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Comment Left hand (because closer) (Score 1) 240

On the MacBook keyboard the "6" is closer to the left index finger; using the right hand would be wrong here.

All the replies here mentioning the numpad are missing the point, as this is about touch-typing. If you take the time out to move your hand away from the home row you're not really touch-typing anymore, are you?

Comment Re:No "observer effect" here (Score 1) 109

Holy crap, this annoys me to no end! Why not insert the following to make sense:

If you have looked carefully, you might have noticed that the clock has[...]

It's the same with "for those who kept count" or any variation thereof. Yeah, the people who did keep a count are precisely the ones who don't need to hear it again.

Both these things are almost as wrong and infuriating as the new "literally".

Comment Re:Second Space Mission?? (Score 1) 81

Yeah, on a second and longer reading it appears that there are three space missions flown by X-37 B's overall, but there were two space planes of that designation built. The first X-37 B built flew the first (2010) and this last, third (2012) mission while the second one built flew the second (2011) mission.

This space mission is one vehicle's second flight but the third overall mission. It could have been made a little clearer and less conflicting, I think.

Comment Second Space Mission?? (Score 1) 81

After twenty-two months in orbit, on its second space mission, the Air Force plans to bring the X-37B back to Earth this coming Tuesday. [...] the Orbital Test Vehicle, blasted off for its second mission aboard an unmanned Atlas 5 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on Dec. 11, 2012. [...] an experimental vehicle that first flew in April 2010. It returned after eight months. A second vehicle blasted off in March 2011 and stayed in orbit for 15 months."

So it first flew in April 2010, a second time in March 2011 and a second second time on Dec. 11, 2012?

I could forgive making that mistake once, but not twice inside one summary. The article itself only made the mistake once.

Or is it me who's making the mistake, along with Wikipedia? On its page it says that it's currently on its third space flight...

Comment The NERVA Project (Score 5, Interesting) 125

Coincidentally, just today I've read about the NERVA (Nuclear Engine for Rocket Vehicle Application) and related projects and their cancellation again. It really boggles the mind... They basically had a working and thoroughly tested nuclear engine design, ready for use in manned missions to Mars and beyond by the 1970s, which was, ironically, its own downfall:

The RIFT vehicle consisted of a Saturn S-IC first stage, an SII stage and an S-N (Saturn-Nuclear) third stage. The Space Nuclear Propulsion Office planned to build ten RIFT vehicles, six for ground tests and four for flight tests, but RIFT was delayed after 1966 as NERVA became a political proxy in the debate over a Mars mission. The nuclear Saturn C-5 would carry two to three times more payload into space than the chemical version, enough to easily loft 340,000 pound space stations and replenish orbital propellant depots. Wernher von Braun also proposed a manned Mars mission using NERVA and a spinning donut-shaped spacecraft to simulate gravity. Many of the NASA plans for Mars in the 1960s and early 1970s used the NERVA rocket specifically, see list of manned Mars mission plans in the 20th century.

The Mars mission became NERVA's downfall. Members of Congress in both political parties judged that a manned mission to Mars would be a tacit commitment for the United States to decades more of the expensive Space Race. Manned Mars missions were enabled by nuclear rockets; therefore, if NERVA could be discontinued the Space Race might wind down and the budget would be saved. Each year the RIFT was delayed and the goals for NERVA were set higher. Ultimately, RIFT was never authorized, and although NERVA had many successful tests and powerful Congressional backing, it never left the ground.

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