Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?

Comment: Re:And probably infinite (Score 1) 235

by Baloroth (#49654139) Attached to: Shape of the Universe Determined To Be Really, Really Flat

Inflation doesn't require tuning, all it requires is that the amount of inflation is large enough to explain the observed flatness (as well as CMB thermal equilibrium and lack of magnetic monopoles, which again just means it has to be greater than a given amount). The fact it doesn't require tuning (as far as we know) is a large part of the appeal of inflation as a theory in the first place.

Comment: Re:And probably infinite (Score 1) 235

by Baloroth (#49653857) Attached to: Shape of the Universe Determined To Be Really, Really Flat

The real mystery though is how the universe could be very nearly flat (without being exactly flat). Such "fine tuning" is clear evidence we're missing something quite fundamental. But then, dark energy already tells us that.

Inflation already answers that question (assuming it turns out to be true). Even a very non-flat universe becomes apparently flat if you massively inflate it (in much the same way as the Earth appears flat to people on it because it's incredibly large compared to our perception of it).

Comment: Re:Windows !!! (Score 4, Insightful) 93

by Baloroth (#49549133) Attached to: Buggy Win 95 Code Almost Wrecked Stuxnet Campaign

Stuxnet used multiple zero-day flaws across several different kinds of hardware (not all of which were even PCs). Once you get into that advanced an attack, the underlying OS becomes much less important: all software has flaws in it, and if you know where the flaws are, you can exploit them. And those flaws are there (remember Shellshock, anyone?), except in the most basic purpose-specific programming (and even then, there are often flaws). Using Windows opens you up to more generic attacks, especially if you deliberately lower (or don't use) Window's defenses for ease of use (much as using root for everything in Linux does), but against targeted well-funded attacks you should assume they're more or less equally vulnerable.

Comment: Re:Hasn't this been proven to be junk science? (Score 2) 313

Insects can be, but that's because freezing during the winter and thawing during the summer is part of many insects survival system. Some larger animals can do this as well, IIRC, but they have specially developed systems for it that basically replace most of the water in their bodies with an anti-freeze solution. In theory it's possible to do something similar with humans, but we're nowhere near the technology to do so. Modern cryogenics might be good for preserving human tissue for future analysis (to observe genetic drift and the like), but that's about it.

Comment: Re:Landed OK but tipped over (Score 1) 117

by Baloroth (#49474717) Attached to: SpaceX Dragon Launches Successfully, But No Rocket Recovery

That's almost certainly one thing SpaceX was hoping to help determine with this landing. If it'd landed properly, they'd take it apart to see where there was wear and tear, and what needed replacing/fixing (or redesigning) as a result. That'll have to have to wait for the next launch, now, though they may be able to still recover some of the rocket for analysis (it fell over, but I'm assuming it's still physically on the barge).

Comment: Re:Hell No Hillary (Score 1) 676

by Baloroth (#49459441) Attached to: Hillary Clinton Declares 2016 Democratic Presidential Bid

What? Seriously? Did you follow any political news over the past few months? Cause I mostly avoid politics entirely and I bloody heard about it. She completely admitted it here. Hell, she didn't even have an official government address, and apparently never did. And yes, keeping all your email on a private server grossly violates government record laws. The Bush administration apparently did something similar. But of course they did it only "for convenience". The fact that it left them completely in control of their email records never even crossed their mind! /s

Comment: Re:These days... (Score 1) 892

Everyone's focusing on the first part of that sentence, and not the 2nd... Take two people who negotiate equally strongly; the one with the penis is called confident and achieving, the one with the vagina is pushy and catty. So too late, some people (the one's with the vaginas) are already being punished for being good at something.

Then the problem is that attitude, not the negotiation. Removing the negotiation just allows the attitude to continue unnoticed. In other words, it treats the symptoms, not the disease. This may (or may not) be advantageous for women in the short term, but it'll hurt them in the long run: both the individuals, because now they're working for a (at least somewhat) sexist boss, and how much do you think they're gonna get when it comes time for a raise? And for women in general, as sexism persists in the manager culture.

Her proposal is sexist and will probably be bad for both sexes. Good for the short-term bottom line for Reddit, though, since salaries will be lower! Which I suspect may be her actual goal (gotta boost those profits).

Comment: Re:It works at least as well... (Score 5, Insightful) 124

by Baloroth (#49382459) Attached to: Thousand-Year-Old Eye Salve Kills MRSA

Killing MRSA is easy. Trivial, even. You can do it with steam, alcohol, or dozens of other disinfecting agents. The key is to be able to kill it inside an infected individual, without also killing the host (or damaging a significant amount of the host's tissues). That's why we use antibiotics in the first place. While it wasn't entirely clear from skimming TFA, it very much sounds like this is (currently, at least) only a topical treatment (i.e. it's applied to the skin). It might be superior to other modern topical treatments in some cases, but I personally doubt it.

Comment: Re:Doesn't smoke or drink or have tattoos (Score 5, Insightful) 569

Dear mother, smoking, drinking and having tattoos are not good traits, but they are not necessary for someone to be a nasty criminal.

Curious - what is necessarily wrong with those traits? Obviously, from the story, one can be quite devastatingly evil (causing an incident resulting in innocents at gunpoint) without them.

Smoking gives you cancer, drinking ruins your liver and can result in uncontrolled behavior (brawls, DUIs, etc), and tattoos basically ruin your chance at a lot of jobs. They're also all correlated somewhat with anti-social behavior (of various kinds) in general, which I think was the point the mother was relying on. "Because he lacks traits correlated with bad behavior, he must not have engaged in bad behavior." Obviously, this is faulty, but mothers often aren't rational when it comes to defending their kids.

Comment: Re: 8 bit per photon on my desktop: spectrum analy (Score 1) 91

by Baloroth (#49314077) Attached to: How To Encode 2.05 Bits Per Photon, By Using Twisted Light

Quantum crypto. Isn't of much use to the industry.... compared to say....... getting 100 Terabits of second worth of data down a single fiber optic cable.

Bulk data transmission and quantum crypto have somewhat different target industries (though anyone using quantum cryptography is probably using it to secure high-speed fiber lines). Quantum crypto is used (as in used, right now, today) for quantum key distribution in environments that need/want extremely high security so they can communicate extremely securely over regular (but fast) channels.

Comment: Re: 8 bit per photon on my desktop: spectrum analy (Score 1) 91

by Baloroth (#49311501) Attached to: How To Encode 2.05 Bits Per Photon, By Using Twisted Light

That's great, but totally worthless for quantum cryptography. Quantum cryptography relies on quantum properties of the photons (spin/polarization/orbital angular momentum), so that someone in the middle who makes a measurement will disturb the system. Using spectral encoding or modulation or any one of a dozen other ways of encoding data will result in a much higher data rate than the one given in TFA, but almost all of those are worthless for quantum cryptography.

Comment: Re:space business (Score 1) 105

by Baloroth (#49309183) Attached to: Virgin Could Take On Tesla With Electric Car

Well, if we want to extend the analogy of SpaceShipTwo vs. Falcon 9 + Dragon (with delta-V as range), compared to a baseline Model S, then Virgin's car would go about 30 miles with a top speed of 20mph and would cost $750.

In short, Virgin's electric "car" would actually be an electric bike.

Electric vehicles with more or less those specs already exist: they're called golf carts. They're actually reasonably popular as a method of transport in a few communities.

Comment: Re:I thought I did know the principles (Score 1) 162

by Baloroth (#49308685) Attached to: How Space Can Expand Faster Than the Speed of Light

And it does not say anything against going faster than light, just about accelerating from below the speed of light to the speed of light. Which would need unlimited energy. But actually just going faster than light is no problem at all.

No, it says nothing can go faster than the speed of light. At the speed of light, objects with mass would have infinite energy, and anything faster than light would require imaginary space-time to exist (since the factor for transformations involved a sqrt(1-v^2/c^2), if v is greater than c that means the object under the square root is negative, and you get an imaginary number, which is an unphysical result, i.e. it cannot happen).

Comment: Re:wait what? (Score 4, Insightful) 416

by Baloroth (#49272455) Attached to: Politics Is Poisoning NASA's Ability To Do Science

the EPA can worry about the environment, leave NASA to what NASA is supposed to do. National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Arguably, the "aeronautics" bit could be taken as justification for NASA to study the planet. Even if you disagree, NASA's job is to study planets in general, and the easiest example of that is the Earth itself. I mean, the Earth is in space just as much as Mars or the Sun is, after all. And the effects of various gases in the atmosphere is definitely of interest to planetary science, even aside from any general human concerns over climate change.

Comment: Re:VR Demands Specialized Input Devices (Score 4, Informative) 124

by Baloroth (#49263867) Attached to: Valve's SteamVR: Solves Big Problems, Raises Bigger Questions

Valve already had a pair of position-detecting wands for your hands (similar to the playstation Move system). The bigger problem is movement. Movement by pressing a button detaches your apparent movement from your physical movement, which is going to be incredibly disorienting. The treadmill-style system someone else has been working on will probably work as a solution, but it's likely to be very expensive.

Never buy what you do not want because it is cheap; it will be dear to you. -- Thomas Jefferson