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Comment: Re:Sort-of-worked. (Score 2) 49

by Bruce Perens (#49633129) Attached to: SpaceX Launch Abort Test Successful

What I am getting from the videos is that this test was a success but that there was indeed an engine failure and the system recovered from it successfully by throttling off the opposing engine. There was less Delta-V than expected, max altitude was lower than expected, downrange was lower than expected, and that tumble after trunk jettison and during drogue deploy looked like it would have been uncomfortable for crew.

This is the second time that SpaceX has had an engine failure and recovered from it. They get points for not killing the theoretical crew either time. There will be work to do. It's to be expected, this is rocket science.

It sounds to me like the launch engineers were rattled by the short downrange and the launch director had to rein them in.

Education

Volunteer Bob Paulin Turns Kids on to Tech with Devoxx4Kids (Video) 10

Posted by Roblimo
from the it's-more-fun-to-make-the-game-than-to-play-the-game dept.
You can call Bob Paulin 'Coach' and he'll probably respond, because he's been coaching youth football since 2005. Now he's also coaching what you might call 'youth science and technology' as the Chicagoland organizer of Devoxx4Kids.org. A motto on the group's website says, 'Game programming, robotics, engineering for kids in a fun way!' And that's what the group is all about, as Bob says in this video (and in the accompanying transcript for those who prefer reading over watching).

Comment: Re:A spokesman for Uber said (Score 2) 251

by Roblimo (#49632909) Attached to: Uber Forced Out of Kansas

In Baltimore or DC you could have arranged for me or my buddy Charles to meet you at the airport in a clean stretch limo, complete with soft drinks and bottled water in the ice box, for about 20% more than a *legit* cab fare, and *less* than a jacked-up one. And we had maps and could find literally anything. Nowadays, of course, everyone has GPS. But there have always been small, squared-away local car services and limo companies. You just had to be smart enough to find them, maybe by using that Inter Net thing I keep hearing about. Or recommendations from friends or business associates. Our basic business model was to be just like your private chauffeur, except you only paid for us when you needed us, not all the time.

Most of our transport customers, after the firs year, were regulars. You could be on your way home after an exhausting flight, and know the driver who was picking you up well enough that you could go to sleep in the car. We knew where you lived, and were kind enough not to wake you until we had your luggage out of the trunk and (if applicable) got your wife/gf/bf to come wake you up with a kiss.

It's a service business. We succeeded by giving better service than our competition. And that red carpet we laid down all the time? Remnants we got for $2 each. Why didn't other transport companies do that? Got me. And on hourly charters, a rose for each lady -- or femme-ish gay.

We had all kinds of customers, which is what made the business fun.

If my eyes hadn't gotten shitty and if I still had any stamina, I'd go back in the limo biz. Still have the roblimo.com URL. :)

Comment: Re: skating on the edge of legal? (Score 1) 251

by Roblimo (#49632759) Attached to: Uber Forced Out of Kansas

"Shouldn't the existing laws be sufficient to shutdown uber?" They usually are, if anybody bothers to enforce them.

I jumped out of the cab into a "limo' that was a heavily-waxed Buick with "for hire" plates and commercial insurance. I sat on the Hyatt's parking apron and the doormen and concierges referred rides to me, and I gave them 10%. Totally legal. And over the next few months I built enough private trade that I didn't sit in front of the hotel very often, and not long after that I bought an old but low-mileage stretch -- and did well enough with it to buy a house trailer on a very nice lot in Elkridge, MD.

Uber isn't the first company that has taken on the cabs. How about Boston Coach? Or Carey Limo? Or.... hell, there's lots of them out there, all making a decent living. Uber just whines louder than the others, and is bilking investors in a big way instead of quietly running a transportation business.

Comment: Re: skating on the edge of legal? (Score 1) 251

by Roblimo (#49632635) Attached to: Uber Forced Out of Kansas

I had to get a background check and provide proof of commercial insurance to operate a limousine in Maryland. The insurance was not expensive due to my clean driving record and extensive experience as a cab & limo driver, and the background check was maybe $25, plus I had to supply 2 passport-sized photos for my passenger-carry license. BFD. Took me maybe a couple of hours, and once I was in business I did just fine.

I'm starting to think 'Uber' means 'crybaby' in the Shoshone Indian language.

AND - my friend Cate, who used to drive for Uber and Lyft at the same time, has now dropped Uber. 'They're just too flaky,' she says, and tells me just sticking with Lyft has made her life easier without cutting her income. Nicer customers, too, she says.

Robotics

Mark and Joel Make Autonomous Drones in Their Spare Time (Video) 16

Posted by Roblimo
from the when-a-drone-hits-your-eye-like-a-big-pizza-pie-that's-a-lawsuit dept.
Mark F. Brown and Joel Rozenweig build autonomous drones; that is, drones that don't need an operator every second. You tell the autonomous drone, "Pick up package # 941A at the loading dock and deliver it to 451 Bradbury St.' and off it goes. It's going to be a while yet before that happens, but one day....

Back in the present, dronemaking is still a hobby for Mark and Joel, something they do for fun after spending their workdays as software engineers at Intel. Joel says there is 'remarkably little' crossover between their jobs and their hobby, and that (so far) Intel has contributed little beyond some Edison modules (which you can buy for less than $50) and travel to the Embedded Linux Conference, where they gave a talk accompanied by these slides. NOTE: We have a little bonus for you today. We try to keep videos to 10 minutes or less, but we have no such constraints on transcript length. So if you want the 'full' version of this interview, please read the transcript.

+ - Led by Zuck, Billionaires Pony Up $100M to Fund Private Elementary Schools 1

Submitted by theodp
theodp writes: AltSchool, a 2-year-old software-fueled private elementary school initiative started by an ex-Googler, announced Monday a $100 million Series B round led by established VC firms and high-profile tech investors including Mark Zuckerberg, Laurene Powell Jobs, John Doerr, and Pierre Omidyar. AltSchool uses proprietary software that provides students with a personalized playlist lesson that teachers can keep close tabs on. Currently, a few hundred students in four Bay Area classrooms use AltSchool tech. Three more California classrooms, plus one in Brooklyn, are expected to come online this fall, plus one in Brooklyn. "We believe that every child should have access to an exceptional, personalized education that enables them to be happy and successful in an ever-changing world," reads AltSchool's mission statement. For $28,750-a-year, your kid can be one of them right now. Eventually, the plan is for the billionaire-bankrolled education magic to trickle down. AltSchool's pitch to investors, according to NPR, is that one day, charter schools or even regular public schools could outsource many basic functions to its software platform.

+ - Bill Gates Owes His Career to Steven Spielberg's Dad. You May, Too.

Submitted by theodp
theodp writes: On the 51st birthday of the BASIC programing language, GE Reports decided it was finally time to give-credit-where-credit-was-long-overdue, reporting that Arnold Spielberg, the 98-year-old father of Hollywood director Steven Spielberg, helped revolutionize computing when he designed the GE-225 mainframe computer. The machine allowed a team of Dartmouth University students and researchers to develop BASIC, which quickly spread and ushered in the era of personal computers. BASIC helped kickstart many computing careers, include those of Bill Gates and Paul Allen, as well as Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs.
Space

Native Hawaiian Panel Withdraws Support For World's Largest Telescope 282

Posted by timothy
from the not-in-their-backyard dept.
sciencehabit writes: Trustees of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) – a state agency established to advocate for native Hawaiins — voted Thursday to withdraw their support for construction of the Thirty-Meter Telescope (TMT) on the summit of the Mauna Kea volcano. The vote follows weeks of protests by Native Hawaiians who say the massive structure would desecrate one of their most holy places. The protests have shut down construction of the telescope, which would be the world's largest optical telescope if completed. The vote, which reverses a 2009 decision to endorse the project, strikes a powerful if symbolic blow against a project that, for many native Hawaiians, has come to symbolize more than a century of assaults against their land, culture and sovereignty.

+ - My High School CS Homework is the Centerfold

Submitted by theodp
theodp writes: To paraphrase the J. Geils Band, Maddie Zug's high school computer science homework is the centerfold. In a Washington Post op-ed, Zug, a student at the top-ranked Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, argues that a centerfold does not belong in the classroom. "I first saw a picture of Playboy magazine’s Miss November 1972 a year ago as a junior at TJ," Zug explains. "My artificial intelligence teacher told our class to search Google for Lena Soderberg (not the full image, though!) and use her picture to test our latest coding assignment...Soderberg has a history with computer science. In the 1970s, male programmers at the University of Southern California needed to test their image-processing algorithm. They scanned what they had handy: the centerfold of a Playboy magazine. Before long, the image became a convention in industry and academia."

Aren't you glad you're not getting all the government you pay for now?

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