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Comment: Re:This again? (Score 1) 480

by Lobachevsky (#49596787) Attached to: New Test Supports NASA's Controversial EM Drive

Since the device is a thruster, the question should probably be interpreted as asking whether 2x the electricity means you get to velocity k in 1/2 the time. And, well, since no one really knows how any thrust at all is being generated off virtual particles, it's conjecture that the thrust output scales linearly with electricity, though "locally linear" makes sense, with some likely non-linear relationship at absurdly large scales of electricity.

Comment: Re:This guy hasn't done his research. (Score 1) 648

by Lobachevsky (#48858623) Attached to: Justified: Visual Basic Over Python For an Intro To Programming

Being able to demonstrate to a class the difference between big and little endian is easy to do with unions in C:
union {
      char str_value[4];
      int32_t int_value;

With python, you have to make a call to struct.pack() or struct.unpack() and trust the python gods that those blackbox functions are doing the correct things. This is an issue with any managed memory language where the endianness is hidden from the programmer.

Comment: Re:Waste (Score 1) 170

by Lobachevsky (#48655327) Attached to: Minecraft Creator Notch's $70 Million Mansion Recreated In Minecraft

That $70 million didn't disappear. He paid it to whoever had that mansion. If that person who received the $70 million spends it on saving lives, you get what you wanted. The only difference would be the mansion is now Notch's instead of the previous owner's. But, I wouldn't bet on the previous owner going out and giving that $70 million cash to charity. Most likely, it's going into a hedge fund with high-growth investments.

Comment: Re:Little Boxes (Score 1) 579

by Lobachevsky (#47784869) Attached to: Why Women Have No Time For Wikipedia

I think the post was trying to say women prefer to work on multiple topics, not that they are incapable of focusing on one. The ADHD example is people who are incapable of focusing. Think of it as the introvert vs autistic comparison. An autistic person may be incapable of socializing. An introvert prefers not to socialize, but is perfectly capable if the situation calls for it. [Note: I'm not agreeing the original post, just saying its not a flawed argument in the way you think it's flawed]

Comment: Re:If this is not a bribery then I don't know what (Score 3, Interesting) 133

Donations aren't bribery, because donations aren't payment _for_ anything. A bribe is payment _for_ some political action. It's completely legal to give donations. That's why prostitution is illegal but high-end escorts are legal. The high-end escort asks for a 'donation' and no service is promised. Of course, it's pretty obvious she won't give any service if there's no donation. But she doesn't _promise_ service for a donation. It's just that her reputation as an escort will suffer if she takes the money and runs. If she does turn tricks and the police catch her, she gets off scott free under the story that she independently fell in love and wanted a night of romance wit the John, which had _nothing_ to do with with the "donation". Senators and other politicians are high-end escorts of a different shade.

Comment: Re: Unconstitutional (Score 5, Insightful) 511

by Lobachevsky (#45799689) Attached to: US Federal Judge Rules NSA Data Collection Legal

Let's not forget that the Supreme court for nearly a hundred of years upheld slavery as constitutional. It took an act of congress and the 18th amendment to the constitution to ban it. A modern person reading the constitution might go, gee, doesn't "life, *liberty*, and the pursuit of happiness" constitutionally protect against slavery? But, nope, to the simple minds of those in the 1800s, slaves were property not people, unless the new 13th amendment says otherwise.

Similarly, a person from the future might read the constitution and go, gee, doesn't "unreasonable search and seizure" apply to digital content? But, nope, to the simple minds of those today we need a new amendment saying digital privacy is a form of privacy just as it took the 18th amendment to say a differently pigmented person is still a person. Just because a computer is used to generate nudie pics of you a the airport doesn't suddenly make it "not a strip search" by the TSA. Just because a computer is used to communicate with someone else doesn't make it "not mail". We have all these laws already passed protecting us against strip searches and folks opening our mail, but NONE of it applies if a computer is involved. That's why patents can be so easily passed by adding "with a computer" to take an old idea and suddenly qualify as a new idea worthy of patent protections. Only congress can pass new laws -- yes, that congress, the one with an 18% approval rating that is slowly bankrupting us and threatens to default and shutdown the government twice a year; they are our only hope for sanity, not the courts; and, yes, we're screwed.

Comment: Re:This this not evolution (Score 2) 253

by Lobachevsky (#42157503) Attached to: Humans Evolving Faster Than Ever

define "better". Cochroaches are equally evolved as we are, since we both co-habitat with neither of us able to wipe out the other. However, we wipe ourselves out in a holocaust, then cochroaches are better adept at surviving, and therefore more evolved. If, instead, we colonize multiple planets and Earth is wiped out by an asteroid, then humans are better adept at surviving, and therefore more evolved. We cannot define "better" other than the ability to survive.

Comment: Re:We broke the NPT with India (Score 4, Insightful) 336

by Lobachevsky (#39745815) Attached to: India Test Fires Long-Range, Nuke-Capable Missile

Well, the NPT itself is a carte blanche to US, USSR, UK, France, and China. The NPT gives carte blanche to all nuclear powers prior to 1969 and India tested in 1974 and many /signed/ the NPT in 1992, like China and France. That said, like any legal document the NPT has loopholes, or at least ambiguous wording, and just like the wealthiest lawyer wins, the wealthiest country wins. The U.S. decided to re-interpret the NPT from "not collaborating with nations outside the NPT on nuclear matters" with "not collaborating with nations outside the NPT on /military/ nuclear matters" and gave a green-light for selling nuclear fuel and technology to the civilian sector in India (which consequently frees up India's domestic nuclear resources for military use if they can import nuclear fuel and tech for civilian use). And once the U.S. gave that interpretation, Russia, France, and soon Canada and Australia will also adopt that interpretation and begin exporting nuclear fuel and tech to India for civilian use. Australia and Canada are big since together they have 80% of the world's uranium deposits.

In the end, it's all big chess game. What was the point of the NPT? Choices like "world peace" and such are nice for elementary school kids, but the reality is that the NPT like everything else is done to win, and in this case to maintain status quo for the major powers so they remain major powers. Then why be flexible and allow India? Because rigid structures are more prone to break than flexible structures. India became the 3rd largest economy ahead of Japan this year on purchasing power and by 2050 both the economies of China and India will independently surpass the U.S., and combined surpass the U.S plus Europe. Moreover, the U.S. doesn't see any long-term conflict with India, and in fact sees India as an ally which has a democracy, a liberal society, and a focus on business and economy rather than military. While India has nuclear and missile programs, its military budget is tiny, at only 2.7% of GDP, compared with 2.6% for England, 3.9% for Russia, 4.7% for the U.S. and 10.4% for Saudi Arabia: and

All that said, it makes sense to slowly induct India into the status quo than risk a change in the global order. Every exclusive club has to occasionally induct new members to keep from turning irrelevant. That said, while a country club may accept a rich black man with the changing of the times, it's not a free-for-all where it accepts a homeless man. So the nuclear status quo will

Comment: Re:Hook on Opiates (Score 2) 796

by Lobachevsky (#39673241) Attached to: Indian Man Charged With Blasphemy For Exposing "Miracle"

You do realize it was Catholic priests, and the statue was of Jesus? The summary is misleading, instead of the summary writing "When a statue in Mumbai ... The entire investigation was caught on tape. The priests were outraged and demanded an apology." it should have written "When a Jesus statue in a city ... The entire investigation was caught on tape. The Catholic priests were outraged and demanded an apology." For some reason the submitter decided to point out the city name, but not the statue or priests.

"Indecision is the basis of flexibility" -- button at a Science Fiction convention.