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Comment: Re:Not so sure it's harmless (Score 2) 248

by cusco (#47761477) Attached to: TechCentral Scams Call Center Scammers

When I pretty much start the call by telling them that I have 18 years of desktop, server and network administration you would think that should scare them off, but no. They have a script to follow, and they'll follow it to the end of the Earth and over the edge. Most of the guys that I get tell me they work for Microsoft, and having worked on campus (and in fact having done security for a lot of those buildings) I find it amusing to take them on a mental tour of the Redmond campus. Eventually they drag me back onto the script. They're quite dogged, impressive in their own way.

About 30 seconds into one call I told the guy that I knew he was a scammer, and that he didn't work for MS. He still stayed on the line, doing his worst to try to get me to comply with his script, for another 23 minutes. The only reason that the call ended then was because it was time to toss stuff in the wok and I needed two hands.

Comment: Re:Just don't deal with Americans (Score 1) 251

by cusco (#47713843) Attached to: Comcast Training Materials Leaked

It's a common mistake, made more common by the fact that at one time it was more-or-less true. Many municipalities did grant exclusive franchises (generally for 20 years) during the initial cable build-out in the 1950s and '60s, but those agreements have long ago expired. The nominal justification was that it would take companies that long to recoup their investment (the actual time to break-even was closer to 10 years, but cable companies were already earning their well-deserved reputation as liars.) It's become a major plank of the Libertaridan platform now so it gets repeated a lot, never mind that it's every bit as inaccurate as most of the rest of their talking points.

Comment: Re:And today (Score 1) 211

by cusco (#47507905) Attached to: Apollo 11 Moon Landing Turns 45

for the enormous cost of servicing the Hubble it could have simply been replaced,

No, there's not enough pork in a new telescope for Congress to pass funding, which is why Webb took so long to get funded. To dig a tunnel out of prison you might want a boring machine, but if all you have is a shovel you'll use that. NASA was stuck using a spoon because that was all that Congress would allow. The most disappointing thing that we learned from the entire Hubble mission is that while they wouldn't even pay for basic maintenance on Hubble until NASA had grovelled sufficiently and promised even more giveaways to the Pentagon, they gleefully purchased so many Hubble-class telescopes for the National Recon Office that the NRO couldn't even use two of them.

If Webb ever needs servicing it will be abandoned, since Congress will never budget the funding for the R&D in time to prevent minor malfunctions from cascading into complete failure. There just isn't enough pork in it.

Comment: Re:"Moondust" (Score 1) 211

by cusco (#47504035) Attached to: Apollo 11 Moon Landing Turns 45

Non-obligatory XKCD. 'Number of living humans who have walked on another world.'

The overtext says, "The universe is probably littered with the one-planet graves of cultures which made the sensible economic decision that there's no good reason to go into space--each discovered, studied and remembered by the ones who made the irrational decision."

Comment: Re:What if we hadn't? (Score 1) 211

by cusco (#47503195) Attached to: Apollo 11 Moon Landing Turns 45

Early on VonBraun planned on using multiple launches and assemble the spacecraft in orbit. Kennedy's 'end of the decade' deadline made that proposal a non-starter, since we didn't have the time necessary to learn the proper construction techniques, so we ended up with the enormous beast of the Saturn V as our booster. It's too bad, VonBraun's design would have had people working on the surface for as much as a month at a time before returning, and the program would have grown at a sustainable rate that could have been integrated into the economy and government.

Comment: Re:It's right there! (Score 1) 211

by cusco (#47503079) Attached to: Apollo 11 Moon Landing Turns 45

The moon landing was carried live worldwide, even on the few television stations in the USSR and China. To my knowledge it still holds the record for the program with the largest percentage of televisions worldwide tuned in. (Any game in the World Cup had larger numbers, but as a percentage of total available viewers I believe Apollo still wins.)

Comment: Re:It's not a miracle (Score 1) 211

by cusco (#47502893) Attached to: Apollo 11 Moon Landing Turns 45

Not to be rude, but that's a rather absurd assumption. Do you really think we know everything that will ever be possible to learn about physics? Since the majority of the universe seems to be made of matter and energy that we can't even detect yet I think there just may be some wiggle room for new discoveries.

Even more absurd is the assumption that the only reason to go to space is to go to other stellar systems in the blink of an eye. There is more than enough here in our own system to keep humanity occupied for centuries, and generation ships would be a natural outgrowth of asteroid colonization.

Comment: Re:And today (Score 1) 211

by cusco (#47502427) Attached to: Apollo 11 Moon Landing Turns 45

Sorry, but people poking and prodding and adjusting things are all that keep most of the experiments on the ISS running. You have a very distorted view of the reliability of electrical and mechanical equipment if you're unaware of that simple fact. Hubble functioned for as long as it did only because human beings were able to get up there and work on it. The big reason to have people living and working in space is that because THAT'S THE ONLY FRELLING WAY TO LEARN HOW TO LIVE THERE! If we're ever going to colonize the rest of the universe we're going to need to take these baby steps, and the sooner the better.

Comment: Re:It's always the other guy's fault. (Score 2) 211

by cusco (#47501133) Attached to: Apollo 11 Moon Landing Turns 45

So how does one learn how to colonize space without "slinging meat bags" out there? Robots can do a lot of exploration and even do some of the preparation for installing habitats, but the only way to learn how to live in space is to actually GO THERE. Yes, LEO is barely "in outer space", but until we come up with good shielding we need to rely on the Van Allen belts for protection. For now, we're just taking baby steps, and the pols insist that killing brown people is more important than learning to run so that's what we'll continue doing for now. Space is our future, though.

The Earth is the cradle of humanity, but mankind cannot stay in the cradle forever. - Konstantin Tsiolkovsky

Comment: Re:Bitcoin isn't money but it's still a financial (Score 1) 135

by cusco (#47427287) Attached to: Judge Shoots Down "Bitcoin Isn't Money" Argument In Silk Road Trial

Unless you're a former Treasury Secretary who goes to work for CitiCorps money laundering, er, 'private banking' division, or the head of the New York Stock Exchange who can go to Colombia and offer the NYSE's services to the FARC. Then you're just a shining example of the values of a Business Administration degree.

Comment: Re:Bitcoin isn't money but it's still a financial (Score 2) 135

by cusco (#47427203) Attached to: Judge Shoots Down "Bitcoin Isn't Money" Argument In Silk Road Trial

When get get cash from an ATM, the bank associates your name with the unique ID on every bill.

No, they don't. Not even the $100 bills. My mother ran a credit union for over a decade, if the gov't tried to foist that kind of overhead on the country's credit unions you would have heard the banshee wails all the way to McMurdo Station. Whether Chase, BoA or one of the other major money laundries does for some bizarre reason it's voluntary, not a requirement.

Pound for pound, the amoeba is the most vicious animal on earth.