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Comment: Re:Status quo vs The Future (Score 1) 270

Renewable energy and "sustainable transportation" were largely tried in the 19th century and abandoned because they were too limiting.

Wind power is considerably older than that. It's actually considered to be the first form of non muscle based power used by himans.
Also "renewable" and "sustainable" have reached the point of being politcial "weasel words" more often that sensible descriptions.

+ - Letter to Congress: Ending U.S. Dependency on Russia for Access to Space 1

Submitted by Bruce Perens
Bruce Perens (3872) writes "I've sent a letter to my district's senators and member of congress this evening, regarding how we should achieve a swifter end to U.S. dependency on the Russians for access to space. Please read my letter, below. If you like it, please join me and send something similar to your own representatives. Find them here and here. — Bruce

Dear Congressperson Lee,

The U.S. is dependent on the Russians for present and future access to space. Only Soyuz can bring astronauts to and from the Space Station. The space vehicles being built by United Launch Alliance are designed around a Russian engine. NASA's own design for a crewed rocket is in its infancy and will not be useful for a decade, if it ever flies.

Mr. Putin has become much too bold because of other nations dependence. The recent loss of Malaysia Air MH17 and all aboard is one consequence.

Ending our dependency on Russia for access to space, sooner than we previously planned, has become critical. SpaceX has announced the crewed version of their Dragon spaceship. They have had multiple successful flights and returns to Earth of the un-crewed Dragon and their Falcon 9 rocket, which are without unfortunate foreign dependencies. SpaceX is pursuing development using private funds. The U.S. should now support and accelerate that development.

SpaceX has, after only a decade of development, demonstrated many advances over existing and planned paths to space. Recently they have twice successfully brought the first stage of their Falcon 9 rocket back to the ocean surface at a speed that would allow safe landing on ground. They have demonstrated many times the safe takeoff, flight to significant altitude, ground landing and re-flight of two similar test rockets. In October they plan the touchdown of their rocket's first stage on a barge at sea, and its recovery and re-use after a full flight to space. Should their plan for a reusable first-stage, second, and crew vehicle be achieved, it could result in a reduction in the cost of access to space to perhaps 1/100 of the current "astronomical" price. This would open a new frontier to economical access in a way not witnessed by our nation since the transcontinental railroad. The U.S. should now support this effort and reap its tremendous economic rewards.

This plan is not without risk, and like all space research there will be failures, delays, and eventually lost life. However, the many successes of SpaceX argue for our increased support now, and the potential of tremendous benefit to our nation and the world.

Please write back to me.

Many Thanks

Bruce Perens"

Comment: Re:Mission creep. (Score 1) 285

by mpe (#47505657) Attached to: How One School District Handled Rolling Out 20,000 iPads
Saving even a couple of hundred dollars per unit might be a drop in the bucket when compared with the peripheral costs. Yes, IT departments everywhere might be able to save a little money on the purchase of each computer by buying all of their parts from NewEgg and installing Linux on the computer that they cobble together from parts. Still, it ends up being cheaper, when you add up all the peripheral costs, to buy ready-made computers from Dell with Windows pre-installed.

Except that OEM preinstalls tend to be of very little vaule in "enterprise" environments. Even those fairly free of "crapware".

Comment: Re:It gets worse... (Score 1) 667

by mpe (#47501823) Attached to: Russian Government Edits Wikipedia On Flight MH17
Ok thanks for the clarification. Terrorists indeed claimed to have stolen a BUK system from local Donbass military base, on 29/06: Here's another claim - they're saying they fixed it:
UA army claimed all BUKs were crippled beyond repair, so it is also likely that specialists and materials needed for repair (if it indeed happened) came from Russia.

Or what was stolen was rather less "crippled" than the Ukrainian Government would like to admit.
It isn't as if politicians tend to be the most honest of people, even in peacetime.

Comment: Re:Android on my pi? (Score 1) 42

I wonder how much of that has to do with the tendency among Android app publishers to make their products exclusive to Google Play Store, which is (legally) available only on devices with preloaded Android OS. This makes AOSP distributions undesirable to end users.

On the other hand any kind of "app store" in an "enterprise environment" where installing any kind of software is about the last thing "end users" should be doing.

Comment: Re:Finally! (Score 1) 473

by mpe (#47493103) Attached to: World Health Organization Calls For Decriminalization of Drug Use
I agree with your comments on this as well. What would we do with all the prison space currently housed by drug-related occupants? That would put a heavy dent in the income of the organizations that manage the prison systems (which are mostly cronies of the politicians).

Could always put politicians (and their cronies) in there :)

Comment: Re: Finally! (Score 1) 473

by mpe (#47493097) Attached to: World Health Organization Calls For Decriminalization of Drug Use
As far as the US is concerned, I don't think use of substances like crystal meth or pcp would be an issue if more enjoyable/safe drugs were equally available. What makes meth so cheap and available is an artificial inflation of other substances caused by Federal drug policy.

One side effect of prohibition is that of "legal hights". Which whilst not illegal often turn out to be considerably more toxic then what's been previously banned.

Comment: Re:There's another treatment that stops most T2 (Score 1) 253

by mpe (#47486129) Attached to: New Treatment Stops Type II Diabetes
One thing I can caution you about, as a med student, is to question where the guidelines for the "correct" cholesterol came from. Hint: it's probably an echo chamber, and not tied to scientific evidence.

IIRC the numbers were the lowest the drug companies could get away with.

Anyway, what I'm saying is not that statins are bad, but merely to question what your goal cholesterol really should be. Your brain has a lot of cholesterol (myelin is high in cholesterol) and cholesterol modulates your cell wall plasticity. Too low would be bad.

One very intresting thing is pattern B LDL particles contain less cholesterol than pattern A LDL particles. Which rather means that breaking lipoproteins apart and looking at their lipid "cargo" is likely to be less useful than looking at the lipoproteins themselves.

Comment: Re:meanwhile overnight... (Score 1) 503

by mpe (#47485927) Attached to: Russia Prepares For Internet War Over Malaysian Jet
and thus will avoid hitting Russian aircraft by default

Or Ukrainian (military) aircraft should the system have been "acquired" from the Ukrainian military. In which case the operators would have been expected to either disable or override the IFF function. Anyway the transponder on a civilian plane is NEVER going to return the correct response to a military IFF. It probably isn't going to return anything at all, since as far as it's concerned it's not seeing a vaild signal.

Comment: Re:meanwhile overnight... (Score 1) 503

by mpe (#47485837) Attached to: Russia Prepares For Internet War Over Malaysian Jet
"Although it has its own identification friend or foe system, this is only able to establish whether the target being tracked is a friendly aircraft. It is the electronic equivalent of a sentry calling out: "Who goes there?". If there is no reply, all you know is that it is not one of your own combat aircraft. It would not give you a warning that you were tracking an airliner."

The rebels don't have any of their own aircraft so there'd be no reason to do this in the first place.
A sentry who knows that an intruder cannot possibly be one of their own might well follow the "shoot first ask questions later" approach.
Distinguishing between a military and civilian plane is not so easy and even trained radar operators can get this wrong. As was the case with Iran Air 655.

Comment: Re:meanwhile overnight... (Score 1) 503

by mpe (#47485717) Attached to: Russia Prepares For Internet War Over Malaysian Jet
What sort of "rebels" would have the training an ability to set up and operate a crew served weapon? I severely doubt that such a system is "point and shoot" as it has 3 separate, independent mobile systems.

So "rebels" cannot possibly be soldiers. Nor can they read manuals. There were reports last month of people quite literally taking weapons from museums. Also the Soviet army was made up mostly of conscripts. Even weapons systems intended for all volunteer armies are often designed to be easy to use.

Comment: Re:meanwhile overnight... (Score 1) 503

by mpe (#47485635) Attached to: Russia Prepares For Internet War Over Malaysian Jet
The question is, was this really a launcher that the Russians gave the rebels? I looked up the Wikipedia page for the BUK missile system last night, and there was a link on that article to a report from Jane's that said Ukraine had some in their possession from their days as a Soviet satellite state. It makes me wonder if the BUK (being a Soviet-era weapons system dating back to 1979) wasn't just misplaced somewhere - if the National Institutes of Health can misplace 300 vials of deadly diseases and biological weapons, it's not a stretch to think that the Ukrainian military might've had a BUK somewhere and forgotten about it.

Or the Ukrainian military/government dosn't want to admit that the rebels had stolen it from them. Even though such a thing would not be unheard of in a civil war.

Theory is gray, but the golden tree of life is green. -- Goethe