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Comment: Re:Wildly premature question (Score 1) 81

by Bruce Perens (#48620117) Attached to: SpaceX To Attempt Falcon 9 Landing On Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship

If we look at jet aircraft, wear depends on the airframe and the engines, and the airframe seems to be the number of pressurize/depressurize cycles as well as the running hours. Engines get swapped out routinely but when the airframe has enough stress it's time to retire the aircraft lest it suffer catastrophic failure. Rockets are different in scale (much greater stresses) but we can expect the failure points due to age to be those two, with the addition of one main rocket-specific failure point: cryogenic tanks.

How long each will be reliable can be established using ground-based environmental testing. Nobody has the numbers for Falcon 9R yet.

Weight vs. reusable life will become a design decision in rocket design.

Comment: Wikipedia the vector (Score 1) 61

by Bruce Perens (#48386659) Attached to: Researchers Forecast the Spread of Diseases Using Wikipedia

Like others I found the headline confusing. I read it as "Researchers are predicting the use of Wikipedia as a vector for the spread of disease". This may mean that:

  • Disinformation and ignorance are diseases.
  • Memes and computer viruses are diseases.
  • Wilipedia contains information that leads to depression.
  • Instructions on Wikipedia lead to substance abuse.
  • This is getting entertaining, fill in your own reason here.

Comment: Re:Not a good week... (Score 1) 445

by Bruce Perens (#48298059) Attached to: Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo Crashes

One of the definitions I found was:

One who makes great sacrifices or suffers much in order to further a belief, cause, or principle.

I am sure that fits. While SpaceShip II is mainly intended for a non-exploration purpose, the program has resulted in some significant advances in rocketry and White Knight II has significant non-tourism use. These pilots have been involved in other space efforts, I remember the one who was injured from the Rotary Rocket test flights. There are lots of safer ways for these folks to make as much money as a test pilot is paid. They do what they do to advance our progress in aeronautics and space.

Comment: Re:Shot in the back (Score 2) 308

Here's the deal.

It's expensive to stay on high alert all the time. All those extra guards, guns, maintenance, etc. That costs money. Up here, after 9/11, we maintained high alert at the bases for a couple of years, then decided to go back to more-or-less before. Not quite; back in 2000 I could walk onto the base only flashing my ID, and once I did show a post-it that said PASS on it. As it stands now, I do require an actual valid pass to get onto the base. However, the security on the base itself is lower than that of my local YMCA. (The base passes are easy to forge and don't get scanned or recorded; the gym requires an active membership and records your entry times.)

What I'm getting at here is that when you're on guard duty at the War Memorial, you're there to be a meet-and-greet kind of soldier. The only shooting you're expecting is some selfies with the kilted guy (meaning you) and maybe a couple of shots at the bar after work. You're not guarding anything. It's a public sculpture that's maybe 50 feet per side. There's literally nothing there to defend. (I've been there a few times; years ago for work I stayed at the Lord Elgin and worked in the next-door building, housing some PW stuff.)

Now, here's the other thing. Bullets. You have to track the shit out of them. If you gave the guards at the War Memorial live ammo, it would be a complete clusterfuck. If you're giving someone ammo, you're expecting them to get shot at, right? Which really means they should be wearing armour as well, not the ceremonial dress uniform (which only offers protection against thrown bullets) So you've got to get them armour, bullets, and a real gun, plus track all that stuff from day to day. What if the gun got dropped and discharged? What if you stopped for a picture and someone took your gun or cut themselves on the bayonet? What if the magazine fell out and the ammo sprayed all over the ground? Now the person guarding is presenting the image of a drunkard scrambling around for their car keys in the dark.

Weird scenarios, but all significantly more likely than a schizophrenic walking up to you and shooting you in the back in cold blood on a boring Hump Day morning.

Every successful person has had failures but repeated failure is no guarantee of eventual success.

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