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Comment: Re: Any news on the first stage landing tests? (Score 1) 129

by photonic (#47964549) Attached to: SpaceX Launches Supplies to ISS, Including Its First 3D Printer

Comment: Re: Any news on the first stage landing tests? (Score 2) 129

by photonic (#47960139) Attached to: SpaceX Launches Supplies to ISS, Including Its First 3D Printer
I am not so worried about the patents. Vertically landing a rocket has been described in the TinTin comic ''Objectif Lune in 1953, has been demonstrated on the moon in 1969, with the Delta Clipper in 1993 and more recently with the X-prize in 2009. The patent by Blue Origin (sponsored by your purchases on Amazon) is from 2009, and is being challenged. I didn't read the patent and I am not a patent attorny, but the 'on a boat' part seems very much like the 'on a mobile device' part that gets slapped onto old ideas.

Comment: Any news on the first stage landing tests? (Score 2) 129

by photonic (#47959419) Attached to: SpaceX Launches Supplies to ISS, Including Its First 3D Printer
This time, they launched without the landing legs, but since they are still testing above water that does not matter a lot. Deploying the legs and soft landing on water have been tried successfully already, so I imagine they could test other things like partially flying back to the launching site, fuel permitting. The twitters are silent, so far, however.

+ - Stars Exposed in Massive Nude Photo Leak

Submitted by PapayaSF
PapayaSF (721268) writes "Nude celebrities, bitcoins, and Apple: it's a story seemingly designed to stir up the entire internet. Scores of private photos of celebrities such as Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton, Selena Gomez, Ariana Grande, Kirsten Dunst, and Mary Elizabeth Winstead have been leaked (allegedly from Apple's iCloud), and posted on 4chan in exchange for bitcoins. A list of 100+ names has appeared, but pictures have not yet appeared for many names on the list (including Kate Bosworth, Kim Kardashian, Rihanna, and Kaley Cuoco). Victoria Justice claims the photos of her are fake. Twitter accounts are being shut down. The story is still developing, so grab your popcorn."

Comment: Re:What's the point? (Score 1) 511

by photonic (#47743527) Attached to: If Java Wasn't Cool 10 Years Ago, What About Now?
There is currently an enormous discussion going on at python-ideas (see various large threads towards the bottom). Guido himself seems to be in favor of including something like MyPy into Python's standard library, which is allows for optional specification of arguments and return types using function annotation. The main use would be for static/offline code analysis/linting.

Comment: Predicted casualties / damage (Score 2) 135

Since it might take a few hours before the complete outcome is clear, USGS does make automated prediction of casualties and damages, based on earthquake magnitude, location and population in the area. The result in this case is most likely no casualties, with a small chance for up to 10 people killed, and a most likely damage of somewhere between 100M$ and 1B$.

Comment: Back of envelope calculation (Score 4, Interesting) 343

I hope my math is correct: Taking numbers from wikipedia, considering only units 2 and 3: both were in operation for a bit more than 29 years and were producing about 1 GW at full power. Ignoring any production time lost for maintenance (my guess is they would run with a duty cycle of 80-90%), the total amount of produced kWh would be: 29 years * 365 days/year * 24 hours/day * 2 GW = 5e14 Wh = 5e11 kWh. The price for the decommissioning would thus come down to around 4.4e9 $ / 5e11 kWh = 0.0086 $/kWh, so let's round it up to 1 cent per kWh. Average price for electricity in the US seems to be around 0.10 $/kW, so the cost for the decommissioning seems acceptable, though not negligible.

Comment: Re:Payloads? Here's what I would like to see. (Score 1) 77

by photonic (#47437211) Attached to: Mars (One) Needs Payloads
As you said, the low density of air at Mars might be a problem. The theoretical maximum power that can be harvested with a wind turbine is P = 1/2 * rho * A * V^3. Some numbers from Nasa show that the density rho is about 1% of the value on Earth, and an average speed of 10 m/s (around 5 Beaufort) is also not exceptional. Finally, you will need a relatively big mechanical device, which is hard to build light and reliable, since it has to survive a rocket launch.

Comment: Mission accomplished (Score 5, Insightful) 98

by photonic (#46961489) Attached to: SpaceX Injunction Dissolved
I don't think Elon expected to win that easy, but look how much publicity he got for filing a simple claim and getting a temporary injunction. He got to say a few times how they are 4x cheaper than the old guys, that might be remembered by some press and politicians the next time there is a big contract up for grabs.

Comment: Similar incident in Italy (Score 1) 211

by photonic (#46951919) Attached to: Feds Issue Emergency Order On Crude Oil Trains
There was a similar incident in Viareggio 5 years ago: a train carrying LPG derailed and crashed into a platform in the center of town during the night. The resulting explosion killed 32 people and destroyed a whole block of houses. In this case it was LPG, not crude oil, so I guess a tiny leak would have been enough to cause problems. You would have to make the tanks extremely strong to prevent that. And there is even other dangerous goods, there were some nasty accidents with trains carrying chlorine, which doesn't need fire to kill people.

Comment: tin foil hat (Score 4, Funny) 245

by photonic (#46876531) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Back Up Physical Data?

Since having this nightmare, I've exported my phone's VCF file to an online repo, made online notes of all my bank account numbers and passport ID, I keep ICE numbers with me at all times (separate from phone/wallet), and I've hidden a spare mobile phone and house key in a box in a nearby field. But there must be more to do!

I think the only thing left to do is buying loads of a aluminium foil.

Comment: Bloody rocket dealerships (Score 5, Funny) 176

by photonic (#46843891) Attached to: SpaceX Files Suit Against US Air Force
It is about time that the FTC steps in and allows SpaceX to sell their rockets directly to the Air Force. Blame the rich local rocket dealerships, we corrupted their local politicians to create laws that are only designed to maintain their business model of selling old fashioned rockets. What people in the street want is to buy a next generation rocket, directly from the Internet, without having to talk to one of those sleazy rocket salesman. I am getting confused, you were saying Elon?
The Military

Former US Test Site Sues Nuclear Nations For Disarmament Failure 165

Posted by samzenpus
from the keep-your-bombs-to-yourself dept.
mdsolar (1045926) writes "The tiny Pacific republic of the Marshall Islands, scene of massive U.S. nuclear tests in the 1950s, sued the United States and eight other nuclear-armed countries on Thursday, accusing them of failing in their obligation to negotiate nuclear disarmament. The Pacific country accused all nine nuclear-armed states of 'flagrant violation of international law' for failing to pursue the negotiations required by the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. It filed one suit specifically directed against the United States, in the Federal District Court in San Francisco, while others against all nine countries were lodged at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, capital of the Netherlands, a statement from an anti-nuclear group backing the suits said. The action was supported by South African Nobel Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation said."

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