The Weekly Weird - 2016-03-18

The Weekly Weird - 2016-03-11

Ok, this little missive has been depressingly un-weird lately, it's time to fix that:

The Weekly Weird - 2016-03-04

The Weekly Weird - 2016-02-26

The Weekly Weird - 2016-02-19

The Weekly Weird - 2016-02-12

Ahem. Let's try to get back on track with my three thousand unread news items.

The Weekly Weird - 2016-02-05

(No weird last week because I was traveling, short this week because plague)

The Weekly Weird - 2016-01-22

"Tom Watson's apocryphal prediction of a world market for maybe 5 computers seems likely to come true, it's just that their names will be AWS, Azure, GCE, Aliyun, and SoftLayer."

-- Nick Coghlan

The Weekly Weird - 2016-01-15

  • Continuing the theme of "market structure is hard" re IEX: sometimes trying to hide makes you more visible.
  • Another 32c3 talk I forgot: So you want to build a satellite?
  • Algorithmic prediction of visual humor
  • More Martian architecture.
  • Intel has a little problem with some of their Skylake parts. The world of CPU microcode is fascinating
  • Watching Mozilla struggle with Kazakhstan's request for a new root certificate is pretty funny.
  • Doesn't matter though, if you're using SSH [EVERYONE HAS YOUR KEYS ALREADY ZOMG](ZOM
  • "Sean Penn's OPSEC" is not a phrase I ever expected to hear.
  • Ok, this is neat. Ultrasonic haptic feedback for no-touch UI. I can imagine hospitals will love it.
  • SpaceX! No I won't shut up about it!
    • The USAF awarded SpaceX ~$60 million to develop a Methane and LOX upper stage engine for the Falcon Heavy. Conveniently, Methalox is the intended propellant for Elon's Mars missions since it can be synthesized from the Martian atmosphere. Of course, the public information about that engine (the Raptor) is confusing and much of it implies a far larger engine than would make sense on the second stage. But it turns out that rocket engines can scale pretty well, the stupidly gigantic RD-170 at 1,777,000 lbf, the RD-180 at 930,000 lbf and the RD-191 at 470,000 lbf are all basically the same engine with rougly the same Isp but hugely different thrust levels. Maybe a mini-raptor is coming?
    • NASA was supposed to select two commercial cargo providers to service the ISS. Instead, they just selected all 3. Quick overview:
      • SpaceX's Dragon: has been delivering cargo to the ISS for a while. Lands via parachute right now but designed with propulsive landing in mind. Not man-rated. It's not entirely clear if the version SpaceX will fly for this new cotnract will be a regular old Dragon 1 or the new (designed to be man-rated) Dragon 2 in a cargo configuration.
      • Orbital's Cygnus: A conventional, automated, cargo tug. Essentially a big can with a little rocket on the back. Can't return stuff to earth. Has made a few flights to ISS already.
      • SNC's DreamChaser: a super ambitious mini space shuttle. The goal is for it to be eventually man-rated and because of the lifting body shape it's far more nimble in the atmosphere than a capsule. If it all comes together it'll be able to take 7 people back from the ISS at a max of 1.5G and land at basically any commercial runway. I can't wait for the Amazon Low Orbit Warehouse to deliver my toothpaste in one of these. Unfortunately, it hasn't flown except for a few drop tests.
    • More competition! More rockets! Diverse launch vehicles! SPAAAACE!
  • I'm a pretty big RPG nerd and the news that there's now a D&D 5E OGL is making me very happy. The special DM's guild thing is especially promising, I really want to pay money for excellent modules and having a built in path for self-publishing without having to dance around copyright seems like just the ticket.

The Weekly Weird - 2016-01-08