In theory it doesn't even need to be elastic, just spinning:
I think getting the timing of everything just right is fairly critical.
I recall Neal Stephenson used these in his SevenEves novel.
384 posts • joined 7 Sep 2010
In theory it doesn't even need to be elastic, just spinning:
I think getting the timing of everything just right is fairly critical.
I recall Neal Stephenson used these in his SevenEves novel.
This was a few years ago but I saw a piling machine come through a wall into our company's car park and crush a car. They were frantically trying to remove a piling sleeve with setting concrete in it so they then started yanking at it with a crane. When the chain broke, flew into our carpark and sliced off another car's wing mirror, we called the police. But, yes, HSE just said "if no one actually got hurt, then, sorry, we are too busy". I think the contractors paid off the car owners with cash after that and rebuilt the wall.
So sure, no one got hurt, everyone got compensated but it still felt "wrong" - sometimes there needs to be more sanction to discourage dangerous behaviour, otherwise it will just keep going until the time when they don't get lucky and someone gets seriously hurt.
@ArrZarr - but he has: https://goo.gl/maps/7zr1YXhvu292 Although, it's not in an atrium because it is kind of big...
(please tell me that I haven't just missed your joke!)
I was trying to put a positive spin on in that I think there is room for everyone to play and grow but, yes, I agree with you that Boeing are in a very difficult position. It would be healthier for the industry if there was more than one player and a range of launch offerings from each of them to give customers some choice and reduce the single-provider risk but, right now, that's only going to happen if the incumbents catch up.
Not sure which rockets you are wondering might share parts but, I agree, I don't think it's much. SpaceX is virtually all in house and I don't think they've offered technology to anyone else - in any event, their stuff is all metric so it wouldn't fit! :-)
To be honest, I still don't get why more attention isn't being paid to Boeing's engine recovery plan which strikes me as completely insane (but has to work if they are to hit their stated price). Yes, catching parachutes has been done before but, as far as I am aware, that was film canisters not multi-ton, red hot lumps of metal...
@AC - well I think there is an extent to which, yes, that's exactly how some companies think. Part of the business case will be the launch cost and that just got slashed. But there could also be some other cost savings brought on by the new capabilities. Naively you could speculate that a manufacturer could look at their bill-of-materials for the satellite they are just about to build and ask the question "next year I can launch something twice the weight for the same price so how much money can I save by making the chassis out of cast iron rather than <exotic alloy> ?" This might just end up being a $/kg issue: FH is 1400 $/Kg to LEO which is already nearly twice as good as F9 (at 2700 $/Kg) and both those are substantially better than ULA has ever offered (depending on which figures you use you can guess between 5 and 10 times better).
SpaceX upset the launch the market by coming in a showing they could do similar stuff to the incumbents but much cheaper. But assuming that drives costs down for everyone, that has to be a good thing for the American Tax Payer (and everyone else who wants to put a something in space). But it seems that many people (including this Boeing dude) are still treating this as a zero-sum game. i.e. that every launch SpaceX (or whoever) does is a launch that they don't get to do. I can see why the car industry might be worried about Tesla, for example, because (very roughly) someone in the market for a new (pricey) car is only going to buy one so, yes, you might lose a sale to someone else.
But in the space industry a big bottle neck has been cost and availability, and now it looks like costs are going to go down and the availability of all sorts of different and new launch capabilities is going to go up. In that environment can't all of them benefit from the new customers and types of customer that will appear?
Could well have missed something here but it does seem like a situation in which they should all be able to benefit because they are jointly creating a market that doesn't currently exist.
I met some of the Reaction Engines team at a conference a few years ago and I did ask that. I can't quite remember the precise reason but I think it is so that there is some down vector to the thrust whilst the air flow is still in line with the fuselage. Perhaps this compensates a bit for the smallish wings? Once you are out the atmosphere then all that matters is that you can align the thrust vector with the centre of mass.
A lot of the money will probably be from tourists but there are a few companies (including VG) who are planning science-only jaunts. Apparently there is a surprising amount of zero-g science you can get done in a few minutes. Even though the time is short, for the same money that you would spend on launch to ISS or whatever, you can get a _lot_ of 6 minute sessions and you can sit right next to your experiment so the apparatus can be a lot simpler.
VG's offering is here: https://www.virgingalactic.com/research/
@Dave 126 + @Mike Richards - yes that blog is amazing! And they've done a book, out in October: https://typesetinthefuture.com/book/
Looks like Alexa heard you say that:
... given that the atmospheric density, the strength of gravity and velocity at opening are all markedly different between here and Mars, how relevant is a test carried out here at a relatively low altitude?
Or is this something where you test the design (i.e. shape, unfurling mechanism, etc.) but then use a model and some maths to make it a different size/aspect ratio/whatever for the Mars version?
also it looks pretty bad for "the authorities" if the claim that the crash barriers had been removed is correct.
I actually thought methanol as a fuel (either direct or in a fuel cell) was still more dangerous than petrol as it is actually more flammable. Could well be wrong here but my understanding was that if you have a leak in the petrol line and it sprays onto the exhaust manifold then it won't catch fire (a spark, of course, would be a different matter) but that methanol would catch fire in that circumstance.
And I guess diesel would be even better, in this contrived scenario at least, as even a spark won't light it.
3. (albeit related to your points 1 + 2) "Hydrogen Embrittlement" - that your metallic tank will slowly become more brittle over time (due to 2 perhaps?) and thus become increasingly unsafe especially in a crash
So there would have to be absolutely mandatory and very strongly enforced full pressure testing of the hydrogen tanks (and all high pressure components) on a regular basis.
Not sure whether this would apply to Galileo (or, to be honest whether I've even remembered correctly) but I think that, for example, ESA funding is based on a certain substantial fraction (or maybe all) of each countries contribution being spent back in that country by ESA. So, if this is the case, then a starting negotiating position from the EU would be that we've already fully or near fully benefited to the amount of our contribution so that's that.
I think there is similar feeling about Street View too. Sure, everything you can see on Street View is something that you could see by just going there and looking, and (in most cases) would be entitled to photograph too. But it does take on a different feel when you don't have to actually get up and go and do it yourself or pay someone else to do it.
Modern technology seems to be exposing a lot of areas of the Law and societal convention where things didn't used to need laws or conventions simply because they weren't possible or at least weren't practical - but now they are. The dangerous aspect is that there doesn't seem to be a legal/political/social discussion on that wider point (except on El Reg, obviously!) but instead it is currently being worked out by trying to shoehorn the existing 20th century law into the 21st century issue.
Even in this current example where data protection laws are actually more recent it still seems like this is fundamentally missing the point - this case shouldn't be about the technicality of whether Google is breaching data protection by holding a small snippet of info in its index or cache.
But, to be honest, I'm not sure I could write down in one sentence what it should be about!
Actually I think the BRB just got retired in favour of an fully automated system. On the last few SpaceX launches you could here someone say "ATFS enabled" just before launch - which is Autonomous Flight Termination System. Apparently this also leads to the possibility of launches on the same or consecutive days from Cape Canaveral as (I didn't realise) that one of the most time consuming bits about switching the range from launch to launch was actually re-configuring and testing all the radars/scopes/etc. - that were needed for the manual system - to the next launch trajectory. Don't know if the new ATFS will be used on manned missions though. I can imagine people still preferring the idea of having people in the loop for that. Although that can lead to "Wargames (1983)" problems and the fact that in the Shuttle era the Range Safety officers were carefully kept well away from the Astronauts and their families lest personal feelings got in the way...
c.f. Virgin Galactic and the Scaled Composites carrier plane: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scaled_Composites_White_Knight_Two
Well, I think she'll fit right in based on an observation I made in a previous comment thread:
Having read some of the various claim/counter-claim documents in the HP vs. Autonomy spat I still can't get over the description of the high level "Executive Committee" meetings: "Ms Whitman ... repeatedly adopted the management approach of ... playing country music to the meeting instructing the senior executives attending to take the meaning of the country music songs and apply them to their own management methods".
OK, I'm confused. I thought it was generally accepted now that Wikileaks had selectively leaked information to damage the Democrat campaign and and held onto stuff that might have damaged the Trump/Republican campaign. In which case wouldn't they be rather pleased with him?
Or is this one of those "yes, he helped us but we still don't like him and he probably can't help us any more (especially as the Mueller investigation is uncovering more stuff than Wikileaks held on to)" situations?
So cray74 is not necessarily the 74th cray then? Is that what you are saying?
I don't get why he isn't facing something more serious than an ICO probe.
This article from the BBC (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-42151148) quotes him admitting that he took home evidence: "... Mr Lewis said the only police notebook he took with him was the one he had used during Operation Miser. The notebook, seen by the BBC ..."
I think police notebooks have a higher evidential status than something that you or I might have written so the idea that he could just walk out with it when he retired is pretty shocking (to me at least).
That's nearly as good as when someone just pointed out to me that "Maximus Decimus Meridius" is sort of Latin for "High Five"...
Much as it hurts to say this, I think that might be a bit unfair. As the article says:
"The Department of Justice is right now doing what all defendants in lawsuits attempt to do: argue whatever points they think will make it most likely that the lawsuit will be dismissed before it gets to trial or judicial decision."
This might then be more of a criticism of the US legal system where much seems to be decided before anything gets to court and becomes concrete and public (c.f. the recent revelations about how many probably-criminal harassment cases are settled out-of-court where, conveniently, severe gagging conditions can be imposed). During this pre-court phase it seems that you can make any argument that you think might stick as long as it doesn't directly contradict existing legislation or court decision. That could well be why the two organisations bringing the court cases are so keen to get a court decision and the DoJ is pushing so hard not to get one...
I'm not a lawyer, but I don't think it works like that. An impediment has been put in place against specific individuals from reading statements made by @realDonaldTrump feed. The fact that the impediment is fairly easy to work around probably isn't that relevant to the legal argument.
I'm wary of trying to make an analogy but if someone steals your bike they can't use the argument "but it was a really rubbish lock and really easy to pick" because the principle is that you had asserted your control/ownership of the bike and your intent that it should remain where you left it by using a lock, no matter how bad it was.
With the caveat that I really don't do much research into phones beyond reading El Reg, I have indeed mostly fixated on the Nexus series because of the frequent security updates. I genuinely don't understand why this isn't a bigger issue for more people - I can't imagine the frustration of reading about a zero-day exploit on El Reg, that is being used in the wild and then having to wait for the phone manufacturer to pick up and release the fix. If they even bother, given it is in their interest to try and "persuade" you to buy the latest one which coincidentally already has the fix...
@DB - Indeed I have done that but the room naming contest got suspended for the suspicious reason that they wanted to refurbish the entire building instead - which I felt was a bit of an extreme way of stopping me winning. I did get a box of chocolates instead though.
(I'm allergic to chocolate)
Well, it did carry (or "shuttle", if you like) another probe all the way there too...
I'm with detritus. Loved that book!
If you like "Ignition!" you might also enjoy this summary blogpost about Chlorine Trifluoride (which duly references the book): "Sand won't save you this time" ( http://blogs.sciencemag.org/pipeline/archives/2008/02/26/sand_wont_save_you_this_time ). Yes, it's relevant as it has been tested as a possible rocket fuel...
oh, less than 12 I'd guess.
Is it just the physical vibrations? I was also wondering if there could be ionisation in the rocket exhaust that could mess up radio signals?
That's a little bit harsh on the "sub-orbital lob" companies. Yes, a lot of the money will be from tourists but there are (or were - they have been a bit quiet lately!) a few companies (including VG) who were planning science-only jaunts. Apparently there is a surprising amount of zero-g science you can get done in a few minutes. Even though the time is short, for the same money that you would spend on launch to ISS, or whatever, you can get a _lot_ of 6 minute sessions and you can sit right next to your experiment so the apparatus can be a lot simpler.
Actually on fire? Or really, _really_ "toasty"?
Well, this project isn't rocket science and they've done it before:
"Manufactured, shipped, installed and readied for operation in roughly three months ..."
I think he (and his company) also pay rather a lot of tax in the UK too according to this report in the Indy (albeit a few years old): http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/the-billionaires-who-do-pay-their-bills-including-james-dyson-and-jk-rowling-7873607.html
You might also like John Scalzi (sci fi author) performing a skit with WW on that very subject:
It's from his "Redshirts" book promotion tour (the book loosely being a Trek parody) and, if I recall correctly, WW was reading his part live so didn't know where it was going ...
You should also hunt down the episode of "The Nerdist" podcast where they interview Patrick Stewart and he ends up doing the opening intro and various of Picard's stock phrases in a French accent. He also alleges that there is a tape somewhere in the vaults of Paramount where they did if for real at the time before deciding that it really wasn't going to work...
Pretty sure bitcoins can only be divided down to a "satoshi". Even if they extend the protocol to allow finer division (isn't protocol extension really tricky though? Didn't a previous attempt cause fairly major problems?) then I'm still fairly confident that they can't be "...subdivided to infinity". 'cos, you know, "maths" and "precision" and "finite number of bits to represent your currency units", etc., etc.
Hmm, quick bit of <search-engine-of-choice>ing suggests I'm wrong. Still, I think the "don't be a dick" philosophy is still good and you can surely enjoy the funny story?
So, this may not at all be correct but, I was under the impression that "paying for stuff in a shop" is different from "settling a debt".
When you stand at the till and they say "that'll be £11.63 please" then there are limits on what they are required to accept (which, as noted in comments above, are actually surprisingly small so often bigger shops will be more lenient) so you can't give them 1163 pennies and then shout "you're discriminating against me" or whatever if they refuse. This isn't "settling a debt" because you don't owe anything because they haven't given you the goods yet.
But in a restaurant, for example, you are "settling a debt" because at the end of the meal they have given you the goods and so you do now owe them recompense for that. I and thought, perhaps wrongly, that there was a different set of rules about what they were required to accept in payment of that debt. i.e. that they can't refuse to accept because you want to pay a £5.10 bill with 51x10p, for example, because it is actual money of the correct amount and you are legitimately attempting to settle the debt.
Of course all of this is covered by the general observation that life would be so much easier if everyone on both sides of these transactions just resolved to "not be a dick about things".
Which reminds me of the time I donated several years (and Kgs) collection of coppers to the work charity collection and said "You do have one of those coin counting machines don't you?" to which the response was "Yes. But's it's broken. But that's OK because we've got an intern!".
I think the point is that the "implementation" of their UTC functions just doesn't know about leap seconds so all you can do is externally set it back by a second at some point. i.e. the now() function can't ever report "23:59:58", "23:59:59", "23:59:60", "00:00:00", which is what it should do in a leap second. So the only option that they have is to "manually" knock back the time counter so you repeat a second as reported by the now() function. Having done that there is a risk that if you make two requests less than an actual second apart and the knock back occurs between the two, then you will get a negative value.
Hence Google's approach of just smearing the second out over a day or so by making multiple tiny adjustments such that you can guarantee that the smallest interval between now() requests will always still result in a positive number.
As usual, "Yes, Minister" got there first with the "would you support compulsory military service" questionnaire episode. Just got to find a link...
Ah, here we go: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0086831/quotes
Didn't Charlie Brooker already do this in one of his "Black Mirror" episodes?
Running the fumes through the current filters produces ozone but using a high voltage spark won't? I thought high voltage spark was the very definition of how to produce ozone!
... I do recall back in the 90's being asked to install Windows 95 Japanese (*) on a laptop. It took me several goes to get it right (I think I had to install regular 95 first then install the Japanese version on top) so I had to ask the user to draw out all the kanji characters for the install wizard questions/answers.
(*) not just a "language pack add on" kind of thing, but a complete "everything is translated" version where the only English text was for trademarks/names/etc.
@esme - well official UK government policy is that our space programme is strictly an unmanned one. So we're just not in that race at all (rightly or wrongly - discuss!)
My reading of the article was that the inspector from the insurance company would be wearing the kit. He then just wanders around and, if he's been there before, just need to "look" at everything necessary. Possibly taking a few close-ups of fire-extinguishers, etc. to see serial numbers or whatever. Then, if it all works correctly, doesn't then need to spend hours/days going through his notes, working out where each photo was taken, cross checking every serial number with a test certificate, etc.
I saw this done in a documentary once: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0PxTAn4g20U
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