Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:Goodbye to Affordable Drones (Score 1) 164 164

Say good bye to affordable drones for hobbyists. Now all drones will have to have a gps module, an altimeter, a microcontroller, and a microprocessor capable of processing all this, extensive software to handle all of this data, .... .

Instead of safety legislation, lets just hold individuals who misuse drones accountable when they do something stupid.

I dunno, sounds like some nifty hardware to void the warrantee on. Hey, the 'good stuff' isn't gonna come outta Colorado by itself, ya know...

Comment Re:file transfer (Score 1) 466 466

anonymous reader says the floppies are dodgy. If she/he could load new software on it, he/she could copy the files off of the disk, too. The problem is to do it with the software and hardware as-is.

Backing up a 160 meg drive to 1.44 meg floppies is gonna be time consuming. Best get a USB disk box that will fit a 2.5 form factor IDE hard drive and plug it into the USB port of a modern computer. The filesystem would be easily readable on just about anything, it'd be FAT16 for Win 3.x.

Now, if the hard drive is damaged, you're screwed...

Comment Re:well under the gop healthcare plan you may want (Score 1) 88 88

well under the gop healthcare plan you may want to be in prison if you need anything high cost and you have an preexisting condition

Except these days, most prisons are privately owned and run under government contracts. Their track records speak volumes. They're not gonna spend a dime they think they don't have to to stay profitable. See this, this, and just for the hell of it, this. Further examples can be googled of course.

Comment Re:Um, duh? (Score 1) 224 224

Solar can't do base load due to transmission issues. Transmitting power to the other side of the planet is non-trivial.

But a small part of making orbital solar work is transmitting power down from orbit.

More fundamentally; the only reason to insist solar do baseload is quasi religious.

It all depends on how many power sats you want in orbit, and what those orbits are. A single monster sat beaming down to one rectenna is probably NOT the way to do it. Several power sats in varying orbits, beaming to multiple rectannae is a damned sight closer. Keep in mind that the further out the orbit is, the longer the 'day' the satellite sees. At geosync, the Earth occludes a sat for only a couple hours a day. Shift to a sat 20 or 30 degrees away, and you can hit that rectenna no problem.

Comment Re:Um, duh? (Score 1) 224 224

If you define space based solar as solar that uses a light source in space then you are right.

But putting the collectors in space will be stupid and uneconomic for the foreseeable future.

Until the cost of launch and the lower service life on orbit match the efficiency loss on earth (call them 1/2 from atmospheric losses and 4/24 (1/6) for night time based on 'equivalent hours maps') land based solar is cheaper. At a really rough chop, assuming $1 peak watt installed on earth, you'd have to get orbital cost down to under $12 watt installed, on orbit. 2000 watts/meter, 20% efficiency, 80% transmission efficiency. 320 watts/meter of panel, using generous assumptions. $4000 to orbit a square meter of solar cells and support equipment, just to match capital costs with $1/peak watt terrestrial solar.

That's ignoring the %1/year expected degradation on orbit and station keeping costs for the satellite.

That's if you build them on Earth and launch them. Better solution is, launch a few bots to mine, refine, and manufacture them on the Moon and launch from there. The American West would have NEVER been settled if the pioneers demanded every gram of food, water, and construction materials be packed with them from the East. We need to use the local resources.

And who says solar cell SPSs are the way to go? You could just as easily use solar concentrators heating up black iron pipe with sodium as a coolant or something of that nature, then use the vapor to spin a turbine or 3. Yeah, it's simplistic, and not taking into account the engineering problems of turbines in space using corrosives as sodium as the working fluid. But these are engineering challanges, and can be solved. Solar cells have an advantage of no moving parts above the atomic level, but turbines and generators may end up being cheaper, especially if built in space.

Comment Re:Um, duh? (Score 1) 224 224

That is why space-based solar power is very likely the only way to go.

My inner nerd wholly agrees with you.

My outer nerd thinks orbital base load energy would be a single point of failure, and the entity that provides it would become the de-facto world government. Better to build autonomous terrestrial plants in sovereign countries fueled by an element present on every continent.

And yes, I have even more layers of nerd underneath. It's nerd all the way down.

Yeah, OK, I can agree that thorium is probably the way to go for standing reactors. But not for transportation needs. We are gonna need fuels for cars, planes, trucks, and trains. Running 1000 mile extension cords is PROBABLY not the way to go here .

But seriously, multiple SPSes, built of space-born materials, would help limit the load needed for the baseline energy needs. Some local solar/wind installations will help knock the baseline loads even lower. But we'll still need liquid/solid fuels.

Comment Re:Cat and mouse... (Score 5, Insightful) 437 437

It's all about the cash. Different markets have different rates because they can/can't afford a single worldwide rate. Somebody making 2, 3 dollars a day (I'm looking at YOU, Pakistan!!) can't afford to pay American rates for content. Licensing agreements are designed to maximise profits.

Comment Re:Orbital (Score 1) 443 443

Contrary to popular bullshit propaganda, the popular U.S. rocket launches are all done by businesses, not NASA. NASA provides program management, mission design for their own payloads, and so on, but they were never in rocket-making business, ever. Both Apollo and Space Shuttle were managed by NASA, but designed and built by subcontractors. Launched too. NASA has more input into design of their science payloads, but even then it's design only, not manufacturing. That's done by subcontractors still.

The only difference between the "commercial" launches and those prior to that is the amount of NASA management involvement. From the business standpoint, nothing much has changed between the "noncommercial" and "commercial" launches.

The 'commercial' launches aren't on a cost-plus contract. Any cost overruns are eaten by the launch provider, NOT the taxpayer. Can't bring it in under budget? Too bad, partner, we have a contract and have no problem suing you to get our money back.

Comment Re:Liability (Score 1) 474 474

So does this mean that charges for copyright infringement (or other such activities) will no longer be brought against people based on IP Address evidence alone? Because this certainly gives a lot of people a lot of plausible deniability.

Secondly, how are the clients being compensated for the hotspot service they are now providing?

It almost makes me want to move to Houston and slurp down a shitpile of free wifi. I've got a few terabytes of porn I need to download...

Comment Re:PR (Score 1) 140 140

The down mass capabilities of the Shuttle have not been replaced nor is it anticipated that it will ever be replaced within this century. That is one thing which the retirement of the Space Shuttle definitely hurt.

Per specs, Shuttle could put 25 metric tons in LEO. Falcon 9 V1 can put 13.1 metric tons in LEO. Falcon Heavy is scheduled to put 53 metric tons in LEO and expected to fly in 2015. I didn't realise that the century is ending this year.

1000 pains = 1 Megahertz