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Comment: not-completely-off-topic (Score 3, Interesting) 725

by Thagg (#48111233) Attached to: Why the Trolls Will Always Win

Listen the the podcast on 5x5 called "overtired". In episode 15, the incredible Christina Warren describes the shit that she gets every day, and how she deals with it. I have some hope that a younger generation of women like Ms Warren will be able to react to attacking idiots without disappearing from the 'net.

Comment: Interesting problem with water landing -- wind (Score 2) 75

by Thagg (#47810635) Attached to: SpaceX Challenges Blue Origin Patents Over Sea-Landing Rocket Tech

A big challenge for water landing will be wind during the descent of the rocket. If the wind is blowing 100 miles an hour for a minute as the rocket is falling, then it's going to be dragged a mile from the ballistic landing point. (When things move quickly through the air, the lift generated by wind is extremely high; bullets move with the wind.) I don't believe that the booster will have the capacity to fly horizontally too far, and it won't be firing at all for the bulk of the descent.

If the wind could be predicted accurately, it would be easy enough to steer the rocket to the right place -- or move the landing platform to the right place.

If you're landing back at the launch pad; there will have been a rocket that could have sampled the wind speed just a few minutes previously, so you could have very precise wind speed vs. altitude data.

Comment: Re:Where there is a wil.. (Score 2) 258

by Thagg (#47796499) Attached to: Feds Want Nuclear Waste Train, But Don't Know Where It Would Go

It's harder than you think, unfortunately. Nuclear weapons have a few kilograms of radioactive material, reactors have more than a few tons. The Yucca Mountain repository, the best that nuclear engineers could come up with, had to be certified to be safe for 10,000 years...but literally after 10,000 years things could have gotten out of control. It's a tough problem.

That said, it means that we have to try harder. The problem is not going to go away; we have to pursue better approaches.

Comment: Re:I don't understand this... (Score 1) 20

by Thagg (#47770517) Attached to: Google Buys Zync Cloud Graphics Rendering Service

It turns out that the software used in VFX rendering is pretty darn expensive. Licenses of RenderMan, for example, were several thousand dollars a node (RenderMan just lowered their prices, it's true). Nuke, Maya, and other tools were similarly expensive.

The companies that created the software typically wouldn't consider licensing on shorter terms than six months; which made scaling up for a big movie very expensive. Zync managed to negotiate deals that would allow them to license software on an hourly basis. That is their real innovation.

Comment: Re: Switched double speed half capacity, realistic (Score 1) 316

by Thagg (#47764537) Attached to: Seagate Ships First 8 Terabyte Hard Drive

Curious. Back in the stone ages (12 years ago) we had a 53 GB 12-platter drive (The box said "Solve your disk space storage problems forever!") that had a head fail. I was able to recover 22/23rds of the data, but it was clear that the data was recorded from one platter to the next all the way through the stack, and then the heads moved. Back in that day (I don't know if it's still true) one side of one of the platters just contained alignment information.

Comment: Re:You only have two ears. (Score 2) 197

by Thagg (#47686953) Attached to: Is Dolby Atmos a Flop For Home Theater Like 3DTV Was?

We have two ears, but you might notice that the ears have fairly complicated geometry. Why would that be? Well, it turns out that the various parts of the ear bounce sound, and sound coming from different directions, both azimuth and elevation, bounces differently. Your brain is very good at figuring this out. This wikipedia page on Sound Localization is quite informative.

It turns out that humans have among the best direction-sensing hearing of any animal.

[disclaimer -- I work for Dolby, but in their imaging group]

Comment: Allergic to peanuts... (Score 1) 267

by Thagg (#47628247) Attached to: My degree of colorblindness:

I drove across the country with a good friend, who is severely red-green colorblind. About once a day, he would offer me peanuts, even though I'm deathly allergic to them, and then he'd laugh, and say "oh, these are really good." After five days of this, as we were driving across Colorado after a storm, I stopped to look at a stunning rainbow, and he's like "ooh, ok, fine, whatever"

He's a very successful computer animator and landscape painter. It helps that he is super-smart, but I still can't imagine how he does it.

Comment: Re:I've bought stuff from Facebook... (Score 1) 114

by Thagg (#47599921) Attached to: How Facebook Sold You Krill Oil

Bill, this advice "make the ad as incipid[sic] and vapid as possible, to save on non-converting clicks." makes so much sense, and is so obvious, that it must be happening already. This was pioneered by the the Nigerian scammers (originally snail-mail, now mostly email.)

It does make me disheartened about the future of the ad-supported internet.

Comment: Re:As a Motorcyclist, I Declare "Meh" (Score 1) 345

by Thagg (#47280899) Attached to: Harley-Davidson Unveils Their First Electric Motorcycle

*sigh* that's a Suzuki DL-650 Vstrom, not a Honda. The new one does get about 60mpg, my 2009 only about 55.

I agree with those that say that, unfortunately, this is not going to be a successful bike. I really like the idea of an electric motorcycle, but it should come from a company that does exactly that. H-D fans aren't going to want it, and the insane high price that they will charge for the nameplate will keep others from buying it. I'd love a 60 mile-range electric bike that cost $10,000. I'd buy it tomorrow, but this isn't that.

"Irrationality is the square root of all evil" -- Douglas Hofstadter