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Comment Re:Longevity (Score 1) 69

Although Skylab and Mir crashed to Earth, why don't we look to secure the orbit of the ISS with better technology?

Sure, to take the ISS from low Earth orbit to something significantly higher up requiring less orbit corrections might be extremely difficult due having to pass the inner Van Allen radiation belt and structural concerns with large numbers of fast moving particles. Instead though (and I haven't looked at the feasibility), couldn't we put hinged solar sails, an ion thrust drive, or something like this with computer control to stop the ISS from falling to Earth? Seems like it would be worth preserving for future generations.

Comment Re:What kind of fuel??? (Score 1) 151

Solar-thermal rockets have the exact same exhaust velocity as nuclear-thermal, because both heat hydrogen as hot as you can get it before the equipment melts.

I don't know what planet you are from, but wikipedia lists Solar-thermal rockets as currently theoretical and very slow. There is no way that a typical nuclear rocket (pushed forwards by essentially a controlled nuclear explosion) would have similar thrust to a solar-thermal rocket. Solar-thermal rockets would be much slower than chemical rockets (the exhaust would come out faster, but is pretty weak). Over long periods, once already in space, could be quite decent though. Getting off the ground against gravity would still likely require alternate propulsion for solar-thermal rockets carrying any cargo at all.

I would think that the shape of the exhaust would determine the easiest way for an explosive thrust to escape and, along with the impulse time, is just as crucial as the type of material that contains it in terms of how much heat it can handle.

Comment Auto generated news? (Score 2) 113

Will this apply to /. summaries (sometimes you wonder here) and news articles in general? If so, I for one welcome our robot overlords and do not believe for a second the claims of bias just because of that one article suggesting all humans are oxygen-breathing weaklings that should be mined for material serving the needs of robots.

Comment Re:We should not protect them (Score 1) 345

Seems like an excellent response and quite right for institutions to act in this manner. Only thing I would question is the practicalities of the time in-between the legal system sorts out cases of sexual harassment. These things can end up on the front page of a local newspaper very quickly and before the case is played out pressure can be applied to an institution to "sort it out". Also, the mud may stick on the staff member in the spotlight even if, like in this article, the surrounding published content is required to have an addendum that says some of the content may be of dubious accuracy. Perhaps over time this might cause issues with retaining male lecturers and lead to a shift to a bias in recruiting more female lecturers or segregating departments in a natural selection manner based on gender rather than academic ability.

Comment Re:We should not protect them (Score 1) 345

"How far should academic communities go to protect their intellectual capital, at the expense of further harm to their students, past and present?"

As a male university professor, my answer to this is very clear. We should not protect them.

What about a scenario such as one of your female students takes a dislike to you and writes a blog that you sexually harassed her, gets a friend to back her up, and take this to your university administration staff? It might be a fun thing to do for someone who's lagging academically for instance. Would it be fair to just sentence you and lock away the key because your work could be continued from prison? From a societal point of view this could also be beneficial because your productivity would go up if you had little else to do, but I doubt you would see it as fair.

Comment Re:Give me a raise (Score 1) 327

A good manager fixes problems before they happen.

Team A manager is sitting back relaxing, admiring a team of super-committed workers that are pumping out great work. Just earlier today he fended off implementing a series of bad ideas from other divisions and changed the focus to align with a strategic vision that makes sense to his team and the broader organisation.

Meanwhile the team B manager is injecting something into his arm, running around in circles, pleading with upper management to bring on more staff to achieve business outcomes that are incompatible with one another and planning to foist them near crunch time on an unsuspecting team C.

Finance: Hey boss, we need to make some savings or we're going to go under.

CEO (who spends most time interacting with team B thinks to himself): That team A doesn't really seem to be doing much. Let's sack half the workers, fire manager A and amalgamate with team B or C.

Comment Re:Airstrikes on population centers (Score 1) 410

The Obama plan is to get rid of irrational groups (like Daesh), then gather the rational ones together at some negotiating table, and negotiate a timeline for Assad to leave.

This is not entirely accurate. The US say that before any negotiations Assad steps down, creating a chicken-and-egg problem. Others, such as the Russians and Iranians, say that Assad should be allowed to enter into a negotiation for a timetable to step down. You've confused part of the Russian plan for the US plan.

Comment Re:But it's OK to fantasize about killing men? (Score 1) 371

Jo Brand and Roseanne Barr got applause when they "joked" about wanting to stab men through the heart.

worse? in both cases they are just words...

Gravis Zero says that it is good to stab men through the heart. Truly a heartless monster. See it on twitter, facebook, and instagram. Let's all burn this witch at the stake before the next victim suffers terribly!

Comment Re:Not that snappy in virtual environment on linux (Score 1) 241

Fine. You are right -- my "test" isn't really that useful for gauging performance objectively. I do however feel like I've got a better handle on where things are going with it from playing with the technical preview and it's certainly worth more people doing this. I'm probably also a bit biased in what I write because I was hoping real hard that the whole "Metro" thing would disappear and it hasn't.

Comment Re:Not that snappy in virtual environment on linux (Score 3, Interesting) 241

I am running QEMU-KVM. My Windows XP virtual machine and other machines run really smooth and quick with the same type of settings (actually less much RAM and CPU allocated), adjusting for 32bit XP and 64bit Windows 10.

I don't think most of my performance issues with Windows 10 can be solved by moving to VMWare, or even running it native. The problem for me is that it is just a clunky interface that slows down the process of doing things (e.g. waiting for another mode to open for the 2 different control panels, WTF?). Some of the things actually appear to be time based in waiting, because I have a really fast setup hardware-wise and it should "just work" as the other virtual machines I've tried do.

I'm not a big fan of the Mac OSX interface either, but at least it appears smooth when you stick an SSD in an old Mac. I use Mac at work with Windows 7 in a virtual machine (VMWare) (I also use linux on servers) and am evaluating Windows 10 with enterprise deployment in mind. I wonder if the author of the article actually clicked the start button or tried to type much in the new integrated search bar of Windows 10. I mean things like this -- Firefox works well, but if you try to set it as a default application Windows appears to freeze for half a second as it loads some weird "default application" selecting application that is like it is part of a completely different OS that has to load with it.

Comment Re: Affirmative Action (Score 1) 529

We say "African American" because you have a huge swath of people that have no idea what country their ancestors came from, no idea what tribe, no idea the heritage, no idea the lineage, no idea the cultural connections...

Imagine forcing people to forget their families were Irish or Polish or Russian or French. Imagine no idea they came from Christian or Jewish communities. And all records from the time destroyed so that you have no hope of ever finding out. Ever. Your ancestral history? Gone. Poof.

No tell me again how you don't see any difference.

You can do a DNA test to find this information out.

Anyway we all come from Africa 100 thousand years ago, and before then likely from Germany according to Attenborough as rough precursors to apes. Before then mammals evolved in stages from reptiles and our earlier ancestor might well have looked like a rat mixed with a lizard. Before then... But who really cares? I couldn't give a toss where my great-grandfather came from and (in my opinion) most people don't care unless other people such as their parents or friends raise the question for them.

Comment Not that snappy in virtual environment on linux (Score 3, Interesting) 241

I've recently installed the latest 64bit Windows 10 technical preview on a new computer running a gen 5 Intel processer with 6 cores and hyperthreading, SSD raid array and nVidia graphics card and the performance appears to be suboptimal. It requires DEP on by default, minimum RAM and other weirdness like specifying the type of cpu name (which I set to "core2duo") just to install but does allow all the usual hardware acceleration. I assigned several CPUs and a good chunk of DDR4 RAM to it with 16GB of hard drive space.

Running next to my trusty virtual XP windows 10 is a dog, even with all the settings for performance switched on. The integrated "search my computer and Internet" is painfully slow and the start button brings up this wacky osd box with embedded "metro style" elements. If you click a couple of times as it loads (can take any random amount of time) it doesn't ever appear again. I suppose this is a bug that will be fixed, but the whole thing feels slow to respond (including the mouse pointer and drag+drop snappiness). Some of this seems to be due to clunky design rather than the optimization of the codebase.

The only thing I can say is quicker is the startup and shutdown. I suppose the new "Spartan" thing loads alright, but I'm not a fan.

Comment Re:Nine Posts, Seven of Which are ACs... (Score 1) 17

I know what you mean and I wish people were more active in talking about these things. However, the people who organise the public engagement aren't really that good and there is a sense that the missions are going only ever so slowly forwards.

Whenever we get a picture from Mars it is in black and white with "color correction" when they have a perfectly good colour camera on-board and a sunset is taken. Here in the article we have a relatively dull picture with lots of writing that can't easily be read embedded into it. I think people would be more inclined to comment if it was more apparent what this is all about and exactly how this discovery is an incremental improvement in our understanding of the early solar system formation. (Maybe with a link to something like The History of the Earth for those new to this topic)

The other thing that makes me a little unhappy with the Rosetta mission is the Philae lander being the "poster child" for solar panel success. Of course the thing landed in a cavity and promptly lost all its ability to make new power. Even the Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity used nuclear thermal power to make sure the solar panels would still be able to work without problems. This kind of political interference wasn't needed I don't think.

That all said, yes, it is great that the Rosetta mission is achieving things we haven't done before and is a testament to human endeavour.

"Love your country but never trust its government." -- from a hand-painted road sign in central Pennsylvania