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Comment: save the space station first! (Score 1) 71

by peter303 (#47417215) Attached to: Buzz Aldrin Pressures Obama For New Space Exploration Initiative
In Bush's original terminiation of the space shuttle program the US was supposed have a shuttle replacement by this year. Now the earliest is 2018 with some suspecting more like 2021 or so. The recession and tea party politics stretched out replacement spending programs. NASA has order Soyuz seats through 2017 at a very high price. Russian factories need a three year advance order to build new capsules and rockets.

The rated lifetime of the ISS somewhere between 2020 and 2030. Russia is not committing past 2020 due to neo-cold war politics. A catstophic failure like that of the solar panel position bearings a few years back could end the ISS because there isnt launch capacity for large replacements. The tea party faction in the US is blah toward the space program and ISS too.

Comment: mystery where most anthropengic CO2 goes (Score 3, Interesting) 190

by peter303 (#47350225) Attached to: NASA Launching Satellite To Track Carbon
Less than half what humans create in hydrocarbon buring and cement making stays in the atmosphere. The ocean is suspected as the major sink, as it turns into something like soda. A more active plant biopshere could be another sink.

Furthermore we dont know all the non-human sources. Is there a significant amount being released from melting permafrost marshes? Some onsite studies suggest the possibility. Volcanoes, melting sedimate methane hydrates too. This satellite could help constrain unkown sources and sinks.

The resuting data is likely to fuel both pro and anti AGW factions. A significant group prefers not to know whatis happening at all and blocked these kind of satellites in the 1990s and 2000s. I wish to know what is happening.

Comment: same species, different race (Score 1) 151

by peter303 (#47324051) Attached to: Neanderthals Ate Their Veggies
Species means you cannot have fertile interbreeding. But we could and did interbreed. Up to 5% of European and Asian genes are neadertal.

As discoveries accumlate it looks more and more like neadertal did most of same cultural things as homo double-sapiens: composite tools, fire, language, art, clothing, etc. The degree of culture may have been different.

It also appears neadertal had larger and more complex brains than double-sapiens.

Comment: Colorado has about a 25% error rate (Score 3, Interesting) 128

by peter303 (#47297523) Attached to: Prisoners Freed After Cops Struggle With New Records Software
An audit found this after the murder of Corrections Chief a couple years ago by someone let out early. The error rate is mostly due the complexity of readjusting sentences for new infractions in prison and good behavior credit. The errors are both longer and shorter.

Comment: Paul Asente's Stanford masters project (Score 3, Informative) 204

by peter303 (#47271653) Attached to: X Window System Turns 30 Years Old
Paul and his adviser, whom I forget, wrote it in the early 1980s at Stanford. MIT liked it and decided to manage its development. It was after Xerox Parc and Apollos distributed graphics system, but before Sun, Apple and MicroSoft. Following Unix's minimalist toolkit naming convention "X" was the command stream and "W" the display api. Our Stanford computer joined in at version #5 on a VAX. It was commercially supperted around version 10 by DEC and Sun. And "froze" at version 11, going into 2nd and 3rd digit numbering after that.

There was always the intent to make it objected-oriented, hence the tootlkit kludge called Motif. The early 80s was in flux over OO languages Xerox MESA, way-to-slow Smalltalk, ObjectPascal, etc. C++ and ObjectiveC wouldnt be around for a few more years.

Comment: I taught myself programming and did fine (Score 1) 293

by peter303 (#47245411) Attached to: Average HS Student Given Little Chance of AP CS Success
Many good software engineers I know did the same. I passed throught the educational system before a lot of this material was distilled into coursework. With all the public resources out there now- half the MOOCs are on CS topics- its even easier for a motivated person to learn things than when I did. I wish people would stop whining about education.

Comment: quite a rapid flyby (Score 5, Interesting) 47

In order to get the probe there in the career lifetimes of the investigators and minimize decay of the power source and instruments, this probe has the fastest velocity of any probe so far. It took only eight hours to pass the Moon's orbit. That gives it about a three day window to make measurements before heading off into the Kuiper belt (and 2nd plutoid if they can find one soon).

Comment: Re:So how old then? (Score 2) 98

Some isotopic ages are accurate to four decimal places. Sixity million years is the third decimal place.

The moon-out-Earth hypothesis is the predominate lunar creation hypothesis these days for several reasons. But an unusually old mineral on the Moon or Earth could void that hypothesis. thats part of the reason scientists are always checking.

FORTUNE'S FUN FACTS TO KNOW AND TELL: A guinea pig is not from Guinea but a rodent from South America.