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Comment: Re:it can be air filled (Score 1) 200

by Phase Shifter (#48618257) Attached to: NASA Study Proposes Airships, Cloud Cities For Venus Exploration
The sulfuric acid itself might be useful. It shouldn't be too hard to split into SO3 and H2O.

SO2 was used as a refrigerant prior to WWII, and could be produced by reducing the SO3, then used to cool the airship to temperatures more suitable for electronics/experiments/humans.

Comment: touchy-feely HR people? (Score 1) 533

by Phase Shifter (#46122809) Attached to: The Moderately Enthusiastic Programmer
I hear you. Back when I was looking for a job I had similar problems.

I'm a chemist. I've spent years studying various types of chemistry. Chemistry is something I do--sometimes in the lab with actual chemicals, and other times on paper when I'm thinking about what to do in the lab. So naturally the word "chemistry" will be part of several phrases on my resume, and will be used in search engines to find matching jobs.

Now, you've had problems with touchy-feely HR people demanding that you be "enthusiastic" or even "in love with" you chosen work. But me? I got a crapload of irrelevant "matches" based on the word "chemistry".
Apparently this same school of touchy-feely HR thought gives me a 99% false positive rate on job searches, because everyone is looking for someone "with the right chemistry to join us."

Attention HR people: You expect a certain amount of professionalism from me if I'll be working for your company. I expect the same from you. Quit writing job descriptions like you're planning to use them as an OKCupid profile.

Comment: Re:fair use (Score 1) 215

by Phase Shifter (#44632637) Attached to: Comcast Threatens TorrentFreak For Posting Public Court Document

Of course they know, they don't work for Comcast because they're incompetent.

There's incompetent, and then there's just plain lazy.

Why do research or analysis when you can just Google "Comcast torrent"?

Why waste time filtering the results when most hosting providers will cave in to your demands without checking their validity?

+ - Brain silicon aka 'neruomorphic microchip' made and tested->

Submitted by Dr Max
Dr Max (1696200) writes "So researchers at the University of Zurich and ETH Zurich have created silicon based chips that can mimic what our neurons and synapses are doing. By combining these chips with a system/rules to organize the process, they have been able to pass human cognitive eye tests, and remarkably even create a similar neural structure as mammalian brains to do it. All this at a tiny fraction of the power usage (1/200 000) of a supercomputer capable of the same task; and these chips have been slowed down to human level, they could be run at over a thousand times faster.

So how long before we are obsolete?"

Link to Original Source

+ - Version 2.0 Of 3D-Printed Rifle Successfully Fires 14 Rounds->

Submitted by coolnumbr12
coolnumbr12 (2889243) writes "The world’s first 3D-printed rifle, named “The Grizzly” after Canadian-built tanks used in World War II, was fired in June, but the first shot fractured the barrel receiver. The creator, a Canadian man who simply goes by “Matthew,” refined his design and posted a video Friday on YouTube of Grizzly 2.0 successfully firing 3 rounds of Winchester bullets. The video description says the Grizzly 2.0 fired 14 rounds before it cracked. The new rifle was also safe enough for Matthew to fire it by hand rather than the string system used in the first test."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:I just say (Score 1) 385

I don't agree. People that read the NYT or other newspapers are not idiots. They have presumably attended school up to 12th grade and maybe even college. They should have as part of their general culture at least a "basic" understanding of maths.

People who edit and typically write for the NYT times on the other hand....

I take it you don't live in a state where anyone has tried to drag the "ID vs. evolution" issue into political debate recently. The problem is that for most people "true" means "I want to believe this", not "This can be independently verified".

Comment: Re:I just say (Score 2) 385

It might be better to go find experts in the field, and have them write short articles for the general public that are about established but not widely known things.

I'm not convinced. In principle it sounds great, but in practice you'll have a lot of resistance coming from several different groups:

)1) Christian fundamentalists who have no room for uncertainty in their model of the universe. To them, you might as well be reading from the Necronomicon, because anything that's unknown can't be declared true, anything that isn't true must be a lie, and all lies come from Satan.

2) New age crystal wavers who are still convinced that quantum mechanics proves there are many celestial planes (many worlds interpretation), sympathetic magic really works (entanglement), and that reality is shaped by our consciousness (Copenhagen interpretation). Never mind that the associations they make are utterly baseless, and the interpretations they're based upon actually contradict one another to some extent...

3) All the people who got sold on poorly written work that was dumbed down "for the public" in the past, (Pretty much anyone who's convinced that entanglement means FTL communication and Star Trek-style teleportation are just around the corner)

What's in common here? These people think they already know, and your attempts to enlighten them will initially only reveal how confused they are. This works aqainst you, because for them certainty and truth are not objective (but abstract) measures of how well a theory does or doesn't work, but feelings... and you just made them feel uncertain/bad, so what you are telling them is "less true than what they already know", which makes you clearly a "Satanic deceiver" / "conspirator suppressing the truth" / "clueless idiot who didn't read the Quantum Physics for Complete Morons sidebar in their favorite gaming magazine last month".

Not to say this isn't worth doing, just that you need to set your expectations very low.

+ - NSA General Shouts Back At Black Hat Heckler->

Submitted by darthcamaro
darthcamaro (735685) writes "General Keith Alexander , the man behind the NSA's prism effort delivered a keynote at the Black Hat conference today. He attempted to set the record straight claiming what they do is all lawful and is saving American lives. During the keynote, General Alexander was heckled by someone in the audience that yelled out,"You should read the constitution."

The General responded, "I have and so should you.""

Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Too bad (Score 1) 139

I've been reading Slashdot for over a dozen years, and I don't even have a UID because I never bothered signing up for an account. If I signed up now it'd be a very large number, and so would have a low perceived "seniority", and yet I remember when the Columbine and Hellmouth stories were posted here.

See, now we know you're faking it. If you could actually remember when the Columbine and Hellmouth stories were posted here, your nostalgia would be tainted by the memories of JonKatz articles.

Comment: Re:Hummm... (Score 1) 139

One of the reasons silicon is great for mass-produced anything: silicon simply happens to be one of the most common and easily refined elements on Earth.

The fact that pure silicon is an intrinsic semiconductor doesn't hurt, either. Just try making intrinsic GaAs...the amount of precision required to avoid making p-type or n-type material is ridiculous.

Comment: Re:Those conspiracy wackos (Score 1) 112

by Phase Shifter (#44380425) Attached to: HAARP Ionospheric Research Program Set To Continue

Well, there are UFOs. They're probably not aliens though, just some advanced planes that are still classified, the way the SR-71 and F-117 were a few decades ago. And also, the NSA IS spying on all Americans. Snowden's being hung out to dry because he gave confirmation for that fact.

I've got no evidence to back it up, so you can take this as a conspiracy theory if you like:

My pet theory about the sudden popularity of UFOs from the middle of the 20th century onwards is that we actually had some foreign incursions into our airspace during the cold war. The cover-ups were real, but the whole "extraterrestrials are coming to earth" bit was just a second level of obfuscation--If you don't want people investigating how enemies slipped past our defenses, convince the general public that only crackpots are looking past the surface level explanation for sightings.

That said, there are UFO-like sightings dating back for centuries, and some people are highly susceptible to suggestion, so the second level of deception was wildly successful. In fact, a bit too successful, since it spawned another controversy that has persisted decades after the usefulness of the cover-up expired.

Comment: Re: Those conspiracy wackos (Score 1) 112

by Phase Shifter (#44380245) Attached to: HAARP Ionospheric Research Program Set To Continue

Clinton was impeached because HE LIED UNDER OATH. It had absolutely nothing to do with having sex, as much as you liberals hate when one of your heroes is criticized.

And Al Capone was jailed for tax evasion. It had absolutely nothing to do with involvement in organized crime.

Rather missing the point.

The right-wingers weren't trying to smear Clinton by painting him as some kind of sex fiend, they were trying to paint him as a perjurer so they could reopen the Whitewater investigation.

They had a legitimate point, but it became a major case of "not seeing the forest for the trees", and they spent entirely too much of the public's time and money trying to pin down inconsequential details.

Comment: First off, identify why are you having trouble (Score 1) 656

"I am currently pursuing a bachelor's in CompSci and I just spent three hours working on a few differential equations for homework. It is very frustrating because I just don't grok advanced math. I can sort of understand a little bit, but I really don't grok anything beyond long division."

Don't rush into judgement on this. There can be several reasons why you have difficulty with math.

First, it could be as you say, but consider the alternatives:

Second, it could be that you just need to review the background material, or even that you overlooked something early in a course. Whenever I reach the "I'm lost" stage, I try to back up to where I first became slightly confused...then back up one or two steps further.

It could be a motivation issue. Try looking ahead to see where you're trying to go--for instance, the seemingly pointless epsilon-delta definition of limits that most calculus textbooks starts off with is only there because they intend to use the concept of limits in explaining integrals, derivatives, and infinite series. Without seeing where you're going, half of the first semester of calculus will seem like pointless bullshit.

It can also be that the instructor isn't good at teaching large groups. First, I would try asking the instructor for help in class--it may be he needs a nudge to remind him he's skipped over something important. If that doesn't help, try contacting him outside of class--odds are good you'll get better communication when he's trying to help one or two students as opposed to 120. If that still doesn't work for you, see if another professor or even another student can explain what you're having trouble with.

Comment: Re:Okay (Score 1) 283

by Phase Shifter (#43866997) Attached to: Mars Explorers Face Huge Radiation Problem

Note that the earth's atmosphere, at ~15psi sea level pressure, is equivalent to being under ~10m of water. While there's less solar irradiation at the surface of Mars, there's also not much of a magnetosphere to divert lots of charged radiation. So, to rough order of magnitude, one would need about the same amount of shielding as offered by Earth's atmosphere: about fifteen pounds of material per square inch, requiring a shell on order of 10 meters thick. That's a lot of material to melt/form! We're not talking about a couple-inch-thick shell, but an extremely thick and heavy structure. Tunneling underground would be a much more practical way to accomplish this than trying to sinter new structures on the surface. Of course, that doesn't fix the problem of dangerous doses on the trip over.

This cloth shield you speak of could be refined, perhaps. It only needs to protect people, so you could reduce it to human-shaped cloth bundles so you don't waste material shielding unoccupied surface area. Once colonists get crops growing they could use less expensive straw as a construction material, thus giving each colonist a straw man to hide behind.

Alternatively, you could own up to the part you're trying to ignore, where he said "sandbags packed with regolith". I'm pretty sure you need a minimal thickness of cloth to contain a much thicker load of dirt.

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