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Comment: Re:Why no cells in the lab yet? (Score 1) 115

by nbritton (#46788543) Attached to: NASA Proposes "Water World" Theory For Origin of Life

Because proteins are incredibly more complex then base amino acids. The Ribonuclease protein is the simplest protein that we know of, and can be considered the most basic building block of a cell. It is made from 124 amino acids, the first one in the strand being Lysine, and there are 17 different amino acids in this protein. The only process we know of that can produce proteins are proteins, i.e. RNA and DNA transcription. We haven't yet figured out how to bootstrap this process, much less produce synthetic proteins that can transcribe proteins from biological code. This is akin to a compiler, and we're nowhere near this level of complexity or understanding.

Comment: Re:NASA Proposes "Water World" Theory For Origin o (Score 1) 115

by nbritton (#46788235) Attached to: NASA Proposes "Water World" Theory For Origin of Life

Who's to say that we even exist [outside of our universe]? The fact is we assume we exist in absolute terms. However, this reality could be nothing more then some mathematical construct in a sea of infinite probabilities and random chaos. If the universe is 14 billion years old, and the earth is 4.5 billion years, and the human race is 2.5 million years old, then it's probably reasonable to conclude that the realm outside the universe (i.e. unbound probability) has existed for at least 7 trillion years. If that kind of time has elapsed, and I believe it has, the infinite monkey theorem can easily explain how we came about, and further explain that we only exist in relative terms. I don't think the origin of the universe can ever be proven, but we can certainly come up with an answer that conforms with science and logical reasoning.

Comment: Re:Servers are for applications... (Score 1) 289

by nbritton (#46779739) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: System Administrator Vs Change Advisory Board

If we're talking about enterprise linux, if the system administrator does a point upgrade from say RHEL 6.4 to 6.5, and a 3rd party application breaks, it's because the application developers or application administrator screwed up. The API and ABI doesn't change between releases, this is the reason why the latest release of RHEL still uses a 5 year old kernel.

As an enterprise linux administrator, with 15 years of experience, I believe this level of change management is a boondoggle. Applying RHEL update packages in an la a carte fashion is precisely what creates system instability, and setting aside kernel updates, all RHEL patches must be applied. When I setup new RHEL servers I enable automatic updates; development and testing are set to update daily, preproduction is set to weekly, and production is set to update monthly. Kernel updates are the only thing done under the supervision of an administrator, this is to ensure systems come back up after reboot and 3rd party kernel modules get updated.

Updates to 3rd party software are what should go through the change management process.

Comment: Re:McGuffey's 4th New Eclectic Reader:"The Colonis (Score 1) 733

by nbritton (#46738359) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Are You Apocalypse-Useful?

"The chemicals and equipment make it more economical and profitable but you are greatly underestimating the knowledge and abilities of farmers. Most of them would have little difficulty getting successful crops using old fashioned methods. They know very well how to do it with readily available fertilizers and labor."

You're forgetting the fact that farmers need electricity to run the water pumps to irrigate the feeds. Those in the arid southwest are screwed. Also I'd like to see you harvest 3000 acres without a combine, there will in fact be a major food shortage if farmers don't have fuel to power their equitment.

Comment: Re:Medical doctor (Score 2) 733

by nbritton (#46738313) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Are You Apocalypse-Useful?

You don't even need diodes because there is a rectifier, and usually a voltage regulator, built right into the alternator. Connect it to a steam engine, and a battery to prime the field coil, and your good to go, most alternators generate about 60 ~ 100 amps @ 13.8 ~ 14.2 volt DC. You can wire the DC output from multiple alternators in parallel for more amperage.

You would also have solar, wind, and water power that you can use to charge a battery bank, 12 volt batteries would become a hot commodity in a post apocalyptic world. DC would be king, AC would be hard to generate because it will be difficult to sync multiple generators so the phases don't cancel each other out, the AC output on automotive alternators is 3 phase.

A computer power supply typically only needs -12, +12, +5, and +3.3 volts DC. In theory, you could rig two alternators in series to generate -12 and +12 volts with a common ground, this would also give you 24 volts across the terminals. You can produce all the voltages by simply MacGyvering a computer power supply, since they all have DC-DC converters.

According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics for 2009, there are 254 million registered passenger vehicles in the U.S. alone, and the U.S. population is 313 million. That's almost enough for every person to have one, I like those odds. That's enough power to keep the lights on at night.

Comment: What about liquid hydrogen powered aircraft? (Score 1) 256

by nbritton (#46705897) Attached to: Navy Creates Fuel From Seawater

It seems to me that if you're on a nuclear powered aircraft carrier, you would have, for all intents and purposes, an unlimited supply of electriciy to convert sea water into hydrogen and oxygen, and also the ability to compress those gases into liquid form so they can be used as fuel for aircraft. Furthermore, it would seem to me that using Brown's gas (HHO) in a jet engine would be an ideal source of fuel, by mass, liquid hydrogen has an energy density of 143 MJ/kg.

With unlimited electricity you can also convert carbon dioxide into carbon monoxide, and at that point you can react carbon monoxide and hydrogen together using the Fischer–Tropsch process to produce synthetic jet fuel.

Alternatively, you could simply use hydrogen for hydrogen assisted jet ignition, which improves the combustion efficiency of traditional fuels. Additionally, liquid hydrogen can also be used as a coolant for very high speed planes, i.g. the SR-71.

Comment: Re:Bad figures (Score 0) 226

by nbritton (#46683985) Attached to: Should Microsoft Give Kids Programmable Versions of Office?

Yeah, 1,000,000,000 lines of code. And it takes 9 women just 1 month to create 1 baby.

Actually It does take 9 women just 1 month to create 1 baby. In 1 month the baby's DNA is fully fleshed out, so for the 8 other months the mother is just acting as an incubator. The human genome is about 3.2 million base pairs, so 9 women should be able to produce 28.8 billion lines of code in one month.

Life is difficult because it is non-linear.