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Comment: Re:To me, this is good news (Score 1) 73

by Dereck1701 (#48182335) Attached to: NASA Cancels "Sunjammer" Solar Sail Demonstration Mission

I see you're new to the US, Welcome! Things here rarely are canceled because they're "holding the responsible party's feet to the fire". Projects can go orders of magnitude over their budgets, with less capabilities then promised and and still continue unquestioned (F-35, Big Dig, Bridge to Nowhere, Afghan command center, Solyndra). The only thing that really stops a project is if it doesn't have enough political clout and the money is wanted by those who do or it is proven beyond all doubt that it will never come to fruition.

Comment: Re:Not until they're sentient. (Score 2) 82

If you're referring to the "Chinese curse" "may you live in interesting times" you might want to look up its etymology. Apparently here has never been a similar widely used saying in Chinese history, our wide usage of it in the US appears to date back to Robert Kennedy using it in a speech. No one seems to be quite sure where he got it from.

Comment: Re:Piloted? (Score 1) 82

Hopefully this setup won't be as cheesy as Robot Combat League, while I didn't watch the show from the clips I've seen it was like a big version of "Rockem Sockem Robots, with fake sparks & some manufactured damage instead of a spring loaded head. While it sounds like this competition will have its own simulated damage hopefully it will be a lot more realistic and more quantifiable than the random whaling that seemed to be RCL.

Comment: Piloted? (Score 2, Interesting) 82

It looks interesting, but why in the world are they piloted mechs? Remote control them with a simulated cockpit so you don't have to make a bunch of convoluted rules so no one is injured. If things take off and the tech improves you can also ramp things up from a simple paintball game type setup to bots that can actually inflict damage.

Comment: Amusing (Score 1) 343

by Dereck1701 (#48173751) Attached to: The Physics of Why Cold Fusion Isn't Real

I find it amusing how people continuously claim to "know" what is and isn't possible based on our infinitesimally short stint into the sciences. We have had electricity in any meaningful fashion for what, 120 years? I'm not saying that cold fusion is possible, and even if it is it may take a society that has been advancing technologically for over a million years to achieve it. But we aren't even children when it comes to knowing the intricacies of the universe, we're a few cells dividing. Claiming what is or isn't possible is premature to say the least.

Comment: Re:It only takes one ... (Score 2) 381

by Dereck1701 (#48157715) Attached to: How Nigeria Stopped Ebola

Wouldn't a person holed up in a bunker be in an very effective self quarantine? If they had the disease whether or not they recovered it would be contained which is a lot different than an Ebola contact nurse who jumps on a commercial airliner despite symptoms. Both are crazy but one is at risk of infecting no one, one just put thousands of people at two airports and on a tightly confined aircraft at risk. So which is more dangerous?

Comment: And the sky is blue (Score 1) 608

by Dereck1701 (#48136683) Attached to: Wind Power Is Cheaper Than Coal, Leaked Report Shows

Obviously its cheaper, how could what is effectively a generator with some propellers and an inexhaustible free fuel source be more expensive than something that needs a massive infrastructure of fuel mining, refinement, transport & waste disposal? True, wind does currently have one glaring drawback, it is not an "on demand" power source and must be either used when it is in abundance or stored for later use. But in the long run I think renewables are going to be a no brainer. Fossil fuels are going to have a place for our foreseeable future as well as a backup/baseload/niche energy source but with even moderate advances in energy storage technology renewables in their various forms are probably going to provide a majority of our energy in the coming decades.

Comment: Hospitals (Score 1) 419

by Dereck1701 (#48124011) Attached to: Texas Health Worker Tests Positive For Ebola

Hospitals..... One of the most contagious places in an area. Being in an environment with the highest concentration of infected people is bad enough, but hospital employees have been known to have less than stellar hygiene. I think an entire technology product sector has had to be created just to encourage employees to wash their hands regularly.

Comment: Re:"Consented" (Score 1) 191

by Dereck1701 (#48088131) Attached to: DoJ: Law Enforcement Can Impersonate People On Facebook

It goes quite handily with all of the other terms they've corrupted. Like that recent story about how information doesn't count as being "collected" until its looked at (mass surveillance), the "shall not/no law/nor shall/limited time" portions of the constitution have mostly been rendered into "whatever you think its necessary" and the (re)interpretation of the "interstate commerce" clause would be laughable if it wasn't so tragic.

Comment: Insane (Score 5, Insightful) 191

by Dereck1701 (#48087167) Attached to: DoJ: Law Enforcement Can Impersonate People On Facebook

Are they insane? Wasn't there a run on creating laws in many states just to stop high school students from making fake facebook pages to harass? This act not only could result in job loss, public humiliation, harassment & other life changing events but in threats and even death if an angry drug dealer/user came after her. This officer even misused private information collected for the limited purposes of serving as evidence in a trial. This officer and anyone associated with this heinous act should be charged with identity theft, property theft, libel, unauthorized access to a computer system (remember violating a TOS is now considered to be a crime) and fraud.

Comment: Language (Score 1) 481

by Dereck1701 (#48067719) Attached to: Is an Octopus Too Smart For Us To Eat?

Its of course not a perfect measure, but the ability to communicate would probably be the easiest guidepost as to what we should/shouldn't eat. Language of some sort is required for a society/culture to develop and without society/culture creatures often act on a purely instinctual level. I don't think we have any concrete evidence of a non-human species on Earth having a language, the closest possibilities would be certain cetaceans. I am sure there are other guideposts (personality, intelligence, problem solving, etc) but communication should be the easiest to recognize.

Comment: Re:And as the resolution increases ... (Score 1) 77

by Dereck1701 (#48055803) Attached to: Supercomputing Upgrade Produces High-Resolution Storm Forecasts

I think we're a LONG way from needed to know information the "down to the tree/building level", but I would be very surprised if they aren't using reflectivity and intensity characteristics from satellite photography (usually about 3 meter resolution). I would think that kind of information would tell them the heat generation/absorption/water evaporation of a particular area reasonably well, they may even have to simplify the data so they can compute it "real time". I work with mapping quite a bit and I can tell you that working at that level uses up a lot of processing power, even mapping small areas. I've seen water flow models running on a very high end PC for an area of only a few square miles take an hour or more at those resolutions.

Those who do things in a noble spirit of self-sacrifice are to be avoided at all costs. -- N. Alexander.