Roger Strong’s Techdirt Profile


About Roger Strong

Programmer in Winnipeg, Canada.

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  • Apr 27th, 2016 @ 9:11pm

    Re: Why 2018? Is there a rush to get to Mars?

    SpaceX developed and launched its Falcon 9 rocket in less time and FAR less money than it took NASA to develop - unsuccessfully - Ares I.

    SpaceX's Mars rocket, Falcon Heavy, has been in development for several years and is expected to have its first launch in November. It's essentially three Falcon 9 first stages strapped together with a Falcon 9 second stage on top, so most of the hardware has already flown.

    Propellant crossfeed between the first stages and the extra staging events are a new wrinkle.

    > Why 2018 anyway? 2020 would seem a more realistic date.

    2018 sounds like the absolutely most optimistic date. If there are any bugs to work out with those new wrinkles in Falcon Heavy, it could push back the mission by a couple years.

    And while the Dragon capsule is now making regular visits to ISS, it hasn't done a propulsive landing from altitude yet. It has however done a short hover test, verifying that the propulsion system can be used to do so.

    Keep in mind that the 2018 goal is for an unmanned lander. Colonization is much further in the future.

  • Apr 27th, 2016 @ 8:42pm

    Re: Re: Re: Why?

    Planets will be safer than space habitats for a long, long time.

  • Apr 25th, 2016 @ 1:22pm

    Re: Secret Prisons

    Well sure. Consider American lawyer and veteran Brandon Mayfield. After the 2004 Madrid train bombings a *partial* fingerprint found on a bag *somewhat* matched his own from veteran's records. Despite Spanish officials telling the FBI that it wasn't a match, the FBI didn't just arrest him; they "disappeared" him. (Lied to the judge about the case against him, and later lied about where he was being held.)

    He was arrested as a "material witness", so he could be held as long as they wanted without charging him. And of course they raided his home and carted off his and his family's belongings.

  • Apr 25th, 2016 @ 10:14am

    (untitled comment)

    Waiting for Ken White's response....

  • Apr 21st, 2016 @ 12:32pm

    Re: Re: Space Shuttle...

    ...At greater cost than **not** reusing them.

    Still, as an X-vehicle for testing new technologies and tweaking them until they matured (like multiple generations of SRBs and main tanks), the Shuttle was an enormous success. But it should have been replaced by a more mature design from lessons learned 15 or so years earlier.

  • Apr 21st, 2016 @ 12:25pm

    Re: Re:

    > It was much larger, more complicated and required more support personnel than should have been required for most of its missions.

    It was all required for the Shuttle's primary mission: To keep the standing army of Apollo engineers, technicians and support crews employed.

    SLS has inherited this mission. And unfortunately, no other mission.

    > And the Dream Chaser is an example of a promising manned space plane design.

    Yup. Looking forward to it. It hasn't had a business case until now. But between the ISS commercial cargo and commercial crew and the upcoming Bigelow station, one is emerging.

  • Apr 21st, 2016 @ 12:17pm

    Re: Re: He's either misinformed or lying

    How dare you suggest that of a Papal Knight!

    (Really. Rupert Murdoch is a Papal Knight.)

  • Apr 21st, 2016 @ 8:36am


    > One lesson we ought to have learned by now: bringing wings and wheels into space makes no sense.
    No, bringing wings and wheels into space still makes sense if the point of the spacecraft is to, you know, shuttle back and forth to low earth orbit.

    The shuttle could and often did bring back large payloads. Far larger can capsules could.

    And setting aside the political and design fiascos of the Shuttle, spacecraft are easier to recover from a runway than the ocean. And there's a lot to be said for not dunking the entire spacecraft in salt water on every flight.

    But a good, viable reusable winged shuttle will be a lot more expensive to develop, and will require a high launch rate to amortize the costs. The market for that hasn't existed yet.

  • Apr 21st, 2016 @ 8:21am


    > The whole space shuttle era should serve as evidence that making space craft "reusable" doesn't necessarily make it cheaper.

    Only in the sense that a poorly designed government web site should serve as evidence that web sites aren't necessarily a good idea.

  • Apr 20th, 2016 @ 11:12am


    > yet they don't seem to be getting the same attention.


  • Apr 20th, 2016 @ 11:04am

    (untitled comment)

    > I've noted in the past that the EU tends to view antitrust through a fairly different lens than the US does, and perhaps that's the issue here. This is a broad generalization, but for the most part, the US focuses on whether or not practices harm consumers. The EU tends to focus on whether or not a company is really big.

    I saw an argument on Slashdot that nicely summed up the European position:

    In Europe we already tried allowing a winner-takes-it-all strategy where a very good leader keeps the monopoly over a (market/region/population), it was called an absolute monarchy.

    It looks good for as long as the original manager (who reached the position as the best in a meritocracy) stays in place. It lasts for a generation, when the competent leader legates the role to their heirs, who may or may not be prepared to maintain the same level of quality service.

    By that time, it is too late to displace the incompetent newcomers - all the network effects that entrenched the original leader as a monopoly are still in place and are too strong to overcome even when there are better alternatives, except by a disruptive process that redefines the rules of the game in full. I heard you Americans didn't like absolute monarchies? You should then understand the EU's position.

  • Apr 20th, 2016 @ 9:37am

    Re: Re:

    That's the point. Netflix will have the movie in Canada but not the US. Americans will have to pay FAR more to stream it.

  • Apr 20th, 2016 @ 8:11am

    (untitled comment)

    Netflix will be streaming Star Wars: The Force Awakens the year in Canada only. The Starz premium cable channel has an exclusive deal for it in the US.

    They're cracking down on VPNs before Americans start streaming Canadian Netflix for a change.

    Because Americans buying services from an international market the way corporations do? That's consequential. And something they want to prevent.

  • Apr 15th, 2016 @ 11:43am

    Re: accuracy... ph yeah

    Even defaulting to the geographical center of the US is good enough for Netflix, Amazon, YouTube and others to region block based on country.

    A specific point with an error circle might actually be worse in this case, for cities near a border.

  • Apr 13th, 2016 @ 11:00pm

    Re: Ominous

    Or they spun off the technology to a separate company to protect themselves from any legal fallout when its use is detected.

  • Apr 12th, 2016 @ 12:28pm

    Re: Re:

    You might block bulk-importing of phones, but stopping visiting tourists and business people from bringing their phones with them probably won't fly. One could also smuggle dozens of iPhones across the border, say, in a bale of marijuana.

    Going after the American division of a company for information held by their overseas divisions is problematic. Techdirt has covered the case where US magistrate judge ruled that Microsoft had to comply with a warrant asking for data held on servers in Dublin. (The Irish government has since disagreed, saying that the emails should be disclosed only on request to the Irish government.) It's not settled yet, but imagine the uproar after a Microsoft loss, when foreign governments cite the case to demand information about Americans on US servers.

    What happens when Apple US (with a government back door on US phones) is ordered to unlock an Irish phone, and is unable to do so because the Irish phones don't have the back door?

  • Apr 12th, 2016 @ 11:42am

    Re: Something must be done!

    When encryption is outlawed, only outlaws will have encryption. You're no doubt familiar with the age-old version of this argument:

    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt. (When catapults are outlawed, only outlaws will have catapults.)

  • Apr 12th, 2016 @ 9:55am

    (untitled comment)

    > ...if this bill passes, there will be punishment (potentially severe punishment) for any company that wants to use actual encryption.

    For any American company, operating in America.

    Encryption and privacy will still be very much in demand in other countries. There would simply be American versions of products sold without it.

    Apple and other American-based multinational companies would do this too. Otherwise Samsung, HTC and others will use it as a selling point against them elsewhere.

    How to prevent Americans from using foreign-made phones and encryption apps is a problem for Burr and Feinstein to explain.

  • Apr 12th, 2016 @ 8:05am


    Not their culture?

  • Apr 12th, 2016 @ 5:54am

    (untitled comment)

    > "Phrases such as 'how is the answer,' 'how matters,' and 'get your hows right' are uniquely identified with Seidman."

    (Does a quick search on "how is important" and gets A LOT of hits in return...)

    It would be more credible to claim that the rolling of eyes is more uniquely identified with Seidman.

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