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Comment: Re:FUD filled.... (Score 2, Informative) 202

Emergency Diesel generators usually have compressed air starters. There is a tank of compressed air connected to the engine's cylinders to get it turning over. There is usually a powered valve holding the compressed air in. When the power fails, the valve opens releasing the air and the engine starts tuning over. Then the Diesel supply gets started (mechanical pump driven by the engine).

+ - Letter to Congress: Ending U.S. Dependency on Russia for Access to Space 1

Submitted by Bruce Perens
Bruce Perens (3872) writes "I've sent a letter to my district's senators and member of congress this evening, regarding how we should achieve a swifter end to U.S. dependency on the Russians for access to space. Please read my letter, below. If you like it, please join me and send something similar to your own representatives. Find them here and here. — Bruce

Dear Congressperson Lee,

The U.S. is dependent on the Russians for present and future access to space. Only Soyuz can bring astronauts to and from the Space Station. The space vehicles being built by United Launch Alliance are designed around a Russian engine. NASA's own design for a crewed rocket is in its infancy and will not be useful for a decade, if it ever flies.

Mr. Putin has become much too bold because of other nations dependence. The recent loss of Malaysia Air MH17 and all aboard is one consequence.

Ending our dependency on Russia for access to space, sooner than we previously planned, has become critical. SpaceX has announced the crewed version of their Dragon spaceship. They have had multiple successful flights and returns to Earth of the un-crewed Dragon and their Falcon 9 rocket, which are without unfortunate foreign dependencies. SpaceX is pursuing development using private funds. The U.S. should now support and accelerate that development.

SpaceX has, after only a decade of development, demonstrated many advances over existing and planned paths to space. Recently they have twice successfully brought the first stage of their Falcon 9 rocket back to the ocean surface at a speed that would allow safe landing on ground. They have demonstrated many times the safe takeoff, flight to significant altitude, ground landing and re-flight of two similar test rockets. In October they plan the touchdown of their rocket's first stage on a barge at sea, and its recovery and re-use after a full flight to space. Should their plan for a reusable first-stage, second, and crew vehicle be achieved, it could result in a reduction in the cost of access to space to perhaps 1/100 of the current "astronomical" price. This would open a new frontier to economical access in a way not witnessed by our nation since the transcontinental railroad. The U.S. should now support this effort and reap its tremendous economic rewards.

This plan is not without risk, and like all space research there will be failures, delays, and eventually lost life. However, the many successes of SpaceX argue for our increased support now, and the potential of tremendous benefit to our nation and the world.

Please write back to me.

Many Thanks

Bruce Perens"

Comment: Re:Evolution (Score 1) 253

by Bruce Perens (#47485313) Attached to: New Treatment Stops Type II Diabetes

:-)

You make it sound like starving people are getting fat too.

If they are becoming obese, the particular individual has a surplus of caloric intake, if only for this year or month. This is not to say that they have proper nutrition. So I am not at all clear that the fact that there is obesity in the third world is confounding evidence.

Comment: Evolution (Score 1) 253

by Bruce Perens (#47480445) Attached to: New Treatment Stops Type II Diabetes
For most of the existence of mankind and indeed all of mankind's progenitors, having too much food was a rare problem and being hungry all of the time was a fact of life. We are not necessarily well-evolved to handle it. So, no surprise that we eat to repletion and are still hungry. You don't really have any reason to look at it as an illness caused by anything other than too much food.

Comment: Re:I guess they won't need any more foreign Visas? (Score 1) 383

by turgid (#47477543) Attached to: Microsoft CEO To Slash 18,000 Jobs, 12,500 From Nokia To Go

Considering the lousy end products I have to deal with on a daily basis, paying programmers more money won't improve the skillset. You want to be paid more money? Produce a better product.

When the PHBs conspire to make that (producing a better product) impossible, it doesn't matter what engineers you employ or how much you pay them.

The relentless push to cut costs, do "more with less," let the staff numbers dwindle through natural wastage and lack of vision, invent fantasy project schedules (requiring weekend, evening and holiday work) and no resources (what do you mean you need physical hardware to develop and test on? I just sold the test kit to a customer. It was revenue just begging to be had...) catches up with every company eventually.

My current employer is now in this state, and almost everyone (who knows anything) has left and I'm about to as well, however as far as the PHBs and VPs are concerned, everything's fine and dandy. Targets are at 100%, the share price has doubled and we're making a consistent profit.

The fact that tumbleweeds are blowing through Engineering hasn't quite registered...

It's the natural cycle these days. They call it "capitalism" but it's not the capitalism I understand.

Comment: Re: If you pay... (Score 2) 15

Martin,

The last time I had a professional video produced, I paid $5000 for a one-minute commercial, and those were rock-bottom prices from hungry people who wanted it for their own portfolio. I doubt I could get that today. $8000 for the entire conference is really volunteer work on Gary's part.

Someone's got to pay for it. One alternative would be to get a corporate sponsor and give them a keynote, which is what so many conferences do, but that would be abandoning our editorial independence. Having Gary fund his own operation through Kickstarter without burdening the conference is what we're doing. We're really lucky we could get that.

Real Programmers don't write in PL/I. PL/I is for programmers who can't decide whether to write in COBOL or FORTRAN.

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