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Comment Re: Great idea... But there is a problem... (Score 1) 243

I'm with a group called Venus Labs; we'll have our first book out later this year. :) Materials compatibility is a big topic therein. Thankfully, there are a lot of polymers that have good resistance to Venus's environmental conditions (particularly fluoropolymers, although minimizing coating fluorine content is important for ISRU because hydrogen fluoride is a lot less common than hydrogen chloride and sulfuric acid - so for example PCTFE or PVF would be preferable to, for an example, FEP). The sulfuric acid mist isn't actually very concentrated from a particle density perspective - visibility is a couple kilometers. The mist is a couple to several dozen grams per cubic meter, depending on the altitude, latitude, time, etc (by comparison, OSHA allows people to breathe up to 1 mg/m for an 8-hour work shift). But it is concentrated from a molar perspective - on Earth, H2SO4 mists self-dilute with atmospheric water vapour.

Comment Re:If Apple built a Hololens we'd never hear about (Score 1) 88

Actually, if I had to speculate, I'd wager MS has realized that the tech needs to take a pretty significant leap before it can be considered remotely usable, and so this announcement reflects that consideration. It's likely that version 2 was only a moderate improvement, but had many of the same limitations of version 1. I haven't worn the headset myself, but the near-universal feedback seems to be that while the tech itself is impressive, the experience is like looking through a mail slot, and the headset is uncomfortable to wear. Improving the viewing angle and shrinking the device should be easier in the future as both processing power and battery tech improve.

Comment Re:Perhaps the constant overhype is the problem (Score 1) 730

Ms Fowler's description of her experience at Uber sounds terrible, but I don't think Uber is typical of tech companies or representative of "nerd culture".

If you read her article, it's clear that things got worse during her time there. Reading between the lines, it sounds an awful lot like the story of the missing stair.

In one sense, it's not Uber, it's just that one guy. But when people discuss what is "typical" or "representative", many miss the problem that it only takes that one guy. That guy may not be typical or representative, but if the organisation decides (whether deliberately or not) to ignore or enable that one guy, that one guy becomes the typical or representative experience for anyone that one guy targets.

Comment Re: Great idea... But there is a problem... (Score 2) 243

"That book"?

Why Venus? Venus has the most Earthlike environment in the solar system outside Earth. High latitudes in the middle cloud layer have Earthlike temperatures, pressures, gravity, sufficient radiation shielding, ample light, and diverse resources already gas phase and only needing to be run through a scrubber to give you feedstocks (even iron, in the form of iron chlorides - estimated at about 1% of the mass of the sulfuric acid - which, by the way, thermally decomposes in the presence of a catalyst to release water and oxygen). Concerning orbital mechanics, Venus ascent stages are of course harder than Mars, but apart from that, it's in a much more favorable spot concerning orbital mechanics, with a much greater Oberth effect and much more frequent launch windows; it can be easier to get payloads to Mars from Venus than from Earth (and can even get gravity assists from Earth). Beyond the abundant solar power, there's also abundant wind power. Normal Earth air is a lifting gas. Unlike a Mars habitat which is a cramped pressure vessel, a Venus habitat is an expansive, open, bright area, full of plants and life. If you don't like someone, go hang your room elsewhere in the envelope, potentially even hundreds of meters away. Bored? Jump into the safety netting; the scale indoors is so big you can basically do indoor skydiving.

As for learning, Venus has vastly more unknown than Mars. Venus is our twin, and the question as to why it ended up the way it did and Earth didn't is one of the great questions in planetary geology. Venus used to have oceans like Earth. Yet today its surface has become this alien place, a veritable natural refinery that bakes and erodes minerals out of the surface and precipitates them out in the clouds. The whole planetary surface, or nearly so, resurfaced itself about 500 million years ago. We have no idea why. Can Earthlike planets just up and do this? If so that's a very disturbing concept. it has the longest river in the solar system - we have no clue what carved it. The best theories are really weird, like natrocarbonatites - super-rare low-temperature lavas that look like oil, flow like water, and glow crimson at night. It has lightning, but we can't seem to find it. It seems to be the second most volcanically active place in the solar system (after Io) but we've never positively confirmed an eruption. There's a huge amount that our planetary models just can't explain. Why doesn't it have an intrinsic magnetic field? Even with its slow rotation speed, dynamo theory says it should; it doesn't. Where's its mercury? Chemical models say that there should be 3 1/2 orders of more in the clouds than the upper detection limits of the probes thusfar constrained it to. What are the strange radar reflective frosts / snows in the highlands? Pyrite? Galena? Tellurium? There seems to be more than one type, too. I could go on for pages and pages here. And there's vastly more reason to have humans present for exploration on Venus, because given the surface conditions, latency for controlling robotic probes is very important - unlike Mars, where communications "downtime" for rovers just gives them more time to charge in the weak sun. And you don't have to worry about degeneration due to low gravity like you do on Mars.

The surface, while hostile, is absolutely accessible. The Soviets had a lot better success probing the surface of Venus than they had Mars. The basic design is very simple: metal shell. insulation, and a material that absorbs heat through a phase change; it can easily buy you a couple hours. Tech developed by the Soviets in the 1960s. It's been determined that you could actually shoot a hollow titanium sphere at Venus, without any kind of heat shield or parachute, and it'd reach the surface intact; that nice "fluffy" atmosphere goes a long way. On Mars you have to have controlled propulsive landings onto rough terrain with little to slow you down - something that continues to randomly kill landers. The surface air on Venus is dense enough to allow you to dredge minerals off the surface.. You can get off the surface, too, with phase change or bellows balloons. The surface is even accessible for humans, and not just in "submersible"-style vehicles - through atmospheric diving suits like are used for deep sea human diving. NASA was developing such "hard suits" for the Apollo program and a bit after - the AX series. They went with soft suits because they're lighter, but hard suits have better mobility. And more to the point, on Venus with such a suit and a bellows balloon, a person could literally fly - floating up, and gliding down with little wings in controlled flight at up to a couple dozen meters per second.

Comment Re:Great idea... But there is a problem... (Score 1) 243

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:Cake or death (Score 1) 730

The women who posted the blog has plenty of documentation about these interactions, but it's probably illegal for her to post that documentation. It could likely only be used in a lawsuit. What I meant is that there's no way for us to obtain any of that documentation. As such, all we have is our personal judgement as to whether the woman was telling the truth in her blog or not. There's no real possibility of ever getting any proof.

Do I believe the woman? Her story sounds plausible to me, yes, but that doesn't mean I don't acknowledge that she could be making up parts of or all of the story. She's not filing a lawsuit, so I don't see the motivation for doing that. Revenge maybe? Possible, but given the way she claims she was treated, I'd probably do the same thing. Overreactions on her part? No, she's pretty clear about the events that transpired, and there's very little room for interpretation there. This feels very different than other angry, whiny, self-entitled "safe space violation" type complaints I've seen before.

I freely admit I have no proof beyond her story, but then again, my personal judgement carries no weight beyond whether or not I'd do business with Uber (maybe), or whether I'd consider working there (no way in hell). I'm not advocating anything. Whatever happens beyond this is up to her and Uber. It sounds like she's gotten on with her life, and that Uber is going into PR damage control mode (nothing will change).

Comment Re:If Apple built a Hololens we'd never hear about (Score 1) 88

Yep, agreed. But consider what the first cell phones looked like both in form factor and feature set when compared to modern smartphones, and you can see some pretty amazing potential. At some point in the future, it's likely they'll be able to shrink the form factor down to a lightweight set of glasses, which will be a pretty amazing experience. That's probably the point at which this will stop being a niche product. There are a ton of really cool potential uses for ubiquitous AR glasses you can wear around. But no one wants to walk around with a Spaceman Spiff helmet on their heads while doing so.

Comment Re:I'm not surprised. (Score 2) 730

1. Apparently the boss did not make sex a condition of continued employment.

HR flat-out stated she'd have negative reviews if she chose to stay in the same group with him, and that there was nothing they could do about it. She could "choose" to transfer out of his group. I can't imagine a reasonable person believing this is not sexual harassment, dictionary definition aside.

Bosses "holding her back" so that she couldn't get promoted and would be stuck in their department - which is a pretty standard thing to do to exceptional workers.

I'd like to think that's only "standard" if you work in a toxic, shithole environment. Not to mention she believed he was holding her back from transfer specifically because it made his department look good to have more women in it. That's even a slightly deeper level of shithole, along with the fake poor reviews (which they wouldn't disclose to her) made behind her back meant to block her transfer.

Anyhow, ignore the click-bait Slashdot title, because the sexism was only a part of the problem. Or rather, I'd call it symptomatic of a much larger problem. The woman's blog post was eye-opening and face-palming at the same time. The part about the leather jackets was... just amazing. I'd give it a read if you haven't yet (second link in the summary).

Comment Re:Cake or death (Score 1) 730

This forum is not a criminal court of law. I'm personally under no obligation to treat a corporation with a history of slimy behavior as "innocent until proven guilty." How exactly would any of us "prove" this anyhow? There's almost no possible way to do that. That raises the bar so high that no reports like these could ever see the light of day. This is someone exercising her freedom of speech to let the world know about some shitty corporate behavior.

And what exactly do you think people are "crusading for justice" for? A few have wished Uber to be successfully sued by the woman, but beyond that I haven't noticed any "crusades", other than a reasonable desire for workplaces to be not be as toxic as this one.

Comment Re:ECC (Score 1) 252

No boot ROM means that a hardware device constructed from discrete logic and analog chips directly demodulates digital data from the radio, addresses the memory, and writes the data. Once this process is completed, it de-asserts the RESET line of the CPU and the CPU starts executing from an address in memory. Really no ROM!

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