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Comment Re:A Rover? (Score 1) 49

We don't have the post WWII impetus and properly taxed corporations of the 1960s anymore. We have a fractured populace entertained to death, and any increased productivity or technological gains are immediately funneled up towards the rich.

Funny how a society with single income families and no cell phones was able to put people on the Moon, hm?

And this is generally treated (even by people concerned about it) as a fact of nature, something like the drought in California or dust storms on Mars.

Comment Re:Talk about the worst summary imaginable (Score 1) 182

Hate on asteroid detection all you want, call it a waste of time and money if you must, but the partnership drop is actually due to a recent asteroid detection proposal accepted by NASA for consideration called NEOcam.

NASA policy as laid forth in the institution's founding charter, the Space Act, is to avoid competing with private institutions using public money (their baby, JPL).

No, I don't think so. Amy Mainzer's NEOCAM proposal has been in play for several years now, NASA has very broad authority about space act agreements, and the particular SAA with B612 was a no-exchange of funds trade of DSN support for a first cut on asteroid data. If B612 had flown, it might have made the JPL proposal overtaken by events, but that would have made the Discovery program officers happy (by freeing up time and money for the other candidates). I don't thin that the SAA was canceled as JPL protectionism.

Comment Stupid Headline (Score 5, Informative) 182

B612 lost their Space Act Agreement because they were missing their deadlines and because they weren't talking to NASA about it. I had several people at NASA tell me that they were frustrated about the lack of communication from B612 about their problems. It was only a matter of time before the SAA agreement was canceled.

Comment Parallel Construction Should Be Prosecuted (Score 1, Interesting) 86

My personal feeling is that parallel construction should be prosecuted as a felony. It's perjury, abuse of the juridicial process and contempt of court, and in a fundamental way (not some playing loose along the edges). Send someone to trial over this, and watch the abuse stop.

Comment Encrypted is still not natural (Score 5, Interesting) 142

I think he is confusing encryption and steganography. Encrypted signals will still require framing, will still be likely to be bandwidth limited, and so will not appear truly natural, even if we can never break the code. As the Brits found through traffic analysis in World War II, you can learn a lot from observing alien communications, even if you never decode a single word.

Comment Re:Nail everyone? (Score 5, Insightful) 618

Yes, but this might even have been sold as a compliance issue - we must by law make sure that the full emissions package is in place for any emissions test, even if the service tech turned it off for reason XYZ. What engineer would blink at that? Meanwhile, over in another department, the engineers are being told, these emissions packages must by default be off, as not all jurisdictions require them, and we are using an opt-in type system to turn them on when required. Again, who would blink at that? But by such stratagems, they could set up to that one person or a few people could flip a virtual switch, and the hack would be in place.

Somebody knew, somebody high up knew, but I rather doubt that everyone on the engineering bench knew, and that means that they had to be fed plausible stories along the way.

Comment Re:Does it really matter to the air? (Score 1) 618

I haven't found out if the normal driving emissions are actually"bad" or just fall foul of U.S. automaker protectionist lobbying.

I heard on the radio (NPR) the cars were up to 60 times worse than the actual US emission standards. I imagine that is a worst worse case scenario, but it does suggest that, yes, they were actually bad.

Comment Re:Nail everyone? (Score 4, Insightful) 618

Yeah. I would not be too surprised if at some level in the organization this was sold as a debugging or trouble shooting measure, or some other benign reason was given for branching on detection of emissions tests.

In other words, the engineers who actually did the code may not have known the real purpose of what they were doing. Somebody knew, of course, but they may be harder to track down.

We all like praise, but a hike in our pay is the best kind of ways.