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Comment Re:I know just the man for the job (Score 4, Informative) 41

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) 145

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) 145

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) 145

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:Nope (Score 1) 146

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) 146

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:In before global warming whiners... (Score 4, Insightful) 211

http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/02/how-culture-clash-noaa-led-flap-over-high-profile-warming-pause-study

Rose's story ricocheted around right-wing media outlets, and was publicized by the Republican-led House of Representatives science committee, which has spent months investigating earlier complaints about the Karl study that is says were raised by an NOAA whistleblower. But Science Insider found no evidence of misconduct or violation of agency research policies after extensive interviews with Bates, Karl, and other former NOAA and independent scientists, as well as consideration of documents that Bates also provided to Rose and the Mail.

Instead, the dispute appears to reflect long-standing tensions within NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI), based in Asheville, North Carolina, over how new data sets are used for scientific research. The center is one the nation’s major repositories for vetted earth observing data collected by satellites, ships, buoys, aircraft, and land-based instruments.

In the blog post, Bates says that his complaints provide evidence that Karl had his “thumb on the scale” in an effort to discredit claims of a warming pause, and his team rushed to publish the paper so it could influence national and international climate talks. But Bates does not directly challenge the conclusions of Karl's study, and he never formally raised his concerns through internal NOAA mechanisms.

Tuesday, in an interview with E&E News, Bates himself downplayed any suggestion of misconduct. “The issue here is not an issue of tampering with data, but rather really of timing of a release of a paper that had not properly disclosed everything it was,” he told reporter Scott Waldman. And Bates told ScienceInsider that he is wary of his critique becoming a talking point for those skeptical of human-caused climate change. But it was important for this conversation about data integrity to happen, he says. “That’s where I came down after a lot of soul searching. I knew people would misuse this. But you can't control other people,” he says.

At a House science committee hearing yesterday, Rush Holt, CEO of AAAS (publisher of Science and ScienceInsider) stood by the 2015 paper. "This is not the making of a big scandal—this is an internal dispute between two factions within an agency," Holt said in response to a question from Representative Lamar Smith (R–TX), the panel’s chairman, and a longtime critic of NOAA’s role in the Karl paper. This past weekend, Smith issued a statement hailing Bates for talking about “NOAA’s senior officials playing fast and loose with the data in order to meet a politically predetermined conclusion.”

Some climate scientists are concerned that the hubbub is obscuring the more important message: that the NOAA research has generally proved accurate. “I’m a little confused as to why this is a big deal,” says Zeke Hausfather, a climate scientist with Berkeley Earth, a California nonprofit climate research group that has examined surface temperatures. He’s the lead author of a paper published in January in Science Advances that found Karl’s estimates of sea surface temperature—a key part of the work—matched well with estimates drawn from other methods.

Researchers say the Karl paper’s findings are also in line with findings from the Met Office, the U.K. government’s climate agency, which preceded Karl’s work, and findings in a recent paper by scientists at the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, an alliance of 34 states based in Reading, U.K. And although other researchers have reported evidence that the rise in global temperature has slowed recently, they have not challenged the ethics of Karl’s team, or the quality of the data they used.

Read on. It's worth it. The short of it: Bates was demoted by Karl several years back. Bates accepts both AGW, and the conclusions of Karl's paper, but decided to post a nitpicking complaint that he had used the ISTI land data in addition to the base NOAA data (the former of which isn't as high quality), without specifically commenting about the data source quality difference:

The Science paper would have been fine had it simply had a disclaimer at the bottom saying that it was citing research, not operational, data for its land-surface temperatures, Bates says.

But Mike Tanner, director of NOAA’s Center for Weather and Climate at NCEI, says there’s no NOAA policy that requires such a disclosure. “There's nothing. That doesn’t exist,” he says

The article also goes into the split within NOAA over how strongly to focus on new data and approaches that capture effects which old data and approaches might have missed, vs. old ones which are less accurate but more validated. The land data people tend to fall into the former category while the satellite people tend to fall in the later category. Karl was a land guy and Bates was a satellite guy.

It's interesting to read Bates' blog post with "Karl" replaced by "The guy who demoted me":

The most serious example of a climate scientist not archiving or documenting a critical climate dataset was the study of the Guy Who Demoted Me et al. 2015 (hereafter referred to as the Guy Who Demoted Me study or K15), purporting to show no ‘hiatus’ in global warming in the 2000s (Federal scientists say there never was any global warming “pause”). ... In the following sections, I provide the details of how the guy who demoted me failed to disclose critical information to NOAA, Science Magazine, and Chairman Smith regarding the datasets used in K15. I have extensive documentation that provides independent verification of the story below. I also provide my suggestions for how we might keep such a flagrant manipulation of scientific integrity guidelines and scientific publication standards from happening in the future. Finally, I provide some links to examples of what well documented CDRs look like that readers might contrast and compare with what the guy who demoted me has provided.

Comment Re:The actual real problem with Mars... (Score 4, Insightful) 103

The profit (a minority of their profit, it should be added) is coming from saving taxpayers money. What the heck is your problem with that?

If they were making some amount of launches cheaper - sure - but that's not the case.

Yes, it is the case; they cost vastly less than ULA.

Comment Re:The actual real problem with Mars... (Score 2) 103

What I *do* have a problem with is him parlaying this success into a full blown cult of personality

I'm sorry, I must have missed the speech where Musk announced that he is the savior of humanity and its new lord and master.

I'm sorry it gets under your skin that people appreciate the man and what he's doing, but that's hardly something he's been actively "parlaying this success into".

Comment Re:Maybe I'm missing something. . . (Score 2) 103

Most of SpaceX's launches are for private companies. And their real profit plan is satellite internet; these random couple dozen launches per year for the government and private companies is nothing compared to the value of being able to provide cheap high speed internet access everywhere on Earth without having to lay wires. But that requires thousands of satellites to be launched.

Interestingly enough, this also appears to be Blue Origin's profit plan, via their work with OneWeb.

Comment Re:The actual real problem with Mars... (Score 5, Insightful) 103

What's the problem with SpaceX getting government launch contracts? No, seriously. They're charging less than ULA and thus saving the government a ton of money. What's your huge problem with saving money and having the money that is spent go to a company that's focused on great things rather than some conglomerate of huge military-industrial giants?

I've never understood this animosity.

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