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Comment: Re:A lot of the online gambling industry is locate (Score 1) 13 13

Surely the proposal will be scuttled when the realize that driving the gambling operations out of the province will sharply reduce the number of them that give due prominence to French language text; and acknowledge the right of the people to lose money without brutalizing exposure to anglicisms.

Comment: Re:It's not designed to dogfight. Lowest priority. (Score 2) 480 480

Technically the gun 'works'; but the vendor is too half-assed to actually provide drivers for the gun until some later revision, for which we will presumably pay more.

Optimists prefer to focus on the fact that, in order to preserve the oh-so-sexy-low-radar-signature design, the system only holds 200 rounds, so nobody expects much of it even when the pilot is able to use it.

Comment: Re:Today's computer science corriculum is practica (Score 1) 139 139

Meh. When I was an undergrad, you really needed to understand netmasks if you wanted to set up a network for multiplayer games. Now, it's much easier (although Windows makes it stupidly hard to create an ad-hoc WiFi network. No idea how people think it's ready for the desktop), and you can do a lot without caring. I can't remember the last time I needed to know about them.

Comment: Re:Linux everywhere. (Score 1) 24 24

Is there anywhere that the 'Warrior' design actually exists in any form more advanced than internal or very-select-partners-only engineering samples?

Based on what is written about them, they seem fairly interesting; but they don't actually seem to exist anywhere. You can get relatively low end MIPS cores in a lot of routers and such (ramips based devices and some broadcom) and much punchier hardware from outfits like Cavium; but the field is pretty empty of the 'warrior+powerVR' SoCs that are proposed in various slide decks. The CI20 is still based on the JZ4780, from Ingenic's 'if you really can't afford a fancy Allwinner' line of penal CPUs; but no warrior.

Comment: Re:no we can't (Score 2) 71 71

I find this an interesting statement. Running the numbers, I find that you'd have to be using a rocket burning something rather better than H2/O2 (we're talking Isp >500 just to reach escape speed, much less to reach the target rock) to allow two launches of a delta-IV heavy.


The fact that a Delta-IV Heavy has a LEO payload of over 27 tonnes is a fact. You don't need to "run the numbers". As for the kick stage, I didn't specify a propulsion system - for all we care (since we haven't established a timeframe), it could be an ion drive and not even take a rocket so large as a Delta IV-Heavy.

Meanwhile, the Falcon Heavy is to make its first launch this year, with double the payload of a Delta IV-Heavy. And as was mentioned, the Tsar Bomba was not optimized to be as lightweight as possible.

And this entirely ignores that noone actually has a Tsar Bomba sized nuke available to be detonated.

Oh, and you didn't allow for a backup

It's almost as if I didn't add "with enough advance warning" for that scenario and leave what "enough advance warning" is unspecified. But if there's another rock the size of the Chicxulub impactor out there and we don't see it until the last second, we deserve to get hit - we're no longer talking about a 50 meter spec (Tunguska-sized), rather a rock with a cross section 30% bigger than the island of Manhattan. We're talking about an impact of a scale that happens once every hundred million years or so.

Comment: OMG - matti makkonen .fi sms pioneer dead (Score 0) 29 29

A more appopriate version of the BBC's article:

OMG - matti makkonen .fi sms pioneer dead!!!
WTF - mm just died @63! #txtpioneerdeath was father of sms & dvlped idea of txt msg with phones. @2012 msged BBC that txt would be here "4EVR".
shoutout 2 Nokia for spreading sms w/Nokia 2010. thought txt good 4 language. was btw mng. director of Finnet ltd and "grand old man" & rly obsessed with tech.
OMFG people!

Comment: Umm... (Score 1) 139 139

It seems like a commonplace that not every line-of-business java slinger is going to make use of the more elegant mathematics being worked out on the edges of 'computer science'; but isn't this issue already addressed by the fact that things like 'software engineering' are distinct courses of study, with a different emphasis?

Also, why do we care what a former biologist, now sci/tech article writer for the WSJ has to say about technology-related education? Is there some connection that I'm missing?

Comment: Re:a bright future (Score 1) 39 39

Some of the (often excitingly dreadful) stuff used by the orbital-launch rocketry guys might beat hydrocarbons on pure energy density; but I suspect that civil aviation may not be ready for hydrazine spills on busy runways and range safety officers blowing up the occasional airliner.

The exciting thing about solar aircraft(aside from it being cool that they are possible) is that, if you can get efficiency high enough, they are basically your only option for long-to-indefinite loiter. In-air refuelling costs a small fortune, so hydrocarbons are mostly out; and nuclear, the only other long-lasting fuel source; has been explored; but you don't name a project after the god of the underworld because it satisfies more conservative risk analysis.

Comment: Re:no we can't (Score 2) 71 71

It is not only possible, but the easiest option, to "blow them up Armageddon style" (minus the drilling and the like). There's a lot of simulation work going on right now and the results have been consistently encouraging that even a small nuclear weapon could obliterate quite a large asteroid into little fragments that won't re-coalesce, while simultaneously kicking them out of their current orbit. A few years ago they were just doing 2d calcs, now they've gotten full 3d runs.

Think for a second about what nuclear weapons can do on Earth. Here's the crater of a 100kt nuclear weapon test. It's 100 meters deep and 320 meters wide. You could nearly fit a sizeable asteroid like Itokawa inside the hole. And that thing had Earth's intense gravity field working against it and was only 1/10th the size of weapons being considered here. In space you don't need to "blast out" debris with great force like on Earth, you merely need to give it a fractional meter-per-second kick and it's no longer gravitationally bound. And the ability of a nuclear shockwave to shatter rock is almost unthinkably powerful - just ignoring that many if not most asteroids are rubble piles and thus come already pre-shattered. Look at the "rubble chimneys" kicked up by even small nuclear blasts several kilometers underground (in rock compressed by Earth's gravity). Or the size of the underground cavity created by the wimpy 3kT Gnome blast - 28000 cubic meters. Just ignoring that it had to do that, again, working against Earth's compression deep underground, if you scale that up to a 1MT warhead the cavity would be the size of Itokawa itself.

You of course don't have to destroy an asteroid if you don't want to - nuclear weapons can also gently kick them off their path. Again, you're depositing energy in the form of X-rays into the surface of the asteroid on one side. If it's a tremendous amount of energy, you create a powerful shattering shockwave moving throughout the body of the asteroid. If it's lesser, however, you're simply creating a broad planar gas/plasma/dust jet across the asteroid, turning that whole side into one gigantic thruster that will keep pushing and kicking off matter until it cools down.

The last detail is that nuclear weapons are just so simple of a solution. There's no elaborate spacecraft design and testing program needed - you have an already extant, already-built device which is designed to endure launch G-forces / vibrations and tolerate the vacuum of space, and you simply need to get it "near" your target - the sort of navigation that pretty much every space mission we've launched in the past several decades has managed. In terms of mission design simplicity, pretty much nothing except kinetic impactors (which are far less powerful) comes close, and even then it's a tossup. Assuming roughly linear scaling with the simulations done thusfar, with enough advance warning, even a Chicxulub-scale impactor could be deflected / destroyed with a Tsar Bomba-sized device with a uranium tamper. Even though it was not designed to be light for space operations, its 27-tonne weight could be launched to LEO by a single Delta-IV Heavy and hauled off to intercept by a second launch vehicle.

Comment: Re:Probably GPL, but depends on Apple (Score 1) 139 139

The GPL is "viral" in that if you use even a smattering of GPLed code, you are required to release ALL of your code as GPL as well.

Not true. Go back and re-read the GPL. You are required to release your code under a license that places no more restrictions on it than the GPL. You must also license the combined work under the GPL. It is, however, completely fine to take a few files of GPL'd code, combine them with some BSDL'd code files (as long as those files are not a derived work of the GPL'd code) and ship the resulting program under the GPL. If someone else takes only the BSDL'd files for use in another project then they are not bound by the GPL.

There are two ways in which the GPL is 'viral'. The first is that you cannot change the license of something that you do not own, so any derived works retain the copyright and license of the original. The second is that the GPL is a distribution license and, if you wish to retain the right to distribute it, then you must not distribute it in a way that does not pass on the freedoms listed in the license (meaning that the combined work must grant all of the permissions as the GPL'd parts).

Comment: Re:Not surprised (Score 5, Insightful) 300 300

Uber drivers are subsidized by everybody else. Taxi drivers have to pay high insurance rates because the act of driving a long distance every day for a ton of strangers is a job that inherently leads to a much higher statistical rate of payouts. If they're driving as a taxi on regular car insurance, it's you that's paying the bill for their swindle of the insurance system.

Comment: Re:Precedent (Score 2) 61 61

Even without a formal system of precedent, and treating prior cases as authorities to be cited, I'd imagine that the outcomes of past cases, and the various arguments and concepts employed, likely have an influence on future cases, at least those where the person overseeing them is undecided or has no particular opinion on the matter.

At least in the US, that seems to be a factor when(for some reason of how the courts are structured and arranged) a given court decision is not official precedent for the purposes of another court; but still has a decent shot at being cited if it framed the issue persuasively. It's not 100%, it might also be mentioned in the process of vehemently disagreeing with the decision of the other court and politely-but-brutally rubbishing their line of thought; but even without binding legal obligation to consider a given case, sufficiently similar past cases tend to help shape future thinking on the matter(as well as encouraging or discouraging prospective litigants).

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