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Comment: Niche energy (Score 4, Insightful) 89

by amorsen (#48468587) Attached to: WaveNET – the Floating, Flexible Wave Energy Generator

Median energy density in waves is too low in most places. You need way too large machines to extract useful amounts of power. The few times you get sufficiently powerful waves they tend to rip your equipment to bits.

Wave energy is one of those ideas which seem really obvious from a distance, so the fact that project after project fails does not seem to dissuade anyone. They were obviously just doing it wrong.

I really hope that I am wrong and this turns out to be a great success, but I am not holding my breath.

Comment: Re:Education versus racism (Score 1) 474

by amorsen (#48456641) Attached to: Cops 101: NYC High School Teaches How To Behave During Stop-and-Frisk

Reid technique has ensured that less than 20% of people questioned get counsel. Generally people who are innocent will not ask for counsel; they just want to cooperate so the police can see that they are innocent, and asking for counsel is something they think only criminals do.

Comment: Re:Exploding Rockets vs. Nuclear Power (Score 1) 520

by amorsen (#48456619) Attached to: What Would Have Happened If Philae Were Nuclear Powered?

Ahh no it could have easily survive

You will need to back up that claim. The speeds involved are rather extreme.

RTGs have been used by other probes that used gravity earth boost...

Cassini had a fairly major public outcry against it, for just a single gravity boost, and that did not even fail.

Comment: Re:Education versus racism (Score 2) 474

by amorsen (#48450945) Attached to: Cops 101: NYC High School Teaches How To Behave During Stop-and-Frisk

If you follow 1-3) with US police, they will use the Reid Technique to abuse your compliance and extract a false statement. Then you better have the resources of a (no-longer) well-off family and the help of the foreign office of a small nation in order to eventually get freed, like Malthe Thomsen. (I hate linking to the Daily Mail, but the case has not been well-covered internationally.)

The newspaper Politiken has in-depth coverage of the case in Danish.

Comment: Re:A better idea (Score 1) 153

by amorsen (#48450677) Attached to: NASA Offering Contracts To Encourage Asteroid Mining

Yes, it is really strange that they do not do that. You have to wonder why they did not just do that with the Shuttle, just a parachute instead of those ceramic tiles. What could possibly be the problem with a parachute going MACH 20? Or more likely MACH 100+, in the case of an incoming asteroid?

Comment: Re:Exploding Rockets vs. Nuclear Power (Score 3, Informative) 520

by amorsen (#48424359) Attached to: What Would Have Happened If Philae Were Nuclear Powered?

Rosetta/Philae returned to Earth three times for gravity boosts. Each time it was going at speeds which would guarantee its destruction if it hit the deeper parts of the atmosphere. Had this happened and Philae had carried an RTG, it would have been the end of ESA due to the public outcry, and NASA would likely be in public relations trouble too.

There are places for RTGs, but Rosetta was not it. Philae may have died prematurely, but ESA is alive to try again.

Algol-60 surely must be regarded as the most important programming language yet developed. -- T. Cheatham

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