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Comment: Re: I'm quite surprised it wasn't (Score 1) 493

by RockDoctor (#48442403) Attached to: What Would Have Happened If Philae Were Nuclear Powered?

a billions dollars on simple solar panels.

I think it was entirely appropriate to work out how much power they needed, then provide a power supply capable of achieving that, using materials that were acceptable to the people paying the bills (NB : not America, in the largest part). And they did it using some of the most sophisticated solar panels to go into space.

If they had used a Pu-238 RTG (which for political reasons may have been sourced from our neighbours - the Russians), and some 60-90kilos of instrument weight had been rejected from the orbiter to allow for the increased mass of the lander+RTG, and the lander had then landed, bounced, landed upside down, and achieved only 10% of the science package, would you have like to defend the RTG decision to the court of public opinion?

Ah, hindsight - the only 100% perfect telescope!

Comment: Re:I'm quite surprised it wasn't (Score 1) 493

by RockDoctor (#48442383) Attached to: What Would Have Happened If Philae Were Nuclear Powered?
I hardly consider myself to have more than the normal -for a nerd- interest in space science, astronomy and technology, but I'm astonished how you could have actually acquired or held that immensely mistaken a belief. Did you pay no attention at all to space technology since the month (or so) when we both signed up for Slashdot? Did you not notice the months of struggles to bring SOHO back from it's unplanned orientation excursion? Did you miss the years of worries over the build up of dust on the Mars rovers. Did the agonies of trying to manoeuvre the cripples Spirit rover to get the extra couple of degrees of tilt to try to survive it's final winter pass you by?

How can a Slashdot reader not be paying a modicum of attention to space science? After all, to the best of the evidence we have, that entire universe is ours, and we nerds are likely to be the first people to get out there and own it. (Or our logical descendents.)

Comment: Re:Toronto Municipal Gov't divided (Score 1) 168

by RockDoctor (#48442233) Attached to: City of Toronto Files Court Injunction Against Uber

They do not receive special safety inspections above and beyond the normal, the drivers do not receive special scrutiny above and beyond a normal driver, the only issue is insurance which the ride services already require be handled, or handle themselves.

Speak for your own country. Here, for certain taxi cabs and mini cabs receive special safety inspections. The normal regime of inspection is nothing for 3 years, then a mandatory annual inspection ; for taxis, it's a 6-monthly inspection from registration.

Taxi drivers who are to handle vulnerable people (unaccompanied minors, unaccompanied sub-normal adults) require a full criminal records check - as does anyone who works with vulnerable people.

All taxi drivers must display their photographic and hologrammed (i.e., fakable, but not trivially fakable) where the passenger can inspect it ; no ifs, no buts, no maybes - "must". All taxis must display their additional registration plate where it can be read, and that plate contains the registration plate of the vehicle.

Your country may have fucked up regulations which are not enforced, but that doesn't mean that the rest of the world is as badly fucked up.

I take it that you're not going to support the spread of Uber etc to countries with proper taxi regulation.

Comment: Re: "after four nearly sleepless days and nights" (Score 1) 88

by RockDoctor (#48414277) Attached to: After Four Days, Philae Team Gets to Rest
That's the job. Many of my trine es go on to supervise or plan such jobs. They leave me with no doubt of the drain they put on people. And, in my experience they remember, and fight a corner for 24x7 experienced cover. But if the people aren't there to hire, and the bed space isn't available ... then at least they understand the problems of the (person)in the field better. It's not perfect, but it's better than nothing.

Comment: Re: "after four nearly sleepless days and nights" (Score 1) 88

by RockDoctor (#48412821) Attached to: After Four Days, Philae Team Gets to Rest
I've been doing this since 1987, to varying degrees. Some years I've been down to about 1500 hours work (though we bill by the day, or part of, door to door), some years pushing 3000 hours, and utterly exhausted. The intensity increases with time, because you get sent to jobs with absolute greenhorn (instead of being the greenhorn yourself). And sometimes you do have to just dump raw data upstream for assessment there, but even then you need to verify that the collection parameters were recorded appropriately.

(An 8h x 5d x 48w year is 1920 hours. On the other hand, when I'm not at work, I can go for a week hill walking if I want, and there's nothing the Boss can say - it's my compensatory time for sleeping at the work site and being on 24x7 call.

Comment: Re: "after four nearly sleepless days and nights" (Score 1) 88

by RockDoctor (#48410609) Attached to: After Four Days, Philae Team Gets to Rest
When I'm at work, and we go from routine operations (where I have a lot to do) to evaluation operations (where I have a lot to do and can't delegate chunks of it to my night-shift/trainee, because they're a trainee) then yes, I have to do this regularly. Bouts of 4-5 days are normal; up to 8 days not uncommon, but deeply draining. Then there will unavoidably be 1-2 days of engineering/ maintenance work, and then the cycle repeats. Bouts like this happen a couple of times a month, then I'm rotated back to shore or my home country to recover.

Don't get me wrong- this is draining. But it's not impossible.

OTOH, there is a good reason that 90% of trainees move on to office work instead of staying in field work : a lot of them can't handle the fieldwork.

Comment: Re: Legalities (Score 1) 301

by RockDoctor (#48410351) Attached to: Police Body Cam Privacy Exploitation
The same issue applies to a police officer recording copyrighted matter in the process of his work in a private home. His possession of an unlicensed recording of Katy Perry (whoever he is) remains a crime, regardless of whether he also has footage covering work - related stuff. Even if it's the same footage.

Comment: Re:Sue Them or Give Up? No. Kill them. Messily. (Score 1) 141

by RockDoctor (#48408665) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Dealing With VoIP Fraud/Phishing Scams?
Well, I wouldn't go directly to murder.

Removal of fingers, ears, external genitalia, in approximately that order. Lots of unsubtle anal rape with a cattle prod. Come on guys - you've got professionals doing this stuff for your government. It's not rocket science (though you can use pyrotechnics, if you want to be showy). Just good old torture. And you need to communicate to the spammers to make sure that they know their children, siblings or parents are paying for their actions.

Comment: Re:"after four nearly sleepless days and nights" (Score 1) 88

by RockDoctor (#48408619) Attached to: After Four Days, Philae Team Gets to Rest
The key word is "nearly" ; most people who haven't had to do it on a regular basis are surprised to learn that you can function on quite small amounts of sleep. You do still need some sleep, and your performance degrades over time, but it's not too drastic.

My normal working day is 18-19 hours, but when we're in critical operations I go down to working about 03:00 to 12:00, have a nap after lunch, then am back on shift from 13:00 to about midnight ; lather, rinse repeat. After a week, you're really looking forward to a solid 5 hours sleep, but you can get by, and make decisions and react to unplanned events during that time.

That's oilfield operations, and generally not safety critical (I don't operate cranes or powered equipment, for example) and it's not preferred to working a 12-12 hour shift pattern. But if that's what the manning provided requires, that's what you do.

Comment: Re:Questions for any who have been following this (Score 1) 88

by RockDoctor (#48408563) Attached to: After Four Days, Philae Team Gets to Rest

A smaller panel got sunlight when the drill was used to rotate the probe. So, if it is powered down and we wait, it should eventually charge back up. Each time that happens, the ESA can work at getting it into a better position, little by little.

Unfortunately, it doesn't work like that. A significant amount of power goes into heating the batteries up, which is necessary to get a significant amount of power out of (and in to) the batteries.

Batteries are, as I'm sure you realise, chemical devices.

All chemical devices operate at different rates at different temperatures.

A popular rule of thumb is that a 10degree (Kelvin/ Centigrade) increase in temperature will double the rate of a reaction.

These will be mollified as the comet comes closer to the sun. But working out the exact probabilities is just plain unpredictable. Plan 'B' of listening for "pings" regularly is indicated, while the rest of the science programme continues.

"Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats." -- Howard Aiken

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