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Comment: Barrage balloons. (Score 1) 91

by Ungrounded Lightning (#48477733) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Drone For $100-$150?

Try flying some small helium party-style balloons on kevlar fishing line tethers, creating a forest of near-invisible strings.

Copter drones don't fly well with the blades wrapped in string.

(Indeed, I hear full-sized helicopers don't work all that well with a few hundred turns of 75-pound test line wrapped around that pitch control mechanism at the hub, either.)

This might not work against those with the bumpers all around. But the ones with the blades unguarded would have quite a time getting through.

Comment: Land not suitable (Score 1) 41

by Ungrounded Lightning (#48477703) Attached to: Interviews: The Hampton Creek Team Answers Your Questions

Livestock require 8-20x more land per gram of protein produced than plant based protein sources. Switching entirely to plant based foods would allow returning >90% of that land to its natural state and growing crops only on the most suitable 10%.

Much of the land of the continental US is unsuitable for growing any crop suitable for human consumption, due to things like lack of water. The western range, for instance: Attempting to farm it would be an ecological disaster. Cattle, on the other hand, can make a fine living off it (at a rather low density - like four acres per cow) and ARE suitable for human consumption (and tasty!) when raised on what they chose to eat.

In fact, NOT raising range cattle on range land is ALSO an ecological disaster. US range land has a substantial infestation of invasive grass species that were accidentally introduced by European settlement. The native animals tend to avoid eating it, so it has an extra selective advantage over the native grasses and tends to squeeze them out. Cattle, on the other hand, prefer it - to the point of eating it almost exclusively when it's available. Thus they keep it under control. Meanwhile, any non-cattle attempt to eradicate it would amount to total defoliation, reseeding with native plants, crossing your fingers that the invasive species was wiped out, and repeating whenever it reappears.

Comment: Also, chickens can't be free range and organic (Score 1) 41

by Ungrounded Lightning (#48477667) Attached to: Interviews: The Hampton Creek Team Answers Your Questions

Wait, is organic and free range supposed to be a better, that is tastier, product or just better for the environment?

While we're at it: If a chicken is free range it isn't organic. A free-range chicken eats wild bugs, and you can't certify that all the wild bugs that flew in ate an organic diet themselves.

My wife raises chickens, studies the issues extensively, and has a lot to say about free range, organic feed, organic chicken regimes, etc. They amount to animal cruelty. Some of the high points:
  - Free range means the chickens are exposed to predators and avian diseases spread by smaller birds.
  - Organic regimes forbid antibiotics and often vaccinations. A bird that catches some disease will either be dispatched to save the rest of the flock, or left to suffer and recover on its own without assistance - perhaps crippled - and meanwhile expose the rest of the flock. A number of poultry diseases are endemic among wild birds or prevalent in the enviornment. Young chicks are subject to coccidiosis and many of the survivors then live with damaged digestive systems. (Non-organic chicks are usually fed a coccidiostat in their early-weeks feed until their immune systems develop, or given a dose of antibiotic if the disease appears in the flock.) Marek's Disease, caused by a herpes family virus, is common. It produces partial paralysis, blindness, lymphoma, immune suppression, tumors, atherosclerosis, and a range of other painful and debilitating symptoms. Non-organc chicks are vaccinated against it. And so on.
  - Free range means the chickens are in large groups rather than individual cages with a handful of birds in each. Chickens can keep track of the ranking of no more than about a hundred other individuals, so life in a larger group is a constant series of battles to reestablish dominance. In small group cages, on the other hand, the heirarchy is worked out quickly and peace generally prevails (or relative peace, depending on breed). This is partiularly a problem with commercial egg-laying breeds, which are noted for intra-species violence and cannabalism.
  - Free range chickens are allowed to leave the barn in the day. But only the few who set up their teritory near the door actually get to leave. The rest are still effectively confined to the buildng in a mass of interacting birds.
  - Commercial feeds from big-name animal feed suppliers are tightly quality controlled and well tuned to the birds nutritional neefd an their taste preferences (so they'll enjoy eating it and thus eat as much as they should). Organic feeds are noted for dangerously poor nutritional qualities, from bad formulation choices, variation between batches, and the use of ingredients that quickly lose their nutritional qualities during storage. With their high metabolism, an under- or mal-nourished chicken will becomes a damaged and debilitated chicken in just a few days.v

I could go on...

Comment: -457 farenheit is nothing to sneeze at. (Score 3, Insightful) 119

by Ungrounded Lightning (#48477215) Attached to: Scientists Develop "Paint" To Help Cool the Planet

What the material is doing (or is claimed to do, anyway) is to re-radiate incident radiation at a wavelength that can pass through through the atmosphere back out to space without being absorbed (i.e. it won't heat up the atmosphere).

More importantly: If the wavelength were one that was absorbed by the atmosphere, it is also one where the atmosphere radiates heat back toward the paint.

If your frequency slot is one with "absorption", you "see" the temperature of the atmosphere - a bit cooler than the surface of the (greenhouse-effect boosted) planet, but not by enough to be exciting.

If your slot is one that is essentially fully transparent, you "see" the cosmic background (except for the tiny part of the sky that shows the sun's or moon's disk). That's about 2.7 degrees K, call it -457 Fahrenheit. Liquid helium is substantially warmer at -452.2.

The slow radiation of heat at the sky is almost completely overwhelmed by conductive and other transfers of heat into the paint, of course. Of the 530ish degrees F difference from room temperature, only nine are left.

But that's nothing to sneeze at. The inside of my well-insulated desert house gets up to about 85 in the day without air conditioning. If I could drop that by nine degrees it would be a relatively comfortable 76. (It would likely actually drop more, because the lower temperature of the surface would slow the heating and tend to even the daily cycle of temperature out further.) 85 or more is debilitating. 76, with drastically low humidity (dew point typically about 35), is actually comfy.

Comment: Further on Li, Chan, Norris, etc. (Score 3, Informative) 183

by fyngyrz (#48471455) Attached to: Jackie Chan Discs Help Boost Solar Panel Efficiency

Sorry, didn't quite mean to submit there.

TKD is a very specialized sport art. Very limited engagement rules and a complete lack of tools for dealing with anything but an upright, sparring style opponent relegate it to at best a functional niche limited to kicking (which any well rounded martial artist can convert into a different engagement, ground for instance) in the course of which instantly defanging most of the TKD stylists tools. TL;DR, TKD is more of a sport than a martial art. I should know; I'm dan-ranked in it within the context of the Korean taekwondo jidokwan, one of the earlier kwans that preceded the establishment of the WTF and ITF collaboration / standardizations.

Chan's martial arts background spans several styles (Shaolin gongfu, taekwondo, and hapkido), and consequently is broadly based with ground, standup, upright grappling, locking, striking, blocking, kicking, footwork and defensive components. He is by *any* sane measure a much more well rounded martial artist than Norris (and if you just admire kicking skill, I'm surprised you didn't bring up Bill "superfoot" Wallace.)

Li started training at age 8. He won his first national championship at age 11 -- remember we're talking about China here -- he traveled to more than 45 countries as a member of the Beijing wushu team. He held the title of All-Around National Wushu Champion from 1974 to 1979. He trained in internal and external styles, as well as the (then) required shíba ban bingqi (eighteen arms or weapons.)

(Please excuse the mangled pinyin; I don't use pinyin much, preferring actual hanzi, and traditional hanzi at that. (hanja for you TKD folks.) But slashdot doesn't support them (why? some geek site, lol)

Further, he practices wushu, which looks cool but is not a very effective martial art.

Wushu means "martial art." It doesn't tell you squat about martial art effectiveness, other than that the practitioner, like a "martial artist" in the US, practices some martial art or arts. You should have a look right here so next time you use the term wushu in the context of a Chinese martial artist, you actually know what you're saying. Although, technically speaking, just like gongfu (doesn't really mean martial art at all), the term carries implications you might not initially grasp; for instance, to a Chinese, a Korean TKD master is both a gongfu and a wushu master, plain and simple. Which again demonstrates that wushu doesn't mean anything even close to what you thought it meant.

However, your previous statement is worse in that it amounts to a blanket dismissal of all of China's martial arts, which is nothing short of ludicrous. Combined with your bewilderment of both Chan and Li's training backgrounds, your credibility is somewhere south of zero on this matter.

Comment: Expatriate woes (Score 1) 207

by fyngyrz (#48471213) Attached to: Hacker Threatened With 44 Felony Charges Escapes With Misdemeanor

I'll breathe a sigh of relief when I have alternative citizenship.

You think? So you haven't had the appropriate discussion with a tax professional familiar with expatriate situations, then. You're in for one seriously depressing conversation. Some locations are worse than others due to local issues in the country of desired residence (the UK is one of these, for instance... your in-country tax load would be very high, starting with VAT and petrol and employment of UK+US tax specialists and going downhill from there -- read this and weep), but you will soon find out just how hard Uncle Sam has worked to make your choice to reside elsewhere a very, very difficult one to follow through on after just a short taste of the many US tax-related downsides, never mind what your ultimate destination country has in store for you.

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