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Comment: Re:Going back to cash (Score 1) 218

by Megane (#47445813) Attached to: Predicting a Future Free of Dollar Bills

Last week I swiped my card at a gas station pump before noticing the tamper proof seals had been broken.

Most likely from some brat kid breaking them with his fingernail.

The real reason for the seals is to stop people from getting free (or almost free) gas. If you know how to operate the pump side controls, you can press a couple of buttons to change the price to pennies per gallon. They're only downloaded when the price changes, and the back-end system then only selects which price level (cash or credit) to use for a transaction.

And if you're using debit, the PIN pads are supposed to be potted and keys injected into battery-backed RAM (code in RAM is a good idea too) to prevent tampering. In the US at least, the key is supposed to be only known by the clearinghouse at the other end of the comm line, and only comes out of the pad already encrypted.

Comment: Re:Useless coins (Score 1) 218

by Megane (#47445729) Attached to: Predicting a Future Free of Dollar Bills

The US had a nice dollar coin (the Susan B Anthony). But it looked too much like a quarter, being only being slightly bigger, so people didn't use it.

Then they made a new one (the Sacagawea). It was the same size (because vending machines), but made out of a brass-colored metal, and no edge milling. The metal looks nice when it's new, but with relatively low time in circulation it tarnishes to an ugly brown that has no contrast for the artwork. And people still won't use it, because the US government (probably mostly due to Congressional inertia) keeps making singles. They've even issued them with different artwork, but nobody cares. I'd be surprised if 10% of the US population even knows they exist, and probably more people know about the 2-dollar bills that nobody uses either.

There are a few places where you might find the dollar coins used, such as some parking garages. It's more reliable to make change with coins than with worn-out GWs, and quarters are no good when you're charging $8-$15 and people are likely to want to use a $20 bill at unattended payment terminals. The coins become a sort of local currency because of repeat business, so there is some amount of recirculation.

The post office used to have nice coin-operated stamp vending machines that took any coin from a penny to a dollar (except for those old monster JFK half-dollars), and gave dollar coins for change, but they yanked them out years ago in favor of some kind of complicated credit card-based scale/postage printing machine that basically nobody uses. So now you have to wait in line to buy a sheet of bog-standard stamps. (But I can get them at the supermarket check-out too, so meh.)

+ - SpaceX Wins FAA Permission to Build a Spaceport in Texas

Submitted by Jason Koebler
Jason Koebler (3528235) writes "SpaceX just got approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to build a 56.5-acre spaceport along the Gulf of Mexico on the Texas-Mexico border—a huge step toward actually making the spaceport a reality.
Wednesday, the FAA, which handles all commercial space launch permitting in the United States, issued what's known as a "Record of Decision" that suggests the agency would allow the company to launch 10 Falcon 9 rockets and two Falcon Heavy rockets per year out of the spaceport, through at least 2025."

+ - StartStarterer seeks to revolutionize the way Crowdfunding Websites are born

Submitted by orcundead
orcundead (2706033) writes "A new campaign on Indiegogo is raising funds for a new Crowdfunding website which in turn will help fund... Crowdfunding websites. From the project's pitch text: "In today's world, many people would like to run their own crowdfunding website, but lack the resources to set up, launch and maintain such a service... By focusing solely on crowdfunding websites and automating such rudimentary tasks as writing a campaign pitch, setting up perks and adding images and videos, StartStarterer will be able to eliminate much of the unnecessary form-filling and headache normally associated with setting up a new crowdfunding campaign.""

Comment: Re:Mars no, (Score 2, Informative) 78

by Megane (#47414469) Attached to: Buzz Aldrin Pressures Obama For New Space Exploration Initiative

Permanent Lunar presence for Helium 3 extraction YES

Uh, huh. So what exactly are you going to do with that helium when you extract the few parts per million on the lunar surface? We don't even have fusion working yet, and He3 is not a first-generation fusion fuel.

We'll be on Mars long before we can use He3 for anything but inflating balloons.

+ - New released NOAA data now confirms decades long cooling->

Submitted by bricko
bricko (1052210) writes "National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s most accurate, up-to-date temperature data confirm the United States has been cooling for at least the past decade.

Responding to widespread criticism that its temperature station readings were corrupted by poor citing issues and suspect adjustments, NOAA established a network of 114 pristinely sited temperature stations spread out fairly uniformly throughout the United States. Because the network, known as the U.S. Climate Reference Network (USCRN), is so uniformly and pristinely situated, the temperature data require no adjustments to provide an accurate nationwide temperature record. USCRN began compiling temperature data in January 2005. Now, nearly a decade later, NOAA has finally made the USCRN temperature readings available.

According to the USCRN temperature readings, U.S. temperatures are not rising at all – at least not since the network became operational 10 years ago. Instead, the United States has cooled by approximately 0.4 degrees Celsius, which is more than half of the claimed global warming of the twentieth century.

USCRN data debunk claims that rising U.S. temperatures caused wildfires, droughts, or other extreme weather events during the past year. The objective data show droughts, wildfires, and other extreme weather events have become less frequent and severe in recent decades as our planet modestly warms. But even ignoring such objective data, it is difficult to claim global warming is causing recent U.S. droughts and wildfires when U.S. temperatures are a full 0.4 degrees Celsius colder than they were in 2005."

Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Bring back the F1 (Score 1) 146

by Megane (#47390479) Attached to: NASA Approves Production of Most Powerful Rocket Ever

we had one of the best heavy lift rockets in the world, the Saturn V launch system. ... Only lift rocket that had a 100% success rate.

To be entirely fair, Saturn V only launched thirteen times. Falcon 9 is currently working on its tenth launch and has so far had a 100% success rate. (no cargo lost except one "hitchhiker" payload after an engine cutout, denied alternate means of insertion by NASA because of a ~5% risk to ISS, a known restriction before launch) The heavy lift version will come soon enough when they catch up with manufacturing enough F9 rockets.

"No matter where you go, there you are..." -- Buckaroo Banzai