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Comment: Rotation (Score 4, Interesting) 79

by SimonInOz (#47420877) Attached to: Study: Why the Moon's Far Side Looks So Different

The moon became tidally locked within a few million years after its formation (around 4.5 billion years ago), so it's been tidally locked for over 4 billion years.

But really, did the earth stay hot enough for "a few million years" - hot enough to affect the locked side of the moon more than the other?

The moon would have cooled somewhat faster, being smaller, but this theory requires the earth to stay hot enough to affect the "earth side" of the for a very long time after the moon has cooled enough to solidify.

Comment: Re:Now I'm confused ... (Score 2) 380

by SimonInOz (#47329141) Attached to: New Chemical Process Could Make Ammonia a Practical Car Fuel

Two reasons:
* storage - ammonia is a liquid at fairly low pressure (150psi/1000kPa). [Unlike hydrogen, which requires very high pressure (10,000psi/70,000kPa), and generally cooling. And the damned stuff seeps though anything (dem H2 molecules are kinda small)]
* energy density - as a liquid, ammonia has about half the energy of petrol (gasoline). Not bad - certainly better than the average battery. Vastly better (7x) better than hydrogen

It's not delightful stuff to handle, but beats the heck out of a highly flammable liquid .. like petrol (gasoline)! It's not very flammable at all, actually, though you can burn it in combination with other things.

Also, if it escapes, it turns into gas - which is easier to get rid of than a liquid.

Comment: Re:Friends dont let Friends buy Ubisoft (Score 1) 215

by BlueBlade (#47269607) Attached to: Was <em>Watch Dogs</em> For PC Handicapped On Purpose?

Just wanted to say, King's Bounty : Dark Side is available from Steam. It's early access, but many people have played it from start to finish several times and it's mostly bug-free (at least any serious bug) at the moment. It's due to release next month if you'd rather not play the early access version.

I've played it for a few hours and I can say, it's already much better than Warriors of the North. It's reminding me a lot of Crossworlds, which is a good thing.

Comment: Sensors - for quakes? (Score 1) 90

by SimonInOz (#47258839) Attached to: Privacy Worries For 'Smart' Smoke Alarms

There are quite a lot of sensors, and processing power in a Nest gadget. It includes a motion sensor, and that data could be extracted to a database, giving us an absolute plethora of sensors spread across homes (ok, mainly rich homes, and certainly a lot in California).
Such a wealth of data would surely be brilliant for earthquake monitoring.

Comment: Re:I agree Python (Score 3, Informative) 466

by Coryoth (#47242155) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Rapid Development Language To Learn Today?

I've gotten a lot of mileage out of Python for cleaning and pre-processing CSV and JSON datasets, using the obviously named "csv" and "json" modules. ... However, if you are doing very much manipulation of tabular data, I'd recommend learning a bit of SQL too.

You may want to look into pandas as a middle ground. It's great for sucking in tabular or csv data and then applying statistical analysis tools to it. It has a native "dataframe" object which is similar to database tables, and has efficient merge, join, and groupby semantics. If you have a ton of data then a database and SQL is the right answer, but for a decent range of use cases in between pandas is extremely powerful and effective.

Comment: Re:Programming language in 2 hours ? Yeah, right. (Score 1) 466

by Coryoth (#47242127) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Rapid Development Language To Learn Today?

Because Ruby is my preference and I am more familiar with it, I can tell you that it is in continuous development, and bytecode-compiled versions are available (JRuby, which uses the JVM, and others). I do not know about Python in this respect because I haven't used it nearly as much.

Python has the default implementation CPython which compiles python to an interpreted bytecode; there's also Jython which compiles to JVM, and IronPython which compiles Microsoft's CLR. There's also Cython (which requires extra annotations) which compiles to C and thence to machine code, and numba which does compilation to LLVM. Finally there's Pypy which is a python JIT compiler/interpreter written in a restricted subset of Python.

Comment: Re:Caravan (Score 1) 310

Pah. It was my boat all right, but it was relatively cheap - and I did get paid pretty well. Or at least it felt that way - no family, no mortgage ... those were the days.

The card readers were pretty expensive, and I did not think they'd survive the salt. I stored programs on little plug in memory modules which worked well. Great little gadget.

Comment: Re:Submarine (Score 1) 310

Hah. Nuclear sub. Nice and stable, well lit - easy.
And you even had power!
My little boat rocked about a lot, all power came from a small solar panel, it was rather damp.

Mind you, I didn't have to salute anyone or wear a uniform (or wear anything, come to that). And the view was pretty extensive.

Comment: Re:Caravan (Score 4, Interesting) 310

The inside of a small yacht, crossing the Atlantic.
I was sailing (an Iroquois 30' cat, in case anyone's interested), and found sight reduction (yes, a sextant was involved) rather tedious. So I wrote a program for my HP calculator to do the calculations.

Those HP41C calculators were really neat.

Comment: Re:worthless top five phrases (Score 2) 38

by Coryoth (#46845653) Attached to: Algorithm Distinguishes Memes From Ordinary Information

So they mined the journal for words and phrases... meh, those aren't memes

They are memes in the sense that they are specifically finding words and phrases that are frequently inherited by papers (where "descendant" is determined by citation links), and rarely appear spontaneously (i.e. without appearing in any of the papers cites by a paper). An important feature is that their method used zero linguistic information, didn't bother with pruning out stopwords, or indeed, do any preprocessing other than simple tokenisation by whitespace and punctuation. Managing to come out with nouns and complex phrases under such conditions is actually very impressive. You should try actually reading the paper.

Them as has, gets.

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