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Comment Re:Lost is a tricky word (Score 1) 310

Ok from a pedantic view then I agree, it would be exceedingly hard to rebuild the SaturnV. But that's the wrong question because building a SaturnV is only interesting from a historic perspective. The real question is have we lost the ability to build a high mass launch vehicle and the answer is definitely no.

The SaturnV had a 140,000KG mass to LEO capability. The Block-2 will have a comparable 130,000KG mass to LEO capability. Admittedly there's not one sitting on a launch pad right now but that's because there was never a need for it. Now that there's a perceived need we're building one. It's in the design and testing phase now but that's because they are in fact bloody complicated.

The whole 'we can't build a SaturnV' meme is interesting as a testament to the failings of compartmentalized design and poor record keeping but it's not evidence of some lost technical ability. We're not any dumber now than we were 50 years ago, or smarter for that matter. About all one can say is there's more headwind now from bureaucracy than there was 50 years ago but that's a process problem not a technical problem.

Comment Re:Lost is a tricky word (Score 1) 310

What do you mean by gone ? Once somebody has the bright idea of using round things to move other things the process of re-inventing the wheel is trivial. It's definitely frustrating to watch folks re-invent it but it take progressively less effort.

You make it sound as if they couldn't build the Saturn now if they had to, what you really mean is they can't simply start manufacturing it. The design concepts are not 'lost'.

Comment Invalid comparison (Score 1) 220

The One Hoss Shay comparison would be valid if:

- Genetic engineers were madly trying to evolve a horse and still debating how many legs it should have.
- Mechanical engineers were still debating the optimal number of sides for a wheel. Somewhere between 3 and a lot.
- Structural engineers were still debating whether the frame should be made out of stone, iron, transparent aluminum or wood
- Behavior scientists were still debating what direction was best to drive the thing in and which orientation. Landscape or portrait driving mode

Obsolescence of parts is uninteresting when they have a half life significantly greater than their practical application.

Designing a One Hoss Shay in 1905 that would last a hundred years would be very useful for about 5 to 10 years. Then everybody will trade it in for a Model-T, 20 years later for a Model-A, after that figure 5 to 10 years as a function of economy.

Comment Re:FUD on top of FUD (Score 1) 698

It would not make it more secure. As the GP pointed out rm is just an example. Adding a user level hoop to jump through doesn't fundamentally change the nature of the problem. Root should be able to write to any filesystem exposed to it in read/write mode. The problem is it shouldn't have read/write access to that area . period . hard stop.

If you want a secure system then it's the data owners job to decide who does and doesn't have access, not to grant access to everyone and hope they do the right thing. In this case it's 100% UEFI's fault for exposing it's data in read/write mode.

Comment Re:Modern arithmetic not up to Babylonian standard (Score 2) 153

On a related note how does 1st and 2nd century BC count as "Ancient Babylon". That was toward the end of the Hellenistic period of what was barely left of Babylon. Ancient Babylon by archaeological standards (to avoid conflating it with any number of other empires that just happened to share the same geographical area) had ended some 1000 years before. In fact the article suggests that the 2nd century BC tablets were actually copies handed down from as far back as actual ancient Babylonian mathematical texts in or around 1700 BC. Which is quite a bit more interesting.

So what they really mean is Persian mathematicians during the Hellenistic period in the area that was known as ancient Babylon and now modern Iraq, but I guess that doesn't have the same ring.

Comment Re:That's a lot (Score 1) 187

Agreed, 13.7 microseconds is a substantial error. Large enough that this isn't some obscure esoteric unexplained phenomena; one of the two devices being compared is essentially broken.

It's like reporting that somebody has a car that's supposed to get 30mpg but mysteriously they only get 22mpg. Is it aliens, sunspots, quantum thingamajiggery or just poor maintenance.

Comment Re:I do this for football. (Score 1) 252

A more accurate post would be 'Totally made a killing betting the Chiefs would lose by at least 5 points because I spend a lifetime studying football and every relevant parameter I could model. Over the years I've refined my model down to the point that I'm very confident I'll win any bet against somebody who simply bets emotionally because they want their team to win.

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