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Comment: Re: Spherical Torus (Score 1) 147

by Dzimas (#47752719) Attached to: Princeton Nuclear Fusion Reactor Will Run Again

Scientific breakthroughs don't occur on a set timeline unless you're writing a TV show. We've been "flying" in one form or another for hundreds of years - balloons, gliders, and -- with the advent of the internal combustion engine -- airplanes. One could argue that nuclear physics is significantly more challenging than achieving powered flight. After all, a reasonably competent amateur can build an aircraft -- -- in his garage over a couple of years. The same can't be said for processing fissile materials and building a research reactor.

Comment: Re:In other news... (Score 1) 216

Solar doesn't provide energy in the evening or nighttime, wind is unpredictable and hydro involves environmentally damaging waterway modifications. The end result is that fossil fuels and nuclear will always have a place on the grid.

The worst thing we could possibly do is to start installing solar cells on each individual house, while trying to maintain our current consumption. The challenge is that there is a profitable multi-billion dollar market selling grid-tied personal solar and wind power systems to millions of eager Americans, but that approach would be woefully inefficient (several thousand dollars worth of electrical hardware installed in each house across the nation, a glut of home-generated electricity during the day as everyone attempts to sell surplus back to the grid).

Instead, it's time to look at how we're using electricity. Stop building chipboard McMansions that require excessive A/C and heating. Increase the energy efficiency of appliances. Try living in smaller spaces. Discourage people from trying to build cities in the middle of scorching hot deserts, And so on.

Comment: Re:Steve Jobs set the standard... (Score 5, Interesting) 262

by Dzimas (#47650729) Attached to: Silicon Valley Doesn't Have an Attitude Problem, OK?
The best hire I ever made was someone that a senior VP disagreed with me about during and after the interview. I saw the skill set and personality that was needed for our team and he didn't. Fast forward 10 years, and I found myself approaching the person I'd hired for funding to keep my little startup alive and allow it to prosper. Because I had treated that employee well, we were able to hammer out the framework of an agreement at our first formal meeting. It was the easiest pitch that either of us had ever been through. Behaving like a tantruming child simply because you have money and the illusion of power is the stupidest approach if you plan on being in tech for the long haul. Sooner or later, someone you've trampled or angered *will* be in a position to give a less-than-flattering opinion of you or shut you out.

Comment: Limited utility. (Score 4, Insightful) 136

by Dzimas (#47625151) Attached to: Parallax Completes Open Hardware Vision With Open Source CPU
I run a company that releases all its hardware designs and am a huge proponent of OSHW. This gesture has limited utility simply because the people who use MCUs in designs aren't typically interested in delving into the minutiae of how the processor that runs the system is built. They're more interested in open source circuits which have real-world applications -- a low pass filter for smoothing PWM signals, a nice clean USB power supply, and so on.

Comment: Re:Who cooks at 800C ? (Score 3, Insightful) 228

by Dzimas (#47363871) Attached to: Nathan Myhrvold's Recipe For a Better Oven
Lead melts at 327.5 degrees, zinc melts at 319.5 degrees, tin a bit less than that. You could have some serious metalworking fun in the kitchen -- get it up to 1200 degrees and you could liquify gold, silver and even copper. I seriously hope that the numbers in the summary were just an awkward conversion error, because the notion of your very own kitchen smelter is terrifying.

California Regulators Tell Ride-Shares No Airport Runs 314

Posted by samzenpus
from the no-airport-for-you dept.
An anonymous reader writes in with news about ride-share crackdowns in California. California regulators are threatening to revoke permits for on-demand ride companies UberX, Lyft, Sidecar, Summon and Wingz unless they stop giving rides to and from airports within two weeks. The move could lead to the state shutting down the companies' operations. Flouting the airport rules also flouts regulations that the CPUC set up for the new generation of ride companies to operate in California. In a clear rebuttal to an argument often made by the ride companies, Peevey wrote: "These safety requirements should not hinder your creativity nor should they impede your innovation."

Comment: Re:Why should we care? (Score 1) 206

by Dzimas (#47168619) Attached to: NRC Human Spaceflight Report Says NASA Strategy Can't Get Humans To Mars
A politician's speech is the best you can come up with to explain why we need to reach Mars? Oh, my. JFK was all hot and bothered to reach the moon because it would upstage the Soviets, not because it was a noble or even sensible endeavor. There are a number of good reasons why a mission to mars would be desirable: (1) it requires the development of long-range manned spacecraft, (2) it gets us out of low earth orbit, (3) (in the long term) it encourages the development of new forms of long-range propulsion and an important emphasis on interplanetary life support systems. I could scrawl down a few dozen more, but the *important* bit is that it encourages us to make tentative steps into the larger solar system. And -- once we can reach other planets and moons -- perhaps there's an economic opportunity to be found that drives further advances.

Comment: Re:Sometimes the "idiot" isn't the problem. (Score 1) 255

by Dzimas (#47148921) Attached to: A Measure of Your Team's Health: How You Treat Your "Idiot"
Yes, of course I presented the user feedback as you suggest. I also provided solid use cases to illustrate how things didn't match the way their business works and what could be done to dramatically improve it. The problem was simply that the project manager had chosen to build a technical house of cards and didn't have the budget or time to change course. When faced with clear evidence that the system simply didn't work for clients, the easiest response was to discredit and kill the messenger. That only preserves the status quo for a short while, though. In this company's case, it was a matter of about 8 more weeks before an executive review killed the project and eventually the entire division.

You know, the difference between this company and the Titanic is that the Titanic had paying customers.