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Comment: Re:But (Score 2) 110

The quickest numbers I could find say that at the scales of large power-plants, the generator is very efficient, but the turbine not so much, around 50%. This would put the system as a whole at around 40% efficency sunlight -> electricity. That's competitive with the best solar voltaic systems tested in the lab, and 50-100% better than practical systems on the market. Assuming their system really does scale up to power plant sizes, of course.

Comment: I don't see what you are saying (Score 4, Insightful) 37

by pavon (#47470545) Attached to: Two Big Dark Matter Experiments Gain US Support

We'll have more information about the gravity attributes and locations of dark matter,

Both of these experiments aim to detect collisions of dark matter particles with their respective detectors, and if found give an estimate of the particles energy. Neither are astronomical surveys that would tell us anything about the gravitational properties or distribution of dark matter.

Comment: Re:result of the lab/funding system (Score 4, Interesting) 123

by pavon (#47444997) Attached to: Elite Group of Researchers Rule Scientific Publishing

I would even argue that as long as the students who did most of the work have their name listed as first author, there is nothing wrong with this arrangement. I dropped out of my master's program after the first semester because I was being pushed to publish, but wasn't being plugged into any research existing programs. Every "unique" idea that I thought of turned out to have already been studied exhaustively back in the 70's or earlier. All the favorite students in the grad program were people who ignored this inconvientent fact and managed to get rehashed bullshit accepted into conferences.

Several years later I went back to school at a large state U that plugged me into the work they were doing, showed me what the state of the art was and where there were gaps that hadn't been researched in detail. Without building off the ideas of my advisor I would have never been able to do meaningfull research that progressed the state of the art, and would have had nothing worth publishing. He deserved to have his name on my papers.

Comment: Collateral damage (Score 1) 495

by spasm (#47360627) Attached to: Microsoft Takes Down No-IP.com Domains

Like many slashdotters, I have an old box under my desk which grabs mail from several external accounts via pop and serves it up via imap. No smtp though. And having home DSL with no static IP, I use No-IP to provide a stable domain for that machine. So this morning I wake up and discover that the domain has disappeared and my mail client can't connect. And I'm out of town, so have no physical access to the box, which is still happily grabbing my mail from external accounts.. Fortunately the no-ip website is still displaying the dynamic ip address the domain was last pointing at, and my ISP hasn't changed it (and probably won't until I next reboot) so I've been able to log in just using the ip address, but now I need to waste a morning switching it to another domain. Seriously, wtf microsoft!

Comment: Megans law for the unvaccinated (Score 1) 387

by spasm (#47243127) Attached to: California Whooping Cough Cases "an Epidemic"

We need a Megan's law for the unvaccinated. So you can look up which of your neighbors you need to avoid and keep your kids aways from, just as you would keep them away from sex offenders. Or at the very least childcares, kindergartens, and schools should be required to publicly document how many unvaccinated kids are attending so people can make informed decisions about whether to send their own kids there.

Comment: Re:Competition Sucks (Score 1) 507

by spasm (#47213749) Attached to: Uber Demonstrations Snarl Traffic In London, Madrid, Berlin

It would be competition if taxi drivers were allowed to ignore the regulations that govern their activities too. All regulation has compliance costs; uber is 'competetive' largely because it dodges the compliance costs borne by existing services.

Now what would be really interesting is to see what happens when some city decides 'sure, uber can operate here, but we're dropping all the regulations we've built up over the years which currently apply to cabs too'.

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