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Comment: Re:Gratuitous LIGO Slam (Score 2) 25

by Idarubicin (#48010057) Attached to: Astrophysicists Use Apollo Seismic Array To Hunt For Gravitational Waves

The experiment referenced is a fabulously clever re-use of existing data, but it has nothing whatsoever to say about the funding case for LIGO. LIGO, like many cutting-edge experiments, requires very long-term technology development before it can produce a positive result. Some science requires long-term thinking, not just until the next quarter or the next election cycle.

Indeed. One wonders what remarkable scientific discoveries and conclusions will result from creative analysis of today's data, forty years hence.

...At least, as long as we actually do continue to fund new instruments and research, and don't insist that all data collection is now 'done', and that all the work that remains is winnowing smaller and smaller pieces of useful information from the last century's scientific output.

Comment: Re:Black holes are real, we observe them all the t (Score 1) 356

by Tyler Durden (#47987139) Attached to: Physicist Claims Black Holes Mathematically Don't Exist

Just adding my own simple, non-calculus solution, to the mix.

When the radius of the earth is r we have...
Length of string around earth = 2*pi*r
Length of string around earth and poodle evenly = 2*pi(r + poodle)

Subtract former from the latter and it's 2*pi*r + 2*pi*poodle - 2*pi*r, so just 2*pi*poodle more.

Comment: Re:But the movie selection still sucks (Score 2) 178

by Tyler Durden (#47945815) Attached to: Native Netflix Support Is Coming To Linux
You can find a selection of pretty good movies they offer here. I ended up watching Dredd and was blown away - something I wouldn't have done if not for word of mouth. (So you're trying to tell me someone made another movie on Judge Dredd that's actually good?) And of course, sometimes the movies you at first don't recognize end up being the ones you love the most.

Comment: Re:In other words....Don't look like a drug traffi (Score 1) 462

by Idarubicin (#47884737) Attached to: CBC Warns Canadians of "US Law Enforcement Money Extortion Program"

Oh I understand the issue just fine. But, they have to have a minimum level of proof to do the seizure and they also have to defend the action in court if/when the property owner objects. A judge will rip them a new one if they don't come up with justification and the property owner objects. There are checks and balances here.

No ,they don't need a minimum level of proof to carry out the seizure. They need a minimum level of proof to defend the seizure in court--which is a totally different ball game. Attorneys cost money, even if fees are eventually awarded many potential plaintiffs can't afford to be out of pocket for the time (months or years) required for a case to make its way through the courts. Seizures made against out-of-town and out-of-state victims are even harder to challenge--it can be quite costly to repeatedly travel to a distant jurisdiction's courts, even if you can afford to take the time off work. And to challenge even a blatantly illegal seizure is to invite additional scrutiny and future harrassment.

If crooked cops can hit the 'sweet spot' of around a few thousand dollars, in most cases it's going to be too much of a hassle and expense for a victim to fight.

Comment: Re:Bah, character-set ignorance. (Score 1) 38

by Idarubicin (#47796593) Attached to: Iceland Raises Volcano Aviation Alert Again

I feel embarrassed every time I see an English-language site render this as "Bardarbunga", when that "d" should be "th". Yes, the letter "eth" looks like a lowercase d with a crossbar and erectile dysfunction, but it's pronounced like "th".

The reason is because the Icelandic alphabet has two different letters that produce a sound that could be written "th" in English. The letter eth (Ð or ð) is a voiced "th", like in "they" or "this"; whereas the letter thorn (Wikipedia link, since Slashdot won't render it) is unvoiced, like in "thistle" or "theater". By convention, eth is transliterated as "d", whereas thorn is transliterated as "th". It does make some sense, as "d" is a voiced consonant, so that in addition to the look being similar, the naive pronunciation isn't horribly wrong. (And it means that someone seeing a "th" in an English transliteration of Icelandic text knows that it's unvoiced, so they'll get the pronunciation right.) And for better or for worse, it's the accepted transliteration, so if you want to fight it you're fighting against convention.

The gross transliteration error that kills me is when someone substitutes P or p for the thorn and turns something like Thingvellir into Pingvellir. That's just horribly wrong.

Comment: Re:TFA betrays Ray Henry 's ignorance of planning. (Score 1) 258

by Idarubicin (#47796443) Attached to: Feds Want Nuclear Waste Train, But Don't Know Where It Would Go

Exactly correct. If the target date for an "interim test storage site" is 2021, that's only 7 years out.

Let's allow a year to figure out what the specs ought to be, a year to request and evaluate proposals from possible contractors, a year to build prototypes, a year of testing, a year to fix problems identified in testing, a year to manufacture the first few final-version railcars, and a year for overruns. That's a seven-year timetable right there.

Unless we want to be running late, paying tons of money out in overtime, and getting railcars that kind-of-sort-of work right most of the time...then yeah, right now is a good time to start on this stuff.

Comment: Re:Hillerious (Score 1) 202

by Tyler Durden (#47768987) Attached to: How the Ancient Egyptians (Should Have) Built the Pyramids

They built a pyramid, we havn't.

How can we tell them how to build it better, when we cant even achieve what they did 4000+ years ago? lol

But my point is it may be the only thing preventing us from achieving the same is an unwillingness to be blatantly immoral (not to mention finding a compelling reason to build one in the first place). If that's the case then, yeah, we might very well have grounds for telling the a better way to do the same thing. You never know. *shrug*

Comment: Re:Not a bad deal (Score 1) 343

... FWIW: Three Mile Island (Shutdown in 1979) still hasn't been completely decommission. in 2011 they invested another $30 Million to retrofit the Spent fuel pool cooling system. These Plants are incredibly difficult and costly to dismantle and clean up.

If the $4.4 billion price tag for the San Onofre facility is anywhere near the right ballpark, a $30 million expenditure 35 years down the road would be, in today's money, a rounding error.

It also should go without saying that we do have 30+ more years of experience with decommissioning nuclear facilities now than we did in 1979. And San Onofre, unlike TMI, was not the site of a significant accident that damaged its core and contaminated the facility.

Comment: Re:Limits of Measurement (Score 1) 144

Electrons interfere with themselves, because the fluctuation (which is the electron) exists in the full region between the source and screen. The interference pattern is the same no matter how slowly (in terms of electron rate) you fire the electrons, so build up is not a concern.

And this is an important point. I'm not a physicist, but one thing that helped me understand this better is to consider firing a single electron (for example) at the two slits one at the time. It could be at the rate of one per minute, one hour or whatever.

Every electron that makes it through to the screen behind the two slits will hit it at a single point. Nothing unusual there. However, if you make a histogram on the screen based on how frequently each spot gets hit by an electron you'll see the interference pattern you'd expect from a wave being split in two from the two slits. So each electron is a wave that travels through both slits, not one or the other.

Comment: Re:Short-Lived? (Score 1) 778

by Idarubicin (#47494695) Attached to: States That Raised Minimum Wage See No Slow-Down In Job Growth

...and that money taken from McDonalds will result in higher prices at McDonald's making everyone's earnings seem less driving wage increases, ad infinitum,.

Wages - and especially that subset of wages which are paid at the legal minimum - represent only a fraction of the total costs of operating a McDonald's restaurant. All wages together are about 25% of the total costs, and that includes a non-trivial number above-minimum management and support staff. So even if we make the unreasonable worst-case assumptions that a) all employees do earn minimum wage, and b) that increased wages don't result in any improvement in average employee productivity (because employees are physically healthier and because of reduced turnover) then a 1% increase in minimum wage only makes for a 0.25% increase in cost-of-Big-Mac.

And a 0.25% increase in cost-of-Big-Mac doesn't actually equate to a 0.25% increase in actual cost-of-living. The effect will be smaller or negligible for businesses where staff costs represent a smaller share of total costs, and where dealing with businesses in which employees are already better paid than minimum wage.

And finally, there are a number of costs associated with minimum-wage workers that you're already paying out of your own pocket, without realizing it. Wal-Mart and McDonald's know perfectly well that minimum wage isn't a living wage. Food stamps, state-subsidized health insurance programs, school lunch programs--that's money you're paying because Wal-Mart isn't. Forcing McDonald's to pay its employees a living wage (or closer to one, at least) means that your Big Mac's price is (less) subsidized by the government.

"It is better to have tried and failed than to have failed to try, but the result's the same." - Mike Dennison

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