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Comment: Re:The Apollo Engine (Score 4, Interesting) 41 41

Not to mention that each piece of hardware is built with the assumption of there being extant suppliers for its component parts. For Apollo hardware, this is rarely true, so you'd have to retool and test for each part. The sad thing is it'd actually be cheaper to build a brand new Saturn-V equivalent than to make an exact duplicate.

This is actually one of the sorts of cases where 3d printing (no, generally not things like plastic filament extruders... meaningful printing, like laser sintering, laser spraying, etc, as well as CNC milling, hybrid manufacture techniques and lost wax casting on a 3d-printed moulds) has the potential to really come into its own: all of these sort of parts that you only ever need half a dozen of them made but might some day suddenly want some more a couple decades down the road. Another interesting advantage on this front is also that of incremental testing - I know of one small rocketry startup that has set themselves up to sinter out aerospikes in an evolutionary fashion - they print one out, connect it straight to test, measure its performance, scrap it and feed that performance data back into the generation of the next printout, in a constant model-refining process. Combustion simulations can be tricky to get right, but real-world testing data doesn't lie ;)

Comment: Re:Americans setting off fireworks... snicker (Score 1) 31 31

Whoops, I was wrong - it's nearly 2 kilograms per person here, not 1. But you've still got us beat :) (Also, it looks like America is up to 207 million pounds of fireworks per year, a big increase... so 285 grams per capita per year).

I just think it's really weird how Americans see themselves as a major-fireworks nation when they set off so few.

Comment: Re:Americans setting off fireworks... snicker (Score 2) 31 31

Oh come on, what's New Years without an ER visit? ;) But yeah, I know some of your places have fireworks bans due to drought and the like.

In case you're curious, here's what New Years looks like here. It goes on at that intensity for at least half an hour, half intensity for maybe an additional hour or so, quarter intensity for another hour, etc. All this comes after the "brennur", which is about a dozen house-sized bonfires scattered all over town.

Basically, if one can make it burn or explode and there's nobody who objects, we'll set it on fire. Often while drinking heavily ;)

Comment: Americans setting off fireworks... snicker (Score 2) 31 31

New York City for example usually sets off 20-25 tonnes of fireworks on the 4th of July. Meanwhile, little Reykjavík sets off about 300 tonnes on New Years' Eve. Americans average shooting off about 200 grams of Fireworks each over the course of the entire year, combining fireworks shows, personal usage, etc. Icelanders average about a kilogram per person just on New Years'.

And I know it's not just Iceland. I had a friend from Peru who moved to America and was terribly disappointed by what passed for a fireworks display there versus in her home country. Seriously, aren't you guys supposed to be the ones who enjoy blowing everything up? ;) Or do you get it out of your systems in the Middle East? ;)

(Note: not meant as an insult :) )

Science

The Science of 4th of July Fireworks 31 31

StartsWithABang writes: There are few things as closely associated with American independence as our willingness and eagerness to celebrate with fiery explosions. I refer, of course, to the unique spectacle of fireworks, first developed nearly a millennium ago halfway across the world. But these displays don't happen by themselves; there's an intricate art and science required to deliver the shows we all expect. So what's the science behind fireworks? Here's the physics (and a little chemistry) behind their height, size, shape, color and sound, just in time for July 4th!

Comment: Re:A word you made up? (Score 1) 95 95

It could easily be both, in which case the differentiating factor should be which came first - the made-up word domain registration or the well known name (which could also be a made up word - "googl" and "Google", for instance). Who has the most expensive lawyers aside, the responsibility for checking for pre-existing typosquatting domains ought to lie with the company, the same way it's their responsibility to make sure their intended name doesn't infringe on any existing trademarks and servicemarks. Back in 2001 I doubt too many people were even thinking about such things though.
The Internet

Ask Slashdot: What Is the Best Way To Hold Onto Your Domain? 95 95

An anonymous reader writes: There have been quite a few stories recently about corporations, or other people, wanting to take over a domain. This has me wondering what steps can I take to ensure that outsiders know that my domain is in use, and not up for sale. In my case, I registered a really short domain name(only 5 characters) for a word that I made up. The domain has been mine for a while, and Archive.org has snapshots going back to 2001 of my placeholder page. It could be close to other domain names by adding one more letter, so there is potential for accusations of typosquatting (none yet). I have no trademark on the word, because I saw no reason to get one. The domain is used mostly for personal email, with some old web content left out there for search engines to find. The hosting I pay for is a very basic plan, and I can't really afford to pay for a ton of new traffic. There is the option to set up a blog, but then it has to be maintained for security. What would other readers suggest to establish the domain as mine, without ramping up the amount of traffic on it?
Businesses

MasterCard To Approve Online Payments Using Your Selfies 71 71

An anonymous reader writes: MasterCard is experimenting with a new program: approving online purchases with a facial scan. Once you’re done shopping online, instead of a password, the service will require you to snap a photo of your face, so you won’t have to worry about remembering a password. The Stack reports: "MasterCard will be joining forces with tech leaders Apple, BlackBerry, Google, Samsung and Microsoft as well as two major banks to help make the feature a reality. Currently the international group uses a SecureCode solution which requires a password from its customers at checkout. The system was used across 3 billion transactions last year, the company said. It is now exploring biometric alternatives to protect against unauthorized payment card transactions. Customers trialling the new technologies are required to download the MasterCard app onto their smart device. At checkout two authorization steps will be taken; fingerprint recognition and facial identification using the device's camera. The system will check for blinking to avoid criminals simply holding a photograph up to the lens."
Crime

Trolls No Longer Welcome In New Zealand 225 225

An anonymous reader writes: Legislation designed to prevent cyber-bullying has passed its final hurdle in the New Zealand Parliament, making it a crime to send harmful messages or put damaging images online. The Harmful Digital Communications Bill passed 116 to 5. The Register reports: "The bill creates a regime under which digital communications causing 'serious emotional distress' are subject to an escalating regime that starts as 'negotiation, mediation or persuasion' but reaches up to creating the offenses of not complying with an order, and 'causing harm by posting digital communication.' The bill covers posts that are racist, sexist, or show religious intolerance, along with hassling people over disability or sexual orientation. There's also a new offense of incitement to suicide (three years' jail).
Space

Rocket Labs Picks New Zealand For Its Launch Site 46 46

schwit1 writes: The small sat rocket company Rocket Labs has chosen a location in New Zealand as its future launch site. Bloomberg reports: "The company didn't specify how much it was investing in the site, which is due to be completed in the fourth quarter. New Zealand, which has been used in the past by the National Aeronautical and Space Administration, is considered a prime location because rockets launched from that deep in the Southern hemisphere can reach a wide range of Earth orbits. Rocket Lab's remote site on the Kaitorete Spit in the Canterbury region also means it has less air and sea traffic, which translates into more frequent launches and economies of scale, the company said. It also will no longer compete for airspace with the U.S. government." Rocket Labs will have to actually launch something to really make the competition heat up. This announcement, however, illustrates that in the long run, the United States has some significant disadvantages as a spaceport location.
Games

The Plan To Bring Analytics To eSports 61 61

An anonymous reader writes: We're used to seeing instant replays, halftime analysis and in depth analytics in traditional sports, but now they're coming to eSports too. A new start-up, Dojo Madness, is hoping to bring the same techniques to games like League of Legends and Dota, in the hopes players can learn from their mistakes in a game when shown them. In a new interview, founder and former Electronic Sports League boss Jens Hilgers reveals that the company's main product, Dota training and replay site Bruce.GG, will use machine learning to teach itself what are good and bad plays — and he hopes to bring the tech to other games, like Counter-Strike, too. "The feedback of the users watching these videos, these input points, are allowing us to determine the relevancy of what we have done and the system will learn from that and get smarter," he says.

A language that doesn't affect the way you think about programming is not worth knowing.

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