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Comment: Re:Russian rocket motors (Score 1) 59

by Bruce Perens (#49787045) Attached to: SpaceX Cleared For US Military Launches

Russia would like for us to continue gifting them with cash for 40-year-old missle motors, it's our own government that doesn't want them any longer. For good reason. That did not cause SpaceX to enter the competitive process, they want the U.S. military as a customer. But it probably did make it go faster.

Also, ULA is flying 1960 technology, stuff that Mercury astronauts used, and only recently came up with concept drawings for something new due to competitive pressure from SpaceX. So, I am sure that folks within the Air Force wished for a better vendor but had no choice.

Comment: Re:Answer (Score 5, Informative) 262

by rjh (#49785011) Attached to: How Much C++ Should You Know For an Entry-Level C++ Job?
unique_ptr<T> is normally preferred over shared_ptr<T> -- the former is zero-overhead compared to a pointer, while the latter has a reference count associated with it which has to be incremented and decremented. If you know two or more things will be using the pointer and you don't want to have to worry about ownership semantics, shared_ptr<T> makes a lot of sense. If you know only one will be using it, unique_ptr<T> makes more sense.

Comment: Context (Score 2) 59

by Bruce Perens (#49782349) Attached to: SpaceX Cleared For US Military Launches

This ends a situation in which two companies that would otherwise have been competitive bidders decided that it would cost them less to be a monopoly, and created their own cartel. Since they were a sole provider, they persuaded the government to pay them a Billion dollars a year simply so that they would retain the capability to manufacture rockets to government requirements.

Yes, there will be at least that Billion in savings and SpaceX so far seems more than competitive with the prices United Launch Alliance was charging. There will be other bidders eventually, as well.

Comment: Re:It only increases accountability (Score 4, Interesting) 279

by hey! (#49779303) Attached to: Amtrak Installing Cameras To Watch Train Engineers

Well, speaking of Amtrak employee accountability, I have a story about that. A few years ago my family took a train ride across the country. When we changed trains in Chicago I noticed that the reading light in my sleeping compartment was stuck on, which of course was bad if I wanted to actually sleep. I found the friendly and helpful attendant and reported it, and her reaction was like watching a balloon deflate.

"What's wrong?" I asked.

"If we report damage they take it out of our wages," she said.

"What! What do you mean take it out of your wages?" I asked.

"If a car is damaged under my watch I have to pay for it," she said.

"Well," I said, taking out my swiss army knife, "I guess there's nothing to see here."

I have to say that I've never encountered such a nice, enthusiastic, friendly group of people with such an abysmally low morale as the crew of a cross-country train. With passengers they're great, but all through the trip I'd see two or three congregated having low muttered conversations. It didn't take me long to figure out they were talking about management. And while the experience was wonderful, the equipment was in horrible shape. It was like traveling in a third world country.

With management that bad, more data doesn't equal more accountability and better performance. It means scapegoating.

+ - Creationists Stuffing Google Ballot Box With Bogus Propaganda

Submitted by reallocate
reallocate writes: Looks like some Creationists are stuffing the Google ballot box (http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/2015/05/26/what-happened-to-the-dinosaurs/). Ask it "What happened to the dinosaurs?" and you'll see links to Creationist sites pushed to the top. (And, right now, several hits to sites taking note of it.)

Google has a feedback link waiting for you to use it.

Comment: Re:Maybe science went off the rails... (Score 2) 381

by hey! (#49775243) Attached to: Can Bad Scientific Practice Be Fixed?

If 99/100 scientists agree one thing is true, it's more likely to be true than the alternative backed by 1/100 scientists.

Which is beside the point. Consensus isn't about truth, it's about burden of proof.

Suppose Alice and Bob both try to make a perpetual motion machine. Alice claims she has failed, but Bob claims he has succeeded. The scientific community treats Alice's claims of failure without skepticism but it automatically assumes that Bob has made a mistake somewhere.

Does that seem unfair to Bob? Well, imagine you're a rich guy and Alice and Bob are both applying to you for a job. Bob says you should give the job to him because he's your long-lost fraternal twin your parents never told you about and which the hospital hushed up for some reason. When you mention this to Alice she freely admits she is not related to you. You automatically believe Alice, so is it fair to Bob to be skeptical of his claims?

It's a case of "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. In either case Bob can prove his claim, it's more complicated and time consuming because he has to explain what went wrong with all the prior knowledge. Alice's claims in either case are consistent with what you reasonably believe to be true so you can reasonably assume she's correct.

Comment: Re:Is a reduction (Score 5, Informative) 88

by hey! (#49772855) Attached to: Bats' White-Nose Syndrome May Be Cured

As ShanghaiBill says, Bats aren't rodents. I'll just add that bats and rodents are about as taxonomically unrelated as two mammals can possibly be.

Bats are more closely related to horses, bears, rhinos, even whales -- like most mammals they're members of the huge and diverse superorder Laurasiatheria. Rodents are in the much smaller superorder Euarchontoglires, the only non-extinct members of which are: rodents, rabbits, hares, pikas, tree shrews, flying lemurs, and the various primates.

One can't proceed from the informal to the formal by formal means.

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