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How Long Can the ISS Last?

dnwq Urgh. (112 comments)

God, we're going to keep that thing up there until it disintegrates and kill everyone aboard, aren't we? Just because no politician wants to be the one to pull the plug, even though they would hardly vote for an ISS today. Then we'll pat ourselves on the back for humanity's heroism and then go right back to fighting over the pale blue dot.

about a year ago

NASA's Interactive Flood Maps

dnwq Re:I don't see how NASA's name got attached to thi (90 comments)

Hmm. That explains why it shows the Volga delta as massively flooded at +1m. In actuality the Caspian is -27m right now already, so of course +28m would be catastrophic.

about 2 years ago

GitHub Hacked

dnwq Re:The devs were notified and ignored it (202 comments)

Not precisely right: the devs were saying "good users know how to secure their installs" and then Homakov demonstrated just how untrue this was by breaking into what is probably the world's most important and professionally-run Ruby on Rails server, i.e., GitHub. That Rails itself is hosted on GitHub just makes it funnier.

more than 2 years ago

GitHub Hacked

dnwq The devs were notified and ignored it (202 comments)

The best thing is this comment by a developer closing Homakov's original bug report, two days before Homakov hacked in:

fxn commented 3 days ago

There was a proposal about changing that flag in #4062 and the consensus is the pros of the default configuration outweigh the pros of the alternative.


Apparently GitHub's own admin isn't "pro" enough...

more than 2 years ago

Kenya Seeks Nuclear Power Infrastructure

dnwq Re:Definition of irony (180 comments)

The Kenyans - who are poor and value becoming less-poor over any fears (correct or not) over long-term environmental effects, and the Germans - who are rich and value said environment comparatively highly.

about 3 years ago

Giant Archaeological Trove Found Via Google Earth

dnwq Re:Was it smart? (126 comments)

More importantly, Saudi's official brand of Wahhabism dislikes anything that may be potentially idolatrous and proactively destroys historical monuments. Buildings found via excavation in Mecca have been bulldozed by royal edict.

more than 3 years ago

Engineers Create Tiny Wires WIth Old Technique

dnwq transistor density (27 comments)

Any impact on Moore's Law?

more than 4 years ago

BP Knew of Deepwater Horizon Problems 11 Months Ago

dnwq So (438 comments)

What future disasters does someone in BP know about now?

more than 4 years ago

UK Home Office Set To Scrap National ID Cards

dnwq Re:No surprise (334 comments)

The Conservative party used to back national ID cards; it moved onto the Labor platform when Labor won in 1997.

The simplest explanation is that the ruling party simply represented the interests of the Home Office, and the same now that the excessive cost has been amply demonstrated. Had the price tag not been so high, even a Lib Dem government wouldn't have dismantled it.

more than 4 years ago

Defense Chief Urges Big Cuts In Military Spending

dnwq Re:In the same speech (449 comments)

Arthur Roberts

[Written while the Brookhaven National Laboratory was being planned]

Upon the lawns of Washington the physicists assemble,
From all the land are men at hand, their wisdom to exchange.
A great man stands to speak, and with applause the rafters tremble.
"My friends," says he, "you all can see that physics now must change.
Now in my lab we had our plans, but these we'll now expand,
Research right now is useless, we have come to understand.
We now propose constructing at an ancient Army base,
The best electronuclear machine in any place, -- Oh

It will cost a billion dollars, ten billion volts 'twill give,
It will take five thousand scholars seven years to make it live.
All the generals approve it, all the money's now in hand,
And to help advance our program, teaching students now we've banned.
We have chartered transportation, we'll provide a weekly dance,
Our motto's integration, there is nothing left to chance.
This machine is just a model for a bigger one, of course,
That's the future road for physics, as I hope you'll all endorse."

And as the halls with cheers resound and praises fill the air,
One single man remains aloof and silent in his chair.
And when the room is quiet and the crowd has ceased to cheer,
He rises up and thunders forth an answer loud and clear.
"It seems that I'm a failure, just a piddling dilettante,
Within six months a mere ten thousand bucks is all I've spent.
With love and string and sealing wax was physics kept alive,
Let not the wealth of Midas hide the goal for which we strive. --Oh

"Take away your billion dollars, take away your tainted gold,
You can keep your damn ten billion volts, my soul will not be sold.
Take away your army generals; their kiss is death, I'm sure.
Everything I build is mine, and every volt I make is pure.
Take away your integration; let us learn and let us teach,
Oh, beware this epidemic Berkelitis, I beseech.
Oh, dammit! Engineering isn't physics, is that plain?
Take, oh take, your billion dollars, let's be physicists again."


Within the halls of NSF the panelists assemble.
From all the land the experts band their wisdom to exchange.
A great man stands to speak and with applause the rafters tremble,
‘My friends, ’says he, b e all can see that budgets now must change.
By toil and sweat the Soviet have reached ten billion volts.
Shall we downtrodden physicists submit ? No, no,-revolt!
It never shall be said that we let others lead the way.
We'll band together all finest brains and save the day.

Give us back our billion dollars, better add ten billion more.
If your budget looks unbalanced, just remember this is war.
Never mind the Army’s shrieking, never mind the Navy’s pain.
Never mind the Air Force projects disappearing down the drain.
In coordinates barycentric, every BeV means lots of cash,
There will be no cheap solutions,-neither straight nor synchroclash.
If we outbuild the Russians, it will be because we spend.
Give, oh give those billion dollars, let them flow without an end.

[Folklore records that the brave and solitary scientist who so vigorously
defended the purity of science at the original meeting was killed by
a beam of hyperons when the Berkeley Bevatron was first switched on.]

In this light the context of Eisenhower may be clearer. Here is a larger quote:

Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades.

In this revolution, research has become central; it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.

Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.

The prospect of domination of the nation's scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded.

Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific technological elite.

It is the task of statesmanship to mold, to balance, and to integrate these and other forces, new and old, within the principles of our democratic system -- ever aiming toward the supreme goals of our free society.

Obviously, the idea of the scientific establishment telling the DoD how to spend its money is laughable today (just compare the relative sizes of their budgets). But once upon a time it seemed plausible, and that era was when Eisenhower made his warning.

more than 4 years ago

Texas Tells Cape Wind "You're Not First Yet"

dnwq Re:Yeeeeeehaw! (374 comments)

Regulation means that those alternatives to wind farms with large, hidden costs borne actually pay those costs. So your clean wind farm actually turns a profit.

more than 4 years ago

New Crossover Release With Improved Compatibility

dnwq botnet (104 comments)

I hope they check user-reported installation recipes, or people are going to find their instructions freshly packaged with Botnet 9.0 too...

more than 4 years ago

China's Human Flesh Search Engine

dnwq Re:Why can't we all get along? (248 comments)

It's a reminder that China is totalitarianism because its people prefer it that way.

more than 4 years ago

Blizzard Previews Revamped Battle.net

dnwq Re:Fawks (188 comments)

"I bought your product even though I thought you screwed it up, but if you screw it up again I won't buy it. Honest!"

(plus, bonus "I hated and didn't finish one of your GOTY titles, thus demonstrating I am not your representative customer and can be safely ignored")

more than 4 years ago


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