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Despite the "wall" between the two organizations from a knowledge-standpoint, there isn't one from a financial standpoint. If you had ambitions to be a $100+ billion company (see: Uber), and think Google might eventually want to compete with you, why would you want to fuel your competitor via your own success?

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In 1835, the New York Sun (a serious newspaper [0], 1833-1855) published some articles [1] describing alien civilizations on the moon that can be seen through a new telescope in South Africa.

From Wired,

> The Sun, ever the champion of the public good, claimed, no joke, that it was actually all a public service… to get the nation to stop worrying so much for a second about that whole slavery thing.

So, there are good journalists, bad journalists, "journalists" who aren't even journalists, and they've all existed since the birth of the printing press.

[0] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Sun_%28New_York%29

[1] http://www.wired.com/2014/12/fantastically-wrong-thomas-dick...

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That's pretty much the approach of Virgin Galactic. Reasons why it works for them, but not for NASA would have to be explained by someone more qualified. I do know that VG barely gets into LEO, whereas NASA's requirements are much higher. In any case, I presume the scientists at NASA (and SpaceX & co) have considered just about every alternative, and the current approach still remains the most efficient for their needs.

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Orbital Sciences is doing something similar, IIRC.

They are the two big approaches to cheap space being done now. 1) Be cost-effective at making rockets, 2) launch from jets. My money is on #1, which SpaceX is doing, but #2 has some things going for it that could prove me wrong. #2 is also strictly limited in just how big you can make a payload, while for #1 you can get up to around 200 ton payloads before things start working against you.

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The issue is that people confuse getting into space with getting into LEO. Virgin Galactic are not even close to getting into LEO – their plan is to fly a ballistic trajectory which takes them just above 100km before falling back to Earth.

Since they don't need to achieve anywhere near the required velocity to enter LEO, they can use a much smaller solid-fuel rocket engine and launch from a jet.

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I think there are strength/scaling issues with winged aircraft that, given the fuel requirements for any sizable payload to orbit even from the speed/altitude a jet can achieve, makes this extremely challenging, but its something people keep working on.

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I'm sure this has been studied to death, but my guess is that the extra risk during flight/separation, and the extra weight of designing the rocket to handle the different forces encountered when attached to the mothership are not compelling enough to make it worth the extra few % in delta-V. (SpaceShipOne went to Mach 3, not 25, so the boost was greater by percentage)

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Not even LEO; so far, all of Virgin's flights have been strictly suborbital.

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Seems far more likely that in 40k years, humans will have discovered the ability of interstellar travel. Heck, at that point we could go out and fetch Voyager 1 ourselves before it comes within 1.6 light years of AC+79 3888. If we can't in 40k years, it's likely not possible that we'll ever leave this solar system. It could be that's it's just not physically possible. But more likely, do we survive long enough to develop that technology?

I've always viewed the Golden Record as a way to make humanity feel better about its future. The need to leave a legacy behind is core to who we are, and that's exactly what we did with those two discs. We left something behind that will survive for 1 billion years, with the infinitesimally small hopes that someone will find it. But, it makes us feel good.

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This is a related effort http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KEO

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YUI did host its own blog, but it was shut down a few days ago. http://www.yuiblog.com/blog/2014/08/25/weve-moved-to-tumblr/

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Along those same line, here's another good read about the recent npm, Inc. investment. Feel free to skip down to 'Open Source and $$$' section. http://words.steveklabnik.com/is-npm-worth-26mm

In short, it's debatable whether an investment into npm, Inc. will directly pay off for the investors. What the investment is more likely about is creating the infrastructure for new, billion dollar companies to pop up, giving those investors an inside track to the new companies.

In the case of ElasticSearch, investing in this infrastructure project absolutely makes sense. "Big Data" is becoming huge, but it's still relatively dumb. Up until now, we've primarily been focused on tools and technologies to source, aggregate, and analyze the data. But lots of companies are now popping up who are built on the idea of making intelligent use of all this data, far beyond what humans are naturally capable of. ElasticSearch of course isn't the whole solution, but it's part of it.

(I work for one of those companies, and we use ElasticSearch)

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Considering Atwood's Law, I guess it was only a matter of time until we arrived at this point.

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Assuming we have; as yet, this presents a distinctly half-baked aspect.

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Reminds me of when I worked at Yahoo, and in 2009 I had to track down someone who worked on Upcoming. I found someone who had Upcoming listed in their Backyard profile, but "Oh, I don't work on that anymore. Last I heard {other person} was working on it." So I tracked down that person, only to hear the same response. Following the chain, four or five people and half a day later I finally found the one person in the entire company who worked on Upcoming.org, but only part-time in a community support role. Having recently started at Yahoo, I quickly began to realize what was wrong.

Luckily things have changed considerably since then, and very happy to see Upcoming being handed back to its creator. Same thing should have happened with Delicious, but when they were looking for a buyer, Yahoo (allegedly) refused to sell it back to Joshua Schachter.

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Why the hell did they bother acquiring it, then? I don't get it.

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I have know knowledge of this incident. But often corporations don't make sense from the outside because it's really about some hidden state.

E.g., maybe the person who argued for the acquisition left the company, so nobody was around to advocate for it anymore. Or the company's strategy changed, either for sensible reasons or just because there's a new fashion. Or the person in charge of the acquisition is mainly rewarded for buying things, but the people needed to make the integration work are rewarded for something that the acquisition would hinder, so they ignore or sabotage it. Or everybody really meant well, but it was nobody's highest priority, so it just dies a slow death.

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Competition elimination where Y! thought they might go.

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As someone who pays Meetup.com $144 a year for my group, I'd love to have a cheaper alternative.

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All of that extra cost was R&D, which is currently being funded by Google's advertising. While I have no idea what Google's business model will eventually be with self-driving cars, at the end of the day it's just software and some cameras that can be mass-installed on most any car.

While the cost will initially be higher, it likely won't be much, and will eventually be negligible.

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I'm not sure the sensors are negligable...

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