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Australian Defence Force Builds $1.7m Linux-Based Flight Simulator

johannesg Re:It's pretty much a given that they saved money (232 comments)

Instead of going with a licensed OS like Windows or VxWorks, they saved tens of dollars. Smart thinking and good use of money in these tough economic times.

It would be nice to see other departments try to realize these types of gains.

Vxworks is tens of thousands of dollars, not tens of dollars. Second, what exactly is the added value of vxworks in this? It is good if you need hard realtime operations, which typically implies a solution with hardware in the loop. If you don't have that (and a flightsim doesn't need it) you can use a non-realtime OS like Linux just fine.

Anyway, how is this news? Where I work we have been writing spacecraft simulators for years on Linux... In the past all that stuff used to run on Sun, but really, what's the point in getting a slow, expensive Sun machine if a cheap Dell box loaded with Suse will do the job faster and cheaper?

more than 4 years ago

Ares Manager Steve Cook Resigns From NASA

johannesg Re:Back out of Plan Affirmative-Action (153 comments)

Really reliable except for a series of Soyuz spacecraft that nearly burned up on reentry, due to the thrust unit not being released properly. They still have no idea what is causing it. See for example: http://www.universetoday.com/2008/04/20/soyuz-crew-safe-after-a-violent-re-entry-and-landing-400km-off-target/

Any landing you can walk away from is a success, and the crew survived, didn't they? How would a shuttle deal with this sort of punishment, you think?

If given a choice to travel on either a Soyuz or a shuttle, I'd fly on a Soyuz in a heartbeat. Not that anyone will ever ask me of course...

more than 4 years ago

US Fed Gov. Says All Music Downloads Are Theft

johannesg Re:Lol (451 comments)

There's an interstate in Washington State that has an exit in DuPont (yes, the city and the company). The state was going to build the exit and charge DuPont for the privilege. DuPont said, 'if we can build it to your specs, can we do it ourselves?' The government said yes and DuPont built it for half the price the state was going to charge them.

When corporations do something for themselves it is simply to obtain a service, and the work is done as cheaply as possible.

But when corporations do something for someone else (such as the public), it is a for-profit activity and it will be charged at the usual rates.

Do not mistake the ability of corporations to do something for cheap, for their willingness to do it cheaply for you. Especially on long-term services, where a corporation gets entrenched and other potential bidders face much higher startup costs if they were to take over the contract.

As far as health care, there's a lot more to be said about it than just comparing the government's job of doing other things. I don't know what the answer is there. I think that we've lost the 'insurance' aspect of health care. People want their insurance company to pay for everything (why don't we have car insurance cover tuneups?). If people paid for all the little, routine things and had the insurance for catastrophic things (like cancer, or having a limb reattached), then there probably wouldn't be any "crisis". And I think the whole system would probably be in much better health if 64% of American's weren't overweight/obese. Perhaps you shouldn't get insurance if you've caused your own demise through negligence.

Because everyone is negligent in their own way. You should have looked before crossing the street, you would have seen that car coming. You should not have run 20 miles every day of your life, you knew it would give you bad knees. You should not have visited that hotel, it is well known that large international hotels attract terrorist bombings. It is the ultimate cop-out for insurance companies.

more than 4 years ago

First European Provider To Break Net Neutrality

johannesg Re:What they mean: (343 comments)

There are some major differences between all those shared resources you list, and those of ISP's though:

1. With ISP's, you pay for different speeds. If you pay for (say) 1000kb/s but it is known in advance that you will only ever receive 333kb/s, that effectively means they have just raised their prices by a factor three.

2. Rather than giving everyone _at least_ one third of their paid-for speed, and then spreading the remainder evenly over the various customers, you are simply capped. In fact I suspect that even that promised one third of the paid-for speed is on an "if available" basis.

3. The phrase "abuse" is thrown around lightly, and there is a clear undertone of "illegal". These are probably the kind of people downloading illegal movies and childpr0n all day long! Cap them, before they do even more harm! Or... Maybe they have subscribed to a legal movie download service? One that competes with UPC's own TV offerings? (UPC is actually a cable TV provider, that also does internet on the side!)

Simple fact: UPC is advertising certain speeds, but not delivering them. And it's not even because of oversubscription (as in the examples you gave), but simply because they don't want to.

more than 4 years ago

Developing World's Parasites, Diseases Enter US

johannesg Re:The US isn't all first world. (337 comments)

while you are reasonably correct on the causes of the great depression, you fail hard.

1. is over already

That doesn't invalidate his point though. It is a list of steps that are taken in order, not a list of conditions that must all be true at the same time.

2. paying off loans isn't what causes contraction of money supply.

If taking out a loan increases the money supply (as argued in a great many documentaries), then paying it off decreases it. Go see "money as debt" or something similar.

3. if you want to single out houses as the only asset, then yes.

4. yes, there's no getting away from the fact companies have taken a hammering

5. most places have had a fall in profits, there are some standouts though. gold producers are one of them.

If you are trying to deny what he's claiming, you are doing a lousy job. And gold producers as standouts... Could that be because investors are no longer willing to invest in coin?

6. here is your big fail. jobless rate in 1933 was 24.9% http://www.bls.gov/opub/cwc/cm20030124ar03p1.htm

Indeed, and that may yet save us. Or it could be a difference in counting methods, or it could be that the hammer is yet to fall for many.

7. here is your biggest problem - doomers like yourself who are still claiming the sky is falling when their are CLEARLY signs of recovery worldwide.

You mean, "the people who caused the problem in the first place are telling us everything is fine now in the faint hope that we will believe them and start spending like crazy again. But given that they have no credibility left, no one actually believes them, thus perpetuating the downwards spiral."

Not that that is a bad thing. Restarting the spending spree will just start another bubble, making the problems worse in the long run.

more than 4 years ago

Alternative Orion Missions Proposed

johannesg Re:Welcome to the Moon! (137 comments)

Guys, you are all making the same mistake: Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Arianespace and all those others did not invest their own money to build its own launchers, they were all paid for by national agencies. Without that investment we wouldn't have _any_ heavy launchers at this time.

When you say that NASA needs to stop wasting money on launchers, what you are saying is that it needs to stop paying those companies for providing launchers. Because that is the _only_ thing that NASA does: it hands out contracts to industry for developing the capabilities that they need.

Letting industry take over, and stopping all money from NASA, as the original poster suggested, will simply result in those companies shrugging and withdrawing from the launcher market. The end result will not be "cheaper launchers", but rather "no launchers at all".

more than 4 years ago

Alternative Orion Missions Proposed

johannesg Re:Welcome to the Moon! (137 comments)

Which commercial toy rockets do you refer to ? Delta IV, Ariane 5, Atlas V, Zenit or Proton ?

Do you want to compare these toys to spectacular successes of NASA-designed NASP, X-33, X-34, X-38, 2GRLV , Shuttle-II ?

Delta 4, Atlas 5: paid for by US taxpayers.
Ariane 5: paid for by european taxpayers.
Zenit, Proton: paid for by USSR taxpayers.

It is not commercial development if it is the taxpayer footing the bill. Show me a company that invested its own money.

more than 4 years ago

Alternative Orion Missions Proposed

johannesg Re:Welcome to the Moon! (137 comments)

As much of a fan of NASA as I am (and have been, since the mid-70s), I am seriously beginning to doubt the agency's ability to get back into the business of taking big trips. Even if NASA gets us back to the moon, we're likely to be greeted by the Chinese, or some commercial operation's management (welcome to Bigelow at Tranquility!).

It seems almost silly to be developing a return to space program, when commercial space is doing the same thing, for less money, and is closer to actually ACHIEVING it.

How can commercial entities, who have so far demonstrated only toy rockets, possibly be closer to achieving space flight than NASA, who demonstrated that capability decades ago and has since done it countless times? If it were so easy for commercial entities to do this, why aren't the skies bustling with commercial space stations and commercial flights?

You are arguing to stop investing _before_ there is a credible alternative. The only result of that will be the total loss of access to space for your country.

more than 4 years ago

The Myth of the Isolated Kernel Hacker

johannesg Re:the list Before a karma whore can... (282 comments)

So where are Microsoft and SCO? Both have contributed so much knowledge (in the form of patents) and code, yet they remain completely uncredited. I'm deeply disappointed.

(guidelines for modders: this is supposed to be funny. It is not really that funny, so I'd aim for +2 funny or possibly +3 insightful if you want to give me some karma as well. I'll promise to do better next time when aiming for a funny)

more than 4 years ago

English Wikipedia Reaches 3 Million Articles

johannesg Re:Already Happens (192 comments)

And do you really mean that everything on something fictional should go on the separate site - even the main article for Star Trek, or a work of Shakespeare? What about other expressions of culture such as articles for well known albums or songs? Or if you mean the less notable ones, then you'll just have the arguments over that...

I'd keep a page to indicate facts about Star Trek as it relates to the real world: high-level overview of the show, people involved, cultural impact: those are all facts that relate to the real world. "Star Trek" is real (in the sense of "a real TV show"), after all, so it merits an article.

However, I'd move descriptions of fictional starships, characters, plot synopses, and the fake science behind it to a cultural wiki.

Same for Shakespeare: Wikipedia needs a page about the man, his works, and why he matters (i.e. cultural impact). However, the contents of his writings are an expression of culture, and should be described in the cultural wiki.

Note that being in the cultural wiki is not a value judgement: our culture defines who we are, and as such is as valuable as the stuff in the non-fictional wiki. I just feel that mixing them in one system is a bad idea.

more than 3 years ago

Up To 90 Percent of US Money Has Traces of Cocaine

johannesg Re:So... (441 comments)

Just... Wow. And that's why I will never visit Dubai - not because I'm a drug smuggler or user, but because I might step on a grain of heroine or something while in the airport and lose years of my life to those idiots.

They pretend to be a normal civilized nation, but in the end they are nothing better than the medieval goatfuckers from which they descended.

more than 4 years ago

English Wikipedia Reaches 3 Million Articles

johannesg Re:And then it was proptly deleted (192 comments)

I have felt for a long time that Wikipedia really needs to be split into two: one dealing with things that are at least nominally real, and one dealing with expressions of culture (which would include all articles that start with "this article is about a fictional ..."). That last one could contain all the Pokemon characters, X-files plot synopses, and Star Trek star ships humanity could think of, while the first could act as an actual encyclopedia.

Mind, I'm not saying to just delete all the fictional stuff, I love being able to look up the dimensions and mileage of the Enterprise-E. Just stop mixing it in with the real knowledge.

more than 4 years ago

New Nano-Laser Created

johannesg Re:Words (84 comments)

"surface plasmons"

Really? Plasmons? Are they just making words up now?

Yeah. It's stupid: we already had the perfectly functional phrase "plasmid" to describe those.

Personally I'm holding out for them perfecting the electricity plasmid.

more than 4 years ago

Up To 90 Percent of US Money Has Traces of Cocaine

johannesg Re:So... (441 comments)

Don't get caught with US dollars on you in Dubai.

That's a damn good point, actually... So why isn't there a constant stream of arrests in that country, given that they are able to detect absolutely minute traces of drugs on a person? There must be plenty of people travelling through there carrying dollar bills.

more than 4 years ago

Microsoft Trial Misconduct Cost $40 Million

johannesg Re:MvP (231 comments)

Microsoft... vs... patent trolls.. who do I hate??

You are perfectly within your rights to hate both. Doing so has the great advantage that you really don't need to aim carefully, should you decide to be sure from orbit...

more than 4 years ago

Woman With Police-Monitoring Blog Arrested

johannesg Re:Sorry, lady. Incitement to violence is a crime (847 comments)

She needs no other reason, other people can held liable for their own actions.

That principle went out when it was accepted that a single person uploading a file to one other person on the internet is liable for all subsequent damages.

more than 4 years ago

"Easy Work-Around" For Microsoft Word's Legal Woes

johannesg Re:Patten troll or not? (172 comments)

How can that even be called "XML" in the first place? XML has a specific format, described in a standard - and it describes the tags as being in-line with the data. A format that separates them, no matter how useful it might be, is not XML.

What is being stored on disk is not an XML document only in the same sense that foo.xml.gz is not an XML document. Just because you store foo.xml.gz doesn't mean foo.xml stops being XML.

Sorry, but the disk format _does_ matter, since the XML standard specifies what the disk format is supposed to be. Making up your own format and calling that XML because a transformation exists that turns it into XML is disingeneous at best.

If something is XML then it can be used with the large number of XML tools that are out there. Neither the format described here, nor your .gz format, nor for that matter .odf, meets that criterium. And you'll notice that in fact the ODF people are careful to state that ODF is _based on_ XML, not that it _is_ XML.

more than 4 years ago

"Easy Work-Around" For Microsoft Word's Legal Woes

johannesg Re:Patten troll or not? (172 comments)

It's about a somewhat specific way of storing xml for documents in file systems or streams that has gains some efficiency over the conventional XML format. Specifically you write the documents plain text out as raw plain text without any XML tags. Then in separate location you write our all the xml tags. After each tag you write a pointer to the chearacter position in the plain text where the tag needs to go.

How can that even be called "XML" in the first place? XML has a specific format, described in a standard - and it describes the tags as being in-line with the data. A format that separates them, no matter how useful it might be, is not XML.

more than 4 years ago

Gene Therapy Causes Blind Woman To Grow New Fovea

johannesg Re:Actually.. (86 comments)

Ok, fair enough, I can understand that. But the other poster is right: you treat this as it is almost meaningless, while in reality someone who was blind can now at least read a clock. That's a better level of vision than I have without my glasses, btw.

And hey, who knows, maybe you are curing blindness every day, maybe this will _not_ lead to further enhanced cures, maybe the "real" breakthrough is just around the corner. But for now this seems to be a major step, and once in a while it is good to step back and stare in awe at what mankind has achieved thus far.

Now bring on that Mars-colony already, damnit. I was born after the first man walked on the moon, I don't want to die before the first man walks on Mars...

more than 4 years ago


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