Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?
Take advantage of Black Friday with 15% off sitewide with coupon code "BLACKFRIDAY" on Slashdot Deals (some exclusions apply)". ×

Comment Re:No (Score 2) 563

Why would an economy without money not work? Just because we and our economic elite are so entrenched in money and free market theories that border on religion that does not automatically mean that other ways of organizing a civilization do not work as well. If you pulled a Roman citizen off the streets of Rome and told him/her that in 2000 year or so people will buy silk (a very expensive luxury back then) with something resembling papyrus money rather than solid gold aurei he/she would have either laughed at you or if they were a kind hearted person offered to escort you to the temple of Apollo so that you might have your lunacy treated by a skilled healer.

Your example however fails to demonstrate that an economy without money would work. While the Roman would have laughed at you or pitied you - only the medium of exchange has changed. The underlying organization of the civilization and economy remains the more or less same, and still relies on money.

Comment Burden of proof. (Score 3, Insightful) 73

From TFS: "According to Tu, she and her team screened over 2,000 different Chinese herbs described in old texts, of which about 200 were good enough to test in mice. That's when they hit upon a plant called Artemisia annua: annual wormwood, or qinghao in Chinese."

Yeah, I've already heard from from my crunchy greenie friends about how this "proves" the value of traditional medicine. That one text mentions on herb that worked, and 1,999 texts listed herbs that didn't shows the exact opposite... completely escapes them.

Comment Re:Huh? Yes, SRB's can leak (Score 1) 53

They don't know why it sealed though... whether it was flexing of the case, or condensation of the exhaust gases forming a temporary plug. (IIRC, there was signs that the latter may have happened during previous burn through and blow by incidents.) But it goes to show that the accident is much more complicated than the "it got cold, it go boom" urban legend version.

Comment Re:"..or what intermediate steps have to be taken. (Score 3, Insightful) 170

Yet, it's by slow steady intermediate steps and evolutionary processes that practically every one of mankind's major breakthroughs, advances, and achievements have been accomplished. They're not visible to the narrow minded or the the clueless - but they're there none the less.

The problem isn't with "limited (and limiting) thinking", it's with idiots who have no patience and no grasp of how the world works... who think things just happen magically.

Comment Huh? Yes, SRB's can leak (Score 1) 53

BTW, SRB's don't leak (they use solid propellent). I believe you guys are thinking of the o-rings that connected the hydrogen tank to the main engines; they'd become misshapen at colder temperatures thus causing liquid hydrogen to leak.

BTW - when they're burning, SRB's produce very hot gas which damn well can leak .

Read the Wikpedia article on the loss of the Challenger or just search Google for "space shuttle challenger accident"

Comment Once again, you've only got half the story. (Score 1) 53

As the design change proved, it was safe by spaceflight standards... provided you kept the joint temperatures above the level at which significant erosion happened.

Well, again, that's the soundbite version - and only half the truth. In reality, the worst cases of leakage prior to the loss of Challenger occurred with launch temperatures in the eighties. In reality, the real problem wasn't temperature but a phenomena called joint rotation. That's why the redesigned joints included heavier clevis pins at the joint (to prevent the two halves from moving relative to each other) as well as heaters.
Reference Nasa's own description of the redesigned joint - there's a reason why the new heater is mentioned almost as an afterthought.

Comment Re:So... (Score 1) 53

Then again, this was the NASA that thought it could ignore engineers and launch Challenger with frozen, leaky SRBs.

Since the same engineers had been telling them for five years that it was safe to launch with leaky SRB's (A part that's usually left out of the tale and most people are unaware of*) - I think NASA was more than justified in being a little skeptical of their last minute change in heart that they offered no justification more.

* That's why NASA was able to trot out a revised joint design so fast after the accident. The joint was a known problem and even though it was considered "safe" to continue flying, NASA and Morton-Thiokol were already working on a solution. (That the kludge that was the first flown joint design should never have entered service in the first place is another story.)

Comment Re:Wrong industry? (Score 1) 117

For instance, for any mission critical component NASA may have three different programs, each written in a different language and running on a unique platform.

Nope, the record (which was the Shuttle's control system) is two different programs running on identical hardware. They weren't even identical programs, the first had all mission features, the second had just enough to reach orbit and to return from orbit to earth. But even that was highly unusual - the norm is two identical computers running identical software.

If at any time one of the programs gives an answer that is not consistent with the other two then the minority report is discarded and the other two are presumed to be correct. No need to halt the proceedings and debug at that point.

Where the three comes in is the primary Shuttle flight control was three copies of the same software running on three identical computers. The minority report is in fact disregarded.

Comment Re:Not surprising and can you blame them? (Score 1) 420

This is also why various technology contests (such as the X Prize) rarely if ever produce any applicable technology. (And when they do, it almost always requires a great deal of R&D to move it into the real world.) The competitors seek to win the prize with a design optimized to win the prize.

The X prize was designed to enable CATS (Cheap Acess To Space) - but the winning design doesn't scale well from suborbital to orbital. Hell, it barely scales from a four place suborbital to an eight place suborbital.

Comment Re:Too little, too late (Score 4, Interesting) 262

But who is playing shenanigans Samsung or Apple.
Did Apple Spec out the correct specs to Samsung and they made a cheap knockoff, after sending a batch that seems to meet initial QA, in a very German style. Or did Apple know about/agree to giving different quality products.

There's a third possibility that should not be discounted out of hand - Samsung meets the specification, while TSMC exceeds it. Without access to internal information, it's hard to tell what's going on behind the curtain and all too easy to leap on the 'obvious' conspiracy.

Of course, the various mega corps routinely indulge in behavior that makes conspiracy theories not all that far fetched...

Comment Re:Good for them (Score 1) 191

Of course, there's always the question - is it because they completed the program, or because they were selected for the program? Not all prisoners are eligible, and not all who are eligible gain a berth. It could just as easily be the prisoners that gained a berth would be within the 60% who don't come come back to prison within three years regardless of their participation due to personal drive and existing educational accomplishments (which are large factors in whether or not they qualify in the first place).

Don't get me wrong, education is always good - but with no control group, claiming a priori that education is the sole cause for the drop in recidivism seems a bit of stretch,

Comment Re:Not the total cost! (Score 1) 421

Speaking of renewables in the U.S. why is hydro never mentioned when discussing renewables?!?

Because it makes up a rather limited percentage of generation capacity in the US - and that percentage isn't going to go up significantly. (Weaseling because I'm still on my first cup of coffee and there may be some I'm unaware of.) We aren't building power generation dams in any significant quantity, and that's extraordinarily unlikely to change.

Neutrinos have bad breadth.