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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.

Comment: China created that hole... (Score 1) 289

by Koreantoast (#48220183) Attached to: Assange: Google Is Not What It Seems
I would only point out that the poverty hole the People's Republic of China dragged all those individuals was created directly by poor PRC policies back in the 1960s and 1970s, so if you give them credit for that, you also have to give the United States tremendous credit for ending slavery and desegregation. That, or neither can claim an advantage in that regard.

+ - Investigate oil spills with the Public Lab open source Oil Testing Kit->

Submitted by jywarren
jywarren (2718221) writes "The DIY environmental group Public Lab has introduced a Kickstarter for a kit to identifying the source of oil pollution, using simple open source hardware tools — a Blu-Ray laser and a fold-up cardboard spectrometer. They are calling for beta testers to join the project in order to solve key remaining challenges in the open source technique; beta testers will get early access to prototypes. Worried about crude or motor oil spills near your home? Investigate them yourself!"
Link to Original Source

+ - Physicist Proves Mathematically Black Holes Don't Exist-> 2

Submitted by Koreantoast
Koreantoast (527520) writes "Black holes, the stellar phenomena that continues to capture the imagination of scientists and science fiction authors, may not actually exist. According to a paper published by Physics professor Laura Mersini-Houghton at the University of North Carolina and Mathematics Professor Harald Pfeiffer of the University of Toronto, as a collapsing star emits Hawking radiation, it also sheds mass at a rate that it no longer has the density necessary to become a black hole; the singularity and event horizon never forms. While the ArXiv paper with the exact solution has not been peer reviewed, the preceding paper by Mersini-Houghton with the approximate solutions was published in Physics Letters B.

"I'm still not over the shock," said Mersini-Houghton. "We've been studying this problem for a more than 50 years and this solution gives us a lot to think about... Physicists have been trying to merge these two theories – Einstein's theory of gravity and quantum mechanics – for decades, but this scenario brings these two theories together, into harmony.""

Link to Original Source

A mathematician is a device for turning coffee into theorems. -- P. Erdos