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Comment Re:Remember the NASA Wind Turbines? (Score 1) 180

Current blades are trucked in one piece (per blade) which is impressive to see. Three of them were parked on I-5 outside of Patterson, California a few months ago. There are a lot of net videos and photos which convey the scale.

Even at the current size they can't get through many highway interchanges and local intersections. The larger ones won't be able to ship in one piece at all.

Comment Remember the NASA Wind Turbines? (Score 4, Interesting) 180

NASA Wind Turbines approached this scale in the '80's. Unfortunately, this was a previously-unexplored area of aerodynamics for NASA, and they had mechanical stress and noise problems (including subsonics) and were all demolished. I think there was one near Vallejo, CA being taken down when I got to Pixar in '87, and one in Boone, NC, which famously rattled windows and doors.

The art has since improved. I took a ride to the top of the turbine at Grouse Mountain, that was fun! That's the only one I have heard of where you can actually get to see it from the top.

Comment Starting out with the wrong assumptions (Score 2) 165

This is starting out with the wrong assumptions.

Design a brick system that can be produced with 3-D printers, and will hold together when fabricated within the tolerances of an SLA printer. Forget FDM, it's too low precision and SLA is already achieving an equal or lower cost of manufacture compared with FDM.

LEGO is manufactured to astonishingly high precision, but I am not convinced that this is the only way to make a brick system.

Comment Re:No comparison (Score 1) 132

Blue Origin will eventually have a two-stage rocket that can reach orbit (although they are planning on a much smaller payload than SpaceX for their first iteration). When the booster of that rocket lands without damage, they will duplicate what SpaceX has recently done, although in smaller scale.

Blue Origin to SpaceX at present is a sort of bicycle-to-automobile comparison if you account for the tremendous difference in energy and the application. So, I think there really is an intrinsic difference between the two of them.

If you want to say there's no intrinsic difference, then we need to look at Orbital's Stargazer and Pegasus, which have been carrying small payloads to orbit for years, and there's only been one Stargazer all of that time so there is no question that it's reusable. The only difference is that Stargazer lands horizontally.

We can then look at the B-52 and X-15 combination, in which both stages were reusable, a human was the payload, and we're going back to the late 1950's.

Comment A More Radical Position (Score 0) 197

I have developed, in 30 years of programming, to a much more radical position. Technical debt and mounting complexity are major problems, and I want to see a splinter movement within programming that defies the contemporary orthodoxy on how to solve these problems.

Object Oriented Programming is not a solution.

Refactoring is a failure as a solution. INSTEAD: We need to say "NO," from the get-go, to unnecessary technologies. Yes, refactoring is needed, but we've been talking about refactoring for decades now, and we still have so many problems. We need to say "NO" to new technologies, wholesale; To be much more skeptical and dubious of technologies. Don't import a whole system, when you're only really using only 1% of the technology in it. I see so many technologies in use in workplaces, where only 1% of the functionality is needed. (I'm looking at you, Celery.) These massive systems have security flaws, bugs, and inflexibilities, that require custom patching and regular necessary upgrading and updating. They are built on top of other massive systems that have security flaws, bugs, and also require patching and updating. Yet because of "We don't want to implement something that someone else has already implemented better, and actively maintains for us," I see decisions made to get the huge big massive honking thing that ** isn't actually needed. **

When you have 10,000s of lines of glue code, to glue your systems together, and you're actively maintaining them against one another, ... and the alternative was to write a 500 line program that would do EXACTLY what you want, and is easy to modify and understand, ... ... something has gone horribly, horribly wrong.

When you're sending massive REST calls in series, with HTTP headers and payloads and everythings, ... ...when a single maintained TCP stream would do just fine, sending 4-byte packets back and forth, ... ... something has gone horribly, horribly wrong.

I said above that Object Oriented programming is not the solution. I maintain that. I think we need to seriously re-evaluate what the heck we're doing. I propose that we look at the notations we are using in writing programs. Forth has a radically different notation. APL has a radically different notation. There is great expressive power in these systems. They are compact and powerful. I have come to see that smallness is a great virtue -- not baroqueness.

A great **design** can make a dramatically smaller technology footprint. We're so focused on agile methods, that we don't see that a design can have a dramatic minimizing power. It's not about waterfall. Designs can be iterated after all. If the design has a small footprint, modification is quick and easy. The entire program can be rewritten in a reasonable time, if the design is little.

I am not writing this to convince anybody. Rather, I am writing this so that fellow programmers who resonate with what I'm saying are encouraged. These ideas are very much in the minority, and are drowned out by the mainstream orthodoxy of programming. But I believe that serious programmers who have been looking at what is going on can recognize what I'm saying here. I would like to see more expression of challenge to the orthodoxy here.

My Pointers for more information, for the interested:
* deep study of Chuck Moore's ideas on programming
* Alan Kay's ideas on programming
* the design of the TempleOS, which is extraordinary and powerful while minimal
* "Software Survivalism" and "Neo-Retro Computing" (Sam Falvo)

Comment Re:Difficult to sympathize (Score 2) 276

In 1987 a guy named Brian Wilson did a hunger strike on train tracks at the Concord naval weapons station, and was run over by a diesel locomotive at high speed. He lost both legs and ended up with a plate in his skull, but survived. I don't know much about the situation or how it was that the train wasn't stopped. What I do know is that the train operator went through many years of psychotherapy and wasn't ever really OK after that.

The problem with putting yourself in front of something like that is that the little person who is operating it isn't your political enemy, isn't there to make a point. They are only there because their job is their only, tenuous, connection to making a living and not being out on the street, and they must keep it at all costs.

Brian Wilson wasn't the only victim that day.

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