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Comment Re: Reservations re Hawking radiation (Score 1) 82

Physics has an answer for how hawking radiation (the emissions caused by half of a virtual partial pair escaping from the event horizon) relates to energy of the local environment. Using thermodynamics, you can calculate the 'temperature' of a black hole, and by comparing this value with the temperature of the cosmic microwave background (3.3 kelvin, if I remember correctly) it predicts if the black hole is losing mass net energy to virtual particles over time. The math works out that larger black holes are 'colder'; they absorb more energy from the CMB than they emit. Most super massive black holes will survive for billions of years until the universe cools down.

Comment Re:Well (Score 1) 594

It takes a significant amount of extra energy to push through the lower atmosphere thanks to air resistance, so starting a burn at higher altitudes is ideal. In addition, acting as a plane allows the atmosphere itself to act as your propellent, further improving efficiency. Throw in the improved maneuverability on landing and you could guess why engineers would like a space plane design to work.

Comment Re:Workforce vs. number served (Score 2) 720

This does reduce the workforce, nothing was stopping mcdonalds from implementing an order here - pay there system with two employees. Isn't that exactly how drive throughs work? It may not have been economical to do so, as people who walk into your restaurant probably have the extra time to spare.

Comment Re:Too bad... (Score 2) 610

Actually the peer reviewed science shows that nuclear energy has no net energy return. What this means is every dollar spent on nuclear energy is wasted. The study uses industrial standards for process measurement as a basis.

The site you linked to is bunk. They're using the 2nd law of thermodynamics to argue against mined resources. Let's see what they say: "From the Second Law follows that the generated amount of useful energy from mineral energy sources is insufficient to compensate for its coupled entropy generation, even if all useful energy would applied to that purpose." It's not possible for uranium mining to decrease entropy in the universe, so obviously it's not economically viable! You could say the same thing for breathing.

Comment Re:Have the solutions converged? (Score 1) 77

Based on the resolution increase, and the difference in computing power that was needed to provide that increase, we can make a few assumptions about their algorithm. There was an increase in computing power of 2.88 times, which achieved a better predictive resolution of 16 times. This tells us that they are calculating differences based on the perimeters of their smallest resolution. Create a square on paper, call each edge 8 miles. Now divide that square into 2 mile subsections. The increase in edges you need to do this (4 vs. 10, or 2.5 times more) corresponds nicely with the 2.88 increase in computational power. This implies that the news systems are likely running the exact same model as the old ones, except with a greater contour density.

Comment Re:Memorization, or attention to detail? (Score 1) 123

I wouldn't be too surprised. Evolution as a tuning process is very effective, but it has issues about getting stuck in just-effective-enough configurations. We evolved to be fairly intelligent, but the body is clearly programmed for using less food energy than is currently available in modern times. There has been some speculative research linking the domestication of fire to increased brain mass. This isn't because larger brains meant we were smart enough to figure out fire, but instead because fire allowed us to digest more foods efficiently, increasing the nutrients our brains could use. Modern agriculture is another jump in nutritional availability, but our bodies haven't adapted to this yet. There could potentially be an extremely effective but inefficient neurochecmical pathway which evolution discarded because conserving energy was the strongest selective pressure, and the alternatives were simply good enough.

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