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Comment Re:Haha no. (Score 1) 111

thinks he'll be able to wring out some amazingly fat government subsidies

“SpaceX no doubt has some brilliant ideas about Mars. But who will pay?”

From the Ars Technica article:
“He’s made a lot of money from NASA over the years, and now he may be about to effectively tell NASA that they’ve had their head up their ass for a long time about how to go to Mars, that this is how we’re going to do it, and you’re going to pay. I don’t know how well that is going to be received.”

My personal take is humans to Mars is a fantasy, perpetuated by an old dated Manifest Destiny. I see no huge landrush to the Gobi Desert even though it’s a thousand times easier to settle. Reason it is barren, inhospitable (except for a few hardened individuals). We romanticized about Mars because it is so far away (and will always be 20 years away from putting a man on Mars like fusion power is always 10 years away).

Comment Re:Not, "Can this work?" It's, "WHERE can this wor (Score 1) 134

three main airports around NYC to Manhattan.

I'm thinking of back in the days they had civilian Chinook helicopters providing service to and from the Pan Am building, at least what I remember seeing in the 1960s Clint Eastwood movie "Coogan's Bluff." I always thought that would be cool to take off and land on top of that building. Maybe it just doesn't financially work out (Pan Am no longer exists, and I've not seen that model of helicopter used for passenger service). I was in NYC in 1990s, landed at JFK, got on shuttle bus to downtown hotel and accepted that this will be a very long ride (about 2 hours!). While poking along at avg 2 mph, I see a police station and thinking how do these guys get anywhere quickly Code 3?

Back in 1970s there was helicopter air service from and to LAX, helo was a variation of the Bell 47 (pilot in front, three passenger seats behind). It was featured in Flying magazine as "The fastest way around Los Angeles is in the slowest thing flying."

Comment Re:So, (Score 1) 134

I was thinking the same. Moller Corp. did make some ducted fan UAVs, also mufflers from what I read had excellent sound suppression but minimal blockage (I think the muffler sales provided some money along with investors). Paul Moller, also UC Davis staff, published a paper showing the mathematics of why the Avro "flying saucer" car would never get out of ground effect. I found it in microfiche in 1980s and printed a hardcopy. I cannot find it and have search AIAA with no success. In this paper the math was based on fan area required for vertical lift. Helicopters are the most efficient because of the very large area, disadvantage is highly complex and not efficient in horizontal flight. His multi ducted van vehicle that can rotate the fans make it efficient for vertical and horizontal flight. I met him when he had a mockup at Yolo County airport, a little mini show of sorts though airport mostly had skydivers (Skydance Skydiving). I asked why his sale price (when it will eventually fly) be so low cost compared to let's say something by Lockheed? Moller's answer was anything by Lockheed and other aerospace companies will be very expensive because they have only one customer, the government, which is not concerned about cost. Although the physics is valid, maybe the engineering cannot scale up. It would be a cool flying machine but maybe only as a dream like controlled nuclear fusion.

Comment Re:huh? mine worked!! (Score 2) 201

Yes, someone posted on youtube, "stop complaining, it worked for me." I asked if a 2.5mm drill bit will work as I have 2.5mm earphone, someone replied he doesn't see why it would not. However, I can't really check if these internet posts are true because I don't have an iPhone7.

Speaking of fables, I would like to see what happens if someone tried charging their phone in microwave oven.

Comment Re:America Did It First! USA! USA! USA! (Score 1) 274

orbiting workshop for research on scientific matters

Skylab gave us lots of insight of space station occupancy from dealing with bone/muscle loss, designing crew quarters with vertical references, preparing daily task lists that are not so nitpicky on details.

“Skylab parties”

I remember news clips (yep, I'm that old) of various people entering in bomb shelters. In 1979, Air and Space magazine (or some other well known magazine) had a drawing showing structural ring and large water cylinders descending on a sleepy midwest town (oh the horror of Skylab is falling, Skylab is falling).

$10,000 prize to the first person to deliver a piece of Skylab debris

I remember that, the debris wasn't much, looked like charcoal briquits. I remember after STS-1 launch and missing tiles on the OMS pods, same SF newspaper offered a prize for first person to deliver a missing tile or portion. Columnist wrote, "We blew the bank on the Skylab prize so this award will be only one dollar."

possible to own a piece of Skylab debris today.

This reminds me I do own a piece of Skylab! A poster I bought from NSS as part of their fundraising campaigns is a Skylab poster with a one inch square of the O2 or water tank insulation. It's somewhere along with my stack of papers and posters of all kinds of various stuff (much of what I forgot).

Comment Re:Aren't we getting a bit ahead of ourselves... (Score 1) 289

We've yet to even return a human being on the Moon! What is with Mars? Yes it is interesting geological place but why live there? I don't see a huge land rush to settle the Gobi Desert even though it is a thousand times easier to settle there than Mars. Reason of no land rush is because it is a barren inhospitable place because it is obvious there is no good reason to live there. We only romanticize about Mars because it is so far away.

And then there is the phrase, "once you're in orbit, you're halfway to anywhere." Yeah right but I sure don't see much of anything that went beyond GEO, except for a very small number of spacecraft (all guvmint expenditures) compared to LEO/GEO. I think it is ***very difficult*** to get out of earth orbit, I'm no expert with Tsiolkovsky rocket equation or fully studied "Fundamentals of Astrodynamics" by Mueller, Bate, White but I think there are huge challenges such as need high ISP and a lot of fuel to achieve escape velocity. Then need to deal with radiation, consumables, and be able to fix things when they break (no Progress or Soyuz that can quickly respond).

Yes SpaceX has made great strides though in comparison US and Russia have slowed down. Recovering first stages provide interesting option but in the big picture can it all scale up? Apollo was a single mission only, Shuttle was very expensive and very tedious, Russia's equipment has its issues.

oh just usual bitching on the forums for me.

Comment allowable cabs? time when cabbies made big bucks? (Score 1) 428

Besides Uber rants, wasn't there a time when ***only*** yellow cabs were allowed for taxis? I remember in 1990s traveling to NYC particularly at airport there were signs that only yellow cabs are allowed taxis, everyone else is forbidden so don't jump into those cabs.

Was it back in 1970s that cabbies were able to make a lot of money? Kind of like waitresses back then when they didn't have to declare tips as taxable income? Though the movie is fiction, watching Taxi Driver few months ago what stood out was the character was making a lot of money spending all his awake time on the road. In reality was it like that back in the days? Few other items that caught my interest was in beginning where Robert DeNiro character interviews for a cab driver job, manager asks for a chauffeur license which he has (I'm wonder that is something just don't simply get at a moments notice but maybe thats too much to explain in the movie). Another was the manager was reluctant to hire DeNiro but when asked about military service, DeNiro replied Marines Corps. Manager, "yeah, I was also in the Marines." (in other words, "You're hired!")

there is also this "cab medallions" worth big bucks. I could never figure this out, it seems everyone has strong opinions but little knowledge (typical of internet posts). It seems it has mythical aspects like what is said back in the days of tax rates at 94% but nobody ever paid that amount because in reality there were loopholes.

Comment Re:No no no. (Score 1) 271

According to a friend that has spent enormous amount of time on sound systems, tubes are better. He said virtually everyone has become so accustomed to transistors sound systems, and now a new generation who only hear music on ipods and phones, their ears cannot distinguish various sounds from instruments. He is also a jazz fan, and is very meticulous of what he listens to (also goes into lot more detail than I can explain here). He also said it takes time to get accustomed to tube sound systems, I believe he mentioned the MacIntosh (nothing to do with the computer company) is regarded as a gold standard, stopped making amplifiers in 1970s but there is someone in SF bay area that can service them. After listening to jazz music on tube systems he claims he can hear certain notes that he cannot hear on transistor systems. I'll probably forward this topic to him though he rarely gets on forums and other places like slashdot.

Comment Re:As a wise man once told me.... (Score 1) 110

But the first goal is to maximize commission-able revenue.

Give me a sales guy who knows my needs and systems, and can recommend solutions that will make my job easier, I will keep their email and phone # handy. Another real plus is being honest to recommend a product I'm not aware of instead of something I was first seeking but it was more expensive. Oh, and cut the show promoter, game show host, or Amway sales pitch technique.

Comment Re:Can we put police ticket quotas in this categor (Score 1) 110

... every one of them says they don't have quotas, ...

I asked a cousin, deputy sheriff, about quotas, he said there are none. He then said there are days where he gets one call after another, no time to stop and give someone a ticket (unless it is a gross violation) because he has to respond to calls. Then there are slow days with not much happening, supervisor will look at activity logs of long periods of no calls and might question lack of patrol activity. Cousin said it's real easy to rack up lots of tickets (lots of drivers committing violations).

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