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Antares Rocket Explodes On Launch

Alex Vulpes Re:Flawless Countdown (443 comments)

It sounded like "avionics power nominal".

about 2 months ago

What It Took For SpaceX To Become a Serious Space Company

Alex Vulpes Re:Skylon (96 comments)

One big issue with Skylon is that it's an all-or-nothing deal. You can't send anything up until the whole thing's done. On the other hand, Falcon 9 Reusable is an adaptation from a conventional disposable rocket. The disposable version's already flying at a profit, contributing both money and experimental data towards the design of the reusable version.

about a month ago

Google Is Offering Free Coding Lessons To Women and Minorities

Alex Vulpes I don't know about this one... (376 comments)

I get what they're trying to do, but this seems like the wrong approach. You don't fix discrimination with more discrimination, even if it's in the opposite direction.

Seems like it would be better to find out why the industry is so racial/gender imbalanced, and try to solve that problem (whatever it turns out to be) rather than covering up the symptoms.

about 6 months ago

SpaceX Successfully Delivers Supplies To ISS

Alex Vulpes Re:Pair of legs... (87 comments)

I think the legs attach to things on the outside of the ISS, so it'll basically crawl around like a two-legged spider or something.

And sure, you could have a free-floating robot that maneuvers with thrusters, but that's just too complicated. (Plus it would need refueling.)

about 8 months ago

SpaceX Successfully Delivers Supplies To ISS

Alex Vulpes Re:yayy!!! Cheer our corporate fascist state! (87 comments)

Oh for goodness sake... governments pay companies to do things. It's normal, it happens all the time. (Ford makes police cars, for example.) Even when the government "does it themselves" there are usually contractors involved. The difference here is that the deals with SpaceX and Orbital are more hands-off than the old ones with Boeing and Lockheed. (And also cheaper -- Flacon 9 costs a lot less than Atlas V or Delta IV.)

Fascism, from my understanding, originally meant a system where the government controls corporations. It has more recently come to mean a system where corporations control the government, or a system where individuals have litte or no freedom. Regardless, none of these really has much to do with the contract SpaceX is working under. Yes the government is heavily involved (helping pay for development in addition to the launches themselves, etc), but compared to traditional contracts it's a step away from corporations being intertwined with government.

about 8 months ago

Microsoft Remotely Deleted Tor From Windows Machines To Stop Botnet

Alex Vulpes Re:Not sure how I feel about this... (214 comments)

Whoops, never mind. I thought it was Windows doing the job itself.

about a year ago

Microsoft Remotely Deleted Tor From Windows Machines To Stop Botnet

Alex Vulpes Not sure how I feel about this... (214 comments)

While the intention was definitely good, I personally would not want to use a machine that the could be remotely accessed in such a mannter.

True, something like anti-virus software self-updating and removing a threat would be acceptable to most users. But this is more akin buying a car and discovering the manufacturer has a master key and a representative can come over and drive it around whenever he/she wants, and it's fully legal and you can't do anything about it.

In the end, for better or for worse, I think it's important that we actually own the devices we buy and pay for. Cases like this, and similar ones with Kindles and mobile devices remotely being accessed and modified or used to spy on us, are strong evidence that we do not. (I know that this particular case is not a big deal in of itself, but the fact that Microsoft can do what it did is not good news.)

about a year ago

I think wearable computing will take off...

Alex Vulpes Possible but not popular (254 comments)

For a lot of predictions of future tech, we eventually wind up at a point where we have the technology, but no one's really interested. Things like voice-activated elevators, for example. We could make those easily in the present day, but almost all of us would rather just push a button.

I think in this case most people would rather have something that fits in their pocket than something sewn into their clothes.

about a year ago

End of Moore's Law Forcing Radical Innovation

Alex Vulpes End of Moore's Law? (275 comments)

Come on now, someone always predicts an end to Moore's Law every so often, but it never happens.

There is no beginning. There is no end. There is only Moore.

about a year ago

Moore's Law Blowout Sale Is Ending, Says Broadcom CTO

Alex Vulpes Maybe... (267 comments)

But an end to Moore's Law has been predicted before multiple times, and it hasn't happened yet. (Things have slowed down, yes, but they're far from stopping.) A few years back hard drives were predicted to reach a storage density limit, but this was solved by turning the magnetic cells vertical. So Moore's Law may finally be coming to an end, but don't be surprised if something new comes along and blows silicon transistors away.

1 year,16 days

Code.org: More Money For CS Instructors Who Teach More Girls

Alex Vulpes This is not the solution (381 comments)

The problem isn't that girls are denied an opportunity to learn coding when in college. The problem is that they're denied this opportunity when they're younger, they're told it isn't for them. Here's a good illustration. To solve the gender discrepancy we need to go for its roots, not try to cover up the symptoms.

Well that, and there's the sexual harassment issue, but the same thing applies. Don't try to force girls into computer science; make the environment more comfortable and welcoming, and they will come on their own.

1 year,27 days

Elon Musk Talks About the Importance of Physics, Criticizes the MBA

Alex Vulpes Re:Common Ground (343 comments)

Although I think he actually did go to business school. (He has a BS in economics.) I always figured his success was because he was both a talented engineer and a good businessman. Apparently he thinks a pure business background is a bad idea, though.

about a year ago

Xbox One Controller Cost Over $100 Million To Develop

Alex Vulpes Putting it in perspective (206 comments)

Apparently it cost SpaceX around $300 million to develop the Falcon 9 rocket. That is one expensive controller.

about a year ago

US Uncorks $16M For 17 Projects To Capture Wave Energy

Alex Vulpes Units (132 comments)

Is it just me, or is "watt-hours per year" an unnecessarily complicated unit of measurement? I know it's commonplace, but there are just too many time units going back and forth. A watt is a joule per second, so a watt-hour per year is a (joule per second)-hour per year.

A watt-hour is 3600 joules, and 1400 terawatt-hours per year (aka 1.4 petawatt-hours per year) comes out to be just under 160 billion joules per second, aka 160 gigawatts. It seems like the unit (gigawatts) is already there, so why invent a new one? (Seems a bit like a case of Imperial vs metric units, but in this case they're both metric. The only conversion factor is different units of time.)

about a year ago

Apple Announces a Trade-in Program For Third-Party Chargers

Alex Vulpes Why proprietary chargers? (117 comments)

Perhaps this is a stupid question, but why does Apple like to use proprietary chargers/connectors so much in the first place?

It may be that poor-quality third-party chargers could damage the device. But then I have to ask, why are iDevices so fragile in the first place? It seems most other smartphones have a standard USB port and can work with any old 5V power supply.

about a year ago

LibreOffice 4.1 Released

Alex Vulpes Re:Ribbon (157 comments)

I understand that LibreOffice has compatibility issues with MS Office formats, and this can make LibreOffice a poor choice in many professional environments. However:

It's hard enough dealing with the differences between MS Office 2010, Office 2011, and Office 2013. God forbid if someone wanted to use Office 2008.

If, by your own admission, MS Office has trouble being compatible with itself, should LibreOffice really be blamed for running into problems here?

about a year ago


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