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Americans Support Mandatory Labeling of Food That Contains DNA

Teancum Re:Jesus, we're fucked. (307 comments)

I wonder what these people think of the blood that comes in a package of meat? What about the gonads of plants that people like to eat (such as an apple)?

8 hours ago
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Americans Support Mandatory Labeling of Food That Contains DNA

Teancum Re:Jesus, we're fucked. (307 comments)

As she continued to ignore me my explanations grew longer and more detailed, until finally she interrupted me with "What's inertia?"

After you explained the concept, did she at least understand the idea but not the term, or was even the concept of inertia something that was a revelation?

8 hours ago
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Ask Slashdot: Is Pascal Underrated?

Teancum Re:Discussion is outdated (310 comments)

I *think* that fpc Pascal can not properly handle utf8 strings

Only because of purists that insist a six byte character is counted as one character.

A lack of documentation is an issue, but that is simply because it is an open source project. About par for the course on most open source projects, from my experience too. Delphi has some amazing documentation, but then again they can pay for that documentation to be developed.

9 hours ago
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Ask Slashdot: Is Pascal Underrated?

Teancum Re:Modula-3 FTW! (310 comments)

People gave up on Pascal and moved to C++ back then for a reason.

It wasn't really for a good reason other than simply the choice of the software development shop, as well as the cost of compilers where C compilers were widely used as assignments in Computer Science graduate courses... thus frequently offered for free. Arguably a C compiler is also easier to write than a good Pascal compiler, so it frequently is the first compiler available for a given instruction set or computer architecture.

That doesn't mean it is necessarily inferior or for that matter better than C++ for high level application development. It does explain why you see fewer people developing in Object Pascal vs. C++.

9 hours ago
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Ask Slashdot: Is Pascal Underrated?

Teancum Re:Modula-3 FTW! (310 comments)

For instance, "++i" is a more immediately recognizable idiom than "i := i + 1".

In Object Pascal, it is:

Inc(i)

A couple extra letters to write, but trivial and works just fine and clearly understandable. It even returns a value (if needed).

10 hours ago
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Ask Slashdot: Is Pascal Underrated?

Teancum Re:Modula-3 FTW! (310 comments)

Wow, I hope you're not suggesting 22 div 3 vs. 22/3 is more intuitive to a novice for what it does compared to 22/3 and 22/3.0!

A properly designed compiler (like Turbo Pascal and later Delphi) makes no distinction nor software penalty for using either convention. This is nit picking at such a minor detail, although as a software developer I like to emphasize that I am using an integer division as opposed to floating point, thus deliberately use the div operator when appropriate. For a novice, it shouldn't make any difference at all.... particularly for the kinds of applications developed by a typical novice that would have any sort of confusion over this issue (or some C++ developer tasked to do some Object Pascal debugging).

10 hours ago
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Ask Slashdot: Is Pascal Underrated?

Teancum Re:Modula-3 FTW! (310 comments)

From a maintainability standpoint when you need to have code written by an experienced software developer familiar with Pascal and its various (current) compilers as opposed to an experienced software developer familiar with C++... when you hand those software packages over to another developer to continue development by somebody having to start cold on that software and fix bugs, make extension, or overhaul that code... I dare say that the software written in Object Pascal can be developed sooner than a comparable application in C++. My direct experience has been in about half of the time or less than a comparable C++ program.

That is my standard for readability. The only reason you might notice some developers who have a hard time with Pascal readability is mainly due to the fact that the developer is simply unfamiliar with Pascal syntax due to a lack of development in that language for a prolonged period of time. Handing Object Pascal code to somebody else already familiar with the language clearly has a huge advantage.

Just because it is different doesn't mean it is worse. It might mean that you would need to personally take some extra time to learn another programming language. Besides, for a Pascal programmer, curly braces are for comments and stand out very well for that purpose.

10 hours ago
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Chinese Spacecraft Enters Orbit Around the Moon

Teancum Re:Great to see (152 comments)

Space-X could reproduce the orbital flight of Apollo 7 (first crewed flight of Apollo) tomorrow if there was a reason to, using the Falcon 9/Dragon system.

I would ask a SpaceX engineer about this first. The ones I've talked to about this very point have cringed with even the mere suggestion of this idea. And yes, they've been asked.

No, SpaceX could not duplicate the flight of Apollo 7 tomorrow. They are gearing up to be able to duplicate that flight though in a fashion, so no doubt they will get there somewhat soon, but the Dragon 1 capsule as it currently stands is not crew capable and neither is the Dragon 2 capsule prototype.

about two weeks ago
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Chinese Spacecraft Enters Orbit Around the Moon

Teancum Re:Great to see (152 comments)

You are confusing science with technology. The equipment necessary to send a crew into orbit simply doesn't exist right now in America. Yes, the science in terms of how it can be done has been created and you can look at previous designs to see how it was done in the past can be done, assuming of course that some of the really critical steps done by previous engineering teams was even recorded and documented.

It also helps to know that previous designs were successful, so you are attacking this engineering challenge with the knowledge that somebody has solved this problem before and that it can be done. That doesn't mean that any particular design will be successful though. It is also far more than political issues right now. Going into space on any current American spacecraft would get that crew member killed. Period.

about two weeks ago
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Chinese Spacecraft Enters Orbit Around the Moon

Teancum Re:Great to see (152 comments)

Considering that both launch pads 39A & B have been completely dismantled for new rockets, that the Shuttle processing facility to get the vehicles ready for launch has been also rebuilt to do other things, and there are no external tanks available nor even a manufacturing plant capable of building them, I'd say those Shuttle orbiters are going to stay mothballed permanently.

At this point, even the engines have been torn apart and are currently being repurposed and reworked for use on the SLS.

No, there is no way they will ever launch again and it would be years of effort to even try with billions of dollars spent in an effort that would be akin to building a whole new Shuttle by the time you are done. The capability of launching the Shuttle is definitely gone.

about two weeks ago
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Chinese Spacecraft Enters Orbit Around the Moon

Teancum Re:that's bs. (152 comments)

The Dragon has no life support right now and is very much incapable of carry a human crew. Elon Musk jokingly said that you might be able to get a ride with a cot and a scuba tank, but it definitely would not be capable of bringing a crew into orbit with its current configuration. The Dragon 2 (which still isn't flightworthy by any stretch of the imagination) is going to be crewed and like I said, some effort is currently underway to get that crew capability to return. I think you are underestimating the effort that SpaceX still needs to take in order to get people into space.

And no, I'm not just talking flight worthiness standards either where you might say NASA is being too cautious. That might be a legitimate gripe as arguably the Space Shuttle also failed to meet those standards too. It also isn't just the FAA-AST nor a NASA flight certificate as the Dragon capsule that just flew into orbit would literally kill a crew member if somehow somebody stowed away themselves inside that capsule. While docked to the ISS the capsule uses the ISS ventilation and life support system with merely a couple of fans inside of the Dragon that help to circulate the air. That is definitely not life support equipment.

As it stands, the Dragon capsule can't even be used as an emergency escape devices if somehow the Soyuz was damaged in a disaster like depicted in the movie "Gravity".... even assuming that the ISS crew could improvise something to act as emergency couches by stuffing in a bunch of soiled clothing and odd soft parts of the ISS. It is a nice thought experiment though.

No doubt that SpaceX is close to the caapability and having the capability to do downmass of several metric tons of supplies is definitely a key step to crew capability. It will be happening in the next couple of years, but SpaceX is still definitely incapable of sending or even recovering a crew from space even in an emergency.

about two weeks ago
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Chinese Spacecraft Enters Orbit Around the Moon

Teancum Re:Great to see (152 comments)

The Dragon can't carry a crew right now, so you are wrong.

about two weeks ago
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Chinese Spacecraft Enters Orbit Around the Moon

Teancum Re:Success rate of 0% (152 comments)

It didn't help that Sergei Korolev died right before the Apollo moon landings. It was even apparently due to a poorly trained surgeon for what should have been a routine medical procedure that caused his death. Had Korolev been around to provide strong leadership to the Soviet Moon program, I think there might have been an outside chance for a Soviet crewed lunar landing to have happened by about 1970 with the N-1 rocket becoming successful.

The funny thing is that the N-1 engines that should have gone to the Moon ended up being used by Orbital Science for sending supplies to the International Space Station. Then again, when one of those engines exploded shortly after launch, it destroyed one of the cargo modules and a couple of satellites... so the disaster of the N-1 seems to keep repeating itself.

about two weeks ago
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Chinese Spacecraft Enters Orbit Around the Moon

Teancum Re:Great to see (152 comments)

America has lost the capability of being able to reproduce the original Mercury flight of Alan Shepard. There are some efforts to try and build some new spacecraft that might actually be useful in the future and they are currently under development, but none of them are flight worthy. If some alien creature was discovered orbiting the Earth and simply asking for somebody from the Earth to meet with them in orbit in exchange for huge amounts of cultural and scientific data, it would have to be done right now with a Soviet-era Soyuz spacecraft or with a Chinese Shenzhou spacecraft. America wouldn't and simply can't do something like that.

Yes, the technological capability of going to the Moon has been lost in the past 40 years and needs to be rebuilt from scratch. All we know is that it was done in the past, where sadly an entire generation of kids are starting to believe the Moon hoax guys because the technology to get to the Moon no longer exists.

about two weeks ago
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Ted Cruz To Oversee NASA and US Science Programs

Teancum Re:Geeks don't get it (496 comments)

NASA funding since the Nixon administration has been pretty flat and generally is something like social security.... a death trap politically speaking if you try to cut it. Just look at how quickly Barack Obama changed his tune about NASA when he was running for President and needed the votes in Florida after he proposed a virtual elimination of NASA (if anybody has that kind of memory). People talk about shutting down programs at NASA, but it really doesn't happen.

There have certainly been some disasters at NASA in terms of program management like Constellation and the James Webb Telescope that have eaten up almost all funding at the agency as it should be seen as a zero-sum game for any new programs that get done within the scope of NASA. But none the less I dare you to show any deep cuts to NASA after the damage following the cancellation of Apollo happened!

I do agree though that when you ask those of older generations (especially those over 60) how much money is being spent on NASA, they think about 5% of the federal budget is still going to that agency. It is even a figure they think is where it should be at too, and are greatly surprised when you tell then that the actual figure is less than 1/10th of that amount.

about two weeks ago
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Ted Cruz To Oversee NASA and US Science Programs

Teancum Re:Wonderful (496 comments)

This was true until a sultan decided arbitrarily that science was no longer useful to his sultanate and order it to be stopped. It is one of the problems with monarchies, and also why it was the Spanish and not the Chinese who conquered the Incas and Aztecs (with some evidence that China had reached South America before the famous voyage of Columbus and definitely sailed past modern-day South Africa).

It is the end of this period of enlightenment that should be of concern, as it shows even some very intelligent people who made some amazing contributions to the knowledge of mankind as a whole could have essentially that whole sub-culture destroyed due to the whims of just a very few people... or even just a single person. In other words, it should be a cautionary tale how Muslim science was destroyed.

about two weeks ago
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Ted Cruz To Oversee NASA and US Science Programs

Teancum Re: We deserve this guy (496 comments)

Could you elaborate on this? Some governor elections are held in odd numbered years simply to remove the distractions from presidential election politics and the congressional races, but how is that manipulation when it is specified by law to happen on a regular basis?

This certainly is nothing like elections in the UK where the PM can decide an arbitrary date to hold the next round of elections to the House of Commons when the polling numbers are looking really good... or put off elections for awhile if they aren't looking so nice.

about two weeks ago
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Ted Cruz To Oversee NASA and US Science Programs

Teancum Re:We deserve this guy (496 comments)

population ratio between big and small states is much larger than it was when the system was created.

Rhode Island and Deleware might beg to disagree with you on that point. It isn't really all that much larger now than it was in 1787 when the concept was being set up in the first place where those two states in particular really didn't want to get lost and absorbed into Massachusetts and Virginia respectively. They wanted to maintain their independent nature and strongly objected to plans treating them as insignificant in the greater republic.

Yes, this is definitely working as intended, where those two states are still independent sovereign entities with their own identities. If anything, the population disparity between the original 13 colonies has lessened to a great extent over the past several decades too. I would call that working as intended.

about two weeks ago
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Ted Cruz To Oversee NASA and US Science Programs

Teancum Re:We deserve this guy (496 comments)

Overall though, the Senate is grossly disproportionate in a lot of ways.

This is intentional and deliberate. The Senate was never supposed to be even an elected body in the first place as it was supposed to be essentially a counterpoint to the UN General Assembly. In other words, it was supposed to be a body made up of representatives of the various state governments and definitely not supposed to be remotely representative of ordinary citizens.

You might be advocating an elimination of the Senate in the fashion that the House of Lords has sort of faded into obscurity in the British Parliament, but there is definitely no reason for it to become even more of just a horrible copy of the House of Representatives, something that was never the original intention in the first place. The disparity is that for better or for worse, the U.S. Senate seems to have grown even more with regards to political power, where individual senators sort of think of themselves individually as vice-presidents ready to step into the "top job" at any time and definitely command their staff as if they will be the next president. The ego needed to become a senator is definitely something right now that basically is a waypoint for many who have presidential ambitions.

Complaining about the disproportionate nature of the Senate is just downright silly and ignoring its purpose in the first place.

about two weeks ago
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Ted Cruz To Oversee NASA and US Science Programs

Teancum Re: Goodbye SpaceX (496 comments)

It should be pointed out that SpaceX has a huge presence in Texas, with the Texas state legislature doing some rather recent.... enticements as it were... to get SpaceX to spend a few hundred million dollars more in their state.

In other words, Ted Cruz would be crucified in his home state and would even hurt his future presidential ambitions if he were to be in public opposition to SpaceX as a company. I certainly expect to see him show up at the ground breaking when SpaceX starts to pour concrete at the Brownsville spaceport that is being built.... in Texas. For that matter, I wouldn't put it past him to show up at McGregor for an engine test or a test flight of the Falcon 9-R. A great photo op and with his dual hat as the chairman of this committee it is going to be an extra reason to appear for stuff like that.

As chair, he will also get a good insight into space policy issues, which I think will be a good thing too. Somebody with presidential ambitions would be good to become educated on those issues too.

about two weeks ago

Submissions

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

Teancum Teancum writes  |  more than 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."
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Italian Wikipedia Shuts Down for the Day

Teancum Teancum writes  |  more than 3 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."
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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."
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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."
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ARCA's Helen 2 rocket launch successful

Teancum Teancum writes  |  more than 4 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."
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Haliburton Patents Patent Trolling

Teancum Teancum writes  |  more than 6 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."
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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?"
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RFP for NASA-based MMORPG

Teancum Teancum writes  |  about 7 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."

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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."
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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

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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?

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