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+ - Letter to Congress: Ending U.S. Dependency on Russia for Access to Space 1

Submitted by Bruce Perens
Bruce Perens (3872) writes "I've sent a letter to my district's senators and member of congress this evening, regarding how we should achieve a swifter end to U.S. dependency on the Russians for access to space. Please read my letter, below. If you like it, please join me and send something similar to your own representatives. Find them here and here. — Bruce

Dear Congressperson Lee,

The U.S. is dependent on the Russians for present and future access to space. Only Soyuz can bring astronauts to and from the Space Station. The space vehicles being built by United Launch Alliance are designed around a Russian engine. NASA's own design for a crewed rocket is in its infancy and will not be useful for a decade, if it ever flies.

Mr. Putin has become much too bold because of other nations dependence. The recent loss of Malaysia Air MH17 and all aboard is one consequence.

Ending our dependency on Russia for access to space, sooner than we previously planned, has become critical. SpaceX has announced the crewed version of their Dragon spaceship. They have had multiple successful flights and returns to Earth of the un-crewed Dragon and their Falcon 9 rocket, which are without unfortunate foreign dependencies. SpaceX is pursuing development using private funds. The U.S. should now support and accelerate that development.

SpaceX has, after only a decade of development, demonstrated many advances over existing and planned paths to space. Recently they have twice successfully brought the first stage of their Falcon 9 rocket back to the ocean surface at a speed that would allow safe landing on ground. They have demonstrated many times the safe takeoff, flight to significant altitude, ground landing and re-flight of two similar test rockets. In October they plan the touchdown of their rocket's first stage on a barge at sea, and its recovery and re-use after a full flight to space. Should their plan for a reusable first-stage, second, and crew vehicle be achieved, it could result in a reduction in the cost of access to space to perhaps 1/100 of the current "astronomical" price. This would open a new frontier to economical access in a way not witnessed by our nation since the transcontinental railroad. The U.S. should now support this effort and reap its tremendous economic rewards.

This plan is not without risk, and like all space research there will be failures, delays, and eventually lost life. However, the many successes of SpaceX argue for our increased support now, and the potential of tremendous benefit to our nation and the world.

Please write back to me.

Many Thanks

Bruce Perens"

Comment: Re:Appre (Score 1) 217

by Phroggy (#47520429) Attached to: VP Biden Briefs US Governors On H-1B Visas, IT, and Coding

"Highly skilled" does not necessarily mean "highly in demand". Given that there are highly skilled Americans that can't find work, yes I will argue they're bad for America.

This hasn't been my experience. It's hard to find qualified people - they've all got decent jobs already. It's the unskilled workers that are struggling with unemployment (and underemployment).

Comment: Re:Stay classy, big V. (Score 3, Funny) 75

Yes, if there were a fast lane, one could theoretically put special-deaf-packets in it (or just as easily shove them into the slow lane, if they can't afford to pay); but this ignores the more pressing question of "What, pray tell, is currently suffering for want of special bandwidth and how demanding must it be if your existing service can't cope?".

When people can't hear well youtube, netflix, etc. have to send more data for the sound to make it louder. Similarly, people with vision problems get a really really huge movie to watch, meaning they need even more data (measured in bites) than the deaf folks. Someone like Helen Keller would need a dedicated OC-48 - possibly even an OC-49 or something like that - to handle her needs.

I tell you, Verizon's great concern for the handicapped folks just brings a tear to my eye and makes me want to use their services all the more, especially with that fast lane for handicapped people. They probably even get their own parking spot at Verizon headquarters, one for deaf drivers and one for blind drivers.

Movies

Netflix Reduces Physical-Disc Processing, Keeps Prices the Same 338

Posted by timothy
from the rising-overhead dept.
Nom du Keyboard writes: After seeing a drop in my DVD service from Netflix I got a customer service representative tonight to confirm that Netflix has ceased processing DVD returns on Saturdays nationwide. And that they did this without notifying their customers, or reducing prices to compensate for the reduced service. Given that the DVD selection still far outstrips their streaming selection, this may be news to others like myself who don't find streaming an adequate replacement for plastic discs. My experience up until recently, unlike Netflix's promise of a 1-3 day turnaround at their end which gives them lots of wiggle room to degrade service even further, had been of mailing in a DVD on day one, having them receive it and mail out my next selection on day two, and receiving it on day three. Now with them only working 5 days and many U.S. Post Office holidays, they're still getting the same money for significantly less. The Netflix shipping FAQ confirms the change, and a spokesperson said, "Saturdays have been low volume ship days for us."

Comment: Re:complex application example (Score 1) 160

by RelliK (#47495829) Attached to: Linux Needs Resource Management For Complex Workloads

> the first ones used threads, semaphores through python's multiprocessing.Pipe implementation. the performance was beyond dreadful, it was deeply alarming. after a few seconds performance would drop to zero. strace investigations showed that at heavy load the OS call futex was maxed out near 100%.

uhhm... wait what?

You are aware that python has global interpreter lock, right? And because of that multi-threaded performance in python is actually *worse* than single-threaded? But this is an inherent flaw in python interpreter and has nothing to do with Linux. It also has nothing to do with the topic of this article.

Comment: Re:both? (Score 3, Insightful) 77

by Trailer Trash (#47491303) Attached to: Drone Search and Rescue Operation Wins Fight Against FAA

If that's true then why do they care whether the usage is commercial or not? Have you read their little chart? Taking a picture of your house is fine, but a real estate agent doing the same thing is illegal. There's no difference between the actions and the aircraft - it's just the fact that money will change hands.

If this had anything to do with "safety" and all that then it wouldn't matter whether money was changing hands.

Comment: Re:Safe injection sites (Score 2) 472

I've been thinking along these lines for a few years now. Make the drugs legal, regulate them, and possibly even have the government sell them. Use taxes on drugs to fund rehab programs. Give sex workers a way to get out from drug induced slavery. Cut the head off the cocaine cartel by growing it here or importing it from someone else. Take a blow to the coffers of street gangs as well as more organized criminals.

The obvious number one downside is the potential for an increase in number of addicts. I never really had the answer for how to counter that.

The number of addicts decreases when you legalize drugs. No need to speculate, look at places that have actually legalized drugs. It seems counterintuitive, but the reason is pretty simple. Right now if you're addicted to something and you seek help you have to basically admit to being a criminal in order to get help. If drugs are legal - no problem. So people are more likely to ask for help when they don't have to risk jail by asking for help. Makes sense when you think about it.

You can bring any calculator you like to the midterm, as long as it doesn't dim the lights when you turn it on. -- Hepler, Systems Design 182

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