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Comment Re:Man up, NASA. (Score 2) 78

NASA lost contact with their STEREO-B satellite nearly twenty-two months ago when performing a routine test. NASA scientists are afraid to turn on the computer at this point because it may cause them to lose contact again.

What's the point of being able to talk to it if they can't turn it on and actually do stuff with it?
If they thought they lost it 22 months ago, they have nothing further to lose if it goes away again now.

Reading the article helps determine what the point is...

Seems the point is that they want to try to see if there is something they can do to point the satellite at the Sun in the 1 to 2 minutes they think they might have before the startup of the computer drains the battery and they have to wait another 6 months until the battery randomly charges up as it gets sunlight on its solar panels at the wrong angles. The sensor that keeps the satellite pointed at the sun failed, but maybe they can keep it pointed at the sun by sending commands from Earth and then they can better assess the health of the systems with more time.

Based on the article its seems they might have just enough time to give it some commands to point toward the sun and then hopefully the battery starts charging up again so they have more time to work with before it powers down.

Comment Re:eh (Score 1) 297

The article is about the kernel, not the distros, which vary wildly. (This is also why it's a shame GNU/Linux, as a term, didn't catch on, leaving aside Stallman's feelings. Everyone hears "Linux" and automatically assumes someone is talking about the entire operating system, when it's also the name of the kernel. See also Java, which has similar problems.)

Comment Re:doh! (Score 2) 503

Obama didn't release his birth certificate for one very good reason, he is very clever and Trump is very stupid.

The fact is that the Republicans will always invent some crazy idiotic 'scandal' that they obsess about and endlessly throw up smoke. The birther conspiracy was mind numbingly ridiculous. It would require someone to go back in time to plant the birth notice in the papers. Or for some group of conspirators to go to an enormous amount of trouble in order to make a particular black kid president.

So rather than release the birth certificate and let the Republicans invent a new scandal, Obama held onto it and let them obsess about a scandal nobody else thought made the slightest sense, knowing that he could knock their house of cards down any time he chose. Which of course he did a week before the Bin Laden raid which was guaranteed to end the story.

George W. Bush opened torture chambers across the world and collected photographs for a sick sexual thrill. Yet nobody ever talks about that. None of the people complaining about Hilary ever complained about GWB refusing to comply with Congressional investigation or the deletion of 5 million emails.

So here is what is going to happen. Trump is going to go down to the biggest defeat since Carter and he is going to drag the rest of his party down with him. And afterwards there is going to be a new civil rights act that prohibits Republican voter suppression tactics and the gerrymandering that give them a 5% advantage in elections. And by the time it is all done the Republican party will have two choices, either boot the racist conspiracy theorists and Trumpists out or face two decades in the wilderness.

Comment Re:Protection (Score 1) 114

Right, so they're going to reengineer every last subcomponent of every last part to withstand cryogenic temperatures, specifically for production in the tiny volumes needed in the space industry? Just for the inconvenience of reusing an upper stage?

Again: contrary to would-be-rocketeer imaginations, launch costs are not the be-all end-all of expenses when it comes to space. Engineering and low-volume production is killer. Mission designers always heavily stress TRL (Technology Readiness Level) of all components, as it's such a key determiner of mission cost. If any plan you propose involves "just reengineer everything", you do not have a plan.

Comment Re:I don't get it (Score 1, Insightful) 114

What you need is: Oxygen, Radiation shielding, Water, Food, Power and some gear.

Yes, it's totally that simple! The ISS has hundreds of thousands of parts, but only because congress insisted on adding thousands of Machines That Go Ping for no good reason. And random objects totally love being submerged in liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen. And empty tanks are totally easy to haul all the way to orbit when pre-loaded with fittings and jackets and extra tanks. And building things in space (including bloody *welding*) is such a nothing job that totally costs nothing!

Meanwhile, in the real world...

The tanks will serve as basic habitats etc., you could grow food (wasn't this successfull?) in one of them to replenish your oxygen supply.

((Snicker))

Everything which does not need to be inside, you leave it outside,

((Snicker))

Comment Re:easy peasy (Score 1) 114

What plastic are you thinking of and at what thickness, that is compatible with liquid oxygen, retains flexibility at LOX (or worse, LH) temperatures, and withstands the pressure, all without adding a massive mass penalty? How is the plastic supposed to deform around every little structure in the habitat (aka, not face multiple atmospheres of asymmetric pressure)? What sort of hardware are you thinking of where every last element is just fine with being frozen down to LOX (or worse, LH) temperatures? How many man hours are you thinking of to "rip out" the giant bag through the tiny docking port (after having to detach it where it's carefully bound around each element? Unless you were thinking of having it fully loose inside there, which is even more problematic. Where's it supposed to go on the ISS? If you're doing the (larger) hydrogen tank, how 100% sure are you that you're not making an explosive fuel-air mixture, given that hydrogen burns at just a couple percentage concentration? How positive are you that you've fully vented every last nook and cranny? And on and on and on.

Wet workshops were worked on during the Apollo era. They were ditched for dry workshops because it's easier, cheaper, and more functional.

Comment Re:Too bad they can't use the SS ext. tanks (Score 3, Interesting) 114

Shuttle ETs never got up to a stable orbit. It would have been possible to use the OMS to take them up there, but then the Shuttle would have had basically no payload capacity on that mission.

Of course, that's one of the lesser problems with the concept. Often proposed, often investigated, but never considered worth throwing serious money into.

Comment Re:I don't get it (Score 4, Informative) 114

And the US did launch a converted stage in the 70s with Skylab (albeit, Skylab was built on Earth and didn't contribute propellant / thrust... a rather different beast ;) ). That is, a dry workshop rather than a wet one.

To a rocket scientist, it's "obvious"; to a habitat designer, it's a nightmare. They're designed for dramatically different needs, and in-space construction is very difficult (and thus expensive). Orbital habitats are not just big shells, they're complex structures that take a lot of work to make. The original proponent of the wet workshop concept, George Mueller (who had worked with Von Braun on the idea), himself had switched to arguing for a dry workshop over a wet one by 1969 (this eventually became Skylab), telling congress that the wet concept had become just an inferior stopgap based on necessity rather that desirability.

There's this concept that launch costs are everything. They're not. A lot of times, it really is just cheaper to spend more in launch costs than to do more engineering, assembly, and/or in-orbit work.

Comment Re: Confused (Score 1) 127

The community in the case of Tesla (which was just an example picked from countless) was the customers. Are you saying that customers are irrelevant for a company? You also seem to be of the view that the "rally around the founder" effect is a good thing, given your comment about the TOR project being replaced.

I don't even know what OpenOffice thing you're talking about, by the way.

Comment Re: Will Internet Voting Endanger The Secret Ball (Score 1) 214

You're missing the point. The complaint about electronic voting is that someone can compel someone to vote in a particular way when voting isn't in person because they can confirm that the vote was cast in the way that they want, which they can't do at a polling place. But this situation already exists with absentee ballots, when the person is filling out the ballot.

Meanwhile, in Estonian online voting, when you vote online, you can still later go to a polling place and change your vote. Meaning that the person who watched you vote a certain way online still has no clue whether that vote is actually going to be the final say, unless they hold you hostage all of voting day. Which someone could do with likely voters for a given candidate whether online voting exists or not.

This has nothing to do with whether people at the electoral commission can match voters with their votes (which they can't do with either paper or online votes in any decent system).

Comment Re:Taxis are a municipal transportation service (Score 1) 442

No, they will still drive for Uber. People are desperate, obviously. The point is that no one is going to find a $12K vehicle that lasts 130,000 miles so no one is making that $13/hr. Uber is just a bottom feeder that is taking advantage of people who have no other way of making an income. The government is trying to make sure companies treat their workers fairly but apparently Uber has worked around that.

By your numbers 100,000 miles would be about how long a car would have to last to be around the highest state minimum wage. That puts many small cars in the $12k range new, and even more if you considered used cars. Seems there is plenty of room to make what the government currently considers acceptable compensation.

I am all for a higher minimum wage of $15 or even $17 per hour, but to claim the government is trying to protect workers when so many people are wage slaves with brutal and inflexible hours below what the rate Uber is paying is absurd.

It is fairly simple to figure out what the equivalent wage is for Uber drivers. Apply the standard mileage cost estimate for the distance of the requested ride and deduct it from the compensation for Uber drivers would be making. The Uber app should be doing this before the ride using the distance estimate and the minimum wage data for the state to ensure that the price is at or above the minimum wage threshold.

Comment Re:Taxis are a municipal transportation service (Score 1) 442

People keep saying that, yet obviously there cannot be too many cars on the road. Also, you want the drivers to actually have some profit potential. This is something that is not currently happening with Uber. There was recently an independent analysis and an Uber driver will make $13 an hour *IF* they only pay $12,000 for their vehicle and it lasts 130,000 miles. That's pretty difficult circumstances to operate in.

If people can't make enough money for it to be worthwhile then they won't drive for Uber and any oversupply will go out of the market. Artificially constraining supply of individual transportation choices could put more cars on the road if the best option then becomes a car rental or owning your own car versus the periodic Uber ride.

Your $13 per hour estimate is at least 30% higher than the highest minimum wage in all 50 states.

Comment Re:Confused (Score 2) 127

Indeed, according to their graphic they want anyone who "supported or aided the investigation" to sever all ties with Tor.

It's the "rally around the founder no matter what" effect; I've seen it in many, many projects. That said, most people forget about it with time. Who here ever spares a second thought for Martin Eberhard these days when they think of Tesla, rather than Elon Musk? Back in the day, in the Tesla community Musk was the devil for firing Eberhard when it turned out that Eberhard had grossly understated the cost to build the Roadster, had gotten the company bogged down in contracts that were going to get it hit with penalties, and was accused of hiding negative information from the board. Martin was beloved as the founder, and thus anything negative about him was clearly just vicious smear. But since Tesla has been such a big success, who ever hears the name Martin Eberhard anymore?

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