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Comment Re:I don't believe it. (Score 1) 82 82

Especially given than history is littered with examples of airplanes not being able to pull out of dives due to control surfaces not responding properly (or ripping off) in supersonic or transonic flow. Alsbury would have been intensely aware of these concepts.

Well it's not exactly like deploying flaps at high speed and having them rip off the plane and damaging stuff. He didn't deploy anything, he only unlocked it. He thought the motors would hold the feather in place and nobody at Virgin or Scaled drilled into his head that prematurely unlocking feather = DEATH. Quite possibly because they also didn't think the feather would move by itself just from air pressure and vibration. We know it NOW, but before?

Unlocking the feather while going up was part of the procedure. He did it too soon but was not adequately informed of the disastrous consequences of mistiming the unlock. So yeah, I do agree they're blaming the dead guy too much.

Also, Alsbury was an experienced pilot but not exactly a Chuck Yeager. As to whether pilots would think through all the possible consequences of every action in a cockpit jam packed with switches and levers and knobs, under a heavy workload, well it's easy to say while we're sitting in a desk but reality is not that sterile.

Keep in mind the SS1 was a scary ride and I assume SS2 is no cupcake either. When that rocket lights, it kicks your ass not just with monster acceleration but also crazy vibration and deafening noise. It scared Brian Binnie shitless and he was used to flying F-18s off carriers. Even Mike Melville who is about as cool a customer as they come (and an excellent, excellent pilot btw) was quite impressed shall we say. A good pilot would get used to it pretty quick I'm sure, after doing it a couple times. The first time? It would mentally compromise most anyone including experienced pilots and you'd have to have superhuman levels of the Right Stuff to function at 100% the first time you're on that crazy rocket ride.

Comment Mars One is a fraud (Score 2) 48 48

Moss: Having looked over the Mars One plans I must say I am also highly skeptical, but hesitantly so, because you never know what can happen. Humans are remarkable...

Then he proceeds to debate the technical details of Mars One plan. Dude, it doesn't matter what the finer points of their plan are, the reality of it is that 1) they need tens of billions of dollars, and there's no way in hell they're gonna raise that with a reality TV show. The money they need exceeds the entire world's TV advertising budget, probably by a lot. And 2) they are taking money from gullible "astronauts" who are hoping to go to Mars. Put 1 and 2 together and you have a fraud.

If they were taking money from banks or investors or advertisers, yes I would applaud them for trying to make a go of a laudable goal. But that's not what they're doing, they're taking money from future employees. What do you call a Hollywood casting director who says he's making a movie and hiring actors, then takes money from aspiring actors for the chance to be in his movie? You call him a con man. The director's is supposed to pay the actors, not take money from them.

Someone needs to do a serious accounting of what the Mars One guy is doing with the money he's taking.

Comment Wait what, a COMPUTER picks winning numbers? (Score 1) 217 217

what kind of retarded shit is that? I'm surprised it took this long before someone tampered with the computer to win.

California state lottery used to show their winning lotto numbers on live TV with a bunch of ping pong balls in a clear plastic chamber. High velocity air was pumped into it so that the balls bounced around like crazy. Then they would open a slot (also made of clear plastic) and 6 balls would fall in and those were your winning numbers. It was a very transparent setup (literally) and it was obvious to anyone looking that it was pretty random.

Come to think of it, they don't actually do that anymore and the live TV show is gone. Maybe nowadays CA also picks winning numbers in a back room somewhere with a computer algorithm. Wouldn't surprise me, common sense seems to be disappearing from the world.

Comment Re:Are drones really THAT dangerous? (Score 5, Interesting) 368 368

There are little drones and there are big drones. The big ones can weigh 5 pounds or more. Also all drones have steel parts like electric motors.

Maybe Mythbusters or somebody can do a test, shouldn't be that hard or expensive. Get a helicopter tail rotor and mount it on a platform and spin it to normal operating RPM. Fly a popular drone such as a DJI Phantom with a GoPro mounted on it into the tail rotor. See what kind of damage occurs.

My guess is that the damage to the tail rotor will be major and the helicopter will experience yaw stability issues, but a decent pilot should be able to make an emergency landing.

Comment Re:Probably not better at orbital speed. (Score 1) 62 62

I think the feathered reentry would still work at orbital speeds, it's just that the composite material from which SS2 is built can't withstand the heat. Putting heat tiles on SS2 would not work well as that would add too much weight, and they're still gonna have all kinds of problems with the tiles staying in place. So for all intents and purposes the feather reentry is strictly a suborbital design.

The most innovative orbital reentry design I saw was a proposal for using the rocket engine plume to deflect superheated air molecules away from the spacecraft. Yes you would need to use fuel for that but the weight of the fuel you would need compared favorably to the weight and complexity of a heat tile design. But then you have the problem of "what happens if the rocket engine fails to ignite", and the answer is that you melt. So it would be useful for unmanned vehicles that you can afford to lose to engine failure once in a while but not for manned reentry.

Comment Re:NASA's amazing capabilities (Score -1, Flamebait) 134 134

Cut just one day of funding to the illegal US military occupation in Iraq and you could fund NASA for an entire year.

Or just one day of funding to the illegal aliens with free stuff.

Hey, how about we cut BOTH, no more military occupations and no more free stuff to illegal aliens? Then we can fund NASA for TWO years!

Comment Re:Aussie freedoms are inferior (Score 1) 337 337

What the fuck are you talking about?

I went through some effort to make myself as clear as possible, but let me go further since you're still not getting it.

Your point was that US Army is so overwhelmingly powerful that nobody has a chance to win against them and thus civilians should be disarmed. My rebuttal to that was, that's only true in conventional warfare. Then I cite Taliban as an example of how US Army is vulnerable to guerrilla tactics.

Then in a separate paragraph, with its own introductory sentence that starts with "And there's the question of loyalty in the military...", I point out that the army might not even fight at all. Robert E. Lee was mentioned in this paragraph as an example of a US Army officer deciding not to fight for the US Army. The citation of Robert E. Lee was in context of this paragraph only, not the entire post.

Get it now?

Comment Re:Aussie freedoms are inferior (Score 1) 337 337

Not this tired old argument again.

There is no force on earth that can stand up to the US military in a conventional battle. Does that mean every other group or nation should stop buying weapons because that would be wasted money?

Taliban and others have shown that US military is quite vulnerable in unconventional warfare. And that was in places where US soldiers didn't care that much about the local population. How do you think it will go down when the guerrilla fighters are blending into the civilian population of Kansas and Virginia instead of Mosul and Kandahar?

And there's the question of loyalty in the military. If things got so bad and the federal gov't so hated that a large scale armed uprising took place, it's quite likely that many of soldiers will either refuse to fight or join the other side. (look up Robert E. Lee sometime, he was a guy in the US Army but quit when his hometown buddies rose up against the gov't)

If the army refused to fight, the Capitol police and Secret Service can still own any unarmed mob storming DC and mow them down. But an armed mob? Not so easy.

Comment Re:A long time coming... (Score 1) 364 364

Their latest authoritative decision is to forbid people who own more than 5% of a company's stock from selling for the next 6 months.

That's pretty insane. I can't see it going well.

That's fairly insane, but you know what's REALLY insane?

Chinese gov't is now allowing people to put up collateral and buy stocks on credit. What kind of collateral you ask? Real estate!

That's out-of-this-world insane, if you ask me. Frankly I'm stumped, because up to this point the Communist party leaders have been pretty competent, all things considered. Definitely more competent than the current USA regime.

Only answer I can think of is, the Commies are really noob when it comes to the stock market and don't know much about it. And, they're really, I mean REALLY scared of people with money (middle class and upwards) getting angry at the Party. People with money have disproportionately large influence in China (well okay it's like that everywhere but it's even more so in China) and an angry upper-middle class threatens the current regime's grip on power far more than angry peasants.

A slow pup is a lazy dog. -- Willard Espy, "An Almanac of Words at Play"