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Comment: Re:Shame on them (Score 5, Insightful) 179

by ClickOnThis (#48942387) Attached to: Mathematicians Uncomfortable With Ties To NSA, But Not Pulling Back

On the subject of the NSA funding mathematical research, I'd describe myself as somewhat wary but generally indifferent. What would concern me is what strings might be attached to the money. Can the researchers publish results in the open literature from studies funded by the NSA? If so, then fine. Otherwise it hurts on many levels. Not only would the NSA stifle the sharing of research results, but also the researchers themselves would have their careers impeded by non-publication, or co-opted into more classified NSA work because they couldn't find funding elsewhere without a publication record.

Comment: Re:777 (Score 2) 291

by ClickOnThis (#48935229) Attached to: US Air Force Selects Boeing 747-8 To Replace Air Force One

And, 2 engines are actually more reliable than 4 - less that can go wrong.


Let p be the probability of one engine failing during a typical flight. We can assume p is a very small number, because the engines are designed and maintained well.

The probability of both engines failing on a 2-engine aircraft is p^2, an even smaller number. The probability of all 4 engines failing on a 4-engine aircraft is p^4, a number that is even smaller still than p^2. So, having 4 engines instead of 2 reduces the probability of all engines failing, and makes the plane more reliable.

Comment: Re: I wonder... (Score 1) 23

by ClickOnThis (#48930691) Attached to: The Big Bang By Balloon

TFA says the experiment uses a reaction wheel (like a gyroscope) to stabilize the payload and point the telescopes azimuthally. It also says the experiment uses the Sun and magnetometers to know where the telescopes are pointing. (It can also use GPS, but that unit failed just after launch.) It is not clear from TFA whether they use adaptive methods to stabilize the images, or just rely on inertia (the payload is heavy) to deal with motion from winds.

Comment: Re:Townes was Told that the Maser Was Impossible (Score 2) 73

by ClickOnThis (#48927219) Attached to: Nobel Laureate and Laser Inventor Charles Townes Passes

People erroneously imagine that Einstein was wrong about quantum mechanics. He wasn't. And in two central areas, the Copenhagen interpretation (it is a useful approximation but makes no sense as physics, decoherence does), and the laser, Bohr was wrong and Einstein was right.

It's going too far to say that Bohr was wrong about the Copenhagen interpretation. There are several competing interpretations of quantum mechanics. None of them have been definitively ruled out, with the exception of local versions of the hidden-variable theory, as a consequence of Alain Aspect's experiments that tested the Bell inequality.

Comment: Re:I disagree! (Score 1) 139

by ClickOnThis (#48889239) Attached to: Scientists Slow the Speed of Light

Yes. The meter is defined as the distance light travels in 1/299792458 of a second in a vacuum, so GP was half right.

Half-right perhaps. But circular. S/he defined a second in terms of a metre and the speed of light, and then turned around and did the opposite, defining a metre in terms of a second and the speed of light.

Comment: Re:Liberated? What about the hardware? (Score 2) 229

by ClickOnThis (#48859429) Attached to: Librem: a Laptop Custom-Made For Free/Libre Software

You have to take steps to make progress. You can take something useful and make it more open (like librem) or you could start from scratch and make something very basic that is completely open.

This. Stallman himself took the former, more pragmatic approach when he began Gnu. He started with an existing proprietary Unix system (Sun OS?) and used it to develop parts of Gnu, with the goal of replacing the entire OS eventually with Gnu.

Comment: Re: Tony Blair quoting Churchill quoting Verne (Score 2) 77

by ClickOnThis (#48845539) Attached to: Winston Churchill's Scientists

Or you'd simplify the tax code, which would make it easier to spot them, and which would lead to less mistakes which means less fraud and less errors.

Fewer mistakes do not lead to fewer fraud cases. Fraudsters know they are cheating. They're not making 'mistakes.'

I'm not indisposed to simplifying the tax code, but let's not kid ourselves into thinking that this would somehow 'simplify' the ever-inventive schemes of tax fraudsters.

Happiness is a positive cash flow.