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Comment: The article has an obvous bias (Score 1) 135

At the start, it talks about using reactors to generate thermal thrust and using reactor generated electricity for ion propulsion. Then everything is limited to advocating thermal thrust. That's because thermal thrust reactors make manned exploration of the solar system much more feasible. Using reactors for ion propulsion is more suited to robotic exploration, because ion thrust means longer travel time. So the point of the article is to justify nuclear propulsion in space for manned missions, but they never really say this directly, it's implied.

Not being up front about this seems intellectually dishonest. If you want to use this kind of nuclear energy is space for manned programs, you are advocating a risk vs. reward tradeoff. Don't sidestep the issue.

Here's the Wikipedia article about nuclear power in space.

Comment: Re:Godzilla v. Mothra (Score 1) 276

by Required Snark (#48937857) Attached to: Microsoft To Invest In Rogue Android Startup Cyanogen
Remember, no matter what happens at the end of the movie, and who or what is destroyed, there can always be a sequel. And then there are the reboots, and new actors stepping into existing roles. How many times has there been a new Batman, or Joker, or James Bond?

So just because Balmer has decided to go throw chairs on a basketball court, that doesn't mean that Microsoft can't gen up a new super villain. Just sayin...

Comment: Let's get this straight (Score 4, Insightful) 145

by Required Snark (#48922335) Attached to: How One Small Company Blocked 15.1 Million Robocalls Last Year
The NSA has metadata (and most likely recordings) of most of the phone calls in the entire world. The FBI (and a bunch of other unnamed government agencies) can and do tap phones without court orders. Cell phones can be used to track individuals 24/7. And yet somehow between the FCC and all the phone companies no one can figure out who is making robocalls. Really?

What's actually going on is that phone companies love robocalls because they make money on them and the FCC doesn't give a damn and/or is too "pro-business" to do anything for consumers.

Just stop lying and pretending that this is a hard problem. It's bad enough that this crap goes on in the first place. Pretending that nothing can be done is adding insult to injury. STFU and admit that it happens on purpose and nothing will change because you like the status quo. Stop lying to us!

+ - Proposed Space Telescope Uses Huge Opaque Disk to Surpass Hubble->

Submitted by Required Snark
Required Snark (1702878) writes "NASA has funded a study of a geo-sychrounous orbit telescope that uses a half mile diameter opaque disk to provide images with 1000 times the resolution of the Hubble. It uses diffraction at the edge of the disk to focus light, resulting in a very high quality image. It's named the Aragoscope, after the scientist Francois Arago, who first noticed how a disk effects light waves.

When deployed the Aragoscope will consist of an opaque disk a half mile in diameter parked in geostationary orbit behind which is an orbiting telescope keeping station some tens to hundreds of miles behind that collects the light at the focal point and rectifies it into a high-resolution image.

"The opaque disk of the Aragoscope works in a similar way to a basic lens," says CU-Boulder doctoral student and team member Anthony Harness. "The light diffracted around the edge of the circular disk travels the same path length to the center and comes into focus as an image." He added that, since image resolution increases with telescope diameter, being able to launch such a large, yet lightweight disk would allow astronomers to achieve higher-resolution images than with smaller, traditional space telescopes.

"

Link to Original Source

Comment: A Real Capitalist (Score 2) 307

When you are the king of the hill, like Blackberry was, you have a walled garden and you want the government to "protect your rights".

When you're in deep trouble, you decide that it's the government's absolute duty to use the law keep you in business.

All that "free market" talk is for the suckers. What capitalists want is government guaranteed profit; i.e. they want the same free ride that Wall Street gets.

Comment: Republicans are stupid (Score 1) 666

by Required Snark (#48871109) Attached to: US Senate Set To Vote On Whether Climate Change Is a Hoax
I didn't bother to read anything but the headline, because I'm tired of the endless crap that spews out of the Republican party. It's a never ending flow of sewage, and it stinks in every way.

They might as well be voting on whether the world is flat or not. This falls into the category of "not even wrong".

We already know how this is going to come out; the Republican House and Senate will scream "Hoax".

They will do this for a combination of ugly and stupid reasons. First, they are the party of greed. As long as the top 1% are raking it in they don't care who gets screwed. Second, they hate Obama personally, because he is an Uppity N*****. This is a way of telling him to go screw himself.

Finally, it's an expression of the one value that all Republicans agree on: Fuck You. This is the real motto of the Republican party. Being for something is not what motivates them, but being violently against something is what gets them off. They even love to do it to one another, which is why they sling the term RHINO around: Republican In Name Only. For them, it's a curse word.

If there is a scintilla of good to come from this, it's from the stain it will leave on the Republican party. When climate change effects start to really kick in over the next 20 years, they will be on record as being horribly wrong. Since climate change is going to be the defining issue of the 21st century, it will be hard to escape the shadow of this very high profile blunder.

Personally, I hope that not only the Republican party will be held accountable, but that the individuals who vote for this will suffer. When things get ugly, I want them to hounded and blamed in public, and have their lives ruined. It's all that they deserve, and it might serve as a lesson for the future that willful ignorance can have personal, as well as global, consequences.

Comment: What software/hardware are the critics running? (Score 1, Insightful) 229

by Required Snark (#48863035) Attached to: Librem: a Laptop Custom-Made For Free/Libre Software
Many Slashdot Pundits are being hyper critical of his project because hardware X may be compromised by the NSA, or chip Y has blob drivers, or software stack Z is encumbered by patents. Since they are all so worried about the lack of Open Source Purity, they must already running some fantastic setup that has solved all these problems.

Obviously. since the problem is solved, they should be sharing the details with the rest of the poor slobs on Slashdot who are at the mercy of the evil forces of closed proprietary systems.

For a start, none of them are running any Microsoft or Apple product, so no Windows or Mac Os. And they can't be using the latest generation of any CPU, since the NSA has already infiltrated those designs. To be really secure, they must be using something pre-Pentium II, like a 486 generation CPU, or maybe a Motorola 68000. And it can't have USB, since USB sticks are now known to be an attack vector. And they have ATA disks or SCSI and floppies for offline storage and VGA adapters with VGA analog output. Because if they don't go go really old school, how can the be really sure that they aren't under the thumb of The Man?

Yes, all the whiners are running really old gear, because if they weren't they would be horrible hypocrites, and none of them would do that ever, right?

Comment: Re:Nope (Score 4, Insightful) 241

by Required Snark (#48855019) Attached to: Could Tizen Be the Next Android?
What other phone manufacturer would touch Tizen with a 10-foot pole? That would put them at a significant disadvantage because Samsung would never let them build a better product. So the only ones using will be Samsung, and somehow it doesn't seem likely that Samsung can create the same kind of walled garden that Apple has developed.

It seems like Google is has no long term commitment to building phone hardware. They didn't keep Motorola, for example. And this attempt to make a modular phone seems more like a technology demonstration then a product role out. Does anyone think they will try and make a business line out of it? I doubt it. So hardware vendors can continue use Android and not be worried about competing with Google directly, which is why I think they got rid of Motorola.

Comment: Re:Business model? (Score 2, Informative) 105

Yes, the efficient private sector is vastly more efficient at lots of things, like nearly destroying the world financial system through a mixture of greed and stupidity.

Many causes for the financial crisis have been suggested, with varying weight assigned by experts. The U.S. Senate's Levin–Coburn Report concluded that the crisis was the result of "high risk, complex financial products; undisclosed conflicts of interest; the failure of regulators, the credit rating agencies, and the market itself to rein in the excesses of Wall Street." The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission concluded that the financial crisis was avoidable and was caused by "widespread failures in financial regulation and supervision," "dramatic failures of corporate governance and risk management at many systemically important financial institutions," "a combination of excessive borrowing, risky investments, and lack of transparency" by financial institutions, ill preparation and inconsistent action by government that "added to the uncertainty and panic," a "systemic breakdown in accountability and ethics," "collapsing mortgage-lending standards and the mortgage securitization pipeline," deregulation of over-the-counter derivatives, especially credit default swaps, and "the failures of credit rating agencies" to correctly price risk. The 1999 repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act effectively removed the separation between investment banks and depository banks in the United States. Critics argued that credit rating agencies and investors failed to accurately price the risk involved with mortgage-related financial products, and that governments did not adjust their regulatory practices to address 21st-century financial markets. Research into the causes of the financial crisis has also focused on the role of interest rate spreads.

And before you jump on the culpability of the US Government, the regulatory failures were the results of decades of deregulation that started during the Reagan eras, and were advanced by Alan Greenspan, a life long opponent of financial regulation.

As early as 1997, Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan fought to keep the derivatives market unregulated. With the advice of the President's Working Group on Financial Markets, the U.S. Congress and President Bill Clinton allowed the self-regulation of the over-the-counter derivatives market when they enacted the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000. Derivatives such as credit default swaps (CDS) can be used to hedge or speculate against particular credit risks without necessarily owning the underlying debt instruments. The volume of CDS outstanding increased 100-fold from 1998 to 2008, with estimates of the debt covered by CDS contracts, as of November 2008, ranging from US$33 to $47 trillion. Total over-the-counter (OTC) derivative notional value rose to $683 trillion by June 2008. Warren Buffett famously referred to derivatives as "financial weapons of mass destruction" in early 2003.

And speaking of telecommunications, our national policy is now being dictated by Tom Wheeler as head of the FCC, who previously was head of both the National Cable & Telecommunications Association and the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association. That means he was representing Comcast with one of the worst customer rankings of any organization in the US, including the IRS.

In 2004 and 2007, the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) survey found that Comcast had the worst customer satisfaction rating of any company or government agency in the country, including the Internal Revenue Service. The ACSI indicates that almost half of all cable customers (regardless of company) have registered complaints, and that cable is the only industry to score below 60 in the ACSI. Comcast's Customer Service Rating by the ACSI surveys indicate that the company's customer service has never improved since the surveys began in 2001. Analysis of the surveys states that "Comcast is one of the lowest scoring companies in ACSI. As its customer satisfaction eroded by 7% over the past year, revenue increased by 12%." The ACSI analysis also addresses this contradiction, stating that "Such pricing power usually comes with some level of monopoly protection and most cable companies have little competition at the local level. This also means that a cable company can do well financially even though its customers are not particularly satisfied." In 2009 Comcast rebounded on its ACSI rating for television and Internet services, moving ahead of Charter Communications and into a tie with Time Warner Cable.

...

Consumer affairs blog The Consumerist named Comcast "Worst Company in America" in 2010 and 2014. The company received the "Golden Poo" award to its Philadelphia headquarters in commemoration of the victory. The company also finished in the top three in 2008, 2009, 2011, and 2013. Since 2006, it has received more Golden, Silver and Bronze awards for poor customer service performance than any other company in the country, including Wal-Mart, Bank of America, and Ticketmaster.

So private enterprise does a great job, if your definition of "great" includes gross incompetence, government enforced monopolies, greed of epic proportions and taxpayer bailouts.

Comment: Re:Non-voting shares (Score 1) 105

push SpaceX to use Google hardware and software

Are we talking about Google Docs in space? Google Glass for astronauts? What hardware or software are you talking about? Do you have the fainest clue about space rating anything? It's not going down to Best Buy and getting a laptop with TurboTax, you realize, right?

Comment: Re:I predict far less outrage (Score 0) 102

by Required Snark (#48843205) Attached to: Feds Operated Yet Another Secret Metadata Database Until 2013

Are minorities treated like second-class citizens in the US or something?

Family Outraged After North Miami Beach Police Use Mug Shots as Shooting Targets

A South Florida family is outraged at North Miami Beach Police after mug shots of African American men were used at a shooting range for police training.

It was an ordinary Saturday morning last month when Sgt. Valerie Deant arrived at the shooting range in Medley, or so she thought.

Deant, who plays clarinet with the Florida Army National Guard’s 13th Army Band, and her fellow soldiers were at the shooting range for their annual weapons qualifications training.

What the soldiers discovered when they entered the range made them angry: mug shots of African American men apparently used as targets by North Miami Beach Police snipers, who had used the range before the guardsmen.

Even more startling for Deant, one of the images was her brother. It was Woody Deant’s mug shot that taken 15 years ago, after he was arrested in connection to a drag race in 2000 that left two people dead. His mug shot was among the pictures of five minorities used as targets by North Miami Beach police, all of them riddled by bullets.

“I was like 'why is my brother being used for target practice?'" Deant asked.

She immediately called her brother, Woody Deant, who was 18 years old when the picture was taken.

“The picture actually has like bullet holes,” Woody Deant said. “One in my forehead and one in my eye. I was speechless," he added.

The City of Medley owns the Medley Firearms Training Center and it leases the facilities to law enforcement agencies in the area. The shooting range staff doesn’t select the targets used by law enforcement and the military.

North Miami Beach Police Chief J. Scott Dennis admitted that his officers could have used better judgment, but denies any racial profiling.

He noted that the sniper team includes minority officers. Dennis defended the department’s use of actual photographs and says the technique is widely used and the pictures are vital for facial recognition drills. But the Deant family questions why officers were firing targets with images of real people, in this case African-Americans, especially at a time when relations between minority communities and law enforcement are so tense.

“Our policies were not violated,” Dennis said. “There is no discipline forthcoming from the individuals who were involved with this.”

NBC 6 Investigators spoke with sources at federal and state law enforcement agencies and five local police departments that have SWAT and sniper teams in an attempt to find out if this is a common practice. All law enforcement agencies said they only use commercially produced targets, not photos of human beings for target practice.

Yes, the short answer is that in the USA minorities are second class citizens. They are often are denied the rights to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness".

Now consider what would happen if a minority gun club had targets made of white people. They would be slapped with the label "terrorist" and end up in a Federal maximum security lockup for life.

You don't think so? No matter who you are if you did the same thing with pictures of cops it would happen to you. But if you have a gun and badge and you do the equivalent, then it's just bad judgement.

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. - Edmund Burke

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