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Comment: Re:"...vindication of Gov. Jerry Brown's..." (Score 1) 170

by bledri (#47508165) Attached to: California In the Running For Tesla Gigafactory

..., not to mention that Texas has no income tax; what moron would build a factory in California? Elon was just being nice when he didn't categorically rule it out when asked.

You realize that both the Tesla factory and the SpaceX factory are in California, right? So I guess Elon Musk is a moron...

Comment: Re:Too bad he has no Foreign policy (Score 1) 526

by bledri (#47471935) Attached to: Rand Paul and Silicon Valley's Shifting Political Climate

We Americans need to remember what war is and what it is not. It's not about winning hearts and minds, it's about fragging hearts and minds. If we kept this in mind we would resume winning wars again ala 1945, but there are too many bleeding heart liberals who couldn't handle this brutal variety of truth. Therefore those who can't handle this sort of truth should STFU re: foreign intervention.

Maybe a better lesson would be not to invade countries that pose no serious threat to the US and not to believe the fantasy that if you destroy a country's infrastructure that a thankful democracy will emerge from a sea of sectarian hatred.

Comment: Re:For The Love of Glob! (Score 4, Insightful) 552

by bledri (#47458799) Attached to: The Last Three Months Were the Hottest Quarter On Record

I'd rather have seas 30 feet higher in 100-300 years and living with (say) 2314-year tech than current seas and year 2200 tech in 2314...or 2214. Hech, a 10% slowdown, miserably easy for an overbearing government to achieve, would yield a 30 year delta at the end. Hell, I'd rather have 2014 tech than 1984-tech.

Proposed solutions matter and should be judged in the context of tech advancement, or lack thereof. That's what saves lives.

You seem to be creating a false dichotomy, implying that addressing climate change would slow technological growth. Modernizing the power grid, storing energy from non-greenhouse gas generating power sources, better power management, electric cars, solar power, nuclear power, fusion, etc are all technologies that would make life better. Besides reducing green house gasses, energy ultimately becomes cheaper and pollution is reduced worldwide.

Sounds horrible. It's interesting to me that many opposed to AGW (not saying you), complain about the AGW alarmists, but they themselves are economic alarmists. As if addressing climate change will destroy the economy.

Comment: Re:"An anonymous reader" (Score 4, Informative) 112

by bledri (#47451563) Attached to: SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket Blasts Off From Florida

SpaceX is not competing with NASA, because NASA doesn't make rockets. NASA has input on the design requirements, but all the real work is done by private contractors, like Lockheed and Boeing. SpaceX is just a new contractor and they operate just like the others. They have some interesting new engineering approaches that may reduce costs, but it's not any fundamentally new business model.

Actually, it is a fundamentally different business model. You are correct that it was always private companies that did the final design and construction of the rockets, but historically Congress forced many decisions on NASA based largely on spreading the money around. For instance, NASA wanted the Space Shuttle to use liquid fueled boosters, but Congress insisted on the SRBs specifically so Thiokol Corporation of Utah would get the business. The same thing is happening with the STS under development now. Congress is forcing NASA to use Shuttle components in the first generation STS specifically to funnel money into certain congressional districts. Under the non-commercial contracts, Congress and NASA actually make design decisions that may not be optimum from an engineering perspective.

The rules under which SpaceX performs NASA missions, are much different. NASA does not get involved in the design of the rocket/spacecraft beyond listing requirements that must be met. Some seed money is provided, for companies that win bids to compete. But ultimately the winners are paid a fixed price - which is also a big difference. Historically, these contracts were cost plus. This new approach does appear to be saving money and it is also leading to competing designs which is interesting as well. For instance with commercial crew, Boeing is building a fairly conventual capsule that lands under parachute, Sierra Nevada is building a lifting body that will reenter and glide like the shuttle, and SpaceX is building a capsule that will land propulsively (parahutes will only be deployed if there is a malfunction in the engines.)

Comment: Re:The hero Gotham needs (Score 1) 78

Musk strikes me as a lot of things... Carnegie and Franklin aren't among them.

He's an emerging master at PR and managing public opinion, and his fan base (very prevalent here on Slashdot) just laps it up.

His rockets get to orbit with RP-1, not PR. You don't get a $5 billion launch manifest with PR.

Yes, there are delays and difficulties with both Tesla and SpaceX. Now show me someone that is building more compelling electric cars than Tesla. Owner's of Tesla's love them. If it wasn't a good car, it wouldn't have the satisfaction ratings it does. Car magazines wouldn't be raving about it.

Show me a "new space" company that is delivering cargo to the the ISS, returning mass to Earth, developing a manned capsule, self-funding reusability development, self-funding development of seriously big rocket engines for Saturn V size rockets.

I'm an unabashed fan because he's making interesting shit happen. The main reasons I've seen for people bagging on him are envy or ideology (Tesla got a government loan - that they paid back, SpaceX got NASA money - to deliver cargo cheaper than any competitor, etc...)

Comment: All the ideological responses are depressing (Score 1) 454

by bledri (#47334587) Attached to: CDC: 1 In 10 Adult Deaths In US Caused By Excessive Drinking
Time to rename this site "News for People with Knee Jerk Ideological Reactions While Patting Themselves on the Back Just Like Every Other Site on the Internet." God forbid we study the human condition and try to learn for fear that The Big Bad Government will use that information in a way we don't agree with.

Comment: Re:How is encryption different from a safe? (Score 1) 560

by bledri (#47329365) Attached to: Mass. Supreme Court Says Defendant Can Be Compelled To Decrypt Data

> Can you be compelled to open a safe?

Probably not, if it has a combination lock. With a warrant they can always break open a physical safe. But that method does not compel the owner to do anything.

Interestingly that article seems to imply you can be compelled to hand over a physical key, but not a combination as it is "contents of the mind." So if the key is stored on physical media it may not be considered "contents of the mind." And if it's stored in your mind, it can probably be brute forced fairly quickly.

Comment: How is encryption different from a safe? (Score 0) 560

by bledri (#47325417) Attached to: Mass. Supreme Court Says Defendant Can Be Compelled To Decrypt Data
This is slashdot, so I didn't read the article. I'm thrilled with this, but I wonder how encryption is any different than a safe. If the government has the legal authority (via a warrant) to open a safe, why wouldn't they have the same authority to decrypt your documents? I'm not arguing that I like the idea, but I don't see how encrypted documents would be a 5th amendment right if documents locked in a safe are not. Can you be compelled to open a safe?

Comment: Re:This I didn't expect. (Score 2) 274

by bledri (#47308627) Attached to: China Starts Outsourcing From<nobr> <wbr></nobr>... the US

It makes perfect sense. After enough time of disparaging the factory life, Americans are finally realizing that it beats the alternative.

I can make sense of it at an intellectual level, it's just my gut reaction to go "WTF" -- it's a bit counter-intuitive.

The news is welcome, I just wish American companies would start making things in USA again. I know we can do it. I suppose in time, we will.

It's already turning around. Tesla builds its cars in Fremont, CA and they're planning to open a battery factory somewhere in the US. SpaceX makes rockets in Hawthorne, CA. SolarCity bought Silevo and is planning to build a solar panel factory in NY. Now we just need to convince someone besides Elon Musk (which is actually happening.)

Comment: Re:No He Won't, There Is No Money in Exploration (Score 2) 275

by bledri (#47274069) Attached to: Elon Musk: I'll Put a Human On Mars By 2026

I admire Elon Musk. But he's dead wrong. Neil Degrasse Tyson is right.

I admire Neil Degrasse Tyson, but he's basically shilling for NASA. (I like NASA, more on their limits below.) And he is over simplifying what people's motivations where.

As others have pointed out, taking your company public means surrendering a significant amount of control over the long term. Board members and share holders like revenue. It's all about the next quarter. They don't like pet projects that are giant money sinks without the remote possibility of a return. Persist on that path post-IPO Elon, and watch yourself be fired from your own company, ala Steve Jobs.

Good thing Elon Musk has stated over and over that he won't take SpaceX public until all the long term development is done, specifically for those reasons.

NDGT is spot on the issue of exploration. It takes a government interested in (mostly) pure science without profit motivation.

You want to put people on Mars? I'll tell you what puts people on Mars - the U.S. government thumbing their nose in the face of Chinese ascendancy - Ala Cold War 2: Space Boogaloo.

Let the government, or team of governments blow tax dollars on building Mars mission tech. That tech will filter down to private enterprise years later, so the next generation of Elon Musks can farm minerals off asteroids, or some other future commercial endeavor.

NASA lives and dies by congressional funding and congressional funding is fickle. NASA has done great things, but those days are over and where basically a fluke. President's come in, they say they want to return to the Moon or go to Mars but they don't push congress to fund a coherent plan. Next president comes in, new plan, still not funded. When congress does fund something, the funding is based on getting jobs in their own districts not on what actually makes sense from an engineering standpoint. Look into the history of the "Space Launch System" (that's the rocket congress wants NASA to build that would be used to send people to Mars.) It's mandated that it must use components from Space Shuttle technology. In the space industry, the Space Launch System is known as "the rocket to nowhere." NASA's history is littered with cancelled projects due to the fickleness of Presidents and Congress.

At this point in history, the US Congress is incapable of funding an expensive and on going coherent space program. I don't see that changing in the next twenty years. NASA may land a man on Mars in the 2030s, but I doubt it. But even if NASA does land a human on Mars in the 2030s, they are not working on the technologies, infrastructure and transportation systems to put a colony there. If NASA puts humans on Mars, it will be just like when we landed on the Moon. Plant a flag, shout "we're #1", and then go home.

Elon is overreaching with this.

No, he's reaching. Something I wish more people would do even though they may fail.

Long live the oligarchy (and how sad is it that is our best hope?)

Comment: Re:Musk must finish what he started (Score 1) 275

by bledri (#47273551) Attached to: Elon Musk: I'll Put a Human On Mars By 2026

... Please focus on finishing what you started instead of constantly shifting focus like someone afflicted with attention deficit disorder.

  1. He's not doing it all alone. He's got 2 or 3 people working for him (by 2 or 3, I mean over 10,000).
  2. He founded SpaceX in 2002 and Tesla in 2003. He didn't intend to be involved with Telsa, but the original CEO almost killed the company. Now both companies are kicking ass. People whine about delays, but delays are the natural result of pushing boundaries aggressively and don't matter when you're still outpacing everyone else.
  3. He's on the board of Solar City because he provided the seed money, he is not involved operationally.
  4. He spent a few days thinking about hyperloop and then put the idea in the public domain (the bastard!)

Elon Musk is doing fine and luckily will ignore your advice.

No amount of careful planning will ever replace dumb luck.

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