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Comment: Kicked around not just large powers but NGO's too (Score 1) 160

Not to be too cynical, but the Bolivians are used to being kicked around by larger countries. They know what to expect and how to respond and fight back. Assange however takes this to a new level of humiliation for them: the Bolivians have found out that they're now pawns of a western megalomaniac who before they assumed was an ally or at least a friendly. That, and at least the large imperialist powers had the courtesy to apologize. Assange doesn't even bother, saying that his role in violating Bolivian national sovereignty was for the "greater good."

It's like an out of control police force, who, operating on an anonymous tip, kicks down your door and beats you, violating your civil rights. Yes, that's bad, but it's even more humiliating when you find out that the guy who dropped the tip was supposedly a friend you had been working with, who involuntarily sacrificed you as a pawn for what he perceived as the "greater good."

Comment: Re:Ballsy, but stupid ... (Score 2) 308

by Koreantoast (#49373975) Attached to: Attempted Breach of NSA HQ Checkpoint; One Shot Dead
We can even take this one step up. The gate crashers come up to a security checkpoint, and when asked routine questions, they accelerate off and ram a marked car with security personnel in it. Any armed security guard, witnessing a clearly hostile vehicle employing lethal force (i.e. trying to ram a coworker) in order to breech a secure perimeter, would probably open fire at that point, not just military or police.

Comment: This is Why Government Contracting is Expensive (Score 3, Informative) 71

by Koreantoast (#49356117) Attached to: US Air Force Overstepped In SpaceX Certification
If anyone ever wondered why government contracting is so expensive, this is it. The government customers demand customization of commercial products that drive up development costs and complicate manufacturing while the bureaucracy's demand for documentation and "transparency" places a massive overhead burden on contractors to meet the requirements. Add on to it the government's lack of discipline in developing requirements and making changes, and your "cheap" program triples in cost with delivery moving two years to the right. As someone who worked in a business that dealt with both commercial and government clients, the former looks for a product that fits their needs then buys it whereas the latter looks for a product, modifies it, then continuously alters the requirements over and over right up to production.

Sometimes, I think this is also the reason why the government clings to cost-plus contracting: with fixed price, they have to be disciplined about the requirements because once the fixed price contract is in effect, they can't tinker with it any further. Cost-plus, they can keep changing requirements, and the contractor will simply roll it into the bill.

Comment: $/kg is cheaper, but limited # of birds per launch (Score 2) 123

The difference is that larger rockets, while having a lower dollar per kilogram cost, can only put up a couple of satellites at a time. So while a $60M Falcon 9 for example can put much larger payloads into orbit at an order of magnitude lower $/kg, in reality, you'd only be able to put a couple satellites at most into orbit with a single vehicle. So therefore, you're really paying about $30M per satellite versus the $10M per satellite of the WhiteKnight.

Comment: Re:Few Million a Year is a BIG Stretch Goal (Score 1) 181

by Koreantoast (#48813371) Attached to: Tesla To Produce 'a Few Million' Electric Cars a Year By 2025
You said it yourself, the NUMMI factory can produce half a million vehicles a year. That's a large number, but that's still only a fraction of several million vehicles per year in Tesla's stated ambition. Last I checked, Fremont doesn't have room to scale that facility up five or ten times. He's going to have to go out and start setting up new factories which is a big task. And again, this is only talking about fabrication and final assembly, he's also going to have to scale up his supply chain, and that may actually be a more difficult proposition whether he in-sources it or goes outside.

This of course is assuming that he can even get his production numbers up, and right now, Tesla is still struggling to scale up from the 500/month they're producing right now. I'm not saying he can't do it, but I say the odds are far against him.

Comment: Few Million a Year is a BIG Stretch Goal (Score 5, Insightful) 181

by Koreantoast (#48812951) Attached to: Tesla To Produce 'a Few Million' Electric Cars a Year By 2025
I have tremendous admiration for Elon Musk and Tesla, but ramping up production to that of a top five or even top ten automobile manufacturer is almost unrealistically ambitious. Building up the supply chain for the materials, hiring and training workers, setting up factories, etc... these are things that take years to do even under ideal circumstances. The fact that they're having difficultly with numbers and quality at such a small batch just makes it more complex.

I've also talked with a few industrial engineers that specialize in this type of manufacturing, and at least based on the videos released, the way his assembly lines are setup right now are not going to scale up well. For him to meet his production goals, he's going to have to completely redo the way he does fabrication and final assembly. Should also be pointed out too that the NUMMI plant they're operating out of produced at its peak 6,000 vehicles a week: a healthy number, but an order of magnitude lower than his goals. He will have to expand, probably build more factories, and that will take time. Again, these are just the issues of the factory, it doesn't even go into the other issues.

Comment: Better to go to Graduate School (Score 1) 280

by Koreantoast (#48612103) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Should a Liberal Arts Major Get Into STEM?
I think you're better off just going to graduate school, but it's not going to be easy. However, you may need to take some classes at a local university or community college to shore up some fundamentals (advanced mathematics, basic sciences, etc.) depending on what you did and did not take as an undergrad. Another compromise that may be a little bit easier to make is to jump into fields such as systems engineering or industrial engineering. That path may have less resistance compared to fields with technical depth that build up more from undergraduate courses (mechanical, civil, electrical, computer science, etc.).

Comment: Absolutely Absurd (Score 1) 109

by Koreantoast (#48319557) Attached to: Computer Scientists Say Meme Research Doesn't Threaten Free Speech
This is absurd. I would understand if this had been funded by Department of Defense or DHS money, but this is a small grant by the National Science Foundation to study an interesting sociology problem that many people ask. Saying its some grand conspiracy for mind control is like saying the NSF is funding biology research to better understand how to deploy biological weapons, funding chemistry to build better bombs, physics to build better listening devices, or funding computer vision to build a better spy satellite. If you honestly feel the NSF is a front for government mind control, then why do we even bother publicly funding ANY science research since most can have "dual use"?

Also, look at the people who are railing against this particular piece of spending. Congressman Lamar Smith for example, has been aggressively tinkering with NSF and USG scientific funding in general, believing that the US should slash funding of sociological, psychological, and climate change research. I'm sure he threw the mind control one in there to help rile people up for his crusade against what he views as wasteful government spending.

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