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Comment: Re:And when Eris' atmosphere is measured... (Score 4, Informative) 138

by cunniff (#46510341) Attached to: Pluto Regains Its Title As Largest Object In Its Neighborhood

From TFA:

Eris is just 2326 kilometers across—possibly smaller than Pluto, whose diameter is somewhere between 2300 and 2400 kilometers. The uncertainty arises because Pluto, unlike Eris, has air that complicates the interpretation of observational data.

+ - One in five stars has an Earth-sized planet in its habitable zone->

Submitted by cunniff
cunniff (264218) writes "Remarkable statistics from the Keck Observatory on Mauna Kea, Hawaii — 22% (+/- 8%) of stars have an Earth-sized planet in its habitable zone. From the press release, UC Berkley graduate student Erik Petigura says, "What this means is, when you look up at the thousands of stars in the night sky, the nearest sun-like star with an Earth-size planet in its habitable zone is probably only 12 light years away and can be seen with the naked eye. That is amazing,"

This, of course, raises the Fermi paradox again — if alien life is common, why haven't we seen it yet? This study will be used to spark further investigation, including proposals for space telescopes which might be able to image nearby Earth-sized planets."

Link to Original Source

Comment: Oldest *hominid* tumor, maybe (Score 5, Informative) 46

by cunniff (#43931745) Attached to: World's Oldest Tumor Found In a Neanderthal Bone

Paleontologists have found 150-million-year-old dino tumors, see

The university is welcoming four renowned curators from Carnegie Museum into its classrooms to teach seminars and use the museum collection, which is considered one of the world's premiere displays of natural history artifacts, for demonstrations. Included in the collection is a 150-million-year-old fossilized dinosaur bone complete with a tumor.

I would not be surprised if there are even older amphibian tumor fossils out there somewhere.

Comment: The real issue (Score 5, Insightful) 311

by cunniff (#42422759) Attached to: Bloomberg: Steve Jobs Behind NYC Crime Wave

It's not the *cost* of the iPhone. It's the *black market resale value* that drives theft.

It's uncomfortable allowing a third party to be able to permanently brick your phone or other device, but if that were a commonly-used option, the resale value would quickly drop down close to zero.

As always - back up your data, and don't store important personal information on your easily-stolen device...

Comment: This is exciting (Score 4, Insightful) 267

by cunniff (#41200623) Attached to: Radioactive Decay Apparently Influenced By the Sun

Possibly the most exciting physics news of the year. Although the detection of the Higgs boson was big, it mostly confirmed what existing theory predicted. Interesting, important - but, to some physics, perhaps a bit boring.

If further measurements continue to verify this effect, there are some very interesting new physics to discover.

Comment: Re:well, i dunno (Score 1) 308

by cunniff (#39420155) Attached to: Is It Time For the US Government To Back Fusion At NIF Over ITER?

How many sticks of dynamite would it take at 15 times per second, to eventually push the stated goal of 200MW into the power grid?

1 stick of dynamite == 2.1MJ, if you can believe Wikipedia
15 sticks per second == 32MJ/S = 32MW
200MW/32MW = 6.3 sticks of dynamite exploded 15 times per second.

This assumes 100% efficiency to electricity, of course.

Comment: Re:Fresh water? (Score 3, Insightful) 292

by cunniff (#38840035) Attached to: Graphene Membranes Superpermeable to Water

Spend a little time thinking about it, and you will realize that distilled water urban legend is silly. In your mouth, it is mixed with saliva and mucous and whatever else is stuck to your teeth, gums, and tongue. The instant it hits your stomach, it is mixed with stomach acids and whatever you ate recently. I.e. it is no longer pure distilled water. From there, the molecules wander through your body like any other water molecule. Distilling water does not give its component molecules magic properties.

Counting in binary is just like counting in decimal -- if you are all thumbs. -- Glaser and Way