Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?

Comment Re: Really? (Score 1) 403 403

I can expect that firing straight up into the air, my shot will only reach about 30 meters (or yards). Maybe 40.

Umm, no. Your shot will reach considerably higher than 30 feet straight up.

Muzzle speed from a 12ga is on the order of 1500 fps (call it 450m/s for the metric types). For it to have a ceiling of 30 feet (10 meters) straight up, the shot would have to be decelerating at ~50G's.

And that isn't happening unless you're shooting through a wall/ceiling.

Note that the problem with taking things out when shooting straight up is that human's are really pretty crappy at judging distance directly overhead. Which makes judging the lead you give the target pretty much guesswork...

Comment Re:What a... (Score 1) 76 76

fantastically sensible system.

You mispelled "stupid".

Note that if the prosecutors don't have enough evidence to convict (their reason for overturning the first Grand Jury decision), all that's going to happen is a show-trial followed by an acquittal. It'll waste some time, some money (for both the hypothetical villains and the government), and otherwise do nothing meaningful.

Or are we expecting them to start fabricating evidence, just to ensure a conviction?

Comment Re:quickly to be followed by self-driving cars (Score 1) 872 872

I'm sure that's partly true, but I would bet it's more due to the fact that cars last longer than they used to.


When I was a kid (40 years ago or so), my dad would replace the car every three or four years, after it got to about 75K miles. Car I'm driving now is north of 130K, and still going strong. I'm expecting it to hit 200K before I have to even think hard about replacing it....

Comment Re:Truck Stops, Gas Stations, etc (Score 1) 872 872

They can recharge when they load, when the driver stops for breaks, overnight at truck stops, and when the truck is being unloaded.

Current charge times make "recharge when the driver stops for breaks" impossible.

And frankly, current ranges on EV's make them pretty much useless for trucks. Who really wants to stop for a couple hours a couple times a day?

Comment Re: Well, sure, but... (Score 2) 293 293

we'll never know the truth about the long-term health effects of eating GMO foods until if and when a pattern emerges.

It should, perhaps, be noted that if we were to keep the stuff in the lab until we'd tested it thoroughly for 1000 years, we STILL would "never know the truth about the long-term health effects of eating GMO foods until if and when a pattern emerges".

Or anything else, either. Patterns are what we use to decide that something is real or imaginary.

Comment Re:Poppycock! (Score 1) 77 77

Luckily, you're on a news site where I'm sure this fact has been reported many times.

Opinion. Not fact.

Note that if NSA is doing its job properly, you'll never hear about its successes. So it could be 99.9% successful and fail 0.1% of the time, and you'd still hear about nothing but its failures in the news.

Likewise, of course, for 0.1% success and 99.9% failure.

Which is why any information about the NSA's functionality is an opinion. Even if it's promulgated by Congress, President, NSA head, whatever (since all of them have reasons to lie about it - if you KNOW it's doing it's job well, telling everyone it's not is a GOOD thing, not a bad thing)...

Comment Re:Right to Privacy in One's Backyard? (Score 4, Informative) 1175 1175

Plus, it is possible for people or property to be struck before it slows to terminal velocity.

Not if you're aiming at a drone more or less directly overhead. It'll slow down on the way up, and then accelerate back up to...terminal velocity on the way back down.

Comment Re:Existential threat is more likely (Score 2) 83 83

Is it my imagination or is the US government/society incapable of functioning without an imaginary boogeyman?

It's your imagination.

Admittedly, it's been pretty much true since WW2, and more or less true since WW1. But before that, the US spent a lot of time using the "ignore and be ignored" theory of nationhood.

Oddly enough, it was getting dragged into a European war that cured us of that notion....

Comment Re:No surprises there... (Score 1) 593 593

Which is especially funny given his recent moves to release 22 convicted drug offenders.

Note that those 22 drug offenders have served at least ten years in prison each, and as of the last changes in the law relative to drug offenses they have also served more than the MAXIMUM current law allows.

In other words, good that he pardoned them, but it's not like it was a really impressive thing for him to let them out after they'd served the maximum currently legal sentence (admittedly, when they were convicted, the maximum was considerably longer)....

What's pathetic about those pardons is the "requirement" that they have served at least ten years of their original sentence first. There are a LOT of people in prison who haven't served ten years yet, but whose new maximum sentences are LESS THAN ten years. They'll have to stay in till they've gotten ten years under their belts, and probably another President....

Comment Re:Why the controversy? (Score 3, Informative) 509 509

We have had methods of providing thrust in space without using rockets since 1916, the year the first ion thruster was built. Both use electricity to produce thrust.

Note, for the record, that an ion thruster IS a rocket - it shoots mass out the back (ions, in this case, accelerated electricly) just like any other rocket.

Note that if this EM drive pushes photons out the back, it is also a rocket. However, what I've read on the subject says it doesn't push photons out the back (not even microwave photons), so it's either something unexpected, or a huge steaming pile.

I'll be interested in the first deep-space probe built to test this thing. Should be simple enough - solar panels for power, EM-Drive for push, a comm-channel or six, and something to announce its presence, so we can determine its velocity relative to Earth at all times. If it accelerates, we win. If not, we wasted the cost of a (small) satellite....

Comment Re:Interesting, but still a lot of hype (Score 1) 509 509

On that point, I thought we could go to Mars in 3 months or so now; it just takes a nuclear rocket rather than chemical, plasma or EM drives.

Nuclear rocket that can reach Mars in three months...

Assuming NERVA performance, we're talking a definite NO. Mass ratio (loaded mass/empty mass) needs to be north of 300.

Assuming a liquid-core nuclear rocket, well, we could get that mass ratio down to maybe 5, which is achievable. Maybe. Liquid-core nuke rockets are heavy on the theory and light on the "materials that can retain strength while in physical contact with molten uranium" required. Assuming a gaseous-core nuclear rocket, it would be a piece of cake. However, even more magic materials required for that one....

Comment Re:Scripts that interact with passwords fields aws (Score 1) 365 365

Your argument has one flaw - just because someone uses a password manager doesn't mean he will pick strong passwords...


Generates random passwords for you, using specifications you provide (generally that means "generate a password consistent with the site requirements") as to length and content.

You never have to even look at your passwords if you don't want to - they're not displayed by default, so someone looking over your shoulder while you use it won't see a password by accident. Right-click, copy password to clipboard, paste to password field for website. Then PasswordSafe overwrites the piece of memory your password used in the clipboard several times with gibberish to make it harder for someone to find it that way.

So, pick one really good password (or passphrase - it doesn't have a limit on password size for itself) for your PasswordSafe, and let it generate all of your other passwords for you, and remember them and secret questions and whatever else you need to remember.

And it's not like the functionality I've described is unique to passwordsafe. Pretty much every password manager I've looked at has the same basic functionality....

Genius is ten percent inspiration and fifty percent capital gains.