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We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).

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Comment: GEOIP transparency; User hosted crawlers; (Score 1) 209

by bug1 (#49501863) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Features Would You Like In a Search Engine?

Search engines should shine a light on sites that show different results to different users, maybe its for commercial exploitation (GEOIP blocking), or political propaganda or whatever.

Search engine show allow users to run crawlers in coordinated distributed manner, this helps users have privacy, it adds extra noise to surveillance systems, it might give users deniability as to their intent to access subversive material. It it should help with the first problem.

Comment: It's like having mens and womens sports teams (Score 1) 587

Except in this case, variation in STEM performance is a cultural phenomenon, not a physical one. Imagine giving girls a place where they can concentrate on learning STEM topics without worry of being psychologically intimidated by the boys. Only once we've had a full generation of women who have taught that they can stand on their own will we be able to free ourselves from the inherent sexism in our society.

Racism and sexism aren't PC, so parents and teachers pay lib service to the new ethos. But subconsciously, it's still really bad. Peers, parents, and media still paint women and minorities as being inferior. Sure, we don't want thought police, but it's people's unrecognized and unadmitted beliefs that cause problems of racism and sexism to linger.

This girls-only STEM school is an attempt at fixing this. Maybe it'll open up its own new problems. But people are burying their heads in the sand about just how racist and sexist we are. It's closeted, so if festers and generates resentment among those who hate being forced to treat everyone equally, and this actually perpetuates the problem. We need to blow it out into the open and address it head-on.

Some of these problems would also be helped by making men take more equal roles in parenting too. Professional men with kids are seen as responsible. Professional women with kids are seen as a flight risk. That's got to change. And the law should come down REALLY hard on men who father children and then skip out. Some companies provide equal paternity leave, and that's a step in the right direction. If I were the CEO of a big company, I'd have the addition of an in-house daycare (free for employees) on my action list.

Comment: Re:vs. a Falcon 9 (Score 1) 59

by Bruce Perens (#49501071) Attached to: Rocket Lab Unveils "Electric" Rocket Engine

They can carry about 110kg to LEO, compared to the Falcon 9's 13150kg. That's 0.84% of the payload capacity. A launch is estimated to cost $4 900 000, compared to the Falcon 9's $61 200 000. That's 8.01%. That means cost per mass to orbit is nearly an order of magnitude worse.

Yes, this is a really small rocket. If you are a government or some other entity that needs to put something small in orbit right away, the USD$5 Million price might not deter you, even though you could potentially launch a lot of small satellites on a Falcon 9 for less.

And it's a missile affordable by most small countries, if your payload can handle the re-entry on its own. Uh-oh. :-)

Comment: Re:You Can See (Score 1) 110

Microminiature accelerometers are really cheap and very very light, and you don't have to wait for them to spin up or deal with their mechanical issues. I doubt you will see a gyro used as a sensor any longer.

Similarly, computers make good active stabilization possible and steering your engine to stabilize is a lot lighter than having to add a big rotating mass.

Comment: Re:New product (Score 1) 340

A video from the barge is now online here. If you step through the final frames, you can see that the camera mount ends up knocked over and pointing at the ocean, but the lens and its cover are unbroken and all we see flying appear to be small debris. So not a really high-pressure event.

Comment: Re:incredibly close to target is far from success (Score 1) 340

It's very tempting to think this should work like an airplane. Lots of people wrote that it was "too hot", etc. But it isn't an airplane. The plan was really to approach at 1/4 Kilometer Per Second, then brake at the very last second.

Obviously Crew Dragon, which carries people, will approach differently. But it's a lot lighter.

Comment: Re:legs too late? (Score 1) 340

In the F9R test videos they catch some of the backscatter from the engine and seem to catch fire. Maybe they were trying to avoid that. They are very light carbon composite. Or perhaps they mess up the airstream for precision navigation, or they don't like the 250 m/s wind.

Comment: Re:New product (Score 1) 340

It looked to me that the barge was structurally undamaged but that some heavy equipment on the deck was forcibly ejected. It's clear to see in the HD version. Those 1000 HP thrusters are expensive, and it looked to me like one of them going overboard. But I suspect they were prepared to lose more than one vessel in testing this.

And I bet there was a range safety self-destruct charge onboard. F9R blew itself up with one. But it was probably so safe that it didn't go off.

I bet the human brain is a kludge. -- Marvin Minsky

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