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Comment: What about a magnetic field generator? (Score 2) 283

by Odonian (#43866331) Attached to: Mars Explorers Face Huge Radiation Problem
If the spacecraft and habitat had some abundant source of energy (fission or fusion reactor for instance) could the power be used to generate a magnetic field to provide shielding the way it does on earth? Or is the amount of radiation / power required an insurmountable problem with our near-future technology?

Comment: Capitalism still wins even with the flaws (Score 1) 1271

by Odonian (#37327052) Attached to: Marx May Have Had a Point
Capitalism is really the "Least Dirty Shirt", mostly because it better acknowledges human behavior I think. Marxism and the Communist ideals that follow from it are actually quite egalitarian; they express the view that everybody should help each other and share equally in the profits from doing so. But like Capitalism, the implementations of the Marxist ideals always are flawed. The reason Capitalism tends to come out ahead in the end is that it provides people with a better incentive to work than just benefiting society as a whole. Work provides personal gain, and the benefit to society is kind of a side-effect. This leads to all the issues mentioned in the article, but still tends to perform better because the net productivity of the capitalist society is higher.

Comment: Could amount to nothing (Score 1) 718

by Odonian (#36015834) Attached to: 'Motherlode' of Data Seized At Bin Laden Compound
The house had no internet, satellite, phone, and if I remember right, OBL gave up on using cell phones and radios also. It's possible the operation in the house was a zero-tech kind of thing, couriers, word-of-mouth only. There were kids in the house, perhaps the only thing they will find on the computer is Dora the Explorer.

Comment: Re:...what do we do about it? (Score 4, Insightful) 913

by Odonian (#32078576) Attached to: How Bad Is the Gulf Coast Oil Spill?
there is truth in your sarcasm, the earth will be just fine. It has endured worse. It has it's own systems to correct ecological imbalances, even ones like this. The problem is, for the earth, a few thousand years is considered instant healing.

So no it's not the end of the world. But on our time scale, it could still be a disaster of unprecedented proportions that we will have to deal with through our lifetimes.


4G iPhone Misplacer Invited To Germany For Beer 164

Posted by samzenpus
from the beer-makes-things-better dept.
eldavojohn writes "You may recall the hapless engineer who left a fairly sensitive iPhone at a bar recently. Well, in a PR stunt, Lufthansa has invited him to visit Germany on their dime after citing his latest Facebook status, 'I underestimated how good German beer is' as well as his obvious passion for German beer and culture. It's not clear if Gray Powell has decided to 'pick up where he last left off' (as the letter puts it). I know what my decision would be."

Comment: Re:While there may be "newer" languages (Score 1) 794

by Odonian (#28292297) Attached to: Should Undergraduates Be Taught Fortran?
I say teach them the really old one I used on our PDP-8 in high school (Fortran IV maybe?). Anyway single-letter variables, some of them are ints and some are floats, and you just have to know which are which. Type in on an ASR 33 Teletype, print on paper tape to save. Fun times, fun times.

Comment: Ordering algorithm for rows? (Score 2, Interesting) 165

by Odonian (#28210657) Attached to: Google Labs Offers Table-Based Search Results
I wonder how they are ordering their table results. If I put in "star trek characters" for instance, I do indeed get a first set of ten that are all from ST.
#1 is Spock (the Zachary Quinto version, but OK good)
Kirk however is #6 after Riker, Troi, Picard, and Neelix.
Neelix? c'mon google, that's a fail.

Comment: Re:WTF is up with IBM? (Score 1) 623

by Odonian (#26560281) Attached to: Layoffs at Microsoft, Intel, and IBM
Just because you make your numbers for a quarter doesn't mean that your expenses are going to match (or hopefully be lower than) your income going forward. Bookings and sales projections for the rest of the year are probably much lower and they can't support their current cost structure. IT companies really don't have any other way to cut costs besides getting rid of people, unfortunately.

Comment: Re:They've already shown support (Score 1) 364

by Odonian (#23343062) Attached to: Theorizing a Big Apple Push Into Gaming
Yes. You have to pay the one-time $100 developer fee. And Apple has the right to veto apps or developers, yes. But this is not your typical SDK kind of arrangement like with palm pilot or something. Apple is going to host developer apps on iTunes, and handle all of the credit-card transactions, app storage etc. You set the price on the iTunes store, Apple gives you 70% of each purchase. Free apps will be hosted for free, Apple does not charge. This is a huge opportunity for all sorts of developers, everything from one-man freeware operations, up to gaming giants such as EA (porting Spore to iPhone). There are like 100,000 developers signed on already. (So if it really was true 90% have been rejected, we would be talking about a million people wanting to develop on the iPhone!) Personally, I think this it will end up being a big gaming platform and will seriously eat into the PSP space.

If you can't understand it, it is intuitively obvious.