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Comment: Re: Nope (Score 1) 498

by RightwingNutjob (#47743397) Attached to: If Java Wasn't Cool 10 Years Ago, What About Now?
Java is the new COBOL as far as I'm concerned. I work in a large research lab that got bitten by the java bug in the early-mid 2000s. And now we have a large codebase that's locked in to a particular vendor, that only works with other java code, and a whole bunch of "programmers" whose only skill is java. Which means if we need something in C or C++ for low-level hardware interfacing or for running faster than dead slow, we need to reimplement it from scratch, except we need to hire programmers to do it if it's big because all of our "programmers" only know java, except we can't hire anyone new, because we've already got all these "programmers" on staff.

Comment: 10 dollar CVS scope (Score 1) 185

by RightwingNutjob (#47739917) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: Cheap But Reasonable Telescopes for Kids?
For $10, you can pick up a very very basic refractor with a flimsy tripod mount at any CVS. This will let you look at the Moon, Jupiter, and Saturn, which are the most interesting things to look at without going up several orders of magnitude in price. It's dead simple to set up and focus, and the challenge of wrestling it into position so you can see the planets, and see them move away as the Earth rotates, will give you the chance to teach reasonably mature kids about basic astronomy and to gauge their interest without spending a lot of money. If you live in particularly dark country, you can just barely begin to see things like the Orion Nebula with this kind of scope (though it looks like a smudge--we've all been spoiled by nice pictures from 2m+ telescopes mated to CCD cameras).

Comment: Re:Stupid metric system (Score 1) 137

by RightwingNutjob (#47736457) Attached to: 2 Galileo Satellites Launched To Wrong Orbit
And if you're doing any unit conversions in realtime software, you're the retard. You can have the fundamental unit of distance be the meter, the foot, the nautical mile, the astronomical unit, or the earth radius, but why would you ever need to do unit conversions in the code? It's just as easy to fuck up a decimal point in metric as it is to mix up a mile and a nautical mile.

Comment: Re:fuel reserves (Score 3, Interesting) 137

by RightwingNutjob (#47736447) Attached to: 2 Galileo Satellites Launched To Wrong Orbit
That's only for stuff that goes up into the heavily populated geostationary belt. GPS orbits are about half-way down and much more sparse, so there's no need to have a graveyard orbit the way there is in GEO. Besides, a higher orbit analogous to the geostationary graveyard is still a usable orbit for GPS, so there's nothing to be gained by moving there at the end of life, and the orbits are too high for re-entry burns to be practical the way they are for certain LEO orbits.

Comment: Re:A little behind the times (Score 5, Informative) 315

by RightwingNutjob (#47627521) Attached to: Why the "NASA Tested Space Drive" Is Bad Science

* they did pretty much all of the things you would like to see (such as reversing the direction and making sure the thrust reverses).

* they seem to have done a thoughtful and careful job, including testing in vacuum.

So, I still think they are likely wrong, but this ups the ante. In my opinion, you can't just say "this is obviously wrong."

Sure I can. Was the apparatus temperature controlled during the vacuum test? Was it tested in all orientations (not just backwards) to remove any gyroscopic weirdness from the rotation of the earth (think Michelson-Morley experiment). Was there EM coupling between the cavity, the torsion balance, and the chamber that could manifest as an anomalous torque, not thrust (that is, did they just make a big brushless motor)? Does the instrument register a thrust when the cavity is radiating but is bolted to the chamber floor and not the balance? Is there no thrust when it's oriented orthogonally? Does it still work if the power supply is electrically isolated from the vacuum chamber without a common return (ie did they build an electron gun)?

Comment: Re:So (Score 1) 160

by RightwingNutjob (#47538369) Attached to: Soccer Superstar Plays With Very Low Brain Activity
I remember a study making the news in the 90's comparing men and women's brain activity while doing tasks that require 3d reasoning. It was kind of a similar result: men and women would score about the same on the task, but the women's brains lit up like a Christmas tree while the men's brains had fairly localized activity.

Comment: Re:Repetitive (broken) OS abandonment (Score 4, Informative) 240

by RightwingNutjob (#47150405) Attached to: The Coming IT Nightmare of Unpatchable Systems
It's a two cultures problem in IT. The vast majority of Microsoft's, or Apples, or Oracles, or whoever's customers use their OS on laptops, workstations, or servers, where the consequences of bugs are fairly well approximated by "nuisance". The other culture of computer software customers are folks who use computers handle large amounts of money and control moving machinery (power plants, drones, etc), where the consequences of bugs and unintended features start at "oh shit, we've lost millions of dollars" to "oh shit, the crane dropped its load 200ft" up through "oh God, the power plant has exploded!" People in the second camp have a healthy suspicion of getting the latest and greatest upgrade from companies run by and for people in the first camp. And that dichotomy is why most embedded OS's come with source code that you get to debug yourself if it doesn't quite work for your application (VxWorks, QNX, Windows Embedded, RTLinux, etc).

"Regardless of the legal speed limit, your Buick must be operated at speeds faster than 85 MPH (140kph)." -- 1987 Buick Grand National owners manual.

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