Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?

Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!

  • View

  • Discuss

  • Share

We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).


Comment: Re:Fair business practices. (Score 4, Informative) 66

by bledri (#49357667) Attached to: US Air Force Overstepped In SpaceX Certification

Yes, exactly. Also the established players were paid for all of their development effort; therefore, it is likely that the IP is owned by the government. This is in contrast to private development efforts. So essentially it is the difference between developing a custom solution (and paying for all development) or going to the store and buying something off the shelf.

Nope, that's not how it works for the EELV rockets. Boeing and Lockheed Martin owned the IP to the rockets and was free to do what ever they wanted as long as they conformed to ITAR (SpaceX also has to conform to ITAR.) They were free to provide commercial launches with their rockets but they lost the market to Europe and Russia and they made no effort to be competitive in those markets. Most US aerospace companies just gave up entirely and Boeing and Lockheed Martin formed the United Launch Alliance and convinced the US government to give them a billion dollars a year to ensure "US access to space." Not to do research, just to exist and maintain their facilities and production capability. That billion does not include providing any launch vehicles and services, that costs extra. A lot extra.

So I know it's popular to blame the government for everything, but US aerospace choose not to compete because they had a nice big cash cow.

Comment: Re:Fair business practices. (Score 3, Informative) 66

by bledri (#49357511) Attached to: US Air Force Overstepped In SpaceX Certification

The only difference between the new 'commercial space' guys and Boeing and LM, etc are the rules. How is it fair to the established space industry that was forced to play the government game to lose business because SpaceX doesn't have to.

Not true. The "New Space" companies self-fund long term research and experimentation with an eye toward making space flight less expensive. Even if Boeing, Lockheed-Martin, McDonald Douglas, et al, were "forced" to jump through government hoops, they were also exceedingly well payed to jump through those hoops. They could have used that money to fund their own research to stay competitive in the commercial market but they did not. They pocketed the money and completely gave up the commercial market to Russia and Europe.

McDonnell Douglas was working on a VTVL rocket (the DC-X) in 1991. As soon as the DoD and NASA stopped funding that research, they dropped it. SpaceX uses their profits to continue developing reusability, there is no reason that McDonnell Douglas could not have done that. The government did not prevent any of the "Old Space" companies could from developing reusable rockets. Nor did the government prevent them from investing their own money in improving production techniques to lower production costs. They choose not to do that work in any long term sustainable way unless the government directly payed for it.

Comment: Re:This is because of net neutrality (Score 1) 531

You pass laws than essentially make private investments subject to public control. Don't be surprised if there is less investment in infrastructure.

Can you give specifics of how a law that is not on the books yet is to blame for the current mess in the US?

Comment: Re:You chose to be a baker (Score 1) 860

by bledri (#49342653) Attached to: Gen Con Threatens To Leave Indianapolis Over Religious Freedom Bill

Actually, they were perfectly fine with baking them a cake. Just not a wedding cake. Their reasons where because their constitutionally protected free exercise of religion and beliefs of that religion prohibited them from participating in a gay wedding.

Here is the problem. We are letting a law override the constitution because you believe the law is better.

Thankfully, freedom of religion is far from absolute. Ritual sacrifice, stoning, beheading, and betrothed 12 years olds are all sincerely held religious beliefs. You can argue where to draw the line, but there is a line. Pretending that any of the constitutional "rights" are absolute, or even that they should be absolute makes no sense.

And how is baking a cake "participating" in a wedding? Is selling paper plates participating in a wedding too? How about renting a limo, or providing a taxi ride?

Comment: Re:Do It, it worked in AZ (Score 1) 860

by bledri (#49342603) Attached to: Gen Con Threatens To Leave Indianapolis Over Religious Freedom Bill

The convention organizers aren't trying to punish those who are being homophobic or racist, though.

Even worse: Why would they walk away from very people who they say would be harmed by the law?

Unless, of course, they're just grandstanding.

No, you misunderstand. People from all over the world travel to conventions. If a state passes laws that allow businesses to shun LBGT (and/or other) people, then they may choose to avoid traveling to that state. The conventioneers can't make money on people that are not welcome in the state hosting the convention. Therefore, it is in conventioneers interest to host conventions in states welcoming to everyone.

Got it?

Comment: Re:Bad idea (Score 5, Insightful) 671

by bledri (#49175303) Attached to: Snowden Reportedly In Talks To Return To US To Face Trial

Really bad idea. If he was going to do this he should have never bothered leaving in the first place.

As I've said before, if he's really this stand up guy, why did he run? IF he really had good and legal reasons to do what he did, take it to court and face the music.

Civil disobedience has ALWAYS carried the potential for punishment and if you break the law to make your point that the law is unjust you should stand ready to be arrested, imprisoned and tried in court for what you choose to do. You don't break the law and then run away like a coward...

I don't give a shit if he's a stand up guy, he deserves due process and the US does not hold up it's end of the bargain anymore (assuming it ever did.) We live in a time when it's illegal to discuss the fact that you've received a national security letter, much less the content. We live in a time when labelling someone a "terrorist" means they have no civil rights. People are held without being charged. People are flown to other countries to be tortured. US citizens have been targeted for assassination in other countries. But you think Snowden, knowingly throwing his life away, to expose the depths of the US government's intrusion into our lives is a coward? Because that's what he did, and knew that he was doing it. What sacrifice have you made to hold the government accountable?

Comment: Re:Bad idea (Score 5, Insightful) 671

by bledri (#49175037) Attached to: Snowden Reportedly In Talks To Return To US To Face Trial

I don't know if Russia is a good place for someone like Snowden who likes to expose government corruption. Then again, maybe he'll have better luck than Boris Nemstov.

Luckily, if the Russians ever decide to jail him for exposing government corruption, he's likely to get that "fair and impartial" trial that he evidently thinks he needs a guarantee for in the US.

The fact that Putin's Russia is also a bully does not absolve the US of it's hypocrisy and misdeeds.

Comment: Re:How about human dignity? (Score 1) 187

by bledri (#49147849) Attached to: Facebook Puts Users On Suicide Watch


So fuck those initiatives. No Facebook, nor anyone else can do squat about it. In fact Facebook, being greedy corporation which fucks its customers left right and centre, is part of the problem...

I am sorry for your predicament and we do live in a world that can seem hyper-focussed on greed. That said, companies are made of people and a lot of people that work at companies do actually try to make the world a better place. Furthermore, regardless of the motivation, getting people help before they actually attempt suicide is a net positive. I think you are "throwing out the baby with the baby with the bathwater."

Comment: Re:Talk versus Action (Score 1) 187

by bledri (#49147765) Attached to: Facebook Puts Users On Suicide Watch

Why is the responsability of a stranger to discourage a suicidal that dosnt ask for help to avoid the suicidal thoughts?

As other's have noted, suicide is a permanent solution to what is frequently a temporary problem. When someone is depressed, it can feel like they were always depressed. It can become nearly impossible to believe that life will ever "be worth living." That is the lie of depression.

Anyway, who said anything about it being the responsibility of a stranger? These people voluntarily helped someone in a time of need. Facebook and Twitter were not forced to help people in a time of need, they are doing it voluntarily. Does that bother you? Is there something wrong with helping other human beings?

Comment: Re:I decided that I simply won't watch it (Score 1) 222

by bledri (#49147429) Attached to: Harrison Ford To Return In Blade Runner Sequel

I simply won't watch it, because I believe it's poaching on the intellectual work of Philip K. Dick.


Everything is a remix. It will be a better world when we admit it. Though this is more likely a case of using name recognition as marketing than creating something new from something old. I'll wait for the reviews to decide whether to give them any money for their efforts.

Comment: Re:Intriguing, but landing at launch site? (Score 1) 53

by bledri (#49041373) Attached to: SpaceX Signs Lease Agreement With Air Force For Landing Pad

I'm pretty sure they have done all the sums, but I'm wondering, since it has not been explained exactly.. 16 miles isn't very far, but what is the horizontal velocity at that point? Because they do have to stop that, then reverse it, which surely means that this point is not going to be the furthest away.. and considering that if allowed to continue its path, it would splash down 500 miles away, I'm guessing the velocity is ... considerable.

One of the flight controller's on the CRS-5 mission calls out 1.8 km/s shortly before MECO (main engine cut off). So it's traveling over 4,000 mph. Different missions have different trajectory and velocity requirements. On the DSCOVR mission, 2350 m/s was announced shortly before MECO which is over 5,200 mph.

I scanned the article but didn't see the 16 mile number, where is that coming from?

Comment: Re:Intriguing, but landing at launch site? (Score 1) 53

by bledri (#49041111) Attached to: SpaceX Signs Lease Agreement With Air Force For Landing Pad

Very intriguing article, but it makes one wonder about the landing pad being at the launch site - normally the main booster is a good ways away from the main launch site and moving rapidly away (that's why the floating landing pad was 500 miles downrange from the launch site)...this would appear that SpaceX would carry enough fuel to turn the booster back around (from mach whatever) and fly all the way back to the launch site (would seem to be alot of fuel) - I would have expected landing on a floating landing pad or construct such a landing area on an island(s) that isn't too far from the parabolic fall area of the booster (i.e. where the floating pad would be). Looking forward to more details....

I can't give you hard numbers off of the top of my head but there are a lot of variables. Different missions require different trajectories and payloads vary in mass significantly. The DSCOVR mission was actually a light payload, but it was a "deep space" mission requiring a very high velocity which is why the landing point was so far out to sea. So to quote Elon Musk, the first stage was "hauling a**." But there are a lot of missions where the stage is lofted more vertically or is traveling much slower when it separates. For those trajectories, there is about a 30% "payload hit", that is to say that for any payload massing 70% of the F9's maximum capability, they can include enough fuel to RTLS. If I recall correctly, landing on the barge incurs about a 15% payload hit on those more typical trajectories.

So for SpaceX, it comes down to economics. They have a barge on the east coast and are building one on the west coast for missions that don't have the margins to RTLS. But it saves them money to RTLS because then they don't have to pay crew for support ships and everything else involved in operating the landing platform. And landing on land (once approved), will always be less risk since the weather will be the same as the launch weather and there won't be 30 ft waves bouncing the landing pad around. So if conditions are good to launch, they will also be good to land.

As far as using an island or building a stationary platform goes, that isn't ideal for several reasons. A lack of available islands being one, but also it's location would always be a comprise because of all the varying trajectories. By using a barge (aka Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship), you can place it anywhere in the ocean for all the exceptions to RTLS, rather than only catch a subset.

Comment: Re:Should journalists actively HIDE news from peop (Score 1) 645

by bledri (#49001433) Attached to: Does Showing a Horrific Video Serve a Legitimate Journalistic Purpose?

Does hiding news from people serve a legitimate journalistic purpose?

No but it serves political purposes. That's why it's illegal to show returning body bags and coffins. That's why the mainstream media refuses to show pictures of dead Iraqi women and children. I can't applaud the journalistic integrity of showing this video if they won't fight for the right to show videos and pictures that expose the whole truth.

ISIS is not justifiable, but that doesn't make it OK that the US media works as the propaganda machine of the US military.

Comment: Re:Even Fox gets it right sometimes (Score 3, Insightful) 645

by bledri (#49001281) Attached to: Does Showing a Horrific Video Serve a Legitimate Journalistic Purpose?

I actually think that it is important for those interested to see this video. At the very least, know your enemy. Those who are _not_ disgusted by the video were already lost before they saw it. I saw it. I cannot believe what some people will do to one another.

Related discussion on Stack Exchange:

ISIS isn't my enemy. They are disgusting, evil, horrible, shit-lickers. But they are not my enemy and we (the US) can't fight someone else's civil war because we will fuck it up. We will use outrage and compassion to send in troops, but the goals won't be humanitarian. They will be "national interests." We will make alliances with people diametrically opposed to true freedom and democracy in the the interest of "stability" and access to "resources." We do it every single time and until we learn not to do that, we should stay the hell out.

In summary, we are really bad at liberating people. I wish that was not true, but it it. We're great at liberating resources and we're really good at destroying stuff. Sadly that won't help "make us safe."

And we should tell the whole truth. Show videos of Saudi Arabian women being beheaded for "infidelity." Show the returning body bags (few though they are in comparison to the collateral damage.) Show what life is like now that we "liberated" Iraq.

As others have pointed out, showing this video is propaganda because of all that is not shown.

Make it right before you make it faster.