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Comment: Re:ISS is worth the dollars spent. (Score 1) 80

but they already have done exceptionally well especially when compared to some military defense contractor

We can compare them to Enron too, or compare them to Jeffrey Dahmer. It proves nothing.

NASA peaked in '69, and it has been all downhill since then. Its long since past time for them to shit or get off the pot. Since they seem unwilling to produce, its time to cut them out and replace them with someone who can show results.

To be fair, a large part of the problem is political and legal. Our legal and political systems cant deal with / don't tolerate fatalities. Even the military is loosing their protections in this regard. It means that the politicians and the lawyers are actively preventing us from making forward progress because of the overwhelming backlash against "allowing" a fatality.

Comment: Re: Ground Control... (Score 3, Interesting) 80

There has to be proof, in safety-critical processes

First: Why? everything in life is a risk. If you put out an add looking for volunteers for a mission that is almost 100% guaranteed to kill the volunteer, you will still get many thousands of times the number of volunteers as you need...

Second: There is no such thing as proof. the very concept is for mathematicians, politicians and idiots; none of whom deal in the real world. The real world is dangerous, and people are notoriously bad at planning for the unexpected. The amount of danger increases as a function of the energy involved, making spaceflight very dangerous by definition. The people involved accept that risk, but what good is installing 3 redundant hydraulic systems when a single fault in the leading edge of a wing severs all three... A better use of weight and cost would be two systems with armor... (Might have saved Columbia, or at least gotten the crew to a slow enough speed and low enough altitude that they could have survived breakup/bailout). Redundant systems have a demonstrated usefulness, but they fail completely when face with area effects, and yet, redundancy is used to "prove" low odds of failure, that simply do not pan out in reality. Fukushima was supposed to survive a one in a thousand years tsunami...

flight 232 had all three hydraulic system severed in what was supposed to be a 1 in a billion event...

Kegworth was a result of redundant engines being useless because the wrong engine got shut down...

"Proof" in mechanical systems is usually demonstrated through redundancy which only gets you so far: Not nearly as far as the engineers are taught...

Comment: Re:Useless money pit (Score 5, Insightful) 80

The problem is that there's no actual use for people in space, so the practice is useless too.

As far as anyone can tell, there's no actual use for people here, unless you count self-propagation, pollution, and destruction. But any bacteria can do those things.

Comment: scheduling (Score 2) 80

"Life in space is so complicated that a lot of logistics have to be off-loaded to the ground if astronauts are to actually do anything substantive. Just building the schedule for the astronauts in orbit on the U.S. side of the station requires a full-time team of 50 staffers.

I'm sorry, but that just flies in the face of reason. If its true, then NASA is doing something badly wrong. It should not take 50x as long to figure out what order to do things as it does to actually do them. I could understand a complex operation like a spacewalk taking 50 man hours to plan for a one hour project, but the majority of things that people do simply do not benefit from that extreme level of planning.

A good example of the over-thinking that NASA does is the Columbia Crew survivability report. Many tens of thousands of hours were spent on the analysis that concluded the same thing that just about anyone could have stated after 30 seconds of deliberation: There were many different factors involved in supersonic re-entry, most of which are fatal, and there is no known technology that could have saved the crew from any significant portion of those factors. Yet NASA felt it necessary to spend millions on that part of the investigation...

If people want to continue NASA in any meaningful way, two decisions need to be made: First, what do we really want NASA to accomplish? (meaning we the people, NOT we the NASA), and how much will it really cost.

I can virtually guarantee that no one cares if NASA achieves any more science. What people want NASA to be achieving is the engineering of going into space and staying there. Everything else costs more than it is worth, and should be undertaken only if the costs can be partially subsidized by the engineering projects needed to achieve cheap space travel.

Given the progression of human engineering expression, space travel should be accessible to a significant minority of the worlds population. 35 years after the wright brothers, the entire upper middle class could afford to fly. 35 years after Apollo, only a handfull of people have even been to the moon, and less than 100 individuals could afford to pay out of pocket to do so today, and even if they did, they would have to wait 10 years for someone to put together a dedicated mission.

NASA has failed in its primary responsibility to the American people: Make space travel commonplace.

Comment: Re:Great news for OSS (Score 1) 35

by drinkypoo (#48683971) Attached to: Phoronix Lauds AMD's Open Source Radeon Driver Progress For 2014

I will welcome them when the drivers reach parity and they scrub the commercial driver, until then I've been burned too many times by ATI to even consider one of their GPUs. Not literally, either, just continual wrestling with shit drivers.

I'm told they've gotten better, but I've got no reason to change

Comment: Re:Or you could avoid posting the pictures (Score 1) 172

by drinkypoo (#48683961) Attached to: Facebook Apologizes For 'Year In Review' Photos

You do realize that until the point where his daughter died, he very much wanted to see the photos and share them, right? You're essentially asking for a grieving father to go through his entire photo collection and mark his daughter's photos as "don't show this". That's in no way a solution.

The solution is not to pretend that bad things don't happen. It's for our society to grow up and learn to accept that they do, and learn to take care of one another. If your daughter dies next year, at the end of the year, will you pretend it didn't happen? Someone with a happier year would have a happier year in review.

People are confused by Facebook, it's just life with more ads.

Comment: Re:How about mandatory felony sentences instead? (Score 1) 205

by drinkypoo (#48683949) Attached to: Drunk Drivers in California May Get Mandated Interlock Devices

Getting convictions is hard, cycling through people is a lot easier. And having to get to work without a car gets the message across,

This is a side effect of our nation being built around the car. In most U.S. cities, let alone in the suburbs, trying to exist without an automobile is at best isolating and will often lead to loss of opportunity. Potential employers judge you in part by your car, and if you don't have one they may well decide that they can't expect you to get to work reliably.

Since you reasonably need a car to participate in our society, driving should be a right and the focus should be on helping people defeat alcoholism. That, however, would require that someone act like they care about that person, and by and large we don't actually give one fuck about one another. We just don't want people inconveniencing us on our way home from work.

Or, and here's a novel idea, we could restore our public transportation systems to the track they were on when the auto companies destroyed them. Then our society could easily absorb the cost of taking driving privileges away from people, since they could still reasonably function in their daily lives, and the debate over whether it's right to terminate people's driving rights would be a much simpler one because it wouldn't interfere with their human rights.

TL;DR: We intentionally rebuilt our society around the car, you can't just take away people's driving privileges because without treating them as rights our society doesn't work.

Comment: Re:How about mandatory felony sentences instead? (Score 1) 205

by drinkypoo (#48683935) Attached to: Drunk Drivers in California May Get Mandated Interlock Devices

But in Oz you have functional public health. In the USA, if you lose your job, you lose any functional health insurance you might have had. The kind I can buy with my own money doesn't have any available doctors taking new patients, just like when I last had health insurance before Obamacare. I literally cannot get anything but lackluster emergency care in my county.

Comment: Re: who cares how many children (Score 1) 157

by drinkypoo (#48683921) Attached to: AirAsia Flight Goes Missing Between Indonesia and SIngapore

No. Children are underdeveloped and require a considerable amount of investment before they create value. Compared to adults where the investment has already been made and who now cannot pay it back, children are worth less.

Children have potential and with considerable investment may create value, compared to adults who have already proven that they lack potential and will never do anything more significant in their lifetime than pollute.

A method of solution is perfect if we can forsee from the start, and even prove, that following that method we shall attain our aim. -- Leibnitz