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Comment Re:Remember the NASA Wind Turbines? (Score 1) 182

Current blades are trucked in one piece (per blade) which is impressive to see. Three of them were parked on I-5 outside of Patterson, California a few months ago. There are a lot of net videos and photos which convey the scale.

Even at the current size they can't get through many highway interchanges and local intersections. The larger ones won't be able to ship in one piece at all.

Comment Remember the NASA Wind Turbines? (Score 4, Interesting) 182

NASA Wind Turbines approached this scale in the '80's. Unfortunately, this was a previously-unexplored area of aerodynamics for NASA, and they had mechanical stress and noise problems (including subsonics) and were all demolished. I think there was one near Vallejo, CA being taken down when I got to Pixar in '87, and one in Boone, NC, which famously rattled windows and doors.

The art has since improved. I took a ride to the top of the turbine at Grouse Mountain, that was fun! That's the only one I have heard of where you can actually get to see it from the top.

Comment Starting out with the wrong assumptions (Score 2) 165

This is starting out with the wrong assumptions.

Design a brick system that can be produced with 3-D printers, and will hold together when fabricated within the tolerances of an SLA printer. Forget FDM, it's too low precision and SLA is already achieving an equal or lower cost of manufacture compared with FDM.

LEGO is manufactured to astonishingly high precision, but I am not convinced that this is the only way to make a brick system.

Comment The English alphabet sucks (Score 1) 315

What's to appreciate -English also needs lots of simplification - 'c', 'k', 's' pick two of them, make them always sound different, 'q' can go ('kw' does the job in "Bridge over the river Kwai"), 'g' or 'j' pick one, toss the silent 'h' and the silent 'k' - 'gh'->'f', etc etc

We can probably get down to 20 letters if we try hard

English is an insane polygot mess it's long past time we tossed all that useless history from it

Comment Re:No comparison (Score 1) 132

Blue Origin will eventually have a two-stage rocket that can reach orbit (although they are planning on a much smaller payload than SpaceX for their first iteration). When the booster of that rocket lands without damage, they will duplicate what SpaceX has recently done, although in smaller scale.

Blue Origin to SpaceX at present is a sort of bicycle-to-automobile comparison if you account for the tremendous difference in energy and the application. So, I think there really is an intrinsic difference between the two of them.

If you want to say there's no intrinsic difference, then we need to look at Orbital's Stargazer and Pegasus, which have been carrying small payloads to orbit for years, and there's only been one Stargazer all of that time so there is no question that it's reusable. The only difference is that Stargazer lands horizontally.

We can then look at the B-52 and X-15 combination, in which both stages were reusable, a human was the payload, and we're going back to the late 1950's.

Comment Re:Difficult to sympathize (Score 2) 276

In 1987 a guy named Brian Wilson did a hunger strike on train tracks at the Concord naval weapons station, and was run over by a diesel locomotive at high speed. He lost both legs and ended up with a plate in his skull, but survived. I don't know much about the situation or how it was that the train wasn't stopped. What I do know is that the train operator went through many years of psychotherapy and wasn't ever really OK after that.

The problem with putting yourself in front of something like that is that the little person who is operating it isn't your political enemy, isn't there to make a point. They are only there because their job is their only, tenuous, connection to making a living and not being out on the street, and they must keep it at all costs.

Brian Wilson wasn't the only victim that day.

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