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Comment: Re:Still not as bad as Perkin-Elmer... (Score 1) 133

by RockDoctor (#49388239) Attached to: GAO Denied Access To Webb Telescope Workers By Northrop Grumman
Rumour is that a Hubble-type error had happened on at least one nadir-directed telescope, and that opticians who were aware of those problems had watched the public design of the Hubble with increasing unease then downright horror as they saw the error become increasingly likely.

But because they were on classified work, they couldn't say a thing.

Comment: Re:Careful, they might shoot back (Score 1) 336

Our system protects people by instilling fear of consequences. That works very well for most crimes and criminals, but not if the criminal believes he has the skills to avoid being caught (the beltway sniper) or is intent on committing blue suicide (Adam Lanza).

Agreed on the fear of consequences. But I think you're looking at the wrong set of consequences. The most likely way this data would be used would be for the doxxed target to be observed, and when he (or she - there may be female soldiers on the list, I don't have a reliable enough connection to bother looking) goes off to the daily grind in civvy street ... a while later Mr Wil'I'am Jihaddy turns up with a Pizza Hut uniform and box and shoots the soldier's family and children dead. An then probably gets away because no-one noticed.

The fear is of having your family killed as a consequence of signing up for the military. And yes, it is intended to inflict terror on the target population (anyone in the military, or who is family to anyone in the military).

Hate them or fear them, but you've got to admit that Al Quaeda and ISIS have got some pretty effective (note : that word does not imply "nice", or anything like it) tactical planners.

Comment: Re:moonquakes (Score 1) 118

by RockDoctor (#49387439) Attached to: Giant Lava Tubes Possible On the Moon

Considering these are a real and verified occurrence and considering the considerable amount of energy they release as has been recorded,

Have you actually looked at the magnitudes of moonquakes? Apart from the sporadic ones caused by impacts, they're not powerful quakes, and they're deep below the surface, which add up to low levels of ground shaking. Which is what you are really concerned with.

The typical shaking caused by a 5.5 magnitude earthquake (on the moment-magnitude scale, since the Richter scale has been deprecated since the equipment went out of service in the 1940s and 50s) would be in the region of V - VI on the Modified Mercalli Scale :

V. Moderate Felt by nearly everyone; many awakened. Some dishes, windows broken. Unstable objects overturned. Pendulum clocks may stop.
VI. Strong Felt by all, many frightened. Some heavy furniture moved; a few instances of fallen plaster. Damage slight.

You're worrying about a pretty small hazard.

Comment: Re:Diamonds? (Score 1) 118

by RockDoctor (#49387375) Attached to: Giant Lava Tubes Possible On the Moon
Actually, there's at least one kimberlite which erupted in the Eocene - up in central Canada, IIRC. Whether it is diamondiferous, and it's relations to the known-diamondiferous ones a little further north, I don't know.

When I was a student of mantle petrology (as opposed to earning a living grubbing around in the crustal ephemera), we couldn't say "there is no chance of a kimberlite being emplaced somewhere on Earth tomorrow. And I still don't see any particular reason to make such an assertion. And to be honest, I'd like to see it happen. Even with the boulders falling from the skies, raining death and destruction across the landscape, I'd like to see it. It'd be some sight to see.

Comment: Re:good on google (Score 1) 50

It's not easy making something functional that you can also guarantee can be completely disinfected.

OTOH, it might be easier to make something that is sufficiently functional to take (and transmit to a server, wirelessly) the data and is cheap enough to then be disposable by dumping in the incinerator (bleach pit, or whatever technology is most convenient). For example, a sheet of cellulose-based fibres impregnated with visual prompts and orientation marks on which further marks can be placed as the medic acquires clinical information. Such a sheet can then be held against the screen (behind a sterilisable cover) of an OCR scanner to enter the data into the system.

Yes, "doctor's traditionally abysmal handwriting", but I counter with "most pharmacists have very clear handwriting". It's a training thing - teach doctors to write, while they're in college. All of them.

(Obviously, you can have a human interlocutor on the safe side of the fence to check the information has been scanned correctly ; getting the data corrected is generally easier at the point of collection than later. While that person needs some medical knowledge, they probably don't need more than nursing knowledge.)

Comment: Re:Not a new idea (Score 1) 118

by RockDoctor (#49387209) Attached to: Giant Lava Tubes Possible On the Moon

it's just a big volcanic bubble, two miles across, and if it had broken through, way back when, it would have been a crater."

So ... Heinlein was writing within the accepted science of his day (no surprise there), which was that the craters of the Moon (there were no others known) were primarily a volcanic phenomenon.

In the 1960s there was a protracted dispute between various people in the geology community on determining the origin of the lunar craters. Eventually it was won by the people proposing that they were primarily impact-formed structures, and they did it largely by fieldwork on Earth examining various large terrestrial crater remnants. You may have heard of one of the proponents - one (Eu-)Gene Shoemaker.

Not detracting from Heinlein's fun storytelling, but his science was wrong. Which is an all-too-common problem when SF authors try to stay near the bleeding edge of science.

With the evidence from Apollo, and more recently from Lunar meteorites, we now know that most of the Moon's surface is composed of impact debris, with volcanic rocks in relatively restricted, dark areas known as maria.

Comment: Re:Theoretically possible (Score 1) 118

by RockDoctor (#49387201) Attached to: Giant Lava Tubes Possible On the Moon

Sealing them is pretty straightforward actually, you just use a sprayable plastic to coat to the interior.

Hmmm, you sound like someone who has actually spent a lot of time installing materials over your head, supported on ropes of uncertain anchorage, or installing the scaffolding truss work to avoid having to trust the rock which you're trying to stabilize. Or rather, you sound like someone who hasn't done exactly that.

I'm not saying that it's not do-able. But that doesn't mean to say it's "straightforward".

Actually, I'd expect the process to work more by building initial bases in smaller tunnels and tunnel sections, then using the structural strength of those buildings to anchor extensions of the walls to surround increasing volumes. Kind of like the building of a cantilever bridge, if you get my drift. A pretty long term programme.

Comment: Re:HOWTO (Score 1) 1081

by RockDoctor (#49366371) Attached to: How To Execute People In the 21st Century

some people do deserve it. timothy mcveigh for one example

McVeigh? Oh, you mean the freedom fighter who was murdered by the government for his attempt to start the War of Liberation of the American People from the Curse of Washington? The future will not look kindly on the people who murdered this martyr, and the supporters of that government will be first up against the wall when the Revolution comes.

It looks a bit different from the other end of the telescope, doesn't it?

Comment: Re:Publication (Score 1) 104

by RockDoctor (#49246763) Attached to: Some of the Greatest Science Fiction Novels Are Fix-Ups
... or planned a novel, which he then sliced up into short-story-sized parts for publication.

Innovative? Bullshit! Dickens was doing this 150 years ago. The only significant difference was that Dickens had guarantees of the order in which his installments would be published. but he still needed to set up each story (not everyone would have got all the previous parts), continue the established story lines, and lead to a cliff-hanger for the end of the episode. Lather, rinse, repeat.

"Success covers a multitude of blunders." -- George Bernard Shaw