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Comment: Re:Except it is not actually in space (Score 1) 21

by j-b0y (#46901345) Attached to: ESA Taking Applications for Summer of Code in Space

Since ESA depends on it's member states for it's funding and the funding is given on the basis of the political objectives of the states, ESA it by it's nature a political one and always has been. But that does not exclude being a technical one as well, which is it, and quite deeply.

The "rich old white men" are in fact the european space industry, which ESA supports and promotes as one of it's primary functions.

Your ignorance appears boundless.

Comment: Re:Total map size (Score 2) 77

by j-b0y (#45744965) Attached to: Billion Star Surveyor 'Gaia' Lifts Off

Very little that Gaia observes is truly discarded -- just the main astrometric system needs a mix of stable, well behaved stars and very distant quasars, that could be between 10% and 50% of the objects detected. There will be an attempt to classify objects -- which you need to do in order to grab the quasars for the astrometric system

Comment: Re:The real test... (Score 1) 77

by j-b0y (#45744945) Attached to: Billion Star Surveyor 'Gaia' Lifts Off

Well, Gaia won't ever observe the Moon, nor Venus and Mercury which are always on the sun-ward side of the solar-shield. Jupiter is so bright that it really messes with the detectors when it transits the focal plane, but it should be possible to do some interesting general-relativity experiments with the light-bending effects of Jupiter's mass for stars that are close (not not too close) to Jupiter when Gaia observes near it.

Comment: Education (Score 1) 397

I think a necessary step is to make sure that there is a general understanding that this is a problem -- here we must not merely preach to the choir but reach a wider and maybe technically illiterate audience) Who are we dealing with

1. People who willingly forgo their right to privacy (and therefore understand the issue at hand)
2. People who are ignorant their privacy rights are not respected (and therefore do not understand the issue at hand)
3. People who are aware that their privacy rights are not respected but wish to interact with 1) and 2) and therefore give up some or all of their privacy rights (and therefore understand the issue at hand)
4. People who will protect their privacy rights at the cost of limiting their ability to interact with at least those in 1) and 2) (and therefore understand the issue at hand)

We cannot save those in category 1), they know the risks and accept the "terms and conditions" of using the internet with public and private data mining/surveillance in place. These people are lost to the Dark Side.

People in category 2) need education on what the consequences of their actions are, and may then resolve into one of the other groups.

People in category 3) should accept that their permissiveness strengthens the hand of the NSA et al. If a practical alternative solution is presented they will probably help to bring people in category 2 away from the Dark Side.

People in category 4) are probably a small population already using Tor, Freenet, PGP, etc. They can help by adopting new technologies that do not compromise (too much) their desire for privacy.

Comment: It's all about the payload (Score 1) 188

by j-b0y (#42026597) Attached to: Ariane 5 Has No Chance, Says Elon Musk

Ariane 5 is and continues to be a success but the premise on which Ariane 5 was built -- heavy payloads -- is a small and shrinking market segment. Ariane 5 can launch two payloads, but matching payloads -- the right orbital configuration and mass constraints -- is not easy.

Arianespace hedged their bets by bringing this Soyuz launchers over to CSG with a new (ESA-funded) launchpad at Sinnamari. The much smaller Vega rocket is way off in the distance. The reasoning for Ariane 6 (not having to pay the Russians, as far as I can work out) is sound enough, but the politics (money for France for A6 vs money for Germany for revised A5) is getting in the way.

Comment: Copyright cuts both ways (Score 4, Insightful) 179

by j-b0y (#34159526) Attached to: UK Reviewing Copyright Laws

While we desperately need some sanity injected into the system after the Digital Britain Bill, I suspect this is going to really favour big-media's use of our copyrighted work.

"He said the law could be relaxed to allow greater use of copyright material without the owner's permission."

There must be plenty of companies drooling at the idea of smash and grab raids on flickr accounts and GPL'd software.

It is impossible to travel faster than light, and certainly not desirable, as one's hat keeps blowing off. -- Woody Allen