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Comment: Listen in (Score 5, Informative) 205

by GlobalEcho (#47501161) Attached to: New Toyota Helps You Yell At the Kids

Among the advantages of owning a minivan is that it becomes easy to carry your own children, plus a few of their friends. You get to know those friends, and listen to your kids' conversations with them. Often, the kids sort of forget you are there and converse "normally". You gain a window into their lives at school you otherwise would never have enjoyed.

Sneaky trick: if you turn on the radio with the fader balanced toward the rear seats, the kids will speak louder without even realizing it.

Comment: Re:NASA has become small indeed... (Score 1) 108

by BZ (#47498057) Attached to: A Look At NASA's Orion Project

It's a matter of funding.

Looking at the chart at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F... and in particular the inflation-adjusted line there tells you pretty much what the story was: at the peak of the Apollo program NASA's budget was about $40 billion/year in today's dollars (the red line in that graph is in 1996 dollars). NASA's budget today is less than $18 billion/year.

Or to put it in relative-to-the-economy terms, in 1966 NASA was 4% of Federal budget expenditures. 4% of the 2013 US expenditures (actual, not requested) would be $138 billion, according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2...

I bet if you funded NASA at that level (even just the inflation-adjusted one; I understand that the overall budget structure is quite different now from what it was in 1966, so the $138 billion number is pretty much meaningless), I bet it could produce results a lot quicker than it can at current funding levels...

Space

New Class of Stars Are Totally Metal, Says Astrophysicist 119

Posted by samzenpus
from the hit-the-lights dept.
KentuckyFC writes Stars form when clouds of gas and dust collapse under their own gravity, generating enough heat and pressure to fuse the atoms inside them together. When this cloud of dust and gas is the remnants of a supernova, it can contain all kinds of heavy elements in addition to primordial hydrogen, helium and lithium. Now one astrophysicist has calculated that a recently discovered phenomenon of turbulence, called preferential concentration, can profoundly alter star formation. He points out that turbulence is essentially vortices rotating on many scales of time and space. On certain scales, the inertial forces these eddies create can push heavy particles into the calmer space between the vortices, thereby increasing their concentration. In giant clouds of interstellar gas, this concentrates heavy elements, increasing their gravitational field, attracting more mass and so on. The result is the formation of a star that is made entirely of heavy elements rather than primordial ones. Astrophysicists call the amount of heavy elements in a star its "metallicity". Including preferential concentration in the standard model of star formation leads to the prediction that 1 in 10,000 stars should be totally metal. Now the race is on to find the first of this new class of entirely metal stars.

Comment: Once past 50, you're fucked. (Score 2) 370

by caferace (#47292597) Attached to: Age Discrimination In the Tech Industry
I'm feeling this. I worked for Netscape back in the 90's. I'm considerig trimming that from my resume simply because it make me look too old-school. There is definite discrimination amongst up and coming companies. It's incredibly frustrating for me, a guy in his early 50's. I know a metric shit-ton of stuff, and especially the shortest path to get to the goal. Do I get hired, or even a reply on sending in a resume? No. My long work history stretching back to 1983 has me handcuffed.

Comment: Re:I've got a great idea! (Score 1) 89

by BZ (#47291339) Attached to: Mozilla Is Working On a Firefox OS-powered Streaming Stick

Mac OS supports shipping both 32-bit and 64-bit binaries in a single executable. That's what Firefox on Mac does.

That _is_ a viable solution on Windows, albeit with multiple executables, but it about doubles the size of the download. Unfortunately, Windows users are very sensitive to the download size for their web browsers; past experiments have shown uptake dropping rapidly as the download size increases.

Comment: Basically a toy (Score 1) 85

by GlobalEcho (#47251607) Attached to: Shawn Raymond's Tandem Bike is Shorter Than Yours (Video)

As a "real" tandem person (see here), I must say this thing looks like a toy to me. Of course, it is also far less expensive than the bikes made by serious tandem bike companies, who often make bikes with derailer and brake systems that alone cost as much as this monstrosity.

We've had our tandem going 60-70mph (down mountain roads). There's no way I would trust this thing for such riding. Maybe it is OK for some gentle cruises, but that's it. And furthermore, there's a far better design for front-stoker visibility.

/snob mode off

Comment: Table salt (Score 1) 82

by GlobalEcho (#47211661) Attached to: Biodegradable Fibers As Strong As Steel Made From Wood Cellulose

replacement for many filament materials made today from imperishable substances such as fiberglass, plastic, and metal. And all this from a substance that requires only water, wood cellulose, and common table salt to create it

I would hate to be the poor bastard in the factory whose job it is to stand there shaking the salt cellar all day.

All programmers are playwrights and all computers are lousy actors.

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