Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?
Back for a limited time - Get 15% off sitewide on Slashdot Deals with coupon code "BLACKFRIDAY" (some exclusions apply)". ×

Comment Not the first full recovery from space (Score 1) 121

SpaceShip One touched space and all elements were recovered and flew to space again.

BO's demonstration is more publicity than practical rocketry. It doesn't look like the aerodynamic elements of BO's current rocket are suitable for recovery after orbital injection, just after a straight up-down space tourism flight with no potential for orbit, just like SpaceShip One (and Two). They can't put an object in space and have it stay in orbit. They can just take dudes up for a short and expensive view and a little time in zero gee.

It's going to be real history when SpaceX recovers the first stage after an orbital injection, in that it will completely change the economics of getting to space and staying there.

Comment Re:Another in a long series of marketing mistakes (Score 1) 137

You'd need a popular product to pull off obtaining second-clientage from governments, and you'd need not to reveal that your device had legal intercept.

This is just a poorly-directed company continuing to shoot itself in the foot. It's not made its product desirable for government, or for anyone else.

Comment Another in a long series of marketing mistakes (Score 2) 137

There's a truism in marketing that you can only differentiate your product on the parts that the customer sees and uses. Blackberry just can't learn this lesson. They tried differentiating on the OS kernel, which the customer never sees. And now on an insecurity feature that the customer won't be allowed to use. It's been a protracted death spiral, but it's a continuing one.

Comment What's Wrong with the Hobbit? (Score 2) 175

The Hobbit books are to a great extent about race war. The races are alien and fictional, but they are races, and the identification of good or bad is on racial boundaries. This isn't all that unusual in the fantasy genre, or even some sci-fi.

Lots of people love those books. And there's lots of good in them. To me, the race stuff stuck out.

Comment Re:Austin vs. Texas (Score 1) 464

Back when the crazy right-wingers were petitioning to let Texas secede from the Union again, ex-Texan friends of mine and I agreed we should let them go, but they have to let us keep Austin, like West Berlin as an island surrounded by reds. The Congress St. Bridge will be the new Checkpoint Charlie.

I've only visited Austin once (for my uncle's funeral), but I've got cousins there, and friends who've lived there, and if you've got to be in Texas, and are politically or culturally anywhere left of Rick Perry, it's the place to be. San Antonio's not too bad either, though I'd probably get tired of it pretty fast. Parts of the culture are fun, there's a great arts scene, but I suspect it's small enough you'd see everything in the first year and then be bored.

Houston's weather and traffic are horrible enough that it's off my list even aside from the culture. Dallas? Meh, if I had to live in a big dirty ugly city, it'd be New York, or maybe LA, plus it's a lot more like Texas. I know some really wonderful Texans, but I don't talk politics with them except the family in Austin or the ones who've escaped to California because they had to get out of Texas.

Comment Pastafarianism protects other religions' rights (Score 4, Interesting) 518

I'm a Christian, and Pastafarianism is mocking aspects of people who share my general corner of the religious world, and I'm just fine with that. Not only do some of my fellow believers sometimes act in ways that deserve mocking, we often do it ourselves (at least friendly mocking.) And more importantly, by doing things like this, Pastafarians are protecting other minority religious beliefs and practices. The US Army still hasn't quite figured out how to cope with Sikhs wearing turbans (and sometimes they even have trouble with Orthodox Jews, even army chaplains, because they violate critical military doctrines about gentlemen not wearing hats indoors), the TSA harassed them because they're different even before they decided to start harassing other hat-wearers, schools don't let students wear head-scarves (or mini-skirts) because that's Not How Proper American Girls Dress, Muslim-hating idiots beat up Sikhs, the list goes on.

I attended Quaker meetings for a few years, and we'd occasionally get the question about those hats the oatmeal-box guy wears. Quakerism came from England, where it's beastly cold and rainy and Anglos are prone to male pattern baldness, and moved to Pennsylvania and New England where it's also beastly cold and rainy much of the year, and many of them believed in wearing plain durable clothing instead of wearing flashy stuff to draw attention to themselves. But English social custom and legal practice was big on forcing lower-class people to acknowledge the importance of higher-class people, and taking off hats to your betters (especially government officials and nobility) was a big part of that, and Quakerism believes very radically in equality, so Quakers would often get thrown in jail for not taking off their hats around their betters. I wear hats to keep my head warm (as an Anglo who went bald early), and when my beard was longer I could pass for Orthodox if I was wearing a dark suit and a hat.

Back when the TSA were new, they didn't make people take off hats or coats in security lines, but out here at San Jose airport, the main people who wore them were Mexicans wearing cowboy hats heading down to Mexico, and the TSA were the white guys who'd replaced the previous mostly-immigrant screeners, and they decided to make a local rule telling the Mexicans to take their hats off. My first reaction was "if they tried this at LaGuardia the Hasidim would been in the mayor's office in an hour telling him to fire the bigot who thought up that nonsense", but as a Quaker I felt I ought to argue with them because they're clearly just doing it to bully people, and I was successful at making it difficult for them to avoid the bigotry issue for a while.

The trouble with being poor is that it takes up all your time.