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+ - Saturn May Have Given Birth to a Baby Moon->

Submitted by astroengine
astroengine (1577233) writes "NASA’s Saturn-orbiting Cassini spacecraft has imaged something peculiar on the outermost edge of the gas giant’s A-ring. A bright knot, or arc, has been spotted 20 percent brighter than the surrounding ring material and astronomers are interpreting it as a gravitational disturbance caused by a tiny moon. “We have not seen anything like this before,” said Carl Murray of Queen Mary University of London. “We may be looking at the act of birth, where this object is just leaving the rings and heading off to be a moon in its own right.”"
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Comment: Different assumptions (Score 1) 392

by bravehamster (#46663739) Attached to: How Many People Does It Take To Colonize Another Star System?

Sure, if you *cap* the population at 150 during transit, and don't allow multiple pairings within the same generation of course you're going to kill the genetic diversity.

However, if instead of a generational ship we were talking about hibernation until arrival, 150 is enough to begin a genetically viable colony. How do you avoid the risk of inbreeding? Simple: no cap on the number of children, but no full siblings allowed. Encourage as many different genetic pairings as possible.

Comment: Re:Colour me confused (Score 2) 165

by JoshWurzel (#45848759) Attached to: Congressman Accepts BitCoin For His US Senate Run

First, copper is a better conductor than gold (~16 nOhms/m vs. ~24nOhms/m, lower is better). Gold is primarily used as plating because it doesn't corrode. But that doesn't really impact the value of your question.

When a core material like gold changes price, the impact to the consumer depends on the rate and absolute value of the price changes.

If the total impact to the product's price is small or sudden, then it is either passed on to the customer or absorbed by the manufacturer. There isn't a lot of gold in a typical consumer product, for example, but there is enough to make a wild swing in gold prices noticeable to the supply/operations groups.

If the price increase is really large or forecast to take place over an entire product development cycle, then the designers will take a long look at the tradeoffs and decide if they want to make a cheaper product or a more expensive product.

Comment: Don't confuse 'A' Players with Prima Donnas! (Score 3, Insightful) 397

by JoshWurzel (#45782375) Attached to: Netflix: Non-'A' Players Unworthy of Jobs

I'm seeing a lot of posts spouting the idea that 'A' players come with a lot of trade-offs. That's incorrect. Those posters are thinking of prima donnas.

Think about it like this: Are you an 'A' student if you got a perfect score on your math test and a zero on your history test? No. You're just good at math.

True 'A' players are hard to find. But they aren't unicorns. A true 'A' player has the following qualities:
-technical competence
-detail oriented: your creative solution isn't finished until the detail work is complete.
-cross-functional diplomatic skills, and at least a superficial understanding of the work that people around him do.
-quick learner
-able to prioritize tasks
-positive attitude
-executes quickly & effectively (aka "works smart, not hard")
-can handle the bureaucracy of your work environment (startup/megacorp/whatever)

That probably sounds like a lot to ask of one person, but people with this list of skills exist. They just take a bit longer to find and its admittedly tough to identify them all in an interview.

Maybe you don't have all those skills yourself. That's ok. But it means that if I hire you, I have to hire other people to get those skills. Netflix has decided that its worth their time to look for the whole package.

Comment: Re:Great for presenting, not for creating. (Score 1) 109

by JoshWurzel (#44785345) Attached to: Elon Musk Shows His Vision of Holographic Design Technology

The point of my post is that its already being done better with today's technology and that this proposal is not an improvement. Currently, mechanical designers & engineers are using a combination of a 2D & a 3D mouse. The 3D mouse handles the pan/scan/zoom on a large-screen LCD and the 2D handles the fine control challenges. The 3D mouse is not technically necessary, as the same functionality can also be achieved using modifier keys in combination with the standard mouse, but it does make things smoother. So really this system isn't solving any problems.

If we really want to do it better than today, we need some sort of eye-tracking and/or brain-scanning to eliminate the lag of accurate selection. But there are still a lot of challenges, such as gorilla arm which posters noted. There's no clear solution to the fact that humans aren't design to hold up their arms for 8 hours a day...except maybe modifying ourselves!

Comment: Great for presenting, not for creating. (Score 3, Informative) 109

by JoshWurzel (#44784581) Attached to: Elon Musk Shows His Vision of Holographic Design Technology

I'm a fairly regular (though not extremely skilled) user of 3D CAD software. I suspect that this would extend the time to perform simple tasks when compared with a 2D & a 3D (space) mouse.

The fact that Elon Musk doesn't design a part in his demo is telling. That part is VERY simple to create in today's UIs: a simple revolve of a cross section with a couple of patterned extrusions around the circumference. I see 5 distinct operations, and a more experienced person could probably make it in less. Just a couple minutes for even an amateur like me.

I think other 3D users will agree with me that this will increase the time for common tasks like selecting edges for radius/chamfer/draft and the critical sketching/dimensioning of cross sections for extrusion. A mouse pointer is so precise. To get the same level of accuracy with this system, you'd have to zoom in several times to make sure the correct feature/surface/edge is selected before you can perform any operation.

Creating the 2D drawings, which are still required for actual production, will also take much longer with a system like this.

There are many analogies for non-3D users, such as art programs or scale model/figure painting. I bet this is very similar to a programmer watching Johnny Mnemonic or Swordfish and saying "yeah, hacking doesn't work like that, that's ridiculous".

I've pre-ordered a Myo Armband and I'm hopeful that I can make it do some cool things with my CAD station. But for now I don't see this as anything more than a way to show your Director or VP the cool work you've been doing or communicate issues/challenges in the mechanical design to non-MechE's.

Comment: Re:Just a failed publicity stunt (Score 1) 200

by fmaxwell (#41807701) Attached to: Google Nexus 4 Prototype Lost In a Bar
I realize that you are personally invested in seeing this phone succeed, and that you can site some minority of smartphone users who are fine with massive phones, but it doesn't change the fact that my argument is sound. If you want to talk into something the size of a small tablet, I'm not going to stop you, but don't be surprised when Apple outsells it with phone-sized phones.

Comment: Re:Just a failed publicity stunt (Score 1) 200

by fmaxwell (#41796951) Attached to: Google Nexus 4 Prototype Lost In a Bar

Hmm - if that is true, I wonder why Google wants to create the impression it has a security team that is quite happy to pretend to be law enforcement.

Because, unlike Apple, they could not get actual law enforcement interested in getting involved. So they needed to do something to add some drama, intrigue, and a sense of danger to the situation.

"If I do not want others to quote me, I do not speak." -- Phil Wayne