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Comment: Re:Dr. Manhattan (Score 2) 33

by radtea (#47788191) Attached to: Particle Physics To Aid Nuclear Cleanup

Mouons that come into being from fission decay reactions arent quite as energetic-- but still useful for imaging purposes.

There are (almost) no muons produced by fission. Fission events produce energies of around 200 MeV. Muons have a mass of just over 100 MeV. The phase space available for muon production is essentially nil because so much energy is almost always carried away by the fission products. Basically, to make a muon you have to have everything else stand still. The production rate isn't quite zero, but is close enough to it to not matter.

The technology they are using in this case is to look at cosmic ray muons passing through the reactor core. Similar technology was used to look for undiscovered chambers in Egyptian pyramids in the 80's, if memory serves: cosmic ray muons have ridiculous amounts of energy (they are the bane of neutrino physicists because no matter how deep the lab the muon signal is still appreciable, even under a kilometer or rock. SNO, which is one of the deepest labs in the world, is 2 km down and muons are still detectable, although only at rates of a few per day if memory serves.

Comment: Re:Rule of thumb (Score 1) 121

by Marxist Hacker 42 (#47785113) Attached to: No, a Stolen iPod Didn't Brick Ben Eberle's Prosthetic Hand

My prius was $6500 used. It is a 2006. They only gave me one key, the previous owner had lost one.

With the Prius, the vin number can be used to *create* a new key, but you need the old key as part of the programming sequence to pair the new key with the computer. Can't even boot the computer up without a paired key (really just an RFID tag in the fob, the actual physical key is only good for unlocking the door and cannot boot up the computer). So if all keys are lost, the master computer is effectively bricked. Also, due to the fact that the neutral is engaged only through software and when the computer is off, a steel bar locks the planetary "Synergy Drive" transmission, you need a flatbed tow truck with a very strong winch to drag the car up onto the flatbed if you can't boot the computer up.

There are other interesting design choices. For instance, the rear truck release is only electric. If the 12 volt battery that boots up the computer dies, you have to fold down the rear seats, unload the trunk, open the trunk, remove the tool box, climb in on your belly, reach in a hole blind to pull a lever to push up on the hatchback with your shoulders to open the hatchback so that you can then get to the battery compartment.

Though this has been fixed since, the gear shift lever (really just an analog joystick with 4 positions in a lower case reverse h and a spring to bring it back to center) is non-instinctive, you push it forward to go reverse and back to go forward.

Finally, I think the fuel cap release lever was designed for 5' tall asians, not 6' tall Americans. Even at a measly 5'6", I need to get out of the car to be able to reach it.

+ - How Big Telecom Smothers Municipal Broadband

Submitted by Rick Zeman
Rick Zeman (15628) writes "The Center for Public Integrity has a comprehensive article showing how Big Telecom (aka, AT&T, Comcast, Charter, Time Warner) use lobbyists, paid-for politicians, and lawsuits (both actual and the threat thereof) in their efforts to kill municipal broadband. From the article: "The companies have also used traditional campaign tactics such as newspaper ads, push polls, direct mail and door-to-door canvassing to block municipal networks. And they’ve tried to undermine the appetite for municipal broadband by paying for research from think tanks and front groups to portray the networks as unreliable and costly. " Unfortunately, those think tanks and front groups are also paid for by the companies."

Comment: Re:G'Day Valve, (Score 0) 128

by smooth wombat (#47783919) Attached to: Australian Consumer Watchdog Takes Valve To Court
That said, since the majority of people who do this likely are attemtping to cheat because they couldn't afford many games anyway, the loss of money is likely actually very small since the alternative would be, they don't play the game or download it some other way.

So you're admitting that people are too cheap to buy a game yet somehow can afford all their other shiny toys such as phones, computers, most likely cigarettes and alcohol and a whole host of other items.

The loss of money by people stealing a copy of a game is irrelevant. The fact of the matter is they're trying to justify their theft by claiming poverty while they have all those other gizmos or miraculously find money to spend on other non-essential items.

Comment: Re:"Programmers" shouldn't write critical software (Score 1) 153

by radtea (#47781645) Attached to: Software Error Caused Soyuz/Galileo Failure

How many people are going to be killed by C++ in the next decade?

None. However, a few will be killed by C++ programmers. I say this as someone who has written code to guide surgeons, but my mantra was: "The surgeon is in control", and I have in fact seen surgeons over-ride the guidance information the software gives them.

Driverless cars are actually less likely than humans to screw up, I think, but it'll take another decade to prove that. Software engineering is still a nascent field, but in another generation or three it will be at a point where we can be somewhat confident in most critical code. Unfortunately, it will still be dependent on hacked-together operating systems and heuristically designed hardware...

Comment: Re:Rule of thumb (Score 2) 121

by Marxist Hacker 42 (#47781169) Attached to: No, a Stolen iPod Didn't Brick Ben Eberle's Prosthetic Hand

Not quite true. The article likens this to GM bricking a Corvette for losing the keys, but that's exactly what happens to a modern Toyota computer if you lose the last key (cost of replacing a key for my Prius $175. Cost of replacing key + computer $1,275, I checked and that convinced me to spend the $175 for a second key for my used Prius).

Comment: Re:Actually I think this ability is extraordinary (Score 1) 5

by Marxist Hacker 42 (#47781101) Attached to: one of my mental problems

For contracting, it helps immensely. But something must have changed in the past week. I went from 5 recruiter contacts a week to 35 in the past week. I no longer look for jobs- jobs look for me. (I estimate, from the request numbers, that those 35 contacts represent 18 jobs at 5 companies, including the one I'm currently working at).

Comment: Re:Could have fooled me (Score 4, Interesting) 206

by radtea (#47780811) Attached to: Canada Tops List of Most Science-Literate Countries

Does Canada have lots of relatively successful* politicians with whackadoodle opinions on climate change, Earth's age, and female reproductive biology?

We are having a bit of a moment with some wack-jobs in the "Conservative" Party of Canada at the moment, which is actually a radical populist party that is opposed to everything conservatism in this country has ever stood for (fiscal probity, institutional stability, Westminsterian democracy...)

A few of the loonier tunes, like Justice Minister Peter McKay, seem to believe that women have no agency (or at least that's what one infers from his attempts to push a "Swedish model" prostitution law through the system) and I believe former party leader [*] Stockwell Day is on record for a Young Earth.

This has more to do with the wonderful (and I do mean that seriously) randomness of our electoral system, which is capable of electing a majority government with 35% of the vote, as well as the institutional disarray of the Liberal Party in the past decade. We're reasonably likely to throw the bastards out next year, although the Liberals have more than a few loonies of their own.

[*] The history of the CPC is complex, but Day was the leader of one of it's fore-runners about ten years ago.