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Comment Re:Congratulations India! (Score 3, Informative) 89

No you can't, for the reason which the USA and USSR gave up on liquid fueled ICBMs as quickly as they could and never fielded cryogenic fueled ICBMs ('cryogenic' defined as using liquid hydrogen). A liquid fueled ICBM requires too much advance preparation to launch and so becomes the first target to be hit by the opposing power in a confrontation. The only practical ICBMs are solid fueled, but solid fueled rockets are too inefficient for practical launches to geostationary orbit. So launching to geostationary orbit has little to do with usable ICBM technology, at least for the propulsion part of it.

Comment Re:How did these idiots catch anyone? (Score 1) 282

"Unfortunately, these abilities don't seem to be in vogue at this time" -- I agree with you that they aren't in vogue now, but can you cite any examples when they were in vogue? I can't. Maybe we could say during the late 60's when the populace finally turned against the Vietnam War, but a lot of that occurred when the big news organizations turned against the war (liberal bias!?), not through self education.

Comment Re:"moving near the speed of light relative to CMB (Score 1) 139

There is a dipole anisotropy observed in the CMB as observed from our local observations, which can be attributed to our local motion in reference to the CMB. I'll quote/steal the paragraph from Wikipedia (,
"From the CMB data it is seen that our local group of galaxies (the galactic cluster that includes the Solar System's Milky Way Galaxy) appears to be moving at 627±22 km/s relative to the reference frame of the CMB (also called the CMB rest frame, or the frame of reference in which there is no motion through the CMB) in the direction of galactic longitude l = 276±3, b = 30±3. This motion results in an anisotropy of the data (CMB appearing slightly warmer in the direction of movement than in the opposite direction). From a theoretical point of view, the existence of a CMB rest frame breaks Lorentz invariance even in empty space far away from any galaxy. The standard interpretation of this temperature variation is a simple velocity red shift and blue shift due to motion relative to the CMB, but alternative cosmological models can explain some fraction of the observed dipole temperature distribution in the CMB".
I haven't done any more reading on this but it does appear that there may be something to a preferred rest frame in the CMB.

Comment Re:So, Japan is winning the new space race... (Score 2) 87

"the Japanese are concentrating on but one thing at a time and will eventually surpass Musk and Space-X in all areas" -- no they won't and here's why: The Japanese have had the second or third largest economy for how long? And been one of the most technologically advanced nations in the world for how long? Almost for longer than Musk has been alive. And what have they done in Space -- essentially nothing noteworthy. They don't care. I had high hopes for them in the 80's -- technological superpower on the rise, without much in the way of military adventures, big population without a lot of land to exploit -- seemed natural that they would flex their techno-prowess in space as the USA and USSR fell behind. But it didn't happen, they had other priorities (mostly screwing around with bogus real estate deals and fu**ing up their banking system as it turned out). Now that Japan is leading the world in elderly citizens they will be spending their research resources on robots to care for their geezers. Japan isn't going anywhere in Space, it is a pity. I'll put my bets on Musk -- he wants it.

Comment Re:65 VW Bug (Score 3, Insightful) 373

Does anyone around here remember DRIVING those carbureted, non-computer cars? Or worse, keeping them tuned up? I did both, along with major hotrodding, including engine swaps, camshaft swaps, carburetor swaps. Compared to the new cars they ran like cr*p. They barely started when it was cold or hot. They had weird idle and off-idle characteristics. They had very little power for the engine displacement. Worried about hackers shutting off your engine or brakes on your new car? -- well in the old days the cars did that all by themselves! Engines shutting down while driving -- yep, it happened, brakes failing while going down hills -- yep, it happened. Power steering fail while driving -- that happened, too. Those things happened with regularity. I recently helped with the purchase of a '68 Cougar with a small block V8 (302 CID) for a friend of mine -- upon driving it both of us said, "What a death machine" -- poor acceleration, poor braking, poor handling compared to the new cars we have (I'm driving a Honda Fit!). Yeah, everyone remembers the awesome big block muscle cars of the '60s, except they don't really remember them. I do, I had several. They were fun, but not very high performance compared to now. Check the magazine tests of the time.
If you want a decent car with no outside computer connectivity then your best bet is probably something from the mid-90's to around 2010, I would guess.

Comment Re:No the US would not face "20:1 odds" (Score 1) 732

Actually, as I recall from the 80's, the US never renounced the first use of tactical nuclear weapons due to the numerical superiority of the Warsaw Pact forces over NATO in Europe -- that was the NATO ultimate force multiplier. And I recall the plans of how the USAF was going to beat the Russian Air Force by having each F-15 shoot down 5 (or was it 10?) MIG-21s. No one know how that would have really turned out.

Comment Re:Might be? (Score 2) 732

All of your links say that those foreign 5th generation fighters are IN DEVELOPMENT. In contrast, the F-22 has been in operational service since 2005. Here is a quote from your second to last link describing the F-22, "The world’s premier fifth Generation fighter aircraft."
I'm not a big fan of the F-35, but those other countries are going to find out that building an operational 5th gen fighter is a lot harder than putting some CAD and photoshop drawings together and assembling a prototype without full functionality; actually some of them are finding that out already. Here is a quote from your second link, "Despite this, Russia will need to cope with the increasing criticism voiced by India, which is partnering with Moscow on developing the aircraft, amid concerns over delivery delays and technical shortfalls of the program." If the Russians are having troubles, I doubt those other programs are going very smoothly.
I can't believe I am defending the F-35 ...

Comment Re:Goddard? Not so fast... (Score 2) 112

Well, that's an ignorant comment of yours. The mods need to do a little checking before modding up.
Here ( is a picture from the mid-30's of Goddard with one of his rockets which was equivalent or better than the Germans' at the time.
Here ( is a statement by von Braun himself about Goddard's work:
"Nevertheless, in 1963, von Braun, reflecting on the history of rocketry, said of Goddard: "His rockets ... may have been rather crude by present-day standards, but they blazed the trail and incorporated many features used in our most modern rockets and space vehicles". He once recalled that "Goddard's experiments in liquid fuel saved us years of work, and enabled us to perfect the V-2 years before it would have been possible."
And from the same wiki article:
Three features developed by Goddard appeared in the V-2: (1) turbopumps were used to inject fuel into the combustion chamber; (2) gyroscopically controlled vanes in the nozzle stabilized the rocket until external vanes in the air could do so; and (3) excess alcohol was fed in around the combustion chamber walls, so that a blanket of evaporating gas protected the engine walls from the combustion heat."

Comment Re:Been there. Done that. (Score 1) 248

The amount of money spent on healthcare in the USA was $3.8 trillion in 2014 (, about half of that paid for by government. So $10 billion is about 3/1000 of that. You don't think they can find the 0.3% of the total;for your $10 billion in additional research for cures within the existing medical system greed, fraud, and waste? You have to get it from NASA?

Comment Re:I was really excited about this (Score 1) 134

Except for the Europeans, has any country had a significant space mission success without a burst of nationalist self-congratulation? The Russians do it, the Chinese do it, the Indians do it. Europe/ESA is the anomaly here. At this time in human history nationalism remains a strong motivator for national achievements (good and bad). And as someone pointed out before me, nationalism opens up the public budgets for missions like this. I'll turn your question around, without knowing if you are European or not -- why is it that Europe with a larger economy than the USA, arguably a better educated populace, and (arguably) equivalent technical abilities, has been so slow to execute significant missions like New Horizons? ESA has had a few notable missions such as Rosetta (yay!, go ESA) but unquestionably Europe has not matched the US in the peaceful exploration of space -- is it a lack of nationalism as a critical needed impetus? You take the good with the bad -- I'll take the nationalism if it gets us these missions.

Comment Re:I was really excited about this (Score 2) 134

If you look at the history of the launch vehicle used for New Horizons, the Atlas V, there wasn't all that much German content in it. The "German rocket meme" applied strongly to the Saturn series of rockets developed almost in a linear progression from the V-2 by von Braun's group in Huntsville. But while von Braun was working for the Army and later NASA in Huntsville, the Air Force was developing the Atlas and Titan rockets independently of the Germans. And a few decades further back, Robert Goddard developed the technology of liquid fueled rockets before and independently of the Germans in the 1920's and 30's. Here is a statement by von Braun himself, 'He (von Braun) once recalled that "Goddard's experiments in liquid fuel saved us years of work, and enabled us to perfect the V-2 years before it would have been possible."' --

Comment Re:Greeks surrender: no restructuring (Score 3, Informative) 485

"Failed state" California sends more money to the federal government both in total and as a percentage of what it gets back than "flourishing Texas", although neither of them are net takers.
Rhode Island is not a net taker either. That isn't exactly what you were trying to measure but if Cali didn't have to subsidize a bunch of other states then its finances would look better, which by the way is in surplus for 2015.

Whom computers would destroy, they must first drive mad.