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Comments

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Interviews: Ask J. Michael Straczynski What You Will

jollyreaper Re:Babylon 5 (276 comments)

In the Beginning was troublesome because it was very good but should not be watched before season 1, gives too much away. The other movies I'll grant you were weak. Lost Tales had potential but was cramped and uneven. I never wanted to see Lochley again.

The failure of Crusade, Rangers and other revival efforts just underscore how amazing it was we had four good seasons. I'll give season 5 a pass simply because greenighting it meant the season 4 finale got bumped to season 5 and the first episode of season 5 was aired in its place. Deconstruction of Falling Stars, worth the rest of that season.

about 6 months ago
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NASA Admits It Gave Jet Fuel Discounts To Google Execs' Company

jollyreaper Re:They sold it at cost? (126 comments)

Should not have been modded down. Shame on you guys.

about 6 months ago
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Are Bankers Paid Too Much? Are Technology CEOs?

jollyreaper Re:They are all paid too much (712 comments)

Shit, accidentally modded your post as smart. Posting to correct this.

about 7 months ago
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New DOOM Game Not Dead: Beta Comes With Wolfenstein Pre-Order

jollyreaper Re:I remember Doom 3. (108 comments)

Agreed! I felt exactly the same way, when does the story start? HL1 was great. HL2, am disappoint.

about 7 months ago
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Slashdot Tries Something New; Audience Responds!

jollyreaper Re: Why? (2219 comments)

The hammer analogy is quite apt.

Lots of things have changed about hammers. None of this would prevent a craftsman from a hundred years ago picking up and using a modern hammer. He wouldn't look at a screwdriver and no longer be able to figure out how it works.

Lets consider the nail gun. It's different, more expensive, more complicated, not really needed by the average homeowner but its a killer tool for those who need it and doesn't require that much specialized training. The ancient craftsman would be won over.

about 7 months ago
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Do Hypersonic Missiles Make Defense Systems Obsolete?

jollyreaper here's the thing (365 comments)

If the enemy doesn't have good targets, these missiles don't accomplish much.

According to Richard Clarke:

As early as Sept. 12, 2001, Clarke says, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld urged bombing Iraq despite repeated assurances from intelligence officials that the threat emanated from Afghanistan.

"Rumsfeld said there aren't any good targets in Afghanistan. And there are lots of good targets in Iraq," Clarke said on Sunday's 60 Minutes. "I said, 'Well, there are lots of good targets in lots of places, but Iraq had nothing to do with it.' "

about 7 months ago
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Slashdot Tries Something New; Audience Responds!

jollyreaper This blows goats (2219 comments)

Anyone have screenshots of the major designs over the last ten years? I'm remembering the original design looking the best but I'd like to see them side by side to confirm it.

about 7 months ago
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Largest-Yet EVE Online Battle Destroys $200,000 Worth of Starships

jollyreaper It's really your time that's devoured (463 comments)

TV watching in this country averages between 150 to 200 hours a month. The average cable bill is $150. So you could say it's a dollar an hour for some people.

In EVE, you earn as you play. Each hour of gameplay gives you in-game money to apply to your toys. So it's really more accurate to look at how many credits you make per hour and how many hours of time a ship represents.

If people were battling with model airplanes, you'd factor cost of kit and time invested. Since the subscription is cheap, it's the time lost that really kills.

Because you can buy in-game currency, you can either play 100 hours to get a great ship or just drop money and buy it now. Either way, losing one in a fight is expensive, in time or money.

about 8 months ago
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Ukrainian Protesters Receive Mass Text Message Ordering Them To Disperse

jollyreaper Re:In other Kiev news (233 comments)

As was explained to me, it's a soup sandwich much like Syria. In Syria you have the choice between a secular dictator and religious fundamentalist rebels. Now there may be some rebel groups that aren't fundie but the fundie ones are getting some of the best outside funding. The official US position is to let both sides bleed each other white to keep the conflict contained. To me that seems a bit like firefighters not trying to fight a blaze, just keep it contained so it doesn't spread and wait for the fuel to run out. Works fine so long as the wind doesn't kick up: then you risk losing the whole block.

The Ukraine situation is described as one faction wanting to fall under the German sphere of influence in the Eurozone, the other faction wanting to ally more closely with Russia. Makes a big difference for those in power, for the little guys it's just a matter of who's getting to fuck them over.

about 8 months ago
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Algorithm Aims To Predict Fiction Bestsellers

jollyreaper Re:Stagnation (146 comments)

I see, so Angelina Jolie used to be an academy-award-winning actress, but now she's just Mrs. Pitt?

She's an aging sack of bad plastic surgery who's been in too many terrible movies. A pretty good match for her hubby at that.

about 8 months ago
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Development To Begin Soon On New Star Control Game

jollyreaper Have any modern resurrections been very good? (160 comments)

The closest I can think of is Civilization Revolutions. It's streamlined for console play, hardcore fans will probably call it kiddified, but I think that they really cut to the heart of the game without larding it up with too much cruft.

Beloved game sequels usually fall into two categories:
1) True fans who love the game and want to make their mark but end up cluttering the clean and elegant design of the original with entirely too much crap that bogs things down. See Master of Orion 2 to Master of Orion 1, later Civilization games on PC, etc.
2) Franchises purchased for IP name recognition but fundamentally different games are built, equivalent to when studios buy a stand-alone script and beat on it until it can become yet another sequel. Max Payne 3 was an entirely different game that they then stuck the Max logo on, sharing none of the original's atmosphere, play mechanics, or fun.

I can at least respect the true fans even if their efforts turn out like caked shit on the hairy ass of gamedom. I heard the new X-Com kind of straddled the line by being made by true fans who also tried to shift the genre and failed.

about 8 months ago
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The Hobbit and Game of Thrones Top Most Pirated Lists of 2013

jollyreaper or consider this (193 comments)

Netflix is undergoing another content purge. I'm perfectly willing to pay for the service. There are some movies I never got around to watching that are disappearing. Oh, well. I'll have to pirate them then.

It's important to note how my viewing habits have changed.

Before the Internet: Tape from live TV, borrow from the library, Blockbuster

After the Internet: Tape from live TV for broadcast shows, watch crummy encodes of anime leeched from napster and other early p2p services, would buy reasonable sets of DVD's for material I love and will be rewatching.

After Bittorrent: All BT, all the time

After Netflix Streaming: Is it on Netflix? No? Ok, now start searching torrents.

I've gotten away from buying physical media because I don't have the space for it. I do want to reward the creators, I just don't have a proper means to do so. Here's the kicker: Netflix is MORE convenient than piracy. For a small fee, I have shows on my TV, laptop, phone, tablet, and they all stay in sync. I don't have to remember my watchlist. Hell, for TV downloads I keep a text file in the directory that I update after I'm done watching so I don't lose my place. That's less convenient than Netflix.

I'm happy to pay for a service that's timely and reasonable. I'm not waiting six months if the shit's done and released elsewhere. I'm also not paying a bajillion dollars because some executive's wife needs new tits.

about 9 months ago
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Apple Pushes Developers To iOS 7

jollyreaper grr (336 comments)

Fuck Apple. I bit the bullet on smartphones with a 4S. I was very pleased with it. The new OS is about as appetizing as being smacked about the face with a rotting donkey dick. It's slow, clunky, and changes everything for the sake of change. It's terrible.

"So if you don't like it, don't buy it," says the fanboi.

Hey, I bought what I did like! Apple's changing it on me. If I like a brand of shoes there's always the chance they'll change the line when I need a new pair. Thems the breaks in life. But not even Nike is going to go to my house and fuck up a pair I already own. Apple will. I'm not updating this phone, period. If none of the new apps will work with it, I'm done buying apps.

Sadly, I don't like Android much either. Windows Mobile can choke on my fuck. IOS5 was the last really good mobile OS. If there's ever another good one, I don't think it's coming from Apple.

about 8 months ago
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Researchers Use Computer-Generated 10-Year-Old Girl To Catch Online Predators

jollyreaper I don't understand how they feel for it (545 comments)

And I'm not about to look any further into this on my own. But how realistic does the girl look in motion anyway? I saw a screenshot of the face build on another site. I would think in motion she'd still fall into uncanny valley territory. This story intrigues me more from the CGI angle than the Chris Hansen one.

about 10 months ago
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Gravity: Can Film Ever Get the Science Right?

jollyreaper One other thought (438 comments)

It's pretty much impossible to do a space disaster film with anything close to modern technology. It basically boils down to "Everything works exactly as planned or you die." Yes, we have Apollo 13 but most disaster scenarios are going to be more like Challenger and Columbia.

about a year ago
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Gravity: Can Film Ever Get the Science Right?

jollyreaper I get what he's saying here (438 comments)

Tyson is correct in every point he makes but he's missing the point. This was first and foremost a good, stunning movie. While I noted science quibbles in passing, it was hard to be preoccupied with them because I was fully engaged with the film. I do my worst nitpicking when I'm in hate with a film for wasting my damn time.

There's no sound in space. They stuck with that. I'm impressed so much by that one detail. What's more, read up on the notes the studio gave the director about things they wanted to see. They wanted flashbacks to Earth, they wanted Russians deliberately shooting missiles at the survivors and other silliness.

How would I rate the realism of this movie? It looks real-ish. Apollo 13 is hardcore real, only strained interpersonal dynamics were hammed up from what actually happened. But Gravity is a damned good film.

The only physics bit that bugged me was the tether scene. Spoilerish. Two astronauts tied together falling past a structure, once one of them grabs on and withstands the shock of the other astronaut snapping the tether taut, he should rebound back towards the secured astronaut, not dangle as if still being pulled by gravity. This would not be the case if, say, they were on a rotating structure or on a rocket making a significant burn but neither is the case.

about a year ago
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First Cases of Flesh-Eating Drug Emerge In the United States

jollyreaper How desperate do you have to be (618 comments)

For the short term high here to be worth your flesh rotting off? I can only imagine you start on the good stuff and descent to this, like an alkie starting on top shelf and descending to drinking aftershave.

about a year ago
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Research Finds Link Between Inflation and Laughter In Federal Reserve Meetings

jollyreaper It saves time (144 comments)

It's pretty easy to laugh all the way to the bank when you're already there.

about a year ago
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Apple Sued For Dividing Final Season of Breaking Bad Into Two On iTunes

jollyreaper Re:AMC split season 5 (458 comments)

Piracy means never having to deal with this kind of BS. Hint to companies: don't make piracy easier/better than watching legally. We have choices we never had before.

1 year,8 days
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Don't Fly During Ramadan

jollyreaper Re:Why? (1233 comments)

Nope! It turns out, Senator McCarthy was right. There really were Communists in the State Department.

Wrong. You are entitled to your own opinion, not your own facts. This is akin to creationism, Reagan winning the Cold War, and global warming as liberal myth.

1 year,25 days

Submissions

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Best Accounting Guide for IT people?

jollyreaper jollyreaper writes  |  more than 4 years ago

jollyreaper (513215) writes "I work on a donor management system for a non-profit and have had to have more interaction with the accounting side of the house. While I had exposure to accounting courses in college, that was years back and I need to brush up on the basic principles so I can better understand their needs and anticipate what will be coming up. I'm looking for a book that's short and to the point so I'll understand the way accountants think. General ledger, tax receiptability, reconciliations, balancing entries, etc. Everything from the debits and credits I know about to the concepts I don't even know to mention as examples. I don't need to be an accountant, I just need to be able to converse with them."
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How are you backing up your data?

jollyreaper jollyreaper writes  |  more than 5 years ago

jollyreaper (513215) writes "Technology moves quickly and what was conventional wisdom last year can be folly this year. But the one thing that's remained constant is hard drives are far too large to backup via conventional means. Tape is expensive and can be unreliable, though it certainly has its proponents. DVD's are just too small. There are prosumer devices like the Drobo but it's still just a giant box of hard drives, basically RAID. And as we've all had drilled into our heads "RAID is not backup." When last this topic came up on Slashdot, the consensus was that hard drives were the best way to backup hard drives. Backup your internal HDD to an external one, and if your data is really important, have two externals and swap one offsite once a week. Is there any better advice these days?"
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Issue Tracking for IT Departments, Good Software?

jollyreaper jollyreaper writes  |  more than 5 years ago

jollyreaper (513215) writes "I work at a non-profit and our IT department. We're currently using Track-It 8.5 and it's a mixed bag, some parts really good and some parts really bad. I took a look at the list of what's out there for issue tracking systems and there are certainly a lot of options! What's everyone here using these days? Are there better options or should we stick with what we've got?"
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Microsoft ditching the Fish, Razorfish that is

jollyreaper jollyreaper writes  |  more than 5 years ago

jollyreaper (513215) writes "I'd thought Razorfish had disappeared in a puff of hubris and ignominy but it turns out the brand is alive and well at Microsoft, part of a bundle of properties purchased from aQuantive. Having come to their senses, Microsoft is putting the fish back on the market. Might I suggest we all place bids but insist on only paying in Flooz?"
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IT Department Issue Tracking Software Suggestion

jollyreaper jollyreaper writes  |  more than 5 years ago

jollyreaper (513215) writes """I work at a non-profit and our IT department. We're currently using Track-It 8.5 and it's a mixed bag, some parts really good and some parts really bad. I took a look at the list of what's out there for issue tracking systems and there are certainly a lot of options! What's everyone here using these days? Is there anything else we should really take a look at or stick with what we have?"""
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IT Department Issue Tracking Software Suggestion

jollyreaper jollyreaper writes  |  more than 5 years ago

jollyreaper (513215) writes ""I work at a non-profit and our IT department. We're currently using Track-It 8.5 and it's a mixed bag, some parts really good and some parts really bad. I took a look at the list of what's out there for issue tracking systems and there are certainly a lot of options! What's everyone here using these days? Is there anything else we should really take a look at or stick with what we have?""
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IT Department Issue Tracking Software Suggestion

jollyreaper jollyreaper writes  |  more than 5 years ago

jollyreaper (513215) writes "I work at a non-profit and our IT department. We're currently using Track-It 8.5 and it's a mixed bag, some parts really good and some parts really bad. I took a look at the list of what's out there for issue tracking systems and there are certainly a lot of options! What's everyone here using these days? Is there anything else we should really take a look at or stick with what we have?"
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Take a penny, steal a penny, financial fraud

jollyreaper jollyreaper writes  |  more than 6 years ago

jollyreaper (513215) writes "A California man has been indicted for an inventive scheme that allegedly siphoned $50,000 from online brokerage houses E-trade and Schwab.com in six months — a few pennies at a time. Michael Largent, of Plumas Lake, California, allegedly exploited a loophole in a common procedure both companies follow when a customer links his brokerage account to a bank account for the first time. To verify that the account number and routing information is correct, the brokerages automatically send small "micro-deposits" of between two cents to one dollar to the account, and ask the customer to verify that they've received it. The suspect is alleged to have tried to patent this business practice. However, he was not the first to try this, having seen depiction on the silver screen in movies such as Office Space. The US Patent Office rejected the patent, specifically citing Superman III and Gus Gorman's scheme as an example of Pryor art."
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Pledge Drive for RPG Publisher Funding?

jollyreaper jollyreaper writes  |  more than 6 years ago

jollyreaper (513215) writes "Metafilter has this scroop: Delta Greenbe part of the conspiracy. The latest sourcebook for Delta Green, the cult modern day Call of Cthulhu setting, is being financed via fundable. If the target for funding is not met it's release will be delayed... if it is released at all. A niche setting within a niche system in a hobby in decline, Delta Green is still intensely well loved by those who know about it, making them a good target for the ransom model. Will thinking outside the usual publishing business models save pen and paper RPGs?"
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Document Retention Policy, Best Practices?

jollyreaper jollyreaper writes  |  more than 6 years ago

jollyreaper (513215) writes "I've been researching this topic since I've heard rumblings that management wants to put one in place. As far as I can tell from googling about, all of the high mucky-mucks feel the topic is important but few people are sure about what's required or how to do it. It reminds me of the first Internet boom where companies knew there was something to this "interweb thing" but did not understand what the Internet was, how it could help them, set goals and formulate a strategy to reach them so instead they just threw money at it and had nothing to show for it. There is a ton of money flying around and a ton of DR companies quite happy to sell very expensive solutions. As best I can see, Documentation Policy needs to be formulated by management and legal counsel with requirements handed down to IT, this is not something that should be dropped in IT's lap with a hand-wave. So, my fellow dotters, I ask the following: 1) What would normally be asked for in a sane DR policy? 2) What are the warning signs of a bad DR policy? 3) What should IT expect to see when a case hits the discovery period? (for example, someone being the 30(b)(6) designated witness, the assistance provided to 3rd party data retrieval companies brought in for the case, etc.) 4) Are there any good, vetted guidelines for this sort of thing on the web?"
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Business Documentation Best Practices

jollyreaper jollyreaper writes  |  more than 6 years ago

jollyreaper (513215) writes ""I have a nice new IT job with a non-profit. They are a growing organization and management has realized that they need to bring their way of doing business up to a professional level. Several years back, their IT department was still operated like it was in a home office, fine when you're dealing with three people, not so good when there's over a hundred users. IT got it's act together and is running professionally and efficiently. The rest of the organization is a bit more chaotic and management wants to change that. One of the worst problems is a lack of process documentation. All knowledge is passed down via an oral tradition. Someone gets hit by a bus and that knowledge is lost forever more. Now I know what I've seen in the past. There's the big-binder-of-crap-no-one-reads method, usually used in conjunction with nobody-updates-this-crap-so-it's-useless-anyway approach. I've been hearing good things about company wiki's, mixed reviews about Sharepoint and its intranet capabilities. And yes, I know that this is all a waste of time if there's no follow-through from management. But assuming that the required support is there, how do you guys do it?""
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Business Process Documentation, Best Practices?

jollyreaper jollyreaper writes  |  more than 6 years ago

jollyreaper (513215) writes "I have a nice new IT job with a non-profit. They are a growing organization and management has realized that they need to bring their way of doing business up to a professional level. Several years back, their IT department was still operated like it was in a home office, fine when you're dealing with three people, not so good when there's over a hundred users. IT got it's act together and is running professionally and efficiently. The rest of the organization is a bit more chaotic and management wants to change that. One of the worst problems is a lack of process documentation. All knowledge is passed down via an oral tradition. Someone gets hit by a bus and that knowledge is lost forever more. Now I know what I've seen in the past. There's the big-binder-of-crap-no-one-reads method, usually used in conjunction with nobody-updates-this-crap-so-it's-useless-anyway approach. I've been hearing good things about company wiki's, mixed reviews about Sharepoint and its intranet capabilities. And yes, I know that this is all a waste of time if there's no follow-through from management. But assuming that the required support is there, how do you guys do it?"
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Play non-MS format media on Xbox 360

jollyreaper jollyreaper writes  |  more than 6 years ago

jollyreaper (513215) writes "This is for all of the Xbox 360 owners out there who want to use the device as a true media center. Microsoft, being the douches they are, give you a perfectly fine piece of hardware but lock it down so you can't view anything but approved videos on it. They put in the really cool feature of streaming off of your PC but again, the PC needs XP, has to be running Media Player 11, and using proprietary MS formats. Sucks, right? But no longer. Using this neat little program, you can host videos on your PC and use it for the share connection rather than mediaplayer. Videos are transcoded to an acceptable MS format on the fly. The only drawback is that transcoded files have to be completed before search features will work — no fast-forward or rewind. You can work around that by force-starting the encode cycle and then renaming the resulting cache file and playing it directly. An installation guide can be found here, complete with pretty pictures. Informative and only spreads the article across 8 pages instead of the usual 40. The TVersity software that makes it all happen can be found here. The site also has FAQ's and forums if you don't want to use the first guide listed."
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jollyreaper jollyreaper writes  |  more than 7 years ago

jollyreaper (513215) writes "
(CBS 5) BERKELEY A Berkeley watchdog organization that tracks military spending said it uncovered a strange U.S. military proposal to create a hormone bomb that could purportedly turn enemy soldiers into homosexuals and make them more interested in sex than fighting. Pentagon officials on Friday confirmed to CBS 5 that military leaders had considered, and then subsquently rejected, building the so-called "Gay Bomb."
The Onion just called, they want their joke back. Oh, wait a second, this is true."
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jollyreaper jollyreaper writes  |  more than 7 years ago

jollyreaper (513215) writes "I was born in the late 70's and cut my science geek teeth on the promise of a better tomorrow. NASA had all these bold ideas of where we'd be going and what we'd be doing. What happened to the future we were promised? For a microcosm of what's happened to our national ambition, look at Epcot. Epcot, "Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow." According to Wikipedia, "It was dedicated to international culture and technological innovation." And you know something? I remember it being that way as a kid. It was Disney for geeks. I remember seeing hydroponics, technology demos from our leading corporations, showcasing the bleeding edge of human innovation. And even that was a downscaling of Disney's original vision. But what's it about now? Minimized expectations. It's just another theme park, another way to surgically extract money from the wallets of indifferent tourists. Instead of doing and being something visionary, Disney executives settled for mediocrity and the fast buck.

NASA seems to share more in common with Disney these days than just proximity. The shuttle program has been described as a 30 year detour for the American space program. The shuttle was designed by a committee to satisfy multiple contradicting goals, none of which remained by the time the vehicle was completed. It cost more than the disposable vehicles it replaced, could not go high enough to do anything interesting, possessed capabilities that proved unnecessary, and contained so many design compromises that many engineers thought it to be a widowmaker before Challenger was even lost. Right now NASA doesn't make headlines for shuttles blowing up, they make headlines for shuttles NOT blowing up. After the cancellation of several shuttle successors, NASA has decided to go back to capsules with Project Constellation. There are vague talks of moonbases and a showboat Mars mission that will undoubtedly be canceled after squandering millions, possibly billions of dollars. NASA at this point is divided between the manned space flight camp (a political creature which suffers for it) and the "everything else" camp which includes the wildly successful pure science missions. Nobody can agree on the agency's goals and, even they they could, political appointees will change with every administration and sabotage whatever progress has been made.

NASA at this point seems to be like an 800lb man, trapped in his own house, suffocating under his own weight, too far gone to do anything to change his condition, just waiting to die. I think NASA is a lost cause.

Who represents the future in space? The private concerns like Virgin Galactic? Perhaps SpaceX? Government-sponsored programs such as China and India's? And even at that, these efforts represent small thinking. Tourists in space? More communication satellites? Whatever happened to proper space colonies like O'Neill Habitats? What about solar power satellites? How about space mining and manufacturing? How about a cost-effective heavy lift vehicle like Sea Dragon? I suppose an Orion Drive vehicle might be too much to ask for, though I have heard that there might be ways to generate the nuclear-style explosions without fallout and environmental damage.

What I find the most frustrating here is that none of what I've mentioned is technologically infeasible, it is all within the realm of possibility. What is lacking is the political will to make it so. Of course, the same thing can be said about world hunger: we have the resources and technology to feed the world, what prevents that from happening is politics. Most wish-fulfillment sci-fi involves individual men and women of genius who are capable of developing and applying revolutionary technology while cleverly circumventing the stifling hand of government oversight and bureaucracy. That isn't how it works in the real world.

My question boils down to this: I'm not asking what is theoretically possible, I'm asking what we can realistically expect. What can we expect our future in space to be?"
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jollyreaper jollyreaper writes  |  more than 7 years ago

jollyreaper (513215) writes "File this under the category "Will parents never learn?" Naming your kid after an operating system. It'd be geeky enough if the kid was named Linux or OSX but no, this poor kid is named Vista. The proud father says: "Okay, first I know that most of you are reading this on the bus, at home, at work, and you're laughing. Some people are shocked and probably scratching your head why a nerd would potentially put their child through the slings and arrows of naming their spawn after an operating system. Hopefully by the time she's old enough for someone to make fun of her name, nobody will remember where it came from." He might want to ask Moon Unit Zappa about that."

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