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Comment: Re:no we can't (Score 1) 21 21

by Rei (#50017541) Attached to: Asteroid Day On June 30 Aims To Raise Awareness of Collision Risks

It is not only possible, but the easiest option, to "blow them up Armageddon style" (minus the drilling and the like). There's a lot of simulation work going on right now and the results have been consistently encouraging that even a small nuclear weapon could obliterate quite a large asteroid into little fragments that won't re-coalesce, while simultaneously kicking them out of their current orbit. A few years ago they were just doing 2d calcs, now they've gotten full 3d runs.

Think for a second about what nuclear weapons can do on Earth. Here's the crater of a 100kt nuclear weapon test. It's 100 meters deep and 320 meters wide. You could nearly fit a sizeable asteroid like Itokawa inside the hole. And that thing had Earth's intense gravity field working against it and was only 1/10th the size of weapons being considered here. In space you don't need to "blast out" debris with great force like on Earth, you merely need to give it a fractional meter-per-second kick and it's no longer gravitationally bound. And the ability of a nuclear shockwave to shatter rock is almost unthinkably powerful - just ignoring that many if not most asteroids are rubble piles and thus come already pre-shattered. Look at the "rubble chimneys" kicked up by even small nuclear blasts several kilometers underground (in rock compressed by Earth's gravity). Or the size of the underground cavity created by the wimpy 3kT Gnome blast - 28000 cubic meters. Just ignoring that it had to do that, again, working against Earth's compression deep underground, if you scale that up to a 1MT warhead the cavity would be the size of Itokawa itself.

You of course don't have to destroy an asteroid if you don't want to - nuclear weapons can also gently kick them off their path. Again, you're depositing energy in the form of X-rays into the surface of the asteroid on one side. If it's a tremendous amount of energy, you create a powerful shattering shockwave moving throughout the body of the asteroid. If it's lesser, however, you're simply creating a broad planar gas/plasma/dust jet across the asteroid, turning that whole side into one gigantic thruster that will keep pushing and kicking off matter until it cools down.

The last detail is that nuclear weapons are just so simple of a solution. There's no elaborate spacecraft design and testing program needed - you have an already extant, already-built device which is designed to endure launch G-forces / vibrations and tolerate the vacuum of space, and you simply need to get it "near" your target - the sort of navigation that pretty much every space mission we've launched in the past several decades has managed. In terms of mission design simplicity, pretty much nothing except kinetic impactors (which are far less powerful) comes close, and even then it's a tossup. Assuming roughly linear scaling with the simulations done thusfar, with enough advance warning, even a Chicxulub-scale impactor could be deflected / destroyed with a Tsar Bomba-sized device with a uranium tamper. Even though it was not designed to be light for space operations, its 27-tonne weight could be launched to LEO by a single Delta-IV Heavy and hauled off to intercept by a second launch vehicle.

Comment: Re:Managers need to learn how to understand others (Score 1) 50 50

by Opportunist (#50017129) Attached to: The Programmer's Path To Management

Management, and even more so management theories, need to take the human factor into consideration. Every time you get to hear some bullshit "how to manage" story, you can't help but sit back and wonder whether they ever heard of something called human nature.

Generally management and management theories treat humans like some kind of fungible mass. Like any human is identical to anyone else. Sadly, humans are not. By no means. What's worse is that managers think that everyone under their "control" thinks the same and has the same preferences and aversions, and, wht's worse, the same preferences and aversions THEY have themselves. This leads to such bullshit experiences like a manager who enjoys mountain climbing taking his team on a mountain climbing team building event and considers it some great treat while the office talk during the week before is "how do I shoot myself in the foot so it doesn't cause lasting damage but ensures I don't have to go".

And rest assured, it will build team. It will unite the team against management.

Of course the week after productivity will slump and the manager will wonder why, after all he took them on a great experience that invigorates him.

Comment: Re:Don't Do IT! (Score 1) 50 50

by Opportunist (#50017093) Attached to: The Programmer's Path To Management

You know, I know, but managers don't. Personally I think it's a bit of the good old "people think as they are" mentality, and hence they consider everyone a trained monkey whose experience is worthless, so they can be replaced by someone cheaper any time.

With the only reason they themselves can't being that they'd have to be the ones doing it.

Comment: Re:Don't Do IT! (Score 3, Insightful) 50 50

by Darinbob (#50016891) Attached to: The Programmer's Path To Management

You have to make sure that 2 or 4 young/cheap programmers can not replace you. It's not like programming is the only skill for programmers. You have to understand the product you're making, how the team works together, how the different parts work together, etc. Become indispensable. Work for a company that doesn't do the latest and greatest fad (getting involved with fads is a short road to a short career). If all you do is know how to tie together different libraries and understand the syntax, then yes, you'll lose your job to the cheapest one out there.

There are more types of things to be in the career other than just junior grunt and elite manager.

The good jobs are the ones with actual job requirements listed, things other than "$x years with $new language". Experience is highly valuable. You can't take a recent grad willing to work for beer and hot dogs and have them design the next system. Chances are they're going to be hunting down your experienced staff for help on how to debug something simple.

Because if they're going to toss away a good programmer in order to replace with cheaper workers, then believe me they will also toss away the good managers too and replace them with cheaper ones. If you can't find a job as a 50 year old programmer then chances are you're going to have much difficulty finding that 50 year old management position (especially when all the CEOs are 20 something Harvard dropouts who don't think old people are relevant anymore).

Comment: Re:How does that compare to desktops? (Score 1) 111 111

Similar statements could be made for desktops, where tray icon pop-ups for updates, email and chat notifications distract and interrupt workflows.

Popups and notifications are high on my list of things we can do without. If I am sitting at my computer it means that I am there to accomplish a specific task. I do not welcome interruptions on my computer any more than I appreciate robo-calls when I sit down to dinner.

Highest on my list are those dialog boxes that pop up after selecting an option that say "Are you sure you really want to do that?" Yes, I am you fucking retard that's why I clicked the button in the first place and to think that someone had to program this functionality in means you are probably trying to see how far my blood pressure will rise today and I will tell you this, programmer, you are playing a dangerous game thinking I am sane and rational but I'm not, really, deep down, I have it in me to track you down....

Anyways you get the point. I am not a big fan of interruptions to my workflow.

Comment: It's immature... (Score 1) 111 111

by Entropius (#50016119) Attached to: Study Suggests That HUD Tech May Actually Reduce Driving Safety

We have had a century to figure out the "unplugged" car interface, and it is simpler: dials for speed and tachometer, nothing else. Drivers train from an early age to drive with this sort of instrumentation.

The lack of safety with these HUD's is likely a consequence of inexperience both on the part of the HUD designers and the drivers. Once the interfaces themselves iterate a few times, and then drivers get experienced with them, I imagine they'll be much safer.

Comment: Re:Taxi licenses are crazy expensive (Score 5, Informative) 207 207

by chihowa (#50016111) Attached to: Uber France Leaders Arrested For Running Illegal Taxi Company

WTF have your shares got to do with your desire to deliberately trash the life savings of millions of taxi drivers in the western world?. They entered into a contract with the government...

Typically, taxi medallions aren't sold by the government anymore. They're typically sold by their previous holders and the high prices reflect their scarcity and perceived value. The market decides this value (even when they're auctioned off by the state), so there isn't any guarantee that they'll maintain that value. Any contracts that exist say nothing about limiting the supply or compensating medallion-holders for any speculative prices they paid. Buying a medallion for $800k is just as speculative as buying an $800k house or $800k worth of stock. There are no government guarantees that they will maintain value.

tl;dr... The economics of the taxi medallion situation are extremely similar to shares in a company. The "contracts" that you're referring to don't exist (at least in the form that you image).

Top Ten Things Overheard At The ANSI C Draft Committee Meetings: (4) How many times do we have to tell you, "No prior art!"