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Comment: "Prosaic" initial goal? (Score 3, Insightful) 81

by Bearhouse (#48204605) Attached to: What It Took For SpaceX To Become a Serious Space Company

Make a rocket at least 10 times cheaper than is possible today.

Hardly "prosaic"; Sounds pretty damn ambitious to me.
OK, they had access to some of the body of knowledge so expensively won by the Germans, USA, Russians et al, but they're still privately funded, developed in-house a working product that's much, much cheaper than the competition and employ nearly 4000 people.

Like Musk or not, he made it work so far.

Comment: Have they proved the root cause? (Score 1) 97

by Bearhouse (#47710993) Attached to: How Patent Trolls Destroy Innovation

Yup, that old /. chestnut; correlation != causation.
Maybe they just "proved" that some firms invest less when they realise they don't know how to do innovation / R&D.

In any serious organisation these days, spending serious money on R&D, there's a multi-layered approach to all this, ranging from building portfolio of defense/attack/trade patents (Google buying Motorola phone division), (or joining a group who does), through researching prior art to finally building a attacking others (think Apple vs. Samsung).

You could say that that's the real "tax on innovation", since it's far more costly than the impact of a few "trolls" (defined as someone who holds a patent for the sole purpose of using it to attack others)

Comment: Re:Forget the Purple Hearts (Score 2) 359

by Bearhouse (#47693673) Attached to: Ebola Quarantine Center In Liberia Looted

Indeed. While you're at it, you can produce some for us (the "West").
I'm no leftie nutjob, but you've got to admin that the a lot of such problems are historically down to us...Africa, Middle East...)
We brought technology without knowledge - if we had spent as much time educating these people over the centuries as we had killing and exploiting them, well, maybe things would be better.
As it stands, this thing spreading out of control is just a short flight away...

Comment: Power grids are complex, fragile and expensive (Score 1) 442

by Bearhouse (#47693639) Attached to: Is Storage Necessary For Renewable Energy?

Other posts have covered most of why this (interesting) idea won't work. Here's another - grids and grid management systems around the world are already struggling to cope with the current setup, mainly due to years of under-investment.
Feed-in problems are not trivial; (causing more grid management issues), "green" sources of energy are expensive and tend to be in the wrong places...
I'm all for "alternative" energy, but is everyone prepared to invest the bazillions required to do it properly, and live with the massive price increases that would require?

Comment: Plenty of other examples - my favourite (Score 1) 98

by Bearhouse (#47678147) Attached to: Correcting Killer Architecture

Inwards-facing ramps turned the 100M-square arch into a massive venturi, sweeping people off their feet, off the top of the plaza and then flinging therm down a conveniently-placed steep flight of hard stone stairs.


Cue hastly rethink with a nasty plastic "roof" inside the arch to slow the wind...a little.

Comment: Re:Why do I have the feeling... (Score 1) 111

by Bearhouse (#47653887) Attached to: Injecting Liquid Metal Into Blood Vessels Could Help Kill Tumors

Well, most workable "solutions" tend to have started with a crazy but creative idea, that gradually gets refined and other good ideas added to it until you get something that's acceptable.

So, for example, you could imagine making the fluid magnetic, so you could then maybe guide it into position and then hold it there. But this brings another issue - you can hardly hold the patient in a strong magnetic field forever.

So, then you could imagine adding some kind of slow-setting glue into the liquid that sets hard after it's had time to be guided into the target and clogged it up.

Comment: Great idea - forget it. (Score 5, Insightful) 205

by Bearhouse (#47612639) Attached to: MIT Considers Whether Courses Are Outdated

It sounds superficially appealing, letting people choose what interests them or what they think they need to learn. But there's a couple of problems.

Firstly, if we stick with the music analogy, how many artists or tracks have you discovered by random, and in doing so expanded your listening choices?

Also, if you follow a well-structured course, you're getting what a subject-matter expert knows from experience you need to learn. Case in point, I would not have studied stats by choice, but now I'm damn glad it was hammered into me.

The poor courses I've seen were not so much hampered by the format, more either by sub-par lecturers and/or poor, outdated materials.

Comment: We want data-fusion, not os/ap fusion (Score 1) 149

by Bearhouse (#47550157) Attached to: Microsoft's Nokia Plans Come Into Better Focus

"I can take my Office Lens App, use the camera on the phone, take a picture of anything, and have it automatically OCR recognized and into OneNote in searchable fashion"

OneNote is/was actually a reasonable product - but does anybody use it?
I think that Microsoft's problem is that it has always been a (fragmented) product company, not able to look at things from a user point of view.

What I would like (and pay for) would be seamless integration of all my information, securely, between my devices and optionally backed up to "the cloud" (ugh). So far, (from personal experience), Apple have nice hardware with reasonable integration, Android is catching up (if you give Google access to all your data) and Microsoft is behind.

For the future, I would not give a damn if the 'phone was an Apple, a Nokia or a generic, and same for the OS on the phone and the PC. Here's a scenario; in one hit let me take a picture of someone, somewhere, add it to contacts, and the next time I want navigate to their house/office it one click. Show me all the mails and docs for the person, one click please.

Comment: What to do if you have unlimited money & ambit (Score 2) 85

And are not yet very good at building aircraft carriers and everything that goes with them (suitable aircraft and command and control).

It's not the "next best thing" or even close - there is a good reason why large 'planes such as this were rapidly abandoned (except by the Soviet Union) after WW2. They take up much more of their usable capacity with fuel and equipment , and are extremely vulnerable on both land and sea, (one submerged log or - more likely these days - a lost shipping container) and your transport and its cargo is scrap.

Of course, I'd still want one :)

Comment: Re:Good to hear (Score 1) 296

It's not so much the features in Visio, (although it is one of the more mature and sophisticated tools of its type), but:

1. Everyone you need to work with probably already knows it/has it installed.
2. There's a huge ecosystem around it, (not just m$), with a bunch of fine stuff such as Mindjet Mindmanager that plug right in.

Shame - I've been using Visio for years and it should be so much better...

FORTRAN is for pipe stress freaks and crystallography weenies.