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Comment: Re: And so it begins... (Score 1) 252

by kenwd0elq (#47649453) Attached to: <em>Babylon 5</em> May Finally Get a Big-Screen Debut

Preferences vary. I was a big B5 fan of the original shows, read about them in the "lurker's guide" site first on USENET, and later on Hyperion. I'll happily go see a rebooted Babylon 5 in the theaters - even though as a big Star Trek fan (I watched them on our little TV on the original broadcasts), I haven't been to any of the rebooted Star Trek movies.

"A willing suspension of disbelief". Babylon 5 had it. Star Trek, in my opinion, did not.

Comment: Re: And so it begins... (Score 1) 252

by kenwd0elq (#47645145) Attached to: <em>Babylon 5</em> May Finally Get a Big-Screen Debut

Most television programs stink at dialog; because it's all written down first, and most actors can't be bothered to figure out how to make their characters speak in their own voices. Bab5 was less bad than most, because most of the episodes were written by JMS. Most TV programs are written by committee, or by outsiders, or by a rotating staff of writers.

Comment: Re: And so it begins... (Score 4, Insightful) 252

by kenwd0elq (#47642915) Attached to: <em>Babylon 5</em> May Finally Get a Big-Screen Debut

As somebody who got INTO Babylon 5 in his 40's, I disagree; Babylon 5 was the best program on TV ever. (Barring, of course, the hot mess that resulted from the on-again/off-again cancellation of Season 5.) There were a few discontinuous episodes in Season 1, but seasons 2-4 were like old soap operas; you didn't dare miss an episode, or you wouldn't be able to catch up.

Even though I generally despise "reboots" of old favorite stories, I'm glad that JMS is doing it, and I wish him the best of luck in it.

Comment: Re:No real surprise (Score -1, Troll) 710

" Science resolved. Nothing even to discuss. Period."

There speaks a man who knows NOTHING about the scientific method. "Science" isn't a thing, it's a process for narrowing in on the truth. The "science" is NEVER settled; there's always more to learn. Even Stephen Hawking is still changing his mind about how black holes work (or don't) and he's the guy who INVENTED the things. AGW is a RELIGIOUS belief, which is why we "deniers" are treated as heretics and apostates.

Remember, 30 years ago the existential crisis was the coming ice age, and 120 years ago, the existential crisis was that London was going to be 5 feet deep in horse manure.

Comment: Re: No real surprise (Score 3, Insightful) 710

That's because their claims of enviro-superiority are like medieval "indulgences", permissions to sin without penalty. So Saint AlGore flies all over the world preaching the "Stop flying!" mantra, as if he'd never heard of Skype or Webex. As Instapundit Glenn Reynolds writes, "I'll believe that there's a crisis when the people who are telling me it's a crisis start ACTING like it's a crisis."

Comment: Re:One slight problem with that ratio... (Score 4, Informative) 119

by kenwd0elq (#47380913) Attached to: New Class of Stars Are Totally Metal, Says Astrophysicist

Fusion of hydrogen into helium produces a LOT of energy. Fusion of helium into carbon produces less. In physics terms, it's the "packing fraction" curve, which can show you what energy you'd get out if you fuse elements together.

Iron is at the bottom of the packing fraction curve; when you fuse other stuff into iron, you're getting out the dregs of the fusion energy, partly because it takes higher and higher pressures and temperatures for fusion to occur for heavier elements.

When you get to the pressure and temperature points where iron fuses into still heavier elements, it begins to EXTRACT energy - from the core of the star. Stars exist in a delicate balance between the heat and pressure that tries to blow them apart, and the gravity that tries to crush them together. Take heat OUT of the core of the star, and there's less internal pressure - and gravity starts to win. The core will collapse, generally abruptly, and a crushing "rebound effect" will accelerate the heavy fusion, extracting MORE energy, leading to a core collapse supernova. The star explodes, leaving a black hole or pulsar at the center and blasting a lot of the stellar material back into space.

Which is where we got the iron for our blood, or the gold for our jewelry - blasted out of a supernova. Probably MANY of them.

Comment: Not the Usual Definition of Metal (Score 4, Informative) 119

by kenwd0elq (#47380867) Attached to: New Class of Stars Are Totally Metal, Says Astrophysicist

In astrophysics, the term "metal" normally applies to any element heavier than lithium. Carbon, silicon, even gasses like oxygen and nitrogen, are "metals". We're not talking about star remnants that are primarily iron or lead or uranium. Gold would be right out.

Comment: Re:Uh Oh! Here comes Iron Man (Score 4, Interesting) 64

by kenwd0elq (#47219425) Attached to: Gecko Feet Inspire Hand-Held Spider-Man Paddles

The problem with trying to USE Van der Waals forces for anything is that in order to stick together, both surfaces must be microscopically smooth; the sort of "smooth" that would make plate glass or mirrors look like "volcanic rock under a magnifying glass". "Reflecting telescope mirror" smooth. Making materials that smooth - and KEEPING them that smooth - is going to be a challenge.

As physics, it's pretty neat. From an engineering perspective, it's going to be a problem.

Comment: Why Bother? (Score 1) 59 has a "Flybys " website; enter your zip code (USA) or Lat/Long (Anyplace) to see a list of overflights of the ISS and a couple dozen other satellites that are bright enough to see.

The web site is free; they have an Android and iOS app for five bucks, I think, that sounds an alarm.

More than good enough. Although I can see how designing your own device and programming it yourself is more impressive than buying an app or navigating to a web site.

Comment: Re:Government of the people ? (Score 1) 347

Agree completely. Here's a classic example of how foolish, supposedly "well meaning" citizens screwed themselves....

POLITICS: Woman who voted for every Austin, TX tax increase discovers that now she can’t afford to live there. “I have voted for every park, every library, all the school improvements, for light rail, for anything that will make this city better. But now I can’t afford to live here anymore. I’ll protest my appraisal notice, but that’s not enough. Someone needs to step in and address the big picture.”

Whenever "We the peepul" allow the government to "take care of us", we allow rapacious wolves to take over our lives. Democrap, Rinopublican, Socialist, "Green" - most political parties will promise you ANYTHING to get the power to jail you and steal everything that you have.

It might - just MIGHT - still be possible to roll it all back. Probably not, but I'm the eternal optimist. Vote Libertarian if possible, or Tea Party - and then roll THOSE crooks out of office at the next election. We don't want to "control government spending"; we want to abolish departments and sell their buildings. I want to revoke their pensions and jail a few. Cut all government salaries by a third - and then do it again the next year. We want to make Washington D.C. a ghost town. As it is, 9 of the ten highest income zip codes are in or next to the Beltway. Legend says that in ancient India, new rulers were weighed every year, to see if they had gotten fat at their subjects' expense. It ought to be illegal for a government official to own a luxury car or a boat or a swimming pool; those things mean they're making too much money.

I blame air conditioning. Washington D.C. used to be a fetid, barely inhabitable swamp. That's why Maryland and Virginia were willing to give it up. Air conditioning lets the parasites live in comfort. Ban air conditioning within 100 miles of DC, and just SEE how quickly the government shrinks!

If you would know the value of money, go try to borrow some. -- Ben Franklin