Monday, January 18, 2021

Virgin Orbit Demo 2 Launch Onboard Camera

Virgin Orbit's LauncherOne air-launched rocket successfully put its payload in orbit after being dropped from the 747 mother ship. Air launching allows all-azimuth launches to be staged without multiple land-based launch sites, and equatorial launches with maximum assist from the Earth's rotation.

Posted at 11:51 Permalink

Saturday, January 16, 2021

NASA Space Launch System Test Firing Aborts after 60 Seconds

After 13 years of development and 18 billion dollars spent on development, the Space Launch System core stage test firing shut down 60 seconds into a planned 8 minute test firing, just at the point the engine gimbal test was to start.

The NASA TV commentators are still reading from the script for a successful test.

Update: “Major component failure” (2020-01-16 22:47 UTC)

Posted at 22:35 Permalink

NASA Space Launch System (SLS) Core Stage Test Firing

The NASA Space Launch System (SLS) is easily the stupidest orbital launch system ever seriously developed. On each launch, which will cost around a billion US$, not counting the approximately twenty billion in sunk R&D costs before it ever flies, and flying at most once a year, it will discard as junk in the ocean four Space Shuttle Main Engines and two solid rocket boosters, all of which were routinely reused during the thirty years of the Space Shuttle program. Including its predecessor, the Constellation program Ares V, it has been under development for 13 years, whereas the comparable Saturn V took around five years from program start to first flight in the 1960s.

The Space Launch System has been called the “Senate Launch System” because it was largely mandated by politicians to keep NASA centres and contractors busy after the end of the Space Shuttle program. If this and a subsequent unmanned test flight are successful, it is not expected to fly its first crew before the summer of 2023.

The test firing is scheduled for 22:00 UTC on 2021-01-16.

Posted at 14:11 Permalink

Friday, January 15, 2021

Facial Recognition Predicts People's Politics with 72% Accuracy

Posted at 12:51 Permalink

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Blue Origin NS-14 Suborbital Launch

The live Webcast is scheduled to begin at 15:15 UTC on 2021-01-14, with launch scheduled for 15:45 UTC. These launch times have frequently been delayed in the past.

Posted at 12:02 Permalink

SpaceX Starship SN9 Performs Three Static Firings in One Day

Posted at 11:57 Permalink

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Amazon Web Services (AWS) to Terminate Parler's Hosting at Midnight

After being pulled from both Apple and Google's app stores, the free speech social network Parler is about to lose its server platform at Amazon Web Services (AWS). Parler CEO says it may take up to a week to bring up replacement hosting, until which time the service will be down for all users, whether on mobile apps or the Web.

Posted at 17:04 Permalink

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Time for Life after Google?


With a perfect storm of banning, de-platforming, un-publishing, and un-personing underway by the “social media” (Hayek observed in The Fatal Conceit that any word in the English language is devalued by preceding it with “social”) companies and their “woke” allies in the corporate world, media, and academia, it might be an excellent week-end to read, or re-read George Gilder's superb Life after Google (link is to my review: a Kindle edition is available).

Gilder explains how today's monolithic and monopolistic “data silos” are the consequences of the technologies and economic incentives under which they evolved, and that these precursors are on the threshold of being rendered as impotent and obsolete by emerging technologies (such as ubiquitous and inexpensive broadband connectivity via 5G mobile and massive low-Earth orbit satellite constellations, secure and distributed peer-to-peer data storage and transaction processing, and decentralised and secure payment and micropayment systems) as the continental-scale railroad-era coercive empires and the central banks and fiat money which sustain them.


Think about it—do we really want to live in a world where Chong, Apu, and Data get to decide what constitutes acceptable speech for human beings around the world? We presently have nearly all the technologies at hand to supplant these obsolescent and manipulative cathedrals of coercion with a bazaar in which people own their own data, cannot be silenced, and are compensated for their work on their own terms, not subject to the approval of oligarchs or illegitimate state control. (I say “nearly” because we aren't quite there when it comes to large-volume, high bandwidth video and streaming, but the widespread roll-out of 5G and the next generation of storage devices will take care of that.) Deploying these technologies in a way that empowers individuals and organisations that adopt them and leaving behind the present dark era which has betrayed the original promise and, indeed, the design goals of the Internet and the World-Wide Web, is one of the outstanding technological challenges and opportunities of the day. Indeed, were I a few decades younger, it's what I'd be working on right now, with the expectation not only of making the world a better place but, while giving away all of the core technologies for free, winding up wealthy beyond the dreams of avarice by the opportunities created as they were adopted and deployed.

Posted at 20:21 Permalink

After BREXIT, Swiss Stocks to Trade on London Exchanges

Posted at 14:47 Permalink

Friday, January 8, 2021

“Mastering Atari, Go, Chess and Shogi by Planning with a Learned Model”

Posted at 12:01 Permalink

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Extracting Personal Information from Large Language Models Like GPT-2

Original paper on arXiv.

Posted at 15:12 Permalink

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

India’s Chandrayaan 2 Reveals Highest Resolution Images of the Moon from Orbit

Posted at 14:46 Permalink

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Technology Forecasts for the Roaring Twenties

Posted at 20:42 Permalink

SpaceX to Catch Super Heavy Booster by Its Grid Fins?

Posted at 13:22 Permalink

Friday, January 1, 2021

U.S. House of Representatives to Eliminate “Gendered Terms” from its Rules

In clause 8(c)(3) of rule XXIII, strike “father, mother, son, daughter, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, first cousin, nephew, niece, husband, wife, father-in-law, mother-in-law, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, stepfather, stepmother, stepson, stepdaughter, stepbrother, stepsister, half brother, half sister, grandson, or grand-daughter” and insert “parent, child, sibling, parent’s sibling, first cousin, sibling’s child, spouse, parent-in-law, child-in-law, sibling-in-law, stepparent, stepchild, stepsibling, half-sibling, or grandchild”.

I stand by my 1985 prediction that this will eventually lead to mandating the term “s/he/it” to avoid excluding artificial intelligences, followed soon thereafter by the complete collapse of this folly everywhere outside Marin County, California.

Read the whole (stupid) thing. [PDF]

Posted at 23:27 Permalink

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Large Objects in Low Earth Orbit over the Years

Posted at 21:13 Permalink

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Arianespace Flight VS25 - CSO-2

In the last Arianespace launch scheduled for 2020, a Soyuz rocket will launch the CSO-2 reconnaissance satellite for the French Ministry of Defense into a Sun-synchronous orbit. The Webcast is scheduled to start at 16:25 UTC on 2020-12-29.

Posted at 16:09 Permalink

SLAMU! SCANALYZER Second Life Avatar Meet-up, 2020-12-29

The first, and possibly last, if it doesn't work, SCANALYZER live meet-up will occur in Second Life on Tuesday, 2020-12-29 at 21:15 UTC (Universal Time—go here to convert to your local time zone).

The meeting will occur in Second Life at the beach fire pit on Fourmilab Island.

To participate, sign up for Second Life (it's free), choose an avatar, and teleport in to the meeting. The meeting will last at most one hour. If it works, we may do it again.

Voice will be enabled for the meeting, but if you haven't yet got voice working (it's tricky), not to worry—you can still participate through text chat.

Posted at 01:51 Permalink

Monday, December 28, 2020

Deep Faking the Queen's 2020 Christmas Speech

“… which is why I was so saddened by the departure of Harry and Meghan. There are few things more hurtful than someone telling you they prefer the company of Canadians.”

The making of…

Posted at 12:00 Permalink

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Dominic Frisby: The National Anthem of Libertaria

Posted at 13:47 Permalink