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Journal: Mars, Ho! Chapter Thirty Four

Journal by mcgrew

Engine
An alarm woke me up at quarter to seven and for once I didn't mind a bit, and in fact I was glad it woke me up. I was in the middle of a really weird dream. A herd of cows was stampeding towards me, only they were running on their hind legs and somehow carrying big butcher knives in their front hooves, all singing a Chartov song while coming at me. Too many westerns, I guess.
It was engine seventeen, somethin

Comment: Re:Is this an achievement? (Score 1) 46

by dbc (#47517915) Attached to: Autonomous Sea-Robot Survives Massive Typhoon

It is impressive. First off, most of the waveglider is on the surface. It has a passive submerged propusion unit on a cable. Secondly, it has a lot of sophisticated electronics and antennas in and on the surface unit. It survived a nasty test very, very well. Maybe the reason I am extremely impressed and you are not has to do with the fact that I actually build robots, and you don't have a clue about what it takes to build something that can live in an office for 6 months without breaking, much less on the ocean in a major storm. As we say in the local robot club when some newbie comes with a grand scheme of how to solve all of our challenges: "Talk is cheap. Show me your working robot."

Comment: Re:Why do you want pieces of plastic (Score 1) 337

by Sarten-X (#47509635) Attached to: Netflix Reduces Physical-Disc Processing, Keeps Prices the Same

Over 70% of homes in the US have broadband access

That's the thing... I have "broadband", but it tops out at 3Mbps downstream, and is noisy enough that it often drops under 1Mbps..

I know I would never live in a home without access to non-satellite broadband [faster than 3Mbps]

I once thought so, too, but the rest of the situation is, as noted, practically perfect. That's was the gist of my post: connection speed is just one of many factors to consider in a house. To hold such an absolute hard line on it is silly, in my opinion.

The scenario you describe is a very rare one, if you are being truthful that is.

The only thing I'm not being truthful about is the implication that my housing cost is low for the area. I live in one of the least-inflated metropolitan areas in the United States, in a very old suburb. Since everything about the area is cheap, that includes taxes and the salaries needed to get good teachers. The downside, as noted, is that the buildings are old.

Comment: Re:let me correct that for you. (Score 1) 604

by Sarten-X (#47508463) Attached to: Experiment Shows People Exposed To East German Socialism Cheat More

That said, All world wars have started in Europe. So Europe is a good example that we just aren't there yet.

Two data points is not a statistically meaningful sample size.

The argument could also be made that it was the United States leading the persecution of Germany after WWI, directly causing the nationalism that triggered WWII.

Comment: Re:Why do you want pieces of plastic (Score 1) 337

by Sarten-X (#47508439) Attached to: Netflix Reduces Physical-Disc Processing, Keeps Prices the Same

I wouldn't live in a place with inadequate bandwidth for a simple video stream.

Wow. You're quite picky.

I live in one of the nicest neighborhoods in my city, with good neighbors, great schools, and near one of the best fine arts districts in the world. My house is a three-story colonial, with a finished basement, which costs me around $900/month.

Now, the house is old enough that the phone company's disconnect is in the middle of that finished basement, so replacing the wiring to support a faster connection isn't really an option, there's no cable service on the little side street, and the state forest next to me interferes with satellite service.

I guess I should just give up my otherwise-perfect home and move, because I can't get that all-important bandwidth.

User Journal

Journal: Morgan Freeman on Mars

Journal by mcgrew

As I was going through Google News this morning I ran across an item about actor Morgan Freeman talking to a couple of astronauts on the ISS at a round table discussion at JPL before an audience of what looked like two or three hundred people, all of whom were JPL employees.

He was there with the producer of his show on the Science Channel Through the Wormhole and with its writer, a physicist.

Technology

MIT' Combines Carbon Foam and Graphite Flakes For Efficient Solar Steam Generati 109

Posted by timothy
from the science-fiction-future-awaits dept.
rtoz (2530056) writes Researchers at MIT have developed a new spongelike material structure which can use 85% of incoming solar energy for converting water into steam. This spongelike structure has a layer of graphite flakes and an underlying carbon foam. This structure has many small pores. It can float on the water, and it will act as an insulator for preventing heat from escaping to the underlying liquid. As sunlight hits the structure, it creates a hotspot in the graphite layer, generating a pressure gradient that draws water up through the carbon foam. As water seeps into the graphite layer, the heat concentrated in the graphite turns the water into steam. This structure works much like a sponge. It is a significant improvement over recent approaches to solar-powered steam generation. And, this setup loses very little heat in the process, and can produce steam at relatively low solar intensity. If scaled up, this setup will not require complex, costly systems to highly concentrate sunlight.

Comment: Re:let me correct that for you. (Score 2, Insightful) 604

by Sarten-X (#47506375) Attached to: Experiment Shows People Exposed To East German Socialism Cheat More

If you looked at libertarian socialist societies them you'd likely find they are less likely to cheat thanks to a high degree of social trust. Also, in a capitalist society, you'll find that the rich are more likely to cheat.

[citation needed]

I'd more easily believe that the libertarians would cheat more, because they assume the rules don't prevent it, and that rich capitalists would actually cheat less, but they'd exploit every nuance of the rules to their advantage.

Comment: Re:Please put up or shut up (Score 1) 430

by DerekLyons (#47505811) Attached to: MIT's Ted Postol Presents More Evidence On Iron Dome Failures

Why should anyone believe a person with a clear agenda, no access and no evidence?

That was my thought too... except I'd have added "and whose report contains so many assumptions, incorrect statements, and weasel words that even if I was inclined to believe the guy I'd be skeptical".

The disks are getting full; purge a file today.

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