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Comment: Re:Oh? (Score 1) 137

by Waffle Iron (#49137343) Attached to: 12-Billion-Solar-Mass Black Hole Discovered

If the matter is just "falling in" given the matter's density and distribution being less than 100% of the total possible space I think it's possible that your "maximum possible rate" is an artifact of a static model of a black hole at any given time. I think it's probably impossible that this rate was even approached, really, for any significant time period, certainly not "nearly its entire existence."

The amount of matter that fits in a given space is totally dependent on its pressure and temperature. For the conditions in an accretion disk near the surface of a black hole accumulating at its maximum rate, the space is at 100% of its capacity to hold matter.

Comment: Re:Oh? (Score 4, Interesting) 137

by Waffle Iron (#49137009) Attached to: 12-Billion-Solar-Mass Black Hole Discovered

"it must have been munching matter at close to the maximum physically possible rate"

That "maximum possible rate" sure sounds like bullshit.

Why does it sound like BS? Given that a huge fraction of the matter spiraling into the black hole is converted into energy before it falls in, that creates an outward pressure that limits how much more matter can follow. So there is a maximum rate that the black hole can accumulate mass.

Comment: Re:Gamma burst (Score 1) 202

by Waffle Iron (#49136675) Attached to: What Happens When Betelgeuse Explodes?

If you were to actually read some of the "literature", you would find out that your supposition is wrong. For example:

A GRB within a few parsecs that is directed at the Earth will impact one
hemisphere of the planet with a short, but intense blast of high energy
photons. Gamma rays and X rays are highly attenuated by the Earth’s atmosphere.
Therefore, the ground level effects are primarily indirect. A small fraction
of the incident energy reaches the ground as dangerous ultraviolet (UV)
radiation (Smith et al. 2004), but this is limited in time to the duration of
the event, which is at most 10’s of seconds for a long burst, and is less than
a seconds for a short burst. While it is possible that this flash would affect
some organisms, it seems unlikely that a biological catastrophe would result
from this effect alone. Of course, for planets with thinner atmospheres the
energy deposited at the ground would be greater and more serious effects may be
expected (Smith et al. 2004; Ga lante & Horvath 2007). We are concerned here
with effects on life on Earth and so will concentrate on the longer term
impacts.

There are three potentially harmful long term effects of a GRB that follow from
changes in atmospheric chemistry (Reid & McAfee 1978). High energy photons
cause dissociation, GRBs and Life on Earth ionization and ionizing
dissociations of N and O in the atmosphere. Subsequent reactions lead to the
formation of nitrogen oxides, most importantly NO and NO These compounds
catalytically deplete ozone (O3) in the stratosphere, leading to increases in
surface level solar UV over long time periods (years). Secondly, NO2 itself is
a brown gas that absorbs strongly in the visible. This may potentially have a
climatic effect by reducing solar insolation a t the ground, thereby leading to
cooling. Third, the atmosphere returns to normal via the removal of nitrogen
oxides by way of precipitation of nitric acid (HNO3).

What's more, it's not possible to "wipe out life on earth" in this manner given that some organisms have been found living in rocks a couple of miles down inside the earth. Instead, a mass extinction is the worst case outcome.

Comment: Re:Too CPU hungry (Score 1) 188

by afidel (#49131281) Attached to: Google Now Automatically Converts Flash Ads To HTML5

Most rendering engines aren't single threaded, and most browsers use GPU acceleration. However, on mobile adding a bunch of animations will surely lower battery life, so I just switched from Chrome to Firefox on my Android device as animated and sound filled ads are evil and Chrome mobile lacks extension support.

Comment: Re:Gamma burst (Score 1) 202

by Waffle Iron (#49127957) Attached to: What Happens When Betelgeuse Explodes?

No, the atmosphere would shield you from the gamma rays. However, a side effect of that would be the generation of massive amounts of ozone-destroying chemicals in the upper atmosphere. The subsequent lack of ozone and massive UV exposure would be the real risk, especially because almost all of our food grows in sunlight.

Comment: Re:So Cal Edison Reduces Local Headcount w/ Tata, (Score 1) 176

by afidel (#49127469) Attached to: H-1B Visas Proving Lucrative For Engineers, Dev Leads

Reimage monkeys were never valuable, they were a necessary evil that companies tolerated while they had to. If you didn't drive your skills up the value chain then you either lack the ability to or you lack ambition, neither of which generally leads to a lucrative career path. Heck, when VMWare and other vendors try to sell me expensive management tools to save me time I laugh because my team spends probably only 15-20% of our time doing management of the infrastructure, the rest is spent working on projects that bring value to the business.

Comment: Re:Turns out agencies don't really work like that (Score 1) 145

by afidel (#49119425) Attached to: Attention, Rockstar Developers: Get a Talent Agent

The talent agencies are desperate for growth, they've already massively consolidated and recently started buying the sports management companies, so I'm sure if they think they can make money off the arrangement they'll try. The problem for programmers is that even really, really good ones only make 2-3x the league minimum for the major sports leagues so agents might not want to deal with the work for their 10% cut.

Comment: Re:First Fascist! (Score 1) 36

by mcgrew (#49118761) Attached to: Welcome back, SlashPot (thank you failure machine samzenpus)

Coincidentally, I saw this JE this morning right after seeing a report on CBS's morning news program that said that marijuana is by far the least dangerous of all recreational drugs. They found the most dangerous was alcohol, followed by heroin, followed by cocaine. I did a quick search, it doesn't look like they've posted it to their web site.

I've found an incredible amount of misinformation about marijuana. This article says "Those who might remember pot from the 70s - the marijuana grown and sold in Colorado today is up to 10 times stronger."

The difference isn't strength of the pot, it's how its potency is measured and how pot is and was sold. They take the pot, grind up the entire bag and test it.

Today, pot is grown indoors so it has no seeds, and only the buds are sold. In the seventies, they put the whole plant; stems, seeds, leaves and all. Leaves are far less potent than buds, stems have very little THC and seeds have none at all, and the seeds are heavy. I saw pot in the '70s that the seeds were more than half the weight of the bag. So grinding up the whole bag would indicate that it's 10 times stronger, when stoners always threw the stems and seeds away and usually saved the bud for the weekend.

The best pot I ever smoked was in Thailand in 1973-4.

Now, even if pot wasn't the safest of all recreational drugs, even if it were the deadliest, how does your neighbor getting stoned affect you or society at large?

There's a chapter in a book that was required reading in a college history class in the late '70s that shows how incredibly moronic prohibition is. Alcohol and Al Capone

Look at Mexico and Columbia. Prohibition is purely stupidly evil.

Counting in octal is just like counting in decimal--if you don't use your thumbs. -- Tom Lehrer

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