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Comment Re:No, SLS Is Going to Be Moth-Balled (Score 1) 285

What may really bake your noodle is that they might not have had to latex the entire tank in order to protect it. They well might have been able to calculate the combination of ablative characteristics of the tank along with the speed of impact based on distance from the break-off point to the orbiter itself, such that they might have been able to get away with painting the nosecone and perhaps a parabolic-slice of the side of the tank facing the orbiter, such that pieces most likely to have a chance of damaging the orbiter were held down, while the side away from the orbiter wouldn't have had such protections.

Comment Re:No, SLS Is Going to Be Moth-Balled (Score 1) 285

In particular the issue with the o-rings stemmed from manufacturing the SRBs at Thiokol in Utah. The only practical means to ship said boosters was by rail. To ship them by rail ultimately meant designing components that could fit into the form-factor necessary to transport by rail.

The Saturn V rockets were manufactured in Louisiana, in New Orleans, so the large pieces could be barge-shipped to Florida in much larger segments than anything that had to be moved by rail. It was also the site where the Shuttle's external fuel tank was manufactured, for exactly the same reason.

If you look at a topographical map of the United States, you can see that Utah is about the least-suitable place, geographically, to try to manufacture and then transport something as large as the SRB. The entire state is within the Rocky Mountains and there are no navigable waterways out to an ocean or to flat lowland or plains. By contrast just about any state in the Great Plains, Coastal Plains, and the Central Lowlands possibly could've allowed for ground transport of the rockets even if it required new road or rail infrastructure simply because there are no mountains to contend with, and in the case of the Central Lowlands there's already a history of canal and lake barge shipping through the Great Lakes and out through the St. Lawrence River, in addition to alternative routes via the Missouri, Mississippi, and Ohio rivers.

I they hadn't chosen Thiokol, and if they hadn't opted to remove the latex to save all of six hundred pounds, it's possible that the Shuttle would still be flying with a perfect record.

Comment Re:Prove it! (Score 1) 833

My anecdotal experience has predominately been to witness sexism that's centered around when the guys get together without the gals around, and that in most cases it evaporates when there are women present, and it's almost always centered in social or off-hours situations. It's literally like the idiots revert to being thirteen and start openly speculating about sex acts that they're probably never going to get an opportunity to perform with women that they're never going to have any intimacy with without having any real-world knowledge of sex. What's kind of funny is witnessing the immediate-switch if a woman that could find issue comes into earshot, it's literally as dramatic as when the character in Office Space listening to the gangster rap on his commute is faced with a couple of potential bangers and he gets as meek as a mouse...

Most of the rest of the sexism has been older guys with no filter that say inappropriate things in front of coworkers regardless of the gender-mix, occasionally making it personal about a person present. Often this is in the context of the group enjoying a mild bit of prurient humor centered around double-entendre, only for this other person to come into the conversation and just destroy any sort of plausible deniability with outright escalation of the joke or the deliberate explicit statement instead of leaving the double-entendre intact.

I have no doubt that other forms of sexism exist in tech, but I have not personally witnessed anything as egregious as the article discusses.

Comment Re:No, SLS Is Going to Be Moth-Balled (Score 1) 285

I don't think that you're going to find a lot of argument about the cost problems associated with the Space Shuttle program, at least among those that actually think critically about the cost per pound, but bear in mind that if NASA had continued to pursue other launch platforms for the non-man-rated launch of materiel, and used the Shuttle more sparingly for when long-term crew accommodation was actually necessary we'd probably be having a different discussion.

If NASA had such an alternate heavy-launch method, they probably could have designed larger space station modules, could've launched more of them in groups, and sent up crews of astronauts, using the orbiter as crew quarters, to build the station in much shorter order. Instead of using the Shuttle to ferry parts smaller than the shuttle, they could have used it for what its name actually implied. They possibly could've even designed passenger accommodations for the cargo bay, if the space station itself had gotten large enough to be crewed by so many at a time, assuming that permanent emergency escape re-entry vehicles were left attached.

If the Shuttle hadn't been a bus misused as a tractor trailer needing all the weight-savings that could be achieved then they could've kept that latex coating over the main fuel tank and its insulation, such that the insulation wouldn't have been directly subjected to the forces that break it apart and that ultimately led to the destruction of Columbia.

Comment Re: Lots of Sunshine there (Score 1) 200

So you're saying that a partial solution is worse than having no solution?

As I see it, since people are most often awake and active during daylight hours, being able to operate enough base-load plants to meet nighttime needs coupled with solar to meet daytime needs would be a good way to transition the utility to provide the most efficiently and environmentally produced bulk generation while the consumer-end clean stuff satisfies the remainder.

Comment Re:Lots of Sunshine there (Score 5, Informative) 200

One of my uncles works on control systems and environmental systems for coal plants. He's had to travel to visit that plant several times. It's truly decrepit and the plant is dangerously lacking in written procedures. Some of that comes from being on Tribal land, so State of Arizona laws do not generally apply. If I remember right it's been a known cause of pollution affecting the Grand Canyon and other parks and monuments too.

That part of the Colorado Plateau is pretty sunny. It does snow from time to time but it's not the kind of climate where the snow just builds up all winter, so it probably would be practical to keep the panels snow-free.

Comment Re:They just don't care (Score 1) 118

Then the lawsuit settlement is too low.

I expect that insurance companies haven't yet truly figured out how to price the insurance they sell for this, and the long-term costs borne by the compromised companies haven't yet been truly realized yet.

If these costs shift back to the company that allowed the breach to happen then perhaps they'll start leaning on the vendors that they source their IT from, to get those vendors to start paying attention to security.

Comment Re:Vertical Video (Score 5, Insightful) 116

Facebook is running out of new users at their current intelligence level. In order to expand (which apparently is what modern business requires, it's not enough to simply remain the same) they have to figure out how to acquire more and more customers, which means lowering the bar further and further.

I still have to wonder how sound their business model is. Have they actually turned a profit yet?

Comment Re:Facebook use plummets during business hours (Score 2) 116

Well, normally the means to set the option isn't intuitive.

That said, what is intuitive is leaving one's headphones plugged in 24/7 or turning the main volume down either through the easily located software option on the taskbar or else on the speakers themselves.

I expect that anyone bitten by this will just leave the sound down/off by default. Given the kinds of prank websites that people used to submit in the past that would scream obscenities via flash animation or some other kind of annoyance, I would find it smart to just have the volume down/off by default in a workplace anyway.

Comment Re:Uber? (Score 1) 640

This may be one of those things behind that "sudden acceleration" we've been hearing the past decade, especially among people not quite tip top shape or fit at the moment (especially from tiredness, drink, other impairment).

If I am remembering correctly what I read, for those Toyotas in particular there was a problem in the powertrain module's programming that would not allow the vehicle to be shut off or taken out of gear while the computer sensed acceleration. Coupled with a physical problem with the drive-by-wire sensor that the gas pedal actually is in those vehicles, the pedal would malfunction and cause the car to accelerate and no other input from the driver could override this.

The problem with drive-by-wire is that if something goes wrong it can be very difficult to figure out. Was it code? Was it the pedal? Was it something interfering with the pedal? Was it some kind of communications cross-talk in the wiring? Was some other input being detected like the cruise control? Was that some other thing malfunctioning? Why didn't the signal from the brakes override?

Comment Re:Uber? (Score 5, Insightful) 640

Now consider how tech is going to continue to advance until Tesla and those electric motors puts the power of a Veyron into the hands of anyone who can sign for a car loan but doesn't know that that kind of speed belongs only on the track. A 1979 Toyota Tercel has no business with a modern 5.2 L Flat Plane Crank V8 bolted onto it, particularly because the suspension and steering can't handle the power and the driver of such an abomination is probably a goddam fool, likely to pound down a few six-packs before heading out for Zombie night at Applebees. The only razor-thin silver-lining in the article reported by the OP is they didn't mow down a sidewalk-full of bystanders before the smeared themselves.

If tech advances until torque and horsepower become trivial, we will have to have governors built-in to cars because the road has to be shared and driving like an idiot will become not a matter of a broken leg but something a lot more permanent. On the track or the salt flats, do what you want. On the streets there's a point where basic transportation becomes a suicide machine, and I don't want to share those streets with overpowered idiots.

You really don't have any idea how automotive history played out. The late seventies to the early nineties are an abberation where there were relatively few powerful production cars. From the thirties onward, the push was for ever increasing amounts of power. In the late sixties we hit the peak with American car manufacturers cramming well over 400hp into cars that had absolutely atrocious handling and road-grip. Take a Plymouth with a 426 Hemi, you had almost 70% of the mass over the front non-drive axle, you had skinny bias-ply tires, you had firm torsion bars because of the mass of the engine. For weight savings on cars like the Roadrunner and GTX you often had antiswaybar-delete, such that the cars really suffered body roll in turns.

Fuel availability problems from the manufactured oil crisis of the mid seventies, coupled with a slow ratcheting of environmental requirements and fuel economy requirements, forced horsepower down. This is certainly partially responsible for the American attempts with turbocharging in the eighties and early nineties and attempting to add power to the small FWD chassis despite initial development as economy cars, and it was only when automakers finally fully embraced symmetrical multiport fuel injection with computer control, multiple stages of catalytic conversion, and high-gear-count transmissions that power, fuel economy, and emissions were all achievable, albeit with cars that are significantly more complex and expensive.

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