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

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:Australis killed Firefox (Score 1) 167

by drinkypoo (#47520527) Attached to: Firefox 33 Integrates Cisco's OpenH264

The fact that you didn't just means you weren't paying attention.

That's what I said. I wasn't paying attention, because I shouldn't have to pay attention to make sure they don't do something staggeringly stupid.

Enjoy Firefox while it lasts.

I enjoy it a lot less now with this buggy-ass patch to their hubristic fuckup.

Comment: Re:Australis killed Firefox (Score 1) 167

by drinkypoo (#47520493) Attached to: Firefox 33 Integrates Cisco's OpenH264

Face it, you can insist all you want that you're right, and nobody wanted this, and that it was the fault of a couple of idiots, but if that's the case then everyone yelling about this now are the real idiots for letting it happen.

Everything you said is stupid, but you're also a coward so shock, amazement. I didn't hear about it until it was happening, and I shouldn't have to ride herd on the devs to make sure they don't inexplicably waste a bunch of screen real estate and castrate the interface. It should be obvious that's a stupid idea.

Comment: Re:Advanced? (Score 1) 58

by drinkypoo (#47520445) Attached to: Finding Life In Space By Looking For Extraterrestrial Pollution

Pollution is highly specific to the existence of given technology at a given stage of development.

And as a corollary, a civilization which spends too much time at any given stage is going to collapse again when it uses up its ready resources, and/or renders its biosphere uninhabitable. If we had used up all the trees, for example, on the planet. Many civilizations did deforest astoundingly large areas even before the invention of power equipment. If we had used up all the ready ores without inventing power equipment. If we use up all the fossil fuels without figuring out what to do about the CO2.

Comment: Re:Analogies are poor... (Score 1) 243

by drinkypoo (#47520179) Attached to: 'Just Let Me Code!'

My point was that in MS world, you don't have a compiler until you get the SDK (which most people don't even know exists), and most think you only get a compiler through visual studio, whereas in linux it is commonly already there or a 'yum install gcc' or 'apt-get install gcc' away.

If you google for programming for windows, visual studio download is going to be one of your top hits. It's not like this is any different in Linuxland, but that's my point. It's still just a download away. On the other hand, it sounds to me like you're complaining that Windows package management is shit. Obviously, Microsoft should make it possible for you to install package from repos. Oh wait, that's what they're doing now.

Comment: Re:Death bell tolling for thee.... (Score 1) 170

by drinkypoo (#47520147) Attached to: Microsoft's CEO Says He Wants to Unify Windows

So, to give people their "bad car analogy" it's like selling an International DT466 engine in a school bus, a semi tractor, a very large pickup truck, a combine, and a tractor.

The thing is that the DT466, the T444, and even the IDI engines (e.g. A185) were all used successfully in all of those contexts, and people even swap DT466s into 3/4 ton pickups (let alone those other engines.) But shoehorning full Windows onto a handheld would be more like putting one of those engines into a roadster.

Comment: Re:Death bell tolling for thee.... (Score 1) 170

by drinkypoo (#47520135) Attached to: Microsoft's CEO Says He Wants to Unify Windows

Here's a real life car analogy... GM in the 80's "unified" all their drivetrains.

It wasn't just GM. Everyone who hadn't already done this (that is, everyone but the Japanese) did this in the 1980s. It is in fact the general trend for all automakers. VW Group exemplifies this tendency today. The 350 chevy continued to be a highly desirable powerplant for pretty much all purposes right through the 1980s, and up until they developed its successor, the LS1.

GM cars from the 80's are considered to be the worst built and least desirable of the company's history. You don't see any of those models still driving around with classic plates on them.

That has nothing to do with the engines, which for the most part were the same engines from the prior decade, and everything to do with American producers trying to compete on cost with the Japanese.

+ - Microsoft to Finally Pull the Plug on Windows RT

Submitted by Deathspawner
Deathspawner (1037894) writes "A lot of people have never been able to understand the logic behind Microsoft's Windows RT, with many urging the company to kill it off so that it can focus on more important products, like the mainline Windows. Well, this is probably not going to come as a huge surprise, especially in light of mass layoffs announced last week, but Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has said that his company will be working to combine all Windows versions into a unified release by next year."

+ - MS squeezing SQL Server customers on licensing->

Submitted by yuhong
yuhong (1378501) writes ""Microsoft's SQL Server business has hit the $5 billion mark in terms of annual revenue and is growing like gangbusters, according to CEO Satya Nadella. " What Satya did not mention is where this revenue comes from. According to an article from CRN, "Licensing experts believe this stunning figure is primarily due to the company raising prices last summer for many of its enterprise products [such as SQL Server].""
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re: Just let me do brain surgery! (Score 1) 243

by Anonymous Brave Guy (#47519129) Attached to: 'Just Let Me Code!'

Programmers are just cogs in a machine nowadays.

Code monkeys are, and that's the way that managers who hire code monkeys like it.

There are plenty of programmers out there creating interesting and useful new software, and plenty of customers/clients willing to pay serious money for the value that software offers them without all the unnecessary bureaucratic overheads and middle management crap.

If you are a good programmer and professional in your general conduct, you owe it to yourself not to be a code monkey for anyone, IMHO. You have to be really, really unlucky with the time and place when your current gig(s) run out not to have better options in 2014.

Comment: Re:If you can get a devkit, that is (Score 2) 243

by Anonymous Brave Guy (#47519099) Attached to: 'Just Let Me Code!'

If you're developing on a platform as developer-hostile as that and you're locked into it so your business can't port to other platforms if necessary, I would submit that you have bigger strategic problems and long-term risks than merely being a small company. An arrangement like that is an axe hanging over the head of almost any size of company and you have absolutely no control over when it might fall.

(No, I don't develop iOS apps or write console games, despite occasionally getting enquiries in those fields, and this is why.)

Government

VP Biden Briefs US Governors On H-1B Visas, IT, and Coding 140

Posted by Soulskill
from the at-least-he-was-wearing-pants dept.
theodp writes: Back in 2012, Computerworld blasted Vice President Joe Biden for his ignorance of the H-1B temporary work visa program. But Joe's got his H-1B story and he's sticking to it, characterizing the visa program earlier this month in a speech to the National Governors Association as "apprenticeships" of sorts that companies provide to foreign workers to expand the Information Technology industry only after proving there are no qualified Americans to fill the jobs. Biden said he also learned from his talks with tech's top CEOs that 200,000 of the jobs that companies provide each year to highly-skilled H-1B visa holders could in fact be done by Americans with no more than a two-year community college degree.

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