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Comment: Fan way before I knew who you were.... (Score 1) 276

by tloh (#46536213) Attached to: Interviews: Ask J. Michael Straczynski What You Will

After I was turned onto Babylon 5, I looked you up and found out you were involved in TV shows I enjoyed as a kid. For example, "The Real Ghostbusters" often had compelling plots and dialogue that were noticeably different from your average cartoon. But my curiosity was really piqued when I read you played a large part in creating the short-lived live-action "Captain Powers" series. Assuming the rights could be secured, is there any interest on your part in either continuing/rebooting the story in some form or wrapping things up for those of us who are still dying to find out what happened after the good guys' home base was destroyed?

Comment: Re:However.. (Score 1) 247

by tloh (#46365085) Attached to: The Rescue Plan That Could Have Saved Space Shuttle <em>Columbia</em>

Progress is fundamentally a different vehicle from the more massive, more complex, man-rated Columbia. Comparing propellant potential is meaningless if you don't talk about the associated load that propellant is used on. That is why most of this discussion refers to delta-V - the change in trajectory. Gains would still be achievable without a round trip. The article specifically discussed the most limiting resource on Columbia being the CO2 scrubbers. If either the Progress or Soyuz can make a one way delivery of replacement scrubbers (along with more oxygen/food/whatever), you've just bought your stranded crew some additional time with which to ready a proper, AND SAFE, rescue mission.

Comment: Re:However.. (Score 0) 247

by tloh (#46361953) Attached to: The Rescue Plan That Could Have Saved Space Shuttle <em>Columbia</em>

I believe you. But if there was ever a sliver of a chance for a one way trip by either of the two vehicles.....

..... even if you do happen to make it... what then?

* Use the capacity of the Progress to transfer over whatever supplies might be available at the ISS to 1) try to fix the wing damage. 2) extend the survival of Columbia's crew in space until another shuttle/soyuz could be safely launched to rescue them.

* Use the soyuz to rescue three of the crew immediately by returning them to Earth. The remaining crew would hopefully consume less resources and be able to hold out a little longer for a shuttle or soyuz launch.

Comment: Re:However.. (Score 1) 247

by tloh (#46354399) Attached to: The Rescue Plan That Could Have Saved Space Shuttle <em>Columbia</em>

A very good guess, and I suspected as much. However, I would counter for the sake of argument that at the very least, the actual capabilities of the proposed "ferries" be spelled out as being inadequate. Do we know for certain that the Progress or Soyuz are, without a doubt, unable to meet the shuttle 96% of the way? The Progress supply vehicle, in principle, is built to move a lot of cargo. I suppose at the state where it is already docked to the ISS, there should only be enough fuel for it to undock, deorbit, and burn up with whatever garbage needs to be disposed of. Likewise, the Soyuz shouldn't be carrying more fuel than needed to return astronauts safely back to Earth. But I remember reading somewhere that when the ISS needs to have its orbit boosted, either the Progress or the Soyuz would execute a rocket burn long and hard enough to push the entire space station to a higher orbit. If the proposed ferry is supposed to be able to do that, isn't it reasonable to hope the thing can fly by itself over to match orbits with the shuttle?

Comment: Re:However.. (Score 0) 247

by tloh (#46353609) Attached to: The Rescue Plan That Could Have Saved Space Shuttle <em>Columbia</em>

GP was lazy for not reading the article carefully. However, it seems strange that no one has ever suggested that the Progress supply vehicle or Soyuz life boat on the ISS could are additional variables in the scenario and have been used as a ferry to meet the shuttle half way. Is anyone knowledgeable enough to work out the feasibility?

Comment: Re:Mere flesh? (Score 2) 366

by tloh (#45874601) Attached to: Why a Cure For Cancer Is So Elusive

Unlike cells, nanites can be controlled by an intelligent operator.

You'd be surprised at how much progress we have made in synthetic biology. For several decades already, recombinant DNA techniques have been revolutionizing the way we do research and development in the life sciences. Cutting edge efforts as exemplified by things like iGEM aims to make hacking biology just like hacking hardware. Give it time. There won't be a difference to speak of.

Comment: Re:Several errors. (Score 1) 337

by tloh (#44860565) Attached to: Study: Our 3D Universe Could Have Originated From a 4D Black Hole

fellow slashdotters and moderators: Despite the insightful nature of the comment, GP was relatively obscure when I chimed in. It is clear, to me at least, that despite having no mod points of my own, my effort drew the appropriate attention and contributed positively to GP being moded up. My admonition to mod up may not be necessary after the fact, but my karma didn't need to chopped down just because someone too lazy to use mod points productively was feeling smug and judgmental. Look around - there may be others trying to draw attention to worthy thoughts and ideas deserving of up mods.

Comment: Re:What? (Score 3, Informative) 129

by tloh (#44842725) Attached to: Feynman Lectures on Physics Vol. 1 Released in HTML Format

I'll get to the copyright in a minute. But there is actually a huge bit of inaccuracy in the post. The videos at Microsoft research in *NOT* the Feynman lectures on physics. Those are actually a part of the Messenger Lectures recorded at Cornell in 1964 called "The Character of Physical Law" and preceded the Cal Tech undergraduate physics lectures which we now know as the Feynman Lectures on Physics.

Bill Gates has long been a fan of the lesser known Messenger Lectures. As part of the drive to popularize Silverlight, he actually acquired the rights to "The Character of Physical Law" in order to be able to present them to the public using the Silverlight platform at Project Tuva. Not a bad move for like minded Feynman fans like me.

Comment: Re:what makes this special? (Score 1) 178

by tloh (#44470349) Attached to: New York Times Sells Boston Globe At 93% Loss

In that case, a headline along something like "Technology continues to squeeze the survival of traditional news outlets" would have been a lot less misleading. Having now read the linked articles, however, that happens not to be the case. With headlines like "Red Sox owner in deal to purchase Globe" and prominent mentions of pension liabilities, I saw scant mentioning of technology's role in the constant march of progress. Your grandfather's story is cool and I'm glade this post provided an opportunity for you to share it. But Soulskill has been around a while and I wouldn't have expected such a veteran author to get sloppy and begin posting stories without any effort to make it relevant.

Comment: what makes this special? (Score 0) 178

by tloh (#44468751) Attached to: New York Times Sells Boston Globe At 93% Loss

I have not RTFA because with slashdot summary as written, I'm wondering why this is "news for nerds". Is there something about the Boston Globe that is of inherent interest to science, technology, or other things that have been the usual fare here? I don't mind reading about stuff that belongs in the business/economy section of a news portal. But I didn't expect that Slashdot would be morphing into one.

Contemptuous lights flashed flashed across the computer's console. -- Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

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