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Comment: Re:Hobbit (Score 1) 118

by DerekLyons (#49780173) Attached to: How To Die On Mars

There's still a big killer lurking out in space that can't be easily avoided: radiation.

Except underground, which is the obvious solution but people are too fixated on making housing above the ground.

Except, like most obvious solutions - moving underground poses as many (if not more) problems as it purports to solve. For example, adding many tons of earth moving machinery to a manifest already bulging at the seams. (Machinery which will add to the maintenance burden as well.) This solution also limits the location of your colony/base to places where the Martian soil can be (at least relatively) easily worked. (If such places exist.) The there's the question of chemical reactions between the soil and the structures. (The chemistry of Martian soil being... well, it's being extremely charitable to call it extraordinarily poorly understood.) Etc... etc...

Comment: Re:Maybe science went off the rails... (Score 1, Insightful) 354

by DerekLyons (#49775115) Attached to: Can Bad Scientific Practice Be Fixed?

"science" kits where you make kitchen goo instead of actual chemical reactions is lame and boring

Someone who doesn't grasp that making kitchen goo involves chemical reactions, or deliberately ignores it in order to fuel their rant... shouldn't be judging state level science fairs, or taking teachers to task for not understanding science.

Comment: Re:Maybe science went off the rails... (Score 1) 354

by DerekLyons (#49775097) Attached to: Can Bad Scientific Practice Be Fixed?

Maybe science went off the rails when we replaced the scientific method with scientific consensus?

That presumes some golden era of Pure Science when no scientist ever had an ego, or an agenda, or a patron that had to be appeased, or any other motive to play fast and loose with the truth ever existed.

It didn't.

Comment: Re:No doubt... (Score 1) 75

by DerekLyons (#49754491) Attached to: Musical Organ Created From 49 Floppy Disk Drives

That's quite the difference, and something you entirely failed to mention.

I didn't mention it because it's a difference without a distinction - whether you press a key and the command is saved to a file for later replay, or immediately processed and sent to the "instrument", it's all the same. It's something that's been done many, many times before.

Comment: Re:Strange quality problems (Score 2) 96

by DerekLyons (#49705589) Attached to: Russian Rocket Crashes In Siberia

For decades launching these rockets was not a problem for Russia.

Actually, for several decades, they had just about as many problems as they do now... and their success ratio was more-or-less in the same range (.98-.99) as the Shuttle (or pretty much any other launcher*). The only things that have significantly changed is that until the fall of the Soviet Union you never heard about the failures in the first place, and in the last decade or so the failures have started being covered in the non-specialist/popular press. These changes have conspired to create the illusion of 'extremely reliable' Soviet/Russian boosters and a recent and unusual string of failures.

* Yes, essentially all boosters that end up in regular service pretty much end up in this narrow range. There's a few a hair lower, and few a bit higher, but they're outliers.

Comment: Re:Too much (Score 1) 278

by DerekLyons (#49704011) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What's On Your Keychain?

I try to keep my keychain as small as possible. So I have a house key, a work key, and a USB key (super tiny).

This. My keychain has my house key, my garage/shop key (it's a seperate building from the house), my car key, my wife's car key. That's it. Other than that, I carry a lighter, my cigarettes, a pen, a sharpie, a medium swiss army knife, and my phone.

I have no need to carry a complete toolbox in my pockets, and have never grasped those who do.

Comment: Re:Luck plays a more important role than people kn (Score 1) 126

by DerekLyons (#49703983) Attached to: How SpaceX and the Quest For Mars Almost Sunk Tesla Motors

I'd give him good odds of succeeding, too, either with alternative financing, or by closing the doors and starting over, or... something. And maybe he wouldn't have managed it, but I guarantee he wouldn't just have given up and said "Well, bad luck, I'm out". Because people who would do that don't get to where Musk is, no matter how lucky they are.

Other than blind celebrity worship - I can see no basis for that assumption. Musk got to where he was precisely because he was lucky.

Successful people are those who are smart, hard-working and persistent.

Musk fails to meet that criteria. He struck it rich, twice, right out of the gate. He never needed persistence.

Comment: Re:The mice again! (Score 4, Informative) 126

by DerekLyons (#49697801) Attached to: How SpaceX and the Quest For Mars Almost Sunk Tesla Motors

What would be to point of sending mice to Mars?... unless it was about sending the mice to Mars.

When it comes to manned exploration of the Solar system, there's two areas we pretty much have little to no understanding of;

- long term biological effects at other than 1G or 0G.
- long term radiation effects outside the Earth's magnetosphere.

As it turns out, these are the two things we absolutely must have an understanding of to venture long term beyond LEO.

Comment: Re:Explain this one to me (Score 1) 124

by DerekLyons (#49692309) Attached to: Hackers Using Starbucks Gift Cards To Access Credit Cards

Then what's the use in hacking one?

You don't hack a card, you hack the app.

I can take money from your account and put it on a card (or access code) in my possession. I can then resell the card (or the access code).

So, how the scam works is - a) I buy a card from Starbucks for $5, then since the cards are infinitely reloadable b) I hack your account and move money (say $100) from your account to my card and disconnect it from the account, c) I resell the cards for $50.

There's a lot of places Starbucks can detect and halt this fraud, since it all passed through their servers... they just don't or won't.

Comment: Re:Discrimination (Score 1) 170

In fact you could argue that Urschel is in a position where he can evaluate the probability of potential risks and impacts and make an informed decision on whether to play whereas many players can't.

Since he has no medical training - why would you even think he's in a better position to do so? Being able to evaluate the mathematical probability of injury != being able to evaluate the medical risks. Two entirely different problem domains.

And that's setting aside the issue that we don't really have the data to properly evaluate the medical risks in the first place. We know there's a risk of brain damage (there's existence proof of it happening), but it currently can't be well quantified because the underlying data is noisy, incomplete, and of questionable precision and accuracy. We can't say "player X you should stop playing now because of accumulated damage", because we don't have an accurate gauge of the severity or effects of individual events, let alone their cumulative impacts.

"Well I don't see why I have to make one man miserable when I can make so many men happy." -- Ellyn Mustard, about marriage