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Comment: What's the point ? (Score 1) 76 76

Can anyone explain why Jeff Bezos is doing the same thing that SpaceX is already doing ?

To lower cost to orbit .. check
To design re-usable first stages ... check

The only difference I see is that they want to use LOX/LH for first stage.
And even then, they plan to go to LOX/LMethane after that.

Of course, competition is always nice to have.

Comment: Re:danger vs taste (Score 1) 630 630

I've heard from medics that in some cases of severe alcool intoxication (drunkards), they would give a definite dose of methanol to the patient.
Apparently, the human body deals much better with both metanol and ethanol than when only one of the two.
I suppose doctors could give us a more detailed explanation.

Comment: Simple : Not good enough marketing (Score 1) 153 153

ATARI from the Jack Tramiel era, with the Jaguar console, showed that it wasn't enough to have the best hardware (it was the most powerful of its time).
You also need the games.

SEGA, with the DreamCast console, showed that it wasn't enough to have the best hardware (SONY was still at the PSX), it wasn't enough to have the best games (the lineup is legendary).
You also need the marketing.

SONY had the best marketing.

Lying after lies, each one bigger (*) than the last, in order to torpedo the growth of the DreamCast for more than a year, and then to make customers feel warm and fuzzy even though the PS2 had no game worthy of that name until two years after the launch.

(*) : "The PS2 will connect to high-speed networks"
DreamCast had integrated modem at launch, swappable ethernet adapter quickly after. Tons of online games available.
Quake III; Phatasy Star Online; Unreal Tournament was playable on VGA monitors, with mouse and keyboard, on LAN (ethernet) or internet with PC Players on common maps.

PS2 had NO NETWORK DEVICE built-in. You had to wait like two years to buy the Hard disk/ethernet port combo.Few games online.

(*): "It will do Toy Story graphics in real-time!"
Enough said.

Comment: Re:Jack Tramiel (Score 1) 189 189

Jack Tramiel didn't doom himself when he took ATARI.
Under his leadership, ATARI made computer history with the ATARI ST line.
It is when he semi-retired and let his sons at the helm that the company slowly degraded into irrelevance.
Selling the exact same model of computer for 7 years was what doomed ATARI.
His late return consisted of killing the computers division and betting everything on a new game console (the Jaguar).
But his strategy towards games was simply to make the best possible hardware, and game would follow automatically.
Something that worked before for computers, but would not for consoles.

The Jaguar showed it isn't enough to have the best hardware, you need the best games too.

(In the same vein, but different company, the SEGA DreamCast showed it isn't enough to have the best hardware and the best games, you need to have the best marketing too.)

Comment: HALO (Score 1) 307 307

Cortana _ You have no idea how this ring works, do you ?
HALO doesn't kill flood, it kills their food.
Humans, covenant, whatever. We're all equally edible.
You don't believe me ? ask him.

MasterChief _ Is it true ?

343 Guilty Spark _ More or less.
Technically, this installation's pulse as a maximum effective range of 25,000 light years.
But when the others follow suit, this galaxy will be quite devoid of life.
Or at least, any life with sufficicient biomass to sustain the flood.

Only bacteria left ? sounds about right :)

Comment: Re:The NERVA Project (Score 0) 125 125

Still, I cannot fathom why Elon Musk is sticking to chemical propulsion (ie. classic rockets) for his Mars endeavour.
Whith his knowledge and SpaceX, he CANNOT not know about NERVA and space nuclear propulsion, and the point of readiness of such technology achieved in the 70s.
I can understand avoiding using it for earth lift-off, due to common hysteria about anything labeled nuclear, but for the half year trip to Mars ?

I mean, come on, we're using nuclear to make our electricity, to power our aircraft carriers, to power our submarines, to power our ice-breakers, but we won't use it for where it is sorely needed which is a trip to Mars, where no one has gone before ?

The journey to Mars is a catch-22 situation.
The length of the trip using chemical rockets requires shielding of the crew, which weighs down the craft, which makes it harder to accelerate and decelerate, which makes the trip longer/harder, etc ...
Most problems are simply dealt with if you use a much powerful propulsion technology.
More thrust available means shorter trip, means less shielding, means more cargo or a ship big enough for artificial gravity (self-rotating part).

I'll be really happy and take Mr Musk's Mars ambitions seriously the day he announces nuclear propulsion for his Mars ship.
Until then ... I really have a hard time doing that.

Comment: Re:Maybe it would be good if the Ayatollah wins? (Score 2) 542 542

As to the Saudis versus the Iranians - at least our friends aren't looking to attack us and work with us on many matters of common interest. You can't really say that about the Iranians.

Quoting Jon Stewart on the matter (speaking of saudi arabia) :

"May I remind you that a full 20% of the 9/11 hijackers were NOT from there"

Comment: Re:Not a barrier (Score 2) 183 183

Just a nitpick : the model was designated ATARI 1040ST.
(The half-meg model was the 520ST.)

"The 1040ST was the first personal computer shipped with a base RAM configuration of 1 MB. When the list price was reduced to $999 in the U.S. it appeared on the cover of BYTE in March 1986 as the first computer to break the $1000/megabyte price barrier;"

Comment: Re:I must be missing something (Score 1) 81 81

Here is an example :

I stopped using TVs when I bought a DreamCast console circa 1999, with its nifty VGA cable and 95% of games compatible with it.

I currently use a 1080p monitor for my HTPC set-up, with the big picture provided by my projector.

Not a single TV or display that includes a TV tuner in my home.

Getting the job done is no excuse for not following the rules. Corollary: Following the rules will not get the job done.