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Comment: Re:Hear Hear! (Score 2) 326

by Rei (#48917379) Attached to: "Mammoth Snow Storm" Underwhelms

Ah, Americans and their "mammoth snowstorms" - try living on a rock in the middle of the North Atlantic. You know what we call a snowstorm with gale-force winds and copious precipitation? Tuesday ;) Our last one was... let's see, all weekend. The northwest gets hit by another gale-force storm tomorrow. The southeast is predicted to get hurricane-force winds on Thursday morning.

Here's what the job of someone dispatched to maintain antennae for air traffic control services has to deal with here. ;) (those are guy wires)

Comment: Re:DirectX is obsolete (Score 1) 132

by PopeRatzo (#48916319) Attached to: DirectX 12 Lies Dormant Within Microsoft's Recent Windows 10 Update

OK, I see what you're saying. That there's really little reason for the operating system on a home computer to look and work exactly like the one at work.

I agree. I think as computer users, we're mature enough not to need this level of familiarity. This is one reason that at some point down the road, I hope to be able to use both Windows for my digital audio workstation in my home studio, and some form of "SteamOS" for playing games. Of course, with companies like EA/Origin and Ubisoft using their own game store platforms, I don't see all PC games being compatible with a SteamOS for some time to come.

Comment: Re:Visible from Earth? (Score 1) 110

by Rei (#48915031) Attached to: Proposed Space Telescope Uses Huge Opaque Disk To Surpass Hubble

A sun-like star is about 1 1/2 million kilometers in diameter. To blot out all light from such a star that's 10 light years away, a 0,75 kilometer diameter disc could be no more than 1/200.000th of a light year, or around 50 million kilometers (1/3rd the distance between the earth and the sun).

The brightest star in the sky is Sirius A. It has a diameter of 2,4 million km and a distance of 8.6 light years. This means your shade could be no more than 25 million kilometers away.

The sun and the moon both take up about the same amount of arc in the night sky so would be about equally difficult to block; let's go with the sun for a nice supervillian-ish approach. 1,4m km diameter, 150m km distance means it'd be able to block the sun at 800km away. Such an object could probably be kept in a stable orbit at half that altitude, so yeah, you could most definitely block out stars with the thing - including our sun!

Comment: Re:keeping station behind it? (Score 1) 110

by Rei (#48914773) Attached to: Proposed Space Telescope Uses Huge Opaque Disk To Surpass Hubble

It makes sense. We can radiate individual photons for thrust if so desired. We can move individual electrons from one position in a spacecraft to another for tiny adjustments of angle and position if so desired. It seems you're going to be much more limited by your ability to precisely track your target than by your ability to make fine adjustments.

I think a much bigger problem is going to be isolating standing waves from within the shielding material from distorting its perfect rim (with a shield that big and thin, there *will* be oscillations from even the slightest thrust inputs). You need to isolate the rim from the shielding. And you also need to make sure that you can have a rim that can be coiled up for launch but uncoil to such perfection in space.

Tough task... but technically, it should be possible.

Comment: Re:No (Score 2) 110

by Rei (#48914527) Attached to: Proposed Space Telescope Uses Huge Opaque Disk To Surpass Hubble

I would presume that the bulk material in the inside has no need for accuracy, only the very rim. The question is more of whether you can have a coiled material that when uncoiled (deployment) can return to a shape with that level of accuracy. I would think it possible, but I really don't know.

I would forsee a super-precise rim with just a small bit of light shielding on its inside, deployed via uncoiling, and then attached to a much stronger, less precise uncoiled ring to which the bulk shielding material (and stationkeeping ion thrusters) are attached. The attachment between the two would need to provide for vibration and tension isolation (even the slowest adjustments in angle of such a huge, thin shield are going to set in motion relevant vibrations, you've got almost no damping - you want the structural ring to deal with those and not transfer them through to the precision ring). Not to mention that your shield will be acting as a solar sail whether you like it or not (unless you're at L2... but then your craft better be nuclear powered).

Your telescope behind it is going to need to do some real precision stationkeeping (either extreme precision on the whole spacecraft positioning, or merely "good" positioning of the whole spacecraft plus extreme precision adjustment of the optics within) . This means long development times and costs to demonstrate that you can pull it off before you actually build the shield. But I would think that also possible - just very difficult. If they take the latter route they could probably demonstrate that here on Earth, which would be a big cost-saver.

Comment: Re:But does it matter any more? (Score 2) 141

by PopeRatzo (#48911119) Attached to: Windows 10 IE With Spartan Engine Performance Vs. Chrome and Firefox

Only if the DoJ continues to look the other way in the face of continuing flagrant Sherman act violations

If you're a fan of any current computing tech, either mobile or on the desktop, you really don't want to be bringing up Sherman Act violations.

I can't think of a single major manufacturer of PCs, mobiles, or commercial operating systems for PCs or mobiles that isn't guilty of anti-trust violations.

Comment: Re: not honest (Score 1) 349

by PopeRatzo (#48906739) Attached to: Americans Support Mandatory Labeling of Food That Contains DNA

"Safe" doesn't even have to be the issue. The issue is, why are these people so keen to make sure consumers don't know where their food comes from? Even more important, why are they so keen to make sure that consumers don't know where their food money is going?

When I buy a bag of rice or an ear of corn, I want to know whether or not my money is going to pay for a license fee for intellectual property covering a basic foodstuff. Because I would rather it did not. And for some strange reason, there is a group of people out there who believe I should not have that choice as a consumer, and they use "science" as their reason.

Comment: Re:Wow .... (Score 4, Informative) 154

by Rei (#48906547) Attached to: Scientists Determine New Way To Untangle Proteins By Unboiling an Egg

It's a two-step process. The first is a chemical that dissolves the proteins (still in their "cooked" folding), and the second is some sort of centrifuge or similar (they don't go into details on the device in the article) that subjects the proteins to very high sheer strain, effectively mechanically unfolding them so that they can then relax back into their natural state.

Not exactly a spice you can sprinkle onto your steak, but still pretty neat. :)

Comment: Re:America is HUGE (Score 2) 253

by Rei (#48904027) Attached to: Verizon, Cable Lobby Oppose Spec-Bump For Broadband Definition

That just raises another issue - why are you services and utilities so unreliable in the US? Here in Iceland we get hurricane-force winds several times a year on average - I've had gusts over Cat 5 on my land. Winter isn't incredibly cold but is super wet (all precipitation forms), windy, and lasts a long time. Up at higher altitudes you get stuff like this (yes, those are guy wires... somewhere in that mass). I lived in the US for a long time and had an average of maybe two power outages a year from downed lines and such - sometimes lasting for long periods of time. I've never once had a power outage here that was anything more than a blown breaker in my place.

It's really amazing what you all put up with - your infrastructure standards are really low.

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