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Comment Re:Are they worth it? (Score 2, Insightful) 345

The first case is canonical and often pointed to, but I find it problematic in many cases. Mentoring is always a good goal but I think that for real development work, if there is a large disparity between the skillsets it can lead to the more experienced engineer becoming frustrated and essentially feeling less productive (as the mentoree is not contributing much in the way of actual implementation). Similarly, it can be like drinking from a fire hose or the less experienced person. So while it is an effective technique in some cases, it is (in my experience) quite domain and problem specific, and if the gap in skills is too large, it simply does not work well. The second example you give is where it really can stand out though, in the spirit of the first example as well; bringing a second experienced dev up to speed in the first dev's domain.

Comment Re:Russia Saves US Manned Spaceflight? (Score 2, Interesting) 161

Why not let (extraorbital) US Manned Spaceflight die for now?

Before you reply, consider for a moment the relative gains we have gotten from things like Hubble, Cassini, the mars rovers, Japan's Hinode solar satellite, etc, to what we have achieved with the ISS and the projected goals of Orion, versus the costs of the programs.

I have a strong knee-jerk reaction against letting manned spaceflight die too; dammit, I *want* people to walk on Mars. But the fact is, we are learning a hell of a lot from unmanned missions at a tiny fraction of the cost.

We can resurrect the idea of extraorbital manned missions at any time; would it make sense to shelve them for now though?

Also, I wouldn't frame the argument for manned spaceflight as "will of the people" if I were you; what you and I want in this respect is likely quite different than the (general) "will of the people".

Comment Re:Russia Saves US Manned Spaceflight? (Score 4, Informative) 161

Actually the budget deficits were not manageable; they were simply pushed back.

This is not a partisan issue at all; increases in the national debt are public record and there for anyone to see, be it on wikipedia or .gov websites.

The Reagan administration borrowed more money than all the presidents before him, combined. Basically, it was the same idea as living "well" by maxing out credit cards and getting new ones when you fill up the old ones. Fun while it lasts, but someone has to pay for it eventually.

So, we get to where we are today, with the interest on the national debt being more than 20 times NASA's annual budget. Granted, a lot of that came from both presidents Bush too, especially the latter. GHWB kind of inherited a problem there from Reagan.

Anyway, remember that when you look back to the Reagan years as some kind of boon for the space industry. Short term, definitely; long term, not so much.

Comment Re:Moving ISS not a crazy idea at all (Score 1) 161

Might not be so bad. The thrust required to get it into a transfer orbit might not be so large, and it is not too difficult to think of ways to mitigate the modular asymmetry. For example, put the thruster on one side of the station CG, and on the other side, build out a boom that then supports all the individual modules via guy wires or cables. Not trivial, but probably easier than building a second station in the location you would want to move the ISS to.
United States

Submission + - More Than 1 Percent of Americans are Incarcerated

imasu writes: The Globe And Mail reports on a Pew Study indicating that more than 1% of Americans, for the first time in history, are behind bars.

FTA: "For the first time in history, more than one in every 100 American adults is in jail or prison, according to a new report tracking the surge in inmate population and urging states to rein in corrections costs with alternative sentencing programs."

Submission + - U.S. Urged to Keep Space Shuttles Flying Past 2010 ( 1

DarkNemesis618 writes: A U.S. Representative has proposed that NASA keep the shuttle fleet flying past its 2010 retirement date. The move would help prevent NASA from relying on Russian rockets during the gap between the Space Shuttle retirement and the start of the Orion program. One proposal would keep the shuttle fleet flying from 2010 to 2013 while another would keep the fleet alive until the Orion program is ready in about 2015. In 2011, the exemption that has allowed NASA to purchase Soyuz rockets for trips to the Space Station ends, and they would need an extension to keep using Russian rockets until the Orion program is ready. NASA's other option lies in the private sector, but so far, the private sector's progress does not look like it will meet the 2011 deadline. Keeping the shuttle fleet flying for a couple more years seems like it would help keep American presence in space without having to rely on the Russian space program.

Submission + - Sony brings rumble to Playstation 3

gamer4Life writes: According to IGN, Sony Computer Entertainment and Immersion announced that both companies have agreed to put an end to their ongoing legal dispute and enter into a business agreement to incorporate Immersion's patented force feedback technology into future "PlayStation format products." From the article:

As part of the agreement reached between the two companies, Immersion will be granted the full amount dictated by the District Court — this includes damages, pre-judgment interest, and legal fees. The agreement also provides Sony with expanded rights with respect to Immersion's patents.
While it is unfortunate that Sony gave into a patent troll company (vibrating cellphones, pagers, rumblepak anyone?), this should benefit all PS3 owners and should give developers the go-ahead to incorporate rumble into their games.

Submission + - Modern Day Witch-Hunt in Connecticut

zhenya00 writes: USAToday is reporting on a story most of us are already familiar with; the case of Julie Amero, a 40 year old Norwich, Connecticut substitute teacher who has been convicted of four counts of risk of injury to a minor when the un-patched Windows 98 computer she had used to check her email began to display a flurry of pornographic pop-ups to the students in her classroom. She faces up to 40 years in prison when she is sentenced this Friday March 2.
From the article:

"Julie Amero was a victim of a school that couldn't be bothered to protect its computers, of a prosecutor without the technology background to understand what he was doing, a police "expert" who was not, and a jury misled by all of them. "Miscarriage of justice" doesn't begin to describe it."
Can this country really allow something like this to happen? Why isn't there general outrage on the front page of every newspaper? Why aren't those responsible being flooded with calls and emails from angry citizens?

Submission + - Programming the SPE's of Sony PLAYSTATION 3

IdaAshley writes: Take even greater advantage of the synergistic processing elements (SPEs) of the Sony PS3 in this installment of Programming high-performance applications on the Cell BE processor. Part 2 looks in depth at the Cell Broadband Engine processor's SPEs and how they work at the lowest level, while Part 1 showed how to install Linux on the PS3 and explored a short example program.
PlayStation (Games)

Submission + - PS3 Firmware Version Check Circumvented

Chouonsoku writes: "Before yesterday, PlayStation 3 owners had to be running the latest system firmware in order to access the PlayStation Network. The PlayStation Network allows users to play their games online, download demos, trailers and add-ons for their games. However, with a simple DNS request redirection, the firmware check becomes null and void, allowing users to access the PlayStation Network from any firmware, up-to-date or not."

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