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Comment: Re:Huge Cash Pile (Score 2) 32

by hey! (#49827821) Attached to: Mystery Company Blazes a Trail In Fusion Energy

Almost certainly the case on three grounds.

(1) Getting a serious fusion effort off the ground is fabulously expensive. Even if you have some kind of whizbang micro-reactor concept you need a small army of physicists, engineers and highly skilled fabricators. People who don't come cheap.

(2) Running out of cash is what most startups do.

(3) They probably didn't have as much cash as "everyone knows they have", for the simple reason that the best way to convince someone to give you the mountain of cash you need is to make them thing you've as good as got it from someone else.

Comment: Re:Reminds me of (Score 3, Informative) 47

Ah, before HP did memristors, they also worked on FERAM -- that program continued with Agilent.

HP/Agilent are quite good at these breakthrough technologies -- do a search for the Champagne Optical Switch -- that was another one that was going to take over the world.

But they have had some successes -- the FBAR filter/diplexer was (and still is) a big deal, in the news recently as some individuals were arrested for trying to set up an offshore source...

FERAM (and the phase change stuff) have been the technology of the decade -- for a couple of decades now.

One of the issues with FERAM is some of the dopants needed are considered contaminants by most folks, which makes it difficult to use someone else's fab... You want to run WHAT through my fab???

Comment: Re:Good ruling (Score 1) 144

I agree that zero tolerance is a bad idea, but what they've struck down is the "reasonable person" standard in any kind of criminal case. It has nothing to do with zero tolerance.

IANAL, but I suspect the issue is that to convict someone for a serious crime you generally have to show "mens rea" ("guilty mind") -- that the defendant had the intent of committing the crime in question. If so the ruling may be reasonable, but not for the reasons you suggest. If I'm right, what SCOTUS is saying is that the jury has to determine that the husband actually intended to threaten his wife.

As for the civil liberties implications, they appear to be more limited than most people seem to believe. Threatening someone is still a crime. It's just not a crime to say something someone would misconstrue as a threat, even if that person is being reasonable.

Comment: Re:Like the sailor that blow into his sail... (Score 1) 247

by hey! (#49819399) Attached to: Fuel Free Spacecrafts Using Graphene

Well, without actually reading the article itself I'll venture an opinion of course. If you carried the fuel and lasers yourself it wouldn't be like the sailor blowing on his own sail at all; it's be like the sailor facing the stern and blowing his ship forward. That's because the ship would still be powered by the rearward expulsion of electrons.

The advantage of the system with an external laser is (I presume) that even though it is no doubt very energy inefficient, since all you're expelling is electrons the specific impulse would be quite high. This allows you to apply small amount of thrust, but continuously for a long time without the bulk of your payload being fuel. If you are going to carry the fuel needed to power the thrusters you might as well go with compact ion thrusters.

Comment: Re:I don't really buy it (Score 1) 422

by hey! (#49804893) Attached to: Mandriva CEO: Employee Lawsuits Put Us Out of Business

Well, bankruptcy ALWAYS is the result of somebody demanding something they think is owed them under the law. In fact that's pretty much what bankruptcy is: when you can't raise enough cash to pay people what they're legally owed. If your company can't pay the rent you don't go around saying, "We'd still be in business if the landlord hadn't sued us." People would laugh at you. But for some reason if you say "We'd still be in business of the employees hadn't sued us," then people somehow act as if that isn't equally ridiculous.

It's the same attitude where companies raid the employee pension fund to pay for current expenses: that somehow employees ought to pay for the mistakes of management.

Comment: Re:Play on words (Score 1) 25

by hey! (#49802133) Attached to: More About Dan Shapiro and the Glowforge CNC Laser Cutter (Video #2)

It's perfectly sound marketing logic.

Explaining things to people who aren't up to speed yet is difficult and tedious; and in any even people don't have the patience to sit through explanations. So the obvious thing to do is to describe your product in terms that confuse everyone, equally.

Comment: No. (Score 1) 125

The hospital didn't show that normal lagtime won't affect remote robotic surgeries. It looked for possible effects of that sort and didn't find any. That's a good result, but it's only the start of a process that might show that doing this is reasonably safe for patients.

The real world is much more demanding and uncontrollable than simulation. Remember the Therac-25 incident. Thorough functional testing apparently showed that the machine was perfectly safe; it didn't take into account the difference between testers and people who would actually be using the device every day. While you can never prove the non-existence of some unknown and unpredictable factor, that doesn't mean that a long and critical search for things you might have overlooked is useless.

Comment: we'll lose our greatest satisifaction in life (Score 1) 685

by epine (#49796637) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Happens If We Perfect Age Reversing?

When you're dealing with some obstreperous functionary who is leaning on status and authority rather than knowledge or competence, it will no longer be possible to think to yourself:

this asshole, too, will soon be departed

With the loss of life's great equalizer, about the first thing to happen is that the entire population goes into legacy mode.

It'll be like all those crappy ISA cards with jumper blocks in the back of your ugliest junk drawer that you never get rid of because, technically, they still work perfectly fine.

Only it will be the humans with ugly jumper blocks (slavery, racism, sexism, elitism, ageism, gated-community-ism) that live to be 10,000 years old and never "get with the times" because "the times" themselves have shuffled off their mortal coil.

Comment: Detecting Drones (Score 4, Insightful) 225

by bezenek (#49794723) Attached to: Why Detecting Drones Is a Tough Gig

I assume detecting the RF signature of the transmitter controlling the drone is the best way.

Of course there are these problems:

1. There are many signals on the bands used for RC.

2. It is possible to build an autonomous drone.

3. In these days of software defined radio, people can spin up non-off-the-shelf, non-standard radio control systems.

Comment: Re:The Chinese are not the soviets (Score 1) 272

by hey! (#49793149) Attached to: Neil DeGrasse Tyson Urges America To Challenge China To a Space Race

The chinese and americans make too much money off each other to go to war with each other.

Which of course means we are no threat whatsoever to to each other, because on both sides of the relationship the leadership is and is guaranteed continued to be completely rational.

Comment: Good study, bad hack (Score 1) 255

by ugen (#49792099) Attached to: How a Scientist Fooled Millions With Bizarre Chocolate Diet Claims

As a matter of fact, the study itself seems to provide a positive result that, ironically, authors have used to discredit similar studies :)

That said, from personal experience (as someone who lost 60 lbs by making changes to my diet) chocolate does have beneficial effect on weight loss, in that at a very least consuming smaller amounts of chocolate (in terms of calories) satisfies craving for sweets better than consuming much larger (in terms of calories) amount of other sweet foods (such as pastries). Just this benefit alone is sufficient to recommend (prudent) use of chocolate in a calorie-controlled diet.

As far as "bitter chocolate tasting bad" - well, tastes differ and some people find caviar or foie gras to be disgusting, but by an large they are smart enough to keep those opinions out of research papers. Me - I'll take my 90% dark any day (but don't shy away from milk chocolate, as long as it's not Hershey's anyway)

Comment: Re:next up: ban cars (Score 2) 129

by hey! (#49790609) Attached to: Thanks To the Montreal Protocol, We Avoided Severe Ozone Depletion

Well, driving cars in urban centers generally sucks between the traffic and finding parking. The problem is people are too stubborn to get their act together and provide abundant satellite parking and transit links. Sure, driving your car right up to a store is ideal when you're the only one doing it, but there's a reason malls are built with parking on the periphery and pedestrian access at the core. If parking was the most pleasant and convenient way to get a lot of people into a confined area you'd be able to drive right into Disney World and park your car at Space Mountain.

Comment: Re:nonsense (Score 4, Insightful) 129

by hey! (#49790515) Attached to: Thanks To the Montreal Protocol, We Avoided Severe Ozone Depletion

Anything that happens inflates someone's bank account. If governments ban CFCs then people with CFC substitutes get a windfall. If governments don't ban CFCs then makers of sunscreen and skin cancer treatments get a windfall.

This is how capitalism works -- how it's supposed to work. Problems attract capital, which generates profits. But it's also how market solutions fall short. It's better for the public if someone makes a killing replacing CFC than if someone else makes a killing treating skin cancer.

If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants. -- Isaac Newton