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Comment: Mission accomplished (Score 5, Insightful) 98

by photonic (#46961489) Attached to: SpaceX Injunction Dissolved
I don't think Elon expected to win that easy, but look how much publicity he got for filing a simple claim and getting a temporary injunction. He got to say a few times how they are 4x cheaper than the old guys, that might be remembered by some press and politicians the next time there is a big contract up for grabs.

Comment: Similar incident in Italy (Score 1) 211

by photonic (#46951919) Attached to: Feds Issue Emergency Order On Crude Oil Trains
There was a similar incident in Viareggio 5 years ago: a train carrying LPG derailed and crashed into a platform in the center of town during the night. The resulting explosion killed 32 people and destroyed a whole block of houses. In this case it was LPG, not crude oil, so I guess a tiny leak would have been enough to cause problems. You would have to make the tanks extremely strong to prevent that. And there is even other dangerous goods, there were some nasty accidents with trains carrying chlorine, which doesn't need fire to kill people.

Comment: tin foil hat (Score 4, Funny) 245

by photonic (#46876531) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Back Up Physical Data?

Since having this nightmare, I've exported my phone's VCF file to an online repo, made online notes of all my bank account numbers and passport ID, I keep ICE numbers with me at all times (separate from phone/wallet), and I've hidden a spare mobile phone and house key in a box in a nearby field. But there must be more to do!

I think the only thing left to do is buying loads of a aluminium foil.

Comment: Bloody rocket dealerships (Score 5, Funny) 176

by photonic (#46843891) Attached to: SpaceX Files Suit Against US Air Force
It is about time that the FTC steps in and allows SpaceX to sell their rockets directly to the Air Force. Blame the rich local rocket dealerships, we corrupted their local politicians to create laws that are only designed to maintain their business model of selling old fashioned rockets. What people in the street want is to buy a next generation rocket, directly from the Internet, without having to talk to one of those sleazy rocket salesman. I am getting confused, you were saying Elon?
The Military

Former US Test Site Sues Nuclear Nations For Disarmament Failure 165

Posted by samzenpus
from the keep-your-bombs-to-yourself dept.
mdsolar (1045926) writes "The tiny Pacific republic of the Marshall Islands, scene of massive U.S. nuclear tests in the 1950s, sued the United States and eight other nuclear-armed countries on Thursday, accusing them of failing in their obligation to negotiate nuclear disarmament. The Pacific country accused all nine nuclear-armed states of 'flagrant violation of international law' for failing to pursue the negotiations required by the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. It filed one suit specifically directed against the United States, in the Federal District Court in San Francisco, while others against all nine countries were lodged at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, capital of the Netherlands, a statement from an anti-nuclear group backing the suits said. The action was supported by South African Nobel Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation said."

Comment: Re:Tracking` (Score 2) 233

by photonic (#46668445) Attached to: Most Expensive Aviation Search: $53 Million To Find Flight MH370
Data charges would be much less than that, $20 extra per ticket would be unacceptably high. Some spokesman for Inmarsat (who obviously has a big interest in making permanent data connections mandatory) said that data costs for such a flight would be on the order of 1$/hour for the whole aircraft. Data rates should also be pretty low, 1 GPS coordinate per minute would have helped enormously for both the AirFrance and MalaysiaAirlines crashes, the detailed high-bandwidth data you can always get from the black box if you can find it.

Comment: Re:Part of this is a late April fools joke. (Score 4, Interesting) 364

by photonic (#46638701) Attached to: Your Car Will Tell You How To Hit the Next Green Light
True story: The lecturer that taught us general relativity at university was a fantastic guy that was also pretty good at drawing cartoons. For one of the questions on the final exam, he drew a scene of a guy being stopped by a policeman: "I am stopping you for crossing the red light." "I saw it as green, I swear officer." "Fine, then I will write you a ticket for speeding." The question was to calculate the speed of the car, given the wavelengths of green and red light and the velocity of light.

Comment: Re:Forbit all HFT (Score 1) 246

contribute to society except for profit for themselves

Your opinion, fortunately we aren't slaves to one person's opinion as to what is valuable "to society". I am sure all the employees, their families, children, dogs, etc. of the HFTs, producers of all the networking and computing gear they use, the buildings and home they inhabit, the doctors they visit, and so on, might disagree with you about the lack of contribution to society.

That is a bad argument: People making money with organized crime spend money on employees, family and goods too, but that does not make it a good thing. If the HFT people would not be skimming billions of dollars from the market, millions of people might have received 100$ more since their pension fund would have done slightly better, and they would have spent it the same. What did the HFT contribute to society to rip off all those people?

Comment: Forbit all HFT (Score 3, Interesting) 246

HFT should be banned, there is nothing these robo-traders contribute to society except for profit for themselves. The argument that they provide for liquidity of the market, or whatever, would not change if everyone would be trading at second scale instead of microsecond scale. My proposal (as someone how knows nothing about stock markets): make it a level playing field and only allow trading at say exact 30 second intervals or so, which should be synced world-wide. In this way, the big firms would only have an advantage over the small guy when new information becomes available in the last half second before the deadline, instead of on every instance of new information. After everyone has placed their orders for the current round, the stock market then takes a few seconds to update all stock prizes, after which everyone has 'infinite time' to compute his action for the next round.

Comment: Re:Jumping the gun (Score 3, Informative) 194

Scientist are still analyzing the data of ESA's Planck satellite, with first results expected in October this year. This instrument is supposedly sensitive enough to confirm or reject BICEP's results. I guess Planck's team must feel pretty depressed that the potential big discovery of their 700 MEuro instrument is scooped by the relatively small-scale BICEP experiment.

Comment: Indirect measurement of gravitational waves (Score 5, Informative) 269

by photonic (#46507967) Attached to: Big Bang's Smoking Gun Found
Note that this the second indirect evidence for the existence of gravitational waves, the first one was the orbital decay of a binary system that included a pulsar, discovered by Hulse and Taylor (Nobel Prize 1993). Today's result, if confirmed, seems pretty spectacular, and might be rewarded with a second Nobel Prize. For a first direct detection of gravitational waves, we have to wait for first detections by LIGO, Virgo and eLISA.

Comment: Re:Resonant Detector (Score 1) 70

by photonic (#46487033) Attached to: The Earth As a Gravitational Wave Detector
The LISA project has a long history, with several iterations of down-sizing its costs, and at some point the Americans pulled out of the project completely. The latest version of the project is called ELISA, which was recently approved as ESA's L3 mission in 2034. A bit late, but better than nothing ...

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