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We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).


Comment: Re:"Getting into orbit" requires a big rocket. (Score 1) 282

by symbolset (#48952273) Attached to: NASA Looking At Nuclear Thermal Rockets To Explore the Solar System
If Musk gets his reusable rockets going, he should be able to lift enough fuel to fully refuel a rocket in orbit with its ground launch capacity of fuel, for about as much money as it costs to launch a disposable rocket now. That ought to scoot out to Mars quite promptly. Like Heinlein said once you're in orbit you're halfway to anywhere.

Comment: Anecdote, completely non-scientific (Score 2) 198

by symbolset (#48949269) Attached to: Can Students Have Too Much Tech?
We started our youngest two on computers at 12 months. They moved on to tablets not long after. They were reading at a sixth grade level before preschool. Our very youngest has been accepted to and attending a school for the gifted, as she reads at a college level now and is also good at math. She publishes how-to articles online and is working on a serial drama in the fan-fiction genre that has fans among her peers - without prompting or assistance. She's eight. She lies on the forms to get around the TOS. She has gotten her older brother interested in authorship as well. Their littler nephew was showing me the other day how to modify the network settings on my Android tablet to join his Minecraft server. He is six.

Comment: Re:Newer apps expect beefier hardware (Score 2) 458

by symbolset (#48947973) Attached to: How, and Why, Apple Overtook Microsoft
The reason I chose that particular model is that is when the platform became "good enough" for general purpose computing. More is always better but this is the level of sufficiency necessary for ubiquity. Now the price has moved within reach for almost everybody, so ubiquitous it will be. People with premium needs will buy premium products, but folks who can only afford these will be delighted and amazed. The software available for them is more than enough already, and growing every day. The next issue is global connectivity, and that is being worked on.

Comment: Re: How? (Score 1) 272

by symbolset (#48723179) Attached to: How Civilizations Can Spread Across a Galaxy
It turns out going fast is an energy problem, not a mass problem, except in as much a mass is a form of energy. Fusion converts mass to energy, so Lockheed Martin says they might have this figured out. Naked fusion propulsion in the gigawatt range (million horsepower) in a form factor that would fit in the back of a pickup truck. A few of those in parallel, a few gallons of water and it's off to the stars at 1G. Being in the exhaust would suck though - wear your SPF 5 billion because it's going to be hot.

Comment: Re: (Score 2) 272

by symbolset (#48723153) Attached to: How Civilizations Can Spread Across a Galaxy
These suns have already been this close to our sun thousands of times in the last 4 billion years that our solar system has been thoroughly polluted with life. We have exchanged many megatons of material with them. As some of these suns are 8 billion years older than our sun it is far more likely life came here from there than the other way around.

Anyway, the article neglects that these suns probably have Oort clouds of their own, and a different ecliptic plane, which means theircomets would be coming at an angle Jupiter doesn't protect us from, and potentially at an exceptionally high rate of speed. What with our own comet adventures with Shoemaker-Levy 9 and Siding Spring, Earth interaction with a comet may be more likely than previously thought.

Comment: What? (Score 1) 241

by symbolset (#48588007) Attached to: Is Enterprise IT More Difficult To Manage Now Than Ever?

Slashdot Beta sucks.

It is an acknowledged fact that the operating systems we use cannot be made secure even without end user interaction. They are just too complex. And yet we must trust them to do business. Even without the acknowledgement the proof comes weekly. Despite this we still use them, and worse - old versions of them that are a parody of secure code and known to be exploited.

We spend the end user's trust too readily. And we let them spend it greedily.

If I were the man I was five years ago, I'd take a FLAMETHROWER to this place! *

I don't post here much any more.

The problem with firewalls and antivirus is they all locking the door after the cattle are fled.

Your data will never be secure.

*Scent of a woman Great movie.

The reason computer chips are so small is computers don't eat much.