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Comment And the age of the sun is? (Score 3, Insightful) 143

How does this affect or is affected by our estimates of the age of the Sun and Solar System?

As far as I understand, the best guide we have of the age of the Solar System is rocks on Earth used to estimate the age of Earth.

How much extra time would be required for this supposed possibility of the inner planets forming after the gas giants sweeping in and back out?

What tests could be done with rocks from Callisto or Ganymede to constrain the age of the Solar System?

Comment Re:Oh dear god..... (Score 3, Interesting) 339

The mass of a Dyson Sphere of carbon with a radius equal to the orbit of Ceres that is 1 millimeter thick turns out to be...


slightly less than the mass of Earth.

And that's using the density of solid carbon. You could probably get a sphere out past Saturn's radius switching to a fancy aerogel or something.

And with "all material of our solar system" at "one atom thick"...

With that we'd get a Dyson sphere with radius a third the way to Alpha Centauri.

Ummm... about that remark of estimatory prowess...

Comment Re:For one, synergy... (Score 2) 128

The one thing missing in this description is requirements for and/or support of networking.

I've wrestled with stuff like this. I agree with all folk suggesting VNC, RDP and the like. If these can meet the need, then I bet the end experience will be better. Cheap KVM switches suck.

But, there's one simple thing that can render this unsuitable: VPN requirements. Several VPN clients are designed to shut off all other networking while initiating the VPN session. This will kill all these solutions that depend on local networking. So if one or more of his machines are essentially used to access separate VPNs, he really may be stuck with KVM-like solutions.

If this is the case, there may be one other solution. I was very pleased when my company switched VPN clients and I could finally have concurrent networking. I ditched my KVM switch. Now they're switching VPN clients again and supposedly the laptop will be locked down again. The solution here is to switch to a VM on said laptop and run the VPN client from within the VM. Now that we're going VM though, why even turn on the laptop? Well, if you will need to travel, you do want the laptop ready to go. So, keep the VM on the laptop. But for the OP, with just one laptop, I have to wonder if one of these desktops couldn't be folded into a VM on the second.

Comment Re:Neutrino Radiation (Score 1) 191

The other problem they had with the muon accelerator proposals which Fermilab looked at a while ago was the lethal amounts of neutrino radiation from muons decaying

I don't know where you got this from but it's not even remotely plausible. A muon beam intense enough to produce lethal levels of neutrinos would be intense enough to burn a hole through the Earth, and would have killed everyone via perfectly ordinary Bremsstralhung radiation long before neutrinos came into play.

Comment Re:LOTR (Score 2) 167

First of all, plenty of people actually did do just that. That is, several novels were written by various authors based on their own experiences in a role playing game.

Indeed, not only do we have a number of books and series of the vanilla fantasy type which credit their role-playing group and friends for the genesis of the story, we also have a slew of books which overtly involve people crossing from the "normal" world into their role-playing or fantasy world.

Everything depends on what someone means or wants when they talk about translating D&D to a movie. If you want a fantasy story, then the reference to tolkein and the recent six movies was incredibly appropriate. The entire fantasy genre owes a heavy debt to Tolkein, including all fantasy RPGs.

But to extend this thought, as others have stated, by now (decades later) there are TONS more sources to draw upon to create good Fantasy movies. Why try to blow the dust off a 30-year old script?

If instead you want a movie about teenagers playing D&D, you've got an entirely different challenge to create a compelling script, especially one that is believable, realistic and appeals to a broad audience.

How about a movie that spends the first hour with character generation? Or rage-quits? Or endless arguments about what WOULD be possible in the game-world? Or arguments about the difference between what the PLAYER knows vs. what the CHARACTER would know? (you know... where the GM argues the fireball is volume-based; so cast in cramped quarters would end up frying the party while the player argues the mage would have known that!)

Comment Constant mistrust (Score 1) 108

The photo thing here is an interesting twist here.

But this attack vector seems to require the end-user to authorize things a number of times along the way. As stated in the article the real problem/danger is folk willy-nilly installing apps from heaven knows who.

I wonder if/when these things will simply never unlock the device. Just keep asking for more money. Or unlock it lock it again for no reason randomly in the future.

We seem to have reached a strange point with communications technology. We're barraged by blatant fraud from all sides. Nuisance and scam calls on the phones. Nonsense via SMS. Tons of spam to the email. Junk-mail and endless scams via snail-mail. Now fraudulent "we're the FEDS/IRS" via these goofy apps or websites.

We're being trained to trust nothing.

Comment Re:What does that mean? (Score 3, Interesting) 111


This is yet another product entering an ever-crowding field. This does not at all seem "new".

And it may not even be "better" or "cheaper" than the alternatives already available for purchase today.

Having said that, I'm more than happy to see this field growing. I find it hilarious we're getting to the point where shipping itself is possibly greater than product price for a "computer".

I'm having all sorts of fun with my Single-Board-Computers. I grabbed a couple (BananaPro) initially to act as simple TFTP servers with a bit of capacity for backup. I am still in an experimental phase to some degree but have started a soaking phase where part of the home network is dependent upon them. I've far surpassed my initial plans. At the moment I have this pair of SBCs working together as a High Availability cluster serving LTSP to clients. I'm typing from one of stations "soaking".

Submission + - Chinese Celebrate Their Country's Loss in Math Olympiad (cnn.com)

hackingbear writes: While American politicians, for their own political marketing images, pitch more math and science to children and parents and the U.S. eventually won the 2015 International Math Olympiad (with half of the team descendants of Chines or Indian,) many in China celebrates their country's loss in the competition after country had won 19 times in the past. To them, losing the Olympiad offers hope that painful, nightmarish years spent studying for the contest could finally be over. Chinese students often start paying for expensive math Olympiad training in elementary school on the motivation that winners of math Olympiads receiving bonus points in school entrance exams, a policy some provinces have taken steps to eliminate since last year. "The question we should ask is why we don't have great mathematicians in China," Yang Dongping, the director of a education think-tank asked and answer, "Not many of our math champions continued to study math — many left academia for Wall Street."

Submission + - UK Develop The World's First Negative Emission Power Plant (sijutech.com)

Sepa Blackforesta writes: A new coal fired power station is being developed by Drax in the UK, that would be the first new coal fired power station to be switched on. A power station that delivers negative emissions is the paragon of excellence that all sustainable energy ventures should aspire to emulate.

Submission + - No Immunity For Cops Who Sent A SWAT Team To A 68-Year-Old Woman's House (techdirt.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Earlier this year, we covered the story of Louise Milan, a 68-year-old grandmother whose house was raided by a SWAT team (accompanied by a news crew) searching for someone who had made alleged threats against police officers over the internet. Part of the probable cause submitted for the warrant was Milan's IP address.

But the police made no attempt to verify whether any resident of Milan's house made the threats and ignored the fact that the IP address was linked to an open WiFi connection.

Submission + - Def Con: Hacker Shows How to "Kill" Anyone (securityweek.com) 1

wiredmikey writes: Hackers the Def Con gathering in Las Vegas on Friday got schooled in how to be online killers. A rush to go digital with the process of registering deaths has made it simple for maliciously minded folks to have someone who is alive declared dead by the authorities.

"This is a global problem," Australian computer security specialist Chris Rock said as he launched a presentation titled "I Will Kill You."

Submission + - You can't audit voting machines in Kansas

Geoffrey.landis writes: A statistician discovered evidence of suspicious counting on voting machines in Kansas. The voting machines keep a paper trail for verification... but her request to examine the record of votes is being blocked with the explanation that no one, not even the election officials, is allowed to see it.

According to the Washington Post "The voting machines that Sedgwick County uses have a paper record of the votes, known as Real Time Voting Machine Paper Tapes... . Since the software is proprietary, even elections officials can’t examine it and postelection audits can’t be done, according to Pamela Smith, president of Verified Voting Foundation".

Even the Kansas papers editorialize that this is going too far. More evidence that the software used in voting machines should never be proprietary.

Submission + - Origin of meteor showers highlighted for upcoming Perseids

StartsWithABang writes: In 1833, the regular Leonid meteor shower became spectacular, with 1000 meteors per hour creating a meteor storm. For the next 32 years, the Leonids were normal and quiet again, but in 1866, another storm appeared. John Couch Adams, the British astronomer who failed to find Neptune, correctly surmised where meteor showers came from, a picture that's been spectacularly confirmed for all known meteor showers, including this week's coming Perseids!

Submission + - Congressional Black Caucus Begs Apple for its 'Trade Secret' Racial Data

theodp writes: In Silicon Valley this week with other members of the Congressional Black Caucus to turn up the heat on the tech industry to hire more African Americans, Rep. Barbara Lee called on Apple and other holdouts among the nation's tech companies to release federal data on the diversity of their work forces. "If they believe in inclusion," said Lee, "they have to release the data so the public knows that they are being transparent and that they are committed to doing the right thing." Apple has refused to make public the EEO-1 data that it routinely supplies to the U.S. Dept. of Labor on the demographics of their workers. In the absence of the race and gender data, which Apple and others historically argued were 'trade secrets' that were not subject to release Freedom of Information requests, tech companies were free to make unchecked claims about their Black employee ranks (Google's 2007 Congressional testimony) until recent disclosures revealed otherwise, and the National Science Foundation was even convinced to redirect NSF grant money specifically earmarked for getting African American boys into the computer science pipeline to a PR campaign for high school girls of all colors and economic backgrounds.

Machines take me by surprise with great frequency. - Alan Turing