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Comment Re:I thought the secondary payload (Score 1) 50

And of course, no one is inspired by the idea of building autonomous robots to explore an alien world. That stuff is just mundane.

Once the robot is built, your job is done.

You don't build autonomous robots in order that you may explore an alien world, you build autonomous robots in order that the autonomous robots may explore an alien world.

Once you launch the things into space, you might as well be watching "Duck Dynasty" or some other form of reality television.

Comment I really wonder how other employers/employees... (Score 1) 32

I really wonder how other employers/employees are going to take this.

The Seattle areas top ten employers all make heavy use of contractors:

1. Boeing
2. Microsoft
3. University of Washington
4. Amazon
5. Weyerhaueser
6. Group Health Cooperative
7. Fred Meyer
8. Bank of America
9. Qwest Communications
10. Nordstrom

Good luck with the lawsuits guys! You're going to be getting it from both side, if this passes!

Side A: The employers who provide all your jobs, and don't want to have to give up contract workers
Side B: The contract workers for those employers, who wonder why Uber contractors deserve your intervention, but they don't

Comment You *do* realize, right... (Score 1) 32

And Workman's compensation suffers an economic loss when employees are falsely called independent contractors.

You *do* realize, right... Workman's Comp is not supposed to be a profit center for the state, and that because contractors who do not pay into it can not make claims against it, you're only counting a lack of revenue from taxes as them suffering a loss, and they aren't suffering an actual loss in terms of having to pay out funds that they did not collect in the first place?

I know that many states treat it as a slush fund they can borrow against, and (effectively) never pay back what they;ve borrowed out of it, in the same way the federal government borrows from the social security trust fund. But it's not actually *supposed* to work that way.

Comment Re:I thought the secondary payload (Score 1) 50

What inspired engineers before space?

Science fiction for some of it. The rest was patriotism and the existence of the Cold War with Russia fueling a need for better tech than the Russians had, so that we could kill them before they killed us.

You probably do not remember Nikita Khrushchev pounding his shoe on the table at the U.N. in 1960, shouting "We will bury you!".


Creator of Relay On BITNET, Predecessor of IRC, Dies ( 31

tmjva writes: Jeff Kell passed away on November 25 as reported here in the 3000newswire. He was inventor of BITNET Relay, a predecessor of Internet Relay Chat using the REXX programming language.

In 1987 he wrote the following preserved article about RELAY and here is his obituary.. May this early inventor rest in peace.

Comment There's a similar problem... (Score 1) 320

No, they can't. Production of some things (especially steel) is best done at constant rates and temperatures. Starting back up invokes a huge cost.

There's a similar problem for industrial/solar grade silicon, such as that used in solar panels. If you shut the power off during production, you get this huge lump of useless, impure glass, and it's typically easier just to build a new furnace next to the old one, because if you shut off the power, that furnace is basically dead: buy a new one.

There are a lot of electricity dependent industrial processes which are continuous flow, and they've been designed that way to eke out another 10% efficiency, with the downside being 100% risk if you lose power during processing.

Comment Re:Really? (Score 2, Insightful) 71

Those things aren't armed, so short of someone using one of those drones for a kamikaze strike (which i'd imagine would be p. hard given that the thing is flying relatively high and there are armed soldiers in the room), there isn't much one can do.
You can get shot down, but that's about it.

The MQ-9 typically carries an ordnance load-out of some kind, even when operating in an observer role; it's just that when it's operating in an observer role, it carries less ordnance, not zero.

Typically, if the analysts get alerted, and while watching the feed, decide that they need to go "weapons hot", there is a military pilot or two in the room with the civilian pilots to handle laser-painting the targets, or the dropping of ordnance on them.

Submission + - Air Force hires civilian drone pilots for combat patrols - legality questioned (

schwit1 writes: For the first time, civilian pilots and crews now operate what the Air Force calls "combat air patrols," daily round-the-clock flights above areas of military operations to provide video and collect other sensitive intelligence.

Civilians are not allowed to pinpoint targets with lasers or fire missiles. They operate only Reapers that provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, known as ISR, said Air Force Gen. Herbert "Hawk" Carlisle, head of Air Combat Command.

The gent who wakes up and finds himself a success hasn't been asleep.