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Comment: Get a subscription to Sky and Telescope magazine. (Score 3, Informative) 234

by cyn1c77 (#47938683) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Pick Up Astronomy and Physics As an Adult?

Start reading it. They go through the basics and have articles on how amateurs can contribute to research.

But you really need to limit your expectations. Observational astronomy (even amateur-style) requires several hours of daytime prep work, followed by 1-2 hours of equipment setup and familiarization, before you even embark in a 3-4 hour observation run. After an observing run, you might have another 2-10 hours of data processing to do.

If you have a wife, two kids, and a day job, you will get pretty tired pretty quick.

Good equipment (solid mount, high quality telescope, imaging system, star stracker) is not cheap either and, sadly, most people need to invest in or borrow good equipment before they can really evaluate if they like it or if they want to stick with it.

Comment: Re:Not the same as "hard" exo-skeletons. (Score 1) 29

by cyn1c77 (#47900499) Attached to: DARPA Funds Harvard's Soft Exoskeletal Suit

If you improve the endurance of a soldier you *have* improved their weight carrying capacity. But I get what you're saying. They won't be able to lift 300lbs instead of 100lbs and put it on a shelf. However, they might be able to realistically haul say 80lbs of gear 15 miles instead of 50 lbs of gear. Of course that might be how much the batteries weigh to keep the thing running for a day. :)

You clearly don't get what he was saying!

We want HALO-like suits that will let us jump 50 feet high, jump out of an airplane and land safely with no parachute, and lift 500 lbs with one hand while accurately shooting at something a mile away with a fully automatic weapon in the other.

This soft-suit is like increasing the fuel economy on a Civic when you really want a Ferrari.

Comment: Re:power consumption? (Score 1) 207

by cyn1c77 (#47900473) Attached to: Early iPhone 6 Benchmark Results Show Only Modest Gains For A8

Who cares about performance anymore. Fast enough is fast enough. Which one lasts longer on battery?

Probably people who own an iPhone 5 and are debating upgrading to the new one.

Especially so if they like the smaller form factor of the iPhone 5, but would be willing to trade it for increased performance.

Comment: Re:Who would have thought (Score 1) 194

by cyn1c77 (#47889615) Attached to: The Documents From Google's First DMV Test In Nevada

And let's just remember that planes don't actually fly themselves:


Your link is misleading. Autopilot can control aircraft at all times (climb, cruise , descent, approach, and landing phases) except during the taxi and landing phases.

Thus, with modern avionics, autopilot can control can be engaged immediately after takeoff (once flaps are off and gear is up) and kept on through landing.

A separate feature, called autothrottle, can be used to automatically control the plane's engines through the entire flight.

Of course, pilots are essential for programming these systems, monitoring them during flight, and stepping in during anomalous situations, but the planes really can fly themselves.

Comment: Re:Who would have thought (Score 1) 194

by cyn1c77 (#47889471) Attached to: The Documents From Google's First DMV Test In Nevada

Yeah, and it went into manual controlled mode when it recognized obstacles it couldn't handle:

A. A railroad crossing without signals
B. A roundabout
C. Construction work
D. "Some specific turns"

Obviously not ready for the real world yet.

Ummm, have you driven lately? Most people with licenses also can't handle those obstacles!

Comment: Re:well... (Score 1) 246

by cyn1c77 (#47850079) Attached to: Protesters Blockade Microsoft's Seattle Headquarters Over Tax Breaks

Microsoft employs >40K employees in the Seattle Metro area, while the other 3.6M residents (literally the 99%) get screwed.

So tell me, if Microsoft left and took the 40k jobs with them, they would then NOT get tax breaks in Seattle.

How would the other 99% of the Seattle residents be better off?

Would they somehow be less screwed?

Yes, Seattle would be less screwed if the former Microsoft employees either left the city or got jobs with (smaller) companies that pay more taxes.

Take it to the limit, where a company gets a zero tax liability deal while still incurring indirect costs to the city (Their trucks damage the roads, their employees necessitate more city infrastructure such as lights, police, parking, power, waste, etc.): It is actually possibly for the city to lose money on such a deal since they have brought in additional people and incurred additional costs. The costs will be recouped from the taxpayers in that case and not from the corporation causing the costs.

Also, by continuing to give huge companies lower tax liability, we are essentially driving all companies towards monopolies by making it harder for the smaller competitors.

Comment: Re:well... (Score 4, Insightful) 246

by cyn1c77 (#47844527) Attached to: Protesters Blockade Microsoft's Seattle Headquarters Over Tax Breaks

So it's rational to give large companies tax breaks to keep them in your city as a way to keep your economy strong. It may seem unfair, but all these cities and states have done enough research to conclude that doing tax favors for these big companies is worth more than taxing them at regular rates and losing the employment. So it's neither illegal or irrational on the part of the government or the corporations.

It doesn't seem unfair, it is unfair.

The big companies get tax breaks. The politicians get kickbacks, lobbying, and stay in office. The regular citizens pay higher taxes to make up for the company and the politician screwing them.

Microsoft employs >40K employees in the Seattle Metro area, while the other 3.6M residents (literally the 99%) get screwed.

Comment: Re:Yep. (Score 1) 150

by cyn1c77 (#47832039) Attached to: Hackers Break Into

> Please tell me your comment is snark.

No sir. I am dead serious! Obama is incompetent. Take for example this business with Putin and ISIS and Taliban. It is getting out of control. Not because these are hard problems, but because Obama is a pussy. He wants to keep thinking about it. As GWB would say, time for thinking is over. Its time to kick some ass. If you have seen the Rambo series of movies, you'd know what I am talking about.

Man, I hope to God Chuck Norris runs for president and wins. I'd like see the expression on Putin's face when that happens.

Why is the parent modded as funny?

I mean, the post is funny, but I think he was also serious! It should be "insightful!!!"

Even if you voted for Obama twice, you have got to admit (by now) that he does do a lot more thinking and talking than taking action.

Of course, with politicians, less action is often preferable!

Comment: Re:Yep. (Score 0) 150

by cyn1c77 (#47832033) Attached to: Hackers Break Into

The difference is people voluntarily give data to these companies where as you are forced to give information to It would be the same as if the IRS was hacked.

Well, you aren't forced to! You could just not have healthcare, be financially penalized for not having healthcare, and then die prematurely.

Plus, like all of the academic, financial, security, and IT institutions, the government is really sorry that your personal identity was compromised, but it was an accident OK? So let's not get too upset... they are doing the best that they can! (The hackers are just doing better!)

Plus, I am sure that they will give you one whole free year of credit monitoring to make up for it, but you'll have to give your social security number to yet another online entity to take advantage of that deal!

(Yes, I am being sardonic.)

Comment: Wow! (Score 1) 463

From the article:

“As an officer, we are trained to multi-task and are exempt from certain laws in certain situations such as using a cellphone,” he said.

Not only are they trained to "multitask," they are also apparently above the law.

If a regular citizen were to accidentally kill someone in the course of they regular work duties, would that be OK? Because that seems to be what the Los Angeles DA's office is arguing.

Comment: Re:What can be done about this? (Score 1) 109

by cyn1c77 (#47771933) Attached to: Eye Problems From Space Affect At Least 21 NASA Astronauts

aside from artificial gravity, nothing. No amount of exercise bike pedaling will save your optic nerves from being in zero G too long.

There isn't really any good reason to put people in orbit for 6 months+. Rotate them out every couple of months. Yes we needed data on long-term microgravity effects on the human body. We have them now, zero G does bad things to your body. So don't do it for extended periods.

Fly in the ointment is the expected trip to Mars, which will take 9 months to a year. Fortunately people like Zubrin have developed advanced technologies to deal with this. It's called a rope. Attach the Mars spacecraft to a ballast via a rope (they call it tether) and spin it until you get 1/3rd G. Problem solved.

How do you know that 1/3G will solve the problem without testing it on human subjects?

"There is hopeful symbolism in the fact that flags do not wave in a vacuum." --Arthur C. Clarke