Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Comments

top

Sierra Nevada Corp. Files Legal Challenge Against NASA Commercial Contracts

Teancum Re: Huh? (125 comments)

Other than the contract wasn't for building a launcher in the first place, hence why the remarks about experience in building a launcher is irrelevant. The contract was for building a spacecraft that would sit on top of a launch vehicle. In the case of SNC, they were using the services of United Launch Alliance, a company who has experience in launching stuff into orbit. ULA has been putting stuff into orbit (at least their parent companies) since the 1950's. Is that enough experience?

It helps to read the fine print.

2 days ago
top

Sierra Nevada Corp. Files Legal Challenge Against NASA Commercial Contracts

Teancum Re:Building a satellite is really (125 comments)

The contract is not about launching the spacecraft, it is about building them and having the work in space.

Besides, SNC is going to be launched on the same vehicle that Boeing is using. The Atlas V. The only difference is that the Dream Chaser could also be launched on an Orbital Antares rocket or the Falcon 9 as well (at least it is being designed to fly on multiple launchers).

That isn't even a consideration for why SNC lost the bid.

2 days ago
top

John Carmack's Oculus Connect Keynote Probably Had Samsung Cringing

Teancum Re:Samsung stockholder applause? (88 comments)

With the money Mr. Carmack earned from the sale of Oculus, do you think he cares? He has suggested that he wouldn't mind simply going back to running his spaceship company, so can Samsung give him a good reason to do that?

This definitely sounds like somebody who doesn't give a damn.

5 days ago
top

Anonymous Peer-review Comments May Spark Legal Battle

Teancum Re:Incompetence (167 comments)

In other words, before tenure they are simply like everybody else in the real world. In industry (as opposed to academia), you are always on the knife's edge of being terminated. Some employers more so than others I'll grant, but I fail to see how it is any worse.

Mind you, I've played the academia game too. The pecking order in academia is more being at a very prestigious position or university as opposed to working at a state college/university and perhaps if you can't cut it you end up teaching at a community/junior college. Sometimes people don't want to play the game so they simply stick to that junior college where they can teach rather than fighting the publish or perish mentality.... or move onto even a high school where somebody with a PhD is treated with respect and not horrible pay (although perhaps less than a university although they will earn more than somebody with a BS). My 7th Grade English teacher had a PhD, and stuck around because he loved to teach kids in middle school even though he was offered a professorship elsewhere. He even published academic papers based on stuff he was doing in the classroom. There is nothing equivalent to that kind of system in private industry.

about a week ago
top

Washington DC To Return To Automatic Metro Trains

Teancum Re:Old technology (179 comments)

This is actually why I like to drive a manual transmission, because it keeps me awake longer on a long-haul drive. This was something originally pointed out to me by a bus driver, who noted that the bus company refused to put automatic transmissions into their buses at the time explicitly to keep the minds of the drivers engaged in the operation of the vehicle instead of other distractions. I also find that a manual transmission give me both a better feel of the road conditions, and more options to apply when operating the vehicle too. The tactile feel of the gears in the transmission through the gear shift can actually give you quite a bit of information that an experienced driver can incorporate into their driving habits, something I definitely find missing in an automatic transmission.

As for the Google cars, the scary thing is that they are currently driving on the roads right now. Supposedly they've already racked up several million miles of travel on public roads. They have moved well past the test track stage. The main issues right now are legal and social, not engineering, although I agree with you that I'm not convinced they are ready for prime time yet.

about a week ago
top

Wanxiang May Give 2012's Fisker Karma a Relaunch

Teancum Re:selecting the electric car buyer (56 comments)

Tesla has been able to build their supercharger stations that can charge up about a hundred miles or more worth of charge in less than an hour... where you can stop to eat lunch and have the car charge up while you are eating.... on a long drive. Basically drive for about 2-3 hours and take about an hour break. There are enough of these stations available that you can now drive across North America with this kind of driving pattern and Tesla is working on Europe.

As for the short commute, most people generally live within 50 miles of where they work. Of those who live further away, many of them even carpool or use mass transit.

For those who think golf carts powered by lead-acid batteries are the ideal of an electric automobile, your sentiment is pretty much spot on. Welcome to the 21st Century where you can buy an electric automobile that doesn't suck any more and uses Li-ion batteries for storage. If you don't like Tesla, you can always get the Nissan Leaf. Or if you don't like either, there are shops that will swap out internal combustion engines in nearly any other automobile and refit your car to an electric motor too.

about two weeks ago
top

Washington DC To Return To Automatic Metro Trains

Teancum Re:Old technology (179 comments)

I was mainly responding to the presumption that somehow self-driving automobiles are somehow technologically equivalent to automated trains. Doing stuff like Google is doing with self-driving cars is far more complex due to the need to evaluate your position on the road, varying kind of pavement, working in conjunction with other vehicles of multiple sizes that are also moving mere feet away, and requires that 3D spatial recognition that is not trivial to create a computational model to deal with potential situations that may arise when driving on a highway that lacks rails. A locomotive is far more simple of a computational model and 30 year old technology works just fine. Upgrading the technology is mainly doing something like replacing a suitcase size box of electronics with the equivalent of a Raspberry Pi.

I agree, going into manual operation is not going to be easy for an operator who hasn't been practicing routinely and trying to get the job done.

As for the 1mm travel on the throttle and other complications like that, I call that damn lousy engineering and poor user interface design. That such things exist in the real world is unfortunate, and sometimes equipment operators need to fight such issues because they get the equipment which is handed to them and simply try to do the best job they can.

about two weeks ago
top

Washington DC To Return To Automatic Metro Trains

Teancum Re:Old technology (179 comments)

The main controls on a train are to go forward and backward. Hardly something that needs advanced artificial intelligence and 3D spacial comprehension. It is basically a one dimensional problem when operating a train, and monitoring the rails to make sure that one dimension situation doesn't change into a 3D problem. Sure, there is monitoring the equipment on the train itself where the motors are far more complex, but even that has its limits and isn't too complicated.

about two weeks ago
top

Boeing To Take Space Tourists On Its CST-100 Spacecraft To the ISS

Teancum Re:Some of the space tourists (47 comments)

Everybody who has paid for their own trip to the ISS so far has gone through cosmonaut training at Star City (at least a six month training effort where they learn all of the sub-systems of the Soyuz spacecraft) and have become fully qualified astronauts in their own right. They usually have been involved with experiments done on the ISS as well, and usually bring up something to do. They are also responsible for performing "chores" while at the station.

About the only thing these "private astronauts" don't perform is an EVA to do repairs on the outside of the ISS.

I would imagine that when Boeing or SpaceX does the same thing, a similar kind of training is going to be required. If anything, because they are American companies needing to work with NASA a whole lot more, they will be required to be much more active in regards to NASA experiments (the previous astronauts were guests of the Russian Federation). The most certainly won't be merely floating in space and staring out windows.

about two weeks ago
top

Boeing To Take Space Tourists On Its CST-100 Spacecraft To the ISS

Teancum Re:Public access (47 comments)

NASA is only paying for the flight slots. Both Boeing and SpaceX plan on reusing their respective spacecraft, although for this particular CCtCAP contract I'm pretty sure they are supposed to be all brand-new vehicles.

The CST-100 is more like the Space Shuttle so far as it needs some refurbishment that takes a little bit of time, but it is still supposed to be just a couple of months turn around time from a landing to a new launch. SpaceX is aiming for "commercial aircraft" style of reuse where they want to relaunch the vehicle potentially within the same day it lands.

Even the Dragon spacecraft which is going up tomorrow (Sunday, Sept 21st) is merely sold for the mission, and SpaceX gets that vehicle to use for its own purposes. At the moment, SpaceX is using the opportunity to take the Dragon apart to study the engineering issues that have shown up on each mission, but that will soon end.

about two weeks ago
top

Boeing To Take Space Tourists On Its CST-100 Spacecraft To the ISS

Teancum Re:Public access (47 comments)

None the less, they are real spacecraft that have life support systems which have been operating as if they could be occupied. One of them had some biological specimens (I think some insects) and it was definitely pressurized in the interior volume, not to mention that Bigelow has gained the experience of operating these modules over a long period of time.

Bigelow Aerospace is currently slated to send up a vehicle next year on a Falcon 9, and supposedly a Falcon Heavy has also been sold but not on the manifest right now. With the current launch rate that SpaceX has been pounding out lately, this seems pretty likely to happen unless it is Bigelow who isn't ready.

about two weeks ago
top

Scotland Votes No To Independence

Teancum Re:A glorious victory for all (474 comments)

We will find out in America if Puerto Rico becomes a state. Maybe. The last time that happened in America was in 1959.

about two weeks ago
top

Scotland Votes No To Independence

Teancum Re:Canada & Quebec (474 comments)

I suppose it is sort of like the never ending battle over what to do with Puerto Rico in the USA. Does it become a state? Become independent? Remain in its current weird "organized unincorporated territory" status?

In that case though, the people of Puerto Rico are simply too laid back to want to bother pushing the issue, and the rest of America doesn't care. Even the fact that most of the seats to Congress from Puerto Rico would likely be Democrat hasn't even remotely influenced its admission status.

about two weeks ago
top

WSJ Reports Boeing To Beat SpaceX For Manned Taxi To ISS

Teancum Re:Translation... (200 comments)

I apologize. I've been battling too many people on Reddit lately, and sometimes that carries over to here on Slashdot, even though I've largely faded away from here.

BTW, this particular tweet is VERY interesting:

https://twitter.com/TheLurioReport/status/512292169840099329

If there is any substance here, this story could could a whole lot more interesting. The Lurio Report, unlike Mr. Pasztor, is usually pretty accurate with these things too. Even more interesting is this tweet:

https://twitter.com/TheLurioReport/status/512293986602848256

I guess that explains the layoff notices that Boeing sent out earlier to comply with the WARN Act.

about two weeks ago
top

WSJ Reports Boeing To Beat SpaceX For Manned Taxi To ISS

Teancum Re:Translation...and I'm a Guest, not a Coward.... (200 comments)

In the press conference that was held after the announcement, the NASA PR rep actually mentioned "other competitive crewed spaceflight operators" could be considered in the future. In other words, SNC is not completely out of the picture. Indeed they will still be funded for CCiCAP as they complete the final milestones under the current agreements... SNC just missed the big funding and actual spaceflight missions which SpaceX and Boeing are now being funded for with CCtCAP.

about two weeks ago
top

WSJ Reports Boeing To Beat SpaceX For Manned Taxi To ISS

Teancum Re:Translation... (200 comments)

Except for the nit-picky fact that they've said nothing of the sort.

On the contrary, they even prepared the lay-off notices to most of the staff working on the CST-100:

http://www.spacenews.com/article/civil-space/40931boeing-preparing-layoff-notices-in-case-of-commercial-crew-loss

It was a prudent business move none the less, but Boeing certainly didn't seem ready to compete in general commercial spaceflight endeavors. Now that they've won the award, I guess all of that paperwork gets burned, which should be a relief to those working on the CST-100.

about two weeks ago
top

WSJ Reports Boeing To Beat SpaceX For Manned Taxi To ISS

Teancum Re:Translation... (200 comments)

And the award to the biggest asshole on slashdot goes to businessnerd, who can't tell time to see that I posted before the official announcement. Not only that, but besides the raw "Boeing and SpaceX got the award", Mr. Pasztor got nearly everything else in the article flat out wrong.

It should also be pointed out that NASA has yet to select a "prime contractor", if any is to be selected at all.

about two weeks ago
top

WSJ Reports Boeing To Beat SpaceX For Manned Taxi To ISS

Teancum Re:Translation... (200 comments)

Slow down there..... you don't know who has received what, if there is even a "prime contractor", or what is going to happen. Assuming that Mr. Pasztor is 100% accurate (his previous record of accuracy in reporting about the space industry suggests strongly otherwise), it would still be pretty good for SpaceX. Although I would say it is just at the beginning of the fireworks as whatever deal actually comes from this announcement today (4 PM EDT according to NASA) is going to be reviewed by congressional committees in the future and may even change. It will still remain competitive between the companies in the future and I can see the down selected company getting business in the future from NASA if they continue development and independently get passengers into space.

The interesting thing is that Blue Origin is rumored to be potentially purchased or some sort of stock swap with Boeing with a merger. The future of Boeing and whatever they are going to do in the future will be interesting, and I think Boeing is going to feel the pinch to be competitive. Both SpaceX and Sierra Nevada have promised that they will continue with development of their vehicles even if they don't get selected, which I hope is not a criteria being used for selecting Boeing if this proves to be true.

about two weeks ago
top

WSJ Reports Boeing To Beat SpaceX For Manned Taxi To ISS

Teancum Re:Translation... (200 comments)

Boeing paid off Andy Pasztor to write this hit piece. Basically it is being done, I would guess, to push up stock prices so somebody else can make a bunch of money shorting the stock afterward or something silly like that. This "reporter" has rarely been right and deserves to be embarrassed if everything he says fails to happen.

BTW, I agree with you in regards to Dreamchaser. It is a good enough vehicle that the ESA is even looking at using it, and Sierra Nevada is already on record saying they will continue the development of this vehicle even without additional development money from NASA. Indeed the only company that has said they will stop any further development if their vehicle isn't selected is Boeing.

about two weeks ago
top

Court: Car Dealers Can't Stop Tesla From Selling In Massachusetts

Teancum Re:Car Dealers should ask why they're being bypass (155 comments)

Some of the issue with automobile manufactures is that the vehicles are so complex and need so much capital that almost everybody who tries to build a new manufacturing company in this industry usually goes bankrupt. Tucker and DeLorean are really good examples of this, in spite of conspiracy theories that suggest ulterior motives of existing manufacturers.

The other issue is simply complying with government regulations in the industry. Some of those regulations certainly have been established because of major screw-ups in the past, but many of them (in spite of the manufacturers complaining about them) are enacted explicitly to discourage new entrants into the industry. At the very least the existing manufacturers only offer token resistances to things like seat belt and safety laws that add complexity as long as it hits everybody in the industry equally... and keeps new companies busy trying to catch up if they tried. If somebody built an exact replica of the Ford Model T, it couldn't be driven today except as a historical re-creation for off-road usage and certainly not something for mass production.

about two weeks ago

Submissions

top

'World of Warcraft' candidate for Maine State Senate wins election

Teancum Teancum writes  |  about 2 years ago

Teancum writes "Colleen Lachowicz, candidate for the State Senate District 25 of Maine, won the election yesterday against her opponent Thomas Martin. This race was notable in part because her World of Warcraft character that was mentioned earlier on Slashdot, where the Maine Republican Party turned her game playing into a significant issue. It is also notable that she was able to raise a total of $6,300 in campaign contributions from gamers who came to her defense in her successful campaign. The Maine GOP even tried to block these contributions where Lachowicz was cleared of any wrong doing and the investigation was dropped."
Link to Original Source
top

Italian Wikipedia Shuts Down for the Day

Teancum Teancum writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Teancum writes "After a lengthy discussion within the Italian language edition of Wikipedia, the volunteers decided to shut down the Italian language edition of Wikipedia for a day with a protest message addressing a new law passed in Italy which the editors of Wikipedia perceive as being harmful to their participation in the collaborative on-line project. The Wikimedia Foundation (the organization who runs the server farms supporting Wikipedia) issued a statement in support of this action."
Link to Original Source
top

RKK Energia confirms private trip to the Moon

Teancum Teancum writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Teancum writes "RKK Energia, the prime contractor for the Russian space program and the company who builds the Russian Soyuz spacecraft, recently confirmed negotiations are underway with space tourism company Space Adventures for a privately financed crewed flight around the Moon. While the offer and purchase of at least one seat has been discussed earlier, this is the first time Energia has confirmed the negotiations and has gone into at least some details in terms of what they are expecting to have happen with this flight and the approximate timeframe for when this flight would take place... sometime in 2016 or 2017."
Link to Original Source
top

Congress dumps James Webb Space Telescope

Teancum Teancum writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Teancum writes "On the list of items on the upcoming federal budget for 2012, the U.S. House of Representatives has announced they are going to cancel the continued development of the James Webb Space Telescope. While this debate is certainly still very much a preliminary draft, the road ahead for this project is now very much uncertain. In this time of budget cuts, it seems unlikely that this project is going to survive at this time. It certainly will be an uphill battle for fans of this telescope if they want to keep it alive."
Link to Original Source
top

ARCA's Helen 2 rocket launch successful

Teancum Teancum writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Teancum writes "ARCA (Asociaia Român pentru Cosmonautic i Aeronautic or the Romanian Cosmonautics and Aeronautics Association) announced today the successful launch of their Helen 2 rocket on Sunday, October 3rd, 2010. In the official press release they detail how the rocket was launched on a balloon that went to 14 km and then after being fired from that altitude achieved an altitude of 40 km. The parachute system failed to deploy on the payload capsule and instead dropped into the Black Sea where search efforts to find the capsule were abandoned. Payload recovery was not a primary objective of this test. It is also notable that this is the first flight test for a vehicle being made by a Google Lunar X-Prize team and this vehicle series is eventually intended to deliver a payload to the surface of the Moon for that prize competition."
Link to Original Source
top

Haliburton Patents Patent Trolling

Teancum Teancum writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Teancum writes "In an interesting twist on the patent process, Halliburton (yes, the company famous for the contracts in Iraq) has attempted to patent the process of patent trolling. With a flow chart that seems to read like some of the long standing gags here on slashdot about how to a profit from various technology schemes, this apparently is an attempt to try and get the patent system to turn on itself."
top

NOAA Requires License for Photos of the Earth

Teancum Teancum writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Teancum writes "In an interesting show of the level of regulations private spacecraft designers have to go through, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has demanded that American participants of the Google Lunar X Prize obtain a license if their spacecraft are "capable of actively or passively sensing the Earth's surface, including bodies of water, from space by making use of the properties of the electromagnetic waves emitted, reflected, or diffracted by the sensed objects". What prompted NOAA to ask for this license came from a visit by the XPrize staff to the NOAA offices in Maryland. What is going to happen when "space tourists" bring their private cameras along for the ride?"
top

RFP for NASA-based MMORPG

Teancum Teancum writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Teancum writes "I'm sure that a large number of Slashdot regulars are familiar with the U.S. Army's MMORPG America's Army. It turns out that NASA has submitted a Request for Proposals for what would be a NASA-themed MMORPG of its own. So would you ever want to write your own video game and get paid for it? The deadline for the RfP is February 15th, so get your word processors busy with a proposal of your own. The specific objective of this request is as follows:

"A NASA-based MMO built on a game engine that includes powerful physics capabilities could support accurate in-game experimentation and research. It should simulate real NASA engineering and science missions in a medium that is comfortable and familiar to the majority of students in the United States today. A NASA-based MMO could provide opportunities for students to investigate STEM career paths while participating in engaging game-play. Through a NASA-based MMO, students will gain insight into a wide range of exciting career opportunities and be encouraged to make educational choices that lead them into STEM fields of study and eventually the STEM careers needed to fulfill NASA's Vision for Space Exploration. Learning Technologies is seeking input on how to accomplish those goals."
If there is anybody suited for developing a game like this, I can't imagine a better group than the slashdot crowd to try and come up with some outstanding proposals, and have the technical expertise to pull this off. This certainly doesn't deserve to get thrown onto the traditional dust heap of educational proposals for a half-baked game that nobody will actually play."

Link to Original Source
top

Expanded Role of Iridium Satellite Constellation

Teancum Teancum writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Teancum writes "The Wall Street Journal is reporting about an expanded role for the next generation of satellites in the telecommunication satellite constellation: Earth observation and weather data. The Group on Earth Observation is offering to partner in this endeavor, some of whose members will be paying for this new "service" of the Iridium network. There will be as many as "70 separate sensors on Iridium satellites, designed to measure everything from temperature changes in the atmosphere to changes in radiation and ozone levels to wave heights and ocean levels." This is a far cry from when there was some concerns about whether there would even be an Iridium constellation and the bankruptcy of the former company that operated this group of satellites. This appears to be a way to add an additional revenue stream to an already profitable company operating with most of its assets in space."
top

Teancum Teancum writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Teancum writes "SpaceX Corporation and Elon Musk have succesfully launched the Falcon I rocket from Kwajalein Atoll today at about 6:00 PM PDT. While there were a few glitches including a launch abort at T+ 0:10 and a few other issues typical to all launches, the rocket was successful in launching and succesfully fired the second stage as well. This is in follow up to yesterday's abort that was due to a glitch moving from ground telemetry link switching over to radio links."

Journals

top

Whatever Happened to the Linux DVD-Video Effort?

Teancum Teancum writes  |  more than 10 years ago This is a rejected article submisson, and I'll throw it here simply because I think this is a valid question. There were some very substantial efforts in the past to try and put DVD-Video onto Linux and other Open Source operating systems. While there were clearly some legal issues that the groups needed to deal with, it seems as though these groups have disappeared not with a bang, but with a whimper, and quitely disappeared. While this is true of several post dot-com websites, it seems as though this source of several major stories is not even mirrored, except on The Internet Wayback Machine. Another related website, The Open DVD Group also appears to be off-line. Even more bizzare is that the Open DVD discussion list has turned into all but a spam list. Some of the effort has been redirected with groups like Ogg Theora, that can't explain the total absense from any of the at times very heated discussions on numerous mailing lists and websites that sprang up, particularly during the whole deCSS fiasco. Is this a result of lawyers being successful at driving efforts like this underground or is this simply a case of a topic that ran its course and a general abandonment of this concept by the open source community in general?

Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?