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SpaceX Landing Attempt Video Released

catchblue22 Re:How did they run out of fluid? (248 comments)

Hydraulic systems are in a loop, with the "spent" fluid recirculating back to the reservoir. How did they "run out"?

Where did the fluid go?

The system is an open hydraulic system. Closed systems require tanks and pumps which carry a mass penalty. They only need the system to function for about 4 minutes. Why bother with a closed system when the functioning period is so short. They will increase the amount of fluid by 50% so this shouldn't happen again. All in all a nearly successful experiment.

about two weeks ago
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SpaceX Landing Attempt Video Released

catchblue22 This test was a successful failure (248 comments)

This was the first time SpaceX had flown the new grid fin control system on a real first stage under real conditions. They did not know exactly how well the grid fins would behave. As it turned out, the grid fins had to move more than they expected during the descent (or the forces were larger than they expected), so they ran out of hydraulic fluid 30 seconds before landing. This is similar to an airplane losing control of its elevator just before landing. The fact that the rocket reached the barge and that its vertical speed was reasonably slow (certainly not 100m/s) indicates the resiliency of their systems. They are putting 50% more fluid into the system, so this shouldn't happen next time.

I think this video is epically cool. I can watch it again and again. Simply awesome.

about two weeks ago
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SpaceX Rocket Launch Succeeds, But Landing Test Doesn't

catchblue22 Re: Minor setback (213 comments)

...SpaceX being a private entity, they just have a lot of paid PR people to drum up support.

I'm sure this is true. And their enemies in the military-industrial complex (Boeing/Lockheed Martin/ULA) have deep pockets to hire propaganda companies to slander SpaceX. In fact, they already have. Look at the client list of this PR (propagandistic relations) company called Shockey Scofield Solutions.

Reading between the lines, I think this is a company that specializes in greasing palms/pulling levers in Congress and the Senate, as well as constructing sophisticated internet campaigns that include releases to key susceptible news outlets/columnists and hiring fake posters to post on certain widely read comment boards.

about three weeks ago
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SpaceX Rocket Launch Succeeds, But Landing Test Doesn't

catchblue22 Re:Minor setback (213 comments)

This was the first flight with the maneuvering grid fins. The fact that they were able to bring the rocket to the barge with an untested maneuvering technology is quite remarkable. It speaks volumes to their modelling software. I can speculate that because of the untested grid fins, the maneuvering was not quite as precise as needed and the rocket engines had to do a large slew just before landing, which burned up too much fuel. My speculation is that the fuel ran out just before landing.

The fact that the rocket arrived on target and with low enough speed that it didn't crater the barge is quite something, and speaks to the near success of this test.

about three weeks ago
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Gunmen Kill 12, Wound 7 At French Magazine HQ

catchblue22 The problem is fanaticism (1350 comments)

In my opinion, the real problem is fanaticism. During the Enlightenment, the words "enthusiasm" and "fanaticism" both had very negative connotations. To be an "enthusiast" meant that you were someone who passionately believed in an idea without a rational reason. If you were a "fanatic", you were willing to kill for your "enthusiasms". In relation to this, the French philosopher Voltaire once wrote: "Those who can make people believe absurdities can make them commit atrocities." To believe that drawing a cartoon of any particular person merits a death penalty is clearly absurd.

about three weeks ago
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Gunmen Kill 12, Wound 7 At French Magazine HQ

catchblue22 We need Voltaire (1350 comments)

Never has this quote from Voltaire been more true:

Those who can make people believe absurdities can make them commit atrocities.

about three weeks ago
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Tumblr Co-Founder: Apple's Software Is In a Nosedive

catchblue22 Re:Tim Cook is an MBA (598 comments)

He may well have made the right decision... or he may have just made the decision to use a 'mature unix' foundation, because it was basically just reusing his baby from NeXT (and we all remember how that company was taking the PC world by storm right? =scoffs=)

Jobs personally spearheaded NeXT with a small group of engineers. He knew exactly what he was doing. I remember him talking about NeXTStep and he openly boasted about its portability and high degree of hardware abstraction. He tried to sell this idea to other software companies but no one bit. It is no coincidence that OSX is so portable. It is by design.

You seem to imply that if someone is not a coding ninja, then they have nothing to contribute to software. I strongly disagree with this. Job's strength was that he saw the broad arcs of software design. He realized that simplicity and cleanness was key to good software, to maintainable software, to portable software. He realized that if software was not written properly at its earliest stages, it would remain inherently flawed no matter how much it was maintained.

It is no coincidence that Jobs made his best software when he was working with a small team of engineers. This is how he created NeXT. And this is how he created the original iPhone.

As for your comment on NeXT, well it became OSX, so it was in the end extremely successful. And another little thing came of of NeXT workstations. Tim Berners Lee first implemented hypertext on a NeXT workstation...that was the beginning of the web as we know it today. If you had every used an NeXT workstation (as I did), you would realize that the cleanness and elegance of the OS likely had a lot to do with Tim Berner Lee's invention. There was simply nothing like it at the time.

about three weeks ago
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Tumblr Co-Founder: Apple's Software Is In a Nosedive

catchblue22 Re:Tim Cook is an MBA (598 comments)

Grrrrrr...stupid accidental touchpad click wipes out part of my post. To continue ...fastest accelerating mass produced four door sedan ever. Doesn't sound like an Aztek to me.

about three weeks ago
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Tumblr Co-Founder: Apple's Software Is In a Nosedive

catchblue22 Re:Tim Cook is an MBA (598 comments)

The true problems come when the people in charge don't balance everything properly. If Lutz got what he wanted and GM was run by the engineers... You'd get entire product lines of Pontiac Aztec clones. Great camping vehicle, but it looks like somebody replaced your glasses with a steaming load of diarrhea.

Actually I have an actual counterexample to your assertion. Elon Musk is as close to an engineer CEO as you can get. As head of Tesla, they have produced the Model S, which is fairly widey acknowledged as a triumph of engineering. Its high end model goes from 0 to 60mph in 3.2 seconds and is the fastest accelerating mass produced fo

about three weeks ago
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Tumblr Co-Founder: Apple's Software Is In a Nosedive

catchblue22 Re:Tim Cook is an MBA (598 comments)

People have been saying MBA's are worthless for a while. Look at this http://content.time.com/time/m... Key quote from the article: "Lutz says, we need to fire the M.B.A.s and let engineers run the show."

And yet, I think the problem is still there, in spite of the work MBA's have done on their "branding". Exhibit (A) is Tim Cook with corroborating evidence to be found in TFA.

about a month ago
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Tumblr Co-Founder: Apple's Software Is In a Nosedive

catchblue22 Re:Tim Cook is an MBA (598 comments)

Sigh. You kids today...

Alas. I didn't have time to check the name and now my entire argument is refuted. Oh wait.

A short history on JOHN Sculley can be found here. Of note:

In the early 1990s, Sculley led Apple, at enormous expense, to port its operating system to run on a new microprocessor, the PowerPC. Sculley later acknowledged such an act was his greatest mistake, indicating that he should instead have targeted the dominant Intel architecture.[24] After a bad first quarter in 1993, Apple's board forced Sculley out.[25] He was replaced by German-born Michael Spindler, who had been Chief Operating Officer, who was also ousted a year later.[26]

Sculley did not have technical expertise. He pivotal strategic technical decisions such as described above without the expertise to do so. He didn't understand that using a mature UNIX foundation would allow his company to port the operating system (relatively) easily and quickly from one processor to another. This is exactly what Jobs did. It allowed him to (relatively) smoothly port OSX from PowerPC to Intel to ARM. In my opinion, this was Job's most important technical decision and it is what allowed Apple to become successful again.

about a month ago
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In Daring Plan, Tomorrow SpaceX To Land a Rocket On Floating Platform

catchblue22 Re:Re usability (151 comments)

Even if they can recover the engine intact how many times can it be reused. Saving a few million on a higher chance of blowing up multi billion payloads is not exactly wise economically.

I have heard they have already put engines through 40 or more simulated launch cycles. These engines were designed to be reliable. To a certain extent, having tested an engine through previous launches might imply more reliability, at least up to a certain point. In any case, if they recover the rocket, they will be able to analyze how the launch has affected the structure and systems.

These rockets do not use hydrogen, and thus do not have the problems of embrittlement that the shuttle engines had. I suspect one of the bigger problems will be coking from using kerosine fuel, but I also suspect that can be mitigated using solvents to clean the fuel systems.

about a month ago
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Tumblr Co-Founder: Apple's Software Is In a Nosedive

catchblue22 Tim Cook is an MBA (598 comments)

More evidence for my hypothesis that MBA managers are driving the American economy into the ground. Contrast him with Steve Jobs who was not an MBA. He brought the company back from the edge, after being destroyed by another MBA, Jim Sculley.

If you want a strong perspective against MBA's, I recommend reading John Ralston Saul's "The Unconscious Civilization" . Here is part of a summary of his arguments against MBA's:

They fear all the most effective qualities of capitalism itself (risk, innovation). “No matter how badly the MBAs are doing, they just go on hiring clones of themselves.” They preach capitalist ideology, but only simulate it through unproductive preoccupations like mergers and acquisitions. Their incomes skyrocket, the economy founders, the middle class erodes.

They profit by flipping between nationalization and privatization; “an unnecessary move in either direction merely makes money for the political friends of the party in power”. Privatization of government functions is foolish, as business is better suited to fuelling real growth.

Contrast this with real innovators like Elon Musk, who has created disruptive companies in four separate sectors (banking, transportation, space launching, and energy production). Please note that he is NOT an MBA and openly says that he disagrees with their methods.

about a month ago
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The Billionaires' Space Club

catchblue22 Re:What's with the "robber" nonsense? (235 comments)

I'm not saying he was a saint and that there was no room for criticism, but you are also flat out wrong that his actions didn't help the buyers of the products he was selling. That he clearly stopped other potential competitors from entering the marketplace is true, but he also was hardly the only person to shut out subsequent potential competitors from entering into an industry either. Sadly, most business regulations and laws are designed explicitly to encourage that kind of behavior too.

Just because others do it doesn't make it right. Just because organizations like Rockefeller's have purchased and corrupted our political system doesn't make it right. Just because similar organizations have purchased most of the media and broadcast the subtle propaganda that you have so faithfully reproduced doesn't make it right. Rockefeller illegally used his dominant market position to supress actual competition. That you so casually defend such reprehensible behavior speaks more to the effectiveness of the propaganda environment we live in than to the actual strength of any argument you are presenting. Your comment is basically an admission of your own slavery.

about a month ago
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The Billionaires' Space Club

catchblue22 Re:What's with the "robber" nonsense? (235 comments)

What are "robber barons" anyways? John D. Rockefeller, founder of Standard Oil is an excellent example of one. He gained an early lead in the oil industry. Then he used some rather extreme tactics to preserve his lead, none of which benefited consumers. For one, he bought up rail lines surrounding his competitors, and used this ownership to deny his competitors the ability to transport their oil. Those competitors responded by packing their oil in barrels which could then be loaded onto multiple means of conveyance (i.e. trucks). This is why oil is still measured in "barrels". Rockefeller responded by attempting to control the market on the compound that was used to seal the barrels from leaking. The government eventually responded by breaking up Standard Oil into many different companies.

The above doesn't sound like Space X under Elon Musk. Space X is the plucky newcomer disrupting the existing American launch contractor United Launch Alliance (ULA) and its cosy relationship with the US military. If anything, ULA, Lockheed Martin, and Boeing fall under the moniker of "Robber Baron". This writer sounds like a troll acting in the best interests of the decaying American launch industry.

about a month ago
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NASA Tests Feasibility of 3D Printing on the Moon and Other Planets

catchblue22 Re:The biggest problem is fluid dynamics. (58 comments)

g is also a unit of acceleration: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G...

I prefer to say that g is gravitational field strength in N/kg. It is equal to the acceleration of a free falling object, but I think it is clearer to think of it as the number of newtons of gravitational force one gets per kg in the field. Of course, 1N/kg is the same as 1m/s^2.

about a month and a half ago
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Orion Capsule Safely Recovered, Complete With 12-Year-Old Computer Guts

catchblue22 Space X Redundant Computing (197 comments)

There are two approaches to radiation tolerant computing. One is to make the processors hardened to radiation. These processors are usually slower, and use an architecture with fewer knowledgable computer programmers. This seems to be the approach on Orion.

In contrast, the Space X Dragon Capsule uses multiple processors operating simultaneously to create a fault tolerant system. To quote:

Dragon uses a "radiation-tolerant" design in the electronic hardware and software that make up its flight computers. The system uses three pairs of computers, each constantly checking on the others, to instantiate a fault-tolerant design. In the event of a radiation upset or soft error, one of the computer pairs will perform a soft reboot.[45] Including the six computers that make up the main flight computers, Dragon employs a total of 18 triple-processor computers.[45]

An advantage of this is that the processors are far faster. There are also many more trained programmers available for these more current architectures. Such systems arguably have similar (or better?) radiation tolerance to the older hardened processors.

about 2 months ago
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IoT Is the Third Big Technology 'Wave' In the Last 50 Years, Says Harvard

catchblue22 Simpsons (196 comments)

I for one welcome our new food cooling overlords.

about 2 months ago
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Multiple Manufacturers Push Hydrogen Fuel Cell Cars, But Can They Catch Tesla?

catchblue22 Re:Where do you fill up? (293 comments)

It is an edge bet against a future where petrofuels are too expensive. With declining oil prices electric cars and hydrogen cars are going to start becoming less attractive just like what happened in the 90s last time this was attempted. Tesla might still sell with their angle on performance. These guys will probably not sell well at all. Plus cost effective ways to produce hydrogen without using petrofuels or natural gas have never actually materialized. One way is high temperature nuclear power plants using thermoelectric water separation but given the current investment into nuclear technologies it is not going to happen. Another way was concentrated solar thermoelectric but that is not cost effective with current methods.

Read my post. Hydrogen as energy transmission is a dead end physics wise. Use the electrical grid and get 90%+ effiency, or use hydrogen and lose most of your energy. Electrolyzing water is, and always will be very inefficient. It will not, cannot reach the efficiency of the grid.

about 2 months ago
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Multiple Manufacturers Push Hydrogen Fuel Cell Cars, But Can They Catch Tesla?

catchblue22 Re:Where do you fill up? (293 comments)

If one were to buy one of these, how would one proceed to fill up? Would it be a viable transportation option for a road trip?

This is why I think electric vehicles have an advantage...you can put the charging station at your residence. All it needs is a wire. The infrastructure is already there, and can be expanded with relatively little expense. I can imagine charging stations everywhere one parks one's car. We all park our cars at some point, so we will all be able to charge our battery cars enough to make them usable, especially if the charging stations are high capacity.

In addition I think that in terms of space and expense, the potential power output of batteries is far larger than for fuel cells. I picture fuel cells as being finicky and complicated. If I am wrong, please correct me. However I have trouble imagining 800hp output (like the latest Tesla) from a fuel cell. My suspicion is that such a powerful fuel cell would be a Rube Goldberg machine.

Finally, and I think this is the real nail in the coffin for hydrogen as an energy source, is energy efficiency. Creating hydrogen from water, or from whatever other source you have takes a fairly large amount of energy. Let's say we take our hydrogen from water. How much of that input energy will actually make it to the fuel in terms of chemical potential energy? Some of the energy will be put into the O2 bond, which will not be transferred as fuel. Some (most) of the energy will be lost as thermal energy. Only a relatively small amount of the input energy will make it into the fuel. I would be surprised if it was even 20%, and I suspect it is less.

Compare this with gas turbine generators, that can have efficiencies well over 50%. So, you use your natural gas to generate electricity, in which you lose half of your energy already. Now you have a choice: you can use that electrical energy to electrolize water and lose 80% or more of that remaining energy. Or you can use the electrical grid to transfer the electricity directly to the car and lose only about 5% of the energy to the electrical grid.

The laws of thermodynamics are against the use of hydrogen is a fuel. Unless we can find a way of electrolyzing water that has an efficiency equivalent to the electrical grid (more than 90% - and such a process would violate the laws of thermodynamics), hydrogen as a fuel is an obvious dead end. If only the people who ran these companies knew a little bit of physics. I'll take a BSc in Physics any day over an MBA.

about 2 months ago

Submissions

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Will ultrasound-on-a-chip make medical imaging so cheap that anyone can do it?

catchblue22 catchblue22 writes  |  about 3 months ago

catchblue22 (1004569) writes "MIT Technology Review has an article describing a potentially groundbreaking invention:

A scanner the size of an iPhone that you could hold up to a person’s chest and see a vivid, moving, 3-D image of what’s inside is being developed by entrepreneur Jonathan Rothberg.

Rothberg says he has raised $100 million to create a medical imaging device that’s nearly “as cheap as a stethoscope” and will “make doctors 100 times as effective.” The technology, which according to patent documents relies on a new kind of ultrasound chip, could eventually lead to new ways to destroy cancer cells with heat, or deliver information to brain cells.

"
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Microsoft's Quantum Mechanics

catchblue22 catchblue22 writes  |  about 4 months ago

catchblue22 (1004569) writes "MIT Technology Review has an excellent article summarizing the current state of quantum computing. It focuses on the efforts of Microsoft and Alcatel-Lucent's Bell Labs to build stable qubits over the past few years.

In 2012, physicists in the Netherlands announced a discovery in particle physics that started chatter about a Nobel Prize. Inside a tiny rod of semiconductor crystal chilled cooler than outer space, they had caught the first glimpse of a strange particle called the Majorana fermion, finally confirming a prediction made in 1937. It was an advance seemingly unrelated to the challenges of selling office productivity software or competing with Amazon in cloud computing, but Craig Mundie, then heading Microsoft’s technology and research strategy, was delighted. The abstruse discovery—partly underwritten by Microsoft—was crucial to a project at the company aimed at making it possible to build immensely powerful computers that crunch data using quantum physics. “It was a pivotal moment,” says Mundie. “This research was guiding us toward a way of realizing one of these systems.”

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The Gods Strike Back: Wall Street's Risky Hubris

catchblue22 catchblue22 writes  |  more than 4 years ago

catchblue22 (1004569) writes "The Economist has an interesting essay that gives some perspective on our economic situation. From the article,

THE revolutionary idea that defines the boundary between modern times and the past is the mastery of risk: the notion that the future is more than a whim of the gods and that men and women are not passive before nature. So wrote Peter Bernstein in his seminal history of risk,"Against the Gods".

Wall Street quants have claimed over the past decade that they had the ability to quantify financial risk down to several decimal places. The Great Recession has shown their claims to be absurd. Wall Street's supposed mastery of risk allowed financial institutions to package risky loans as derivatives that ostensibly had definite and identifiable risk profiles. Our recent financial collapse shows the limits of our beautiful and elegant mathematical models of the economy."
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