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Comment: OMG - matti makkonen .fi sms pioneer dead (Score 1) 8 8

by Rei (#50018263) Attached to: SMS Co-Inventor Matti Makkonen Dead At 63

A more appopriate version of the BBC's article:

OMG - matti makkonen .fi sms pioneer dead!!!
WTF - mm just died @63! #txtpioneerdeath was father of sms & dvlped idea of txt msg with phones. @2012 msged BBC that txt would be here "4EVR".
shoutout 2 Nokia for spreading sms w/Nokia 2010. thought txt good 4 language. was btw mng. director of Finnet ltd and "grand old man" & rly obsessed with tech.
OMFG people!

Comment: Re:Wrong person for the job? (Score 1) 59 59

by drinkypoo (#50018241) Attached to: How Computer Science Education Got Practical (Again)

Just keep in mind that in many areas, using an unlicensed engineer on certain projects is illegal. When is software engineering going to finally step up to the plate?

Not any time soon. This situation where it's difficult to prove whose fault it is benefits everyone but the consumer, which is why it won't change.

Comment: Re:GUNS (Score 1) 252 252

by drinkypoo (#50018155) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: For What Are You Using 3-D Printing?

The one thing a 3D printed gun can do that a normal gun cannot: Not yet exist when authorities come to confiscate guns, and then exist once the authorities have departed.

Well, any hidden gun can do that. If you can't get your hands on an improperly licensed weapon, you must not live in the USA.

Comment: Re:no we can't (Score 1) 34 34

by Rei (#50017541) Attached to: Asteroid Day On June 30 Aims To Raise Awareness of Collision Risks

It is not only possible, but the easiest option, to "blow them up Armageddon style" (minus the drilling and the like). There's a lot of simulation work going on right now and the results have been consistently encouraging that even a small nuclear weapon could obliterate quite a large asteroid into little fragments that won't re-coalesce, while simultaneously kicking them out of their current orbit. A few years ago they were just doing 2d calcs, now they've gotten full 3d runs.

Think for a second about what nuclear weapons can do on Earth. Here's the crater of a 100kt nuclear weapon test. It's 100 meters deep and 320 meters wide. You could nearly fit a sizeable asteroid like Itokawa inside the hole. And that thing had Earth's intense gravity field working against it and was only 1/10th the size of weapons being considered here. In space you don't need to "blast out" debris with great force like on Earth, you merely need to give it a fractional meter-per-second kick and it's no longer gravitationally bound. And the ability of a nuclear shockwave to shatter rock is almost unthinkably powerful - just ignoring that many if not most asteroids are rubble piles and thus come already pre-shattered. Look at the "rubble chimneys" kicked up by even small nuclear blasts several kilometers underground (in rock compressed by Earth's gravity). Or the size of the underground cavity created by the wimpy 3kT Gnome blast - 28000 cubic meters. Just ignoring that it had to do that, again, working against Earth's compression deep underground, if you scale that up to a 1MT warhead the cavity would be the size of Itokawa itself.

You of course don't have to destroy an asteroid if you don't want to - nuclear weapons can also gently kick them off their path. Again, you're depositing energy in the form of X-rays into the surface of the asteroid on one side. If it's a tremendous amount of energy, you create a powerful shattering shockwave moving throughout the body of the asteroid. If it's lesser, however, you're simply creating a broad planar gas/plasma/dust jet across the asteroid, turning that whole side into one gigantic thruster that will keep pushing and kicking off matter until it cools down.

The last detail is that nuclear weapons are just so simple of a solution. There's no elaborate spacecraft design and testing program needed - you have an already extant, already-built device which is designed to endure launch G-forces / vibrations and tolerate the vacuum of space, and you simply need to get it "near" your target - the sort of navigation that pretty much every space mission we've launched in the past several decades has managed. In terms of mission design simplicity, pretty much nothing except kinetic impactors (which are far less powerful) comes close, and even then it's a tossup. Assuming roughly linear scaling with the simulations done thusfar, with enough advance warning, even a Chicxulub-scale impactor could be deflected / destroyed with a Tsar Bomba-sized device with a uranium tamper. Even though it was not designed to be light for space operations, its 27-tonne weight could be launched to LEO by a single Delta-IV Heavy and hauled off to intercept by a second launch vehicle.

Comment: Re:It's the non-engineers. (Score 1) 76 76

by jandersen (#50017177) Attached to: The Programmer's Path To Management

A very thoughtful answer, which they will promptly ignore.

Having actually read some of the article, I notice that they confuse management with leadership. Any idiot can management - managers wouldn't be able to otherwise - but leadership is harder. Perhaps it is best expressed (accidentally) by an appalling manager I once had: "Managing engineers is like herding cats". What he meant was simply that he found it impossible; but without realizing it, he also showed that he hadn't understood leaderhip.

To the typical manager tries to do, is herding people like they were sheep; theis may work if your staffs are disenageged or simply don't have their own opinion about things. Cats, of course, DO have their own opinion, just like engineers, and will do what they want (just like engineers) - you have to LEAD a cat. A leader shows the way by going first, and engineers (as well as cats) follow because they think it is worthwhile. The problem facing most managers is that they can't lead engineers, because they themselves don't have the necessary insight; in that situation, you either become a poor manager who tries the sheep farming approach and fails, or a good manager, who understands that his job is to act as the barrier against the crap that comes from the rest of the organisation, so his engineers can get on with the important things in life.

All in all, I don't think a real engineer will see management as a step up, except in terms of pay, but many engineers can become good leaders in the real sense.


Creating Bacterial "Fight Clubs" To Discover New Drugs 25 25

Posted by samzenpus
from the let's-get-ready-to-rumble dept.
Science_afficionado writes: Vanderbilt chemists have shown that creating bacterial 'fight clubs' is an effective way to discover natural biomolecules with the properties required for new drugs. They have demonstrated the method by using it to discover a new class of antibiotic with anti-cancer properties. From the Vanderbilt website: "That is the conclusion of a team of Vanderbilt chemists who have been exploring ways to get bacteria to produce biologically active chemicals which they normally hold in reserve. These compounds are called secondary metabolites. They are designed to protect their bacterial host and attack its enemies, so they often have the right kind of activity to serve as the basis for effective new drugs. In fact, many antibiotics and anticancer compounds in clinical use are either secondary metabolites or their derivatives."

Chemist who falls in acid will be tripping for weeks.