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Comment Re:Um... (Score 1) 590

The solar-powered UAV's that NASA built in the early 2000's were a giant flying wing (~100-200ft wingspan) with a few hundred pounds of payload. These things were fairly fragile (the last one broke up in a high wind gust), so to scale them up to man-rated safety standards would make them prohibitively large. It may be possible to make something the size of a 747 or a B2 that carries one or two people on solar power alone, but that's not the best use of airplane parts to get massive numbers of people from point A to point B.

Comment Re:I'm sure geeks (Score 3, Insightful) 314

And just another analogy. Designing a good lock requires knowing how to pick locks. Knowing how to pick a lock requires picking locks for practice frequently. Picking locks frequently does NOT require being a burglar. Adrenaline junkies do that. Security geeks wanting a job with the lock company don't. That's the difference.

Comment Re:I'm sure geeks (Score 1) 314

A snitch or an informant, no. An undercover agent, on the other hand, damn well better be able to write up an after action report and be able to present its contents in a clear, coherent, and noncombative manner to either a judge or a jury or his boss without the Question Authority Tourette's popping out with every other breath.

Get something clear: being an effective anything requires having a rod up your ass that you put there yourself. To outside observers, it might look like a counter-culture Fuck You to your coworkers/superiors, but it's not that. Network defense requires engineering. Good engineers have rods up their asses when on company time and need to communicate profusely. Making a buck as a grey/black hat does not require these things to nearly the same extent.

Comment Re:I'm sure geeks (Score 5, Insightful) 314

I don't want a "good hacker" whose tendencies toward "counter-culture" are a hard-wired reflex. I want a competent engineer who understands what he's working with and knows how to be effective: sometimes by kissing ass, more often than not by saying "fuck off and let me work" with the right level of polish (sometimes none). If your idea of the best of the pool is someone who hacks and tinkers without being able to buckle down to do some real engineering (which means not just being able to pull off epic shit, but doing it in such a way that it's clear that it accomplishes the objective and isn't only documented between the guy's ears), you're asking for movie hackers, not for what you need.

Comment Re:Pick your master (Score 2) 316

More importantly, the same UN that with alarming frequency tasks tin-pot banana republics with chairmanships of various human rights committees. The internet needs to remain benignly neglected by a stable democracy with constitutional protections for free speech and a long track record of mostly refraining from reneging on those protections. Right now, that describes the US a lot better than it describes the majority of UN member states, and better than some the civilized nations of Europe.

Comment Re:How accurate is his simulation? (Score 1) 153

The bigger questions are: how blindly white is it already and how massive is it. You need a very good handle on both numbers if you're trying to 1) get a tight estimate on its trajectory and 2) try to perturb it with radiation pressure. Either way, you need to visit the asteroid with a probe to get those numbers before you know if painting it white (or black) will give you enough delta v over the timescale you need.

Comment Re:How long? (Score 2, Funny) 455

Every time Wayland comes up, people come out of the woodwork to declare it a failure because it won't run over a network, but that's the only real gripe I've seen. You say there are others, I'm curious to know what they are.

Every time the electric car comes up, people come out of the woodwork to declare it a failure because it won't go more than 100 miles without a long recharge, but that's the only real gripe I've seen. You say there are others, I'm curious to know what they are. Every time the web appliance comes up, people come out of the woodwork to declare it a failure because it won't do anything besides surf the web, but that's the only real gripe I've seen. You say there are others, I'm curious to know what they are. Every time the Segway comes up, people come out of the woodwork to declare it a failure because it's too expensive and can't actually live up to the promises of changing urban design, but that's the only real gripe I've seen. You say there are others, I'm curious to know what they are. Do the words "deal-breaking deficiency" mean anything?

Comment Why the moon again? (Score 0) 166

I'm pretty sure you could build yourself a whole bunch of ground-based dishes, or even a few geo-stationary relay stations, for the cost of a moon base and relay infrastructure to get the data from the far side to the near side. There are reasons to put stuff on the far side of the moon, but handling comm traffic from the dozen or so probes we've put out there isn't one of them.

Comment Re:Wow (Score 1) 771

Words are funny things. One can be educated in school ("formal education"), educated by life ("practical experience"), educated by self-directed scholarship, and a half-dozen other ways. Formal Education is not the same thing as Education in "An uneducated person is one easily controlled!". Perhaps it is better to say that an *ignorant* person is one easily controlled.

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