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Comment: Re:Re-entry is done wrong (Score 2) 74

by stjobe (#48640905) Attached to: NASA Video Shows What It's Like To Reenter the Earth's Atmosphere

They are "doing it right", there's just no way to do it the way you seem to think it should be done because of the speeds involved and the physics of orbiting.

Low Earth Orbit is only achievable with a speed of roughly 7.8 km/s (17,450 mph, 28,080 kph). Compare that to our regular "smooth controlled flight just like regular flight", with airliners topping roughly 600 mph (1,000 kph), and the fastest air-breathing manned aircraft ever made (the magnificent SR-71) only approaching 2,200 mph (3,500 kph).

The mechanics of orbiting says that to keep a stable orbit you keep a stable speed; if you increase speed you go to a higher orbit, and if you decrease speed you go to a lower orbit. So to get out of orbit we need to slow down.

So you're starting re-entry from a speed roughly ten times faster than a M-16 bullet - at these speeds any interaction with any kind of atmosphere is going to create "major high temperatures", but the physics say that you can't slow down without lowering your orbit and hence entering the atmosphere.

So we're in a bit of a bind here; we're orbiting at 28,000 kph, and we need to slow down to about a tenth of that to even have a chance of "smooth controlled flight" - but as soon as we slow down, our orbit lowers and we hit atmosphere, creating "major high temperatures" because of our speeds.

It should also be noted that it took the better part (70-90% or so) of our launchpad mass to get us up to this speed, and we simply do not have enough fuel to do much of any brake thrusting - the Tsiolkovsky rocket equation is a harsh mistress indeed.

So you see, it's not really that they're "doing it wrong", it's that you don't understand the problem. To be up there in the first place means you have to go really, really fast, and that means re-entry cannot be done "slowly, [...] gliding down gracefully", because as soon as you start to slow down your orbit decays and you start re-entry.

Comment: Re:Unless it has support for Bitcoin... (Score 1) 156

by stjobe (#48602193) Attached to: Small Bank In Kansas Creates the Bank Account of the Future

Not every bank. Unlike the US, banks in other parts of the world aren't in the dark ages. Sending and receiving money via your bank account can be done instantly, even from your smart phone (no Apple Pay or NFC software required, just email or whatever other system you choose to use from the various options the banks offer).

When I (living in an EU country) need to transfer money to someone, I
* start up my bank's app (for me, it's an Android app, but it's available for iPhone as well) and log in
* ask the person for their bank account number (or pick it from a list of previous transfers)
* enter the amount
* press "send" and validate with my electronic ID.

It takes all of ten seconds, and there's no fee involved. The money usually shows up in the receiver's account immediately.

When I get a bill, I use the same app to OCR it (using my phone's camera), pick an account to debit, and store it to be processed on a date I choose. Takes about ten seconds per bill, then I send them all at once to the bank with one security validation.

I haven't been at a physical bank location in seven years, and the only reason I went there then was to get a mortgage. I haven't been to a physical bank location to pay bills this century.

So yeah. If this is news for Americans, you really do live in the dark ages of banking.

Comment: Re:Can you say... (Score 1) 266

by stjobe (#48594727) Attached to: Judge Rules Drug Maker Cannot Halt Sales of Alzheimer's Medicine

you are effectively requiring someone to act against his will and work for the company without being able to quit--which is akin to slavery.

Isn't that the whole idea behind capitalism in the first place? Make people act against their will and work for a company without being able to quit? Sure, you can quit working for a specific company, but it's a bit harder to quit working for any company.

There's some delicious irony in forcing the company owners into the same shoes as their employees - I approve of your idea :)

Comment: Re:They're leaves. (Score 5, Informative) 194

by stjobe (#48535363) Attached to: Trains May Soon Come Equipped With Debris-Zapping Lasers

They're not "just leaves".

I thought this looked familiar, and sure enough, google turned up this article from 2007 about the system and the guy who spent eight years and 5 million GBP to try to solve it.

"Every time a train runs over a pile of leaves, they are squashed into a hard, black, shiny, Teflon-like substance that makes it more difficult for trains to slow down and stop."

"Rofin-Sinar created a monster. The final version of the laser railhead cleaner contains two lasers capable of producing 2kW each. The pulsed energy is channelled via a fibre optic, which delivers a round beam in a straight line across the rail.
The pulsed beam hits the rail 25,000 times per second. The leafy mulch absorbs each 5,000C pulse of light, causing it to heat rapidly, expand and lift off the rails. Tests have found that the laser cleaner also works on oil, grease, ice and other problematic substances."

Comment: Re:PBS had a documentary... (Score 1) 103

by stjobe (#48514119) Attached to: Practical Magnetic Levitating Transmission Gear System Loses Its Teeth

Some huge trucks still have things based on variable transmission technology, so the entire gearbox doesn't have gears but just slides into the most convenient gearing automatically. They've been around for decades. And they work by using a strong belt that can slide up and down a conical shaft. I kid you not. Every few years, they are re-invented under another brand / patent / material and actually do quite a good job. But they are still considered specialist parts because we can't overcome their weaknesses.

My 2012 Toyota iQ most definitely isn't "some huge truck", and its Super CVT-i transmission most assuredly doesn't have any "weaknesses" that needs to be overcome, nor is it considered "a special part" - it's just another option on the options list.

In fact, after having driven one for three years, I'm not sure I'd want to have a "regular" automatic gearbox, and I'm absolutely sure I don't want to go back to manual. Rush-hour traffic no longer feels like sitting in a pedal car...

Comment: Re:Good job Intel (Score 2) 73

by stjobe (#48498433) Attached to: Intel Processor Could Be In Next-Gen Google Glass

However, someone coming into a bar recording everything (both visually and via audio) that should be private [...] being constantly recorded in a place where privacy is expected

I don't know what kind of bars you have where you live, but around here bars are public places. In fact, they're usually called "pubs" (short for "public house", apparently). There's no more expectation of privacy at the bar than in a park or other public place.

With Google Glass, at least you see them recording; the cellphone that's on "record" two tables over is just lost in the clutter...

Comment: Re:unfair policy (Score 3, Insightful) 302

by stjobe (#47800647) Attached to: Study: Antarctic Sea-Level Rising Faster Than Global Rate

It's getting its Arctic Ice Cap that has expanded by 41% in the past 2 years. Most ice up there since 2006. Ironically, not reported here....
I guess anything goes to advance the global warming scam.

Sure, it's expanded by 41% in the last two years. What you fail to mention is that 2012 was a record low.

Guess that didn't fit into your "global warming scam" world-view?

panic: can't find /