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Comment Re:Gun-free zone? (Score 1) 1136

Most of the world outside America.

Technically, there are guns in the rest of the world, but most of them are in the hands of the military and the police, not random idiots on the street.

What were those stats I saw a few weeks ago - the New York police shoot and kill more people in a month than the British police have done in 30 years, or since world war two, or something like that.

Oh well, I'm sure there will be another mass shooting in the very near future so that the gun nuts can exercise their indignation and the rest of the world can laugh.

Comment Re:Is the NYT Racist? (Score 1) 225

a basic truth, that the H1-B system is totally broken and is being used to help decimate the American middle class.

It would help those of us from the rest of the world if we actually knew what the design purpose of this visa system was. If it is to decimate the American middle class (because that's where the forces disruptive to corporate America come from), then surely the visa system is working as intended.

Comment Re:Avoid the Microsoft tax! (Score 1) 308

So this is really just about forcing more people to move to Win10. Figures.

What are the figures? Single digit still?

I stopped buying Windows with Vista (and that was kind-of forced on me by circumstance), and when the wife got a Win8 computer, I simply couldn't figure how to do administrative tasks on it, so [SHRUG] it just sits there and falls over from time to time. I just don't touch it more than I have to. I guess it'll die one of these days and take everything with it.

I still haven't seen a Windows 10 installation out in the real world. Everyone is still on either XP or Win7 for work.

Comment Re:Yep (Score 1) 166

I don't know whether or not the GP thinks VWs actions are funny or not, but as a VW driver myself, I'm not exactly happy about it. Then again, since VW are instances of the class "business", their behaviour is entirely expected.

What is funny is watching people fuck up on basic things in public - like spelling correctly in the language they've chosen to write in - and then get all hoity-toity trying to obscure their carelessness under irrelevant points.

Yes, I made typos while preparing this. I checked them and corrected them. It's really, really hard to do. Not.

Comment Re:Of course, this is natural. (Score 1) 164

For an equal mass, the feathers will have a larger volume and therefore more buoyancy, so the [net/apparent] weight will be less

That only works if you're comparing figures measured suspended in different fluids, or in fluids which have differing diffusion rates into the materials you're weighing. for example, if I'm comparing the weight of an object suspended in air with the weight of the same object suspended in a fluid of density 8.33 pounds per gallon (US) (which happens to be the density of normal salinity sea-water at 70 deg F, though why such an insane collection of fucked-up units is the norm in my business is just a deranged accident of history), then I'd get a buoyancy force which is density dependent. But if I'm comparing the weights of two objects of the same density (say, feathers and 1mm nylon filament) suspended in the same fluid, then the correction made for buoyant forces is the same in both cases. (If the bulk density of the keratin that comprises feathers is the same as that of nylon, which I don't know for sure, but it probably isn't far off.

If you have a medium of changing density - e.g. air that is warming over time - then you get lots of complicated issues of the permeability of the stationary medium with respect to the fluid medium and a whole crapload of other non-equilibrium effects.

Buoyancy forces per se have almost nothing to do with the volume occupied by a bag of a medium (e.g. the bag of feathers you seem to be thinking of) because that bag is a mixed medium - it contains feathers and trapped air. Unless you're taking steps to prevent the air from being displaced by your new fluid medium (e;g; a waterproof bag) then when things equilibrate, you'll be back to considering buoyancy forces controlled by the relative bulk density of the materials involved.

Perhaps considering a less extremely misleading example might help to clarify matters. I'm at sea (8.33 pounds per gallon [ppg]) above an oil well filled with drilling fluid of 10.2ppg density. If I assemble a string of tools made out of steel (density 7.something tonnes per cubic metre - I'd have to look it up, because steels vary) then they'd weigh something in air, something different if I lowered them into the seawater (as if I were starting the well, but had nothing in place to hold my denser drilling fluid in place - what we call "spudding the well"), and something different again if I had a container attached to the rock of the seabed, which I'd filled with my 10.2ppg drilling fluid.

Now replace those drilling tools with titanium ones at a density of 3.something tonnes per cubic metre. Again I'd get 3 different weights in air, sea-water and my current density of drilling fluid. And those buoyancy forces are going to severely affect the amount of force I can exert on the bottom of the hole using the buoyed weight of those tools. What we call the available weight on bit. Which is a major constraint on our speed of drilling. And which is something I've just had to be double-checking for our next assembly of drilling tools.

You're confusing the complicating effects of surface trapped air with the actual buoyant forces involved. Not good physics.

By the way, if you ever worked with precision scales, you'd know that you have to - absolutely have to - take into account the buoyancy of air when you get to the 5th significant digit of your measurement - and you really ought to be doing it at the 4th significant digit. You're already well into the territory where you need to be drying your reagents before weighing, even if they're not particularly hygroscopic (absorbing moisture from ambient air).

Comment Re:Dava Sobel (Score 1) 106

the first device to be unaffected by the motions of the vessel in the water, which were what caused all previous models to fail when they otherwise worked on land.

Actually, I think his first model - the H1 did handle the (pseudo-)random motion at sea well enough to have won the prize on those terms. That was the (approx) 1m cube of machinery, with 2 long spring-loaded motion-detecting gymballed rods sticking out of the top, and is the device in the RGO (Royal Greenwich Observatory). UNFORTUNATELY, while the device could handle the motion at sea, the temperature changes and humidity changes did for it's accuracy, Plus it was not exactly the most weildy of devices, but that was a problem that could have been managed - if it were an install once and leave in place for a decade. Unfortunately, it would have required a major overhaul after every few months at sea due to accumulating corrosion, algal growth, etc.

While the character assassination that Dava Sobel applies to Maskelyne and the Longitude Committee is pretty vicious, on this and other significant points, they did have genuine grounds for considering the H1 inadequate for the job. Tellingly, Harrison also thought the H1 was inadequate (though he did think it promising enough to fight for funding, which Maskelyne et al thought would be "throwing good money after bad">. Maskelyne's general concept of producing books of astronomical observations which were valid (say) 5 years into the future, and issuing a new edition every year or so was a major mathematical leap at the time, but the mechanism of distribution (printing) was well established. Plus, at that time it was becoming very rare for a ship to be out of a recognised port for more than a year at a time, and Maskelyne's systems had the capability of being re-tuned if your tables were out of date if you could return to a location whose longitude you had previously established.

Anyway, Harrison went back to his workshop and implemented temperature correcting mechanisms (e.g. the multi-strap temperature-corrected pendulum shaft, which used the differing expansion coefficients of two metals to reduce overall temperature change effects to a low enough method), and to improve his alloys in terms of corrosion resistance, and re-design his motion compensating mechanisms ... and a host of other things. While Maskelyne and his computers weren't exactly sitting still either (Computers in the "Harvard Computers" sense), improving the scope of their tables and the calculation algorithms.

Comment Re:The US needs a serious spanking (Score 1) 202

The US government happily violates its own constitution. Its expecting too much for any nation to have more respect for foreign laws than their own.

A foreign government can do what the fuck it wants to it's own citizens - that's what being a sovereign nation means, after all - but the whole point is that it is one of the duties of a government to protect it's citizens from the actions of a foreign government. And that is what the EU's courts are forcing the EU's governments to to do, no matter how politically difficult it may be.

Comment Re:I've always said (Score 1) 237

Your specific claim is that we perform killing BETTER than we do anything else. "Anything" is a pretty broad spectrum of possibilities ; for a start, you don't restrict yourself to things that human beings have ever done in the past. If you take the words that you took the effort to type out (and which you therefore may be expected to actually mean), we are actually better at killing than, for example teleporting intergalactically - which we don't even know is possible or not.

I don't deny that people have been killing people for a long time. Having volunteered on archaeological digs, I would have to be delusional to make that claim which I did not make. However, being even mildly capable at killing other human beings is not the same as being better at killing people than at any other thing.

For an example, on the basis of the one person that I've killed (and I did not enjoy the experience), I have certainly spent more time indulging in passionate sex than I have in killing people (though I'd have to sit down and calculate how much more time), and comparing the responses of the girlfriend (sucking me hard again and then fucking again typically) to the dead man (vomiting, shitting and pissing, then decomposing slowly), I hazard that I am actually better at fucking women than I am at killing people.

I'm still puzzled how you can actually compare "killing" and all other activities. That is a major advance in the philosophy of knowledge - up there with Immanuel Kant, and I hadn't heard of such major advances in philosophy. Where did you publish it? How do other philosophers regard your comparison arguments?

Comment Re:I've always said (Score 1) 237

Plus you seem to be arguing that humans don't enjoy killing each other? It's what we do best.

What criteria of measurement do you use to conclude that we are better at killing than we are at any or all of the following :

  • Fucking.
  • Cooking
  • Symphony writing
  • Cave painting
  • Mathematics (applied)
  • Mathematics (pure)

I see claims like this with depressing frequency, but I've never met anyone who actually had thought it through before saying it.

Comment Re:An honest question (Score 1) 72

Two detectors would give you a plane projected on the sky (like the celestial equator, or the plane of the galaxy).

Three detectors would effectively give you two such planes, which in most cases would intersect at two antipoal points on the plane of the sky. (You can constrain that by the orientation and placing of the detectors, but Muphry's Law dictates that the first detection would be on two planes so close to parallel that Slashdot would explode with indignation at the incompetence of the design)

Four detectors would give you the above two antipodal points, and the a third intersecting plane closer to one of the points. The other intersection point (since all of these would be great circles) would require a negative (or complex, I forget which) propagation velocity, or some other mathematical impossibility.

But at the moment, the scientists are simply trying to establish both signal and noise levels. Once the engineering of building a successful detector has been worked out, building the fourth detector would probably cost less in real terms than building the first one.

Incidentally, there are at least two other schemes in construction or in operation, IIRC in Japan and in Italy. Differing designs, sensitivities and noise profiles. So with a modicum of luck (see Muhproy, above), when the physics gets better understood, there will probably already be other systems in operation with a decent chance of constraining the direction of a source.

Comment Re: Considering how fast Google ditched China (Score 1) 381

but it always helps to have it stated plainly.

This from someone posting AC?

It can't be an American, because irony has been dead in America since they signed up for slavery and the motto "land of the free" in the same flourish of the quill.

There is no likelihood man can ever tap the power of the atom. -- Robert Millikan, Nobel Prize in Physics, 1923