User Profile: Chris

Chris

Member Since: November 29, 2010

Comments

123
  • July 19, 2014 at 10:07am

    The congress decided a long time ago that federal employees had to take ethics training every year. It is about time that the members of the House had to do he same thing. Of course, if the politicians had to live under the same rules that the feds do they wouldn’t be happy at all – and the rules for feds are pretty reasonable although they do sometimes make life a little bit awkward.

  • June 28, 2014 at 12:16pm

    Flexible hours where I work mean that you have to put in 40 hours a week. You can do it as five 8 hour days or, if your job allows it and management agrees four 10 hour days per week. I know somebody that works this schedule so she has Fridays available to get her elderly mother to doctor’s appointments, etc.
    If I start at 9:00am I work until 5:30pm. (we have 30 min for lunch) If I start at 8:15 am I work until 4:45pm. If I take an hour for lunch, I work an extra half hour to make up the time.
    If I have a meeting at 9:00 am I can’t start at 9:30, obviously.
    Part of the push for telecommuting is to allow us to stay open when, for instance, the weather gets really bad. Eventually a goal is to save money by closing buildings, on the theory that you need fewer offices if part of your workforce is telecommuting regularly.
    There are some jobs that are going to require fixed schedules and some kinds of jobs where you cant work from home. but a lot of us have at least some computational work as part of our jobs and we can work from home a lot of days.

  • June 28, 2014 at 11:57am

    The last numbers I saw said that about 30% of federal workers were union members. If you omit the Postal Service that drops to something like 15%.
    In a lot of cases federal unions have to “represent” everybody that works at their site no matter how many are actual members of the union. When you hear a union rep say that they represent “500 workers at the XYZ facility” probably only between 50 and 100 are actually dues-paying members. The rest have chosen not to join.

  • [2] June 11, 2014 at 11:15pm

    This is a great story. Unfortunately it isn’t true. Both the American astronauts and Russian cosmonauts used pencils since regular ballpoint pens don’t work in space since they depend on gravity to pull ink toward the ball. Fisher invested their own money to develop their pressurized “space pen” primarily as a improvement on a conventional ballpoint pen. Once it was working both NASA and the Russians used them in space.

  • [4] June 2, 2014 at 11:31pm

    Notice that they said that the fibers are stronger than aluminum or steel “per weight”. This sounds like “specific strength” which is the actual strength divided by the weight. (the strength to weight ratio) You can get a high specific strength if the material is really strong OR really light. A piece of this material isn’t necessarily stronger than an equal sized piece of steel or aluminum, it weighs a lot less. The ultimate breaking strength of steel is probably going to be a lot higher but the steel is a lot heavier.

    Responses (3) +
  • [4] May 31, 2014 at 12:15pm

    Generally, the more emotion surrounding a subject the less reliable Wikipedia is. People get all fired up discussing people like G. W. Bush so they start editing and reediting the page to make him look better or worse based on their own beliefs.

    Strongly technical issues that aren’t particularly controversial seem to be more reliable, but beware of anything that brings out the “true believers”

    And yes, it isn’t a primary source, you always need to go the the real literature.

  • [-11] May 28, 2014 at 11:32pm

    Didn’t he say at one point that he took the job so he could reveal secrets? If that is true that clearly makes him a traitor even if he did reveal dirt that the American people needed to know. Doing the ‘Famous commies Tour” didn’t help!.

    Responses (1) +
  • May 24, 2014 at 12:51am

    Actually if you look into what the book actually says the DO NOT say that it was made by aliens. The point that they are making is that this was made by people and we have no idea what it means. Same species, same planet. Imagine how hard it would be to figure out something left by aliens if we can’t figure out something that our ancestors did.

  • May 20, 2014 at 9:11pm

    I work in a civilian agency and contribute to CFC every year. There are limits to the overhead a charity can charge and still be allowed in the program. We get encouraged to contribute but from what I’ve seen we exceed the monetary goal every year but with only about 65% of the people contributing.
    One thing I like about CFC is that you get to choose what charities get your money instead of the people running the charity funding whoever they like. I’ve known people that were “loaned executives” who were detailed into the job meaning that they are employed by their agency but assigned to run the CFC program.

  • May 18, 2014 at 1:22am

    Super glue has been used as a surgical adhesive for years. They make medical grade adhesives for use in place of sutures or staples. It doesn’t completely replace them but there are apparently a number of places where it works well.

  • May 5, 2014 at 11:41pm

    For all this talk about muslim outreach I still haven’t found anybody that has it as an item on their performance plan.

  • May 5, 2014 at 11:37pm

    A gravity tractor is nothing more or less than a spacecraft that you park close to the asteroid. As the gravitational pull of the asteroid pulls the spacecraft toward it the spacecraft’s thrusters back it away so that they never touch. Remember that gravity works both ways – the spacecraft’s gravitational pull attracts the asteroid the same way that the asteroid attracts the spacecraft. The fact that the asteroid is a lot more massive makes the whole thing take quite a while but it would work for an asteroid of almost any composition. The trick is that you have to see it far enough out to have time to get the tractor there and still have time to make the deflection.

  • January 13, 2014 at 9:25pm

    Communion in both species (bread and wine) has always been optional. For many years it was relatively rare to find a Catholic church that did communion with both bread and wine. That has become more commonplace recently (over the last 30 years or so, I think) but you never have to and from my observations a pretty sizable fraction pass up the cup when they go to communion.

  • October 19, 2013 at 11:47am

    Furloughed federal employees were not unemployed. They were still employees of the federal government meaning that they were still bound by all of the normal outside employment rules. Even if you could find somebody to hire you for a couple of weeks most jobs in your immediate area of expertise need to be reviewed to make sure there isn’t a conflict with the federal job and, of course, there wasn’t anybody working to do that kind of thing.

    This whole “non-essential” argument starts from a false premise. When the government used to use “essential” and “non-essential” it was to differentiate between people that had to keep working to protect life & property and people whose work could be safely suspended for the duration of the shutdown. The “essential” personnel are supposed to represent the minimum “skeleton crew” that has to be kept on hand.

  • March 26, 2013 at 10:23pm

    You guys are aware that the “three Laws of Robotics” aren’t actually laws, aren’t you? They were made up by Isaac Asimov for use in his robot stories. Other than the fact that they are probably a pretty good idea for robots interacting with humans there is nothing that requires any robot to follow them and nothing that prevents it from violating any or all of them.

  • September 3, 2012 at 12:19pm

    Desmond needs to take off the tutu and STFU.

  • August 28, 2012 at 10:30pm

    The world has a lot of poor, starving people in it. if you took NASA’s entire $18B budget and applied it to feeding the poor, the world would still have a lot of poor, starving people and we would have even less chance of doing anything about it. Technology has driven our standard of living, and aerospace technology has been a major driver. We feed the world because we have the technology, the economy, and the land to do it.if we lose our technology we just bring to poor and starving closer to home.

  • August 28, 2012 at 10:17pm

    Before you send a manned mission, you send unmanned missions. Mars is a long trip so you have to bring enough supplies to stay for a while. People also require a lot more in the way of support than robots do. When you are trying to land, Mars has too much atmosphere to ignore but not enough to make things simple. Getting into practice at landing bigger and bigger things will be really useful when you try to send a manned mission.

  • August 26, 2012 at 12:55am

    Actually, I believe that he went to work for NACA’s Lewis Laboratory in Cleveland. NACA became a part of the newly created NASA in 1958. Armstrong He even flew the X-15 at one point in his career.

  • August 25, 2012 at 6:53pm

    There are, by my observation, three types of people that don’t believe that we went to the Moon.
    1) The ones that have seem somebody’s explanation of why we couldn’t have done it and are too scientifically illiterate to understand that the explanations they hold to don’t hold water. These people are innocently ignorant.
    2) People that know that the reasons that they give for why we couldn’t go to the moon are lies but use it to push their own agenda. These people are, in a word, liars.
    3) People that believe that because the government says so, it didn’t happen. This is a relatively recent phenomenon, but it is a sign of intellectual laziness. It is easier to believe that everyone in government is lazy, a liar and/or corrupt than to realize that the government isn’t a monolith. Rather, it holds some of everything. Every part of the government has conservatives & liberals, believers & nonbelievers, lazy and hardworking. There is no way that you could keep a secret like this with that many people involved. I’ve worked in and around NASA for the last 25 years and there really is something in the nature or scientists and engineers that won’t let a lie stand, at least on a technical issue. If the landings were faked, somebody (actually a lot of somebodies) wouldn’t be able to contain it, or themselves.

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