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The Flight of Gifted Engineers From NASA

jafac Re:Job Security (160 comments)

The point to this practice (yearly rank-n-yank) is really nothing more than a little S&M show to keep the shareholders and investors hard, and to keep them pumping. There is little actual value to this practice, and it has been shown to be actively BAD for overall performance. (don't get me wrong, you can still fire the slackers for slacking) - but in the commercial world, you have to occasionally perform these human sacrifices to the golden calf.

Same actually goes for outsourcing and offshoring. Long term, losing practice. But it gets those shareholders WET WET WET to believe that management is tough on the mythical "undeserving bottom 10%".

5 days ago
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3 Congressmen Trying To Tie Up SpaceX

jafac Re:Devleopment Risk Management (392 comments)

I find your ideas intriguing and I would like to subscribe to your newsletter!

about two weeks ago
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WHO Declares Ebola Outbreak An International Emergency

jafac Re:keep calm everyone.... (183 comments)

I think this is panic, mainly because experts are afraid of some mythical nightmare scenario where it gets into a large city and overwhelms the medical infrastructure's ability to cope, and it infects millions.

I think it remains to be seen whether such a scenario would actually play-out that way, or whether other factors would intervene. We've seen situations in history, like Black Plague, and the Spanish Flu, where they did, indeed balloon up beyond anyone's expectations - one wonders whether that will happen with Ebola, which is harder to transmit human-to-human than flu or plague. But I think that health officials don't want to be blamed for any political/social/economic fallout that results. A major African city or region becoming impacted like this would likely bring on war or genocide on a massive scale, because of the general nature of the region. But there are a TON of what-if's in these assumptions. It really just comes down to nervous officials, IMO.

about two weeks ago
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Tesla's Already Shopping For More Office Space

jafac Re:Check out Detroit (100 comments)

I'd really be more concerned about infrastructure. When you're mass-producing something like automobiles, you need good access to either a world-class seaport (which SF bay area IS), and/or rail network center (which noplace west of the rockies really does well, and probably LA does best). You need to be able to bring in lots of raw materials from diverse places, and ship your product out. For most purposes, even with the port of SF, SF is a terrible location.

This is why internet startups were able to thrive - because they had those phat pipes.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: What To Do About the Sorry State of FOSS Documentation?

jafac Re:ARCH LINUX WIKI (430 comments)

I agree; the archlinux wiki is one of them most helpful sources out there. The arch distribution, however, is basically unusable, unless you personally have the hundreds of hours required to gain proficiency in every aspect of OS operation and configuration that, in nearly every other distribution, is basically 80-95% functional without the heroic levels of user intervention that arch typically requires.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: What To Do About the Sorry State of FOSS Documentation?

jafac Re:Nothing (430 comments)

Even as a coder, I've had this problem when trying to contribute to documentation. Even writing howto's for specific use-cases. There are a few good developers out there who are capable of communicating, answering questions, etc. - to help make sure that the documentation I write is accurate. But they're few.

about two weeks ago
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US Army To Transport American Ebola Victim To Atlanta Hospital From Liberia

jafac Re:Vaccine is coming (409 comments)

The Onion had an article on the Ebola vaccine and said that it was only 50 deaths of white-people away. . .

about three weeks ago
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Was America's Top Rocketeer a Communist Spy? The FBI Thought So

jafac Re:Van Braun built weapons for Nazis (165 comments)

There's actually a long story behind this, and Von Braun was actually arrested because Hitler suspected he was a traitor. Von Braun was a visionary who just loved rockets and wanted to land on the moon and colonize space. The Nazis were a funding means-to-an-end for his rocketry studies. After the Nazis tried to arrest him and his team, he escaped with some equipment and top scientists to defect to the allies.

So no, it's not at all accurate to speculate that Von Braun was a Nazi or into that whole ideology.

He used his expertise to con the Nazis into paying for his very expensive hobby.
Then he came to the USA, and played the same con on Congress to fund his continued work here. Congress thought they were getting ICBMs to wave at the Russians. Von Braun was getting a moon landing, and who gives a shit about politics.

about three weeks ago
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Journalist Sues NSA For Keeping Keith Alexander's Financial History Secret

jafac Re:If true. If. (200 comments)

such as the massive & ongoing civil rights violations/infringements that most people agree are wrong, regardless of what political stripe they self-identify as.

But I think that's wrong.

You and I may not agree with this, but I think that MOST people are quite happy to trade-away their civil liberties for the illusion of security. Particularly those who are convinced that since they "do nothing wrong", they have nothing to fear from such violations.

It's a very sad commentary on our democratic peers, but unfortunately, factual, and consistent with pretty much everything else that's gone on since 9/11, (and more-or-less, since the McCarthy era - with regard to "communists").

We're not going to unite in this country. Period. It's like Morpheus said, in The Matrix: "Most people are not ready to be unplugged from the system, and will fight to protect it." Cliche, but true.

about three weeks ago
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The Hobbit: the Battle of Five Armies Trailer Released

jafac Re:The Hobbit didn't take the material seriously (156 comments)

What's funny, is that I remember for DECADES, fans bemoaned the lack of a good LOTR/Hobbit adaptation, because the special effects weren't good enough. We had the Ralph Bakshi atrocity, then the Rankin-Bass embarrassment. (and for the hipsters, the little-known black-and-white Russian adaptation). Then. . . Nothing. No studio was going to invest their good money into such a farce. Then Peter Jackson came along, with some contacts who had a CGI technique that could maybe make human actors look like Hobbits - then, we finally got LOTR.

And there was great rejoicing among the FANS. But if you really want to look at LOTR with a critical eye, step back and take a look at it, and yeah, it was pretty stretched-out (and at the same time, weirdly had the feeling of being tightly compressed; like months of road-travel and hiking crammed into a 30-minute TV episode compressed.) (I hike. And I don't know how you make a long hike "interesting" to a cinema audience. But that experience, of long day-after-day exposure to nature, that absolute breathless awestruck feeling when you behold the spectacle of pristine wilderness, the deafening silence, the overwhelming feeling of "letting-go" of your personal safety in the face of insects, weather, predators, rough terrain, homesickness, isolation, struggle, confusion, physical exhaustion, was all very deftly conveyed in Tolkein's prose, and totally absent from the movies). But, overall, still better than the Bakshi version of the movie.

Hobbit takes that to the next extreme. I think it's obvious that the Studio wasn't going to fund Hobbit unless they could milk it to the same profitable extent that LOTR was milked. Only, it's like 1/10th the literary material to work with. I think it's also apparent that the creative team had a difficult time making that requirement work. My guess is that everybody was all geared up to accept this new whizbang 48 fps 3d technology, and that they were hoping that this would make these movies so visually engaging that the audience wouldn't care about the pacing and story and plot problems. I think that they almost certainly fell into the groupthink trap, and bought into their own bullshit, and somehow, anybody who had any nagging doubts was just never in a position to say; "fuck, this is awful, we need to back up and fix this shit." because, by that time, it was probably too late, and the only impact of speaking-up would be to end one's career in the industry. I've been on projects like that. I know that feel.

about three weeks ago
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Programming Languages You'll Need Next Year (and Beyond)

jafac Re:I like Swift pretty well (315 comments)

what are you talking about? Visual Basic is totally portable!

I can run it on Windows 95, Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows CE, Windows 7, even Windows 8!

about three weeks ago
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Microsoft's Nokia Plans Come Into Better Focus

jafac Re:It's a funny world (149 comments)

there's always Tizen. . . :D

about three weeks ago
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Microsoft's Nokia Plans Come Into Better Focus

jafac Re: It's a funny world (149 comments)

ubuntu and red hat should work in most UEFI setups.
But there are some machines that just don't get it (UEFI) right, so you have to set it in BIOS (emulation) mode.

about three weeks ago
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Microsoft's Nokia Plans Come Into Better Focus

jafac Re:It's a funny world (149 comments)

Prices have been in free-fall, unfortunately, since the beta.

Which is sad, because that was my retirement plan.

about three weeks ago
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Python Bumps Off Java As Top Learning Language

jafac Re:The Future's So Bright (415 comments)

The only bad programmers I've ever encountered, are programmers that are inconsiderate.
Those who do not consider that the purpose of a computing language is to communicate with other developers, not just the computer. That's really the main common-factor I've found among "bad programmers". It's a skill, that can be learned, but it's an emotional skill. Some people can be very intelligent, brilliant even, and still not want to learn that one crucial skill.

about a month and a half ago
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Study: Global Warming Solvable If Fossil Fuel Subsidies Given To Clean Energy

jafac Re:Wait until those lamers find out... (385 comments)

WE don't lack the will.

We lack the power.

The ones with the power lack the will (or desire) - because their power depends on control of generation of energy through resources they control; namely fossil fuels. They're not going to give up that power while they have it. Not voluntarily.

about a month and a half ago
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Study: Global Warming Solvable If Fossil Fuel Subsidies Given To Clean Energy

jafac Re:Wait until those lamers find out... (385 comments)

The reason thorium never hurt anybody, is because it is complete fantasy. Nobody has ever built one that has demonstrated any degree of industrial reliability and usefulness. Thorium is up there with Fusion, as far as being a demonstrated technology.

about a month and a half ago
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Austrian Tor Exit Node Operator Found Guilty As an Accomplice

jafac Re:Dear former colonies of United Kingdom... (255 comments)

... basically, what American Colonists were rebelling against in the first place. . . then adopted.

about a month and a half ago

Submissions

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Natalie Portman: Not Petrified (of Science)

jafac jafac writes  |  more than 3 years ago

jafac (1449) writes "Turns out, that Natalie Portman, much abused by slasdot geeks, was, herself, a Science geek, in High School, and studied Neuroscience at Harvard. Who knew?

Okay, don't answer that. I don't care."

Link to Original Source
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jafac jafac writes  |  more than 6 years ago

jafac (1449) writes "As discussed in this SpaceDaily article, the video footage from the launch, earlier this week (available at www.spacex.com), of the Falcon 1 vehicle, seems to show a problem with the stage separation. I noticed this when I watched the video last night — it appears that the top of the first stage bumps the engine nozzle.

The upper stage guidance does a good job of setting the craft straight after this bump, but some odd things happen after that, including some kind of ring flying off the engine, and a wobble that gets progressively worse until the vehicle goes completely out of control. I've been fascinated by the availability of these kinds of videos more and more; but this is the first one I've seen that documents a failed launch — (Elon Musk's denials notwithstanding), and because of that, it's probably the coolest video I've seen all year."

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