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Comment Re: Great idea... But there is a problem... (Score 1) 189

If we go with your plan, NASA will have to launch multiple rockets to build the Mars vehicle and many more rockets to fuel the vehicle. Have you ever thought why no NASA missions to outer space has been refueld? The ISS station gets refueled all the time but not probes. Why is that?

Because they're... probes? Most of them weigh so little and go by so energy efficient orbits that there's no point. Your typical probe is maybe a ton, the Curiosity mission was a real heavyweight at almost four tons total - of which the rover itself was around one, but still something a regular Falcon 9, Atlas V or Delta IV could deliver to Mars. There's still room for bigger missions on a Delta IV Heavy, even before the Falcon Heavy flies. We don't do it because there's no point in adding that complexity and the extra expense doesn't give any payback in science. It's better science to send two small probes than one big one.

Comment Re:I'm not surprised. (Score 2) 616

I'll go farther: everyone has bad days where they do things they shouldn't do. Especially in matters of the heart and loosely affiliated organs. I'm not a big fan of knee-jerk firing in response to an accusation.

It's the inevitability of this that means an organization needs to be prepared to handle problems like this, and that's the problem here: the organization, not the supervisor. If the atmosphere described here is accurate, then management and HR aren't doing their jobs.

Comment Re:Great idea... But there is a problem... (Score 1) 190

You cannot be serious... Do you have any idea what kinds of technology advancement NASA has been a primary driver of?

Memory foam, maybe. The general list is things that would have been invented anyway--although some of those things would have instead been DOD projects (satellite communication) more than likely. Velcro was invented by a guy who observed stupid shit like the Greater Burdock sticking itself to dogs and pants.

We've managed to invent things like transparent aluminum without NASA or the DOD; the DOD has been running with it, finding new ways to make it, polish it, and otherwise improve the stuff. In most cases, this is stuff someone already invented but that isn't viable for the consumer market yet, and so is mainly a profit source from government money; in many cases, it's stuff that's too expensive to research at a given level of technology, and becomes viable to invent a decade later; in very rare case it is only uncertain if DOD and NASA interest was the cause of an actual invention or only the cause of it being profitable or invented earlier than it would have been.

People have a hard-on for space travel and war, and they believe all kinds of delusional shit about how things just won't ever happen without a good war to make us invent new tech. No matter how technology marches on in peace time and without public-funded science experiments to fund it, people assert that certain technology must be special and would never happen from just commercial interests. They ignore the real world.

So in short: Grow up and stop believing in Santa Clause.

Comment Re:I'm not surprised. (Score 2) 616

First of all, moderators, while I disagree with this guy's opinion, it's not a troll. It's just an opinion we disagree with. Learn the difference.

That said, making a sexual advance to a subordinate right off the bat is just plain stupid. You don't know each other, and anyone in her position would feel uncomfortable. It's an office, not a bar. People are there to work, and what's more they can't avoid each other. That's why you need professionalism in your job conduct.

HR's response was also stupid. In business you often get into trouble by saying too much, and that's exactly what they did. They could have said, "We've issued a verbal and written reprimand and will be watching this situation closely; let us know if more this kind of thing happens." Instead they had to bring in the fact that this guy was a "high performer", implying at least that this gives him a license ordinary managers don't have. Now I think we can all assume that on some level high performers get leeway that low performers don't. But saying so is stupid. It's pretty much tantamount to a confession that you don't take this seriously.

Then they compound the stupidity by telling her to expect a bad review from this guy because she brought this up. This pretty much is an admission that HR and management countenance unprofessionalism, allowing managers to use employee reviews to pursue personal issues rather than evaluating the employee's contribution to the company.

That's just asinine. If it's false you're undermining employee confidence in the review and performance reward system for no reason. If it's true you should be fixing it, an in the interim keeping your mouth shut.

Now I'd say you should keep your work and personal (e.g. sex) life separate, but I know some companies don't give employees time to have a personal life. If a company does that you're absolutely right, your HR people are going to have a tough time navigating the line between advances and harassment. All the more reason not to be sloppy. If someone in such an environment can't broach the subject with tact, he'd better be prepared to be celibate.

Comment Re:I'm not surprised. (Score 1) 616

You mean a bunch of a smug anti-social virgins, and super-jock 1980's Wall Street-esk managers might be sexist? Nah.

The bullshit is when you extrapolate these assholes to somehow mean the rest of the staff.

We're not supposed to generalize against all Muslims, but somehow when one man does a shitty thing ALL MEN deserve to be reprimanded. That's a great way to create animosity. Force a man to be punished for something he didn't do.

You folks also love to forget that women can be sexist too.

And when you do those things, you're not doing ANYONE a favor. You're not improving the workplace or the world when you shit on innocent people. You're creating a bunch of people who are rightly bitter about being scapegoated by "the system." You're literally becoming the very systematic toxicity you claim to be fighting against. All you've done is taken the heat off of one group and used it to crush another group. Guaranteeing another generation of resentment.

Comment uhhh... (Score 3, Insightful) 75

If they're removing them "now", what the hell were they doing before? Results are already riddled with DMCA takedown removed results. Google has been publishing the list of these removed URLs for years:

https://www.google.com/transpa...

Also, FUN FACT. They're not doing what they say because they never do what they say. If they REALLY went after copyright infringing websites they'd take down:

  - Google+
  - Facebook
  - YouTube
  - Reddit
  - Twitter
  - Imgur

Those places are FULL of copyrighted information and nobody bats an eye.

Comment Boy, that is a STUPID idea. (Score 4, Informative) 188

Good thing that's not what they're actually doing.

If you read the actual GAO report, it doesn't say the rocket costs twenty-three billion. That's the cost of "the first planned SLS flight, the ground systems for that effort, and the first two Orion flights." In other words the costs to meet certain early program milestones, including costs which should properly be amortized across the lifetime of the rocket and crew vehicle.

The actual per launch cost of just the SLS system is supposed to be about $500 million, or 2% of the $23 billion figure.

That's still a lot of money. Even if you go with expendable costs of half a billion, and billions for the whole mission for sure, well, it's a lot of money just to prove you still have big balls. Not that that's completely unimportant, but I'd like to know what the manned component does for the mission besides make it more complex and expensive and therefore a more impressive demonstration of our manhood.

Comment Re:I'm not surprised. (Score 3, Interesting) 616

Let me ask you a simple question. Ignoring the sexism, which doesn't apply to you, read her description of the corporate culture and tell me: does this sound like a place you'd like to work?

It isn't just sexism, she describes a generally toxic work culture in which all kinds of problems can arise and persist. It's one where managers are focused on competing with each other, even to the point of undermining their supervisors; you might let a problem ride for a bit because you might need to use it against them later.

Now granted, this might not be a fair description of Uber's culture. Or her perceptions might be colored by what was a string of bad luck. But we all know places that shade this way exist. The problem of a organizations that are at the same time bureaucratic and cutthroat go way back. What she describes could be the politics of an old-time royal court.

Why? Why does this kind of culture crop up again and again in human history?

I think because ruthless internal competition offsets some of the natural lethargy of a bureaucracy. It can serve the interests of whoever is on top, at least in the short term. If you have no talent for inspiring people you can at least set them against each other. But you'd be a fool to join such an organization at the bottom, knowing what it is, if you had any alternatives.

Comment Re:Great idea... But there is a problem... (Score 1) 190

How would the money be well spent?

If the money is spent paying Google, Netflix, Verizon, or other engineers, we end up with newer infrastructure, better services, and the like. If it's spent building rockets to circle the moon, then we still pay this (not just "we pay it in taxes", but the labor is spent and the labor is compensated--we work and we exchange our time for this), and what do we receive?

Wasteful spending reduces the amount of stuff you receive for the work you do. That's true across an entire economy for obvious reasons (if half the farmers instead make war machines, half the food doesn't get made, and you pay for war machines that only go out to get blown up). What are we gaining by spending $23 billion here?

Comment Re:Cake or death (Score 1) 616

Well, let's leave aside the fact that it wasn't the guy's first offense. What would you, as a professional HR person or senior manager, do about that situation?

I tell you what I wouldn't do: I wouldn't issue a warning and assume it just magically fixed the problem. I'd follow up and continue monitoring the situation.

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