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Comment: Re:IANA Physicist, So... (Score 1) 630

by Will.Woodhull (#46708085) Attached to: Navy Debuts New Railgun That Launches Shells at Mach 7

I also think the muzzle flash is from the sabot.

One advantage mentioned in TFA is that there are no combustibles in the ship's magazine. When you can treat your ammo the same way you treat the canned peaches, your ship has an incredible advantage over traditional warships.

Other advantages are longer range, simplified sight picture of a moving target (at 5,000 mph a truck 100 miles away is not going to move very far down the road), and pyrophoric behavior when depleted uranium is used in the projectile (in addition to the kinetic energy, you have the explosive behavior of releasing a burning hot cloud of uranium dust at the point of impact).

This is a truly nasty weapon.

Comment: Re:IANA Physicist, So... (Score 1) 630

by Will.Woodhull (#46707759) Attached to: Navy Debuts New Railgun That Launches Shells at Mach 7

I'm guessing the muzzle flash is from part of the sabot. Maybe styrofoam peanuts, maybe a big coil of copper wire.

I'm not sure how much of this presentation has been photoshopped. The flight sequence doesn't look right-- if this was going at Mach 7, how come the background looks like something from an airplane at 100 mph?

I'm guessing the projectile is depleted uranium, judging by its behavior on impact. Is there anything new in the unclassified pages about the depleted uranium dust we deployed in Iraq during the Gulf War? Last I heard, the stuff was probably nasty, with effects lasting a decade or more.

Comment: Re:Moo (Score 1) 469

Were they all played with the same catgut strings and horsehair bows? It isn't just the violin, you know.

I was once told that the best violin bows were made from seven year old palomino ponies who were in heat when the hairs were harvested. And the best violin strings were made from the guts of Upper East Side alley cats.

It might be escargot to some, but for me its just a mess of cooked snails.

Comment: Re:software (Score 2) 169

On the contrary, there was lots of reason to suspect old code of being inefficient on new machines.

Much of that old code used clever techniques, highly rewarded when they were developed, to fit the software to the limitations of those ancient machines. When you have 48 K of core, and that is all you've got, you choose algorithms that can be written in tiny loops that will fit, and you use re-entrant techniques so that the code that is already in place for the date calculation can be re-used to calculate part of the return on investment, depending on the state of a one bit flag tucked into some other process. That could save seconds, or even minutes, by avoiding loading new code from tape. You optimize the size of the Hollerith card decks, to decrease the number of boxes that have to be hauled around on hand trucks, and the hours needed to read and compile the cards to tape.

It was much more important that the program could be compiled to tape in the 11 pm to 5:30 am time slot than how efficiently it would perform during the workday. Workday performance enhancements could be added in later revisions.

Comment: Re:WOW! (Score 3, Funny) 132

by Will.Woodhull (#46623133) Attached to: Linux 3.14 Kernel Released

Above post proves that some persons are willing to pay a lot more for the same tools as those who use the best practices of resource management.

And that some people cannot make the distinction between effective workflows and good tools.

It is easy to be inefficient on a Linux box. Move that user to a Mac or Windows box, and a strange thing happens. He will be just as inefficient when measured by time. However he will be much more inefficient when measured by total cost of his output.

In conclusion, the easy way to increase the inefficiency in a workflow is to buy expensive computers for the most inefficient personnel. This stimulates the economy. The cost of this stimulation is borne by the companies that use this tactic and shows up as a decrease in competitive advantages. But it is all done for the greater glory of Apple and Microsoft so it is all good.

Comment: Re:No problem (Score 2) 423

by Will.Woodhull (#46600247) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Preparing For Windows XP EOL?

There are better car analogies.

There are lots of farms that use trucks that were new in the 1950s to haul stuff to and from the fields. I once had a summer job at a seed cleaning plant that used a 2 ton 1938 Ford flatbed truck to move pallets of grass seed from the cleaning operation to the warehouse, a quarter mile away. That truck had not been on a paved road in decades, first and third gear were shot, it was always parked on a hill at overnight because the starting motor was too weak to turn crank the cold engine; it had to be jump started in the morning. We routinely overloaded it with up to 8 tons, but it would chug between the two buildings at all of 5 mph.

Continuing to use WinXP or even Win98 in situations that require nothing more is a no brainer. When the hardware wears out, either placing an order with the local computer refurbisher for a rebuilt box of the same vintage, or jumping to Linux on a new box with the ancient OS and its apps running in a VM, would work just fine.

Comment: Re:No problem (Score 1) 423

by Will.Woodhull (#46600163) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Preparing For Windows XP EOL?

The magic words in parent post are "via VMware"). Running the original OS in a VM under a solid Linux distro is an inexpensive solution for many upgrade issues. The VM can be set up to keep the WinXP, Win98, or WinNT isolated from sources of infection while distros like RH/Fedora, Debian, or Ubuntu have excellent patch and upgrade management systems.

Comment: Re:No problem (Score 1) 423

by Will.Woodhull (#46600135) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Preparing For Windows XP EOL?

In both cases, a possible low cost upgrade that would probably provide a fix good for a decade or two is to get contemporary hardware, install an industrial grade Linux distro, and install Win98 or WinNT in virtual machines under the Linux shell. As far as the critical Windows apps are concerned, they would see the same environment they are in now. Except that the new hardware would be a lot faster.

If there is something basically wrong with this approach, I'm sure it will be mentioned in following comments. Along, almost certainly, with a lot of Windows fanboi crap about how this can't possibly work since you aren't spending any money (except for the better hardware).

Comment: Re:No problem (Score 1) 423

by Will.Woodhull (#46600097) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Preparing For Windows XP EOL?

Not so fast.

If the box can run Win XP, it can run any contemporary Linux distro, and the original Win XP with the apps that are still needed can be run as a VM under that Linux. Performance will not be affected.

But this approach is probably not going to be widely adopted since the great majority of persons who provide Windows support for a living cannot be bothered to learn anything new. This upgrade path won't be utilized mostly because learning new stuff is hard and the value for the tech support person is not obvious.

Comment: Re:"hacking charisma" (Score 1) 242

by Will.Woodhull (#46594543) Attached to: Hacking Charisma

There's a special name for a "story to attempt to be positive": "propaganda".

True enough. But how does that apply to TFA? Did you actually RTFA?

Anyone with ciritcal thinking skills will demand to examine both the negatives and the positives.

So are you offering this as a definition? Or merely as a tautology? In either case, it is so self-evident that the sentence is a waste of slashdot resources.

Comment: Re:I think more people would be interested... (Score 1) 194

And thus we see more clearly the strong link between post classical physics and linguistics studies.

We cannot hypothesize about that which we cannot yet express in language, where language includes all that we can do in natural speech, mathematics, or computer simulations. That is an inherent limitation of science.

Since we have no way of framing the questions, we cannot talk about what was there before the big bang, what is on the other side of a black hole's event horizon, or what is going on in that part of the Universe that is on the far side of our part of the big bang. Those things might be interesting, but they are currently outside the realm of scientific inquiry. Even though our language skills continue to improve, some of those things might always be outside the realm of science. (The universe is that Big.)

Comment: Re: So, how does it smell? (Score 2) 126

by Will.Woodhull (#46499381) Attached to: Solar-Powered Toilet Torches Waste For Public Health

As pointed out several times already, there would be no odor from biochar production: what would produce the odors is burned as part of the process.

Not emphasized, but of great importance, is that biochar sequesters carbon for thousands of years.

Also not emphasized, but also of great importance, biochar is a potent soil amendment. It can recover the health of soils depleted by monoculture farming practices, for instance.

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