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Comment: Re:Drowning in microbeads (Score 1) 158

by meerling (#49756775) Attached to: California Votes To Ban Microbeads
Let's see, people are talking about beads under 0.2mm diameter. They aren't cubes, so they won't fully fill that space, but we'll calculate it as though they do.
471,000,000 beads a day.
To turn that into a volume we find the cube root, which in this case rounds to 778.
Now those beads spoken of here are again only 0.2mm, so that means we have to divide that 778 beads length on a side by 5 to find out it's 155.6mm.

If we convert that to inches, that means the entire 471 million beads we are talking about would equal a cube about 6.1259 inches across on each side.
That's smaller than a football, which if you didn't know, is 11 inches long.

Of course, if you remember earlier I said we'd calculate those beads as cubes because the math is easier. If we guess that they are spherical, or close enough to that volume ratio, and then we compress the resulting cube of beads down so there is not residual space (look at a jar of marbles, there's a lot of empty space in there that isn't marbles) then the cube we end up with is a bit more than half the size pre-optimization.
Of course I doubt those beads are all that uniform in shape, but it's handy to know how much you are dealing with in a form you can visualize.

Comment: Re:Sudafed (Score 4, Insightful) 333

by meerling (#49721419) Attached to: Genetically Engineered Yeast Makes It Possible To Brew Morphine
True, but for a large scale operation you are going to want to have a bioreactor for both efficiency and scale, not to mention reducing the dead giveaway large quantity of people to tend the more manual methods.
Further complication include issues with production of the new substance possibly interfering with the lifecycle of the host itself. (That's the yeast if anyone didn't get that.) And let's not forget the separation and purification of the desired product.
You do know that they use microbes to make a number of different things, such as human insulin and interferon? Just look up some of the history of those developments, and you'll get a hint of some possible difficulties. Besides, there was a market for large quantities of cheap human insulin & interferon, while the previous methods of production were horribly inefficient and could never even come close to the demand.
I'm going to hazard a guess that the criminal cartels would be opposed to this technology because it would be more expensive to the them to set up, would require workers of a higher skill & training, would cut out entire chunks of their existing structure, and would be easily capable of flooding the market and suppressing prices.
Besides, other than banning the opiate producing strain, which only takes one leak to effectively neutralize that ban, what are you going to do? Ban genetically altered strains of microbes, and tobacco? Sorry, but I'd rather shoot the asshole that tries to do that, my life depends on one of those products, and so do a LOT of other peoples. Maybe you just want to ban the research into making illegal products. That would be a little better, but still futile. Eventually it will be easy enough to do that a talented high school student will someday succeed. Additionally, if it's not banned worldwide, someone will eventually do it someplace it's not illegal, and then there is the distinct possibility that it will get loose.
Of course, there is still something people are not looking at, their strain produces morphine, a controlled, but legal, substance. Yeah, it can be turned into heroin, but so can all the legal morphine which is usually made from FLOWERS that people grow! It's used in medicine. I was once in a hospital ward and I was the only patient not receiving morphine. (The reason for that doesn't matter.) So there IS a legal trade in the product produced by that yeast, but because it can be used to make an illegal one, some people want to ban it. You know, that's not a wise path to tread upon. If something can be banned because something illegal can be made from/with it, how long until everything is banned? You know politicians, give them an inch, and they'll run you over with your own vehicle and drag you a mile down the road.

Comment: Re:Happy and sad news (Score 1) 49

by meerling (#49703155) Attached to: Planetary Society Wants To Launch a Crowd-Funded Solar Sail
Why, because you don't agree with scientific exploration? It's a real world proof of concept and will give a real basis to build upon this technology and technique. Besides, those 3 cubesats in it are more than just com systems, though the data from even that has some value. As far as satellites and probes go, this is small and cheap, so it's bang for the buck is better than most.

"bureaucrats" ...
You mean the old sods that can't figure out the value of anything other than bribes, err, campaign contributions, and pork, err, vote buying by spending money on local though dubious projects? Yeah, that means nothing. In case you haven't noticed, our current crop of politicians are lucky they can read.

not a meaningful "experiment"
Great, just tell me what the actual acceleration it would achieve is, and what all the data it's other sensors (whatever those will be) will send back, and I'll accept that statement of yours. You can't? Well of course not, that's why we do these kinds of things. We can make mathematical models and analyze those all we want, but until we get realworld data, we just don't know if there's anything else out there to mess with the results. Did you know there has been anomalous thrust on the pioneer and voyager probes? Funny how we would have no idea something like that could happen until we actually sent those probes for real. By the way, they are still studying that data, and they think they've figured that mystery out, but it's not up to the whole seven sigmas thing yet.

NASA does not waste its limited budget
I'm glad you recognize NASAs budget limitations and understand that at the current funding levels and lack of appropriate launch vehicles they can't even keep up with their current orbital responsibilities. You do know that our network of both communication, weather, and GPS satellites is in poor repair and greatly in need of new satellites? Well it's true.

Are you worried that all this research and exploration of space has no apparent benefit to us? Well let's put it this way, it has been reported that less than 2 measly centuries ago, early pioneers of electricity were ask of what use electricity had. At that time, they just didn't know. These days, you probably can't imagine living without it.

Comment: Re:I already feel the smell of a GoogleGlass failu (Score 2) 227

Virtual Boy didn't fail because people don't want VR or immersive tech, but rather because the hardware used had serious issues. It was heavy, expensive, dorky, and the display was basically a lot of low res RED pixels. Just red. It was horrible. I wouldn't pay 50 cents for one new.
Now mind you, I'm not saying that Occulus will succeed, just that if you are going to choose an example to back up your claim that people don't want VR, try to chose something that wasn't an obvious failure to begin with. For example, if you want to claim people don't like hamburgers, don't use the teriyaki & mustard maggot burger as an example of why people don't want hamburgers.

Comment: Re:More hoops before travelling through USA (Score 1) 200

You could also write a script to make a ton of garbage files filled with random characters. That should make a paranoid 3-letter creep get a hard on when they see it, and lose all their hair over the next several weeks as they try to decrypt these obviously encrypted files.

Comment: Re:It was an app on a WORK-Issued Phone! (Score 2) 776

24/7 on call isn't the same as having an alien tracking probe in your anus like cartman.
Though it sounds like this "employer" seems to think they can do whatever they want, including that.
A school has already gotten in trouble for intruding on students outside of school time through monitoring software on the laptops, so this company is most likely going to get a nasty slap from the judge.

Comment: Re:Not yet statistically significant (Score 1) 408

Actually autonomous cars have several selling points, despite not being "for sale" yet.

sell′ing point`
a feature that appeals or is expected to appeal to prospective buyers.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.

And on the seventh day, He exited from append mode.