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Comment What a old story (Score 1) 99

Somewhere about 2003 people took attention on these gullies. To many then it became clear that water still FLOWS in Mars. Its origin is clearly linked to certain horizons where pockets or small underground lakes can survive. While it is not clear how they survive there, two things are pretty well known:

1. Regionally these pockets are frequently linked to a few horizons so they come mostly from one and the same levels above local ground.
2. Most of them have a clear feature of bursting, nearly "exploding". The way they formed also suggested that liquid water didn't stay for long. They form and dry up fast not even reaching the bottoms of valleys or ravines.

So there is no big discovery here. What is novel is that someone may have found in laboratory HOW these bursts happen and why they have the features we see. And probably he may be missing a few things. One is why landscape remains "wet" for quite long time. Second - why the dark streaks seem to become bright-grey in time. Third - why this happens seasonally.

Anyway these questions will probably be answered in a few years from now, with fireworks and claims of novelity. This is how Science works in Mars...

Comment The crap of the crap (Score 1) 205

SLS may be really The Crap. However, the original post is surely the proof Space is too sweet for the flies to leave the pie in peace...

Whoever thinks "private" soft is more effective than any government funded project is dumber the dumbest ass on the road. He does not know nothing about space travel, specially the fact that there are still lots of unknowns behind the "simplicity" of celestial mechanics. These problems are hard enough to turn a well-planned trajectory into the nightmare of a very fluid situation, specially if there are people inside the crap. Now tell me what commercial venture will risk its head on such things. Or has anyone took off the "Ltd." out of modern business?!

NASA glued stuff? Great! That's exactly what we all do today. We GLUE stuff! We "optimize expenses", cut budgets by the half, mix apples with carrots to sell them in Tetrapacks. Oh! And you don't need to be a government agency for that because EVERYONE does it! That's what we call "Business Processes" without even thinking that there is a first principle voiding everything we do - "No changes/improverment shall stop the work of the current business..." But we are above that! Let Hell freeze over, we make a revolution! We create "the stuff" able to work everywhere for everyone everytime.

The only ooops here is that even before NASA sent people to the Moon, even before USSR sent the Sputnik and the nazis lauched its V-2... There was such stuff! It worked everywhere for everyone everytime. Its name - "snake oil".

Comment Kammler and Nukes (Score 3, Interesting) 292

Kammler can be linked to every fantastic and most absurd idea on nazi secret projects. However there is a caveat - till now I have never seen his name in any document that can be surely sourced to any atomic project nazis may have had. None, zero, nada, nechego...

The most striking fact that Kammler had nothing to do with nukes is how real nazi nuked scientists tried to survive the last days of the Third Reich. Most interesting was how Heisenberg managed to find food and other essential things for his family - he got help from an old acquaintance working at one of Kammler's key labs! For that, he came to town on a bycicle and the acquaintance was shocked by his shabby looks. So Heisenberg was a lost soul at the end of the war.

Nukes and Kammler, until someone proves the contrary, don't cope. However, this does not mean someone may still find some mega-leftovers of Kammler's Underground Empire. For the sake of what? Well he surely was an early participant of "Amerika Bomber" project, still in a very classical form. He also was the V-2/A-4 boss and there are tons of questions on how deep was his knowledge and participation of such projects like the A-10. He once worked at Luftwaffe and seemed to have been in good relations with Goering, so he could know about such wonders as the Silbervogel. And, at the end he was the last boss of the nazi jet projects (which was the reason why von Braun suddenly stopped at Oberammergau, with this guy breathing at his back). While war demanded some humbleness, it was usual to see many nazi projects exploding into mega-machines. I wouldn't be shocked to see the last of the last of Kammler's projects, the Messerschmidt P.1101, having a megabrother nearby. Or maybe it was just for the P.1101 itself! Once tested, they had to be produced somewhere, in large numbers, in very, very large numbers.

So the huge, nearly empty bunkers. Maybe for one of these bloated conceptions of World Domination. And nukes were just speculation, still without any proof of concept. At the end of the War, nazis still thought that the key to victory was the Very Big, Surely Bad and Really Ugly.

Comment Not Hypersonic but Hypesonic (Score 1) 290

It BOOMS since WWII but that's all it does... It just booms the air with lots of hype. This thing is like the Philosophical Rock of the good Middle Ages. The difference is that, from the early start, someone tries to tell you how hard, heavy and look-alike the rock is.

Which means all these quests are a total failure. For one simple reason - Speed vs. Maneuverability. You can't have both in one basket. Either you sacrifice one for the sake of the other or you get nothing (eeeee, not so straight. You may get something you believe it works but usually it becomes bloody expensive).

Hypersonics are very peculiar on this cost. It's mega-speed, so it means you have near-zero maneuverability. Worse, even miserable deviations to a planned trajectory may be deadly to your mega-cannonball. X-15 and the Shuttle have magnificent examples of such cases, down from the drawing board and up to, somehow, Columbia's tragedy. They all show that hypersonics is not a place to play with fire. Because it's fire all over. Everything burns, even the best alloys and composites we created for this task. And a small deviation of parameters/environment and you are dealling with Sun temperatures in a place you may have not taken into account. In such cases, the result can be nothing but catastrophic.

This does not mean there is nothing to do in hypersonics. Well, nuclear heads and space systems fly on it! So there is something to do there. Maybe even a hypersonic rocket could have a role, if we count all caveats of the field. However, most hypersonic research is linked to the idea of creating a "TOP GUN" system, with Buck Rogers at the helm and even less brainy politicians and generals feeding the whole thing with mega-budgets and napoleonic dreams on World Peace.

To end, let me note that this whole story has a historical scent of sinister. The first idea of an hypersonic mega-weapon was first studied in The Third Reich! Its name - Silbervogel. It was a madness like many things nazis did then but it is not just a crazy idea "floating in the air". In fact, the nazis tried some follow-ups and one of those was pushed by von Braun's boss - general Walter Dornberger. Later, after getting a solid feet in the US, Dornberger will lobby several times for hypersonic mega-weapons. In the end he became the father, forefather and grandfather of the BOMI, X-15, X-20 Dyna-Soar and Space Shuttle.

Comment Re:Graduated College (Score 3, Insightful) 524

Yes, you will have less time and money if you have kids, but it's not an entirely fair comparison. You don't know how much happier or more fulfilled having kids will make you feel until you do (and isn't that a big part of why we do our hobbies?). For many of us (most of us, hopefully) the deal works out in our favor because we're happier than we would be if we had all that time and money to spend on our old hobbies. It's a net gain, but it's easy to present as a net loss because it's the unknown.

Comment Looking forward to wireless charging (Score 1) 284

I'm actually looking forward to wireless charging. The reason is that one of the primary reasons a piece of portable electronics becomes useless to me is the charging connector gets worn out. It a simpl fact that plugging it in and out multiple times a day and stressing it in odd directions is going to cause it to simply not work over time.

I'd love a situation where I just sat my devices on a pad for them to charge and even to sync data at faster-than-wireless speeds. That way I only had to plug them in in limited situations, (such as travel).

Also, it would be nice from a device standpoint. Right now I have an octopus of micro-usb chargers on my chest of drawers. I have half a dozen devices that need charging through the week. I'd love to just leave the ones I don't use on the mat and have them charged and ready to go when I took them.

Comment Here's what no SD slot means: (Score 1) 371

My wife had an n900. she dropped it and cracked the digitizer. (Not the glass, not the screen, the digitizer.) She has a pin set since it's synced to an exchange server. we assumed there must be SOME way to get the photos off of it. Nope. With a pin set, you can't connect it to a computer. And without a digitizer, you can't do squat. Now, all the pictures she's taken on the system since it was last backed up are stuck on it forever.

I feel bad for her. Not only does my Samsung Epic 4G have a SD card w/ all my photos, google+ automatically uploads them to picasa and syncme automatically downloads them to my home fileserver.

Comment Ghost in the Shell (Score 1, Interesting) 107

This is the first step towards the world described in Ghost int he Shell. At some point a need for security appliances on brain-machine interfaces will be needed and created. Then the brain-machine interface and the security appliance will move to an embedded solution within bodies. At that point, hacking will be a lot more dangerious as one of the impacts of attacking, defending, and counter-attacking will be loss of confidentiality, integrity, and availablility of people's own brains.

Comment code reviews, professionalism (Score 1, Interesting) 239

Code reviews. Make sure everybody on the team has seen everyone else's code and understands it. Do regular (monthly, bi-weekly, whatever) code reviews. Code quality will go up.

Egoless programming. Don't allow anybody to become a rock star or the only person who can read or write any bit of the code. Everybody must be cross-trained on someone else's code, at least. The team is responsible for the code, so make sure people are polite during code reviews. Polite doesn't mean downplaying problems. It means pointing out problems without being an internet jackass. Nobody "wins" at code review, but the code quality goes up. This works as well as any other software development methodology, with lower overhead, less dedication and no cargo cult behavior.

Professionalism. Foosball tables and other wank infantilize the staff. You're adults, you're there to write high quality code. Keep regular hours, understand that you're there to code, you don't want anybody pulling all-nighters or living in their office. Code quality will go up because it's taken seriously.

Encourage openness. Encourage experimentation. Allow radical changes once in a while. Good programmers want to be understood, respected, listened to and believed. They don't want to be pigeonholed into some kind of geek stereotype, they don't want internet fame and glory, they don't need you to do their laundry for them, they don't need to be coddled.

Reduce (but don't eliminate) time pressure. Code quality wants to go up. It's prevented from going up because management wants you to get to market as fast as possible. Everything you do that improves quality takes time away from feature development. Make it clear that moving deadlines up means fewer features *always*, lower quality *never*. Never sacrifice quality to satisfy a suit.

Comment Re:Which ISPs support it (Score 1) 244

Comcast frustrates the hell out of me though. I know they've got a team working this, but if you try and contact customer support it's like talking to a wall. Questions like, "Is IPv6 available in my area?", "When will IPv6 be available in my area?", "Can I get a static IPv6 assignment?", "Can I be put on a list or something to get IPv6 enabled on my connection?" and "Do you know what IPv6 is?" are met with hours on hold while the tech asks the next level tech who also doesn't know. I appreciate that Comcast has a team working through deploying IPv6 but I'm frustrated they seem to have no interest in supporting the people who actually want to use it! (I'm running business cable so this isn't even the home support guys.)

Comment A slight issue with this system (Score 1) 454

There's a fundamental error in how steve's doing this. It assumes either the attacker knows the key space you're using or searches all smaller key spaces first. Instead, an attacker is more likely to use a word list with a set of permutations. that may mean that Password1! breaks even though it has a nice key space. On the other hand, passssword may not break because it's simply too computation intensive to check adding the entire key space into the middle of the dictionary in every location. You'd have to search every number, letter (upper/lower), and character inbetween every other letter in the word and then do it again with combinations of two characters for every word in your dictionary. (BTW, I can't take credit for this insight. It was presented at defcon a few years ago. As a sidenote, at the presentation, I believe someone indicated some password crackers will try characters inbetween the sylables. To generalize this, you can use a pattern to create your password with a very small keyspace and unless the pattern and keyspace is known to your attacker (either because you leaked it or you chose a common pattern) your password can be safe.

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