Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:this is not a *space* flight (Score 3, Insightful) 239

I think there is a feet/meters confusion here.
From the link in the AC post you're replying to, " ... the 50-mile (80-kilometer) altitude used by US government agencies, including the FAA, for awarding astronaut wings." So AC meant 80km when they said 80K. I suspect (please correct me with details if I'm wrong) that you (reasonably) interpreted 80K as 80,000 feet and are saying Alan Shepard flew to 160,000 feet without it counting (by who?) as a space flight.

Comment Re: How much will it cost. (Score 1) 398

"35 K is fine - I'm waiting for the 4wd trail rated version."

The model X ('crossover utility vehicle') is being launched sometime about now (I think a few hours ago.) As far as I know that is as close to 'trail rated' as they're currently planning to make. It probably has a price tag around $70k+ however. There is a 4wd version of the model S, so I expect model X will at least have that as an option, perhaps standard.

Comment Re:Dear Mr Musk... (Score 1) 398

Mr Musk not only knows this, but changing this world in this way is Mr Musk's declared reason for founding Tesla Motors in the first place. The plan is to produce the Model 3 in a few years, which will have your 300km range, but current price is expected to be US$35k (neglecting government incentives for electric vehicles.)

Comment Re: How much will it cost. (Score 1) 398

What you're looking for is the Model 3 which does not yet exist, but has been Tesla's goal since inception. Everything we've seen up until now has been primarily done to gain experience and fund development towards the Model 3.

The Model 3 doesn't quite hit your targets - price US$35k, range 320km.

Comment Re:application of "whole proteome tiling microarra (Score 5, Informative) 111

My understanding from a very quick skim of the paper (open access, here) is that they are not using microarrays. They have a mixture of a very large (2 million) number of probes to match DNA/RNA sequences of all known viruses which infect vertebrates. They use these to amplify viral sequences and then use normal high throughput DNA sequencing (Illumina, in this case) to see what they've got. They claim that it is sensitive to both DNA and RNA viruses (and all the variations - double, single stranded etc.) Being able to detect both DNA and RNA in a single test mildly surprises me, but I'm only slightly familiar with DNA sequencing technology, so maybe it isn't a big deal.

They do say "A biotinylated oligonucleotide library was synthesized on the NimbleGen cleavable array platform and used for solution-based capture of viral nucleic acids present in complex samples containing variable proportions of viral and host nucleic acids." Perhaps that translates to say the microarray you talk about was used to make the 2 million probes.

As a complete aside, I'm a little surprised this isn't a Nature or Science paper.

Comment Re:How to handle (Score 1) 361

I was thinking along the same lines.

An infrared cutting laser should be able to get in without completing any circuits. I'm not sure how portable they are (particularly in 1980.)

As well as an x-ray detector as an extra trigger, we could add temperature (detonate outside some range) and we could make the enclosure airtight and then pressurize (or depressurize) it and add a pressure trigger.

I think there is a movie script in here.

Comment Amborella Wars (Score 1) 72

Wonderful - now all the scientific feuding over whether Amborella is the basal angiosperm can spill over into wiki edit wars.

(Amborella trichopoda is a New Caledonian flowering plant (angiosperm) with no close relatives. The deepest split in the angiosperm phylogeny may be Amborella splitting from everything else. Much ink and enmity has been spent on whether or not this is so. Here is a summary I found, although on a skim read I suspect it was written by a partisan.)

Comment Re:graphical Harvard museum effort not available (Score 2) 72

On my list of things to do should I ever inexplicably become astonishingly wealthy is to build a museum of phylogeny.

It would be a natural history museum, but with exhibits organized phylogenetically and the phylogeny would be represented by lines (mostly on the floor but branching out onto walls where needed) with a scale of something like 1 meter to 1 million years. (There would need to be an ongoing process of updating as scientific consensus changes.)

If you want to know how closely related you are to a chicken, you can walk it: start at H. sapiens, walk back to the mammal/dinosaur common ancestor, then forwards taking the correct paths until you reach G. gallus. The dinosaur part of the museum will be 65+ meters from the main part of the museum (representing the current day.) The main grounds of the museum will be about 550m long to cover Cambrian explosion to current day. About 3.5km away will be a much smaller museum about the origin of life. Somewhere in between will be a small museum about the origin of eukaryotes. At selected branching points on the phylogeny there will be metal cubes beside each branch, the volume of which are proportional to the now-living biomass descended from each branch.

There are some practical challenges in building this museum that I haven't worked out. Should I find myself with a few hundred million dollars and nothing better to spend them on, I'll give those challenges serious thought. (Or pay someone else to give them serious thought.)

FORTRAN is not a flower but a weed -- it is hardy, occasionally blooms, and grows in every computer. -- A.J. Perlis