.

So I doubt it is anything fancy like imaging, ladar, radar, but more likely enhanced GPS that the X-31 pioneered.

Oh, and the X-31 could hit that landing without the arresting gear but doing a stale manuever, wicked cool if you ever get to see the videos. Modern Marvels did a show on it and it has some of the ok footage.


Giant Robotic Jellyfish Unveiled by Researchers 43

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, an anonymous reader writes in with news about a giant robot jellyfish. As if there weren't enough real jellyfish around to trigger our thalassophobia, researchers at Virginia Tech have created Cryo -- an eight-armed autonomous robot that mimics jelly movement with the help of a flexible silicone hat. The man-sized jellybot altogether dwarfs previous efforts, hence the upgrade from small tank to swimming pool for mock field tests. And unlike the passively propelled bots we've seen recently, Cryo runs on batteries, with the researchers hoping to better replicate the energy-efficient nature of jelly movement to eventually increase Cryo's charge cycle to months instead of hours. That's also the reason these robotic jellyfish are getting bigger -- because the larger they are, the further they can go."

Did the Spamhaus DDoS Really Slow Down Global Internet Access? 70

CowboyRobot writes "Despite the headlines, the big denial of service attack may not have slowed the Internet after all. The argument against the original claim include the fact that reports of Internet users seeing slowdowns came not from service providers, but the DDoS mitigation service CloudFlare, which signed up Spamhaus as a customer last week. Also, multiple service providers and Internet watchers have now publicly stated that while the DDoS attacks against Spamhaus could theoretically have led to slowdowns, they've seen no evidence that this occurred for general Internet users. And while some users may have noticed a slowdown, the undersea cable cuts discovered by Egyptian sailors had more of an impact than the DDoS."

Solar Impulse Airplane To Launch First Sun-Powered Flight Across America 89

First time accepted submitter markboyer writes "The Solar Impulse just landed at Moffett Field in Mountain View, California to announce a journey that will take it from San Francisco to New York without using a single drop of fuel. The 'Across America' tour will kick off this May when founders Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg take off from San Francisco. From there the plane will visit four cities across the states before landing in New York."

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