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Comment It's a hedge (Score 2) 40

SLS has always been a make-work program to preserve legacy jobs at Space Shuttle contractors.

Perhaps in part but it also serves a few other purposes. Probably the most important one is that it gives NASA a path to getting heavy lift capabilities in the event that the private enterprises working on the problem fail. It's a hedge of a sort, albeit an expensive one. Let's say hypothetically that SpaceX cannot get their Falcon Heavy to work for some reason. If NASA put all their eggs in that basket they could reasonably end up with no heavy launch vehicle. With SLS in the works NASA won't find themselves without options no matter what the private sector does.

Remember that as recently as a few years ago it wasn't at all clear that private companies like SpaceX would be as successful as they have been so far. It was uncharted territory and when you go into uncharted territory it's sensible to have a backup plan in place just in case things go wrong. Things are looking better by the day for private launch companies but there is still time for things to go tits up before SLS is operational.

I have a running bet with some friends on how many times the SLS will fly (if ever). My money's on two flights before it gets the axe.

I think it will depend heavily on how successful companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin turn out to be. You may very well be right but I would regard that as a best possible scenario. If SLS ends up seeing a lot of use it means that SpaceX and the rest failed.

Comment Perfect is the enemy of good (Score 3, Interesting) 40

True. I hadn't thought of that. But I'd note that Ariane-5 was developed in the mid-90s, and was based on the Ariane-4, which also had SRBs. I wonder if they would make the same design choices today?

Perhaps not but sometimes the best path forward is to not try to relive the past. Perfect can be the enemy of good. Something can be very useful without being optimal. The computer you are typing this on has a lot of historical cruft in it but removing that cruft is generally more expensive than simply building around it. If it is economically not viable in the face of some new technology then eventually it will get replaced (see SpaceX) but if it is "good enough" compared with the available alternatives then there is no point in reinventing the wheel. SRBs may not be perfect but they demonstrably have been economically useful.

I'm not arguing for or against SRBs but merely pointing out that if the expensive work of development has already been done then it makes sense to keep using them until something truly better comes along to replace them in the market. Whatever replaces them has to provide a substantial cost/performance savings or there is little point.

Comment No gun needed (Score 1) 75

There is a difference between wasting your own money and taking other people's money by gunpoint and wasting it.

Private enterprise doesn't need something as crude as a gun to take your money from you. They convince idiots such as yourself to give it to them willingly, sometimes even when you know you are being cheated. And the meme that taxation = theft is tired, false, and stupid. If you really believe that then move to one of the locations where they do not tax you. Quite a few exist though they aren't pleasant places to live. But you don't get to take your roads, police, health care, utilities, fire department, military, etc with you. You get to fund those all yourself with "your money".

Seriously, get over the notion that you don't depend on other people and that you have no shared responsibility to society.

Comment Private sector wastes YOUR money (Score 1) 75

No. The difference is. The private sector isn't wasting MY MONEY.

Oh but it is. All the time and in vast quantities. People routinely waste money on crap products all the time from private enterprises. Private enterprise engages in fraud and waste on a scale that would make any government blush. If you need evidence of this see the behavior of the banks in the housing bubble leading up to the crash in 2008. The notion that private enterprise doesn't lie, cheat, steal, or waste your money can only be believed if you are an imbecile or are selling something yourself.

Private enterprise wastes VAST amounts of your money with little to no accountability for most of it. In many cases private enterprise is the least worst option but in many cases government is the least worst option too. Good luck building roads, maintaining first responder services, providing health care for everyone, etc without getting the government involved. Government solves the problems where markets fail and does so far more cost effectively than private enterprise does.

Comment Actual facts about Y2K (Score 1) 206

Yeah, the parent is young and the reasoning on this is very naive... at the time there were many many reason to store dates that way. also computing was so new that no one anticipated it being an issue... until it was....

The parent (me) is neither young nor naive. I wrote my first code before most of the people who will read this were born. Most of the code that was fixed in Y2K remediation was code written well after the point when using 2 digit years was necessary or appropriate. The Y2K problem was known about for decades before the year 2000. I remember people talking about it as early as the late 80s and many were aware of it long before that. It had nothing to do with "computing being new" and everything to do with lazy and/or incompetent programming, especially for anything written after approximately 1985. By then computers had plenty of memory and hard drive space to no longer need abbreviated dates to save space and it certainly didn't save money.

Comment Old enough (Score 1) 206

I suspect you're relatively young as there were valid reasons to only store 2 digits for the year.

I'm old enough to have programmed with punch cards and I predate the PC by a lot. Old enough for you? Very early on there were sensible reasons to only store two digits for a year but programmers continued the practice well beyond the point when it was no longer necessary. If I'm being incredibly generous there really was no excuse for the practice after the mid 1980s at the latest. But vast numbers of programs were written after that point which used two digit years. Most of the code that was fixed in Y2K remediation was not 20+ year old code and it certainly wasn't on punch cards.

Comment No excuse (Score 1) 206

A quick google search shows that there are, by the most wild estimate, 600 people on the planet, at most, who are over the age of 110. More like 150 to 300.

Yes we know that people who are very old are rare. Rare does not equal nonexistent. At least in the US denying someone service on account of age is a civil rights violation. The fact that it is a rare problem does not excuse them from failing to deal with the problem properly.

Raising the age to 130 just means there's an extra 20 years of potential pension fraud or incorrect payments.

That is not and should never be the problem of the customer. The bank can suck it up and deal with the problem in other ways. Go visit the customer if they are that worried about it. Old people often need help anyway.

Comment Sanity checks (Score 1) 206

Probably because it's not arbitrary; most people don't live to be 110, and everybody knows you're supposed to perform sanity checking. According to a quick google search (the height of scholarly rigor,) there's maybe 300 people in the world who are older than 110 years. The most wild estimate is 600.

Ok so then why was that sanity check not performed? It seems obvious that the system should be able to handle ages that people have actually reached even if only on occasion. 130 would have covered it at least for the time being and the programmers could have figured that out with about 60 seconds research on google.

On the other hand, fraud is a real thing, not to mention straight up human error; somebody dies, they don't get taken out of the system, so the money keeps going out.

Not a valid excuse to deny someone service who has done nothing wrong. Plenty of other and better ways to deal with the fraud problem.

Comment Accidental rules (Score 5, Insightful) 206

Programmers don't generally throw in arbitrary rules like that...

Like hell they don't. They do it all the time unintentionally and sometimes very much intentionally. The entire Y2K problem was from tens of thousands of programmers arbitrarily taking short cuts in their programming creating arbitrary rules in regards to what seemed like corner cases at the time. Happens all the time, especially when the programmers don't fully understand the problem they are being asked to solve. The software we use to run our company is positively riddled with arbitrary restrictions which interfere with the efficient conduct of our business. The guys who programmed it are smart enough and decent folks but they don't actually use the software themselves so they don't really understand the limitations they are creating along the way.

I'd say it's more likely they were given a specific business rule that prevented people over 100 from claiming pension cheques to reduce a fraud vector.

Highly unlikely. Laziness and/or incompetence are far more likely origins of this problem.

Comment From the fiction section of the library (Score 1, Troll) 206

What DO they teach them in Sunday School these days...

Fiction. But nobody really reads or even really believes the bible anymore anyway. People just pick and choose the bits of it to follow that suit their particular sensibilities and pretend that only those bits are the "word of god". In fact most of them don't even read the bits they follow. Someone else reads those bits and that someone else tells them what they want them to mean. Must be nice to have a world view unencumbered by evidence or logic or responsibility...

Comment Private sectors wastes money too (Score 3, Insightful) 75

This looks like another conservative trope about how the Federal Government wastes money, and somehow the private sector never does.

Arguably the private sector wastes FAR more money than the government does. 90+% of new businesses fail. Even the most successful companies make investments constantly that don't all pan out. The difference is usually that we have a lot less visibility into their failures nor do we have a lot of say over them unless we are investors. We are all "investors" in a sense in the government so we are a lot more sensitive to government waste as a result. But to pretend that the private sector is universally more efficient at everything is just demonstrably absurd. There are some tasks the government is far more efficient at than the private sector and vice-versa. The key is to know which is which and to not conflate the two.

Comment Was it obvious at the time? (Score 2, Insightful) 75

I fucking care. NASA gets less money every year from the US government. I'd prefer they don't waste it on stupid space suits they have no need for.

The question is whether it was obviously wasteful at the time the decision was made to fund the suit development. I don't know the answer to that either way but it's unfair to judge in hindsight if it wasn't clear at the time. R&D isn't some magic results dispenser that money in equals results out. Sometimes we pay a lot of money to learn what doesn't work. That's useful too though admittedly frustrating at times.

I'd prefer NASA be spending their limited budget on more robotic probes, since they have had excellent success with those so far, than some stupid goal of putting more very fragile and relatively useless meatbags in space.

And I feel that NASA should be spending more money putting humans into space and that we get huge value from doing so. Want to know the fun bit? We're both right. The difference is that I think we should be fighting to get more NASA funding and you apparently are meekly accepting the status quo. I want more humans in space AND more robots.

You're drawing a false equivalency. Yes, Trump is wasting a massive amount of tax payer dollars on his useless golf trips. But this money wouldn't go to NASA anyway.

It's not a false equivalency and you seem to have missed the point. And nobody argued that Trumps wasted money was going to go to NASA so that is a strawman. Waste is waste and tax dollars spent are fungible. Trump flying to his resort to play golf and line his own pocket is very obviously wasteful and unnecessary and arguably violates the emoluments clause of the Constitution. A decision to invest in a space suit that in hind sight we didn't need is waste of a different sort but still waste. Though I would argue a FAR more acceptable sort of waste. At least the space suit development was an attempt to do something potentially valuable to the taxpayers even if it didn't work out and we probably learned something useful in the process.

Comment Re:Fail policy; fact checking is usually biased (Score 1) 117

This is simply another fail policy; fact checking of late has be shown to to be biased.

Of course it has. And Hilary Clinton is a Reptoid from the Hollow Earth and Donald Trump has been negotiating with gray aliens for the cure to cancer. Do not believe the people who tell you these are not facts. They're biased.

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