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Comment: Re:One slight problem with that ratio... (Score 1) 119

by theguyfromsaturn (#47380845) Attached to: New Class of Stars Are Totally Metal, Says Astrophysicist

I know very little of astronomy, but I have to wonder at the reason why each of the fusion cyles is shorter... is it only because some intrinsic property of the heavier fuel? I had alsways assumed that the fact that there is only a fraction of the original star mass that makes it to Carbon, and only a fraction of that to each successive element in the list what the root cause the the exponential decay in life expectancy of each fuel source. If that is the case, the reason that each cycle is shorter is the lack of fuel. Now, what if ALL the star is made of heavier fuel from the start? Shoud we still expect a ridiculously short fusion time for the initial fuel? If the answer is no, shouldn't such a star be able to shine for at least a few million years?

This is an honest question by someone who wants to know, not a criticism of the parent post.

Comment: Re:Our Universe is Awesome (Score 1) 89

by theguyfromsaturn (#47172997) Attached to: Star Within a Star: Thorne-Zytkow Object Discovered

Actually I think honest politicians are probably fairly common. But as in everything, they start small, and locally, and as such things go, we, the voters, eliminated them from the race early on in favor of the politicians that tell us what we want to hear instead of what we need to hear. The result is that the longer lived politicians, are electorally selected to favour those who tell the electorate things that have little relation to reality as opposed to the electorate's fantasy. We really shouldn't complain about our politicians. We get what we want, not what we need.

Comment: Are there even any sci-fi shows left? (Score 3, Interesting) 67

by theguyfromsaturn (#46642051) Attached to: Interviews: J. Michael Straczynski Answers Your Questions

Not counting soap opera vamps anyways. Not really sci-fi since monsters of that type are folkloric in orginin, not scifyee. So, if we agree to exclude vamps and zombies (tiresome boring buggers), is there a single actual scifi show on TV? I honestly wanna know. I've been looking for one for a while now.

Comment: Re:Moisture inside the dam wall (Score 1) 168

by theguyfromsaturn (#46380209) Attached to: Damming News From Washington State

Not sure what you mean by water "invading" earthen dams... but just for the record, earth dams are always full of water that seeps through the component soils to one degree or another. High flow (in cracks say, or because of overtopping) is a problem at it will cause erosion, which may eventually lead to failure, but water "invading" them is not a problem, it's a given.

That being said, you are correct in mentionning that concrete actually requires water to harden through hydration. The problem with cracks in a concrete dam, is that they propagate, and the pressure of the water will certainly help them do so.

Comment: Who needs a fleet of snowplows? (Score 1) 723

by theguyfromsaturn (#46130253) Attached to: Atlanta Gambled With Winter Storm and Lost

The problem is one of planning not of vehicles. Where I live, snow is a common occurrence every winter, certainly during the warmer days of winter.

The city does have a fleet of snowplows, but when a heavy snow falls, it's not the city's snowplows that handle the load but the graders and other earthmoving equipment of the local contractors. While graders are better with additional pusher attachments, just the basic blade will do wonders.

The main thing is getting organized so that the city can mobilize quickly the equipment of the local contractors in times of need. While it is always costly to hire those guys, it's certainly less costly to do it this way than purchasing your own fleet of vehicles that will rarely get used. Graders get used all the time.

Comment: The only improvement needed in laptop keyboards: (Score 1) 459

The only improvement laptop keyboards need really bad, is to be swapped with the touchpad. When I use a mouse, I very naturally extend my hand to do so. When I type, I tend to naturally rest my wrists on the table immediately in front of the keyboard. When I rest my writs on a #!@!%$#@! laptop while typing, the cursor goes wherever on the screen and very unfortunate things happen. Actually keeping my hand closer to me to use the touchpad feels unnatural. Why are they designe this way universally? I never understood. A layout with the touchpad above the keyboard instead of below it would feel much more natural.

Comment: Re:oh come on (Score 1) 375

Indeed. It's not even a new concept. My first contact with the concept was as a child (in the 70s) watching an old James Bond movie (probably from the 60s, with Sean Connery, I don't remember which one). The only difference is the actual visualization of the concept. I got all excited when I thought the device actually existed as a prototype. It's not only a concept, but a concept that is still in wait of breaktrhough technologies to happen as I understand it.

Comment: Re:underground stuff is still really poorly mapped (Score 1) 141

by theguyfromsaturn (#45870943) Attached to: Object Blocking Giant Tunnel Borer Was an 8" Diameter Pipe

Most stuff actually is fairly well recorded "somewhere". No work gets done without getting locates before (yellow, orrange, blue lines etc), that are generated by surveyors based on both as-built plans, and confirmed on-site from geophysical investigation instruments, be it metal detercors or ground penetrating radar etc.

After something is installed you have to provide detailed plans of location depth etc. usually in the form of drawings (both plan and profile for line structurese such as utility pipes or cables). Tables with coordinates and elevations may be sufficient for more compact objects. And you have to do a survey for the as-builts, the original plans are not good enough for final submission. (That is for any project of any magnitude that will require city approval... what people do in their backyard won't be covered).

What often happens is that (as in this case) something is there, and reported the site investigation report, but its presence goes unnoticed in the volume of data looked through when working on the project. Or it was noted originally, but the alignment of the tunnel was different and it was not a concern, but a last minute change in alignment makes it a concern and people (being people) just forget there was somthing there to consider, because they HAD checked those things before after all, and already figured out there was no concern.

Of course, whent thing are very old, the problem is often getting access to the documentation. Either it was done in a time when records were not kept as thoroughly, or the they are just very hard to track down for one reason or another. Usually, if something does require city approval though, you can find those submissions... and as long as nobody bribed a city inspetor to look the other way while corners were cut , they should provide a reasonable estimate of where things are. The main difficulty is actually tracking down all activities that may have been undertaken at that location over time. While the record may exist, making sure that all things that were done (as owners changed over time) are considered may be challenging depending on the data tracking and storage implemented at the city level over time.

Scientists are people who build the Brooklyn Bridge and then buy it. -- William Buckley