Announcing: Slashdot Deals - Explore geek apps, games, gadgets and more. (what is this?)

Thank you!

We are sorry to see you leave - Beta is different and we value the time you took to try it out. Before you decide to go, please take a look at some value-adds for Beta and learn more about it. Thank you for reading Slashdot, and for making the site better!



New DNA Analysis On Old Blood Pegs Aaron Kosminski As Jack the Ripper

xmark Not a great comparison to Moby-Dick. (135 comments)

Moby Dick is fiction, but was highly influenced and factually informed by the tragic events and wreck of the whaleship Essex. Melville was consumed by the stories of the surviving crew, and was inspired by them to write Moby-Dick. It's a fictional work immersed in a strong, accurate nonfiction document.

The following book about the Essex is superb, for those with further interest. It won a nonfiction National Book Award. You will stay up very late reading it.

            In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex, by Nathaniel Philbrick.

about 5 months ago

A Look At NASA's Orion Project

xmark Re:NASA has become small indeed... (108 comments)

I will join you in the eye roll, but directed to your post.

I assumed anyone reading my OP would understand I was talking about a specific engineering and exploration *project* rolled up from scratch (which is a colloquial term, with the literary license customary for such usage). Take the logic of your post far enough, and I would have to credit Australopithecus for the discovery of fire.

We all, to paraphrase Newton, stand on the shoulders of giants. So too did the engineers at NASA. This should not require further explanation.

Meanwhile, judging by the serial explosive failures of the 50s rocket tech you mentioned, and the weak tea served up by Mercury vs. the superior Russian tech, Apollo did not have the kind of technological base you've implied, anyway.

If you read a good history of the Apollo effort, you'll find that the engineers *desperately* wanted a clean sheet approach. And they got it. Along with a government that cut red tape and cleared the way for them to do what they were there to do.

Those days are gone.

about 6 months ago

A Look At NASA's Orion Project

xmark NASA has become small indeed... (108 comments)

It took 8 years from Kennedy's speech in 1961 to a human on the moon in 1969. Not only did NASA get a moon rocket designed, tested, and launched in that time, it also got an intermediate rocket program (Gemini) designed, tested, and launched prior to the moon program.

From scratch.

Now we're looking at (maybe) 11 years to develop a working rocket to go to an asteroid. Oh boy, journey to an, umm, space rock. Really stirs the heart, doesn't it? And this after willingly withdrawing from manned spaceflight capacity altogether for at least six years, and counting. Yep, just folding the cards and walking away from the table.

Sure, go ahead and tell me how technically challenging the space rock odyssey will be. But the call of space comes from the same place the call of the sea arose from in the past. To Terra Incognita, where "Here Be Dragons." Sorry, there be no dragons around the space rock.

The technical wizardry missions could and should be handled by robots. Humans should be reserved for missions which stir the soul, or the people who pay for such things (you and me) will stop paying.

It's hard to think of a better demonstration of how the US used to get things done, and how it does things now, than to compare the space program we had 50 years ago to the current version.

"If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people together to collect wood, and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea." - Antoine de Saint-Exupery

about 6 months ago

Press Used To Print Millions of US Banknotes Seized In Quebec

xmark How is this any different from Fed practice? (398 comments)

Fed doesn't even bother with the paper - just pushes some buttons, and *magically* $4 billion pops out into the system *every day.*

Except they call it Quantitative Easing instead of its actual name, counterfeiting. Cuz they're economists, you know.

about a year ago

Nebraska Scientists Refuse To Carry Out Climate Change-Denying Study

xmark You think that government is apolitical? (640 comments)


Everyone has an agenda. Government is the most powerful entity in our mixed society. It is (and has amply proven itself to be) capable of corruption, graft, and political pursuit of goals contrary to the interests of those who are taxed to fund it.

Concentration of power is the problem. Politically, big corporations and big government are a difference without a distinction. They both pursue their own agendas in service to the elites who are stakeholders, and then use propaganda to claim otherwise.

about a year ago

802.11ac: Better Coverage, But Won't Hit Advertised Speeds

xmark Kind of like EPA gas mileage ratings. (107 comments)

"In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is."

about a year and a half ago

It's Time To Start Taking Stolen Phones Seriously

xmark You aren't looking at systemic effects. (282 comments)

Yes, the phonemaker gets more revenue. However, the money used to fund those replacements comes from an increased levy on all phone purchasers who have coverage. So everyone with coverage pays more for phones. The extra money that everyone pays for phones means less money spent on all other possible purchases. So Apple's revenue increase is Krogers' or Target's or Shell's decrease.

We usually disregard widely-distributed costs and look at local effects. This is especially true of politicians. But those effects are real and directly affect the aggregate economy numbers.

about a year and a half ago

Why US Mileage Ratings Are So Inaccurate

xmark So, do you call it "literage"? (374 comments)

I'm curious about what the equivalent term for "mileage" is.

about a year and a half ago

DHS Can Seize Your Electronics Within 100 Mi.of US Border, Says DHS

xmark This should be modded up. (597 comments)

All out of mod points or I would do it myself.

about 2 years ago

In Brazil, Trees To Call For Help If Illegally Felled

xmark E-Tree, Phone Home! (130 comments)

well, it's better than "First Post!"

about 2 years ago

Complex Systems Theorists Predict We're About One Year From Global Food Riots

xmark Re:Still Wrong (926 comments)

what you bought actually only has a 2 year shelf life, I don't care what their marketing department tells you.

The supplier's website says that with mild, dry storage conditions, the food is good for up to 25 years. My guess is their estimate is closer to the truth than yours.

more than 2 years ago

NASA Releases HiRISE Images of Curiosity's Descent

xmark If I had mod points, you would get one. (220 comments)

Thoughtful analysis untainted by political correctness is getting scarce these days. Which by definition means it's getting more valuable.

more than 2 years ago

Canadian Mint To Create Digital Currency

xmark A revolution is what would happen. (298 comments)

Followed quickly by a headless king.

This does not require an elaborate analysis, only a cursory reading of history.

more than 2 years ago

2 Science Publishers Delve Into Science Fiction

xmark You apparently haven't read Vernor Vinge (67 comments)

Of course, you realize that NO ONE predicted the impact that the internet would have a scant 30 years ago.

True Names was published in 1981, which is a scant 31 years ago. Read it first of all to see that someone DID envision the impact of the global internet, and its resultant creation of cyberspace. But more importantly, read it because it is a brilliant example of what science fiction can be.

more than 2 years ago

Sea Water Could Cause Uranium Pollution From Nuclear Fuel Rods

xmark More likely due to runoff from scoured land. (97 comments)

My money is on the exfoliation of a huge strip of coastal land followed by massive runoff as the culprit. There's still 20 million tons of debris floating. Imagine how much more either dissolved or sank.


about 3 years ago

Ask Slashdot: How Are You Haunting Your House This Hallowe'en?

xmark Don't let the door hit ya where Rover just bit ya (249 comments)

JK - Sounds like you have low blood sugar this morning. Have a Captain 'n Coke or two while you steal something from your nephew's candy bag, and you'll feel the love again. :)

more than 3 years ago

Actress Sues IMDb For Revealing Her Age

xmark In the digital era, we're all in the public eye. (465 comments)

The principle that we each should be in charge of the release of our personal information is a protection for you and me as well as for aging actresses.

As for determining which information about someone is "trivial," I suggest not outsourcing that either.

more than 3 years ago


xmark hasn't submitted any stories.


xmark has no journal entries.

Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?