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Comment: Re:Ridiculous! (Score 1) 590

by mtpaley (#47462093) Attached to: Marvel's New Thor Will Be a Woman
Looking at the original link http://www.themarysue.com/marv... they are redefining Thor as the being that holds Mjölnir. Which is tough on the demigod Thor who happened to be the wielder of Mjölnir. They do seem to have confused Mjölnir and Thor but I am sure this is entirely deliberate and I am equally sure that nobody really cares. Comic books take religion/mythology and rework it as seems commercially appropriate but this one does seem to be gratuitous - they could have used a generic costumed superhero where retirement and replacement is normal (Watchmen) but replacing immortal(ish) gods is a bit much.

Comment: Failure modes. (Score 1) 307

by mtpaley (#47183479) Attached to: GM Names and Fires Engineers Involved In Faulty Ignition Switch
If you buy a car then you are buying a complex machine with many failure modes. There is a huge business dedicated to saying that these failure modes are due to human failure or engineering oversight. Both are possible but the human element dominates - at a guess for every mechanical/software failure there are at least 100 human failures. The insurance industry loves this kind of issue. I suspect that when safe computer controlled cars become practical the insurers are going to be a issue.

Comment: Temptation to just fix it in the background (Score 1) 307

by mtpaley (#47183339) Attached to: GM Names and Fires Engineers Involved In Faulty Ignition Switch
If you are responsible for a subsystem and you discover a potential fault then the temptation to quietly fix it in future versions and not worry about the 'probably OK' past is huge. This is human nature but the company needs to have schemes in place to allow people to say that something is wrong without worrying about being sacked.

Comment: Re:Hope you've got a big mixer (Score 1) 157

by mtpaley (#46305709) Attached to: Safety Measures Fail To Stop Fukushima Plant Leaks
Quote from the linked article "These findings point to an increase of up to two orders of magnitude – a hundredfold- in concentrations of strontium-90 in the sea, with respect to the background values for this part of the Pacific before the Fukushima accident". I am guessing that the background levels of strontium-90 are going to be minute, I am impressed that it is even detectable, this feels like a 100 times almost nothing is still almost nothing.

Comment: Re:NIF was really for weapons research (Score 1) 143

by mtpaley (#46279317) Attached to: What Would You Do With the World's Most Powerful Laser?
Sharks with frikkin' lasers are old school. Be afraid of carp with particle beams! And I know that the real purpose of the NIF is bomb research but as a side effect it is still a good physics experiment. The only worry is that the results are always going to be filtered by security concerns so some results are going to vanish - this makes it trickier to use as a source of data but still good (rose tinted glasses? I hope not).

Comment: Excellent tool for high density+temperature plasma (Score 1) 143

by mtpaley (#46261153) Attached to: What Would You Do With the World's Most Powerful Laser?
IMHO the NIF is a excellent tool in researching the properties of ultra dense materials be they fusable or not and is up there with CERN as a high energy physics lab and it covers bulk phenomena that CERN can never touch. I expect papers on Rayleigh–Taylor instability, neutron absorption cross sections and tests on the theoretical reaction probabilities/speeds of H,D fusion. But (and you all knew I was about to say that) this is a research tool on the subjects I just mentioned and many others not a step towards a fusion power source. This is a excellent research tool and I fully support it - just don't think of it as a proto-proto-proto type fusion power plant.

Comment: In flight trash selling (Score 1) 366

by mtpaley (#46222129) Attached to: House Committee Approves Bill Banning In-Flight Phone Calls
Personally I cant stand the long adverts at insane volumes pushed down the PA system of planes. Loads of 'buy our gifts' and 'this is our hire car partner' sometimes in several languages so this can go on for 10 minutes. Why is it always blasted out at ear bleeding volume? I would prefer phones, at least then you can complain to the noisy person and at least have a theoretical chance of peace.

There is no royal road to geometry. -- Euclid

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