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Comments

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What It Took For SpaceX To Become a Serious Space Company

dpilot Re:Blah blah Elon call me when (95 comments)

By that definition, nobody has a serious space industry, not even the government players.

Actually I think I might almost agree with you, but that's not a ding against SpaceX, it's a ding against our species.

I don't agree about launching more habs that we can fill with people - I'd just like to see enough SOMETHING launched to make opportunities. I'd also like to see a second basket to keep some of our species eggs in.

2 days ago
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The Greatest Keyboard Ever Made

dpilot This post is being typed... (304 comments)

... on a vintage Model-M keyboard purchased years ago at Flea@MIT. Someone had a bunch of unopened boxes of them, brand new 15-year-old keyboards. My only mistake was in not buying more than one. I've picked up a few more an various flea markets and hamfests, but none as good as that one...

That is, except for the 1987-vintage Model-M on my wife's computer upstairs that came an the XT-286.

about two weeks ago
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Lennart Poettering: Open Source Community "Quite a Sick Place To Be In"

dpilot Re: Greater Internet F***wad Theory (993 comments)

How would you feel if there were apparent force applied to make you use systemd, regardless of our opinion of it? Some of us perceive that that's the reality. Witness L.P.'s recent rants against Gentoo, which only offers systemd as an option, and not the default option.

I like to be a moderate too, but I don't like coercion.

about two weeks ago
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NASA Eyes Crew Deep Sleep Option For Mars Mission

dpilot Re:Sounds a bit risky (236 comments)

It's going to be interesting for the test subjects. You don't really think that they're first going to use this on the way to Mars, do you? I would suspect that the first many-month tests will be right here on Earth, with continuous monitoring, and they'll probably build time up from the current week until they reach the target.

Then at some point they'll ship the "hibernaculum" up to the ISS for the next layers of testing. They'll probably again ramp the time up, looking for zero-G degradations. By the time anyone ships for Mars this way, it'll be well tested.

But here's the question - I get the impression that you get a better pay scale for being on-orbit. What will be the pay scale for sleeping for 9 months solid? After all it IS hazardous duty. And when someone goes up to the ISS to sleep for long periods will they get on-orbit pay?

about three weeks ago
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Sci-Fi Authors and Scientists Predict an Optimistic Future

dpilot Re:Spoiler (191 comments)

This presumes that people regularly leave the tower, or at least the upper floors of the tower. Science fiction has plengy of examples where Elvis may never leave the building. Probably not workable in today's society, but what if everything needed for daily life could be reached within a few floors.

Think in terms of the arcologies in "Oath of Fealty".

about a month ago
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European Space Agency Picks Site For First Comet Landing In November

dpilot Re:Does it look like a potato? (35 comments)

Sorry, but it's a bit early for that. Search for "Patricia Vasquez" and you find two of any prominence, an acress and someone who mediates natural resource problems. Add "mathematics" to the search and the top hit is utterly irrelevant - some dude named Greg Bear.

about a month ago
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Original 11' Star Trek Enterprise Model Being Restored Again

dpilot Saw it at the Smithsonian a few years ago (99 comments)

We took the family to DC for a vacation, and of course one of the things I had to see was Smithsonian Air and Space. I didn't know that the original Enterprise model was there, and was surprised to see it on the lower floor.

The next surprise was that the model was never finished. One side had all of the lights, striping, and everything. The other side had a little striping, and was otherwise pretty much blank. I remembered reading that in one of those books, and how all shots were of the finished side, or mirrored in post-processing.

about a month ago
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SpaceX and Boeing Battle For US Manned Spaceflight Contracts

dpilot Re:Decisions, Decisions... (123 comments)

I thought I also read something about kerosene leaving some sort of residue in the plumbing, turbopumps, etc. For a disposable it just doesn't matter, but for a reusable it means extra maintenance. The other thing was Zubrin suggesting that methane/oxygen was relatively easy to generate on Mars, for a return flight. Since Musk probably isn't planning on returning, that would be for a Mars space program.

about a month and a half ago
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SpaceX and Boeing Battle For US Manned Spaceflight Contracts

dpilot Re:Decisions, Decisions... (123 comments)

Since you sound familiar with this stuff, I'm wondering about Falcon Heavy. I've seen that it's moving to methane/oxygen propellents. My understanding has been that kerosene/oxygen were generally best for a first stage, and hydrogen/oxygen is best for an upper stage where specific impulse is more important than tank size.

With methan/oxygen it seems obvious that they'd like to run the engine on mars-native fuel. But I also get the impression that kerosene/oxygen might not be the best thing for reusability because it gums up the works, and methane/oxygen would be better.

So I see three factor here - Earth launch, reuse, and Mars launch. Do you have any feel for this tradeoff set?

about a month and a half ago
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SpaceX and Boeing Battle For US Manned Spaceflight Contracts

dpilot Re:Decisions, Decisions... (123 comments)

I must have skimmed TFA too fast. So this appears to be for the capsule, not the launcher? I thought there was a launcher competition going too, and that was going to be bigger than Atlas 5 or Delta IV.

about a month and a half ago
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SpaceX and Boeing Battle For US Manned Spaceflight Contracts

dpilot Re:Decisions, Decisions... (123 comments)

"Safe" and "Exciting" have a different meaning in this context. Realize that Falcon 9 has already flown several times, and though plagued with the delays that plague pretty much all launches, has a good track record which will presumably continue through its use in a manned launch. The "Exciting" choice sounds about as "Safe" as it gets in rocketry, to me.

The Boeing design is new, though presumably using tried and true components from a tried and true design. There will no doubt be unmanned test launches, but the first men on top will still be sitting on a rocket with far less launch history than the Falcon 9. The "Safe" choice sounds just a bit more "Exciting" this way.

Disclaimer - TFA doesn't say if this is for Falcon 9 or Falcon Heavy. Falcon Heavy is all-new, with only the company track record behind it. That puts SpaceX and Boeing on a more even footing, with Boeing having a longer track record and SpaceX having done more launches recently.

OTOH, I seriously doubt that the head of Boeing plans on going through a Boeing launch personally. The head of SpaceX does.

Seriously... If we really want to foster a private space industry, both companies need to be kept moving forward. At this stage of the game, the contract needs to be split in order to improve the viability of both efforts. Cutthroat cost competition can happen later.

about a month and a half ago
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After Weeks of Delay, SpaceX Falcon Launches Communications Satellite Payload

dpilot Re:Hooray for Space-X (32 comments)

Of course, but that's "sunk cost" in a manner of speaking, available under no better terms to SpaceX than to any other US-based company.

However given that basis, typical contract projects are then paid for by the government, on top of "historical knowledge." SpaceX used the historical knowledge, as others do, but then paid for their additional development themselves.

about a month and a half ago
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After Weeks of Delay, SpaceX Falcon Launches Communications Satellite Payload

dpilot Re:Hooray for Space-X (32 comments)

SpaceX did the development themselves, from what I understand. They're now doing fixed-cost government contracts, unlike the rest of the space industry in the U.S.

My beef is with the way it seems that most US companies are there to make money, and see their products as a way to do so. I'd rather see them be there to build their products, and see money as a way to keep making those products.

For the car analogy, assuming support for both ways would properly continue, would you rather by a car built by a car geek, or buy a car built by a money geek?

about a month and a half ago
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GSOC Project Works To Emulate Systemd For OpenBSD

dpilot Re:Oh well ... (314 comments)

Wow, this is really fascinating!

One set of systemd advocates suggests that the Unix Way is obsolete, holding Linux back, and is overdue to be discarded.

Now another systemd advocate suggests that systemd is fulfilling the Unix Way better than SysV Init.

I will say now, as I said months ago, that systemd would be much less controversial if it had been packaged differently. I'm not the only one making that statement, and yet for all of its claimed modularity at compile time, systemd is still one package.

about a month and a half ago
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GSOC Project Works To Emulate Systemd For OpenBSD

dpilot Re:Oh well ... (314 comments)

> the reality is systemd is a bunch of individual modules

I disagree. Technically you are correct, but the same modularity argument can be made for practically any piece of code bigger than "Hello World". However in practice systemd is shipped as a monolith. I just checked, and even on Genoo with its uber-flexible USE flags and compilation from source, you can't shut off individual features like logging, dhcp, ntp, etc. Most people just install the binaries.

No, systemd is not the end of the world. But it would be the end of running my machines the way I wish to - at least without spending more time and effort keeping it fenced in as you suggest.

about a month and a half ago
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How Scientific Consensus Has Gotten a Bad Reputation

dpilot Re:Science creates understanding of a real world. (770 comments)

This always struck me as a funny part of the "Harry Potter" series. They were all in a school for magic, verifying and repeating using experimentation. Though it sounds silly to say, it impressed me as "the science of magic."

Science is the way of thinking and the framework, not the topic.

about a month and a half ago
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GSOC Project Works To Emulate Systemd For OpenBSD

dpilot Re:Oh well ... (314 comments)

I didn't name it by name in my original post, but I believe Slackware will be one of those safe distributions. Nor do I ever see a need to go off of Linux.

I simply predict that in the future there will be two platforms - GNU/Linux and SystemD/Linux. The latter will have the lion's share of the users, and will indeed achieve World Domination. The former will continue to have something under 1% of market share, just where we've always been.

In this respect, BSD will not be any safer port in the storm than the old-school-Linux distributions. We all use pretty much the same userspace - we have to just hope that SystemD/Linux doesn't fiddle with that userspace so badly that we can't use it. As long as things are reasonable orthogonal - part of the Unix WAy - we're OK. But we know the new crowd has no respect for that, and indeed feels that it's part of what is holding Linux back.

about a month and a half ago
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GSOC Project Works To Emulate Systemd For OpenBSD

dpilot Re:Oh well ... (314 comments)

But you see, Windows has the lion's share of the market, and many of them are happy there. We tend to look with our Linux/Unix blinders on can't imaging that anyone could be happy there, but there are.

Once upon a time Miguel De Icaza spoke of trying to make Gnome "Windows Done Right". That's what I think people are trying to do with systemd - Windows Done Right - on the Linux kernel. Except that because they came from Windows and were happy with Windows, they may also think that systemd is Linux Done Right.

Any mass migration to BSD is not "mass" when compared to the WIndows userbase. Depending on how many Windows users and developers have already moved to Linux, it may not even be that big a number compared to the current Linux userbase, any more.

about a month and a half ago
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GSOC Project Works To Emulate Systemd For OpenBSD

dpilot Re:Oh well ... (314 comments)

I see systemd as the product of a culture clash between old and old-school Linux users/developers and new Linux users/developers.

Linux was really derived from Unix, and in a very important way RMS has always been correct in insisting it be called GNU/Linux. Because "GNU's Not Unix" only in the licensing aspect. Philosophically, GNU really IS Unix.

A few years back, Linus and Linux started getting a lot of attention in the computing and even general press. Linux started becoming cool and interesting. It started attracting new users, a new wave of early adopters, and since early adopters also tend to be developers, Linux attracted a new wave of developers.

But these developers has a key difference - they had no Unix background. They largely came from Windows, simply because that's the largest source of developers, by simple demographics. But they weren't "fleeing Windows", they were attracted to Linux. They also brought their background, attitudes and preferences with them, and that includes a heave dose of "The Windows Way" and little to nothing of "The Unix Way."

The result is systemd - the Windows Way ported on top of the Linux kernel.

Then there is the demographics issue. The classical Linux market share has been so small and Windows so big that it doesn't take many Windows users/developers to swamp out the old school Linux/Unix camp. We're bing "conquered by demographics." They don't see anything wrong with systemd because it fits their background and world view perfectly - in fact it's a better fit for them than SysV Init is. There's also a bit of the Windows "One Way" attitude at work, attempting to push systemd across the board.

Fortunately there are a few never-newbie distributions still around, and it seems that the old-school Unix users are congregating there and will keep them alive. Or there are always the BSDs..

about a month and a half ago

Submissions

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Blog of Helios writer facing cancer deadline

dpilot dpilot writes  |  more than 2 years ago

dpilot writes "This story has been through "submitted stories" twice this weekend that I've seen on Slashdot, and not made it to the front page.

Slashdot is about "News for Nerds", and Ken Stark passes the geek-test as well as anyone. This is also where Geek meets Politics, and the bad things that can happen there. Perhaps begging for his life on the internet isn't the thing to do — perhaps begging for money to write a trivial app is far more so — I don't think so.

So this is really a "Death Panel". So far Ken Stark has lost the first two Death Panel rounds to the editors. As is said in Congress, let's bring this to the floor — if it's a Death Panel, let's make it public, and stand behind your words. I'll stand behind mine — it's a sickening shame that he is in this position. I've already donated."

Link to Original Source
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Background for "American Gods"

dpilot dpilot writes  |  more than 2 years ago

dpilot (134227) writes "This weekend I heard Neil Gaiman speaking on "To The Best Of Our Knowledge" on public radio, on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of "American Gods." I got the book in hardcover when it first came out, and felt that I was getting strafed by fighter jets, there were so many Norse mythology references going "Whoosh!" over my head. I enjoyed it as best I could, but know I could have gotten much more out of it, had I been more familiar with the underlying material.

I took a Greco-Roman mythology course in high school, so am fairly well founded there. But my Norse mythology comes mostly from reading, "The Mighty Thor" from Marvel Comics. Since the 10th anniversary is as good a reason as any, I'd like to reread "American Gods," but I'd like to do a little reference reading first. Can anyone recommend a book or two of Norse mythology for getting up to speed, without making it a career path?"

Link to Original Source

Journals

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Democracy is a sheep and two wolves

dpilot dpilot writes  |  more than 9 years ago

>Democracy is a sheep and two wolves deciding what to have for lunch. Freedom is a well armed sheep contesting the issue.

I fear it's more like, "Democracy is 48 sheep and 52 wolves deciding what to have for lunch. Well armed sheep contesting the issue is, 'traitorous liberal domestic terrorism.'"

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Journals, friends, foes, fans, freaks ??

dpilot dpilot writes  |  about 12 years ago

There seem to be some new features, though they may have crept in a year ago, considering the attention I've been paying. I can guess what friends, foes, and fans are, but I wonder about freaks.

I don't really have time for this, so this journal entry is my investment, for the moment.

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