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Comment Re: Speed wasn't SR-71's problem. (Score 1) 299

There were over 1000 recorded attempts to shoot them down. None came particularly close. Among other problems, most antiaircraft missiles (particularly air-to-air) rely on flight surfaces designed for maneuvering in the denser air at lower altitudes and become poor at tracking at SR-71 flight altitudes. Most missiles couldn't win in a tail chase either. And they weren't designed to deal with the high net velocity of closing head-on (more similar to those for ABM defenses). The low radar cross section made it even more challenging, reducing the amount of time they had to prepare.

The Soviets and/or other anti-US powers would surely eventually have gotten the job done with advancing tech and enough tries, but at the time of its retirement, it still flew in a pretty safe envelope. Not perfectly safe. but pretty safe.

Comment Speed wasn't SR-71's problem. (Score 5, Insightful) 299

The programme was killed because they were a pain to maintain. Advancing needs meant that they would have on top of that had to spend money on a tech upgrade (such as adding a realtime data link). Meanwhile, there were programmes hungry for its budget, including stealth aircraft (B2) and drones (Global Hawk).

That said, in today's threat environment, I'm sure mach 5 would be appreciated ;)

Comment Re:Whatever (Score 1) 342

Lol, you realize that we were occupied by the UK and subsequently US, don't you? Then had a NATO base here for half a century? That Icelanders are among the best non-native English speakers in Europe? That there's more English TV stations broadcasting here than Icelandic?

Comment Re:Finland too.. (Score 1) 342

Worked here. TV = sjónvarp = vision-caster. And speaking of that, "radio" is "útvarp", out-caster. Again, I don't see why France gets so much credit for linguistic preservation. Their linguistic preservation efforts seem lackluster at best, and their adoption rates of official terms even more lackluster.

Comment Re:Whatever (Score 3, Interesting) 342

I don't know why France gets so much credit for linguistic preservation. Seriously, it's 2018 and they're just now getting around to formalizing a French word for smartphone? And like usual, I imagine few people will use the new word.

When telephones came out, Icelandic quickly adopted the word "sími", resurrecting an old word for "thread". Cell phones came out, and they became "farsímar". Smartphones came out, and they quickly became "snjallsímar". I mean, it doesn't happen immediately. People were calling tablets "tablets" at first, but when it came out that the proper word was "spjaldtölva", people switched over pretty quickly. Tölva (computer), by the way, comes from "tala" (number) plus "völva" (prophetess). :)

A fun experiment is to go to Wikipedia and enter a bunch of random science terms in different science fields - preferably ones not named after a person or whatnot (which tends to carry over between *any* language) - and for each one, look at the in-other-languages sidebar to see what the word is in other languages. Because as a general rule, in almost every language the terms very strongly resemble the English.... except Icelandic. You know, you look up photon, and it's a bunch of entries like "photon", "foton", "fotona", "futun", etc, etc.... then you get to Icelandic, and it's "ljóseind". ;) It's "tyrannosaurus", "tiranozaurus", "turanosaurus", etc, etc.... then Icelandic, "grameðla". But it's actually quite useful. For example, in some members of my family there's a condition called ankylosing spondylitis. Unless you're a doctor who's familiar with the field, or someone in your family has it, odds are you have no clue what that is. But in Icelandic, it's "hryggigt" - that's "hryggur" (spine) + "gigt" (arthritis). Anyone can see that term and immediately have a rough idea of what the primary symptoms are like (the spine slowly fuses, among other things).

That's not like Icelandic is "pure" or anything. "Hæ" is essentially embedded in the language, for example. "Basically" is pretty much becoming that way. Etc,. But at least in general, people try. And for most - not all, but most - new science/tech terms, the Icelandic terms stick.

Comment Why worry about that? (Score 2) 260

You just left out most of the costs of fossil fuels!

Why worry about that?

When the DIRECT cost passes the crossovers, renewables first take up the new loads, then displace fossil fuels for old ones.

So you don't NEED government hacks to map the indirect costs into the market (and provide massive opportunities for graft and rent-seeking). The UN-hidden costs are enough to drive the market.

Comment THIS is how The Invisible Hand ... (Score 1, Insightful) 260

... by 2020 "all the renewable power generation technologies that are now in commercial use are expected to fall within the fossil fuel-fired cost range." [and will continue to drop below them] ... "Turning to renewables for new power generation is not simply an environmentally conscious decision, it is now -- overwhelmingly -- a smart economic one."

THIS is how The Invisible Hand eliminates greenhouse gas emissions. B-)

Cost of renewable energy collection drops as tech advances.
  * Solar photovoltaic, in particular, benefits from semiconductor tech.
  * Control and conversion IS semiconductor tech, with all the Moore's Law benefits.
  * Storage rides the battery advances driven by things like laptops and electric cars.
Cost of grid generation may benefit some from tech, but it's mostly mature and advances slower.

Meanwhile, cost of fossil fuels continues to climb as the easy stuff gets used up - while renewables (if you already occupy a good site) pretty much don't HAVE ongoing fuel costs.

As the cost passes crossover in progressively more locations, renewables will first take up new loads, then (as the second crossover is passed similarly and it becomes cheaper to switch than not), displace existing fossil fuel generation.

Comment Re:Er... (Score 1) 170

Just how many tabs are people keeping open at a time ...

I just checked: 725

that this is considered a good feature?

I do NOT consider it a good feature.

Things I WOULD consider good features:
  * Grouping tabs into multiple toolbrs by user-defined subject
          - With each separately switchable between visible and invisible
          - Stock, not an add-on / plug-in / whatever they're supporting this week.
  * Restoring the "delay image loading" configuration setting (for slow lines or expensive bandwidth)
          - And make the dropdown menu item to load a particular load-delayed image work correctly, rather than forcing me to "view image" to see what SHOULD be in the frame.

Comment Re:speculative execution of web content? (Score 1) 170

I only use AMD, so nothing's going wrong here.

There are (at least) two attacks based on speculative execution - and disclosed at the same time.

Meltdown is Intel-specific. Spectre runs just FINE on AMD - and some high-end ARM cores, too.

(It's beside the point in this case, though. Speculative loading and rendering/re-rendering/activating animations of a page when the mouse hovers over the tab will leak the same information regardless of whether the browser is running on Intel, AMD, ARM, or whatever.)

Comment No, you DON'T! (Score 1) 232

You need a mechanical physical switch with a switch guard.

No, you DON'T!

If you had such a switch, pushing it would have to be part of the test. Otherwise you've created a single point of failure that causes the live function to fail even though the test psses - and you don't find out until the missiles are inbound.

Yes, they should have done things like word and position the menu items differently, so hitting the wrong one by accident was less likely, and have glaringly different text and graphics (by selection, with the function still identical) for the confirm popups. But the further the test and live functions diverge, the more opportunity you have to build a system that passes the tests but doesn't work when you need it.

Conelrad (cold-war predecessor to the Emergency Broadcast System) had a similar failure: The test and inbound-nukes kickoff keys were paper tapes on adjacent pegs, and one day the low-ranking communications guy put the wrong one in the teletype tape reader on weekly test day, telling the whole country to duck and cover. Nothing new here.

(The teletypes had a bell and the newswires had a number-of-bings code for how urgent a message would be. I think major stories rated about a three. Max was ten, which was reserved for nuclear war warning activations. I recall one time in '65 or '66 when the AP wire tape got stuck on the bell code and that thing rang something over 30 times before they got it unstuck... Fun times.)

Comment Re:More than one dangerous fault here (Score 1) 357

What kind of thought train does from 'hang on there're some big faultlines here and we all know big ones are due' to 'sure here's a million bucks let me put all my stuff on top of this faultline'

So where can you build that DOESN'T have SOME recurrent set of disasters AND lets you make enough money to live well on?

East and south coasts have hurricanes (and much more often). Northern tier has blizzards. Sourthern states are lousy with tornadoes (and virtually any flat region south of mid-Michigan has some of them). Crippling / killing blizzards across the upper tier. Floods. Forest fires. Then there's a bunch of nasty diseases that are primarily local and break out intermittently. I could go on for pages.

Earthqakes can be bad. But big ones are rare - far rarer (even right on the major fault lines) than floods and tornadoes are in other parts of the country - and you can build structures that survive them just fine.

Even a 7ish like the famous Loma Prieta quake was, in the S.F. Peninsula, about like "15 seconds of mild turbulence" on a passenger airliner. That's nothing compared to, say, what a manufactured home goes through on its way from the factory to the site. Sure some old stuff in a couple spots failed - and the media zeroed in on them and made it look like several counties were flattened and burning. But they're really not as big a deal as their reputation suggests.

Comment Re: 4 meter wing spans? (Score 2) 183

Mortar attack on December 31 - oh really?

Russian officials have suggested the U.S. or its allies may have had a role in the drone attacks on the bases. Mr. Putin said drones captured in the course of the attacks revealed highly sophisticated technological elements that were acquired and passed to the rebels from abroad.

The Pentagon has said it played no role in the drone attacks.

A person close to Russia’s Defense Ministry said the accusations have largely served to deflect attention away from Russia’s own failure to protect its main Syrian base at Hmeimim.

The base was hit by a number of drones on New Year’s Eve, killing two service people, injuring 10 and damaging at least six planes, the person said. The attack was allegedly the first to penetrate the base’s formidable defenses including Pantsir and S-400 surface-to-air missiles.

Comment Re:Not Soon Enough (Score 1) 357

Actually, California is due Real Soon Now (in human, not geologic, time) for a really big one on the Hayward fault (parallel to, and just across the bay from, the more famous, and more recently active, San Andreas).

I was looking at where it runs recently. It runs right under hospital row in Fremont - literally through the parking lot that separates my doctor's office building (and a surgery center) from the BART tracks. Right up the main driveway into the Kaiser medical complex.

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