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Comment Re:Am I reading this right? (Score 1) 74

if we were good at maintaining LOX-composite compatibility, we'd be making the stages themselves out of composites rather than aluminum.

I get that LOX plus composites are an un-good mix. But even with passivation, are aluminium and LOX really that much better? There's still a nerve-twanging amount of free energy in there.

Comment Not that I use Reddit, but ... (Score 1) 382

Actually, despite it's frequent mentions, I'm not even sure what Reddit's address is, but that's a by the by.

If people are using it for advice about things like IT, then it's obviously not an American company, with any American employees (subject to TLA pressure), and none of it's servers would be located in US jurisdictions. So this "House Committee," whoever they are can either blow, or get the records from the NSA already.

I know Slashdot is American, which is why nobody posts interesting security-related questions here. If Reddit are getting such questions, then obviously they're not American.

Comment Re:Even more unthinkable - throwing away burnt dev (Score 1) 106

Why would they throw away a burnt hunk of metal? They should have kept the smoldering remains!

As evidence of purchase and the presence of a major fault, yes. Precisely.

When you have a car crash, do you not take photos? Record the names and addresses of witnesses, and the registration numbers of vehicles involved, even if only trivially? The simple failure to do such things is in itself something that an insurance investigator would take as a priori evidence of fraud and use it as justification for a deep investigation of the claim.

Comment Re:someone probably died for this mistake (Score 1) 137

Free advertising.

Which is not considered a thing - neither a good thing nor a bad thing. This whole stupid thing of having choice is just stupid. You're not thinking like an economic planner.

Tourism will see a boost in the coming months thanks to that guy.

This will not happen, and even if it did (it can't) would not be considered a good thing.

How are you going to have a boost in tourism? People would have to get visas and then get trains in (tickets won't be sold, if there are non-freight trains at all), ferries (again, only freight ferries with no provision for passengers), or planes (for which you need a visa).

Have you seen the tourism levels at Area 51? That place gets free advertising coming out of it's ears, and the number of tourists is going through the roof. There might even be one, one of these decades - a huge increase on the past levels.

Disclosure : most of the 2000s, until 2011, I was trying to get work in North Korea. Bloody politicians always getting in the way.

Comment I hate these bullshit religious wars (Score 1) 120

Just get one fucking interface, stop changing things and let us get on with using it instead of changing things every fucking day. Do you have any idea how harmful this is for adoption.

I don't even know the name of the desktop environment that I'm using, and I care less. I just want to not have to re-learn it at some random time in the future, chosen by someone I've never heard of for reasons I don't care about.

Submission + - How will we know a vehicle model is "driverless" (

RockDoctor writes: Some people differ, but having gone through dozens of (simulated) aircraft crashes as part of safety training for work, I hugely prefer to face backwards when travelling. Plane (no choice) train (choice) or automobile (rarely a choice), I prefer to be in a seat that will absorb my momentum from the start of an impact.
The "driverless car" will not be here until all people in the front row of the device face against the direction of travel. Anything less is a partial solution, waiting for a human to take over in a complex situation.
My wife can't travel facing backwards. So I take the risk of being killed by her flying body after I survive the crash. Joy, not.
People will learn to live with it.


Comment Re: Not a nice way to die (Score 1) 429

It's a more complex subject than most people give it credit for. Divers have to pay more attention to the physiology of breathing than the man on the Clapham omnibus, but that is nothing compared to the real complexities of the situation.

With university level chemistry, you'd think that the bond energies and the concentrations of reactants would determine the rates of the reactions in either direction. That they don't indicates that there is some non-equiibrium chemistry going on there - different enzymes catalysing each direction of the equilibrium being a good guess. But enzymes are involved everywhere in biochemistry, so that's still not a very useful answer!

Comment Re:Keep dreaming (Score 1) 70

Got to go shopping, so don''t have time to follow up on any papers referenced in the Wiki article you cite (yet).

I'm aware that Paabo and cow-orkers have improved the coverage of the Neanderthal genome over the years. But that's a hard question for species recovery, if for no other reason than the very close coupling between nuear genes and mitochondrial genes. There are enough known problems under the general heading of "mitochondrial disease" in present humans to anticipate real problems mixing genes from multiple Neanderthals and (possibly) modern sapiens mitochondria. That looks like a minefield we're not really able to negotiate at the moment, with our pogo-stick techniques.

I'm happy to welcome our Neanderthal Overlords as being humans. But given that a significant proportion of modern humans struggle to accept humanoids with different coloured skins to them, or speaking different languages, as being "human", I think you'll find hard pushback on accepting Neanderthals as being "human," whatever the science says.

ref Voltaire's "long letter" excuse.

Comment Re:Keep dreaming (Score 1) 70

I would suspect that the legal and ethical minefield would pretty much vanish if (1) the genome you attempted to clone was from a dozen or two partial genomes glued together (which is immensely more likely than getting a single genome from a single sample), and (2) you were working with non-human animals. We still don't provide any legal support for chimps, so anything other than a bona fide hoomin is going to be short on luck.

Ethical considerations don't extend beyond national boundaries, so if someone decided to do it, and could solve the technical problems, then they'd find somewhere that they could work. They'd already answered the ethical question for themselves, and that is where control of ethics stops.

Comment Re:What we should really do. (Score 1) 70

Oh no. Dead serious. There has been fuck all success in controlling the movement of ivory, or the poaching. Stringing up a few of the end-users in public might be more successful. Similarly, sine the "War on Drugs" has been sooooo successful, then maybe simply stopping people on the street, checking their blood for blow or coke, and if they fail shooting them there and then would probably reduce demand. No demand, and the business chain collapses.

That this is not done - at least, not in the consuming countries - is an extremely unsubtle hint to the rest of the world that the consuming countries do not want to stop the trade. It is also noted that the consuming countries are the ones screaming for action, anywhere but on their home streets.

What's that line from Apocalypse Now? "I love the smell of hypocrisy in the morning."

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