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Comment: Re:We need faster-than-light travel (Score 1) 65

We can continue looking for them, but studding the entire globe with uber-telescopes, as NotingHere insisted, seems pointless until we can (or, at least, come close to being able to) reach any of them in reasonable time.

Putting telescopes in orbit is a good way of pumping money to the emerging spaceflight industry.

Comment: Re:We need faster-than-light travel (Score 1) 65

Don't send a person, send a blueprint and some way to raise and teach a first generation. We don't have to get there ourselves as long as our "children" can.

And that "some way" would be?...

In all likelihood it would take a fully sapient AI with a humanlike body puppet to raise a human being. At that point, what would be the point? Just accept these sapient spaceships are as good as our "children" as meatbags would be. And of course, since we're talking about sci-fi tropes here, there's always brain uploading.

Also, you're not considering the moral implications of sending a bunch of babies to live or die in an alien planet, in what are likely to be extremely limiting and harsh conditions. Whether you personally care for such things or not, a society that can simply ignore them is unlikely to send anyone anywhere, for the simple reason that this entire project requires a lot of people putting other objectives before their personal interests for a long period of time.

Comment: Re:Stupid theory... (Score 1) 189

by ultranova (#47760349) Attached to: How the Ancient Egyptians (Should Have) Built the Pyramids

I mean, can you IMAGINE the dam structure you'd need to create a pool of water deep enough to float a block of stone to the top of the pyramid? Hint, it'd dwarf the pyramid!

Not really. Remember, the pyramid gets less wide towards the top. So your dam walls only need to be higher than one layer of stones: after a layer of is finished, move the walls on top of its outer edge and refill. Sure, you need a system of levees to get the ships to the lake at the top of the growing pyramid, but that's okay: it can just rest against the pyramid wall. 45 degree rise is no problem if you can move weight one bucket at a time.

And if you use windmills to pump the water, you don't even need all that much human labour.

Comment: Re:My opinion on the matter. (Score 1) 770

by ultranova (#47753745) Attached to: Choose Your Side On the Linux Divide

making the init system a large complex system that does lots of things rather than the old school ideology of doing one thing and doing it well

Which init scripts didn't do. They approximated what's really dependency system (B and C need A to be up before starting, and D needs both) with a bunch of sequentyally-ran numbered scripts. The end result was both inefficient and fragile.

Comment: Cool? No. Common? Workhorse? Yes. (Score 1) 497

by mr_mischief (#47747727) Attached to: If Java Wasn't Cool 10 Years Ago, What About Now?

I doubt too many people think a cast iron pan is cool. Yet it can be used to bake, broil, fry, sauté, reduce, and more.

Is mergesort cool? Are linked lists and hash tables cool? They are common building blocks, but are very useful.

Is DRAM cool? Are x86_64 processors sexy?

Is the Honda Accord or the Toyota Camry "bitchin'"?

Are asphalt shingles as impressive as a slate roof?

When your job calls for a sturdy workhorse, you don't need a thoroughbred racehorse. You don't haul gravel in a Huracan. If your project calls for Java, or C++, or Fortran, Ada, or even for COBOL then you use what gets the job done. If it calls for rapid deployment from a small team, you might use Perl, Python, Ruby, Javascript, or even a shell script. If you need Erlang, Forth, Swift, some assembly language, or some Basic dialect due to platform, existing code, etc then you just suck it up and do that. If you have a chance to do greenfield development and can pick your language, pick anything that works.

If you're in a Java shop working on a Java project, you write and debug Java. Sometimes there's more than one right tool for the job, but you use the one everyone in your workshop has and can use.


13-Year-Old Finds Fungus Deadly To AIDS Patients Growing On Trees 134

Posted by samzenpus
from the nature-not-nurture dept.
An anonymous reader writes Researchers have pinpointed the environmental source of fungal infections that have been sickening HIV/AIDS patients in Southern California for decades. It literally grows on trees. The discovery is based on the science project of a 13-year-old girl, who spent the summer gathering soil and tree samples from areas around Los Angeles hardest hit by infections of the fungus named Cryptococcus gattii.

Princeton Nuclear Fusion Reactor Will Run Again 147

Posted by samzenpus
from the back-to-life dept.
mdsolar writes with good news for the National Spherical Torus Experiment. Tucked away from major roadways and nestled amid more than 80 acres of forest sits a massive warehouse-like building where inside, a device that can produce temperatures hotter than the sun has sat cold and quiet for more than two years. But the wait is almost over for the nuclear fusion reactor to get back up and running at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory. "We're very excited and we're all anxious to turn that machine back on," said Adam Cohen, deputy director for operations at PPPL. The National Spherical Torus Experiment (NSTX) has been shut down since 2012 as it underwent a $94 million upgrade that will make it what officials say will be the most powerful fusion facility of its kind in the world. It is expected to be ready for operations in late winter or early spring, Cohen said.

Comment: Re:Stock is at a record high (Score 1) 85

by ultranova (#47745223) Attached to: 3 Years In, a "B" For Tim Cook's Performance at Apple

Apple the corporation exists to enhance shareholder value. All corporations do.

You do realize that every legal entity that counts as a person under the law is a corporation, right? This includes such non-profit entities as cities and towns.

Apple doesn't design attractive platforms for developers for entertainment, or because they love changing the world. They do it to increase shareholder value.

That's probably the biggest threat facing Apple in the post-Jobs era. There seems to be a rather ironic trend that those corporations which focus on "enhancing shareholder value" are worse at it than those which focus on delivering goods and services.

Comment: Re:Raptor? (Score 1) 105

by ultranova (#47741133) Attached to: Air Force Requests Info For Replacement Atlas 5 Engine

After Marcus Aurelius, every subsequent Caesar had less ability to change the trajectory of the Empire thanks to the political realities imposed by the bureaucracy. They had to act within the constraints of the previously established bureaucracies.

You're almost speaking as if the rulers having a check on their power was a bad thing. And of all the rulers you could had chosen, you chose the infamously nasty and insane Roman emperors.

Is your post supposed to be some kind of parody?

He: Let's end it all, bequeathin' our brains to science. She: What?!? Science got enough trouble with their OWN brains. -- Walt Kelly