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Comment: Interesting problem with water landing -- wind (Score 2) 75

by Thagg (#47810635) Attached to: SpaceX Challenges Blue Origin Patents Over Sea-Landing Rocket Tech

A big challenge for water landing will be wind during the descent of the rocket. If the wind is blowing 100 miles an hour for a minute as the rocket is falling, then it's going to be dragged a mile from the ballistic landing point. (When things move quickly through the air, the lift generated by wind is extremely high; bullets move with the wind.) I don't believe that the booster will have the capacity to fly horizontally too far, and it won't be firing at all for the bulk of the descent.

If the wind could be predicted accurately, it would be easy enough to steer the rocket to the right place -- or move the landing platform to the right place.

If you're landing back at the launch pad; there will have been a rocket that could have sampled the wind speed just a few minutes previously, so you could have very precise wind speed vs. altitude data.

Comment: Re:Where there is a wil.. (Score 2) 258

by Thagg (#47796499) Attached to: Feds Want Nuclear Waste Train, But Don't Know Where It Would Go

It's harder than you think, unfortunately. Nuclear weapons have a few kilograms of radioactive material, reactors have more than a few tons. The Yucca Mountain repository, the best that nuclear engineers could come up with, had to be certified to be safe for 10,000 years...but literally after 10,000 years things could have gotten out of control. It's a tough problem.

That said, it means that we have to try harder. The problem is not going to go away; we have to pursue better approaches.

Comment: Re:I don't understand this... (Score 1) 20

by Thagg (#47770517) Attached to: Google Buys Zync Cloud Graphics Rendering Service

It turns out that the software used in VFX rendering is pretty darn expensive. Licenses of RenderMan, for example, were several thousand dollars a node (RenderMan just lowered their prices, it's true). Nuke, Maya, and other tools were similarly expensive.

The companies that created the software typically wouldn't consider licensing on shorter terms than six months; which made scaling up for a big movie very expensive. Zync managed to negotiate deals that would allow them to license software on an hourly basis. That is their real innovation.

Comment: Re: Switched double speed half capacity, realistic (Score 1) 316

by Thagg (#47764537) Attached to: Seagate Ships First 8 Terabyte Hard Drive

Curious. Back in the stone ages (12 years ago) we had a 53 GB 12-platter drive (The box said "Solve your disk space storage problems forever!") that had a head fail. I was able to recover 22/23rds of the data, but it was clear that the data was recorded from one platter to the next all the way through the stack, and then the heads moved. Back in that day (I don't know if it's still true) one side of one of the platters just contained alignment information.

Comment: Re:say it again (Score 1) 239

by Alsee (#47744635) Attached to: Latest Wikipedia Uproar Over 'Superprotection'

No "fact checking" will ever be allowed on many subjects, such as "Auschwitz", where even total myths are allowed to remain as though they were "facts". References are only made to other myth-supporting documents to support the articles. Anything that fails to support the myth is deleted.

You will instantly and consistently get shut down on Wikipedia.

The reason for that is that you are a Truth Crusader. It doesn't matter if you are Right or Wrong. Wikipedia shuts down Truth Crusaders on EITHER sides of any issue by simply declaring that Wikipedia is not a place to debate, or resolve, matters of Truth. Wikipedia pages are not filled with "Truth", Wikipedia content accurately reflects the content of "Verifiable Reliable Sources". If "Reliable Sources" consistently state something which happens to be false then Wikipedia is going to ACCURATELY report that that is what Reliable Sources say.

(Some might comment on the contradiction of "Reliable Sources" which contain false information. The world is an imperfect place, and no one can expect perfection in anything. The definition of "Reliable Source" is a set of criteria that establish a broad class of sources as reasonably reliable in general, independent of the fallibility of any particular source on a particular thing. So yes, a Reliable Source can be wrong, and Wikipedia will accurately reflect that wrong information up until the point when other Reliable Sources correct that information.)

If you want to wage a Truth Crusade exposing the "myths about Auschwitz", then Wikipedia is not the place to do it. Wikipedia does not and will not lead on that subject, nor will it lead on any other subject. Wikipedia follows. Wikipedia follows Reliable Sources. If and when you convince Reliable Sources to expose myths about Auschwitz, Wikipedia will gladly update to accurately report what those Reliable Sources say.

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Comment: Re:make credibility a metric (Score 1) 239

by Alsee (#47744335) Attached to: Latest Wikipedia Uproar Over 'Superprotection'

Make credibility a visible metric assignable by the deletionists or anyone else. Articles don't need to be deleted for lack of credibility. It works the same here on SlashDot with scores. Give users the choice of seeing only highly-credible articles if they want.

That sounded like an interesting idea.... for about 30 seconds.
Then I realized that it wouldn't solve anything, it wouldn't improve anything. It would just make things worse. Much worse. People would just start waging war over credibility. When it comes to notability, simple, you dig up three reliable sources on a subject and BAM, YOU WIN! Fight over. Inviting fights over credibility would be a never ending flamefest disaster.

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Comment: $230 isn't the problem (Score 5, Insightful) 611

by JustinOpinion (#47719933) Attached to: Study: Ad-Free Internet Would Cost Everyone $230-a-Year
Actually, I would be entirely happy to pay $230/year for ad-free Internet; meaning that I would continue to have access to all the sites that I want, but those sites would be directly supported by my yearly subscription, and so they wouldn't need to display ads or be otherwise beholden to advertisers. I'm sure a great many people would be willing to do so.

The problem is that such a state of affairs is impossible. If people actually started paying for subscriptions, the ads would disappear only temporarily. Eventually companies would realize "Sure, they're paying subscription fees, but if I just put a little unobtrusive link to 'related products' in the sidebar, no on will complain. And, yeah, sure, I'll get a little extra money on the side for displaying links to specific (paying) partners..." Soon enough, the ads are back (in some form or other), and we're now paying for the content twice. (We've seen this happen many times before; e.g. subscription cable-TV was supposed to be ad-free. More recently I've noticed that digital downloads from iTunes or Google Play have ads for other shows added to the beginning.) Moreover, oftentimes 'ad-free' really just means the ads are less obvious but more insidious (product placement, 'trusted' reviewers being bribed to give positive reviews, etc.).

The simple fact is that we cannot ever trust companies to actually honor the social contract of subscription models. Since they cannot stick to the rules, the only option is for end-users endure the constant ads, since at least in this case we don't have to pay subscription costs.

Comment: Re:You only have two ears. (Score 2) 197

by Thagg (#47686953) Attached to: Is Dolby Atmos a Flop For Home Theater Like 3DTV Was?

We have two ears, but you might notice that the ears have fairly complicated geometry. Why would that be? Well, it turns out that the various parts of the ear bounce sound, and sound coming from different directions, both azimuth and elevation, bounces differently. Your brain is very good at figuring this out. This wikipedia page on Sound Localization is quite informative.

It turns out that humans have among the best direction-sensing hearing of any animal.

[disclaimer -- I work for Dolby, but in their imaging group]

Comment: Allergic to peanuts... (Score 1) 267

by Thagg (#47628247) Attached to: My degree of colorblindness:

I drove across the country with a good friend, who is severely red-green colorblind. About once a day, he would offer me peanuts, even though I'm deathly allergic to them, and then he'd laugh, and say "oh, these are really good." After five days of this, as we were driving across Colorado after a storm, I stopped to look at a stunning rainbow, and he's like "ooh, ok, fine, whatever"

He's a very successful computer animator and landscape painter. It helps that he is super-smart, but I still can't imagine how he does it.

Don't steal; thou'lt never thus compete successfully in business. Cheat. -- Ambrose Bierce

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