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Comment: Density matches theory (Score 3, Interesting) 50

by Yergle143 (#49737347) Attached to: Martian Moons May Have Formed Like Earth's

Here are some relevant space object mean densities. Mars 3.93 g/cm3, Phobos 1.87 g/cm3, Deimos 1.47 g/cm3, Mercury 5.42 g/cm3, Luna 3.34 g/cm3, Earth 5.51 g/cm3, Ceres 2.07 g/cm3, Vesta 3.45 g/cm3, Europa 3.01 g/cm3, Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko 0.47 g/cm3. If Phobos and Deimos formed from a violent collision it might be expected that they would be dense rocky objects like our moon or Vesta. However it seems that these moons more resemble the icy object end of the density spectrum. Did they form during a wetter Martian era?
I think the take home message is that some exploring of the Martian moons is in order; a sample return mission would be much simpler than a Mars return with an interesting scientific purpose.

Comment: Re:Dear Microsoft (Score 1) 387

by Yergle143 (#49727475) Attached to: Microsoft To Teachers: Using Pens and Paper Not Fair To Students

Could we go one step further? Do you think that the ability to adapt to our natural hand-brain writing motion represents the next wave of technology?
Shouldn't this keyboard in front of me be replaced by an input device that is indistinguishable from pen paper?
I do complex math, it begins as jumbled scriggles and ends up in Matlab.

Comment: Ceres it's cold out there (Score 1) 78

by Yergle143 (#49682681) Attached to: Dawn Spacecraft Gets a Better Look At Ceres' Bizarre 'White Spots'

The solar irradiance at Ceres is about 150 W/m2...1/9th that of earth. It is cold out there in the asteroid belt in comparison to the moon or Mercury where surface ice is exposed only in polar permanent shadow. As reference the moons of Jupiter have no trouble maintaining a coat of ice.
My guess is that the surface of Ceres is like a charred marshmallow; organic long chain hydrocarbon on top forming a dark crust that protects a frozen interior of H20/CO2/Methane and ammonia. The white spot is a rupture out of which has gurgled up some salty water that is sublimating to space.
The question is can we skate on it?

Comment: Novel but not that useful (Score 3, Insightful) 21

by Yergle143 (#49488537) Attached to: New Chemical Tools Lead To Targeted Cancer Drugs

Not sure why this kind of cute 'inside baseball' research is being posted on Slashdot. Firstly there are many and better ways of screening for peptides -- the click chemistry trick is probably applicable only for this this proof of concept (toy) system. Good luck with a real protein. Secondly peptides are useful for research and totally useless as drugs. Thirdly the summary is really wrong here, the minimal in vivo data shown here does not come close to addressing the "complex milieu" of cells much less cancer much less Akt mutation driven cancer
So which member of the Cal Tech research team posted this slashvertisement? Congratulations on your Nature Chemistry paper. By they way it has gone to your head.

Comment: Nitrogen is Organic Chemistry (Score 2) 228

You learn in Sci Fi and in dull HS Science that you are a carbon based life form. Now this is a very coal based thing to say; one could also very well say we are nitrogen based beings (or hydrogen/Phosphorus/oxygen etc). There's a whole lot of carbon in the inner solar system in many extractable forms but Nitrogen is the fixer. Why is it that acquiring enough nitrogen from the 78% that is in the air happens to be the one of the rate limiting steps for life? That 0.04% CO2 is not limiting.
The outer solar system is different, fixed nitrogen ammonia is abundant. Titan, Europa, and possibly Ceres?
Mars on the other hand had its Nitrogen blown away by the solar wind and since it is an essential ingredient for you nitrogen based life forms it would not be my first choice to set up shop.
For that matter, why not truck water and ammonia from Ceres to the moon and live in a warm place with a great view?

Comment: Re:I don't get super hero movies. (Score 1) 98

by Yergle143 (#49030101) Attached to: Spider-Man Finally Joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Not your imagination: unless the movie writers love the character enough to let them use their skills to solve problems (see any James Bond film for example) the cheapest story arcs that you will see over and over again in these blockbusters are
1) The origin Story
2) The origin story of the villain
3) The hero loses his powers
4) The hero goes bad.
5) Doomed love.

The X-files, Columbo, even Buffy...these shows feed off interesting plotlines in which the hero gets to be themselves in coping with situations.

The studios do not love their character properties enough to make art.

Comment: Or even learn to make tea (Score 1) 958

by Yergle143 (#48970523) Attached to: Science's Biggest Failure: Everything About Diet and Fitness

Take an average Joe, give 'em a glass of tea. Give them a sugar bowl and have them sweeten it to taste. Now unless you're in the south (they do things different down there) the subject will add a gram or so. Now show that person the contents of a Snapple, a whopping 41 grams. On so many levels this exemplifies everything. Premade food is diabetic by design.

Comment: A Word to the young bright kids out there (Score 5, Interesting) 153

by Yergle143 (#48777803) Attached to: Fewer Grants For Young Researchers Causing Brain Drain In Academia

The science job system is broken. The main problem is the federal subsidy of Graduate Student Stipends and Postdoctoral Fellowship salaries from grants. This has led to the situation of an oversupply of bright people in what amount to full time jobs with no benefits with little chance to achieve a rare faculty post. The fix is to stop the subsidy. Institutions need to take on fewer graduate students, pay them more and train them fully. Bolster the Master's degree for the less committed. The Postdoc should be eliminated and replaced with the term Contract Researcher which should be treated like a job. These people should be paid market rates so they can move to whomever is smart enough to get a grant.
For the kids out there, the current system is a sort of feudal concoction built to maximize imperious egos and is fundamentally exploitive.
Advise: go into science if you have the desire. Go to a good undergraduate school but if you do not get into one of the best institutions for grad school DO NOT GO.
It's that bad out there and it's winner take all.

Human beings were created by water to transport it uphill.