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Comment: Re:NASA needs to fix it's Org. . (Score 1) 132

by werepants (#47534845) Attached to: SLS Project Coming Up $400 Million Short

> Private industry already designs and builds basically everything they do

Indeed, and dishonest cost estimates from private companies are usually the main reason for things going way over-budget.

And this is exactly where it needs to restructure itself. Dismantle the SLS program, pour more funds into research and facilities like JPL.

I'm not convinced that all the restructuring in the world will fix NASA as long as congress keeps using them as a jobs program with some technical objectives stapled on top as an afterthought.

Comment: Re:NASA needs to fix it's Org. . (Score 2) 132

by werepants (#47534109) Attached to: SLS Project Coming Up $400 Million Short
SLS is NOT a decent project. It's an old-school design based on expensive and outdated tech with known problems! The only thing SLS succeeds at is keeping the same cash flowing to the same congressional districts. That money would be far better spent on commercial crew or developing an entirely new system from the ground up.

Comment: Re:NASA needs to fix it's Org. . (Score 2) 132

by werepants (#47534085) Attached to: SLS Project Coming Up $400 Million Short
I don't think you really understand how NASA works. Private industry already designs and builds basically everything they do - NASA doesn't have manufacturing capabilities. The thing that kills them is cost-plus contracting and the fact that they have to make engineering decisions not based on technical merit, but based on what will appease congress.

Comment: Re:pfft, 3.5% overrun (Score 4, Insightful) 132

by werepants (#47533933) Attached to: SLS Project Coming Up $400 Million Short
I agree with you that NASA is a worthy recipient of our tax dollars, but as long as congress keeps mandating that they design rockets based on how many people they can employ in how many districts, we're never going to get out of LEO again. This money would be better spent on commercial crew type programs, with a commercial-off-the-shelf model rather than the chronically over-schedule and over-budget cost plus approach.

Comment: Re:putting OP's bullshit into context (Score 1) 132

by werepants (#47533879) Attached to: SLS Project Coming Up $400 Million Short

sure, the project is expensive but people need to understand there are immense differences between NASA's vehicle and the others. Not to mention all three companies are standing on the shoulders of a giant, NASA, and their projects are all dwarfed by what nasa is attempting to create.

SpaceX: hopefully delivering the CST-100 version 2, but honestly hasnt contributed a whole lot other than a sexy brand to the effort. CST100 was delivered by Boeing.

What the hell? SpaceX has the Dragon (and Dragon 2), not the CST100. SpaceX has had several successful, on-schedule, on-budget flights of the Dragon for cargo (including safe reentry) which has demonstrated the functionality of many subsystems that will be used in the manned version. The Dragon 2 has potential to be the safest manned capsule of the bunch - it can abort at literally any point in the launch profile, land with pinpoint accuracy, and has a strong enough heatshield for a return from Mars. Not to mention the Falcon 9 is the only rocket out there that can suffer an engine failure and still make mission. They have another rocket in development, again using many proven systems with which they have flight heritage, which will have more capability than any other existing rocket - Falcon Heavy. It has comparable capabilities to SLS Block I and is scheduled to fly 2 years sooner. Crossfeed capabilities will improve the capacity even more.

Boeing: not sexy, just practical. a design ripoff of many other NASA firsts, it is restricted to suborbital and cannot carry cargo.

I would say not sexy or practical, given that all they've demonstrated is a mockup and word is there are some serious technical issues with wind tunnel testing, etc. There's a good chance the CST100 won't survive the commercial crew downselect in August, and there's no indication that Boeing cares much about this.

Sierra Nevada: building what nasa did 30 years ago, this is designed for cargo and people. it is strictly suborbital.

Entirely wrong. This is an orbital craft - did you not see the dozens of marketing pictures of this docking with the ISS? This is a neat little craft with some significant development and test milestones already checked off - successful flights of a complete engineering model, engine tests, and reviews. They also have a launch scheduled for 2015, which they are financing on their own dime to demonstrate capability and earn at least some initial flight heritage. This has a unique capability, too, with the ability to abort during almost any time in the flight and land on runways all around the world.

NASA SLS: cargo, crew, suborbital, and interplanetary transport system. SLS is to be capable of lifting astronauts and hardware to near-Earth destinations such as asteroids, the Moon, Mars, and most of the Earth's Lagrangian points. SLS may also support trips to the International Space Station, if necessary.

This is a paper rocket at this stage in the game. I can make a powerpoint presentation about a system that will go to Mars and back tomorrow - doesn't mean I can deliver. Sure, this rocket COULD be developed, and all of these exciting missions COULD happen, if we doubled NASA's budget - as it is, they don't even have the funding to properly develop and test the first article, much less finance an extended campaign of missions. Every dollar spent on this would go 5 times as far developing commercial crew capability, but it wouldn't funnel money to Alabama to build obsolete and failure-prone SRBs, so congress (and therefore NASA) will never drop it if they can help it.

Comment: Re:Occams Scalpel (Score 1) 960

by werepants (#47517605) Attached to: The Daily Harassment of Women In the Game Industry
We'll have to agree to disagree, I suppose. I am not familiar with the organization, they are apparently a podcast done by the women on IGN's staff, where they discuss games from a female perspective. That does not sound remotely sexual to me. The visual scheme on their homepage is a boxing glove and some stylized text. This is a podcast aimed at women - I don't think there's any reason to believe they are using sexual innuendo to titillate their target audience.

If anything, the fact that you feel the term is sexualized kind of supports their point - it is difficult for females to participate in this industry as equals.

Comment: Re:Pft (Score 1) 960

by werepants (#47517531) Attached to: The Daily Harassment of Women In the Game Industry

I used to hold an attitude very much like yours, but I took some tests on this site

Congratulations, you've just been push-polled. Those tests aren't built to discover bias, they're built to convince you that you are biased.

Except that they showed I held no bias with race. Why don't you actually try it, and see if you can find a flaw with their methodology? Researchers need a good tool to study bias, and AFAIK this is a pretty highly regarded one. It's published by the psych dept. at Harvard FFS - I don't know what you WOULD consider a good test for bias.

Comment: Re:Occams Scalpel (Score 1) 960

by werepants (#47516635) Attached to: The Daily Harassment of Women In the Game Industry
They aren't complaining about being sexualized, as far as I can tell. They are complaining about being harassed. And the fact that some men get their rocks off on violence between women doesn't make the concept inherently sexual. The first page of google hits on that term include a film about a woman boxer and a women's martial arts academy.

Comment: Re:Occams Scalpel (Score 1) 960

by werepants (#47515647) Attached to: The Daily Harassment of Women In the Game Industry

I tend to agree with you, in general. However, I do think it is disingenuous to name a company "Girlfight" in a clear attempt to cash in on their sexuality, then contribute to an article complaining about it.

I don't think there's anything overtly sexual about "Girlfight". If you had a company named "Manfight" you wouldn't think of it as sexual. Plus, even if it is somehow intended to have sexual connotations - that doesn't in any way justify harassment. That's essentially the same as blaming a rape victim for dressing provocatively.

Comment: Re:Pft (Score 1) 960

by werepants (#47515471) Attached to: The Daily Harassment of Women In the Game Industry
Have you ever actually tried to examine your own biases? Because it sure sounds like you are refusing to admit the possibility that they exist.

I used to hold an attitude very much like yours, but I took some tests on this site:

It's a very fair and objective measurement of your basic, gut reactions to things. I always assumed that I held no bias against black people - that turned out to be mostly true. I also felt like I had no bias against women in science/tech. Turned out that I was pretty wrong.

The fact is, things are not currently equal between men and women. Women are physically weaker, it's a simple fact, which means that they live in a constant state of heightened awareness compared to men. When was the last time you asked another guy to walk with you out to your car at night? Women are acutely aware of that physical power imbalance and rearrange their lives to try to avoid vulnerable situations. And we as a culture are perfectly fine with that and expect them to accommodate this violent reality - any time there's a rape story people instantly ask if she was dressed provocatively, or drinking, or in the wrong part of town, etc. It doesn't really matter where the hell I am, or how much I drink, or who I'm with, I'm pretty much never worried that I'm going to get in a compromising situation and get raped for it.

Have you ever had to work in a department where everybody else is a woman? Take that environment, where even if people aren't purposely excluding you they regularly talk about periods and tampons and things that you are fundamentally unable to relate to. Now imagine that every single one of those co-workers is physically more powerful than you are - whether that coworker is confrontational or not. Oh, and your supervisor, their supervisor, and on and on up to the top are all not your gender. On top of it, make it so that everywhere else in the industry is the same way, any person answering a topic online, most of the authorities in the field - 90%+ are the opposite gender to you. An unknown but nonzero percentage of those people believe you to be inferior immediately, regardless of your performance. To top it off make sure to embed lots of industry humor and institutional inertia that is subtly or not-so-subtly catered to people of the opposite sex (does that get your panties in a twist? Man up).

Things are not fucking equal, and your diatribe demonstrates that you either have put very little thought into how the experience of others might differ from your own, or you are willfully ignorant. If you opened your eyes, you'd see that being a straight white male confers way more advantages than any other demographic enjoys and means that you honestly never have to think about a huge swath of problems that are daily realities for everybody else. Pretending that bias doesn't exist doesn't make it so. Women aren't really asking for much - just the ability to participate in an industry on equal terms, and since things are ALREADY INEQUAL, an extra level of protection wouldn't be unreasonable. But to be fair, that little bit of hasty generalization is entirely unjust, how dare they speculate about our motivations and privilege...

Comment: Re:Scientific research never got anyone anything (Score 3, Informative) 225

by werepants (#47378103) Attached to: Senate Budgetmakers Move To End US Participation In ITER

The budget is driven by non-defense spending - entitlements - which consume nearly every dollar in Federal Revenue that DC receives.

When you say entitlement, it evokes a bunch of money-grubbing welfare queens who have more and more children to increase their federal benefit. The truth is that the largest portion of the budget (24%) is social security, which isn't a government handout - it is funded by working taxpayers who have paid into the system for their whole lives.

Things that might be considered entitlements, or uncompensated financial assistance to the unemployed, disabled, etc. make up only about 12% of the budget, not the 2/3 you disingenuously claim. Source:

What I'm confused about is why it isn't an "entitlement" when we give massive cost-plus contracts to defense contractors with no requirement that they actually produce products that perform as promised (JSF, or any number of botched projects with no accountability). Or force our nation to give them handouts to build overpriced, technically inferior products (SLS) when free market competition offers far superior options (Commercial crew). The point isn't just that the military budget is massive (though it is), it's that much of the spending is propping up useless programs, developing technically complex boondoggles to fight enemies that don't exist. We're getting the worst of both worlds, the bureaucracy and inefficiency of government with the greed and short-sightedness of industry.

Comment: One vote for Python (Score 4, Informative) 143

Granted, I don't have much experience with R, but Python has some notable benefits - it is very well established and you can find tools to do just about anything. It is fast and easy to develop, and very easy to learn thanks to the readability and plentiful resources online. I imagine you'll have an easy time finding people with python experience, as well.

I haven't used it for any "big data" tasks, but for a number of small, interactive data analysis utilities it has been really enjoyable to work with. One standout tool for me has been pyqtgraph, which is lightning fast and creates some really impressive interactive visualizations. It's also got some pretty incredible features out of the box - arbitrary user-definable ROIs, instantly change any plot to a log-log, or even do a Fast Fourier transform with just a right click. If I sound like a fanboi, I kind of am - after trying to deal with the agony of 3D data manipulation in matplotlib (python's matlab package), it's a whole different world.

Comment: Inferior format (Score 2) 42

Others have said it, but I'll repeat: This video format sucks compared to the usual slashdot interview approach. I usually look forward to Slashdot Q&A's because there's an opportunity to have your exact question answered by someone, and so it gives lots of us who comment the next best thing to direct correspondence, assuming that your question is worthwhile enough to get upmodded.

This video, in contrast, is annoying to parse. Yes, there's the transcript, but I don't see him answering my specific questions, and it is a pain to read through a bunch of general and less articulate speech-to-text rather than getting a concise and direct response.

I could've forgiven you using this format if you still actually read him the questions that were written and voted on by us, but it seems like instead Tim decided to shit on that so he could have a Google hangout and feel important.

There's got to be more to life than compile-and-go.