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Comment Re:To be fair (Score 1) 731

Drones may work well when your fighting people with limited resources, minimal technical capabilities and little intelligence capacity. But when you go up against an actual opponent I think we're going to find that they have major drawbacks. Jam GPS satellites, block communications frequencies and a few insanely easy efforts (hang some cardboard boxes from the sides of a building?) and the Drones don't know where they are exactly, can't be controlled/request help from their masters and can't confirm their target making them effectively useless.

Comment Overkill? (Score 2) 173

The assumption in the article appears to be that the planet was blown apart with such force that it never reformed, who says that is the case? Just blowing the planet up to the point where it temporary ejected most of its mass and then eventually reformed into a lifeless rock should require significantly less energy.

Comment Re:Just what we needed... (Score 1) 75

Do radio telescopes limit their observations to nighttime hours? If so you would think that would be a simple waiver requirement that the NRAO could push for, for safety/science reasons the beacons could have a light sensor in them to detect the day/night cycle and deactivate their transmitters within a half hour of sunset.

Comment Would have some uses, but a bit pricey (Score 1) 103

Such a device would definitely have some uses, especially in a country like Japan with a lot of public transport often located miles from your residence. Jump on one of these, ride to the station, throw it in your bag, get on the train. However $800 seems a bit pricy, I don't know about Japan but you can get used motorcycles/mopeds in the US for that kind of money. You would think something that is basically a aluminum shell with some batteries and an electric motor screwed to it would be a bit cheaper. Maybe if it takes off economies of scale will kick in and bring the price down, until then it'll probably be a bit of a novelty kind of like a Segway.

Comment Re:Remakes are seldom worth it (Score 1) 168

I was really looking forward to a Rendezvous with Rama movie, unfortunately that appears to have failed. I realize it would be a hard movie to make well, as there isn't an actual bad guy but is primarily about some foolish humans exploring a massive advanced alien spaceship, but it would be a welcome change of pace from the hurricane of remakes that seem to have inundated Hollywood over the past few years.

Comment Re:How will I cut my grass? (Score 1) 904

I don't know how practical a solar powered lawn mower would be. Putting a 100 watt panel on a modified push mower would probably be pushing it, and unless you live in an area with no obstructions (trees, houses, etc) the best you can probably hope for is 18% capacitance (8 hours generation, blocked half the time, no weather considerations). If my back of the napkin calculations are right that would only be about 2 kwh every two weeks. I think your average battery powered mower has a battery pack somewhere north of 3kwh. Assuming all of these quick stats are correct its only going to be able to mow your lawn once every 3 weeks or more. Its possible that you could tweak a few things (lighter construction, lightweight blades, etc) but there are going to be some significant limitations.

Comment Just test it in space already (Score 1) 518

Put it on a cheap and simple satellite, piggyback it on another satellites launch and run it for a few months/years. From what I understand this thing has such a small thrust that its difficult to differentiate between any possible thrust and instrument noise (earthquakes, cars/trains driving by, magnetic fields, etc). A real world test where a craft with no other means of propulsion can/can't change its orbit is the only way to be sure.

Comment Re:What!? (Score 1) 157

Judges aren't supposed to really utilize either of those, at least not directly. Their job is supposed to be accurately and independently apply the law. The only way in which they exercise morality and ethics is to make sure they don't have a conflict of interest. In this case she seems to be using the most insane interpretation possible, that no one has the ability to challenge these "warrants" (they appear to function much like subpoenas). Which was probably the intent all along, to try to find a loophole whereby the government could go on fishing expeditions while not needing to deal with any of those pesky things like surviving court challenges or offering any real justification. The case may have even been introduced in a district where they knew the judges were sympathetic to their intentions, kind of like how most patent cases take place in an unpleasant little area of Texas where don't you know, patent holders are virtually always favored.

Comment What!? (Score 2) 157

So Facebook is receiving the warrant, it is for information on their systems, they are legally obligated to fulfill it and yet they don't have "standing" to challenge it. This judge must have failed most of her coherent arguments classes back in law school, this decision is just plain idiotic.

Comment Dont know if it counts (Score 1) 620

Seeing as one it was software, and two its no longer being used I don't know if it counts but for what its worth.... A few years back I was working for a county utility department, they had some ancient DOS based asset tracking database program that would barely run on Windows XP with a bunch of compatibility settings. The thing had to have been pre Windows 3.1. Computers were starting to get upgraded to newer OSs that would in no way run it so I was tasked with migrating it into a Microsoft Access database (I know, not much of a step up). Wasn't too difficult since thankfully it exported to some fairly well formatted CSV files, hardest part was breaking some of the information out into proper field formats which took a little creative work with wildcards and Excel/Open Office.

Comment Reaction mass? (Score 1) 120

I realize that moving the power source off of the craft is going to help some but isn't THE major problem in the rocket equation reaction mass? Rockets have to carry it with them and this craft seems no different. Unless this propulsion system produces much higher exhaust velocities I don't see how its going to help much.

Comment Re:ridiculous (Score 1) 183

Not that this specific technique won't need extensive testing, but chances are that on occasion you've already driven on a road using plastics as a base material. Geofoam is regularly used in road projects throughout the world.

Comment Re: Maybe... (Score 3, Interesting) 334

No doubt government is always attempting to co-opt the press to portray only what makes them look good and they have been successful to a degree. But the various leaks, corruption/waste stories and abuse of power pieces over the last decade or so have show that there are some holdouts that scoff at the government line. Also to a degree the internet has taken over for some of the "shaming" of "oppressive officers" that was once predominantly taken care of the press, with blog stories, Debt clocks & internet video/audio.

Comment Re: Maybe... (Score 5, Insightful) 334

The press in its various forms (blogs, newspapers and some filmmakers) are the defense attorneys of a free country. The Founding fathers wrote at length how the press and freedom of speech on its own was one of the major impediments to a government sinking into corruption & totalitarianism.

"The last right we shall mention regards the freedom of the press. The importance of this consists, besides the advancement of truth, science, morality, and arts in general, in its diffusion of liberal sentiments on the administration of Government, its ready communication of thoughts between subjects, and its consequential promotion of union among them, whereby oppressive officers are shamed or intimidated into more honourable and just modes of conducting affairs."
            Continental Congress, 1774

This woman isn't some random person hanging out with "scum", she's an award winning documentary filmmaker. She also helped create the Freedom of the Press Foundation. Unfortunately the press has to hang out with various groups of morally/legally questionable people in order to get to what is important, most of those people reside in our various halls of government.

Computers are useless. They can only give you answers. -- Pablo Picasso