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Comment: Re:One Criterion Missing (Score 1) 321

by Catbeller (#49621973) Attached to: No, NASA Did Not Accidentally Invent Warp Drive

The inventor had the hypothesis before he had the device, so it isn't a True Scottman drift. He hypothesized, he wrote about it, he formed a company to own it (that being how science works now). A few brave people tested it, and it seems to work. Each successive test excludes the factors that could have invalidated the previous tests, and now NASA has a group on it. And, it seems to produce a thrust. Okay, interesting.

We'll all be sad, should it come to nothing, but at this point the inventor has a hypothesis to cover the effect, described a machine to produce the effect, and now we have machines that seem to produce the effect. I've read his hypothesis, and damn, I don't have that kind of math or science and never will. But, you know, if he described an angel-making machine, and someone built the machine and made an angel, at some point you have to look at the damned angel flapping away in front of you.

Comment: Re:Warp drive? (Score 1) 321

by Catbeller (#49621815) Attached to: No, NASA Did Not Accidentally Invent Warp Drive

Cold fusion - fusing hydrogen by using chemical bonding compression - is not a fraud. It is a legitamite hypothesis, peer-reviewed and all. Probably not impossible, merely difficult to do.
The test in the eighties wasn't a "fraud". They thought they had it licked, and it turned out they didn't. What they really did wrong, however, in those early Reagan era years of science privatization, was to try to keep their idea a patented secret so they could make some $$$$$. Standard procedure today, and a major, if not the only, cancer on science today. Science came of age in an era where everyone shared their results. Now it is about the precious, precious money. Universities especially have contracted that cancer. Science is crawling when it should be leaping.
Fun fact: Tony Stark's arc reactor is a cold fusion power generator. Note the main ring he installed into the unit was pure palladium - the famous matrix used in the eighties experiment.

Comment: Re:strictly speaking (Score 1) 321

by Catbeller (#49621549) Attached to: No, NASA Did Not Accidentally Invent Warp Drive

"Impulse" drive is just a sciencey-sounding name Roddenberry gave his spaceships' sub-light drive. He had no idea of what he was talking about. According to the "tech" books, it is a photon drive (convert mass to energy, point it thataway, get thrust).

This is a virtual-particle drive, a theoretical exploitation of quantum weirdness. No free energy, just free thrust without expending mass. The Dean Drive in the fifties was claiming a free-thrust vacation, and a lot of people fell for it. So we take it with a lot of skepticism. But never say never, esp. if something seems to be happening.

Comment: Re:NASA didn't invent it anyway. (Score 1) 321

by Catbeller (#49621451) Attached to: No, NASA Did Not Accidentally Invent Warp Drive

There are other groups testing it, but US scientists don't trust their results. NASA people doing the test gives it more cred in the US.
And yes, poor Mr. Shawyer, who is roundly ignored by just about everyone. He put his neck on the line for advocating his hypothesis, and NASA gets the credit.

Comment: Re:All this fuss over 50 micronewtons?!? (Score 1) 321

by Catbeller (#49621415) Attached to: No, NASA Did Not Accidentally Invent Warp Drive

With space drives, you want tiny forces that you can run indefinitely. We're used to rockets that go BOOM and burn for ten minutes, but they are useless for high-speed space travel. For really high speed, you need only tiny acceleration that goes on and on and on.... it adds up to huge numbers. A hundredth of a G gives you the solar system in weeks rather than months, months rather than years. One G gives you the stars, excepting the bit about hitting radiation and random objects at ludicrous speed, the real head scratcher (186000 mile-long cylinder every second - how much junk is in that volume, and as for photons, you're slamming into them and jacking the frequency up into the x-ray/cosmic-ray range. Like a nuclear accelerator from hell in there).

Comment: Didn't claim to invent warp drive (Score 1) 321

by Catbeller (#49621361) Attached to: No, NASA Did Not Accidentally Invent Warp Drive

I've been following this for a while. Observations:

Only a small contingent are talking about warp drive, and only in the most hypothetical way, and not in direct connection with this.

The researchers aren't required to explain the effect, just demonstrate it. As for the explanation, the inventor has a hypothesis; it was that hypothesis that led him to design the machine, so there is a chain of reasoning involved. Not a random goose chase. The man just is being ignored, as he has little standing in that world.

Something seems to be happening. Without predjudice to their future careers or reputations, scientists should look into this if they like. It certainly is worth a bit of funding, considering the possible payoff. Science ain't a business. Shoot for the stars, avoid hitting London.

The people talking breathlessly about space drives should keep it in their pants for a while. It clouds the discussion. Scientists love to debunk; they aren't fans of real life science fiction. Oddly.

It is really fun to read about.

And, as Heinlein sadly noted in Expanded Universe in an essay, space travel is really stalled out because rockets are too damned complex, expensive, and dangerous. If we ever leave earth, we need X-drives of some sort. Even if they aren't possible, we need to make them anyway. The universe as-is doesn't get final say about what is possible. Quantum drives don't exist until intelligent life creates those. Same with space warp drives - non-existent, until clever little masses of carbon make them for the very first time.


The BBC Looks At Rollover Bugs, Past and Approaching 46

Posted by timothy
from the ought-to-be-enough-for-anybody dept.
New submitter Merovech points out an article at the BBC which makes a good followup to the recent news (mentioned within) about a bug in Boeing's new 787. The piece explores various ways that rollover bugs in software have led to failures -- some of them truly disastrous, others just annoying. The 2038 bug is sure to bite some people; hopefully it will be even less of an issue than the Year 2000 rollover. From the article: It was in 1999 that I first wrote about this," comments [programmer William] Porquet. "I acquired the domain name and at first it was very tongue-in-cheek. It was almost a piece of satire, a kind of an in-joke with a lot of computer boffins who say, 'oh yes we'll fix that in 2037' But then I realised there are actually some issues with this.

Comment: Re: Trickle Down? (Score 1) 150

Welfare cut to the able bodied happened a quarter century ago. Two years max is all you get. You can't cut much more. It simply is not a factor in school failure; poverty is, race is, the flight to the suburbs is. The failure is schools in California was due to Proposition 13, btw, the tax freeze. California had the finest schools in the country before prop 13. Almost free universities, too. They were tax-cut to death. It would do well to remember that. This is a long game to basically kill control over corporate power.

Comment: Re:Government should be run like a venture cap fir (Score 1) 150

Government is not a business, cannot be run like a business, and has different goals than a business.

Government RUNS business. Corporations are government critters - they are circumscribed and defined by nothing else but laws. Corporations are our toys.

Government is/was run by academics, who are interested in good governance, rather than getting rich. Lying is considered bad form in academica, and leads to bad results. That's why science works; fibbers get weeded out, rather than kicking out the people who annoy the powerful, or eliminating those who don't make money for the powerful.

Business is run by self-involved, well, thieves is a good word - well-regulated thieves and liars. They admit no principle but the Win. They have no morals, no conscience, and no limits. They are in it for the sheer joy of kicking the ass of people who get in their way. They are absolutely lousy at compromise and when installed in any capacity in interacting with other countries, go into full guns-and-bribery mode. Look at what the W. admin did to us and Iraq for that yummy oil. And they did it on our credit card, and let laughing.

Government for the Corporations, by the Corporations, will be hell on Earth, a permanent feudal power structure that will be damned unkillable. It is the ultimate nullification of the age of enlightenment, the death of science as we know it, and makes fascism look like a kid playing with toy soldiers.

Comment: Generation FoX (Score 0) 150

Corporatization of the public schools. The final blow to public America.

No businessman does this for the sheer joy of giving. They want something, and they will take it. They want properly trained corporate citizens, with skill sets that are widespread and therefore cheap to rent. Amongst other things, depending on the billionaire. Zuck just wants kids that don't care about privacy and love to give him money. Other billionaires want Jesus, dead commies and Muslims, and lots of power.

I've been fuming for months now that the rollup of public schools into private hands, now accepted as a natural process that no one should stop, will be a setup for the next step. Koch brothers-type billionaires will start buying all the little education ompanies and mom-and-pop schools that everyone thought were so charming and a Good Idea. That certainty was reinforced when the Koch brothers themselves started saying, a few months back, that they were intending to forward a new, American-correct, proper view of history that should be installed in classrooms - corporate friendly, pro-Jesus, anti-science, Ayn Randian horse manure. Not to mention Rupert Murdoch's little empire is now stating a school chain in the US - think of it as Fox Schools.

We deserve it. They're going for the kids, now, when no one is looking. Next up, in ten years: Generation FoX.


Led By Zuckerberg, Billionaires Give $100M To Fund Private Elementary Schools 150

Posted by samzenpus
from the price-of-an-education dept.
theodp writes: AltSchool, a 2-year-old software-fueled private elementary school initiative started by an ex-Googler, announced Monday a $100 million Series B round led by established VC firms and high-profile tech investors including Mark Zuckerberg, Laurene Powell Jobs, John Doerr, and Pierre Omidyar. AltSchool uses proprietary software that provides students with a personalized playlist lesson that teachers can keep close tabs on. Currently, a few hundred students in four Bay Area classrooms use AltSchool tech. Three more California classrooms, plus one in Brooklyn, are expected to come online this fall, plus one in Brooklyn. "We believe that every child should have access to an exceptional, personalized education that enables them to be happy and successful in an ever-changing world," reads AltSchool's mission statement. For $28,750-a-year, your kid can be one of them right now. Eventually, the plan is for the billionaire-bankrolled education magic to trickle down. AltSchool's pitch to investors, according to NPR, is that one day, charter schools or even regular public schools could outsource many basic functions to its software platform.

How can you do 'New Math' problems with an 'Old Math' mind? -- Charles Schulz