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Comment Re:Why the controversy? (Score 1) 470 470

By fuel, they are referring to reaction mass. It's that stuff you propel out of the ship in the opposite direction of the one you want to go in.
The EM Drive has nothing to do with how the electricity is generated anymore than your toaster does, though both need it to do their job.
We have many satellites that have power, mostly via solar, that have been decommissioned and deorbited because they were out of reaction mass, excluding the amount used to deorbit them. If you don't need reaction mass, that's no longer an issue.

In conventional space drive technology, you have two basic types.
One burns fuel, which becomes a hot and expansive gas that then rushes out the thrust nozzles and provides thrust in the opposite direction. It doesn't matter if it was solid or liquid before it was burned.
The other is the Ion drive, which uses electricity to ionize a reaction mass and that then shoots out the thrust nozzle and you get thrust just like the other one. The real difference is the reaction mass isn't itself burned, rather it's ionized. So it's still pretty similar.
In both cases, you have a finite amount of reaction mass, which must be expelled to provide thrust, and before it's expelled you have to use more of it just to cart around the amount that isn't yet expelled.
Think of it this way, you have an electric cart that when it's carrying nothing but itself and it's one battery, it can go 20 feet before running out of power. Well, you can't go back for more batteries after you start out, so if you want to go further, you will need to carry the extra batteries with you. Let's say you want to go 310 feet. Well, that would take a total of 16 batteries, but it's also massively increased the weight of the cart, so one battery will no longer propel it 20', but only 12'. Well crud, now you need more batteries, but that adds more weight, and of course, the need for more batteries.
Do you see the dilemma here?
Sure, we have a small advantage, that if we travel slower, we use less power, but there are limits to that other than human lifespans and patience, both of which are relatively short.
That's part of why a reactionless drive is so fantastic. It doesn't have to conserve reaction mass, so it they can do a space version of petal to the metal as much as they want, so long as they don't screw the approach vectors. Travelling with short bursts of small thrust become obsolete as you can leadfoot it like crazy, and no space cops to bust you for going over the limit. So instead of a 3000lb probe of which 2800lbs is reaction mass with only 200lb for instrumentation, you know can have an 800lb probe with maybe 600lb of instrumentation. And even better yet, it doesn't even have to be a one way trip. As long as the hardware holds out, it can come home, or even divert to other points of interest. No longer having to rely on a reaction mass is a HUGE deal.

Comment Re:Blimey (Score 4, Informative) 470 470

An ion thruster is a very efficient reaction mass based thruster,
It still has to drag all that reaction mass along, despite it's only real purpose being that it's thrown out like garbage just to provide thrust.
It takes thrust to push that reaction mass around the place, up until you actually throw it out the window, which is actually out the directed nozzle or whatever.
And what happens when you run out of reaction mass? You have no more thrust.

On the other hand, if you have a reactionless thruster, as long as you provide it with power, it will give you thrust. Slap on solar panels, or if it's a deep space mission, nuclear batteries or the like, and you are set.
As an added bonus, you can use that constant acceleration trick to really build up some speed. Something you can't do with reaction mass because you don't ever have enough, even for a tiny trip like to the moon.

Comment Re:Macs don't get viruses (Score 0, Troll) 129 129

If you believe that, you are really stupid, and probably infected already.
I've worked in the middle of mac support guys, and I've heard plenty of calls from people who's macs were infected.
It's real bozo, now stop deluding yourself.
Hopefully the forceful language will get AC to reconsider his flawed and incorrect position, but to be honest, he's probably to stupid to realize it.

Comment Again? (Score 2) 58 58

So yet again a member of a government organization has willfully engaged in Identity Theft and/or Copyright or Trademark Infringement. Will they get arrested? Of course no. Heck, they won't even get a slap on the wrist as soon as the press quiets down. I guess it doesn't matter what country it is, they seem to think the laws apply to other people.

Comment The worst. (Score 1) 617 617

It wasn't me, but a friend of mine. They had one of those ancient tape banks you see in old black and white sci-fi movies. For real. The day I was in his shop and saw it, I asked him about the antique, and he got really pissed and started venting. Apparently they had stuff on those giant tape reels, and absolutely refused to upgrade to something faster, cheaper, and more reliable, like a floppy disk for instance. To make things worse, the damn thing was so freaking slow, they had to have a special interface/buffer built, but it kept blowing out because of the massive differences. Of course, he was the poor schlub that had to try and fix the piece of archaic trash. (I had nothing to do with it, so I'm just repeating a paraphrase of his rant and take no stance on it's accuracy.)
I'm not going to tell you what organization it was that would insist on something this stupid and wasteful, but I'm pretty sure you can make a decent guess.

Comment Not a metamaterial (Score 1) 83 83

Transparent Aluminum isn't a metamaterial at all.
"Aluminium oxynitride or AlON is a ceramic composed of aluminium, oxygen and nitrogen."

Here's a link with a couple of pictures: http://dornob.com/transparent-aluminum-glass-like-see-through-metal/

Metamaterials are undeniably a cool field, but they should have chosen something that's actually a metamaterial to mention in their article, and not a normal material that is decidedly not "new".

Comment Totally sucks (Score 1) 99 99

first to be clear, ianal.
Now, you are getting screwed, and he's not going to stop because he has rabid lawyers on his side and if he doesn't "defend" his trademark, he's going to lose it.
Is he over-reaching, well as we don't know what products and trademarks are involved, we don't know but it sure sounds like it.
How do you deal with this? Like it or not, lawyers. He's the big dog, and he's after you like a pitbull on a chihuahua. You NEED a lawyer to fight back.
(That really sucks as I don't like lawyers in the first place, but the best thing to fight a lawyer is a more competent lawyer.)
He's betting you won't get a lawyer and fight back, so he gets to walk all over you, period.
Google on his side? No, someone at Google is just rubberstamping this "complaint" because it keeps them from having to deal with getting dragged into the lawyer fights. That and I bet they get a whole lot of these every single day. Have you seen how many hundreds of thousands, and rising, of copyright complaints they get each year? I'm sure they have trademark infringement claims that are equally numerous and stupid. (By numerous, in this case, I mean enough to make someone choke if that one person was told they had to process them all.)

Invalid trademark. Those are occasionally given out, like invalid patents, only more often. Far too often they assume any trademark issues of inappropriateness will end up going to court to get straightened out. That rather invalidates their position as gatekeepers tasked with preventing the bad ones getting through in the first place, but it happens. Unfortunately the only way I've ever heard of dealing with it is to hire a lawyer to fight the charges, and to force the trademarks office to put it up for review as being an invalid trademark.

So in short, ignore everything everyone on this forum says, other than go get yourself a lawyer trained in this field. (I feel dirty for saying that.)

Comment Re:over-the water use? for an ariplaine? (Score 1) 107 107

Someplace to land?
It's the fricking English Channel!
It varies from 150 miles to 20.6 miles across.
There's a different electric plane, solar powered no less, that flew over the Pacific Ocean from China to Hawaii !
That's about 4481 miles, mostly over water!
Sorry guys, but over the water thing is a weak bullshit excuse no matter how you look at it, and as to the English Channel, small potatoes at this point. The only reason why anyone cares at all is the long tradition of people crossing it in new and exciting ways. Heck, there's a whole list of people that have swam across it.

The reward of a thing well done is to have done it. -- Emerson

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