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Comment: Been there, done that (Score 2) 52

Heading south is a very good thing for astronomers to do. It's like visiting another planet: lots of new stars and stuff, and the familiar constellations are all upside down.

I've observed from Australia, New Zealand and the Cook Islands. My first view of the Eta Carinae region was from St. Kilda Beach in Melbourne. My first view of the Magellanic Clouds was from a highway rest area just south of Echuca, Victoria. One night at a motel in Forbes, NSW, I needed the bathroom in the wee hours and padded out to have a look. I knew the Sagittarius Milky Way would be out at that time of the night, but I couldn't find it at first. It was directly overhead.

Of course I went to Parkes. A nerd's gotta do what a nerd's gotta do. :-)

I'm watching Top Gear in Patagonia, and while Argentina has better scenery, Australia has better weather. And much better roads.


Comment: See nothing (Score 3, Insightful) 52

Of course, the majority of humans now live in urban areas, and see little or nothing of the night sky at all, whether northern or southern. Perhaps I'm taking this a step too far, but would it be possible that we'll see a continuing decline in interest and support for astronomy and space technology as more and more voters and influential people grow up and live their lives without ever really seeing the skies?

Comment: Re:No unicomp ? (Score 1) 174

by JanneM (#48683833) Attached to: Know Your Type: Five Mechanical Keyboards Compared

And no Happy Hacking Pro. That's my go-to keyboard for any stationary use.

I do like the feel of the new chicklet Lenovo Thinkpads as well; I don't know why many people don't like them. Whoever decided on the layout, though (PrtSc between right-alt and ctrl?!) should be sent to the unemployment line as fast as possible.

Comment: Positives and negatives (Score 1) 285

by spaceyhackerlady (#48677505) Attached to: At 40, a person is ...

I feel here are positives and negatives to being older.

The positive is a depth of experience. An inherent patience to work through problems, looking for the right answer. My boss can - and does - tell me "Laura, figure out XYZ and see if we can use it in our company." This will keep me busy for extended periods.

While it's not strictly age-related, I find many "younger" companies have views on work/life balance that are incompatible with my own. I do not eat, live and breathe my work. When I go on vacation I go, and make damned sure I'm out of cellphone coverage when I do.

Also, many "younger" companies have messages I do not believe in. A prime example is local media darlings HootSuite. Since I don't buy the problem, I can't be part of its "solution".


Comment: Re:Even simpler (Score 1) 114

by vivian (#48656075) Attached to: Geoengineered Climate Cooling With Microbubbles

I have replaced all my halogen down lights , 50w each, with LED lights that use only 5w, and actually provide better light.
I typically have 15 on, 4 hours a day.
As a proportion of my overall power usage, my lighting has dropped from about 15% to 1.5%
The LED bulbs will last longer (10,000 hours) than halogens, and pay themselves off in terms of saved electricity, in 2 years.
Electricity is $0.26 /kwh here, and each bulb saves 0.045 kwh every hour it is being used.
it will take 777 hours for it to save it's own purchase cost in electricity, or approximately 194 days of typical 4 hours a day use.
Definitely worth while both economically and environmentally.

Comment: A big boat! (Score 3, Interesting) 116

by spaceyhackerlady (#48618335) Attached to: New Cargo Ship Is 488 Meters Long

I live in a port city and see lots of ships, but I'm not sure this baby could even enter the harbour here.

It's far bigger than what the Panama Canal can handle (maximum 290 meters long), as well as the Saint Lawrence Seaway (225 meters). The Panama Canal was designed for the largest ships of the day, RMS Olympic and RMS Titanic.


Comment: Re:Interesting, but ... (Score 1) 150

by JanneM (#48607289) Attached to: Want To Influence the World? Map Reveals the Best Languages To Speak

Great idea! Now we all only need to agree on which language to standardize on. I'm sure that worldwide discussion will be calm, focused and productive. Please post the results here in the thread once it's been decided.

I suggest Swedish. It's just about equally well known by almost everybody in the world, so nobody is starting out with an unfair advantage. I get a lifetime gig teaching Swedish to everybody. And you get umlauts! Win-win.

Oh, and by "suggest" I of course mean "absolutely demand or I will refuse any part of this scheme".

Comment: Re: wimpy talk (Score 2) 187

by vivian (#48607183) Attached to: Graphene: Fast, Strong, Cheap, and Impossible To Use

Honestly, reading the synopsis of the plot of 20,000 Leagues, it seems he contributed more to Star Trek than he did to reality.

I don't remember Captain Nemo ever losing his shirt and making out with every mermaid, daugters of Neptune or any other female denizens of the deep that get in range of his tentacles... I guess they got Kirk's predilections from elsewhere.

Comment: Re:I use Unity. It's OK. (Score 1) 125

by JanneM (#48559313) Attached to: Unity 8 Will Bring 'Pure' Linux Experience To Mobile Devices

I pretty much agree. I'm an old-time Unix and Linux user, but Unity works pretty well for me. It mostly manages to get out of the way of my work - the single most important feature of any desktop - and things such as the single menu gives me vertical space for another line or two worth of visible code.

There are some real irritants. The window/app switcher has never gotten the distinction right (and I don't think it's possible), and the quick search misses things it should find. But these are smaller irritants on a desktop that does what it should do - be invisible unless I explicitly need any of it.

Comment: Re:So why no neural interface? (Score 2) 56

by JanneM (#48510649) Attached to: Stephen Hawking's New Speech System Is Free and Open-source

"we've got monkeys that have rapidly learned to control a robotic arm using only signals from a tiny cluster electrodes in their brain,"

"rapidly" and "control" are very much relative terms in this case. And note the "in their brain" - you need to implant an electrode array to get good, reliable signals. With monkeys you can do it to half a dozen animals and hope than one or two get a fully working implant. And the array has to be working for a few months or so. With a human patient you need to get it right every time, and the array has to be viable for a decade at the very least.

Comment: Re:SiwftKey? (Score 2) 56

by vivian (#48510355) Attached to: Stephen Hawking's New Speech System Is Free and Open-source

A week later the app went "Free" and by free I meant, all the features I paid for were now free to everyone

Look at it this way - it's not like buying stocks or something where you only buy it as an investment to sell later.

At the time you purchased it, the software offered you enough utiity to be worth was worth what you paid to get it - and as an added bonus, your purchasing it helped feed the developers and enable them to be able to afford to release it for free for the betterment of mankind - so by proxy, your payment has also helped benefit mankind. You should get a warm fuzzy feeling about that instead of feeling bitter!

Comment: Re:Helmets with Sensors (Score 4, Insightful) 233

by vivian (#48493495) Attached to: Football Concussion Lawsuits Start To Hit High Schools

How about poay a psort that doesn't require heavy physical contact?
nearly all athletics events, swimming, baseball, basketball,as well as numerous other field games exist that manage to be entertaining without having to put players at huge physical risk like (American) football does. Same deal with rugby and league, but even those games have rules that avoid the worst of the heavy impacts - and lack of body armor in those sports means the players are required to play more within limits that will tend to have less impact on the brain.

If you have a procedure with 10 parameters, you probably missed some.