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Comment Re:Difference between this and SpaceX (Score 1) 121

On an orbital class rocket your engine will have too much thrust making it impossible to hover. That is what SpaceX is trying to do. Land using a thrust to weight greater than one.

Speaking from a position of complete ignorance here -- is there no way to reduce the thrust of the rocket to the preferred rate?

Comment Re: Experimental engines (Score 1) 70

I guess I should have learned by now, that the level of physics knowledge of Slashdot users ends at Newton, and they have unshakable faith in him. Ultraviolet Catastrophe is probably an alien term to many of them. But yet somehow they buy into the ideas of "dark matter" and "dark energy". I really don't have the patience or time to squabble on here. If anyone has a serious interest in this, and can plough through tons of posts by actual physicists on the matter, I will direct them to the forums, and the website.

I am posting to Delt0r's comment, because it's one of those which is not anonymous, but I mean this to cover all of the putdowns I have received.

Comment Re:To do list (Score 2) 313

Alternatively, you can just use AdBlock to block their AdBlock blocking.

According to this post, you can avoid their blocking by adding this custom filter:


I can't test it since they aren't blocking my ancient Yahoo mail account, but unless they're doing some heavy server-side detection, a combination of custom AdBlock filters and/or a NoScript surrogate script should take care of things. And it's just a matter of time before the former gets added to a list like Easylist's AdBlock Warning Removal list.

Comment Re:We need a world-wide effort in space (Score 1) 70

Solar panels work when you're got a fair amount of solar radiation to use. That's only really the case in the inner solar system (or the inner part of any star system). For other places, nuclear is needed. Fission fuels will be far more plentiful on the inner, 'rocky' planets - in our system, that's as far as the inner asteroid belt. outer, gas planets will have more deuterium and tritium, useful for fusion. Until fusion gets working properly, we're stuck with fission. That's ok, for now.

Comment Re:Experimental engines (Score 1) 70

I can see why they're being cautious. I just wish they were a little less so. I never claimed any conspiracy, and even though the results were difficult to believe at first, and there continues to be doubt, no other explanation for the observations has been adequate. So, better experiments are performed. That's what's happening now. Because of all of the flak that the idea has, much of the work goes on in quiet.

If you're looking for a possible explanation, here is one:

Comment Re: Experimental engines (Score 1) 70

Note my slashdot id#: I've been here for a while. I've been using this nick for thirty years. Oh, maybe you have a real ID as well, but don't want to get downgraded for your choice of vocabulary and your tone.

Whatever. Here's the science you don't deserve. It's possible the EMdrive function is due to the Unruh effect.

Comment Re:We need a world-wide effort in space (Score 1) 70

I would like to see much more spending on space projects. But a global federation pooling resources will not be efficient. Firstly, space programs are very expensive so only very large or rich nations can afford them. There are many different possible designs for a star-ship like craft, it is impossible to get everyone working on a single design. US efforts during WW2 caused great economic difficulties for the people, and were barely sustainable. I would not want to put the nation or the world through that type of suffering again.

What is needed, is broadly-based support for intensive research into technology to help us expand off of Earth. We need the social and economic conditions which create a large number of people with the necessary skills for these jobs. I see none of this at present. We had better hope for the genius of the very few who are interested and able to do the work.

Comment Re:We need a world-wide effort in space (Score 1) 70

What exactly are you proposing, and why? 1) Why do you want to attach chemical and ion engines to the ISS? to maintain its orbit? to move it to a new one? We can already do that; it's not a big deal. It's just expensive. 2) pressurized space (the interior of spacecraft) is very expensive. Agriculture requires a lot of space. It is simply not practical to start these orbiting greenhouses until other problems are solved. The generation of electricity from a potato is very inefficient. Photovoltaic cells do a far more efficient job. 3) If you are talking about using biodiesel for rockets from the Earth's surface to orbit, biodiesel is not nearly powerful enough to reach orbit. If you are talking about utilizing wastes from human processes in orbit for rockets, this is very bad - we need those chemicals and they're expensive to bring up from Earth! This is why ion engines are attractive in orbit: they expel very little matter as opposed to chemical rockets. The EMdrive doesn't expel any matter at all, so it's even better.

Comment Re:Experimental engines (Score 1) 70

The EMdrive is still being worked on. There are private, and secretive, efforts to develop it, in addition to NASA research at Eagleworks. They're building test apparatus which eliminate any possibility of error from gravity, heating, etc. But they're working with very low electrical power, so the thrust they're dealing with is miniscule. There's a theory that thrust is not linear, and that the maximum efficiency is at an electrical power of 50kW, and that it's a LOT of thrust. My *hunch* is that there are groups working with EMdrives which are tens of kW, but not superconducting (but as high Q as a room-temperature RF cavity can get)...just to see what happens. Working with superconductors is difficult and expensive. The commercial superconductor industry is developing MgB2 technology for high-field magnets used in MRI, fusion, and particle accelerators, and once some of this fabrication expertise is gained, I believe that we'll see EMdrive using it. I'd give a rough estimate of 4-5 years. I don't see hi-temp (cuprate, etc) superconductors in this application for some time.

The revolution of a practical EMdrive will disrupt the propulsion industry, which may be one of the reasons NASA is putting such little money into the projects which are the subject of this article.

Comment Change Windows' file path separator to forward-sla (Score 5, Insightful) 491

Backslash-as-a-filepath-separator is extremely annoying, both because it's gratuitously different from every other OS, and because it's also used (in C, C++, and elsewhere) as an escape character, which can cause endless hilarity for anyone who isn't very careful about that.

And I'd also like them to replace the Windows DOS prompt with bash running inside a proper terminal window. Installed by default.

Comment A true blessing (Score 1) 423

So, they decided to ignore the bullshit you imposed on the series halfway through? Thank goodness, that means we're getting back to the real Star Wars.

It's well-documented that you were just making it up as you went along in the original trilogy.

It wasn't until you made the prequels that you had this whole "generational soap opera" "vision" driving the thing, and the result was decidedly inferior. They're tossing away that "saga" nonsense you imposed post-hoc in favor of something that pleases the fans? That's perfect. That's the only way we're ever going to get anything actually true to the actual original vision of Star Wars.

Comment Re:Except they used regular SMS (Score 1) 291

But I have no idea where this "zero knowledge encryption" label came from or what it's intended to actually mean.

Without going to extreme measures like actually reading the article, I'm going to guess that they mean encryption mechanisms where the service provider (read: Apple or Google) has no way to unilaterally decrypt the user's data, because the only place the decryption passwords/keys are ever stored is on the user's device.

Do not underestimate the value of print statements for debugging.