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Comment Not the first full recovery from space (Score 1) 121

SpaceShip One touched space and all elements were recovered and flew to space again.

BO's demonstration is more publicity than practical rocketry. It doesn't look like the aerodynamic elements of BO's current rocket are suitable for recovery after orbital injection, just after a straight up-down space tourism flight with no potential for orbit, just like SpaceShip One (and Two). They can't put an object in space and have it stay in orbit. They can just take dudes up for a short and expensive view and a little time in zero gee.

It's going to be real history when SpaceX recovers the first stage after an orbital injection, in that it will completely change the economics of getting to space and staying there.

Comment Re:Another in a long series of marketing mistakes (Score 1) 137

You'd need a popular product to pull off obtaining second-clientage from governments, and you'd need not to reveal that your device had legal intercept.

This is just a poorly-directed company continuing to shoot itself in the foot. It's not made its product desirable for government, or for anyone else.

Comment Another in a long series of marketing mistakes (Score 2) 137

There's a truism in marketing that you can only differentiate your product on the parts that the customer sees and uses. Blackberry just can't learn this lesson. They tried differentiating on the OS kernel, which the customer never sees. And now on an insecurity feature that the customer won't be allowed to use. It's been a protracted death spiral, but it's a continuing one.

Comment What's Wrong with the Hobbit? (Score 2) 175

The Hobbit books are to a great extent about race war. The races are alien and fictional, but they are races, and the identification of good or bad is on racial boundaries. This isn't all that unusual in the fantasy genre, or even some sci-fi.

Lots of people love those books. And there's lots of good in them. To me, the race stuff stuck out.

Comment Re:Reward networks for not upgrading (Score 1) 75

What happens on eBay is just a market. It's fundamental that a properly working market works to determine the optimum price for whatever is being sold. A properly working market would have multiple sellers and multiple buyers, all with somewhat differing circumstances. Improperly working markets are dominated by a single vendor, etc. No market works perfectly, there are always factors that cause markets to be less efficient than they should be.

Demand pricing is something one vendor does deliberately and with calculation. In contrast, the market pricing is arrived at as the aggregate of the behavior of many people. The market's actually broken if the calculation of one person can influence it disproportionately.

Comment Re:Amazon Model (Score 1) 75

First, there's no shortage of interurban data links for these companies to use if they're willing to. A shortage of infrastructure is a myth.

Second, the customers will indeed abscond, but not to conventional telephone companies.

Anyone who is considering how to jack up voice call pricing is moving around deck chairs on the Titanic.

Comment Re:Reward networks for not upgrading (Score 1) 75

No definition of "surge pricing" could include eBay because it's an auction with multiple independent bidders. Uber, on the other hand, is one bidder with multiple operators who work through its pricing structure. Experienced Uber operators actually avoid areas with high dynamic pricing because there's too much traffic around them. It's more profitable to do three less expensive rides than one expensive one.

Uber dynamic pricing fails the riders, and fails the operators. Uber still makes its money, they don't particularly care that they aren't serving either bloc efficiently.

Comment Re: Good Summary Until... (Score 1) 258

Yep, the unstructured garage situation is a much better example than the poorly marked highway with missing markings or potential conduction areas. The sudden lack of GPS and maps is highly contrived anyway (!), and these conditions can be coped with fairly easily by analyzing traffic if other cars are around, staying on the right half of unmarked roads (dynamically calculating virtual lanes, something the software does anyway), recognizing obstacles and objects in motion around construction sites. These are all highly predictable situation that engineers can more or less easily integrate into their models, so to raise them as top level concerns seems very naive, especially for a supposed expert in the field.

Comment Re: Last quarter mile navigation (Score 1) 258

I've been thinking about that problem too. A good example would be unstructured situations, such as spill over event parking on lawns or gravel lots. Given existing cars cars already there certain pattern formation algorithms can be applied, such as continue this or that line of cars. Otherwise things get even trickier and some spacial user interface will have to let the passenger point out in an overhead view where exactly to place the car and in what orientation. None of these are unsolvable problems per se, but a lot of research is still ahead for sensible user interface and car interaction paradigms that can be elevated to standardized levels across makes so one can hop from one car to another and still operate it reliably. Perhaps even in completely autonomous vehicles such as the ones Google is experimenting with a fallback controller of some sort will always be needed.

Interesting times, for sure, and I'm glad I'm getting to live through them.

Comment Re:Why aren't radio satellites pushed out of orbit (Score 1) 203

The problem is that the asymmetry doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

I have no problem with the mission of investigating fringe theories. But I don't think they deserve a bit of publicity until they raise an orbit in space. I know a guy at CERN who had a bad connector, and it told them something was happening faster than light.

Comment Re:Why aren't radio satellites pushed out of orbit (Score 2) 203

For me to confuse an EM Drive with a photon drive, I would have to believe in the EM Drive. I happen to be a member of a private club called AMSAT that has its latest cubesat in orbit right now, and that is OSCAR 85 in a series running since 1963. Obviously, there isn't really anything standing in the way of testing this on a cubesat. I'm sure that if you can raise something's orbit that there will be a lot more attention. Until then, color me dubious.

Everybody needs a little love sometime; stop hacking and fall in love!