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Comment: Dumb question, but...? (Score 2) 84

by Gwala (#45571721) Attached to: How Much of ISON Survived Its Closest Approach To the Sun?

Probably a stupid question - but wouldn't the steam/plasma presumably have the same orbit as the original solid mass; similarly presumably wouldn't the solar wind blow the mass away fairly evenly - meaning in a long long time, it'll cool, condense and potentially (slowly) pull itself back together?

Comment: Re:From the summary: (Score 2, Informative) 200

by Gwala (#44528749) Attached to: Nvidia CEO: We Are Working On Next Generation Surface

Background: I've got a Surface RT - picked it up about a week ago due to the 30% price drop on impulse to replace my iPad while on holiday.

The email app on the Surface is roughly about as functional as the iPad email app - the design is fairly close; although I find the Surface one has a slight edge since it uses screen space better, and doesn't become unusable when you switch to portrait mode.

The big killer for me though (and why I got it to replace my iPad) is the built-in kickstand and the snap on keyboard -- I didn't flick on my laptop once to respond to a work email while away; that's a big change compared to the iPad where the onscreen keyboard (and the variety of crap external ones) are unusable for anything more than a sentence or two long; and I'd end up having to log onto a laptop to respond.

Showing recent emails on the start screen is nice too -- I have a Win8 desktop and hate metro there; but on the Surface it actually feels appropriate and good design (although things like switching tabs in IE don't "feel" right given it involves swiping in entirely different direction to e.g. changing applications).

Comment: Re:what if i cannot choose a single license? (Score 1) 120

by Gwala (#44295217) Attached to: Github Finally Agrees Public Repos Should Have Explicit Licenses

Anyone redistributing your code (e.g. Github, Sourceforge, etc.) would be in violation of the GPL.

You would only be able to redistribute your code under something more permissive - the LGPL would probably be OK, if you built a library-level barrier between them; but really for everyone's sake - just pick MIT/BSD/Apache.

Comment: Tragic, but useful (Score 2, Funny) 814

by Moraelin (#44294439) Attached to: Hardly Anyone Is Buying 'Smart Guns'

Well, we're talking types who think they absolutely need a loaded gun everywhere they might be in the house, including racks by the bed and whatnot. And that their life WILL depend on it any day now, when squads of evil government black muslim communist ninjas will burst into their home to confiscate their bible and replace their medicare with an evil socialized one. And their kids who think that playing cops and robbers with daddy's gun, presumbaly in between eating paint chips and being homeschooled in how many dinosaurs fit on Noah's arc, is a good idea.

I dunno, it certainly is tragic, but their noble sacrifice to improve the species' gene pool will be remembered.

Comment: You don't really want a black hole (Score 1) 284

by Moraelin (#44268623) Attached to: Mastermind of 9/11 Attacks Designs a Secret Vacuum Cleaner

Actually, you probably don't want an appliance powered by a black hole, because those convert matter into energy via Hawking radiation and the energy output actually ramps UP as the size decreases. A very small black hole, say, 1 kg in weight (a little over 2 pounds) would convert itself into energy in about 84 attoseconds and release the same energy as a 21 megaton nuke or so.

You'd need a pretty big one for it to be stable, and I doubt you really want a vacuum cleaner weighing as much as the Everest :p

On the other hand, if we ever tame one, it would make an awesome source of energy for something that needs a lot more energy. Such as a continent. Or a warp-capable ship. Hmm, the Romulans were up to something.

Of course, it would still be a Tamagochi that blows up with the fury of a supernova if you forget to "feed" it, but, hey, it's all good as long as we call it a warp core breach. Right?

Hmm, maybe I shouldn't have mentioned Romulan singularity warp cores though... I hear the Tal'Shiar are nastier than the NSA and CIA put together ;)

Comment: True story (Score 2) 641

by Moraelin (#44174265) Attached to: Things That Scare the Bejeezus Out of Programmers

True story, at some point in the past I had to work on a company's internal application for data entry. Well, it was a lot of data and, as requested by the PHBs, pretty much half the fields were needlessly mandatory. (Which brings us of the fear of working for incompetent people;))

Most of them were pretty much impossible to validate too, because they were stuff like city or street names, and even in telephone numbers people tend to use letters. So the only real restrictions were field lengths and that they're mandatory.

So then comes the request to basically make reports and searches on that data.

And I kid you not, half the records had stuff like "n.a.", "I don't know", "no idea", etc in at least one of those fields.

And these were internal users, not some 6 year old over the internet.

Comment: Re:Tea, Earl Grey, hot. (Score 1) 193

by Moraelin (#44132047) Attached to: Scientists Work To Produce 'Star Trek' Deflector Shields

Why not spend that time trying to produce a replicator?

Or am I to expect a "Replicating food is killing farmers, and it's illegal!" response?

There was news recently that NASA _is_ paying someone to develop a 3d printer that prints food, for their spaceships. Which I suppose is as close as we can get to a replicator with the tech level we have for now.

Comment: Err, no. Both were deflector shields (Score 3, Interesting) 193

by Moraelin (#44131981) Attached to: Scientists Work To Produce 'Star Trek' Deflector Shields

Err, no. Both kinds were called deflector shields, in the canon. See: http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Deflector_shield

The lower level one emitted by the navigationa deflector (a.k.a., deflector dish) dish was nothing else than a lower intensity force field, but still a deflector shield. (http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Navigational_deflector)

Comment: Well, sorta (Score 5, Informative) 193

by Moraelin (#44131933) Attached to: Scientists Work To Produce 'Star Trek' Deflector Shields

Well, sorta. If you do enough technobabble and you're willing to count close enough as a hit, then getting it right isn't that hard.

Point in case, in ST's case the Navigational Deflector (emitted by the deflector dish) was actually supposed to protect against space debris, micro-meteorites, etc. (Still a good idea, mind you, because when you're moving even close enough to the speed of light, a single grain of sand packs more energy than a broadside from a 20'th century battleship.)

Dealing with particles via magnetic field was actually the job of the Bussard Collectors (you know, those red glowing things at the front of the nacelles), a.k.a., ramscoops. Which actually didn't deflect it, but collected all that mostly hydrogen in the ship's path.

So, yeah, if you make a complete hash of which did what, and how, and still call it a ST deflector shield, yeah, you can count it as a hit.

But then by the same lax standard I can claim that Jesus endorsed binary code. Matthew 5:37: "But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil." :p

(And yes, I'm a huge ST and SW nerd. I know, I know, I'll go not get laid now.;)

Comment: Re:When did bitcoin(tm) become a currency (Score 1) 396

by Gwala (#44090501) Attached to: California Sends a Cease and Desist Order To the Bitcoin Foundation

The parent argued that commodities have intrinsic values. I am arguing by counter that there are commodities who have no real intrinsic value beyond the same intrinsic value of fiat currencies.

For example, Oil has value as a store of energy - its value is generally based around the value at which it is economically useful for a particular input. Gold on the other hand, has very few economic uses (rust proofing wiring, and a few other marginal uses) - and the majority of the value it is 'worth' in its commodity price is actually the same value stored in a currency like US dollars.

Neckties strangle clear thinking. -- Lin Yutang

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