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Marissa Mayer's Reinvention of Yahoo! Stumbles

gman003 Re:Yeah, don't focus on products. (136 comments)

Can I use my AR social cloud drone to find Uber rides to my local hackerspace? I need to build a rack of Raspberry Pis to mine cryptocurrencies with.

2 hours ago
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India Successfully Test Fires Its Heaviest Rocket

gman003 Weird design (52 comments)

Those boosters aren't boosters, they're a side-mounted first stage, because the first liquid engine isn't even ignited until shortly before the boosters separate.

The first stage, then, is a pair of pretty standard solid rockets. A bit under half the thrust of a Shuttle booster, and about a third the mass.

The second stage is a pair of hypergolic liquid rockets, using UDMH and N2O4. Normally that's a sign of military heritage - hypergolic fuels are common in ICBM designs because they're storable at room temperature, and guarantee that the missile will at least launch. Purely civilian designs rarely use such fuels, because they're dangerous as hell, RP-1+LOX is cheaper, and you would generally prefer an aborted launch to an explosion. But in this case it actually makes sense - if you were on the ground and RP-1+LOX failed to ignite, you just try again tomorrow, but if you're already in the air, you're screwed if it doesn't ignite. It also gets about the same efficiency as RP1+LOX.

The third stage is supposed to be LH2+LOX, but was not used on this test flight. Perfectly reasonable for an upper stage, where the low thrust is less important than the high efficiency.

Overall, a bit different design than most rockets, but not in a bad way.

11 hours ago
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Startup Helps You Build Your Very Own Picosatellite On a Budget

gman003 Re:Great, lets make money getting Kessler effect (21 comments)

I really doubt they're putting these into a high enough orbit for that to be a problem. These thing will probably deorbit in less than a year.

yesterday
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Top Five Theaters Won't Show "The Interview" Sony Cancels Release

gman003 Re:No, no, no (563 comments)

The current prevailing theory is that North Korea hired outside hackers for this job. That fits the level of skill shown (less than CIA-level, more than skiddie level), the damage done, and even North Korea's response (had it been homegrown hackers, I'm not sure Kim could have helped but shout it out to the world).

Also, pointing out that an action was illogical in no way proves that it was not North Korea. They have shown time and time again to be a country that makes bad decisions, and acts with little regard for the consequences.

yesterday
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Top Five Theaters Won't Show "The Interview" Sony Cancels Release

gman003 Re:No winner here, except for us all (563 comments)

Why do you have to take either side?

North Korea is the greater of the two evils, undoubtedly, but they gained nothing by doing this. And maybe, just maybe, this will be the final straw that makes the world take action against them. Meanwhile, I'm just going to sit back and laugh.

It's like if Adolf Hitler started heckling Fred Phelps during a speech. Sure, you hate both of them, but you're not going to stop him unless he either starts targeting someone who isn't a walking piece of crap, or he starts benefiting from it somehow.

yesterday
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Top Five Theaters Won't Show "The Interview" Sony Cancels Release

gman003 Re:No winner here, except for us all (563 comments)

I covered that. Read their denial closely - they spend as much time praising the attack as they do denying that it was them in an official capacity.

If they officially state that they did it, there would be official responses. But unless there's some absolutely definitive evidence found, even though it was quite obviously North Korea, no prosecutor would be willing to make that official accusation. By unofficially endorsing it, but officially disavowing that it was them, they are claiming responsibility in a fully deniable, un-actionable way.

Who else has motive to threaten the moviegoers? That doesn't fit with any alternative hypothesis, unless it's misdirection to make us think it's North Korea. If it were for profit, that doesn't get them any more money. If it were revenge for the shitty things Sony has done, they wouldn't threaten their customers (who are pretty much just innocent bystanders as far as that goes). If it were a rival studio, that could have just as much an effect on their movie performance as Sony's (terrorist attacks are notoriously imprecise).

Perhaps I'm wrong, and it's a group that's trying very hard to make it look like North Korea is behind it. As misdirection ploys go, it's a brilliant one. But their act is too convincing - this fits North Korea too well, in my opinion, to be anyone but them.

I know they're a bunch of unreliable liars, but it seems the US government agrees with me, for whatever that's worth.

yesterday
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Top Five Theaters Won't Show "The Interview" Sony Cancels Release

gman003 No winner here, except for us all (563 comments)

It's pretty transparent that these hackers are North Korean. Fuck North Korea.

On the other hand, fuck Sony. I can't say that enough - FUCK SONY.

This doesn't help NK in any way. Oh, this movie is blasphemous to their state-mandated religion, worshipping the rotting corpse of Kim I and Kim II? This movie was never going to be seen by anyone in that entire country, if for the simple reason that so few of them can even afford it. I doubt they can even use this hack as internal propaganda, because the simple fact that such a movie exists shows how little the outside world cares about North Korea. And nobody's fooled by their disavowal - this is just more proof that they're a bunch of thugs.

This hurts Sony. First the humiliation of the hack. Then the financial damage. Then the humiliation of acceding to terrorist demands. They may have had a bad reputation in our circles for years now, but they've now lost face in the mainstream media, too.

So yeah, our enemies are fighting and both of them are losing. Time to break out the popcorn.

yesterday
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SpaceX To Attempt Falcon 9 Landing On Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship

gman003 Re:fuel weight (81 comments)

Rockets themselves are expensive. Rocket fuel, particularly the sort SpaceX uses, is dirt cheap in comparison - only $200K of their $56M launch cost.

Yes, having that extra fuel decreases their payload capacity (from what it could be). But they don't need as much fuel when descending, since they no longer have a second stage and payload weighing them down, so it isn't much fuel in total.

However, the cost of not having to rebuild the rocket every time is much more significant. Even if they can only reuse it a few times, that's a lot of production cost being saved.

2 days ago
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Graphene: Fast, Strong, Cheap, and Impossible To Use

gman003 Re:Aluminium (186 comments)

Nah, it's the insurance rates that really killed that project.

3 days ago
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MIT Removes Online Physics Lectures and Courses By Walter Lewin

gman003 Re:Creating more victims (416 comments)

Apparently the videos were CC, so they should be available elsewhere. MIT just doesn't want their name associated with him anymore.

about a week ago
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James Watson's Nobel Prize Medal Will Be Returned To Him

gman003 Re:One good turn... (234 comments)

"[I am] inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa [because] all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours—whereas all the testing says not really."

"[There is a natural desire that all human beings should be equal but] people who have to deal with black employees find this not true"

He never specified which tests he was referring to in the first quote - I for one have not seen any studies of intelligence that showed any statistically significant link between race and intelligence, only between education and intelligence, or wealth and intelligence (unfortunately race and wealth are linked for historical reasons - given our low large-scale class mobility, it will be centuries before we can study one without concern for the effects of the other).

about a week ago
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High Temperature Superconductivity Record Smashed By Sulfur Hydride

gman003 Re:Can someone explain to me (80 comments)

The constant pressure isn't what produces the heat, it's the act of compression. You compress it, it heats up, you remove that heat, and now you have high pressure and low temperature.

about two weeks ago
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China Plans Superheavy Rocket, Ups Reliability

gman003 Have they picked a fuel yet? (86 comments)

Last I'd heard, the Long March 9 was so early in development that they hadn't yet decided on two options: either a LOX+RP1 first stage with liquid boosters, or a LOX+LH2 first stage with more powerful solid boosters.

Current Long March rockets, by the way, use N2O4+UDMH exclusively (save for the very first few, which used RFNA+UDMH). Very military design.

If you're not into rocket science, those are different enough that you can't just swap out the fuels. You'd be changing the engines, the fuel pumps, the tankage, the whole frame, pretty much everything. Normally this is one of the first things you settle. Car analogy: this is like deciding how many wheels to have when building a car. You can't really just throw another pair on there.

Then again, China's got the budget, they could design and even test both, then decide which is better and declare that CZ-9.

about two weeks ago
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French Publishers Prepare Lawsuit Against Adblock Plus

gman003 Re:I use AdBlock and here's why... (687 comments)

Also significant: of the last three virus infections I've had, all originated from malicious ads, two of them on sites that I considered trustworthy (one I had specifically exempted from Adblock).

about two weeks ago
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French Publishers Prepare Lawsuit Against Adblock Plus

gman003 Re:Legal Opinion, Please? (687 comments)

I think they're claiming it's extortion, since you can pay to be removed from the block list. That might actually work (depending on how French law is), but might also be a good thing since it would mean adblockers just block everything (which would still presumably be legal).

about two weeks ago
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North Korea Denies Involvement In "Righteous" Sony Hack

gman003 Re:I'd be curious about the consequences. (85 comments)

There's not much left that can be done to North Korea, but there are some options.

South Korea could shut down their part of Kaesong, and the handful of other cross-border joint ventures. That would mildly inconvenience the South Korean companies, but would seriously hurt the North Korean economy. South Korea doesn't really have any dogs in this fight, though, so unlikely.

China could stop their trade. It's a drop in the bucket for them, but would basically destroy North Korea (particularly if they have farm problems again). But again, if all the other shit North Korea has done hasn't made them stop propping them up, I doubt this will.

And of course, military action is always an option. North Korea's army is massive, but they're almost all just cannon fodder. Some analyses I've read of a hypothetical Korean war have South Korea annihilating the North before any of its allies can even get political approval. Again, though: disproportionate response to this incident, and it ignores the entire reason *why* China is propping them up - they want a buffer between them and South Korea (and the American armies stationed there). So any war attacking North Korea implicitly means attacking China, which is very much a bad idea. China's got a big army, generally well-equipped. Their only real weakness is an inability to project power, and when you're fighting on their doorstep, that's not a hindrance.

about two weeks ago
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Football Concussion Lawsuits Start To Hit High Schools

gman003 Re:That's going to be tricky to wiggle out of... (233 comments)

If you're not experiencing brain damage from excessive *headdesk* in D&D, your players are doing something horribly wrong.

Or horribly right. Hard to tell in most games.

about three weeks ago
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First Star War Episode 7 Trailer Released

gman003 Re: Is it just me ... (390 comments)

The 501st Legion started as the costume group, the nerds who dress up in Stormtrooper costumes for fun. They were later incorporated into canon, starting with a Zahn novel I can't remember the name of, and later with Episode 3 (not mentioned in the movie, but the Clone Troopers Anikin led into the Jedi temple became the core of the 501st Legion), the Clone Wars TV series, and the game Battlefront II.

about three weeks ago
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First Star War Episode 7 Trailer Released

gman003 Hope and Fear (390 comments)

My biggest hope for this new series is that it acts as a condensation of the best of the Expanded Universe, sort of like how the Marvel and TDK movies take the best storylines and elements from the decades of comics, and condenses it into a handful of cohesive stories. The EU had a lot of bad and even just mediocre shit in it, but it also had a ton of good stuff. Disney would be foolish to slavishly follow continuity, yes, but they'd also be foolish to completely ignore the best stories of it. Sure, nobody outside the hardcode Star Wars nerds know who Thrawn is or why we should be excited for his movie, but nobody outside the hardcore comic nerds knew who Rocket Raccoon was, and how much money did GotG make? Take Thrawn, X-Wing, Corellia, the two Han Solo trilogies, maybe some of the New Jedi Order (it was a good idea, just unevenly executed and too continuity-laden), and distill those down to a decade's worth of movies. Mix in some original stuff, and you'll be printing money.

My biggest fear is that this turns out like Abram's Star Trek reboot - it copies the superficial elements, ticks off all the checkboxes for the series, but completely misses the point.

For Star Trek, it was the optimism and the science. Roddenberry genuinely believed the future was going to be good, and the best Trek showed us a future that had its problems, but was overall optimistic. The science was often laughable, but they at least *tried* to figure out where the future might go. The reboots had Kirk and Spock, they had the Enterprise, they had Klingons, they had time travel and warp drives, but it didn't have optimism (just lens flare), and didn't have either a retro-futurist science, or a modern scientific outlook (either of which would have been acceptable).

For Star Wars, it's the heroism. Clear-cut bad guys, archetypal Hero's Journey, and a heavy dose of fantasy on top of the sci-fi foundation. Other than the zweihander-esque lightsaber, I didn't see any of that - although such a short trailer can hardly be expected to. So my fears were neither proven valid, not assuaged. We'll have to wait and see.

about three weeks ago
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The Schizophrenic Programmer Who Built an OS To Talk To God

gman003 Re:IEC 61508-3 anyone? (452 comments)

Have you tried version 2.0 yet? It replaced those with loaves and fishes. Has a recurring 3-day downtime though.

about three weeks ago

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