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Comment: Fusion power applications? (Score 1) 23

by Ungrounded Lightning (#48462139) Attached to: NASA To Deploy Four Spacecraft To Study Magnetic Reconnection

It will be interesting to see whether this research on the phenomenon in the large scale produces insights useful at the smaller scale of fusion plasma confinement.

In case it's not clear, magnetic reconnection is a phenomenon of magnetic field/plasma interaction. (Without the plasma and its currents (or extreme accelerations like those around black holes) the magnetic field wouldn't be simultaneously twisted up and bent around so it can reconnect differently.

I see two ways this might apply to plasma confinement in fusion systems:
  * It may give insight into the details of plasma instabilities and lead to ways to suppress them - enough for a practical reactor.
  * It might lead to a way to use the phenomenon deliberately, to produce a (probably pulsed) past-breakeven plasma confinement, along the lines of Dense Plasma Focus.

Comment: More than half were minority owned, too. (Score 1) 937

by Ungrounded Lightning (#48461993) Attached to: Officer Not Charged In Michael Brown Shooting

The hit is taken by the store owners and their landlords. [Insurance usually has escape clauses for riots.]

Just heard on the news that more than half of the stores destroyed last night in Fergusun were minority owned, too. (I think it was actually "black owned" but I'm not sure.)

IMHO the main point of the burning is so that, once the stores have been looted, the evidence of who did it is largely destroyed. Video survelience tapes, fingerprints, serial number records, ...

Comment: Re:Environmentalists is why we still pump carbon (Score 2) 437

by _Sharp'r_ (#48459423) Attached to: Two Google Engineers Say Renewables Can't Cure Climate Change

Fukushima and Chernobyl are deadly enough reminders.

Would it surprise you to learn that the deaths from producing renewables is orders of magnitude higher than the deaths from all the reactor meltdowns combined?

If so, do a little research and prepare to be surprised.

Comment: Re:What BS. (Score 1) 364

by _Sharp'r_ (#48457505) Attached to: Researchers Say the Tech Worker Shortage Doesn't Really Exist

Exactly. The biggest issue is that it's difficult for a PHB, even a technical one, to reliably determine ahead of time who is worth 2x what everyone else is getting for a particular technology job and who is worth 1/2.

Then once someone is hired, in most companies HR makes it impossible to either give appropriate raises to those who actually deserve it or to get rid of those who aren't worth their salary as long as they're minimally performing.

+ - Google Engineers - Renewable energy "simply won't work" to solve climate change

Submitted by _Sharp'r_
_Sharp'r_ (649297) writes "Two Standford PhDs, Ross Koningstein and David Fork, worked for Google on the RE<C project to figure out how to make renewables cheaper than coal and solve climate change. After four years of study they gave up, determining "Renewable energy technologies simply won’t work; we need a fundamentally different approach." As a result, is nuclear going to be acknowledged as the future of energy production?"

Comment: Re:I just don't understand (Score 1) 937

by Ungrounded Lightning (#48456227) Attached to: Officer Not Charged In Michael Brown Shooting

To heck with the local charges - why the hell hasn't Holder's Justice Department filed federal civil rights charges against the officer?

They're working on it.

They generally hold off on those until the state's criminal justice aparatus has had a chance to product the verdict they want. They'll file once the state system has "failed". Like maybe this week or next.

Comment: No. The store owners take the hit. (Score 1) 937

by Ungrounded Lightning (#48456185) Attached to: Officer Not Charged In Michael Brown Shooting

Black Friday starts tonight. Insurance companies to take the hit.

No. The hit is taken by the store owners and their landlords. Insurance policies generally exclude damage during riots, along with other civil insurrections and wars.

The net result of rioting that involves looting and/or store trashing is stores that move out or go out of business. Lots of little family businesses are bankrupted, while the big box store chains look at all the red ink and don't reopen. (That's why the Koreans were on the roofs of their stores with guns during the Rodney King post-verdict activities in Los Angeles.)

Think there's a shortage of decent-paying (or paying at all) jobs in Ferguson? Just wait... (This is what happened to Oakland, California, which is mopping up the last holdouts tonight "in sympathy with Ferguson".)

Comment: Re:The "Protesters" (Score 1) 937

by Ungrounded Lightning (#48456149) Attached to: Officer Not Charged In Michael Brown Shooting

Lenovo's stupid touchpad destroys the posting, just as it's being posted, once again:

They're not interested in any kind of justice. They're only interested in revenge.

And loot.

Christmas is coming up, after all. Time to do a little shopping. You can afford a lot more stuff when you apply the five-finger discount.

Assuming you don't get captured or shot, of course. But so far the cops are just standing back and letting the looters go at it. The hundred forty plus shots reported (at last count) are all attributed to the "protestors". (No word on whether any are from those defending themselves their families, or their property from looters and vandals.)

Comment: Re:The "Protesters" (Score 1) 937

by Ungrounded Lightning (#48456131) Attached to: Officer Not Charged In Michael Brown Shooting

They're not interested in any kind of justice. They're only interested in revenge.

And loot.

Christmas is coming up, after all. Time to do a little shopping. You can afford a lot more stuff when you apply the five-finger discount.
attributed to the "protestors". (No word on whether any are from those defending themselves their families, or their property from looters and vandals.)

Comment: My take is tech makes radios sound like noise. (Score 5, Insightful) 284

by Ungrounded Lightning (#48453589) Attached to: Complex Life May Be Possible In Only 10% of All Galaxies

I also subscribe to the "great filter" theory. About 25 years after the radio was invented, we were busy gassing each other in trenches, followed closely by a global pandemic, then mass genocide, then teetering on the edge of nuclear war. That's not a very wide window for aliens to notice our presence, if they rely on artificial radio waves to detect intelligent life.

My take is that technological improvements make radio sound like noise after a few decades. Early radios systems are very simple things which have signals (CW, AM, FM, ...) that are very distinct from electrical and thermal noise. Their signals were both drastically different from, and drastically stronger than, the background, enabling simple detectors to separate a signal's information from all that chaff.

Modern radios (such as spread spectrum systems, especially OFDM) squeeze nearly the Shannon Limit out of precious bandwidth (and also be frugal with transmit power) by using nearly all of it to carry information. This makes them virtually indistinguishable from a celestial object with a little extra heat (buried among things like stars, which have a LOT of heat).

It was only about 120 years from when Hertz and Tesla started making easily detectable radio waves to the Analog Television Shutdown, a significant milepost in the decommissioning of easily detectable radio signatures. I expect that, within anther few decades, the Earth will be emitting very little that might be recognizable as a radio signature of intelligent life, unless we expend a bunch of energy sending such a signature deliberately.

So my solution to the mystery expressed in the Drake Equation is that L (the length of time for which such civilizations release detectable signals into space) is short, not due to the falls of civilizations, but to economic incentives to use the aether only in ways that are no longer noticeable at a distance.

Comment: Re:Same as Columbus (Score 1) 69

by dpilot (#48448719) Attached to: Multi-National Crew Reaches Space Station

That depends on the destination for the final product. If you're building something for use off-Earth, using space-based resources from construction allows you to eliminate launch costs for the weight of that thing.

This of course presumes that the launch cost of your asteroid harvester is less than the launch cost of what you're building with the materials. Then again, if one Earth-launched asteroid harvester can get enough raw materials for more than one space-built asteroid harvester, you're on your way. Or to put it in a more Slashdot-memetic way:
1 - Launch asteroid harvester.
2 - Use harvested materials to build more asteroid harvesters, plus other neat space-based stuff. Repeat.
3 - Profit!!

Comment: Re:AI researcher here (Score 1) 421

by jc42 (#48446893) Attached to: Alva Noe: Don't Worry About the Singularity, We Can't Even Copy an Amoeba

Agree, way too many people who should know better still conflate consciousness with intelligence. An ant's nest exhibits intelligent behaviour but it can't contemplate it's own existence, ...

So how exactly do we know this? I haven't read of any studies on the topic. Could you give us a link to a study showing what ant nests actually contemplate?

Comment: Re:that's because (Score 2) 367

by jc42 (#48445773) Attached to: Blame America For Everything You Hate About "Internet Culture"

The portion of the American population that actually does useful stuff like network computers is a tiny, tiny fraction that is pretty much considered a bunch of "weirdos" by the rest of society (and you know it). New technologies are almost all developed in universities which are mostly made up of immigrants. America is being propped up by immigrants and geeks, the very people everyone else hates. Wake up and realize that the country you're living in hates you and does not deserve your presence.

Yeah, as an American teenager who was repeatedly voted "smartest" in his class, I realized all that decades ago. That's why I've mostly lived in close proximity to academia for most of my life since then, and have associated mostly with a crowd that has a high proportion of "furriners". It also has a lot to do with my migration into the Internet-development field, where my professional connections tend to be the same sort of furriners.

Generalizations about the citizens of a country are generally nonsense. I have lots of friends in other countries that I've never met, and I personally don't consider that at all odd. It's one of the things that this Internet thing was more-or-less designed to encourage. The practice of categorizing people by the accident of where they were born is ultimately doomed, though I expect it to live on long after it has become nonsense. Sorta like categorizing people by their sex or age or race or religion or ... ;-)

Cellphones

Corning Reveals Gorilla Glass 4, Promises No More Broken IPhones 198

Posted by samzenpus
from the go-ahead-and-throw-it dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Corning introduced next-generation Gorilla Glass, which it said is ten times tougher than any competitive cover glass now in the market. The company says that the Gorilla Glass 4 so launched is to address the No.1 problem among the smartphones users- screen breakage due to everyday drops."

What this country needs is a dime that will buy a good five-cent bagel.

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