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Comment Re:The solution is simple: (Score 1) 185

The lasers that one typically talks about using to clean up space debris are powerful enough to outright vaporize paint flecks and other small junk. On larger bits it vaporizes a portion of the material, producing thrust and hopefully changing the orbit enough that the junk hits the atmosphere and burns up.

Comment Re:Space Elevator? (Score 1) 52

For a space elevator to be practical, we need a way to produce an extremely strong tether in huge lengths. Last I heard, the longest we were able to grow a carbon nanotube (which has roughly the required strength we need for the tether) was about an inch. So in other words I don't think people have forgotten about the space elevator (or other alternative launch technologies), but they are waiting on improvements in material science.

Comment Re:imaging issues (Score 1) 417

"Also, why take up valuable satellite and computer resources to track ice floes? If there is free time on those platforms, it is a failure of CIA management to properly schedule them for tasks that are a part of that agency's objectives."

I suspect that most spy satellites are in polar orbits, so that they cover the entire Earth's surface once every 24 hours, as the Earth rotates underneath them. Assuming this is the case, then most of the time the satellites will not be over an area that is of interest to the intelligence community, so scheduling scientific photographs during that period (assuming they happen to be over an area of scientific interest) makes use of a satellite that would otherwise be doing absolutely nothing.

As for taking up valuable computer resources, I don't think that is really a problem. The communication antennas cost the same if they are being used or if they are not being used, so the only real costs to taking these images are the electricity used to power the receivers and the ground-side servers that store the images, and the cost of any personnel-hours required to declassify an image. Frankly, they might have the entire declassification process automated: if the picture is not of a predefined sensitive location, lower its resolution and send it off to the scientists.

Comment Re:Adult Content Island and verification. (Score 1) 209

You detect the non-objective viewpoint just from the word "pro-US". Apparently you can't be peace loving, anti-war, or liberal and like the US.

Though I have to object to the word "conservative" being used here. These aren't conservatives and they aren't really following conservative principles. Even neo-conservative doesn't really apply. "Jingoist" or "populist" would be more accurate.

Comment Re:Android sales since 2007 are up ERROR%! (Score 1) 445

> For a brand new product vs an iconic powerhouse, that is little short of amazing.

I look at it the other way: a brand new product SHOULD be doing well compared to a similar product that is three years old and is largely unchanged.* "Iconic powerhouse" or not, a new product should be doing SOMETHING other than just sitting there getting crushed.

* Other than GPS, videorecording, and 3rd-party apps--which OTHER smartphones had BEFORE the iPhone was even out (so their introduction, while nice, wasn't earth-shattering)--little new of substance has been added to the iPhone since its introduction in January 2007. (Plus faster networking and a better camera and more storage, but that's just "it gets incrementally faster/better over time" like ANY technology.)

Comment Re:Cue the pissing contest (Score 1) 110

Again, the Flyer was powered with a gasoline engine IIRC. A powered heavier-than-air machine is an "airplane", not a "glider". It doesn't matter if it requires ground-based infrastructure to launch. So yes, they invented the first airplane that could do figures of eight.

As for Joe Sixpack, he's a moron who probably also believes the Earth is 6500 years old and that Sarah Palin would be a good President even though she thinks Africa is a country (or, he's a moron who thinks Barack Obama is a great President who's going to keep his union job secure). What he thinks about who invented the first airplane is irrelevant to anyone with an education.

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