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Comment Re: drone ship landings require a lot less fuel? (Score 1) 101

I don't need to stand by the rotation theory. However, the 2.5 degrees that the Earth rotates are about equivalent to the downrange distance.

The first stage is going about 1/5 of the target LEO orbital velocity at separation. While you might well model the trajectory as a parabola over flat ground, given the lack of fuel I would expect that SpaceX puts a lot more care into their trajectory. So far I've failed to attract the attention of the person responsible for Flight Club, the most trusted modeling of SpaceX flights, but I'll message him directly.

Comment Re: drone ship landings require a lot less fuel? (Score 1) 101

Well, Alastair, you should probably not get snotty and ad-hominem, unless you want me to comment on how a one-time sci-fi author and the Unix guy at Dish doesn't really have more authority than the random person one might find in the SpaceX group on Reddit.

It happens there are a few people over there who are rocketry professionals, have the math, and have followed SpaceX long enough. So, sure, their opinion can indeed be trusted.

So far, we have a suggestion from one of the lesser folks there that raising the apogee takes advantage of the Earth's rotation. We'll see if we get the attention of the right people.

Comment Re: drone ship landings require a lot less fuel? (Score 1) 101

It seems to be a common misconception that orbital mechanics somehow knows when you are in orbit and does not work otherwise. But that is as silly as saying that relativity only works near light speed. These things always work regardless of speed, it's just that their effects are macroscopic at greater speeds.

Comment Re:The price hike is minimal... (Score 1) 450

I doubt more than 1% of Netflix customers has any idea what a VPN or proxy is - let alone how to set one up.

Also Netflix originals seem to be doing quite well. Daredevil and Orange is the New Black in particular see to be all the rave, and Marco Polo is one of the best shows on TV IMHO.

Realistically, there is always a breaking point of people. Piracy is easy. Any of the above shows that I want to watch I can still pirate pretty darn easily. The only way a company is going to get someone as a customer is that their pay service is easier than piracy and cheap enough to make the piracy too much hassle.

At $8/month Neflix was at that rate. At $10/month apparently some people start to decide it's not worth it. $2 isn't much but that's a 20% increase in service price. Personally I kept my Netflix subscription - but the price hike actually did trigger me to cancel Hulu as I didn't feel like paying for both as they inch up in price.

Comment Re: drone ship landings require a lot less fuel? (Score 1) 101

Here's an illustration of the boost-back to RTLS trajectory. You can see that it very definitely goes up. And to prove from observation, you can actually see where the two trajectories separate in photos from yesterday's launch. It's a rather dim curl up, and another continuing East, in Jason Ruck's photo and John Kraus's photo.

At the speed of stage separation, they rocket isn't going fast enough to stay in orbit, but it is definitely in the regime where orbital mechanics has a macroscopic effect. If you think about it, this is going to be the case at some reasonable fraction of orbital velocity.

Comment The perspective of a 3D animation professional (Score 5, Interesting) 302

This is just like the way people whined that color film had ruined the medium, and the ones before them who whined about talkies and yearned for the days of silent films.

I started at the NYIT Computer Graphics Laboratory in 1981 and left Pixar in 2000. These days I produce or am on screen once in a while.

While I was at NYIT they weren't story oriented, and thus all you see of them is demos. Pixar, on the other hand, always put story first. We knew that we could not make a film stand up on effects alone.

Today, a good 3D animation house can make absolutely any scene they like. And thus there isn't anything special about doing so. It's there if it needs to be there to tell the story, and not otherwise.

Comment Re:Standard of living (Score 2, Interesting) 607

My high school had no auto shop, and does any school have an HVAC class...I seriously asking was that really ever a thing?

Yes. I graduated in 1999 and even then my high school had vocational classes available to train to be an auto-mechanic, carpenter, electrician, or HVAC tech. And those jobs pay pretty well. My brother actually went the more vocational route (I went to college, though I did major in a STEM field) and he's making within 5% of my salary with only a high school diploma.

Sadly though those programs have been discontinued. It's no longer considered "respectable" to work with your hands - even if it's a well paying occupation that takes a lot of skill to do.

Comment Depends (Score 2) 149

Depends on your definition of "Primary". Primary at work? Heck no. I just moved from Windows 7 a few weeks ago. I'm long past "ooh shiny" at work and as long as something works I'm happy to apply security patches only.

At home? Yeah I don't care. The stuff I do on a home computer is all run of the mill crap: internet/social networking, video games, and other stuff that's either not too critical or can be done from a browser.

I've got 2 desktops (one of which I'd consider my "primary" device at home), a laptop, 4 internet capable game consoles, my phone, and two tablets laying around at home. If any one of them is down I can make it by with the other devices for as long as I need until I get it fixed. Heck if I got really desperate I've also got a pair of Raspberry Pi's setting around too that will technically run a Linux desktop - just painfully slow.

Really with $50 tablets and $200 laptops these days computing has gotten so cheap that fully functional computers have gotten as cheap as child's toys.

Comment Re:Standard of living (Score 5, Insightful) 607

In the 1970's a kid straight out of high school could get a job, get married, buy a 3 bed house + garage + car in the suburbs and raise 2.6 children on one paycheck.
Today's third level graduates look forward to a half decade of half-jobs, effective vagrancy, crippling rents, and the growing impossibility of being able to afford even an apartment + car on two salaries.

Compare the lifestyles though. The kid in the 1970's generally didn't care where he lived as long as he got that house (which BTW, was likely MUCH smaller than the average house of today - SQFT per occupant has gone up dramatically in the last ~30 years). Now people just have to live where it's "happening". Nobody wants to live in Boise - it's gotta be the bay area, or Austin, or New York.

And how many of those "third level graduates" were for liberal arts degrees where you're really only equipped to teach what you studied in when you graduate, while 1970's kid in high school took up vocational classes in auto mechanics or HVAC - less glamorous or prestigious but ACTUAL USEFUL SKILLS. Those skills also translate well into being able to do a lot of your own home, auto, or other "around the house" type maintenance saving from having to call a repairman out every time you find a frayed cord. 30 years ago pretty much everyone was decently handy and knew how to fix basic stuff.

And as stated - 1970's kid is doing all this on one salary. His wife/partner/other half is likely at home cooking all of their meals, rather than going downtown for organic artisan tacos and PBR's every night. When you're cooking your food at home you can afford to feed 5-6 people easily for what it would cost for one person to eat out. Now I'm not suggesting that women shouldn't be in the workforce at all (on the contrary I think its better how it is now), but it is a foolish notion to compare two time periods and say that now you NEED two incomes. You don't need it - it's just that now one partner who was once doing very real work to reduce the overhead needed to raise a family is now trading their time for extra income instead.

Honestly, I don't get the mindset of comparing our supposedly rosy past to the present and then suggesting a huge turn towards Socialism as how we return to that. That certainly wasn't the system we had in place back then to get that result.

Comment The wave of the future (Score 2) 255

In a world of autonomous machines, people and animals are squishy bugs. If this sounds extreme, consider how it is actually the case in the world of automobiles, and how previous to that the risk was horse carriages. We can make devices good at not running over people, but never perfect.

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