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Comment: Re:better than rushing steaming piles of shit. (Score 1) 116

I may actually be the only person who actually likes God Emperor Of Dune, but I get many peoples' observations that after the third Dune book, the series changed pretty substantially. Being a big fan of Herbert's work, what I saw was that the later Dune books began in many respects to resemble his other later era books in prose style, and it was that which likely turned off many people.

Comment: Re:"GRR Martin is not your bitch" (Score 5, Insightful) 116

I can tell you right now that if I was a successful writer, doubtless making a meaningful, but still modest wage, and someone waved the big bucks in front of me to make my unfinished series into a major multinational television production, I would not hesitate for the briefest moment in taking the cash.

I'm not a fan of the television series, but do enjoy the books. The only thing that really pisses me off is that there is such a length of time between each book that I end up having to reread the entire series from the start just to remember all the characters and story lines. Thus far I've read the first three books three times.

Comment: Re:Is anyone surprised? (Score 3, Interesting) 116

He has managed to out-Tolkien JRR Tolkien. Even with three or four contiguous story lines going on, Tolkien had to map out the chronology of events carefully so that he always knew where all the main characters and events were happening in relation to each other. Martin has something like two or three times as many plots going on, and he must spend have his time keeping the plotting straight.

The Game of Thrones series is essentially a shared universe with one writer.

Comment: Re:Never finish (Score 4, Insightful) 116

He may not finish it, but you can be damned sure the producers of the series have a solid plot line at their disposal should he kick the bucket. This is a cash cow of monumental proportions, and they won't let something as minor as the author's death get in the way of continuing production.

Comment: Re:What could possibly go wrong? (Score 2) 256

by Rei (#48938615) Attached to: FDA Wants To Release Millions of Genetically Modified Mosquitoes In Florida

My point was all about what happens when the mosquitos are not as infertile as planned.

If some offspring survive that means that they didn't get the gene to kill them for some reason. Aka, they're just like wild populations. So.....?

If chemical companies are going to dump something into my backyard, I will scream and shout just as loud

Your back yard is full of the intentional products of chemical companies. Here we're talking about the intentional products of genetic engineering. You're trying to change the situation by comparing waste products with intentional products.

You seem to claim that people should just trust experts. I claim that experts should attempt to inform the public better, thereby earning their trust...

Sorry, but Joe Blow GED is never going to become an expert on genetic engineering. Ever. Period. And the same goes for the vast majority of the public.

So, rabbits that got released in Australia are the top predator? The Pampas grass in California is the top predator? I can make a long list of invasive species that are not the top predator and still influenced their ecosystem a lot

.

Got any examples that aren't introduced species? We're talking about reducing or eliminating species within an ecosystem, not adding new ones from totally different ecosystem. And part of the reason rabbits were so uncontrolled in Australia anyway was because settlers had killed off almost all of the top predators. One could easily imagine that, for example, tasmanian tigers would have quite enjoyed a rabbit feast. Dingo numbers were also shaply culled in the areas with the highest rabbit populations.

Comment: Re:What could possibly go wrong? (Score 4, Insightful) 256

by Rei (#48938019) Attached to: FDA Wants To Release Millions of Genetically Modified Mosquitoes In Florida

That's because most physics and chemistry experiments don't breed and multiply.

Neither do infertile mosquitoes; your point?

They are talking about something that happens literally in their own backyard.

Really, you think there's no products of modern chemistry in your backyard?

They are right to do a risk assessment.

And there have been risk assessments done, by regulators, taking into account the scientific data. Risk assessments are not something for Joe Bloe and his GED who reads NaturalNews and thinks that "GMO mosquitoes" means that they're going to bite his children and spread a zombie plague.

Changing the balance in an ecosystem can have huge consequences.

Contrary to popular belief, changing the bottom of a food chain rarely has major consequences; it's the changing of the top of a food chain that tends to have the biggest consequences. The higher up the food chain you go, not only do you have more of a profound impact on the landscape (look at how radically, say, deer overpopulation transforms a whole ecosystem), but also the more species tend to be generalists rather than specialists. Generalists means the ability to switch more readily between food sources, meaning changes further down have little impact on them. But if you eliminate a top predator from an area, the consequences further down can be profound.

Comment: Re:Sort of like shitposting... (Score 0) 297

by MightyMartian (#48924087) Attached to: The iPad Is 5 Years Old This Week, But You Still Don't Need One

Oh fuck that. I can plug my Nexus into my Windows machine, create folders, copy files, view any video format I want. Or I can have an iDevice, have to use the evil that is iTunes, convert to formats that Apple has decreed as sacred, and basically give up all control of the device. IOS devices are good for people who never want to go beyond the parameters Apple sets.

Comment: Re: You probably have one, though... (Score 0) 297

by MightyMartian (#48924055) Attached to: The iPad Is 5 Years Old This Week, But You Still Don't Need One

I think you would have a hard time figuring out what Occupy WASN'T protesting about. That's why the Tea Party has succeeded to some extent, and Occupy has failed. The Tea Party, by and large, set the parameters for what it was fighting, and stuck to them. Occupy was all over the map.

Comment: Re:I prefer a tablet for some things to a smart ph (Score 2) 297

by MightyMartian (#48924039) Attached to: The iPad Is 5 Years Old This Week, But You Still Don't Need One

Can't speak for the iPad, because the only real interaction I had with one was a day with an iPad 2, which I found a bit heavy. Further, I really do dislike IOS and have since even abandoned my iPhone for a Nexus 5.

That all being said, I do use my Nexus 7 a lot. For me it is the perfect form factor. A 10" tablet is really too big, and my phone is on the smallish size. I pretty much do all my recreational reading, and a fairly large portion of my work-related reading on my Nexus 7, and it's small enough to be rather book-like in size, but large enough that it renders PDFs, ePubs and most web pages fairly well. I'm not going to get that readability out of a smartphone, and a 10" tablet or notebook is just too big.

Comment: Re:Hear Hear! (Score 2) 396

by Rei (#48917379) Attached to: "Mammoth Snow Storm" Underwhelms

Ah, Americans and their "mammoth snowstorms" - try living on a rock in the middle of the North Atlantic. You know what we call a snowstorm with gale-force winds and copious precipitation? Tuesday ;) Our last one was... let's see, all weekend. The northwest gets hit by another gale-force storm tomorrow. The southeast is predicted to get hurricane-force winds on Thursday morning.

Here's what the job of someone dispatched to maintain antennae for air traffic control services has to deal with here. ;) (those are guy wires)

Comment: Re:Visible from Earth? (Score 1) 124

by Rei (#48915031) Attached to: Proposed Space Telescope Uses Huge Opaque Disk To Surpass Hubble

A sun-like star is about 1 1/2 million kilometers in diameter. To blot out all light from such a star that's 10 light years away, a 0,75 kilometer diameter disc could be no more than 1/200.000th of a light year, or around 50 million kilometers (1/3rd the distance between the earth and the sun).

The brightest star in the sky is Sirius A. It has a diameter of 2,4 million km and a distance of 8.6 light years. This means your shade could be no more than 25 million kilometers away.

The sun and the moon both take up about the same amount of arc in the night sky so would be about equally difficult to block; let's go with the sun for a nice supervillian-ish approach. 1,4m km diameter, 150m km distance means it'd be able to block the sun at 800km away. Such an object could probably be kept in a stable orbit at half that altitude, so yeah, you could most definitely block out stars with the thing - including our sun!

Comment: Re:keeping station behind it? (Score 1) 124

by Rei (#48914773) Attached to: Proposed Space Telescope Uses Huge Opaque Disk To Surpass Hubble

It makes sense. We can radiate individual photons for thrust if so desired. We can move individual electrons from one position in a spacecraft to another for tiny adjustments of angle and position if so desired. It seems you're going to be much more limited by your ability to precisely track your target than by your ability to make fine adjustments.

I think a much bigger problem is going to be isolating standing waves from within the shielding material from distorting its perfect rim (with a shield that big and thin, there *will* be oscillations from even the slightest thrust inputs). You need to isolate the rim from the shielding. And you also need to make sure that you can have a rim that can be coiled up for launch but uncoil to such perfection in space.

Tough task... but technically, it should be possible.

Comment: Re:No (Score 3, Insightful) 124

by Rei (#48914527) Attached to: Proposed Space Telescope Uses Huge Opaque Disk To Surpass Hubble

I would presume that the bulk material in the inside has no need for accuracy, only the very rim. The question is more of whether you can have a coiled material that when uncoiled (deployment) can return to a shape with that level of accuracy. I would think it possible, but I really don't know.

I would forsee a super-precise rim with just a small bit of light shielding on its inside, deployed via uncoiling, and then attached to a much stronger, less precise uncoiled ring to which the bulk shielding material (and stationkeeping ion thrusters) are attached. The attachment between the two would need to provide for vibration and tension isolation (even the slowest adjustments in angle of such a huge, thin shield are going to set in motion relevant vibrations, you've got almost no damping - you want the structural ring to deal with those and not transfer them through to the precision ring). Not to mention that your shield will be acting as a solar sail whether you like it or not (unless you're at L2... but then your craft better be nuclear powered).

Your telescope behind it is going to need to do some real precision stationkeeping (either extreme precision on the whole spacecraft positioning, or merely "good" positioning of the whole spacecraft plus extreme precision adjustment of the optics within) . This means long development times and costs to demonstrate that you can pull it off before you actually build the shield. But I would think that also possible - just very difficult. If they take the latter route they could probably demonstrate that here on Earth, which would be a big cost-saver.

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