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Comment Re:Hipster software is the real problem. (Score 3, Insightful) 81

Eh. You're right about things being overhyped but you go too far in the opposite direction. Ruby/Rails is an effective combination for low-volume elevated-complexity latency-insensitive web-based software, the kind you might use internally to your business. Node is a useful tool for quickly writing nonblocking servers (much more useful when they use more than simply HTTP). NoSQL is effective when actually have a ton of data and with the right software (i.e. not Mongo) it can provide guarantees to do everything you want that's also mathematically possible on a data set that large.

But yes, while I like Node in theory, I just wish it wasn't in a freaky language like JavaScript. As for NoSQL... once your problem size is actually legitimately huge then you need to do obnoxious things to make everything work, one way or another, no matter what you do... so it really does pay to avoid it if at all possible (e.g. through clever sharding or the like).

And you're really right about how simple Github is - it almost makes up for the complexity of git itself. Git is a useful and powerful tool that is much nicer than the svn and cvs tools it replaced, and having distributed development available like that is quite effective, but you've actually got to bother to try and learn something about it (otherwise please stick with svn or whatever instead of whining about how a few modestly-cryptic commands and the implications of representing commit history as an immutable DAG are so hard to wrap your head around - this should be undergrad stuff and you've no business passing judgement on entire stacks if you can't grok it).

Comment Re:Remember the NASA Wind Turbines? (Score 1) 180

Current blades are trucked in one piece (per blade) which is impressive to see. Three of them were parked on I-5 outside of Patterson, California a few months ago. There are a lot of net videos and photos which convey the scale.

Even at the current size they can't get through many highway interchanges and local intersections. The larger ones won't be able to ship in one piece at all.

Comment Remember the NASA Wind Turbines? (Score 4, Interesting) 180

NASA Wind Turbines approached this scale in the '80's. Unfortunately, this was a previously-unexplored area of aerodynamics for NASA, and they had mechanical stress and noise problems (including subsonics) and were all demolished. I think there was one near Vallejo, CA being taken down when I got to Pixar in '87, and one in Boone, NC, which famously rattled windows and doors.

The art has since improved. I took a ride to the top of the turbine at Grouse Mountain, that was fun! That's the only one I have heard of where you can actually get to see it from the top.

Comment Starting out with the wrong assumptions (Score 2) 165

This is starting out with the wrong assumptions.

Design a brick system that can be produced with 3-D printers, and will hold together when fabricated within the tolerances of an SLA printer. Forget FDM, it's too low precision and SLA is already achieving an equal or lower cost of manufacture compared with FDM.

LEGO is manufactured to astonishingly high precision, but I am not convinced that this is the only way to make a brick system.

Comment Re:No comparison (Score 1) 132

Blue Origin will eventually have a two-stage rocket that can reach orbit (although they are planning on a much smaller payload than SpaceX for their first iteration). When the booster of that rocket lands without damage, they will duplicate what SpaceX has recently done, although in smaller scale.

Blue Origin to SpaceX at present is a sort of bicycle-to-automobile comparison if you account for the tremendous difference in energy and the application. So, I think there really is an intrinsic difference between the two of them.

If you want to say there's no intrinsic difference, then we need to look at Orbital's Stargazer and Pegasus, which have been carrying small payloads to orbit for years, and there's only been one Stargazer all of that time so there is no question that it's reusable. The only difference is that Stargazer lands horizontally.

We can then look at the B-52 and X-15 combination, in which both stages were reusable, a human was the payload, and we're going back to the late 1950's.

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