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Comment: Re:Free country? USA???? (Score 1) 289

"the US of A hasn't passed the 'free country' test, for the past 2 decades or so" -- the AC who posted this and anyone who believes it is grossly ignorant of history. Take a look at the Espionage Act of 1917. Lincoln suspended Habeas Corpus. Look up the history of the Japanese-Americans interned during WWII. Prohibition in the 20s. Women couldn't vote until the 20's. Anyone other than Caucasians effectively couldn't vote until the '60s. Look up the destruction of people and careers during the Red Scares of the Cold War (start with Robert Oppenheimer). Hell, go look up the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798 passed by the great "Founding Fathers". The USA has never been as "free" as the myths about it say, just usually better than almost anywhere else. It (the USA) has always been a work in progress and by many measures is more free now than it has been in the past, especially compared to the 20th century. J Edgar Hoover was FBI director for life and (unlike today's NSA) didn't make a big secret of the surveillance files he kept on anyone he disliked. Anyone want to go back to the 1920's, 30's, 40's, or 50's? -- you don't get to choose who you go back as and may be of another race than Caucasian or sexual orientation other than male and heterosexual.

Comment: Re:Right to remain silent (Score 1) 133

by thrich81 (#49354883) Attached to: GAO Denied Access To Webb Telescope Workers By Northrop Grumman

In this case the State is paying all the bills -- those people's salaries, the inflated salaries of the Northrop Grumman executives, and the inflated profits which Northrop Grumman is getting from the project. Don't want to talk to the State actors? -- fine, then don't accept a paycheck from them either. The State needs to cut off the money spigot until there is more cooperation from the contractor.

Comment: Re: 9 whole billion? OUTRAGEOUS! (Score 1) 133

by thrich81 (#49353901) Attached to: GAO Denied Access To Webb Telescope Workers By Northrop Grumman

Wait a minute -- Since when is "Add another 50 percent to make it flight qualified and for the various surprises that happen at the coal face and aren't quite as evident when you're writing a grant proposal" supposed to be a normal part of project execution? Flight qualification is supposed to be built into the project cost from the beginning. And any honest cost proposal for an aerospace project with new technology needs a large contingency reserve. No, even by your numbers the Webb is incredibly overbudget and I've seen original budget estimates for it closer to $1.6 billion than $4 billion. Either this project was fraudulently underbid in the original proposals (standard procedure in big government aerospace projects -- see F-35) or the original cost proposers were totally incompetent along with the managers and program officials who accepted those estimates (also standard procedure in the aerospace industry). Webb should have been cancelled on principle a long time ago to discourage this sort of proposal/management style in the future. If costing the Webb was as easy as you stated it then why were the original numbers so far off?

Comment: Re:This is why NASA needs to privatize (Score 1) 59

by thrich81 (#49305541) Attached to: Report: NASA May Miss SLS Launch Deadline

I can't say about SpaceX and they already have their Falcon Heavy in the works (which doesn't match the SLS specs), but Boeing is already the prime contractor for most of the SLS vehicle -- "Boeing is the prime contractor for the design, development, test and production of the launch vehicle cryogenic stages, as well as development of the avionics suite."

Being an old school aerospace contractor, Boeing knows the risks to deliver new, cutting edge space hardware*. I doubt they would take this project on as fixed cost or with a hard delivery date.

*Yeah, I know that SLS doesn't look cutting edge compared to the Saturn V or Space Shuttle, but it's development will be sucha large effort, it might as well be.
Don't take anything I said here as actual approval of how the SLS was conceived and is being done.

Comment: Re:Translation (Score 4, Interesting) 179

by thrich81 (#49261259) Attached to: Russia Abandons Super-Rocket Designed To Compete With SLS

The Shuttle never lived up to what it was sold as -- cheap, reliable access to space. The most damning evidence of that is that the only major sponsor/user besides NASA, the US Air Force, abandoned it as soon as its actual operational limitations became clear. The Air Force went to the expense of developing new large expendable launch vehicles rather than try to stick with the Shuttle. For the last few years the Shuttle had only one mission -- support the ISS, every other mission had been taken from it. And, the US had a perfectly viable space station program without the Shuttle -- Skylab, and for that matter, so did the Russians. Speaking of the Russians -- they figured out pretty quickly that the Space Shuttle concept was operationally a loser and abandoned their Buran version after one flight. So, the Shuttle looked good in the marketing slides from the 70's and early '80s, but has to be judged an operational failure by the standards set for its justifications to be built. The Shuttle could do things that no other vehicle can do, but those capabilities, such as its huge cross range landing capability, just turned out to be not very useful and not worth the cost.

Comment: Re: your uncle (Score 1) 681

by thrich81 (#49109137) Attached to: Bill Nye Disses "Regular" Software Writers' Science Knowledge

You must not have been following the debate in the 80's when the evidence that was coming in that the ozone layer was in trouble and some scientists were saying we needed to phase out chlorofluorocarbons -- there was a great cry that the civilized world was going to end without air conditioning and we would all die sweaty and uncomfortable. Same thing happened in the early 70's when leaded gasoline was phased out -- we were going to have to abandon gasoline powered cars, it would be impossible to design a usable engine to run on low octane unleaded. Those examples are why I am skeptical when told how expensive it will be and that it will practically destroy civilization to phase into non-fossil energy.

Comment: Re:Reality Flip Switch (Score 2) 252

by thrich81 (#49099155) Attached to: No Tech Bubble Here, Says CNN: "This Time It's Different."

Was the Fed flooding the market with cash in 2007-08? I think it was the private banks that were creating liquidity (money) with those weird investment vehicles and loans. What the Fed failed at was not withdrawing money from the economy and running up interest rates to cool things down, but nobody wants an economic party pooper and they would have been savagely criticized for ending the good times.

Comment: Re:Two words (Score 2) 131

by thrich81 (#49058517) Attached to: Bank Hackers Steal Millions Via Malware

There are two US government bonds you can buy which by definition keep pace with inflation as defined by the Consumer Price Index:
TIPS -- from
Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities, or TIPS, provide protection against inflation. The principal of a TIPS increases with inflation and decreases with deflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index. When a TIPS matures, you are paid the adjusted principal or original principal, whichever is greater. TIPS pay interest twice a year, at a fixed rate. The rate is applied to the adjusted principal; so, like the principal, interest payments rise with inflation and fall with deflation.
or you can buy I-bonds: Series I Savings Bonds are a low-risk, liquid savings product. While you own them they earn interest and protect you from inflation. You may purchase I Bonds via TreasuryDirect or with your IRS tax refund.
The world is awash right now in investment money looking for a safe place to earn interest, with more demand than supply of safe interest bearing instruments the returns are going to be small.

Comment: Re:"Support" != actually sacrifice for (Score 1) 458

by thrich81 (#48975433) Attached to: Most Americans Support Government Action On Climate Change

I apologize again for being a little harsh. If you've had a C6 vette, then you know what the new cars can do. If I could clear it with the spousal unit here, I'd have a nice 70's Camaro or Firebird tucked away in the garage. I considered them the best styled of the 'muscle cars' though they were late to the party and most not so muscular. Several good choices, but I'd be fine with a '70 Camaro with a stock four-barrel small block. Good luck with your TA quest, they are pretty and the ones I had were nice drivers ('70 Formula 400, '78 T/A 6.6, '81 Turbo T/A).

Comment: Re:Backpedalled? (Score 1) 740

by thrich81 (#48969565) Attached to: New Jersey Gov. Christie: Parents Should Have Choice In Vaccinations

My neighbor across the street when I was a kid had polio as a child and was crippled for life after that -- we knew all about the threat of polio -- that is the real history I experienced here in the USA. You need to actually be there around polio before you can say which is the greater threat -- government coercion to get the vaccine or the disease.

We don't know one millionth of one percent about anything.