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Comment Re:What's wrong with this? (Score 1) 193

There's something very odd about some of you Americans. It has often been said that the Puritans who came to America on the Mayflower and other ships fled Europe on account of religious persecution - their complaint being that they were not sufficiently allowed to engage in religious persecution of others. Ever since, Americans seem to have an excess helping of moral superiority and conviction of their own rightness.

Why do you say that I am Russian, and call me "comrade"? Even if I were Russian - which I am not - the USSR dissolved itself over 25 years ago. That's a quarter of a century. Modern Russia resembles the USSR about as much as the modern USA resembles 18th century England. (Actually, perhaps rather less). Most Russians today are highly religious - far more so than Americans - and have democratic values. But that does not mean they are willing to roll over and capitulate to the Master (sorry, "Exceptional and Unique") Nation.

You couldn't be any more wrong if you had worked at it. I have never been within 1,000 miles of Russia. I am an elderly Scots-Irish man who was born in Argentina and have lived most of my life in southern England. I had an English public school education and got a degree from Cambridge University. Most of my working life was spent in employment by an American multinational computer firm. And until a few years ago I had voted Conservative at every single opportunity since I turned 21. (Nowadays I vote UKIP, as I wish the UK to remain an independent nation). I have never been a communist of any description, nor had communist sympathies (except with that long-forgotten and generally despised communist, Jesus Christ, who actually said some pretty sensible things). As for being paid by Russia, I wish. No one pays me for my comments on line. I write what I believe to be true, because I am a free man and I am entitled to speak as I see fit. As an American, I wish you understood that better and conceded my right to free speech.

As for Russia, Ukraine and empires, I have never heard of Daniel Drezner but the remark you quote is as hilariously nonsensical as Sir Halford Mackinder's fever dreams about "the world island" or Alfred Thayer Mahan's theories of world domination through sea power. I know enough to understand that Russia has not the slightest interest in becoming any sort of empire - the Russians leave that to you Americans. Having a country that is already twice the size of the USA or China, and one of the few left that is not overpopulated, the last thing they want is more land to administer.

Submission + - SpaceX Test Fires First Raptor Engine (techcrunch.com)

Thelasko writes: Elon Musk is preparing to unveil his plans to colonize Mars at IAC tomorrow. As a tease to his lecture, he has released some details about the Raptor engine on Twitter, including pictures.

Mr. Musk states that, "Production Raptor coal is specific impulse of 382 seconds and thrust of 3 MN (~310 metric tons) at 300 bar." He goes on to note that the specific impulse spec is at Mars ambient pressure.

Submission + - Should we bring extinct species back from the dead? (sciencemag.org)

sciencehabit writes: For decades the notion of “de-extinction” hovered on the scientific fringes, but new advances in genetic engineering, especially the CRISPR-Cas9 revolution, have researchers believing that it’s time to start thinking seriously about which animals we might be able to bring back, and which ones would do the most good for the ecosystems they left behind. Science Magazine explores why and how we might do this, which animals might be first, and the big risks involved.

Comment Re:Looking bad for Hillary now. (Score 3, Insightful) 193

It's not nearly as simple as that. True, people can always be found to "demand" that the USA "do something". But then, people can always be found to demand that any government "do something". Often that "something" turns out to be profitable for the people who do the demanding. But whether the loud demands are at all representative of what people in general want... that's a different question.

The USA is supposed to fund UN peacekeeping missions - actually, a very inexpensive commitment compared to fighting wars - because all the 193 member nations do so. Likewise with other routine UN functions. Please note that the US government was instrumental and took a leadership role in setting up the UN, which is why its headquarters is in New York. Many of us would prefer it to be in a different, preferably small and non-aligned nation.

The anti-pirate patrols are much appreciated and have done a lot of good. However, there is a strong argument that local nations should indeed perform that role instead; that way they would be more inclined to address the root causes of piracy.

I don't believe anyone ever demanded that the USA become the "World Police", and your rude comment about Europeans is wholly unjustified. Indeed, a study of history suggests that it was far more the choice of Americans and their government to occupy Europe (and Japan) than that of the locals. Of course, as of 1945 the USA was the world's wealthiest and most powerful nation, having remained neutral for the first two years and three months of WW2 in Europe. Thus, when WW2 ended, the USA was the only major nation whose own territory had not been invaded or bombed. Germany was shattered and decimated. Italy was little better. The USSR had lost one in seven of all its people - soldiers and civilians - over 25 million dead. Britain had not suffered so many deaths, but was utterly bankrupt due to the cost of fighting both world wars. (The UK finished repaying its war debts to the USA in 2006).

Under the circumstances, I find the expression "lazy f'kers in Europe" extremely offensive and unfair.

Comment And the concept of extradition is well established (Score 1) 131

Happens all the time. If a person commits a crime against country A and they are in country B, country A may well ask country B to hand them over. If it happens or the details of it vary based off of the specific countries and their treaties, called extradition treaties. For example the US and North Korea? Ya not happening. There are no extradition treaties between those two, and the governments hate each other. so nobody is getting handed over. However EU nations? Extremely strong extradition treaties. If you commit a crime against Germany from France, Germany will have France arrest you and ship you over to stand trial.

The majority of nations have extradition treaties of some level with each other since they don't want criminals able to run off and hide from justice. It has been a thing for a long time.

Comment Re:Looking bad for Hillary now. (Score 4, Informative) 193

Er, "Americans turning inward..."? According to The Washington Post two weeks ago, “While Americans savored the last moments of summer this Labor Day weekend, the U.S. military was busy overseas as warplanes conducted strikes in six countries in a flurry of attacks". https://www.washingtonpost.com...

Many people around the world devoutly wish that Americans would "turn inward" and occupy themselves with their own business, instead of killing foreigners for their own good.

Comment Re:What's wrong with this? (Score 2, Informative) 193

It's been said over and over, but apparently some people still don't understand.

Crimea has been an integral part of Russia since before the USA existed as a nation. On at least two occasions, Russians and Soviets sacrificed literally hundreds of thousands of lives to protect Crimea and to win it back after it was conquered by an enemy. More Russian blood has been spilled for Crimea than American blood in the Civil War - and by that, I mean more than 700,000 dead plus many more injured.

Crimea was generously "given" to the Ukrainian SSR by Khrushchev - who, oddly enough, was himself from Ukraine - in an impulsive act which was probably illegal under Soviet law. Then, when the USSR dissolved itself, Ukraine proclaimed itself an independent nation in 1991. Please understand clearly that this was the very first time in the whole of history that a Ukrainian nation had existed. The name "Ukraine", itself, means "borderland" - that is, the borderland of Russia. For many centuries, long before the USA existed, Russians spoke about "Great Russia" (which became modern Russia, based on Moscow), "White Russia" (which is still known as Belarus today), and "Little Russia" (the Eastern part of Ukraine). When Khrushchev transferred Crimea to the Ukrainian SSR he cannot have had the slightest inkling that one day this would involve Russia losing Crimea, which after all was mainly populated by ethnic Russians and Russian speakers.

After the violent, illegal coup d'etat which overthrew the legally elected Ukrainian government in 2014 - of which George Friedman, founder and CEO of Stratfor (https://www.stratfor.com/), said: “It really was the most blatant coup in history" - the Kiev regime instigated extreme violence against Russian-speaking Ukrainians. The population of Crimea voted overwhelmingly to become part of Russia again, and the Russian government agreed.

Putin did NOT "annexe" Crimea. He allowed the people of Crimea to become part of Russia again, after a relatively brief period in which they were subjected to a freshly-created foreign power by a series of administrative freak events.

Comment Cheaper to get hacked than do security maintenance (Score 5, Interesting) 56

Wasn't Slashdot only a number of articles ago talking about how much cheaper it is to get hacked than to deploy proper security and maintenance?

We've known this for ages....and I learnt about it the hard way years ago as a webmaster.

In my junior sysadmin pre-ITIL cowboy days, I was tasked with managing a web server, and it turned out that PHP needed an immediate update.
Without further ado, to avoid the risk of getting hacked, I went and updated PHP to the next version up.
Turns out that doing so broke a number of customer webpages - which were reliant on some old broken and unmaintained code. The website owners then complained and whined to our company that we threatened their businesses. (Fortunately they only made peanuts to our bottom-line, so luckily we didn't care that much)

Lesson was simple: it is much easier to maintain old versions that keep things working AND DO NOTHING than to do any proactive security maintenance. This works in a number of ways.

Firstly, when you eventually get hacked IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT. It is the fault of some hacker and things will be seen that way. Blame gets shifted away from the admins anyhow.

Secondly, doing nothing is CHEAPER. It involves less risk, less change, and less responsibility. In a world where shareholders, finance and management dictate the aims of IT - you may as well fire the sysadmins because it's risky if they do any maintenance, meaning that since they're not going to do anything you may as well fire them. Just get contractors to build things to work once, then leave the systems on the internet indefinitely until they either end up getting hacked to the point of failure, or the hardware breaks down. Then rebuild the system from scratch with more contractors when that time eventuates.

That's how security patching works in the real world. In other words, it doesn't.

The thing is, it's ALL ABOUT SHIFTING BLAME in the world of IT, and IT is a risk, and it is expensive.
That's why there is so much outsourcing combined with support contracts so company managers can point the finger at vendors when things go to hell and then walk away with legal indemnification and still keep their job and their pensions while saying that they kept costs down when things eventually go to pot.

So in this Yahoo case, someone finally has to guts to call Yahoo out on it.

Comment Patching is less risky than getting hacked (Score 3, Insightful) 183

We've known this for ages....and I learnt about it the hard way years ago as a webmaster.

I was tasked with managing a web server, and it turned out that PHP needed an immediate update.
Without further ado, to avoid the risk of getting hacked, I went and updated PHP to the next version up.
Turns out that doing so broke a number of customer webpages - who were reliant on some old broken and unmaintained code, who then complained and whined to our company that we threatened their businesses.

Lesson was simple: it is much easier to maintain old versions that keep things working AND DO NOTHING than to do any proactive security maintenance. This works in a number of ways.

Firstly, when you eventually get hacked IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT. It is the fault of some hacker and things will be seen that way. Blame gets shifted away from the admins anyhow.

Secondly, doing nothing is CHEAPER. It involves less risk, less change, and less responsibility. In a world where shareholders, finance and management dictate the aims of IT - you may as well fire the sysadmins because it's risky if they do any maintenance, meaning that since they're not going to do anything you may as well fire them. Just get contractors to build things to work once, then leave the systems on the internet indefinitely until they either end up getting hacked to the point of failure, or the hardware breaks down. Then rebuild the system from scratch with more contractors when that time eventuates.

That's how security patching works in the real world. In other words, it doesn't.

The thing is, it's ALL ABOUT SHIFTING BLAME in the world of IT, and IT is a risk, and it is expensive. That's why there is so much outsourcing combined with support contracts so company managers can point the finger at vendors when things go to hell and then walk away with legal indemnification and still keep their job when things eventually go to pot.

Comment Re:Am I reading this right? (Score 1) 78

The weird thing, if it is the COPVs, is... there was so much attention focused on them after CRS-7. It'd be weird if this was the cause. And extremely frustrating, too, as they're not manufactured in-house. SpaceX surely tests the tanks, so they too would bear some responsibility for it getting past their test procedures, if this is the cause. Personally (as I mentioned elsewhere in the comments), having a composite vessel sitting in liquid oxygen always strikes me as a dangerous situation to begin with.... if we were good at maintaining LOX-composite compatibility, we'd be making the stages themselves out of composites rather than aluminum.

Of course, the COPVs aren't the only part of the "helium pressurization system". Still concerning that whatever it was slipped past them.

Comment Re:Huh. (Score 4, Interesting) 78

The helium isn't used for cooling; it's a pressurant. It's lower mass to make a small COPV and have that store your pressurant in it than to have the whole LOX tank be strong enough to withstand the pressure.

It's always bothered me, the concept of having a COPV sitting around in LOX, though. Ignoring the thermal cycling, LOX and epoxy aren't exactly fast friends. We don't make LOX tanks out of composites because composites tend to become impact sensitive in LOX (there've been some attempts, but it's still an active reseach field, not a "solved problem"). Not sure there's that much difference between making your whole tank out of composites vs. having a composite tank inside of one. I don't know what SpaceX does, if anything, to try to protect them, but the general concept has always concerned me.

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