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+ - Letter to Congress: Ending U.S. Dependency on Russia for Access to Space

Submitted by Bruce Perens
Bruce Perens (3872) writes "I've sent a letter to my district's senators and member of congress this evening, regarding how we should achieve a swifter end to U.S. dependency on the Russians for access to space. Please read my letter, below. If you like it, please join me and send something similar to your own representatives. Find them here and here. — Bruce

Dear Congressperson Lee,

The U.S. is dependent on the Russians for present and future access to space. Only Soyuz can bring astronauts to and from the Space Station. The space vehicles being built by United Launch Alliance are designed around a Russian engine. NASA's own design for a crewed rocket is in its infancy and will not be useful for a decade, if it ever flies.

Mr. Putin has become much too bold because of other nations dependence. The recent loss of Malaysia Air MH17 and all aboard is one consequence.

Ending our dependency on Russia for access to space, sooner than we previously planned, has become critical. SpaceX has announced the crewed version of their Dragon spaceship. They have had multiple successful flights and returns to Earth of the un-crewed Dragon and their Falcon 9 rocket, which are without unfortunate foreign dependencies. SpaceX is pursuing development using private funds. The U.S. should now support and accelerate that development.

SpaceX has, after only a decade of development, demonstrated many advances over existing and planned paths to space. Recently they have twice successfully brought the first stage of their Falcon 9 rocket back to the ocean surface at a speed that would allow safe landing on ground. They have demonstrated many times the safe takeoff, flight to significant altitude, ground landing and re-flight of two similar test rockets. In October they plan the touchdown of their rocket's first stage on a barge at sea, and its recovery and re-use after a full flight to space. Should their plan for a reusable first-stage, second, and crew vehicle be achieved, it could result in a reduction in the cost of access to space to perhaps 1/100 of the current "astronomical" price. This would open a new frontier to economical access in a way not witnessed by our nation since the transcontinental railroad. The U.S. should now support this effort and reap its tremendous economic rewards.

This plan is not without risk, and like all space research there will be failures, delays, and eventually lost life. However, the many successes of SpaceX argue for our increased support now, and the potential of tremendous benefit to our nation and the world.

Please write back to me.

Many Thanks

Bruce Perens"

Comment: Idiot Slashdot editors again... (Score 4, Informative) 113

by aardvarkjoe (#47509499) Attached to: UK Users Overwhelmingly Spurn Broadband Filters

The article linked in the summary requires you to answer survey questions or post it to your google+ / facebook before you can read it.

Don't put up with that crap. It's even worse than forcing you to watch advertisements before reading something. Filter out pcpro.co.uk with your hosts file or whatever other method instead.

Comment: Re:Really? (Score 2) 125

by aardvarkjoe (#47487555) Attached to: FTC To Trap Robocallers With Open Source Software

Same here. I always press "1", which transfers to a live operator, and then I play along for a few minutes. Then I ask her what color underwear she is wearing. Most hang up at that point. but a few continue the conversation. If we all waste a little of their time, then these business will no longer be viable.

Or if you don't want to be stuck talking to them, just play along until they ask you for your credit card number, tell them, "oh, I have to find my wallet" -- and then set the phone down and do something else.

I once got one of them to waste fifteen minutes on me by picking up the phone every few minutes and making some new excuse.

Comment: Re:Evolution (Score 1) 253

by Bruce Perens (#47485313) Attached to: New Treatment Stops Type II Diabetes

:-)

You make it sound like starving people are getting fat too.

If they are becoming obese, the particular individual has a surplus of caloric intake, if only for this year or month. This is not to say that they have proper nutrition. So I am not at all clear that the fact that there is obesity in the third world is confounding evidence.

Comment: Re:Connect with a VPN (Score 1) 390

by Catbeller (#47484723) Attached to: Verizon's Accidental Mea Culpa

As I've blathered on for years, business doesn't make fortunes by manufacturing product, but by manufacturing scarcity. Lumber. Water (soon!). Bandwidth.
And people: Businesses make monopolies, not governments. Businesses want to control supply, create scarcity and drive up prices and buy up their competitors so they can drive up prices again. There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Market. The oil cartels control oil supply, Diamond controls comic book distribution, etc. Choke points *they* create by ruthlessly destroying their competition. Government can't mandate competition in the sense you can't pass a law to make sharks stop eating tuna. They persist in eating the damned tuna; it's their nature. Sometimes, as in the last 30 right-wing years, the tuna *is* the government.
Monopoly exists 'cause lack of regulation, not 'cause of it.
In cabling the US, the US businesses refused to provide service unless they had local monopoly, so the cities divvied up their territories and the cable companies rolled out. That was a business-demanded requirement, not a government-demanded one. They would not provide unless they were exclusive. The only alternative was municipal cable, which happened, but is mostly sued or otherwise driven out of business. Right now a federal law, paid for by the big cable companies, is about to make muni rollout *illegal*. You may blame government, but the businesses are buying that law.

Comment: Evolution (Score 1) 253

by Bruce Perens (#47480445) Attached to: New Treatment Stops Type II Diabetes
For most of the existence of mankind and indeed all of mankind's progenitors, having too much food was a rare problem and being hungry all of the time was a fact of life. We are not necessarily well-evolved to handle it. So, no surprise that we eat to repletion and are still hungry. You don't really have any reason to look at it as an illness caused by anything other than too much food.

Comment: Re:Sounds like Swordfish (the movie). (Score 1) 435

by khasim (#47476389) Attached to: FBI Concerned About Criminals Using Driverless Cars

Of course I am postulating that a hacker can break it.

No. You are postulating that a hacker that can break it WOULD TURN TO CRIME INSTEAD OF MAKING $150,000+ A YEAR WORKING FOR A COMPANY THAT MANUFACTURES THOSE CARS.

Why would the car be the only computer in human creation immune to hacking you completely absurd asshat?

No one except you has claimed that.

I'm saying that the skills needed to crack that system are very rare AND very valuable IN LEGITIMATE BUSINESS SETTINGS.

So WHY would someone who could make a lot of money LEGALLY use those very rare skills in a crime? Why would that person WANT to become a criminal?

Comment: Re: If you pay... (Score 1) 15

Martin,

The last time I had a professional video produced, I paid $5000 for a one-minute commercial, and those were rock-bottom prices from hungry people who wanted it for their own portfolio. I doubt I could get that today. $8000 for the entire conference is really volunteer work on Gary's part.

Someone's got to pay for it. One alternative would be to get a corporate sponsor and give them a keynote, which is what so many conferences do, but that would be abandoning our editorial independence. Having Gary fund his own operation through Kickstarter without burdening the conference is what we're doing. We're really lucky we could get that.

Comment: Re:One hell of a slashvertisement! (Score 1) 15

I think TAPR's policy is that the presentations be freely redistributable, but I don't know what they and Gary have discussed. I am one of the speakers and have always made sure that my own talk would be freely redistributable. I wouldn't really want it to be modifiable except for translation and quotes, since it's a work of opinion. Nobody should get the right to modify the video in such a way as to make my opinion seem like it's anything other than what it is.

Comment: Re:If you pay... (Score 2) 15

Yes. I put in $100, and I am asking other people to put in money to sponsor these programs so that everyone, including people who did not put in any money at all, can see them for free. If you look at the 150+ videos, you can see that Gary's pretty good at this (and he brought a really professional-seeming cameraman to Hamvention, too) and the programs are interesting. Even if at least four of them feature yours truly :-) He filmed every one of the talks at the TAPR DCC last year (and has filmed for the past 5 years) and it costs him about $8000 to drive there from North Carolina to Austin, Texas; to bring his equipment and to keep it maintained, to stay in a motel, to run a multi-camera shoot for every talk in the conference, and to get some fair compensation for his time in editing (and he does a really good job at that).

+ - Open Hardware and Digital Communications conference on free video, if you help->

Submitted by Bruce Perens
Bruce Perens (3872) writes "The TAPR Digital Communications Conference has been covered twice here and is a great meeting on leading-edge wireless technology, mostly done as Open Hardware and Open Source software. Free videos of the September 2014 presentations will be made available if you help via Kickstarter. For an idea of what's in them, see the Dayton Hamvention interviews covering Whitebox, our Open Hardware handheld software-defined radio transceiver, and Michael Ossman's HackRF, a programmable Open Hardware transceiver for wireless security exploration and other wireless research. Last year's TAPR DCC presentations are at the Ham Radio Now channel on Youtube."
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