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Comment: Re:Factor of 10 (Score 1) 77

by Sivaraj (#49752687) Attached to: India Targets July/August To Test Its Space Shuttle

Get real man. Shuttle might have cost a bit higher due to politics, but it was never going to be cheap - just as SLS is not going to be cheap. Shuttle should have been abandoned at least in 1986 when they realised that they forgot to put a launch abort system on it.

Over its lifetime, it has cost $209B. That is over $1.5B for each flight.

Hmm... may be it will look cheaper by 2025 when you are spending over $10B on each launch of SLS (It is expected to cost $41B for 4 flights by that time). Hopefully someone would have mercy and kill it before then.

Comment: Re:How is this a shuttle? (Score 4, Informative) 77

by Sivaraj (#49752439) Attached to: India Targets July/August To Test Its Space Shuttle

ISRO never called it a shuttle. It has always been refered to as technology demonstrator (RLV-TD). Current experiment is termed RLV-TD HEX (Hypersonic flight Experiment). The ultimate aim is to develop an RLV named Avatar, which was originally announced over 17 years ago.

This particluar test flight should not be compared to US space shuttle. Better comparison would be X-43A or X51-A Waverider. As these have defence applications, the projects had been running between NASA and DARPA. Similarly, India's Avatar programme has also been shuttling between ISRO and DRDO (Defence Research & Development Organization).

The main feature of Avatar concept is an air breathing Scramjet engine. So far there hasn't been any great success in developing Scramjet engine. The longest one fired for 15 seconds on second flight of X-51A, while its first flight didn't run scramjet. India is nowhere near developing Scramjet in immediate future. But the current flight will test some preliminary technologies related to that project, specifically hypersonic reentry. I don't think this particular vehicle has any propulsion. Even the next two experiments planned on the series (LEX and REX) are planned without any rocket propulsion, but will use turbofan engine for landing. Actual powered flight would be on the SPEX, which will use Scramjet (Source:

Current test is a 100 crore INR (about 16 million USD) experiment. I am happy that ISRO is doing something to take this promising technology further. It may take another 20 years before actually seeing a scramjet engine in action, but that is ok. I would consider it as my tax money well spent.

Comment: Re:Landing Pad (Score 2) 69

by Sivaraj (#49035961) Attached to: SpaceX Falcon 9 Launches, Rocket Recovery Attempt Scrapped

Landing on a barge (or ASDS) would still be needed for deep space missions like DSCOVR which didn't have enough fuel left to boost back the stage towards launch pad. The center core of Falcon 9 Heavy wouldn't have enough fuel as well, and will most likely land on ASDS, while other two booster cores go back to landing pad.

SpaceX is in fact building a second ASDS which will be used for launches from Pacific coast.

Comment: Re:SpaceX and India? (Score 5, Informative) 91

by Sivaraj (#49009957) Attached to: DARPA's ALASA Could Pave Way For Cheaper, Faster Satellite Launches

This doesn't make a dent in cost effectiveness of Falcon 9 or PSLV.

Let us calculate per pound LEO costs for these vehicles:

ALASA: $1M / 100 lb = $10,000 / lb
Falcon 9: $61.2M / 28,991 lb = $2,111 / lb
PSLV: $20M / 7170 lb = $2,789 / lb

Tiny satellites at 100lb can easily tag along with bigger launches on these vehicles. Costs may be even cheaper for such secondary payloads or may even free in some cases. If SpaceX succeeds in first stage reuse, or ISRO per chance succeeds in RLV-TD plans, costs may come further down.

So ALASA sounds like a costly option for small satellites today and in future. But the technology as such may have potential if handled by a better managed private company that works on it as a commercial venture.

Comment: Re:Marketable? (Score 1) 175

by Sivaraj (#48945487) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Do I Engage 5th-8th Graders In Computing?

I know what "inner city" means in the U.S. and, I guess, maybe London and Paris, but what does it mean in India?

Inner city doesn't actually mean much in India. Unlike US, mass exodus of middle class families to suburbs hasn't happened yet here. It is probably in the process happening though, and the situation might look different in another couple of decades.

Anyway, I am sure OP was talking about US or Canada, who primarily use K-12 terminology.

Comment: Re:Marketable? (Score 1) 175

by Sivaraj (#48945473) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Do I Engage 5th-8th Graders In Computing?

I also had the same reaction upon reading it. Why would middle school children need to learn marketable skills?

But I think the keyword here is "inner city". Typical inner city children in US come from economically weaker sections of the society, and they may tend to drop before or during high school. It may be benefit them to have a skill that can earn their bread. If it helps them to earn some part-time income and can keep them in school until graduation, then nothing like it.

To answer OP's question, web design & development might be an ideal choice. It would just take some HTML/CSS skills with a bit of Javascript thown in, that can be picked up by early teens easily. Artistic kids can learn graphic design tools like Gimp/Inkscape/Photoshop/Illustrator which are very useful in web design. They can practice with their personal website, activities related sites for school and events. Plenty of online resources for learning. They may be able to get freelance work around their neighborhood. As they improve their skills and gain experience, they can either join an existing web development company or even band together and start their own with minimal investment.

Comment: Language depends on your target audience... (Score 3, Interesting) 150

by Sivaraj (#48607097) Attached to: Want To Influence the World? Map Reveals the Best Languages To Speak

...and on the content your are writing, and the sort of influence you want to have. I know of several Tamil writers online who have dedicated following. If you want to influence online Tamil community, then I don't see the point of writing in English or Spanish.

There is probably some purpose for this study, but it is definitely lost in the blurb written above. While it is obvious that most of the internet talks in English, the ability to weild influence online is not just dependent on the language you are writing in. With instant page translations, good amount of the written content is accessible to larger section of audience, regardless of the language it is written in.

Comment: ITIL (Score 2) 317

by Sivaraj (#48552247) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Are Any Certifications Worth Going For?

For you profile, ITIL certification may be worth looking at. It gives knowledge essential for managing large IS departments, implementations, and data centres. It may not be as glamorous as PMP, but is essential part of managing IT for large companies. It is still a rare certification so it may actually be worth it. Being an IS manager you may appreciate many sections of the standard and contrast it with the way of doing things in your previous jobs.

+ - Accessing One's Own Metadata

Submitted by skegg
skegg writes: Frustrated journalist Ben Grubb has documented his attempts at gaining access to his own metadata from his carrier. "After more than a year of phone calls and emails and a private mediation session, it still hasn't released the information or answered my one key question satisfactorily: the government can access my Telstra metadata, so why can't I?

+ - Telsa Motors Unveils Model D Sedan-> 1

Submitted by SchrodingerZ
SchrodingerZ writes: Nine days after Elon Musk hinted about a new project, the P85D Sedan has been unveiled by Tesla Motors. The Model D is Tesla's latest car design, capable of feats not yet seen in electric vehicles. The four door luxury car is able to go from zero to 60 miles per hour in a mere 3.2 seconds, an acceleration similar to the McLaren F1 super car. While the exterior remains the same build as the Model S, the interior will have a second motor in the front of the car, to complement the rear motor. The D models will also have a slightly larger range of 275 miles on a single charge, 10 miles more than the 85 and P85 cars. The safety features have also been enhanced, adding "adaptive cruise control and the ability to read speed limit signs, stop itself if a crash is imminent, stay in its lane, and even park itself in a street spot or in your garage." Musk explains at the inaugural event, "this car is nuts. It’s like taking off from a carrier deck. It’s just bananas." The Model D is available for the 60kWh, 80kWh, and P85 cars, and are expected to start shipping in December of this year.
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