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Comment Re: Elect Trump for Honest Government (Score 1) 482

Unless it brings the system down, it doesn't matter...

The system itself is broken...

That's how we got into Iraq, the fatuous logic that good motivations can't make a bad situation worse, often far, far worse.

But this kind of logic will always be with us, because it's a smug, tweetable, free pass on the hard work of coming up with and implementing a workable solution (and what idiot wants to attempt that anyway amid the boo-bird chorus of polarized politics?)

30 Shocking Domestic Violence Statistics That Remind Us It's An Epidemic

The Huffpo doesn't spin it this way, but these numbers are likely at the lowest levels since the invention of suburbia. I can't say much more than that, because before the invention of suburbia we probably weren't even keeping score.

The "system" is what brought a pretty terrible thing out of the closet. Sucks to be assaulted by a violent intruder? How about sharing your bed with a violent chest-thumper every damn day?

Software: Maintain or Replace?

But there is a tendency - fuelled by taxpayer money - to leap to replacement quickly, rather than doing maintenance. I have rarely seen a system improved by creating a new one...because the new one is loaded with the same flaws (indeed, new ones) as the legacy system that it replaced.

But of course, the hazards involved with ripping and replacing the current political system are much smaller than ripping and replacing some aging government cost-control system. I mean, gosh, look at how well rip and replace worked in Russia.

The Not-So-Great Professor: Jeffrey Sachs' Incredible Failure to Eradicate Poverty in Africa

The early sections of Nina Munk's book about the economist Jeffrey Sachs read like a celebration of a boy genius. No, strike that: Sachs piles up so many achievements so quickly that the word genius sounds somehow inadequate.

By the age of 13, he was taking college math. Later, he got near-perfect scores on his SATs and graduated summa cum laude from Harvard, where by 28 he was a tenured professor. Two years later, he was advising the Bolivian government on how to administer economic "shock therapy," designed to break the spell of hyperinflation. This led to an even bigger triumph: masterminding Poland's transition to a market economy in 1989, as communism collapsed in Eastern Europe.

Like most geeks, never seen a system he couldn't fix better. Until something blew up so spectacularly, he either got the grey beard gene forever, or curled up and hid in a closet somewhere.

Of course, if you watch enough superhero movies, you just need to put the word out ("the system is broken!") and somehow Jeffery will get the bat signal, and he'll patiently hand-stitch some brightly coloured, stretchy fabric (you'd be amazing what else he found in that stiff bottom drawer with all his grandmother's old Jane Fonda work-out videos) into the peacock man-cape he always dreamed about while he was acing his SATs (painstakingly ripping and replacing the crotch seam six times to achieve the optimally brash yet task-focused fit—they don't call him "Dr Sacks" for nothing) and then he'll spring out the window, and who knows, maybe he can actually fly. I guess we'll find out.

Either way, news at 11.

That all that matters these days.

Entertainment.

Comment Re:doh! (Score 2) 482

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) 126

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:Confused (Score 2) 126

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?

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

Must say you are a moron. Voting is meant to be anonymous.

And so Estonia's solution where people can vote online but override their vote on election day by casting a vote in person isn't a solution why? And that's just one of many possible technical solutions.

And the current practice of mail voting doesn't already eliminate ballot secrecy why?

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