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Comment Re:We really need to get Commercial space going (Score 1) 193

Now, you speak about 'Morally acceptable', but those that fly(actually ride) these vehicle KNOW THE SCORE. THEY ARE ALL VOLUNTEERS. These are ppl that are not going into this in a stupid fashion. They know what can and can not go wrong. Heck, If I can get a free ride on the shuttle, I will gladly take it right now. Why? Because I, like many ppl througout the world as well as all the astronauts, find it plenty safe and most certainly 'morally acceptable'.

They're volunteers who don't want to die. The fact that they volunteered doesn't mean they are willing to be test pilots for half-baked ideas. NASA's astronauts implicitly trust that engineers in charge of design are doing the best they can to keep them safe.

And here's a shocker: as an engineer, I don't care if you, the astronaut, have a death wish. I will not cut corners and knowingly make my design less safe just because you're willing to accept the risk, because if my rocket explodes on the launch pad due to a design flaw, I'll be the one responsible for the screwup that killed you.

Comment Re:We really need to get Commercial space going (Score 1) 193

Likewise, Wall Street brokers say "if you haven't been sued yet, it's because you haven't been trying hard enough".

It's great to push the envelope in science and technology, but one shouldn't cut corners at the expense of human lives. It is possible to do responsible engineering -- it definitely is more expensive and slower, but it's the only option I find morally acceptable.

And besides, it has always been painfully obvious that one can only go so far using chemical rockets, and that there's only so much one can gain by improving this technology. It will require a more elegant solution to make space flight affordable and safe.

Comment Re:Creative destruction (Score 1) 324

When I was in the US I used my Nokia 5800 with T-Mobile with full functionality, including GPRS data. The 5800 is not a "T-Mobile phone", but they had no problem selling me a plan without a contract. Everything worked fine, other than the fact that I couldn't get 3G service (since I have the European 5800, which doesn't support T-Mobile's 3G band).

Comment Re:Creative destruction (Score 4, Insightful) 324

Here's the deal: be realistic. No company's going to offer you a "fully open" cell phone simply because there aren't any fully open operating systems for smart phones out there, and rushing something similar to the market would end up in a support nightmare. Nokia's come a long way with Maemo running on the N900, but the user impressions I've read wrt to the N900 make it clear that the software is beta at best, and is lacking features one would consider standard in a smartphone.

Here's my unsolicited advice: buy an unlocked GSM phone from overseas. My GSM Nokia 5800 can sync over USB or bluetooth, connect me to the Internet over bluetooth using Nokia's Ovi Suite (for Windows) and comes with all the cables you'll need, including the car charger. It's a very affordable smartphone, has great GPS functionality which doesn't require an internet connection to download maps, can play high resolution videos, has a real (albeit kind of slow) web browser and is made by Nokia, which is the most OSS-friendly cell phone manufacturer out there.

Comment Re:Not Windows' fault (Score 4, Interesting) 438

I worked for Accenture in one of the "delivery centres" in the Eastern Europe and it was total crap. They hired 1st and 2nd year students for peanuts, and sold them as professionals to rich foreign companies. The turnover of staff was about a third - after one learned something, it was best to get out of there as soon as possible. From the posts on the glassdoor i can infer that this is the strategy accenture employs worldwide.

I've heard the same story from friends who worked for Accenture in São Paulo, Brazil (Accenture's largest office in South America). My former bosses also worked for Accenture soon after graduating with engineering degrees.

Accenture's usual technique is to hire students or recent graduates from technical fields, who are reasonably capable in programming and computer science but know absolutely nothing about the consulting problems at hand or the software platforms which they use. Accenture gives them a weekend's notice before allocating them in real world projects they were not trained to do. These employees are overworked, underpaid, deliver substandard services and most end up quitting after one or two years. The few who don't quit and aren't complete morons get promoted.

Comment Re:communism? (Score 4, Insightful) 554

Quote from one of the biggest Communists: Thomas Jefferson

That statement made me cringe, because it contradicts the whole body of knowledge that exists about Jefferson.

Thomas Jefferson's quote merely shows that he was opposed to an inventor or discoverer gaining a monopoly over an idea. This is consistent with his defense of liberty, minimal government and free market capitalism.

Comment Re:For the greater good (Score 3, Interesting) 565

>> He's not fit to write C.
> Which is probably why glibc source code looks like preprocessor soup.

Glib looks like preprocessor soup because it has to be portable and fast. The only sane way to avoid using the preprocessor is to move the logic into the C code. This usually results in better readability, but destroys performance. The insane way would be to duplicate code, which has a disastrous impact on maintainability.

Comment Re:Anyone else hoarding gold? (Score 1) 195

The actual `use value' of gold (as decoration, malleable flexible material, conductor) is about US$80 an ounce. The other $900 is fluff value we've assigned to it because a few currencies were based on it for a while.

How did you get this $80 figure?

I don't understand how one could separate use value and market value, since if you're using something, then you obviously believe it's worth at least what you'd get by selling it at the market price.

Comment Re:Just remember when you give money to the church (Score 3, Insightful) 447

but it cuts the Vatican's power bill to zero, and the spare power can be sold to Italy at the market rate, resulting in a significant financial win for the Vatican.

This would only be a "significant financial win" if the money gained by selling electricity in a reasonable time frame (say, 15 years) not only covered the cost of the panels and their maintenance, but paid more than a safe investment.

If this were the case, there would be capitalists all over the world assembling massive solar arrays for electricity production.

Comment Re:Log-splitting bumpkin, huh? (Score 1) 261

biggoted Southern States who were violating the CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES

It's pretty ridiculous to suggest that the Union was interested in defending the CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES, because one of Lincoln's greatest acts of tyranny was the unconstitutional suspension of habeas corpus.

In fact, the civil war can be considered a power grab by the federal government, in direct opposition to the Constitution.

Comment Re:Log-splitting bumpkin, huh? (Score 1) 261

Yeah, because buying the slaves and land would've fixed the problem. I'm sure that the Southern States, having received said lump sum payment, would've abolished slavery after this. This reminds me of arguments that I have with left wing nuts who claim if we were nice to the terrorists that they'd leave us alone. There is no guarantee that either the states would've sold the north the slaves or that they would've refrained from getting more slaves afterwards.

Go read my comment again. I never suggested that the North should've bought the slaves. In fact, buying the slaves would raise their market price and encourage the South to get more of them. My point was that the war was so absurdly expensive that it could've paid for the slaves and land for their families.

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