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Comment: Re: Verifying a message vs. its contents (Score 1) 480

by PetiePooo (#48857327) Attached to: How Bitcoin Could Be Key To Online Voting
So the boss came to you with the offer, and you, being the weasel that you are, accepted. Conversely, he didn't go to the guy in the next cubicle, so he knows nothing about this, right? That's a messed up place to work. The guy in the next cubicle should find a place that's not full of weasels and let you and your boss dig your own holes.
Not to mention that it's a good opportunity to strengthen whistleblower protections so that you can roll on your weasel boss without fear of retribution and loss of job/position...

Comment: Re:I don't think so. (Score 1) 154

by pavon (#48836053) Attached to: The Anthropocene Epoch Began With 1945 Atomic Bomb Test, Scientists Say

No, good scientists understand significant digits. As far as geological epoch go, the time elapsed between the start of the industrial revolution and the start of the nuclear age is insignificant. Furthermore, while the technology began at the industrial revolution, the impact of that technology didn't have global environmental scale until later on. We don't mark the other geological boundaries at the point where precursors to change appeared, we mark them when change became significant. If you look at graphs of human energy or CO2 output, the knee in the curve does occur at around the mid 1900s. The fact that there happens to be an easily observable geological marker that occurred at that time makes it a convenient dividing point, and as good as any other of the arbitrary dates picked to divide otherwise well-distinguishable geological epochs.

If anything, I would argue they risk jumping the gun too early, not setting the date too late, as there may very well be a much bigger global change in the next 10's thousands of years of which the last millennium will just be regarded as a precursor to.

+ - Slashdot poll: Best cube 3

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "1. Rubik Cube
2. The Cube (movie)
3. Tardis Siege Mode
4. Lament Configuration
5. Weighted Companion Cube
6. Borg Cube
7. The Inhibitors (Revelation Space)
8. Icecube"

Comment: Re:Open Source Tax Preparation Software (Score 4, Insightful) 450

by pavon (#48798203) Attached to: Intuit Charges More For Previously Offered TurboTax Features, Users Livid

Tax preparation software is not a good candidate for open source software. You need domain experts (accountants and lawyers) to be involved to validate the interpretation of the Tax Code; open source projects have a difficult time attracting these sort of contributors. The law changes every year and if you don't keep on top of the changes becomes worse than useless; it becomes a liability. You have solid deadlines; you can't just release when it is ready.

Comment: Re:Verifying a message vs. its contents (Score 2) 480

by PetiePooo (#48796217) Attached to: How Bitcoin Could Be Key To Online Voting

As your employer, I'm still going to need to see that full ID. Remember, you are an At Will Employee.

As your federal government, I'm investigating claims that you are asking for your employee's voting IDs. Remember, you are subject to the laws of the federal government, and the fine for this particular infraction will surely put you out of business.

NES (Games)

Rare Recalled NES Game Stadium Events On Ebay For $99,000 138

Posted by timothy
from the chasing-the-elusive dept.
An anonymous reader writes Via Eurogamer comes news of possibly the rarest of all NES games selling on the auction site Ebay for a staggering 99,000 Dollars at this time, with 4 days left to go. The game in question the 1987 NES game Stadium Events was released then pulled only 2 days later. Stadium Events was released by Bandai as a test title for its Family Fun Fitness Control Mat — an early version of the technology now found in Dance Dance Revolution floor pads. But Nintendo acquired the technology for itself, just as the game was being released. The company ordered an immediate return of all copies so the game could be rebranded with Nintendo's version of the controller mat, now named as the NES Power Pad .

Comment: Re:Mars Needs Nothing (Score 1) 73

Mars is also a nine-month journey with no practical prospect of a "turn around and go home if something goes wrong" option. The moon is three days away and a free-return abort is built into the flight plan (along with a direct abort if the situation is dire). The scale of the two missions is completely different, with Mars being vastly more difficult mainly due to time.

I'm a big fan of the lunar base idea. Start there and develop -- or re-develop, as the case may be -- the technologies needed to get us reliably to and from the moon. Lunar habitats can be inflatable, or built underground using locally available materials. Hell, we could put robots on the moon to BUILD the habitats before we ever go there in person, making the whole trip a lot safer. And remotely controlling robots on the moon is a helluva lot easier than doing the same on Mars. Water is present on the moon for rocket fuel. Solar power is reasonable, but a small fission reactor would be much better. The escape velocity for the moon is lower than Mars and vastly lower than Earth. And asteroid capture missions could redirect to the moon instead of Earth, where the risk of "losing" and asteroid and having it impact would be negligible compared to aiming one at Earth and hoping you don't hit a populated area.

In short, a sustainable lunar base could be used as a springboard for future manned missions to Mars and the outer planets. The moon is IDEAL for this for every reason except one: it currently has no infrastructure for building or launching anything. Let's remedy that as soon as possible instead of trying to figure out how to haul everything out of Earth's gravity well and dense atmosphere. Grab an asteroid, send it to lunar orbit, smelt it down in orbit and construct your spacecraft THERE instead of on the surface. Complex items that cannot be easily made in orbit can be made on the lunar surface and launched via magnetic catapults into lunar orbit for final assembly. Or, for that matter, a lunar space elevator. The lower gravity and lack of atmosphere means we can construct a lunar space elevator with existing materials RIGHT NOW. Forget the magical unobtanium needed to make one on Earth; we just turn the moon into our launch platform for the solar system. Long term, instead of just redirecting asteroids to the moon, we can get to Saturn and grab a few cubic miles of water ice from its rings. Sent to the moon, it could provide water, breathable oxygen, and fuel for thousands of missions.

Comment: Re:Just visit the damn Moon (Score 1) 73

The DC-X and NASP were cancelled because they were unworkable concepts. The prototypes you saw up until cancellation were about as space-ready as my toaster is. There were too many problems with materials and performance that we do not have the technology to overcome just yet. Boeing recognized this and that's why the ideas were shelved, not some Vast Corporate Conspiracy.

Comment: Re:Just visit the damn Moon (Score 1) 73

Except for the fact that it does nothing to spread out the human species. Right now, if a calamity befalls Earth such as an asteroid/comet impact, or the explosion of the Yosemite supervolcano, or global thermonuclear war, we get wiped out as a species. In the long run, we MUST leave Earth if for no other reason that to get all our eggs out of one basket.

And, if you want to be REALLY forward thinking, we have to eventually leave this entire solar system, as our Sun will eventually burn out, turn into a red giant, swallow Mercury and Venus, and probably Earth as well if it isn't burned to a cinder already.

Comment: Re:Time for some leaps and not baby steps (Score 1) 142

So for a return mission we would have to land both a rover AND a rather large rocket to get a sample back.

Why land a rather large rocket? Seriously. This same discussion took place pre-Apollo when engineers thought we'd have to land a large rocket on the moon. Their solution then would work equally well now. Send a lander with a small, lightweight return-to-orbit ascent stage. Leave the Earth-return rocket in orbit awaiting the ascent stage with sample. Your landing/takeoff mass problem is thus solved.

Granted, you now need an automated docking procedure in Mars orbit, but I can't imagine that would be more difficult to engineer than trying to orchestrate a much heavier land-and-return rocket setup.


FBI Confirms Open Investigation Into Gamergate 556

Posted by samzenpus
from the looking-into-it dept.
v3rgEz writes In a terse form letter responding to a FOIA request, the FBI has confirmed it has an open investigation into Gamergate, the loose but controversial coalition of gamers calling for ethics in gaming journalism — even as some members have harassed and sent death threats to female gaming developers and critics.

Comment: Fixed capacity (Score 1) 81

by pavon (#48619357) Attached to: SpaceX To Attempt Falcon 9 Landing On Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship

One important point that others above have alluded to but haven't outright stated:

While the exponential scaling of rocket equation is an important limiting issue when building larger and larger rockets, for any given rocket (or rocket configuration) the payload capacity is fixed. If you have a payload that is too large for a Falcon 1Pegasus, but doesn't need the full capacity of a Falcon 9, all that extra capacity goes to waste. It costs essentially the same amount to launch a Falcon 9 at 60% capacity as it does to launch it at 90% capacity. You can share payload with multiple customers, but that limits which orbits they can use.

Space X can calculate how much weight the recovery system and fuel requires and how much money they can save by reusing the first stage, and give a discount to customers who give up that additional payload capacity. If there is a market for those lower cost launches, then great. If not, then keep treating the 1st stage as disposable.

Comment: Re:Hmm (Score 2) 81

by pavon (#48618231) Attached to: SpaceX To Attempt Falcon 9 Landing On Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship

Running a business like this takes a lot of work, and for it to succeed well enough to actually get working rockets off the ground you need to attract top-notch engineers who believe that working for you isn't just a waste of their time (more than a billionaire's plaything), and management that can create the right environment for them to succeed without blowing through your money for nothing. It is much less expensive, less risky and less time consuming to just pay Russia for a thrill ride than to create your own rocket company. So I can understand why most would choose to go that route, and leave the latter for those who genuinely want to shake up the market.

Unix is the worst operating system; except for all others. -- Berry Kercheval