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Comment: Re:Spoiler (Score 1) 191

by dpilot (#47914369) Attached to: Sci-Fi Authors and Scientists Predict an Optimistic Future

This presumes that people regularly leave the tower, or at least the upper floors of the tower. Science fiction has plengy of examples where Elvis may never leave the building. Probably not workable in today's society, but what if everything needed for daily life could be reached within a few floors.

Think in terms of the arcologies in "Oath of Fealty".

+ - diaspora* version released-> 1

Submitted by jaywink
jaywink (3824665) writes "A new diaspora* version is out. It includes a lot of pages ported to Bootstrap, many bug fixes and small enhancements. Also included is a Terms of Service -feature for podmins. Diaspora* is an open source social networking server that joins all running pods into one big decentralized social network."
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Comment: Saw it at the Smithsonian a few years ago (Score 5, Informative) 99

by dpilot (#47901817) Attached to: Original 11' <em>Star Trek Enterprise</em> Model Being Restored Again

We took the family to DC for a vacation, and of course one of the things I had to see was Smithsonian Air and Space. I didn't know that the original Enterprise model was there, and was surprised to see it on the lower floor.

The next surprise was that the model was never finished. One side had all of the lights, striping, and everything. The other side had a little striping, and was otherwise pretty much blank. I remembered reading that in one of those books, and how all shots were of the finished side, or mirrored in post-processing.

Comment: Re:Decisions, Decisions... (Score 2) 123

by dpilot (#47875919) Attached to: SpaceX and Boeing Battle For US Manned Spaceflight Contracts

I thought I also read something about kerosene leaving some sort of residue in the plumbing, turbopumps, etc. For a disposable it just doesn't matter, but for a reusable it means extra maintenance. The other thing was Zubrin suggesting that methane/oxygen was relatively easy to generate on Mars, for a return flight. Since Musk probably isn't planning on returning, that would be for a Mars space program.

Comment: Re:Decisions, Decisions... (Score 1) 123

by dpilot (#47874787) Attached to: SpaceX and Boeing Battle For US Manned Spaceflight Contracts

Since you sound familiar with this stuff, I'm wondering about Falcon Heavy. I've seen that it's moving to methane/oxygen propellents. My understanding has been that kerosene/oxygen were generally best for a first stage, and hydrogen/oxygen is best for an upper stage where specific impulse is more important than tank size.

With methan/oxygen it seems obvious that they'd like to run the engine on mars-native fuel. But I also get the impression that kerosene/oxygen might not be the best thing for reusability because it gums up the works, and methane/oxygen would be better.

So I see three factor here - Earth launch, reuse, and Mars launch. Do you have any feel for this tradeoff set?

Comment: Re:Decisions, Decisions... (Score 1) 123

by dpilot (#47873669) Attached to: SpaceX and Boeing Battle For US Manned Spaceflight Contracts

"Safe" and "Exciting" have a different meaning in this context. Realize that Falcon 9 has already flown several times, and though plagued with the delays that plague pretty much all launches, has a good track record which will presumably continue through its use in a manned launch. The "Exciting" choice sounds about as "Safe" as it gets in rocketry, to me.

The Boeing design is new, though presumably using tried and true components from a tried and true design. There will no doubt be unmanned test launches, but the first men on top will still be sitting on a rocket with far less launch history than the Falcon 9. The "Safe" choice sounds just a bit more "Exciting" this way.

Disclaimer - TFA doesn't say if this is for Falcon 9 or Falcon Heavy. Falcon Heavy is all-new, with only the company track record behind it. That puts SpaceX and Boeing on a more even footing, with Boeing having a longer track record and SpaceX having done more launches recently.

OTOH, I seriously doubt that the head of Boeing plans on going through a Boeing launch personally. The head of SpaceX does.

Seriously... If we really want to foster a private space industry, both companies need to be kept moving forward. At this stage of the game, the contract needs to be split in order to improve the viability of both efforts. Cutthroat cost competition can happen later.

Comment: Re:Hooray for Space-X (Score 1) 32

by dpilot (#47872415) Attached to: After Weeks of Delay, SpaceX Falcon Launches Communications Satellite Payload

Of course, but that's "sunk cost" in a manner of speaking, available under no better terms to SpaceX than to any other US-based company.

However given that basis, typical contract projects are then paid for by the government, on top of "historical knowledge." SpaceX used the historical knowledge, as others do, but then paid for their additional development themselves.

+ - SpaceX and Boeing Battle For US Manned Spaceflight Contracts->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "$3 billion in funding is on the line as private space companies duke it out for contracts to end U.S. reliance on Russian rockets for manned spaceflight. The two biggest contenders are SpaceX and Boeing, described as "the exciting choice" and "the safe choice," respectively. "NASA is charting a new direction 45 years after sending humans to the Moon, looking to private industry for missions near Earth, such as commuting to and from the space station. Commercial operators would develop space tourism while the space agency focuses on distant trips to Mars or asteroids." It's possible the contracts would be split, giving some tasks to each company. It's also possible that the much smaller Sierra Nevada Corp. could grab a bit of government funding as well for launches using its unique winged-shuttle design."
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Comment: Re:Hooray for Space-X (Score 1) 32

SpaceX did the development themselves, from what I understand. They're now doing fixed-cost government contracts, unlike the rest of the space industry in the U.S.

My beef is with the way it seems that most US companies are there to make money, and see their products as a way to do so. I'd rather see them be there to build their products, and see money as a way to keep making those products.

For the car analogy, assuming support for both ways would properly continue, would you rather by a car built by a car geek, or buy a car built by a money geek?

Comment: Re:Oh well ... (Score 1) 314

by dpilot (#47854099) Attached to: GSOC Project Works To Emulate Systemd For OpenBSD

Wow, this is really fascinating!

One set of systemd advocates suggests that the Unix Way is obsolete, holding Linux back, and is overdue to be discarded.

Now another systemd advocate suggests that systemd is fulfilling the Unix Way better than SysV Init.

I will say now, as I said months ago, that systemd would be much less controversial if it had been packaged differently. I'm not the only one making that statement, and yet for all of its claimed modularity at compile time, systemd is still one package.

Comment: Re:Oh well ... (Score 3, Insightful) 314

by dpilot (#47853045) Attached to: GSOC Project Works To Emulate Systemd For OpenBSD

> the reality is systemd is a bunch of individual modules

I disagree. Technically you are correct, but the same modularity argument can be made for practically any piece of code bigger than "Hello World". However in practice systemd is shipped as a monolith. I just checked, and even on Genoo with its uber-flexible USE flags and compilation from source, you can't shut off individual features like logging, dhcp, ntp, etc. Most people just install the binaries.

No, systemd is not the end of the world. But it would be the end of running my machines the way I wish to - at least without spending more time and effort keeping it fenced in as you suggest.

Comment: Re:Science creates understanding of a real world. (Score 3, Insightful) 770

by dpilot (#47852837) Attached to: How Scientific Consensus Has Gotten a Bad Reputation

This always struck me as a funny part of the "Harry Potter" series. They were all in a school for magic, verifying and repeating using experimentation. Though it sounds silly to say, it impressed me as "the science of magic."

Science is the way of thinking and the framework, not the topic.

Comment: Re:Pet Peeve (Score 1) 147

by InvalidError (#47852301) Attached to: Restoring Salmon To Their Original Habitat -- With a Cannon

The number of possible sites increases considerably when you add reversible pumps to the mix - many places in Europe use hydro dams with reversible pumps to help smooth out power from other sources: use the dams for extra power during peak hours and pump the water back up with excess production from other sources (including other dams which may have excess water level to ditch) during off-peak so the dam does not need to depend entirely on local rainfall and rivers.

This sort of dual-reservoir setup is one of few efficient ways of doing large-scale energy storage for semi-predictable energy sources like solar and wind where you otherwise have to use produced energy on-the-spot or lose it.

The bomb will never go off. I speak as an expert in explosives. -- Admiral William Leahy, U.S. Atomic Bomb Project