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Comment Re:B-b-b-but I thought Apple was a marketing compa (Score 0, Troll) 346

Ok, normally I let this go, but you capitalized freaking MS!

NASA is an acronym. Nasa is nothing. National Aeronautics and Space Administration. N-A-S-A. NASA. Not Nasa.

Sit Peeve, sit! Stay. Good Peeve.

(On an unrelated note, has anyone else noticed NASA is the only space agency that does not have its country (or organization of countries) in its name? ESA, JAXA, RSA, but NASA just expects you to know which nation they are talking about. :+D )

Comment CSA Avatar (Score 1) 47

That's cute. The Canadian Space Agency has a payload similar to this onboard ISS right now. It is called Avatar, and a crew member on the ISS controls a rover here on Earth. I guess the idea is to develop plans for exploring other planets from a spaceship in orbit... something we don't have a lot of experience with.

It would be really cool if they drove Avatar around, say, a public park or a mall, but I think they do it in boring open fields and such. If they tested it in public spaces, they could also study people meeting extraterrestials!

Comment Re:Cool (Score 1, Informative) 190

They have several demonstration flights this year, but the first "official" CRS cargo carrying flight will be in 2011 if all goes well. That's been the plan for a while, and I should know, because part of my job is to stuff it with stuff.

(I say "official" because there is talk about carrying a few brave payloads on the demonstration flights, but that isn't part of the contract.)

Comment Re:1984 (Score 1) 1238

Of course they'd sputter, it is a silly statement. Take a look at your morality: was it moral just because your ancestors were on the invading side? What justification do you propose for such a naked land grab? Even if you think that the Byzantines had some how more of a "right" to that land than the Turks, that only takes you as far as the Fourth Crusade... when the Crusaders sacked their ally because it was less work!

Hell, that reason doesn't even take you very far through the First Crusade. So really, tell me, how were the Crusades just? No one gained any freedoms, freedom of religion actually became much less, none of the crusader states made any lasting mark on history, an enmity was created that still lives today, and a lot of people died who did not need to. That's pretty much an unjust war if I've ever heard one.

Comment Re:So... (Score 1) 411

This ^ is an excellent post.

To the grandparent and others of a similar mind: Robots and Humans are part of the same whole. You don't use your teeth to pull out a nail, you use a hammer... you don't create a Mars habitat by chopping down Mars trees with a stone axe, you send robots to build one for you before you arrive.

Each step outwards is accomplished by an increase in the sophistication of the available tools.

To put it another way: If it takes a Manhattan Project to do the job, the job had better win you the war... because if it doesn't, the job was not worth doing for the price. Otherwise, you increment, and increment, until you can do the same thing without needing 5% of the US budget.

Comment Re:One lone protester (Score 1) 411

I'm certainly not intending any disingenuouslyositude. That gentleman was actually the only person I've seen protesting in Clear Lake, so the protestors I have seen went from zero to one.

The latest I have heard is that they are intending to complete the Orion vehicle design, and so quite a lot of people still have quite a lot to do. I didn't know much Ares work went on in Houston.

I agree with your reading of the Augustine report, but I do not agree that there was anything great about the previous plan, even with $3 billion more to do it properly. I just don't see Mars as a worthwhile destination for anything but pride, and I'd like to think my career had something more to add than that. Near Earth Asteroids, though... you have the Protect the Earth angle, as it only takes one rock to ruin our whole day. You have the science, of studying another environment very different from the Earth or Moon. You have the spiritual change of being not just a species that jumps from planet to planet, but true spacefarers! Space becomes the destination, rather than the journey!

Since I really only get to be a part of one major program over the next 30 years, I'd rather it be NEAs than Mars. It is more exciting, and it might just save the Earth if an impact is in the near future.

Comment One lone protester (Score 5, Interesting) 411

As I came back from lunch today, I saw a single retiree-looking gentleman standing on the corner of Saturn and NASA Rd. 1 with a sign protesting the Obama plan. That's here at JSC, home of the astronauts.

I dunno, maybe more people will join him once work lets out. As someone who works in this industry, I still remain on the record saying that the current plan is the best one NASA has had since the Shuttle was a dream given form*.

* Not quite the form it should have been, though.

Comment Tag collisions (Score 1) 554

Due to tag collisions, a bag full of tags probably won't work. The rfid readers I've used require some time and space between tags to reset. You'd be able to stand there and scan one tag after another, but that would be a bit obvious.

Less to the point, college attendance is something that sorts itself out come grade time. Why bother tracking it?

Comment What does Jobs throw? (Score 2) 492

We know it isn't chairs, but one has to imagine that whoever lost this will be getting Job'd (or de-Job'd) in the near future.

(I know, the easy answer is "a massive fit, followed by going with a different vendor" but I was thinking something more physical.)

Unless this is just marketing, in which case, good show Apple. If I'm going to be marketed to, I prefer a little bit of drama.

Comment Re:I'm not upgrading... (Score 1) 983

What is it you want to do that you cannot?

Also, since when is jailbreaking an iPhone "breaking the law"? There are things you can do with a jailbroken iPhone that break the law, but there are things you can do with a stock one that break the law as well... for instance, hitting someone over the head with one.

Comment Re:They also left out a good deal of context (Score 4, Insightful) 973

You are correct, I did pay for that gunship with my tax dollars. I also paid for the training of those soldiers. Finally, the world opinion of America and Americans (including me) is affected by how we fight in Iraq.

So I feel I am justified in seeking an answer to this question:

What policy is in place that considers shooting an obvious makeshift ambulance a good idea?

Everything up to that point is a terrible misunderstanding. Having watched the video, if I were looking for AK47s and RPGs instead of cameras, I would have seen them. I'm not even going to second guess if the way to build a healthy Iraq is to destroy a group of people standing in a street with gunfire from a mile away, though I don't think that's the decision I would make.

But as for the van: everyone on the radio is clear that the van is picking up wounded. Very seriously wounded. Permission to fire was still asked for, and still given. Why? Even if everyone involved was 100% convinced those were bad guys, why? If this kind of conflict could be won purely by being the meanest guy on the block, Algeria would still be French.

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