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Comment Re:W.C. Fields Does Politics (Score 1) 6

What could they possibly reveal about Trump that is worse than what everyone already knows about him? He's widely known to be Mafia connected, and he's made statements at Republican primary TV debates about bribing politicians.

(And add to that the fact that any "scandal" is likely to be another thing the establishment cares about and nobody else does.)

I doubt, at this point, even dead girl/live boy would do it.

Comment Re:Why do you insist on misquoting me? (Score 1) 79

I was reacting to "Some of your favorite (by message and JE count) conspiracies are of things that haven't happened at all. . ." but I really just can't quit laughing at your mindless cheerleading efforts. We've reached the point where it's not worth attempting to discuss anything at all. Which, possibly, has been your aim all along.

Comment Re:Space-based Economy (Score 2) 262

As usual, "pop science" news overstated the case. We know that there's ppm quantities of water in most lunar regolith, but that's not what people usually talk about. There's also a good degree of confidence that there's a lot of *hydroxyl* group in a lot of places on the moon. But the connection between that and the group being specifically water is much weaker - and many missions sent to detect water in likely areas have failed. The best evidence for water have come from Chandrayaan and LRO, examining craters that were considered likely to find ice. They have both failed to find "slabs" of ice in the crater, but found evidence for ice grains in the regolith - about 5% according to LRO. On Earth that would be considered dry soil, but it's something at least.

Of course, if you're constraining yourself to such craters, you're really constraining where you can go. On the general lunar surface, the sun bakes water out of the regolith.

Iron, aluminum, and titanium are very useful for making things

They're all tightly locked up as oxides, without the raw materials that we use to refine them on Earth being available. There are however tiny grains of raw iron in the regolith, so there is some potential to comb it out magnetically. Still, asteroids present by far better resource options in much greater concentrations.

There really is just no reason to do your work in a gravity well as deep as the moon's, and then have to break out of it, when you can just mine NEOs. Yes, it's "half the gravity of Mars", but it's vastly more than asteroids. Rockets with a couple thousand spare m/s delta-V don't just grow on lunar trees.

Comment Re:Space-based Economy (Score 1) 262

The moon's surface is kind of boring, as far as geology goes. Aluminum oxide, titanium oxide, iron oxide, silicon dioxide... by and large it's stuff that's really common on Earth. And not much of the common stuff that's super-useful, like water. And really, it's way more of a gravity well than is ideal to have.

Comment Re:W.C. Fields Does Politics (Score 1) 6

Again, it's a question of ownership. Just like I suspect someone has a J.S. McCain file dating to his Keating Five days, so too I expect there is substantial dirt that will, at a surprising time, blow the bogus hairstyle right off Trump.

Comment Re:W.C. Fields Does Politics (Score 1) 6

I suspect you'll find he's fairly formidable against Clinton

Check the weather forecast, and see if it won't be raining knives in Trumps area at some point. Guy with that many decades in business has GOT to be an oppo goldmine.

Comment Re:Cost of access is key. (Score 1) 262

No no, we can get much more than a 1-2% improvement in chemical rocket performance. The issue is that for our needs thusfar (large objects to LEO and GEO, small objects further out with long transit times and gravity assists or ion propulsion), H2/O2 has been fine and it's not been worth all of the headaches of more energy dense fuel mixtures, like Li-(LF2|FLOX|OF2)-LH2 triprop. But we can indeed get a 25% improvement in ISP if we're willing to work with very hazardous, toxic chemicals (at least the resultant LiF isn't as toxic as F2!). It was already done in a lab-scale development back in the late 1960s. And let's not kid ourself, NASA has indeed launched successful missions using toxic, corrosive and dangerous chemicals as propellants. But this would be a new upper bound in this regard. I doubt they'd ever use a propellant like that on a lower stage, but for an upper stage or a return stage... it's a possibility.

Without invoking significant toxicity we can improve the picture somewhat. Burning the lithium with O2 (and of course H2 for exhaust flow reasons) is also a very high energy propellant, but it still means working with metallic lithium in some form or another (liquid, hybrid, slurry, cryosolid, etc), which most people would really like to avoid. But it is possible to do.

A small boost to H2/O2 can be made with aluminum - it only boosts the Isp a few percent (I believe about 4%-ish, though I'd have to double check), but it also gives a nice secondary bonus of really increasing your propellant density. Aluminum is neither dangerous nor toxic, but burning it with the H2/O2, and in a reliable manner, hasn't been tackled yet.

Boron is another high-energy compound one can use. As is beryllium (Be-F2-H2 is even more powerful than Li-F2-H2 by a small margin), but it's hugely expensive and extremely toxic in dust form.

Beyond all of the "familiar" stuff there's a lot of research on more exotic compounds with strained chemical bonds which remain in a metastable state until burned; there's way too many such compounds to list here. But at present they all generally suffer from either production cost issues or problematic instabilities.

Oh, and you can also improve performance by increasing the chamber pressure. That said, it's rather modest - if I recall a doubling of chamber pressure is usually on the order of a 7% ISP boost. But it does mean that advances in material technologies can translate to advances in rocket ISP. And there's also a wide range of other modifications to engine design that could boost rocket ISP to lesser extents.

Comment Re:If we're going systemd, we should go full throt (Score 2) 386

If the community get's behind systemd, it works and is/becomes usable and apps start relying on it being there - so what?

by taking over and forcing out all other options, it becomes a monoculture. and that, as we know from decades of experience where monoculture OSes have created cartels and monopolies, is incredibly dangerous.

i dedicated three years of my life - without proper financial recognition - to breaking the NT Domains monopoly, saving companies world-wide billions of dollars in the process. it is also not very well-known that i dedicated another year reverse-engineering the Exchange 5.5 protocol.

this dedication gave people a choice: they could choose to remain on monoculture monopolistic insecure proprietary and expensive per-seat-licensed servers, or they could choose to move over to software libre on any number of POSIX-compliant OSes including HPUX, AIX, Solaris, BSDs and GNU/Linux OSes - the *exact* opposite of a monopolistic monoculture. they could also choose to move to any number of proprietary solutions from companies such as Tarantella, Honeywell, Network Appliances and many more - all companies who got together because i pioneered the reverse-engineering (and wasn't murdered for doing so) which forced Microsoft to start doing proper documentation, and to sponsor CIFS conferences.

now i am witnessing a process by which everyone in the GNU/Linux community, by working in a totally dedicated way in "their corner" that has to be respected precisely *because* it is so dedicated, yet as a whole *all* of us have gone "hmmm, i'm working in my corner, the global problem isn't my problem: i'm making local decisions, here, which make my life easy and i'm doing what i think is best", totally forgetting that the overall consequences are like a shoal of fish: EVERYBODY has "flipped" - all at once - and the direction is a dangerous one that no one person has any responsibility or control over, because we are *not* a company, we do *not* have a "Board of Directors who can give us orders that we are required to follow or be fired", we are a bazaar - a self-organised group of self-organised individuals with independent free will and highly-focussed responsibilities.

the "flip" is to a dangerous monoculture position with, as we are now witnessing, absolutely zero choice (bad choices are no choice at all) - which i've warned about well over a year ago, and was told, basically, to "fuck off". well... now we begin to see the consequences.

i am running fvwm2 - i have been for 20 years - and i am using's recompiled versions of critical dependencies (udevd and others) all of which have "--no-systemd" in the files. so i will not be concerned about trojans that attack vulnerabilities in systemd, exploiting the new features such as allowing the firewall to be disabled and much, much more. but you - all you who trust the systemd authors and the desktop environments that now operate exclusively on systemd? you should be concerned.

Comment Re:Cost of access is key. (Score 1) 262

Staging works pretty well to get around the energy density problem, at least early on.. though the rocket equation starts getting pretty tyrranical when it comes to returns from other planetary bodies. It's really hard to conceive of a manned Mars mission with return that doesn't involve at least the return ascent stage being fueled by one of the following:

1) In-situ propellant production
2) Extreme-ISP chemical propellant
3) Nuclear thermal

You can't rely on ion propulsion (even higher power variants like VASIMR) to get you off the ground. Nuclear thermal (1) should work (NERVA showed promise), but the development costs will be huge and it'd face massive public opposition, having that much nuclear fuel on a single craft. It also puts a rather large minimum size for your ascent stage - fission doesn't scale down well, and even as big as it was NERVA only had a thrust to weight ratio of 3 to 4. And the mass of that large, heavy ascent stage imposes significant mass penalties on your earlier stages, partially negating the benefit of that 800-1100 sec ISP.

For more advanced chemicals (2), there's lots of theoretical stuff, but with stuff that we could do today for a practical cost, it'd probably pretty much have to be some variant of lithium/fluorine/hydrogen triprop. The oxidizer could be LF, FLOX, OF2, or a couple other possibilities... but if you want an ISP(vac) from chemical propellants in 500-550 range and good density, that's pretty much what you have to do (yes, the LM and CSM used toxic, corrosive, dangerous propellants too, and NASA managed fine, but these are even worse). And even still, 500-550 sec is low enough that you'd probably still want some sort of ion "tug" cycler to move you between LEO and LMO, with your fuel only used for ascent.

If you don't want to or can't do either of those two options (#2 and #3), you're pretty much stuck with in-situ production (unless you want to have to launch a LOT of tonnage into orbit!) Which is why that's SpaceX's focus... it probably is the best option. Still, though, it's a challenge and a risk, no question.

The Courts

Insurer Refuses To Cover Cox In Massive Piracy Lawsuit ( 62

An anonymous reader writes with news that Cox Communications' insurer, Lloyds Of London underwriter Beazley, is refusing to cover legal costs and any liabilities from the case brought against it by BMG and Round Hill Music. TorrentFreak reports: "Trouble continues for one of the largest Internet providers in the United States, with a Lloyds underwriter now suing Cox Communications over an insurance dispute. The insurer is refusing to cover legal fees and potential piracy damages in Cox's case against BMG Rights Management and Round Hill Music. Following a ruling from a Virginia federal court that Cox is not protected by the safe-harbor provisions of the DMCA, the Internet provider must now deal with another setback. Following a ruling from a Virginia federal court that Cox is not protected by the safe-harbor provisions of the DMCA, the Internet provider must now deal with another setback."

Comment Re:Windows 7 (Score 2) 310

Funny, because I had an laptop that came with Vista SP1. Later when I upgraded it to Windows 7, I wondered why I even bothered since it looked and performed exactly the same.

And I had a laptop that came with Vista. It was totally unusable. Then SP1 came out and it became mildly usable. Then I got Windows 7 on it and the difference was like night and day. Boot times were cut by far more than half. Time to usability after login, likewise. Responsiveness increased dramatically. Crashes reduced likewise. Windows 7 in particular uses less memory than Vista; Vista chokes on 2GB systems and doesn't become acceptable until 3 or 4GB, and 7 is acceptable in 512MB and fine in 1GB. This is not a big deal today when RAM is practically free — I have 16GB in my budget desktop, and that only because I like to run virtual machine and keep them running while I run big, memory-hungry apps. At the time, it was a big deal.

Make it right before you make it faster.