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Comment Re:Umm forgive but (Score 1) 108 108

It's a rock made of water ice, with ice mountains as high as the Alps and an ice canyon that is possibly as deep as Mount Everest is high.

I don't know, but I don't think anyone was expecting that. And those are just observations made in the first detailed picture of one small region of Pluto. There will be new discoveries before the end of the week and more to come after that.

Comment Re:Yes, it could (Score 1) 238 238

The redistribution of wealth in the US and Europe from the middle class to the super rich has perhaps made this sort of jet viable again, but with a passenger capacity of something like 20.

I remember reading about supersonic air travel as a kid 25 years ago when it was thought that the middle class would one day afford to (occasionally) fly supersonic and the planes would have to have 250 seats.

Comment Re:400V and different plug (Score 1) 674 674

That would cost a lot of money over time. Imagine having to procure equipment that works with nonstandard voltage and has nonstandard plugs.

The smart thing would be to cover the socket with a metal cover that has "not for public use" etched into it and add that as a rule to your list of rules that passengers implicitly agree to by entering your premises. If someone uses that socket to charge their phone, your security guards can fine them the standard fee for breaking the rules. Then there is no need to involve the police or the justice system, unless the passenger accuses you of lying.

It may also help to have a designated power socket with controlled phase and voltage at each seat that the passengers can use.

Comment Re:What good is this for me, a Linux user? (Score 1) 77 77

Apple has thousands of developers, artists and other experts that get paid to work on OSX.

When do you think a Linux desktop company will be come close to matching that?

Granted, most of the work that they do at Apple is thrown away before it reaches the consumer, but that is often the nature of product development, when you don't know which features the users will need or want. The same would be true for a Linux desktop OS company.

Comment Re:fly ON the mission? (Score 2) 38 38

How do you expect to sell a spam can that has never been used to transport spam before? Someone has to be first.

They'll obviously fly these capsules with test dummies or other test equipment first, but again, someone has to be the first actual human to fly.

Comment Re: Gender Distribution? (Score 1) 90 90

Yeah, the more different one is, the more potential partners one has to sift through to find a match. I imagine transsexual women have to use online dating services to have a chance at sifting through enough profiles to have a decent chance at finding someone.

Lowering your standards works great up until the point where you end up with someone who simply isn't right for you. If you're even considering going out with someone who is "really creepy" you need to seriously unlower your standards.

Might also help if the rest of us make fewer jokes about transsexual people and other people who are different.

Comment Re:Flyby or Orbt? (Score 1) 79 79

Yeah, it is fairly fast, but as your calculations show, a 500 kg orbiter traveling to Pluto in 10 years is not unthikable using chemical rockets and the current budget levels of NASA. The only parameter that makes it impossible is the cost of launching and assembling stuff in orbit.

You would be able to do a mission like that within the current budgets if there was a 20x drop in cost per unit of weight to orbit. That is assuming that you can build a rocket stage that can start (and/or restart) after 10 years and can function in a cluster with other rocket stages. Also, you'd need to figure out a cheap and reliable way for those rocket stages to dock in low Earth orbit. But it's not unthinkable.

If the delta v for a 10-year flight to Pluto was 100 km/s it would be unthinkable.

Comment Re:Flyby or Orbt? (Score 3, Informative) 79 79

The delta v relative to Pluto is 11 km/s, which is not a whole lot in and of itself. My understanding is that fuel boil-off during the 10 years of transit to Pluto makes it very difficult and expensive to bring along enough fuel for a retro burn to put a spacecraft into orbit around Pluto.

It would have been pretty awesome to have an obiter that could zip around Pluto and Charon and do observations. Maybe next time.

Comment Re:Frozen (Score 1) 79 79

It is just a person using the most convenient terminology.

I think we all understand perfectly well that a planet is, by established tradition, a very large object (by human measures) that orbits one or several stars, that has been shaped into a ball by its own gravity and that is ot a star itself. The use of the word "planet" in "dwarf planet" supports this point.

It is probably fine if different people use different lower size limits for what qualifies as large enough to be a proper planet. All that amounts to is a value in the condition of a database search in a database of all the objects orbiting a star, and I think it's perfectly fine that different scientists would want to make different searches in such a database depending on what they are interested in.

Comment Re: Advanced users do not use Apple products (Score 1) 360 360

I like to control my tags, because even on the same music service, "Bela Fleck and the Flecktones" also comes across as "Bela Fleck", " BÃla Fleck", and "BÃla Fleck and the Flecktones", depending on the album.

It is especially bad if you purchase music across different services.

The canonical way of solving that would be to have a unique code, an "international standard artist number", for each artist and a tag that can hold multiple artist codes.

This might be useful:

Do not underestimate the value of print statements for debugging.