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Comment: Re:Spoiler (Score 1) 191

by dpilot (#47914369) Attached to: Sci-Fi Authors and Scientists Predict an Optimistic Future

This presumes that people regularly leave the tower, or at least the upper floors of the tower. Science fiction has plengy of examples where Elvis may never leave the building. Probably not workable in today's society, but what if everything needed for daily life could be reached within a few floors.

Think in terms of the arcologies in "Oath of Fealty".

+ - diaspora* version released-> 1

Submitted by jaywink
jaywink (3824665) writes "A new diaspora* version is out. It includes a lot of pages ported to Bootstrap, many bug fixes and small enhancements. Also included is a Terms of Service -feature for podmins. Diaspora* is an open source social networking server that joins all running pods into one big decentralized social network."
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Comment: The Curse of Geolocation Strikes Again! (Score 1) 5

by MonTemplar (#47901971) Attached to: Android International

Crazy, isn't it?

Evidently, there is some unwritten law that states that Geolocation by IP address shall override any and all set preferences by the user on their device, and ignore any possibility that barring or redirecting the user makes no sense.

I get a version of this periodically on Spotify, where I'm informed that the particular album or single I'm looking at can't be played because it isn't licensed to my region. And of course there's the small matter of my being IP-blocked from Pandora Radio for the same reason.

I ran into a particularly nasty geolocation issue back in late 2012, when I was informed that I couldn't access my National Lottery account because they no longer believed that I was accessing it from the UK. Went back and forth between them and my ISP (VirginMedia), with each blaming the other for the problem.

I've also heard of situations where people have found the books on their Kindles vanishing because they're holidaying in an area where said books aren't licensed.

Comment: Saw it at the Smithsonian a few years ago (Score 5, Informative) 99

by dpilot (#47901817) Attached to: Original 11' <em>Star Trek Enterprise</em> Model Being Restored Again

We took the family to DC for a vacation, and of course one of the things I had to see was Smithsonian Air and Space. I didn't know that the original Enterprise model was there, and was surprised to see it on the lower floor.

The next surprise was that the model was never finished. One side had all of the lights, striping, and everything. The other side had a little striping, and was otherwise pretty much blank. I remembered reading that in one of those books, and how all shots were of the finished side, or mirrored in post-processing.

Comment: Re:Decisions, Decisions... (Score 2) 123

by dpilot (#47875919) Attached to: SpaceX and Boeing Battle For US Manned Spaceflight Contracts

I thought I also read something about kerosene leaving some sort of residue in the plumbing, turbopumps, etc. For a disposable it just doesn't matter, but for a reusable it means extra maintenance. The other thing was Zubrin suggesting that methane/oxygen was relatively easy to generate on Mars, for a return flight. Since Musk probably isn't planning on returning, that would be for a Mars space program.

Comment: Re:Decisions, Decisions... (Score 1) 123

by dpilot (#47874787) Attached to: SpaceX and Boeing Battle For US Manned Spaceflight Contracts

Since you sound familiar with this stuff, I'm wondering about Falcon Heavy. I've seen that it's moving to methane/oxygen propellents. My understanding has been that kerosene/oxygen were generally best for a first stage, and hydrogen/oxygen is best for an upper stage where specific impulse is more important than tank size.

With methan/oxygen it seems obvious that they'd like to run the engine on mars-native fuel. But I also get the impression that kerosene/oxygen might not be the best thing for reusability because it gums up the works, and methane/oxygen would be better.

So I see three factor here - Earth launch, reuse, and Mars launch. Do you have any feel for this tradeoff set?

Comment: Re:Bikes lanes are nice (Score 1) 213

by Waffle Iron (#47874277) Attached to: Surprising Result of NYC Bike Lanes: Faster Traffic for Cars

Your statement should apply equally to pedestrians and cyclists. However, pedestrians aren't the ones arguing that they'd be safer walking down the middle of the road than on the sidewalk.

Neither cyclists nor pedestrians travel down the middle of the road.

Because most pedestrians that are hit by an automobile are not on the sidewalk, they're in the road.

As I said, only a small fraction of cyclists are hit while traveling down the road not near an intersection.

At an intersection, by definition, YOU'RE IN THE ROAD, whether you had been on a sidewalk or not. Now read that last sentence again, because you seem to be incapable of understanding that simple geometric fact.

The issue is that motorists rarely look for objects moving faster than 0.5mph coming from a sidewalk. Maybe instead of making cyclists stop and dismount at every goddamned driveway as you want, we should address the original source of the risk and institute a nationwide comprehensive 15 mph speed limit.

I never suggested they didn't get killed by cars all the time. I said they manage to handle intersections just fine. That is, with an acceptable surivaval rate.

Where did you come up with that idea? Pedestrians are routinely killed at intersections, coming from sidewalks. Where do you get the idea that that's acceptable?

I don't hear nearly as much whining from pedestrians rights groups as I do from cyclists rights groups, so I assume that pedestrians have greater success in intersections than cyclists do. Of course, it's possible that cyclists are more whiney. Could go either way.

Maybe they're whiny because they hear unsubstantiated crap like this all the time from ill-informed people like you.

Comment: Re:Bikes lanes are nice (Score 1) 213

by Waffle Iron (#47873813) Attached to: Surprising Result of NYC Bike Lanes: Faster Traffic for Cars

Somehow pedestrians manage to handle intersections just fine, all while staying on sidewalks and crosswalks. Perhaps if navigating intersections is too challenging on a bicycle, one might dismount and walk the bike cross?

Pedestrians get killed by cars all the time. Please stop talking out of your ass.

Comment: Re:Decisions, Decisions... (Score 1) 123

by dpilot (#47873669) Attached to: SpaceX and Boeing Battle For US Manned Spaceflight Contracts

"Safe" and "Exciting" have a different meaning in this context. Realize that Falcon 9 has already flown several times, and though plagued with the delays that plague pretty much all launches, has a good track record which will presumably continue through its use in a manned launch. The "Exciting" choice sounds about as "Safe" as it gets in rocketry, to me.

The Boeing design is new, though presumably using tried and true components from a tried and true design. There will no doubt be unmanned test launches, but the first men on top will still be sitting on a rocket with far less launch history than the Falcon 9. The "Safe" choice sounds just a bit more "Exciting" this way.

Disclaimer - TFA doesn't say if this is for Falcon 9 or Falcon Heavy. Falcon Heavy is all-new, with only the company track record behind it. That puts SpaceX and Boeing on a more even footing, with Boeing having a longer track record and SpaceX having done more launches recently.

OTOH, I seriously doubt that the head of Boeing plans on going through a Boeing launch personally. The head of SpaceX does.

Seriously... If we really want to foster a private space industry, both companies need to be kept moving forward. At this stage of the game, the contract needs to be split in order to improve the viability of both efforts. Cutthroat cost competition can happen later.

Comment: Re:Bikes lanes are nice (Score 1) 213

by Waffle Iron (#47873051) Attached to: Surprising Result of NYC Bike Lanes: Faster Traffic for Cars

Yet only something like 5% of bike injuries involve being rear-ended by cars on roads.

Almost all other cases would involve intersections of some sort, where being on the sidewalk doesn't help or is counterproductive. You're still vulnerable to the high-speed cars while crossing roads, and you're more likely to collide because they're not looking at where you're coming from.

Comment: Re:Hooray for Space-X (Score 1) 32

by dpilot (#47872415) Attached to: After Weeks of Delay, SpaceX Falcon Launches Communications Satellite Payload

Of course, but that's "sunk cost" in a manner of speaking, available under no better terms to SpaceX than to any other US-based company.

However given that basis, typical contract projects are then paid for by the government, on top of "historical knowledge." SpaceX used the historical knowledge, as others do, but then paid for their additional development themselves.

+ - SpaceX and Boeing Battle For US Manned Spaceflight Contracts->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "$3 billion in funding is on the line as private space companies duke it out for contracts to end U.S. reliance on Russian rockets for manned spaceflight. The two biggest contenders are SpaceX and Boeing, described as "the exciting choice" and "the safe choice," respectively. "NASA is charting a new direction 45 years after sending humans to the Moon, looking to private industry for missions near Earth, such as commuting to and from the space station. Commercial operators would develop space tourism while the space agency focuses on distant trips to Mars or asteroids." It's possible the contracts would be split, giving some tasks to each company. It's also possible that the much smaller Sierra Nevada Corp. could grab a bit of government funding as well for launches using its unique winged-shuttle design."
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E = MC ** 2 +- 3db