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Comment Re:One very quick thought ... (Score 1) 235

"...the distorted *tails* of the few storm-tossed fishermen..." --this is what happens when you're too long out with the mermaids!

I've started to think we've underestimated when civilization started... earlier today I was looking at pics of GÃbekli Tepe, and I'm thinkin' ... this is no hunter-gatherer tribe; this is the work of settled people who are not beginners at it and don't have to follow migratory herds, either.

Comment Re:big businesses asking for special favors (Score 1) 295

ISPs do not provide a "free market". Many people only have a single option, and the ISPs are taking huge advantages because they're able to act in monopolistic ways. That's not a free market. Want to see a free market?...look at how competition has been heating up in the cellphone service provider market.

Comment Re:Breaking News (Score 1) 295

Your failure to understand that the vast majority of the nation has 1-3 ISP options, which makes them virtual monopolies. It's not basic capitalism when there's no competition. You could have made that argument back in the days of dial up, but not today. Monopolistic behavior needs to be regulated. We've let way too many top level mergers occur, and we're ending up with only one choice (if you could call it a choice).

Comment Re:But but, it'sâ a Republican idea! (Score 1) 295

While it's certainly been building up over time, I'd argue that the polarization really kicked in with identity politics. When you start stereotyping (alienating) people into categories, you end up with nothing but hard liners. You even see it within the parties because if you're not towing the party line, you're a "RINO" or some such bullshit. I don't need a party to tell me what to think. This crap needs to stop, the name calling needs to stop, or I'm afraid to speculate where this will all end up. If you're unable to speak in a calm, polite, manner to those you disagree with, you're part of the problem.

Comment Re:Why the fuck would he care? (Score 1) 295

I've been working on computers since most of /. was a gleam in their daddies what.

Where you're going wrong in this way of thinking is that it's not a free market when you're dealing with a virtual monopoly. Back in the 90s it mostly was still, but not when you're down to just one or two options for service. Monopolies need to be well regulated...period. When they no longer have to compete, they simply find new ways to jack up your costs. And I'm saying that as a life-long fiscal conservative.

Comment Re: Why the fuck would he care? (Score 1) 295

It's great that you'd like to be altruistic, and hopefully others will be as well, consider it good karma, or just the right thing to do.. However, it's not up to you to decide what others should do with their hard earned money. If they want to blow it on hookers, drugs, and fast cars, that's their prerogative, they earned's part of the incentive to do that hard work. Take that incentive away, and you'll end up with the vast majority doing the minimum to get by...there are plenty of examples of that.

FWIW, my spouse and I are in the 2%, and soon to be retiring after 40+ yrs of work. While I plan to do some volunteer work, and continue my charitable donations, as well as support a mother & mother-in-law who'd be destitute w/o us. I also plan to use a lot of it to just enjoy what time we have left...we earned it (not directed at parent...please don't start with the daddy gave you crap...I grew up poor and inherited nothing.).

Comment Re:Speaking of delays... (Score 1) 106

ULA's track record with the Atlas V: 100%

Yes, let's take one vehicle in its fifth generation (not counting subrevisions), and ignore its track record with all of its earlier versions that led up to this point and all of their failures, and all of Lockheed and Boeings' other launch vehicles over time, with all of their failures. Lets also ignore that they're going to have to switch engines soon, to an engine with zero track record.

Payloads typically launch on schedule or within a few weeks. .... Some payloads have been waiting literally years due to delays.

Let's totally ignore that Atlas V launches once per two months, while SpaceX launches once per month, and that almost all of the wait time was due to investigation backlog. When it comes to hitting launch windows, SpaceX has a higher average success rate than average than Atlas V

And lets entirely fail to mention the point that ULA charges nearly double what SpaceX does per kilogram. Or that SpaceX is doing everything while rapidly evolving its rocket, to the point that they've basically even switched propellants partway through (denisification radically changes their properties). And while at the same time running an aggressive recovery and refurbishment programme and developing a heavy lift vehicle, with a small fraction as much capital.

Comment Re:What governmen brought to the table (Score 1) 106

As if liquid boosters can't fail catastrophically? Check out SpaceX's last failure. Liquids are hardly immune to catastrophic failure.

And actually more to the point, you've got it backwards. The SRB failure on Challenger was slow, more like a blowtorch. The explosion was when it compromised the external tank (which, obviously, stored liquids).

Solid propellants aren't like explosives. More to the point, you have to keep them under pressure to get the sort of burn rate that is desired for a rocket.

Comment Re:Speaking of delays... (Score 2) 106

Could you remind me how many people SpaceX has killed? Boeing and Lockheed have certainly killed people in the past.

If you're referring to the AMOS 6 ground failure, ignoring that part of the whole point of flying a stack unmanned as much as you can before you fly it manned is to shake out any problems, is that a manned mission would have almost certainly survived that. Unless the launch escape system failed, despite the drama, that was an eminently survivable. How do we know this? Because AMOS-6's hypergolic propellant tanks didn't ignite until the satellite hit the ground. AMOS-6 had the fairing as some extra protection, but on the other hand, the satellite itself isn't nearly as durable as a crew dragon.

The launch escape system ignites within milliseconds of a failure being detected and almost immediately reaches full thrust, accelerating away at 10gs. Here's a graphic of Dragon's abort test superimposed over the AMOS-6 failure. Things like this are the very reason that launch escape systems exist. NASA's last manned space vehicle lacked such a system entirely. And while their design for the Shuttle ultimately wasn't chosen, you know what? Lockheed's proposal didn't have one either. And it had a strong impact on influencing the final Shuttle design outcome.

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