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Comment Re:Simpler (Score 1) 124

Where the hell else can I carry it? I've got jeans and a t-shirt. The phone fits in my jeans pocket so that's the only logical place to put it. I guess I could get a belt clip and have it catch on everything but I think not. How about they could just make it where I have to actually unlock the screen to make a call? Problem solved!

fucking simple... I buy trousers (or pants to you yanks :P ) with my stuff in min... cargo trousers, the map pocket is great for yer phone when paired with bluetooth headset.
I also buy shirts/tops at times with phone in mind.It's not rocket science
But no... it always boils down to.. " WAAAAH... moan moan moan"
So just for you..... have a gander at this

Comment Remember Chelyabinsk! (Score 1) 182

Even relatively small impactors can do a tremendous amount of damage. something the size of a bus injured hundreds of people a little over a year ago in Chelyabinsk. Something the size of the Meteor Crater impactor would cause millions of casualties today. Say, most of the military casualties of World War 2 happening in a matter of minutes in a couple of adjoining countries.

Meteor impacts are as much a hazard today as yesterday.

Comment The Chixulub impact didn't DEFINITELY kill dinos. (Score 1) 182

Leaving aside the point I've used as a signature below for some years, it is not an entirely settled point amongst geolgists that the Chixulub impact was what did the dinosaurs (well, some of them) in.

Within the geological profession, there is no dispute that the Chixulub impact happened, or that it was a pretty bad day, and started a pretty bed few millennia.

Whether it was what actually "did" for the dinosaurs is a more challenged question. There was a serious environment-degrading long term terrestrial event happening over the same time period - the Deccan "Large Igneous Province", a.k.a. the "Deccan traps" (which also outcrop in South Africa), which also had serious, long-lasting environmental effects. With the limitations of the geological record, it isn't clear if the dinosaurs died out at the time of the Chixulub impact, or at a later (or even earlier) time. field work continues to try to relate the two events, but currently the best dating is that the Deccan had been going for half a million years before Chixulub, and continued for another half-million or so after ; exactly when in this time period the dinosaurs died out isn't at all clear. (Incidentally, this kills, stone dead, the trope that the Chixulub impact triggered the Deccan. Interesting idea, but the energetics never worked, despite the hours of puff that it has been given on TV.)

It remains possible that the Deccan was well on the way to killing off the dinosaurs when along came the Chixulub impactor and did the remaining few percent of stragglers. Or, that the more evolutionarily flexible dinosaurs were surviving OK while the giants were dieing out, but Chixulub's effects just increased the rate of change beyond what the (non-avian) dinosaurs could handle.

It is worth remembering that there have been many major impactors that have not been associated with mass extinctions, whereas the only LIP larger than the Deccan was coincident with the biggest mass extinction of them all - the Permo-Triassic extinction. That is suggestive.

Comment Re:Real World? (Score 1) 121

Niven, of Ringworld, once wrote that he likes to keep his SF to no more than 6 impossible things per story, because much more than that allows you to get the protagonists out of any scrape. The "with one mighty leap, he was free" syndrome. So, faster-than-light travel at 3 LY/day (subjective), plus ageing-retarding "boosterspice" makes for a more interesting "universe" than infinite velocity and infinte lifetimes. An unbreachable protective shield ruins wars, unless it needs someone on the outside to turn the field off.

The Mars rover guy - now writes code for Google - tweets as @Marsroverdriver.

Comment Re:Real World? (Score 1) 121

It's a way of leaving Watney behind that seems maybe plausible if you don't think about it. That's the best I can say about it.

That's not a lot to say, really. I prefer my sf to engage my braincell a bit more than that. Well, I'll probably see it at some point, but I can't say that I'm motivated to actually go out of my way (e.g., to a city with a cinema, or to log onto the wife's DVD library website to book it) for it. I'll see if the copy of the book turns up on the recreation room's library. Frequently the book is considerably better thought out than the screen play. Different audiences.

In Earth's atmosphere, it is possible for wind to drive solid objects through others, but it typically takes a tornado.

A rather different situation. In one case, one object is stationary and the other is acquiring kinetic energy by being blown around in the wind for an indeterminate period of time. (Actually, there was another SF film a few years ago where the MacGuffin was a device for measuring some aspects of that movement.) In the other case, both objects start at zero velocity (with respect to the ground and each other) in the significantly slower wind at ground level.

I have no idea what sort of wind would be required for the Martian air to do that.

I don't have numbers to hand, but work has been done on this looking at dust devils (mini-tornados) on Mars, imaged by the very mapping satellites I mentioned earlier. There are also weather stations on all of the landers, of varying degrees of complexity. We may not have as good an understanding on Mars as we do on Earth, but our scientists and their robots are finding out this sort of thing.

I swap tweets from time with a guy whose signature line was "There is a robot on Mars. I give it instructions, and it does what I tell it to do." I like keeping up to speed on interplanetary exploration activity.

Comment Re:Not the total cost! (Score 2) 413

You also have to include the cost to maintain the fossil fuel plants that back up the fossil fuel plants, in the fossil fuel analysis.

The UK National Grid maintains a "spinning reserve". This has to be big enough to cope with a couple of large fossil fuel or nuclear plants going offline suddenly, which does happen from time to time (and there have been blackouts when there was not enough spinning reserve when two power stations went offline - for unrelated reasons - within minutes of each other). From the point of the UK National Grid, nuclear, coal and gas are seen as "intermittent power sources". Sizewell B, one of the largest generators in the country, could go from full capacity to zero in an instant, without any warning, if a problem occurs - and suddenly you're without a terawatt of generating capacity. Wind power on the other hand doesn't suffer this problem, wind generators are small and numerous and the loss of one of them doesn't have that kind of impact since at most they are only about 2MW each. Over the period of the next hour or two, wind is also extremely predictable. The wind doesn't just unexpectedly stop blowing. Also in the UK, it tends to be windiest when power demand is highest, those dull winter days when it's doing horizontal rain and everyone's got the lights on.

Of course you still need an alternative for when the whole country is under a high pressure system and there's not much wind at all. But any power generation system alone isn't a silver bullet, that's why we don't just have solely nuclear, or solely gas, or solely coal, or solely oil - we have a mix of different fuelled generation.

Comment Re: DEA declares running illegal (Score 3, Informative) 112

Harmless? Marijuana is linked to higher chances of developing mental disorders and other psychiatric problems. Not to mention the smoke is harmful for our lungs.

I'll give you that alcohol and tobacco are far worse, but to call it harmless is just as wrong as to call it as dangerous as heroin.

CBD is a fantastic anti-psychotic and is going under further research. and anything can unlock a genetic predisposition ... alcohol, light... anything can trigger it.. not just cannabis

Comment Re:Real World? (Score 1) 121

Wait - hang on. The wind was sufficiently powerful to pick up an item of mean density 3 or 4 tonnes/ cubic metre. and "slam it into" something of mean density about 1+a-bit tonnes per cubic metre which wasn't moving. I don't know about you, but when I last got picked up by the wind, my ice axes (metal and GFRP ; they sink, I float) stayed laying on the ground because they were denser than me. (My rope also held, which is why I was using a rope.)

Oh, sorry, I'm forgetting that the "left behind on Mars" is a MacGuffin. Given that it's over a decade since we put the first (semi-)permanent mapping satellites into Martian orbit, such a storm sneaking up on a landed mission simply is not credible.

I only had four of my six impossible things before breakfast today. But I feel full, and don't think I can swallow that one.

Comment Re:Real World? (Score 1) 121

Yes, they knew where he was and couldn't (or wouldn't) do anything to help him. But they knew where he was. The big difficulty, particularly for people who are intending to help, is if you can't find someone who you think is missing, or if you think someone is missing, but don't know they are missing. Or in the cave rescue scenario, you know someone is in a cave somewhere within walking distance of here, but you have to thoroughly search every one (including the unexplored or un-published ones), when there is no way of knowing if you're within 2 feet of the missing person or party unless you're actually within the same cave system as them.

Everest isn't a good example of normal mountaineering because there are a lot of people who take their egos and business plans there, leading to some extremely distorted and aberrant behaviour. That it also makes headlines is unfortunate. It'd probably do a lot of good if the Nepalese government shut it down for a decade or two, or required people to have climbed all the other 8 thousanders before being allowed on Everest. That should weed out the money bags and incompetents.

"It's like deja vu all over again." -- Yogi Berra