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"Barbie: I Can Be a Computer Engineer" Pulled From Amazon

j-b0y If it was IT Manager Barbie (561 comments)

with Ken, Preventer of IT Services, then it would be pretty realistic and quite gender-unspecific.

about a month ago
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What Would Have Happened If Philae Were Nuclear Powered?

j-b0y So much armchair engineering (523 comments)

It was looked at and rejected in favour of high efficiency solar cells. At the time of the design of Philae (early-mod 90s?) there were no European designs for an RTG nor any expertise in building them. If the Philae consortium wanted an RTG they would:

- Source it through the US -- you couldn't exact buy them off the shelf and have all the attendant ITAR baggage that would go with it. Since it would practically work as a US contribution to Philae there would be some science exchange in return. Not impossible, but at that time was there any US money to fund a further contribution to Rosetta from the US on what was quite a high-risk project? Not clear... It also goes right against one of the core principles of ESA which is to invest in/support European technology development.

- ... or fund the development of a European RTG; high risk and probably prohibitively costly for the money available to support the mission and meet the mass budget available for Philae. No doubt that mature designs probably do not have a huge mass penalty, but a new design? Who knows, or would want to take the risk?

- There was at the time quite considerable political resistance in certain European countries to RTGs in space. IIRC Germany was one of them and this would have put a big obstacle in the way. Development of solar panel technology was and still is considered an important goal and improved solar cell technology would be an important spin off.

In the end it really does come down to politics; the safety issues could have been mitigated (at some cost), but there was no political will to go in the direction of RTGs. It will be interesting what will be selected for JUICE...

Incidentally Rosetta itself suffers to a certain extent from choosing solar panels - the long array is turning Rosetta into a windmill that is quite difficult to steer. RTGS would have allowed a smaller array.

about a month ago
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UK Hotel Adds Hefty Charge For Bad Reviews Online

j-b0y Already has 147 'Terrible' ratings (307 comments)

So maybe this couple should have checked Trip Advisor before staying there...

Nonetheless, I think this hotel has pretty much fucked itself now. If anybody wanted to stay there before, they surely won't now.

about a month ago
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Philae Lands Successfully On Comet

j-b0y second picture (188 comments)

Rosetta solar panels at the top of the image, with the main body of the probe top right. The sun was causing lots of straylight in the image and it was quite saturated, so they had to do some major fix-up work to get anything sensible, hence the wierdness that you see on the left hand side.

about a month ago
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Scientists Have Developed a Material So Dark That You Can't See It

j-b0y Paging Hagunenon Admiral (238 comments)

Your Flagship is ready after its respray.

about 5 months ago
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'Curiosity' Lead Engineer Suggests Printing Humans On Other Planets

j-b0y Re:Mad Scientists' Dream (323 comments)

And some Allitnil's handy, just in case.

about 7 months ago
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ESA Taking Applications for Summer of Code in Space

j-b0y Re:Except it is not actually in space (21 comments)

Since ESA depends on it's member states for it's funding and the funding is given on the basis of the political objectives of the states, ESA it by it's nature a political one and always has been. But that does not exclude being a technical one as well, which is it, and quite deeply.

The "rich old white men" are in fact the european space industry, which ESA supports and promotes as one of it's primary functions.

Your ignorance appears boundless.

about 8 months ago
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Billion Star Surveyor 'Gaia' Lifts Off

j-b0y Re:Total map size (77 comments)

Very little that Gaia observes is truly discarded -- just the main astrometric system needs a mix of stable, well behaved stars and very distant quasars, that could be between 10% and 50% of the objects detected. There will be an attempt to classify objects -- which you need to do in order to grab the quasars for the astrometric system

about a year ago
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Billion Star Surveyor 'Gaia' Lifts Off

j-b0y Re:The real test... (77 comments)

Well, Gaia won't ever observe the Moon, nor Venus and Mercury which are always on the sun-ward side of the solar-shield. Jupiter is so bright that it really messes with the detectors when it transits the focal plane, but it should be possible to do some interesting general-relativity experiments with the light-bending effects of Jupiter's mass for stars that are close (not not too close) to Jupiter when Gaia observes near it.

about a year ago
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Schneier: The US Government Has Betrayed the Internet, We Need To Take It Back

j-b0y Education (397 comments)

I think a necessary step is to make sure that there is a general understanding that this is a problem -- here we must not merely preach to the choir but reach a wider and maybe technically illiterate audience) Who are we dealing with

1. People who willingly forgo their right to privacy (and therefore understand the issue at hand)
2. People who are ignorant their privacy rights are not respected (and therefore do not understand the issue at hand)
3. People who are aware that their privacy rights are not respected but wish to interact with 1) and 2) and therefore give up some or all of their privacy rights (and therefore understand the issue at hand)
4. People who will protect their privacy rights at the cost of limiting their ability to interact with at least those in 1) and 2) (and therefore understand the issue at hand)

We cannot save those in category 1), they know the risks and accept the "terms and conditions" of using the internet with public and private data mining/surveillance in place. These people are lost to the Dark Side.

People in category 2) need education on what the consequences of their actions are, and may then resolve into one of the other groups.

People in category 3) should accept that their permissiveness strengthens the hand of the NSA et al. If a practical alternative solution is presented they will probably help to bring people in category 2 away from the Dark Side.

People in category 4) are probably a small population already using Tor, Freenet, PGP, etc. They can help by adopting new technologies that do not compromise (too much) their desire for privacy.

about a year ago
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The Book That Is Making All Movies the Same

j-b0y New rating: the Snyder scale (384 comments)

One point for each beat present, with a bonus point for being in the right place

Then we can easily tell how generic the structure is...

about a year ago
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A Critique of the Boston Bombing News Coverage (Video)

j-b0y See also News Wipe (175 comments)

Charlie Brooker did a longer series (NewsWipe) on the problems of reporting in the 24h rolling news world and the overall decline of TV news journalism over the years; check them out on YouTube.

about a year ago
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Ariane 5 Has No Chance, Says Elon Musk

j-b0y It's all about the payload (188 comments)

Ariane 5 is and continues to be a success but the premise on which Ariane 5 was built -- heavy payloads -- is a small and shrinking market segment. Ariane 5 can launch two payloads, but matching payloads -- the right orbital configuration and mass constraints -- is not easy.

Arianespace hedged their bets by bringing this Soyuz launchers over to CSG with a new (ESA-funded) launchpad at Sinnamari. The much smaller Vega rocket is way off in the distance. The reasoning for Ariane 6 (not having to pay the Russians, as far as I can work out) is sound enough, but the politics (money for France for A6 vs money for Germany for revised A5) is getting in the way.

about 2 years ago
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Koch Bros Study Finds Global Warming Is Real And Man-Made

j-b0y April Fools again so soon? (769 comments)

Anyhoo - the more people on _both_ sides of the argument who actually look at the data rather than just attack the conclusions, the better for everybody concerned.

more than 2 years ago
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Photographer Threatened With Legal Action After Asserting His Copyright

j-b0y Well, of course... (667 comments)

Elrond: We cannot use the DCMA. That we now know too well. It belongs to Sauron and was made by him alone, and is altogether evil.

more than 2 years ago
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Spanish Extremadura Moving 40,000 Desktops To Linux

j-b0y Good for them... (137 comments)

Extremadura is one of the poorer regions of Spain and with the general funding squeeze trying to get the public deficit under control, I reckon they have a lot to gain from this.

more than 2 years ago
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US Navy Creates MMO To Fight Somali Pirates

j-b0y LFG Pirate Den 2/5 need healer (318 comments)

Or give the pirates WoW subs. They'll be too busy with the rep grind to do anything else

more than 3 years ago
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British ISPs Respond On Filtering

j-b0y Re:Router filters (163 comments)

You'd need to update the list very frequently to keep it up to date, and even then, who's going to compile it?

I, for the good of humanity, volunteer for this strenuous task. Or at least for the good sites anyway.

more than 3 years ago
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UK Reviewing Copyright Laws

j-b0y Copyright cuts both ways (179 comments)

While we desperately need some sanity injected into the system after the Digital Britain Bill, I suspect this is going to really favour big-media's use of our copyrighted work.

"He said the law could be relaxed to allow greater use of copyright material without the owner's permission."

There must be plenty of companies drooling at the idea of smash and grab raids on flickr accounts and GPL'd software.

more than 4 years ago
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AI Pushing the Boundaries of Space Exploration

j-b0y Re:Knowledge systems are not wisdom systems (89 comments)

Which is exactly why you will never see anything more than an expert system in space. There is no way any space agency is going to punt hundreds of millions or euros/dollars/pounds into space without a full understanding of the decision tree in the spacecraft control loop. It is hard enough at the moment without introducing outliers into the system.

more than 4 years ago

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