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Comment: Not-so-hidden agenda (Score 1) 116

by DerekLyons (#48647707) Attached to: Can Rep. John Culberson Save NASA's Space Exploration Program?

He would like to enact budget reforms that take funding decisions away from the Office of Management and Budget and gives them solely to Congress.

And there is the real prize - hidden in plain sight. He wants to usurp the power of the Executive Branch and arrogate it to Congress. But it's for the children!, er, NASA! and so it slides right by most commenters here.

Comment: Re:What took them so long? (Score 1) 188

by DerekLyons (#48647555) Attached to: Cyberattack On German Steel Factory Causes 'Massive Damage'

3.) "Why was this allowed?"

Because your typically ERP System SAP & Oracle to name the big to be frail twins does exactly this. It interconnects production, accounting, document maangement, it can control your whole material workflow.
All on the same system.
Yes, this is a weakness

Yes, it's a weakness - but it's also the whole point of having an integrated system in the first place. The armchair sysadmins here on Slashdot keep missing that point... these systems exist for a reason.

Comment: Re:Plastic socket wrench? (Score 1) 134

by Rei (#48646431) Attached to: NASA 'Emails' a Socket Wrench To the ISS

They're saying that it won't break because that's not the purpose here. The description of the experiment is:

In addition to safely integrating into the Microgravity Science Glovebox (MSG), the 3D Print requirements include the production of a 3D multi-layer object(s) that generate data (operational parameters, dimensional control, mechanical properties) to enhance understanding of the 3D printing process in space. Thus, some of the prints were selected to provide information on the tensile, flexure, compressional, and torque strength of the printed materials and objects. Coupons to demonstrate tensile, flexure, and compressional strength were chosen from the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards. Multiple copies of these coupons are planned for printing to obtain knowledge of strength variance and the implications of feedstock age. Each printed part is compared to a duplicate part printed on Earth. These parts are compared in dimensions, layer thickness, layer adhesion, relative strength, and relative flexibility. Data obtained in the comparison of Earth- and space-based printing are used to refine Earth-based 3D printing technologies for terrestrial and space-based applications.

The description is not "Print out a wrench so that crew members can change a rusty lug bolt". And yes, also from the description page, they include direct metal printing as part of their list of ultimate goals with 3d printing in space research.

Comment: Re:My sockets are made of high quality steel (Score 1) 134

by Rei (#48646403) Attached to: NASA 'Emails' a Socket Wrench To the ISS

Indeed. 3d printing is not going to be suitable for mass production, for keeping a whole colony supplied in bulk components.** But for small specialty parts, it seems like an obvious answer to that piece of the equation. As the tech advances, it's just going to get more and more capable. I'm personally looking much forward to seeing whether a 3d printer that works based on thermal spraying would work out - then your production material choice would be almost limitless, pretty much any powder or small fibers you can think of that can be made to merge with the substrate through any custom combination of either temperature or velocity, and your balance between deposition rate and precision could be chosen just by rotating through nozzles of different sizes, none of the feed mechanism or material storage or anything. Your same printer could even paint, coat, sandblast, or pretty much any other post treatment on its own.

** Concerning not being able to use 3d printing for mass manufacturing: That is, assuming 3d printing as we think of it today, printing a voxel at a time. However, if you made a custom programmable 3d *molder*, where it forms a cavity of a programmable shape, that could be a different story - then you're approaching true mass production potential. Custom programmable stamping tools and other manufacturing processes could also be developed.

Comment: Re:My sockets are made of high quality steel (Score 1) 134

by Rei (#48646363) Attached to: NASA 'Emails' a Socket Wrench To the ISS

A lot of the slashdot crowd still thinks of 3d printers in terms of Makerbots and the like, the low end consumer-level home 3d printers. They really have no clue what professional level hardware can achieve. They'd be singing a different tune had they ever ordered 3d-printed parts from a professional 3d printing service.

Comment: One of these things is not like the other. (Score 1) 118

by DerekLyons (#48639939) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Resources For Kids Who Want To Make Games?

It's interesting, the asker asks for information about making games and the posters almost universally reply with information about making code. You guys do know these are two completely different activities? (And that computer games are only a small slice of the total gaming universe?)

Comment: Re:$32 million of greed. (Score 1) 166

by DerekLyons (#48639921) Attached to: Calculus Textbook Author James Stewart Has Died

RTFA. It clearly says that it wasn't all from textbook sales but also from "astute investments". Sounds like the guy worked hard and had his shit together financially.

Use some common sense - unless you have Warren Buffet levels of financial acuity or a great deal of luck, you don't accumulate that much cash via investments unless you start with a pile of cash nearly that size.

Comment: Re:Skeptics and Deniers (Score 1) 637

by DerekLyons (#48635317) Attached to: Skeptics Would Like Media To Stop Calling Science Deniers 'Skeptics'

Deniers pretend to be skeptics. However, they are actually exactly the opposite: the distinguishing feature of deniers is not skepticism, but credulity-- they seen to credit pretty much anything they hear (or read on a blog somewhere)-- if it supports their pre-existing opinions.

And how is that different from the True Believer? Very few people who claim to worship at the altar of science behave in any way notably differently - tell 'em it's Science and if it supports their pre-existing opinions they adopt it as Gospel. Many people who claim to respect Science as little better than cargo cultists.

Comment: Re:Established science CANNOT BE QUESTIONED! (Score 1) 637

by DerekLyons (#48635247) Attached to: Skeptics Would Like Media To Stop Calling Science Deniers 'Skeptics'

I use that as an example because it is more clear-cut than the climate issue, where there are a lot of people who hold a spectrum of views which are probably somewhere between being very skeptical and being outright deniers, but for sure there are those who pretty clearly aren't interested in any science that says man-made climate change might be real.

Nobody with any sense denies that such people (those who completely ignore science) exist. The problem is that a lot of people, almost all of which should know better, wants to lump everyone who questions the dogma of climate change in with that minority. Which doesn't actually surprise me, as practically all religions behave that way - dividing the world into Us and Them. And make no mistake, nowadays science *is* a religion, a fetish brandished by many to mark themselves part of the tribe. Like the most fervent bible thumper, they don't really understand the world around them - but the Gospel according to Jaime and the Gospel of St. Niel assures them they are among the smartest and thus among the righteous and the saved.

What is mind? No matter. What is matter? Never mind. -- Thomas Hewitt Key, 1799-1875