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Comment Re:The math doesn't work (Score 1) 590

Airbus have an interesting concept involving a linear motor based mono rail catapault. Not exactly what the OP thought, but shaving off the accelleration to take off speed from external power eis very attractive. The source, could be coal, but it also could be something green as long as it coul kick out a few MW (a conventional high speed train can take about 8MW). Note that although carriers are famous for their high G catapaults, they are only needed because of the short flight deck. A normal runway length would give no more accelleration than normally experienced in a commercial aircraft. The advantage is that although jet engines can be efficien, running them flat out as needed during takeoff isn't.

Comment Re:"Oh well I guess Linux sucks then (Score 2) 237

I worked on a trading system back in the early days. We hit lots of "edge" performance cases. To take full advantage of what a system offers us and to code around problems we usually have source code to look at. We didn't change it, but we had to have the access. MS would gladly give their source code to major customers, but frankly there is more expertise around Linux kernels than Windows.

Utah vs. NASA On Heavy-Lift Rocket Design 285

FleaPlus writes "Utah congressmen Orrin Hatch, Bob Bennett, Rob Bishop, and Jim Matheson issued a statement claiming that NASA's design process for a new congressionally-mandated heavy-lift rocket system may be trying to circumvent the law. According to the congressmen and their advisors from solid rocket producer ATK, the heavy-lift legislation's requirements can only be met by rockets utilizing ATK's solid rocket boosters. They are alarmed that NASA is also considering other approaches, such as all-liquid designs based on the rockets operated by the United Launch Alliance and SpaceX. ATK's solid rockets were arguably responsible for many of the safety and cost problems which plagued NASA's canceled Ares rocket system."

Anti-Piracy Lawyers 'Knew Letters Hit Innocents' 240

nk497 writes "A UK legal watchdog has claimed lawyers who sent out letters demanding settlement payments from alleged file-sharers knew they would end up hitting innocent people. The Solicitors Regulators Authority said the two Davenport Lyons lawyers 'knew that in conducting generic campaigns against those identified as IP holders whose IP numeric had been used for downloading or uploading of material that they might in such generic campaigns be targeting people innocent of any copyright breach.' The SRA also said the two lawyers lost their independence because they convinced right holders to allow them to act on their behalf by waiving hourly fees and instead taking a cut of the settlements. The pair earned £150,000 of the £370,000 collected from alleged file-sharers. Because they were looking to recoup their own costs, the lawyers ignored clients' concerns about the negative publicity the letter campaign could — and eventually did — cause, the SRA claimed."

Comment Re:Simple: (Score 1) 347

it is not quite clear to me on what legal basis English Heritage can claim ownership of the photos one takes. IANAL, but to my mind they can't claim copyright:

They can assert their rights as a condition of entry to the property. This does happen also on entry to various museums which may explicitly forbid all photography or just commercial photography. If you photograph Stonehenge from somewhere else (especially from public land), then there can be no objection or claim to copyright.

# even if a building would be a "form of expression", it is not theirs (being listed as world heritage [])

The term "world heritage" is only a special designation which may give access to grants. It does not "belong" to UNESCO, it is theoretically under the 'ownership' of English Heritage.

Comment Re:Here's a better Defcon RFID story... (Score 1) 338

The answer in short is - yes. A lot of the data on a passport is not encrypted at all because any country with a reader should be able to use it and the formats are well documented. At places like Defcon, most people do not have their passports with them so a demo is hard (except for the Feds) but it would be trivial in Asia or the Middle East where foreigners are obliged to carry them. Note that if you are trying to hack multiple RFIDs at a range, you probably will need a bit more power. RFIDs are powered by the interrogation signal.

Comment Re:Not a bad idea (Score 1) 62

Look at the Jules Verne [] - a man-rated cargo carrier (i.e., an actual pressurized spacecraft) that was used once, filled up with garbage, and disposed of via re-entry.

Progress could also hold atmosphere although a bit smaller. There is no airlock to the garbage scow so it has to be capable of holding pressure. The problem remains with Progress or Jules Verne that you would then need somewhere to put your rubbish and something to shoot it with to make it burn up in the upper atmosphere. I have visions of a garbage bag sitting on some kind of mass launcher on the outside of the ISS - actually that would be kind of fun.

Comment Re:Thanks! (Score 1) 133

That said, the one server per service concept is a mentality I do not subscribe to.

This is where Microsoft came apart. Due to their pricing model, there was always pressure to stick as much on one box as possible. This in turn led to interesting side effects.

Linux always made it easier to have many boxes, which tended to simplify problems. VMs meant you no longer had to worry about physical machines and you can still limit resources - useful if the OCR turns out to be a CPU pig.

Comment Re:Thanks! (Score 1) 133

Many systems are better dedicated to a single problem, i.e., just because you have a server doesn't mean to say that you have to serve everything. VMs are a great solution to this allowing you to partition up your server so that each service that you provide runs in its own little virtual box without having to worry so much about unwanted interactions.

Comment Re:Microsoft out of favour with hipster developers (Score 1) 775

In a large conventional business, the head of IT (probably an MBA) will be wooed by Microsoft and its partners. In a startup, someone really technical has the choice instead and is going to go with what they know. Once the product is launched, MS is out of the equation, it hardly is going to get rebuilt in .net at that stage.

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