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Comment Re:No Alternatives??? (Score 1) 178

It's an engineering problem. You surely could get some combination of solar and battery to work on the Martian surface, but it would impose design and operational constraints -- constraints which could be mitigated with money.

Presumably they crunched the numbers and developing an entirely novel compact reactor looks like it could be a win. However lets imagine this "Kilopower" project is a total failure; that doesn't mean that a Mars habitation mission couldn't proceed, it'd just cost more to get a certain amount done.

Comment Re:Conflicting niches (Score 2) 155

I've driven several cars with ACC and lane assist. They are miles away from something that would deserve the name autopilot or self-driving. They would happily drive over a red traffic light, for starters. More importantly, they have no tie-in with the navigation system.

These are drive-assist systems, a completely different class of thing.

Comment Re:I Wouldn't. (Score 4, Interesting) 279

The way I'd explain Relativity to a kid is that people always thought that time and space (distance) were universal constants, and everything could be represented assuming those two were constant. If two people are in the same location observing the same thing, but one person is stationary and the other moving, a light beam will appear to be moving at a different speed to the two people.

Einstein showed that the speed of light is what stays constant. Light appears to move at the same speed to both those people in the above example. Space and time themselves warp to make that possible. In this case, by time appearing to pass more slowly for one person.

If this is a typical 9-year old, he'll think "that's weird," go to sleep, and the next day his mind will be back on TV, video games, and sports. If he's atypical, he's going to spend a long time awake thinking about this and have a bunch more questions for you in the morning. Then you can introduce him to all sorts of fun stuff like light clocks, the twin paradox, (the lack of) simultaneity (I especially like the ladder paradox since it's very intuitive and demonstrates how the loss of simultaneity resolves seeming paradoxes).

Comment annoying (Score 1) 252

2FA is more secure, but annoying. Massively annoying if you log into several 2FA secured accounts over the day. I'm accepting it for online banking and similarily important business, but not for my throwaway gmail accounts.

Clef was 2FA done right, and I have high hopes for SQRL, but it seems slow in coming out with actual clients that normal people can use.

As long as the usability factor for 2FA is somewhere between annoying and hostile, it won't see more adoption.

Comment disgusting (Score 1) 199

Amazon said that it will now work with the candidate locations to examine their proposals more closely and request additional information to "evaluate

In other words, it will pitch them against each other in a race to the bottom for tax breaks and other "incentives".

It disgusts me so much when countries or counties think they are in a competition against each other. That mindset is what created 0.01% tax havens. There is just something the wrong way around when governments compete to please a corporation.

Comment Re:the neurotic minecraft obsession (Score 1) 50

Let's face it, there are plenty of Minecraft-y games out by now. Most of them some flavor of zombie survival game, but some actually just Minecraft with better graphics or enhanced bells and whistles. Why they don't get as successful? Mods. Or the lack thereof.

Nonsense. There are piles of mods for some of the workalikes, like minetest. Minetest also abuses your GPU much less, although it does use slightly more CPU. Still, not so much that it's not playable on an atom netbook, which you can't do with minecraft at all these days. The GPU won't handle it. The reason none of them have taken off is that all the players are playing minecraft. People want to play with other people, and minecraft has already got the players. They're not going to switch.

Comment Re:Global Warming Alarmism (Score 1) 322

Good post but...
Melting Greenland would raise sea level 20'.
Source: simple google question.

If *all* the ice in antarctica melted, it would raise sea level by 200'.
But the average temperature in Antarctica is -37C. So it's unlikely that it would all melt while the earth was still inhabitable.

  "It is possible that this could collapse rapidly and raise sea levels by 3.2 m, possibly within 500 years. "

Much more likely problems include rainbelts moving hundreds of miles which would cause arable land to be infertile and rain to fall on new areas that would take thousands of years to become good farmland, increased range of tropical diseases (we are already seeing this).

The methane hasn't transitioned during warmer periods in the past. If it *did* transition, it's close to an extinction level event for humans.

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