Elon Musk appeared Wednesday at SpaceX's testing facility in McGregor, Texas — not far from Waco — along with NASA administrator Charles Bolden, to show off the recovered Dragon capsule that recently launched from Cape Canaveral to the ISS. He says the SpaceX Grasshopper reusable lift vehicle will start testing in a few months, and that once it's in service the cost of a flight to orbit may cost as little as 1/100 as much as it costs today. According to Musk, fuel is only a tiny part of what a space launch costs; boosters and other expensive items that currently only get used once are the main budget-busters. (Note that the Scaled Composites Space Ship Two also relies on a reusable first stage — and that theirs saves both fuel and wear & tear by using aerodynamic lift, AKA wings, for the first 50,000 feet.)
Last week, you asked questions of Vermont Senate candidate Jeremy Hansen, running on an unusual platform: Hansen pledges to take advantage of modern communications if elected, and (with exceptions he outlines in his answers) vote based on the opinion of his district's voters on a per-issue basis. Read below Hansen's answers about such a system could work; he addresses concerns about security, practicality, morality, and more. "Before I start with the answers," he writes in introduction, "I want to clear a few things up. I am running as an independent for a Vermont Senate seat, not the U.S. Senate, so questions about classified and similar material do not (for the most part) apply. Also, for everyone's reference, there are 44,000 registered voters in Vermont's Washington County Senate district. Many of the concerns about managing input from very large populations are not as applicable here." Read on for more.
Last week you got a chance to ask the team behind Space Command about their project and all things sci-fi. Marc Zicree, Doug Drexler, David Raiklen, and Neil Johnson were nice enough to put down the blasters and answer a handful of your best questions. David even answered one of his own! Read below to see what they had to say.
Did you know that cockroaches have such large nerves in their legs that you can poke into their legs almost at random and hit a nerve with an electrode so you can stimulate that leg with hip-hop music and and watch it move? And that you can easily order the parts to do this at home or at school? You can. And supplies to perform many other neuroscience experiments, too. Amaze your friends! Learn how neurons work! Gross out squeamish people! All that (and more) is what Backyard Brains is about.
Tuesday morning at 0344, right on schedule (and it had to be right on schedule), Elon Musk's baby finally left the launch pad on its way to the International Space Station (ISS). Two babies, actually: the Falcon 9 launch vehicle is what we watched as it took off from Cape Canaveral -- the first private spaceship headed for the ISS -- with the Dragon spacecraft perched on its nose. The Dragon carried over 1000 pounds of supplies and experiments for the ISS. The launch went off without a hitch. But don't stop holding your breath quite yet; Dragon isn't scheduled to dock at the ISS until Friday.
This morning's nixed launch of SpaceX's Dragon capsule to the ISS with the company's Falcon booster was an exciting thing to be on hand for, despite the (literally) last-second halt. Shuttle launches used to cause miles of traffic backups extending well outside the gates of NASA's Cape Canaveral launch facilities; for all the buzz around the first private launch to the ISS, today's launch attempt was much more sparsely attended. In a small set of bleachers set up near the massive countdown clock, there were a few dozen enthusiasts and reporters aiming their cameras and binoculars at the launch site on the horizon. They counted down in time with the clock, and — just like NASA's own announcer — reached all the way to "liftoff." There was a brief flash as the engines ignited, but it died as fast as it appeared. It took only a few seconds for the crowd to realize that it was all over for today's shot. While the company's representatives remain upbeat, pointing out that the software worked as intended to stop a launch before anomalies turn into catastrophes, most of those on hand to see what they'd hoped to be a historic launch were a bit glum as they walked back to the parking lot and the press area — especially the ones who can't stay until the next try. I'm sticking around the area until the next scheduled launch window; hopefully next time the fates (and engines) will align.
Wayne Rash is a crusty old IT reporter who lives near Washington D.C. and covers a lot of Federal Government actions, especially those that have to do with technology, for several well-known publications. He did a lot of the original coverage of both the LightSquared debacle and AT&T's attempt to buy T-Mobile. Note the word "original" in there. An awful lot of today's online "news" stories quote other stories. Wayne is totally not a fan of that kind of "reporting," as you'll learn toward the end of this video. What he *does* respect is the old-fashioned way of gathering information: lots of research and digging.
Jake Elliott and Jon (not Elwood) Cates are the ones who describe Glitch Art people as 'weirdos within the weirdos' in the context of Notacon 9, which was recently held in Cleveland. It's 'an annual event that focuses on people who like to build, make, break and hack stuff,' and even in the Notacon context the Glitch Artwork crowd stands out. Sit down with Jake and Jon and share their joy in working with "feral glitches... before they are domesticated," and see some of the output from artist Dave Musgrave's circuit-bent consoles.
In this exclusive video interview, Slashdot chats with Leisure Suit Larry creator Al Lowe, who is working with Replay Games and Kickstarter to bring Larry Laffer to a whole new generation of computers. They'll maintain the original Larry style of being naughty without crossing the line into porn, which is appropriate for an 80s game about a 70s dork who wears a (shudder) leisure suit. You can donate to this effort through Kickstarter if you like. (We aren't getting paid to say this, and it's a labor of love for Al, too, who is more recently famous for running the hokey daily comedy email newsletter, CyberJoke 3000.)
Timothy Lord was in the closest civilian parking lot to where the Space Shuttle Discovery touched down from her last flight -- as a passenger on top of a 747, but it was still a space shuttle flying... a flight that was the sad epitaph for an American era. Timothy's shots of the landing approach are much like all the others you've seen. What's interesting is the variety of people he talked with. One came all the way from Tokyo. And there was the young man who got a Master's in Aeronautical Engineering to work on the space program, which sadly shut down, and who is now looking for a job with SpaceX or one of the other private space-bound companies. We hope there are lots of opportunities in the near future for him, and for thousands if not millions of others who want to go into space or, ground-bound, help our efforts to go where only science fiction writers' imaginations have gone before.
This is an interview with All Hands Active's Josh Williams. He shows us a project the group is doing in conjunction with Eastern Michigan University's Bright Futures Institute for the Study of Children, Families, and Communities. This is just one project, and maybe not the most exciting one they do, but it's something simple they can (and do) cart around to schools and other remote locations. They use a laser cutter for this simple project, not because it's really needed, Josh says, but because "any excuse to use a laser cutter is a good excuse."
You recently got the chance to ask a group of MIT researchers questions about fusion power, and they've now finished writing some incredibly detailed answers. They discuss the things we've learned about fusion in the past decade, how long it's likely to take for fusion to power your home, the biggest problems fusion researchers are working to solve, and why it's important to continue funding fusion projects. They also delve into the specifics of tokamak operation, like dealing with disruption events and the limitations on reactor size, and provide some insight into fusion as a career. Hit the link below for a wealth of information about fusion.
SJVN is, of course, the well-known nickname and abbreviation for Steven J. Vaughn-Nichols, who has been covering technology as a journalist since... since longer than he cares to admit... and has been covering Linux and FOSS since the 1990s. This was basically a one-question interview: "How has reporting on Linux changed in the last 10 years?" After that, except for a couple of words requesting clarifications, we just let the webcam roll. (Note: if you know someone who would make a good Slashdot video interview victim, please put us in touch with them. Thanks.)
This isn't about your place in society, but about user privileges on your computers and computer networks. The more privileges, the more risk of getting hacked and having Bad People do Bad Things to your company's computers, right? So Leonid Shtilman's company, Viewfinity, offers SaaS that helps you grant system privileges in a more granular manner than just allowing "root" and "user" accounts with nothing in between.
It's been almost four years since Diablo 3 was announced, and its development began years earlier. Its predecessors helped define the action RPG genre, so anticipation is high among fans of the franchise. The game has undergone closed beta testing since September, and a lot has changed since then. Now that Blizzard has settled on May 15th as a release date, we thought this would be a good time to take a look at the state of the game as it currently exists. These two videos show actual gameplay of the various classes, explain the skill and rune systems, take a look at the auction house, and go over many of the other changes since the beginning of development. (Click to play the first video, and the second one will play automagically after the first one ends.)