Forgot your password?

Comment: Re:US, the moon. China, mars. (Score 3, Interesting) 200

by joe_frisch (#47495467) Attached to: Apollo 11 Moon Landing Turns 45

US may be more like Byzantium, a slow centuries-long decline. Reliving its past glories "safe" behind its invulnerable walls.

Civilizations rise and fall. Its not clear who's next. China is making rapid progress, but it isn't clear if they will regain their millennia long place as world leaders, or crash and burn on the next economic downturn. I hope they make it though - I'd rather it were us, but I want someone in space.

Comment: Re:The biggest problem with the space shuttle (Score 1) 200

by joe_frisch (#47495439) Attached to: Apollo 11 Moon Landing Turns 45

While I agree with this, I think there is also the issue that the shuttle was not a very good general purpose launch vehicle - or more correctly general purpose launch vehicles do not seem like a good engineering solution.

For missions where you need to send men and equipment into orbit and bring them down again the Shuttle is fine. If you just want to put cargo into orbit, the extra weight and complexity is not worth it. If you just want to put men in orbit and return them, then a smaller vehicle works.

The design of launch vehicles is so marginal that it is not worth providing for a lot of mission flexibility. The early shuttle concepts recognized this and had non-returning heavy-lift variants.

Comment: First - why do we need checkin (Score 1) 102

by joe_frisch (#47495361) Attached to: "Intelligent" Avatars Poised To Manage Airline Check-In

I check in online. When I get to the airport, why can't I just swipe my passport drop my bags on the conveyor and go on my way. Sometimes that works, but at least half the time while someone types the Oxford English Dictionary into a keyboard. I'm not changing flights. I'm doing exactly what my reservation, and online checkin said I was doing.

I don't want a human touch, I just want to get on my airplane.

On the occasions where I am doing something unusual, or where something goes wrong, an AI avatar is NOT going to be able to solve my problem.

Comment: Re:And when the video feed dies... (Score 2) 468

Assuming CATIIIc zero visibility operations will be approved, a lack of windows should be fine for normal taxi and flight. The pilots are already relying on operating entirely by instruments.

That said, there could be emergencies where real outside visibility would be nice - water ditching, etc. Those may be rare enough though that it isn't a significant extra risk.

Will sure may flying airliners even less interesting than it is now.

Comment: Re:IF.. (Score 1) 561

by joe_frisch (#47324311) Attached to:, Mensa Create Dating Site For Geniuses

I think part of the problem is that what we think of as "intelligence" is a vector quantity and can't be well described by a scalar like IQ. You can define some metric on the vector intelligence, but that metric will be arbitrary. You can think of "intelligence" as a combination of memory, quick-thinking, spatial visualization, abstract mathematical ability, social abilities, etc etc. What combination of those are important will be different depending on what activity you are doing.

The particular problem here is that most people want intelligent companions in order to have interesting conversations. I don't think the standard IQ measurement is a good indicator of how interesting someone is to talk to.

I think most people just naturally find others with compatible ways of thinking. So using IQ to find companions who are also looking for high IQs may be pre-selecting for people who are not very good at socializing. Its not that high IQ makes you bad at socializing, but rather that if you are good at socializing, you won't need to use IQ to pre-select.

Comment: Re:Military use of force (Score 1) 371

by joe_frisch (#47305961) Attached to: Court Releases DOJ Memo Justifying Drone Strike On US Citizen

The lack of a formal declaration of war is one problem. The other is the idea of a "global" war on terrorism. In a conventional war, someone operating within an enemy country can be considered an enemy and is reasonable target for an attack. The geographic limits on targets put a limit on the ability of the US to simply execute citizens. An American citizen in an enemy country is a legitimate target of attack in the same way that (with some restrictions) anything else in that country is a valid target. However, military attacks when there is not a state of war with a country are normally not considered legal.

With this "global" war on terrorists, we are essentially saying that we can declare anyone anywhere to be an enemy, and then kill them. By this logic could China use a drone to kill an Chinese citizen in the US if they believe he holds a high position in Falun Gong? Could this argument be used to execute rather than arrest a US citizen IN the US if his capture was believed to be too dangerous?

It seems to be a dangerous blurring of the line between law enforcement and war.

Comment: Re:How does this not violate the 5th and/or 14th.. (Score 2) 371

by joe_frisch (#47301947) Attached to: Court Releases DOJ Memo Justifying Drone Strike On US Citizen

That IS a major turning point. There is a huge difference between occasionally killing people in secret and declaring that the government has the right to kill citizens without a trial. Secret killings need to be limited in number or they can't be kept secret. Once execution without trials is in the open, what limits the numbers?

Comment: Re:Yeah sure (Score 5, Insightful) 371

by joe_frisch (#47301905) Attached to: Court Releases DOJ Memo Justifying Drone Strike On US Citizen

If you are in a state of war with a country, within some limits it is expected that you can kill people in that country. Where things get complicated is when you are in an ill defined state of hostility against a non-state organization like Al Qaeda. What are the rules on declaring someone to be part of that organization and there for a military target? While this question applies to any possible targets, it is especially troublesome when the target is an american citizen. The government cannot execute an american citizen without a trial. Can it declare an american citizen to be a member of a foreign military and then execute them? This would seem to completely bypass the constitutional right to a fair trial.

In a standard state-war it is fairly simple: If they are in an enemy country it is OK to kill them in the same way that it was OK to kill anyone else in that country. An american arrested for treason in the US on the other hand would get a trial. In a conventional state war you don't bomb countries that are not enemy states.

The level of activity to be considered a target for execution is also a tricky question. It is clearly OK to return fire if fired upon. When his actions are less direct it becomes more difficult.

At the root of all this is that the concept of "war" has changed and laws have not kept up with 21st century wars.

Comment: Re:One small step... (Score 1) 65

by joe_frisch (#47283507) Attached to: NASA Funds Projects For Asteroid-Capture Plan

The technology development would be really valuable if you believe in a future for human presence in space (which I do, but which I admit is an almost religious belief). The actual asteroid capture on the other hand seems like a difficult but not particularly interesting stunt. 10M isn't really an asteroid, its a rock. Rocks that size hit the earth regularly.

Personally I'd rather see the solar-electric propulsion developed for large probes, especially an Europa lander / rover, and maybe a Titan lander or boat. The manned launch capability is fine if we are working toward a Mars mission (which I hope we are).

Manned space isn't about science and never was. Neither are the pyramids, the Olympics, National parks, fireworks displays, Christmas, Karaoke, or a huge variety of other things we spend tons of money doing. These things, like manned space flight, are more of a goal, rather than a means.

Beware of Programmers who carry screwdrivers. -- Leonard Brandwein