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Comment Re:I know just the man for the job (Score 4, Informative) 61

Not just been photos, there's been some reported video as well (also Queensland). I did check the gait of the animal in the video, and it matches a diagram of the thylacine's gait. But that's hardly unique to them, it just narrows down the range of possible species. There's old zoo footage here.

I doubt it's actually a thylacine, but who knows, weirder things have been discovered.

Comment Re:Goes Back To Kennedy (Score 2) 153

I once worked at Rockwell-Collins, which had been a supplier for the Space Shuttle programme. When I arrived, they were very stringent about how we handled our time reporting and billing. Why? Because apparently before I got there they had just gotten heavy slapped down for exploiting cost-plus Shuttle contracts. Whenever any project went over budget, they just had employees credit their time to the Shuttle programme.

Comment Re:It is in the nature of the business! (Score 1) 153

And before you go and say Blue Origin and SpaceX are doing it so much cheaper, yes, but that is because they are standing on a mountain of research & technology courtesy NASA.

Something both of them readily admit. SpaceX in particular has continually expressed their gratitude for all of the support they've gotten from NASA over the years. And they have an interesting cooperative model in place now for Red Dragon - no money exchanged, but they get access to NASA facilities and time working with NASA researchers, and in turn NASA gets all of the data they acquire from their missions.

Comment Re:Can't blame NASA (Score 4, Insightful) 153

I'm anyone but someone to defend SLS, but this report seems rather flimsy. It seems that they're calling anything that NASA does in-house "overhead". That's not really a fair measure. A rocket is not just its physical construction; there's a huge amount of cost in research, design, testing, and support infrastructure - in the case of SLS, particularly the Exploration Ground Systems (EGS). Part of the problem however is that every time NASA builds something new, they're rarely allowed to shut it down. Including major projects with contractors. Congress keeps mandating this inefficiency, when what NASA really needs is the freedom to put large amounts of infrastructure to the axe when it can't contribute toward competitive costs, and reallocate the funds as is needed. So long as they face mandates to keep everything open (both internal, and with specific production lines run by particular suppliers), they shouldn't be criticized for their high costs - congress should.

I really think NASA would fare better if it went back more to the NACA model - a research and support organization for other players, maintaining the common infrastructure and R&D used by others - with the addition of a scientific exploration program. NASA shouldn't be making anything that a private business case can be built for (for example, rockets reaching LEO / GEO), but they should be running the DSN, range support, creating a market for private industry to continually expand/improve its capabilities, nurturing startups to increase competition, and extensively working to bring more advanced technologies (that the market couldn't afford to sink money into due to the risk) from theory into real world - not trying to make "workhorses", but proof-of-concept systems that others will run with if merit and maturity can be demonstrated.

In short:
If there's a business model for it: private industry
If it's too risky or long-term for business: NASA proof-of-concept
If its a common need for multiple businesses in the field: NASA permanent infrastructure

Comment Re:All I can say is good luck (Score 1) 97

As a nerd who is insistent on trying out the myriad of this-and-that technologies, I had a Windows phone a couple years ago. It was a fairly high end HTC device. While the interface is unique, the more I began to use it, the more it became obfuscated. It reached a point where it went from fairly cool and useable to finding myself lost on my own phone. Here I speak of the tiles and such. One thing I have noticed over the years, is that the elderly, who expect and do much less with and from their phones than myself, seem to have become the dominate user base. And yes, I do peek over shoulders just to see what platform different demographics are using. For me, Windows phone lasted a good couple months before going back to Android. I do not regret the experiment. But whatever they are planning with this surface phone, it had better be.... different in a good way. I will say this: I have a Windows 10 tablet. It is running a quad-core Cherry Trail with 4 gigs of ram. Quite simply, it is the best tablet experience I have ever had. It has a "tablet mode", but just using regular old Windows 10 on a tablet is pretty nice. Disclaimer: I own several tablets and they all have their uses (security cameras, persistent weather info, etc...) but my next favorite tablet is my Amazon Fire. It is simply the best for content consumption. It plays in my shop all day. I do not expect this post to be popular.

I completely agree, I have a Windows 8 tablet with a 10" screen, a low-power atom processor and 2gb of ram. I run it in Classic shell mode 99% of the time. It was less than $400 new, and is lacking performance, but is still the best tablet experience I have ever had. It's too bad that Microsoft hasn't figured out how to make a decent platform for a screen. Backwards compatibility with the x86 ecosystem is the best Microsoft feature and their phone OS doesn't have it. If they had a classic shell mode with x86 compatibility (by emulation or otherwise) on a Windows phone, I would probably buy it. It looks from some old news stories last fall that the new Windows Phone OS might get x86 emulation. Maybe they can pull it off. But they will probably fall on their face again somehow.

Comment Re:Nope (Score 1) 147

2014 called -

Forget Makerbot - did you warn them about the Paris attacks? The Ankara bombings? The Metrojet bombing? Did you tell them to have Robin Williams visit a psychiatrist? Did you tell them to have Carrie Fisher visit a cardiologist? Did you have them warn Ukraine not to underestimate Russia in Donbass? Did you tell Germanwings to up their game on psych evals? Did you tell them to teach Podesta basic email security? Did you tell about Brexit? Did you warn them about Trump? Did you have anyone tell Clinton that she'll be best known for email servers and a conspiracy theory about a pizza parlor's occult child pornography dungeon? Did you warn Bowling Green about the horrific terror attack, and the cruel irony that people will forget about it?

Comment Re: Nope (Score 3, Interesting) 147

Is it really that expensive? I know some people who had run a small startup automaker that raised 30-something million. They were about 3 months out from first commercial deliveries (having made a couple dozen prototypes to various degrees, ranging from empty shells to full builds), with about $10m still left in the bank - when the board decided to bring on a guy from Detroit (Paul Wilbur, the guy responsible for the Chevy SSR, and a bunch of other train-wrecks-in-car-form), who then proceeded to run the company into the ground.

Are aircraft that much more expensive than cars, that you can't even build a demonstrator for that kind of money? To be fair, the automaker's vehicle was technically classified as a motorcycle, so their regulations weren't as onerous as for most cars (but they still did full crash and crush tests anyway, voluntarily). But, I mean, they just churned out prototypes one after the next.

Comment Re:Law mandated technology (Score 1) 269

I love how political types think that we just need to mandate using less power, oh and this time at ever increasing rates because that worked for a few decades for transistors.

Ironically, computers are one of the least regulated industries on the planet.

If you want to see what mandated goals do, check out your health insurance bill, the government has been regulating that industry for 40 years.

The government doesn't have that much to do with US health insurance costs, in my opinion.

Today, March 25, 2017, the population of the USA has access to the most advanced medical care in history. And tomorrow it will be even more advanced. The advancements in medical science in the past 10 years, let alone 50, are absolutely staggering. The government meddling in the healthcare market is only part of the picture. There is simply a lot more procedures, medicines, and devices on the market than there were last year. And the same will be true next year. The USA has figured out how to advance medical technology reasonably well. Now we have to figure out how to provide value for the dollars spent. That isn't an easy thing in an industry that is primarily for profit.

Even in a 100% cash-based, market type solution with no insurance whatsoever, you'll still have the problem of the dentist/doctor/surgeon who recommends fixing 15 problems when a value-based approach would recommend that 3 be addressed. I know this to be true because I have been with and without dental insurance during my career and it made no difference in the value basis of the recommendations that I received.

Comment Re: Given that Venezuela's economy is tanking (Score 1) 90

You did miss the last 100 years of history. In fact you just missed history in general.

Communism does not make the people the owners of the fruits of their labors, it makes the bureaucrats the owners of the fruits of people's labor. Straight from the manifesto you find 'from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs' People are incentivized to be lazy and complacent, and just yell about how much stuff they need. Working harder than your neighbor does not get you more stuff and inventing new technology does not get you new stuff.

This is broadly true about US style capitalism as well. The only guaranteed path to success under any form of government is to be someone who takes advantage of others and doesn't play fair. The method of "not playing fair but not getting into trouble" varies depending on the government and the available options, but those who use these tactics are almost always successful.

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